Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October 27, 2011

El Día de los Muertos... Wine... Pacific Beer Expo T Shirts...

El Día de los Muertos

Believe it or not, this will be the 19th beer in Garage Project's 24/24 exercise. This time it's a Chilli Chocolate black lager. Or to quote the flyer many of you found in your festival glasses at the Pacific Beer Expo:

brewed with smoked chipotle chili, refermented with organic blue agave syrup (the basis of Tequila) and conditioned over raw cocoa nibs - rich and dark, Day of the Dead is smooth and drinkable with a complex mix of smoke, chocolate and restrained chili heat.

For those wondering, the Mexican Day of the Dead - which some of us may know as the day after Halloween, and others will know as All Saints Day - coincides conveniently with next Tuesday's release.

Beer #18 - also People's Project #2 - has succeeded in dividing people this week, to the extent that it has moved relatively slowly. It seems that the unroasted coffee beans impart flavours and aromas that some find unpleasant. To some of us the beer is simply a Saison with a hard-to-pin-down additional character. It certainly has been baffling drinkers since Tuesday and may continue to baffle us for a day or two longer. We consider this a bonus.


Talk of wine at Hashigo Zake is normally drowned out by beer talk. Arguably this is just desserts considering the dismissive treatment beer often receives from many quarters with an interest in promoting wine. But we like to be above petty jealousy since sneering at beer is usually done by those who don't really understand what they're drinking themselves, let alone what others might be drinking. It is our aim to give wine far more respect at Hashigo Zake than beer typically gets in wine bars.

To this end we have had a dedicated and semi-independent wine consultant working on our wine list for several months. It's time we passed on some notes from her:

Over last few months, we’ve had a focus on subtly changing our small but perfectly formed wine list of 17 hand-picked NZ wines.

  • We now focus on the smaller NZ wineries, largely family or independently owned.
  • We use the various wine competitions to select the best quality wines (mostly Gold Award wines) at reasonable price points.
  • We care for the majority of our wines, by using an Enomatic inert gas preservation system. “The flavours and characteristics of the wine remain intact for more than three weeks, as if the bottle had just been opened” say Enomatic. We wouldn’t know – our bottles are very rarely around that long.
  • The winter months have seen a focus on warm reds from Otago, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. That doesn’t mean the whites have suffered, and we have added Kumeu Village Chardonnay and Forrest The Doctors Riesling onto our list recently.
  • We use table talkers in the bar, and the daily menu to keep you up to date with the changing wines.

If anyone has feedback or comments about the wine offering at Hashigo Zake, please contact as we are always looking at ways to improve your enjoyment – and would love to hear from the wine drinkers amongst you.

Pacific Beer Expo T-Shirts

The kegs have been dropped off, tapped and taken away again, the beer brats and curry have been consumed and the venue has been returned to its owners. We'll probably spend weeks picking over the bones of this one, but the important thing for now is to thank the participants and volunteers who came along and took part in a thoroughly enjoyable and colourful event over Labour weekend.

Having said that there is another important duty - many of you wanted event t-shirts but your sizes had run out. Sean Golding's design came out remarkably well and it is tempting to keep supply short, let the black market turn it into a collectors item and watch the price go through the roof. But instead we'll get the supplier to run off some extra prints and keep everyone happy. So could anyone who would like one, please submit an order by Monday by replying to this email? The price will be $35.

Unlike the shirts, we did oversupply ourselves with festival glasses, so extras can be bought here at Hashigo Zake at the absurd price of just $5.

We've also had at least one request to post some of the photos taken over the weekend. So here is everyone's chance to relive the thrills, beers, sunshine and, ahem, the beards of the Pacific Beer Expo 2011: Thanks to photographers Steve Cossaboom, Dylan Jauslin and whoever else grabbed the camera and went nuts over the weekend.

Naturally we made sure that there was more than enough beer to go around on Saturday and Sunday, meaning that there are an awful lot of unfinished kegs crowding our storage facilities. These will all turn up on our taps over the next week or so, making the Pacific Beer Expo the festival that keeps on festering. We can look forward to second helpings of local rarities such as Brewaucracy Bean Counter, Liberty C!tra, Renaissance Tribute Barley Wine and maybe even 8 Wired Double Brown. From the rest of the Pacific there may also be the last of the last keg of Coronado Saison by the Sea, a little of the only keg of Baird West Coast Wheat Wine and some of the two incarnations of Feral Hop Hog ("regular" and barrel-fermented).


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