Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012

A Tie Is Not A Draw... The Results... The Great Kiwi Beer Festival... Bar-top Casks... Upcoming New Release Tuesdays... Anniversary Weekend... Waitangibowl...

A Tie Is Not A Draw

Cricket lovers will understand this distinction. A draw merely indicates an inability to arrive at a result, be it due to unfavourable conditions or an act of defiance by one side, and is only occasionally something to get excited about. A tie on the other hand says that after an extended contest in which the advantage may have changed hands many times and many contests-within-a-contest have had their own outcomes, the contestants really did arrive at the same score and to contrive some means of breaking the tie is to create an injustice. Ties are results to marvel at.

Now the results of this month's survey of what you, our customers, thought were the best beers and breweries of 2011 produced no fewer than two ties. Hashigo Zake officials could have surreptitiously created a new survey rule to find a winner or made a sneaky casting vote, but this would prove less than to reveal the naked truth to the waiting public: these two really are no better than each other equally great.

The Results

One of our ties came in probably the most important question: "What Was Your Favourite New Zealand Brewery of 2011?" If bets were being taken on a winner then 8 Wired would surely have been favourite. The Blenheim based contract brewery has enjoyed success after success since first releasing Rewired back in late 2009, including winning the top award at the 2011 BrewNZ Awards.

Meanwhile New Plymouth's Liberty has been making a similarly profound impression on drinkers since Joseph Wood told us in late 2010 that he was turning part of his home into a Customs Controlled Area so he could sell the output of the home brewery he had assembled. He wanted to sell beer to us in cornelius kegs (normally used for soft drinks and home brew) and encouraged us to adapt our systems to work with them.

We went along with Joe's suggestions and have been glad we did ever since. (Apart from one or two times when the plastic cornie connectors played up.) And what Liberty beer doesn't get consumed here at Hashigo Zake we now proudly distribute around the North Island.

We tipped off both 8 Wired's Søren and Liberty's Joe that they were doing well in our little survey and they were both pleased and gracious. Søren related this win to his triumph at BrewNZ last year, singling out the "kudos of customers and fellow beer geeks" as being closer to heart. Joe said he was "chuffed" that his decision to build his own brewery is working out, but added: "On the other hand - I am not suprised. The whole reason that I started brewing in the first place was so that I could brew beer that you can't normally buy."

The full results await your scrutiny at Our press release is there too -

The Great Kiwi Beer Festival

As mentioned last week, February the 25th is when Christchurch gets to host what might be the country's biggest beer festival. Their website went live a few days ago and the astute would have seen Hashigo Zake's name mentioned.

Now we share our range of imports with bars, bottle stores and supermarkets in places like Auckland, Hamilton, Greenmeadows, Palmerston North and Dunedin, but not, as yet, Christchurch. So at the Great Kiwi Beer Festival we're taking down some of our finest Californian, Norwegian and Danish beer, along with some from Malz & Hopfen's stable of German beer, and giving Christchurch a taste of what our regular customers get to choose from every week.

We encourage readers to encourage their Christchurch friends and family to support this event.

Bar-top Casks

Garage Project continue to make up for volume with variety. A couple of times recently they've surprised us by appearing with 20L casks of fresh, low-gravity real ale, ready to be tapped and poured straight from the plastic barrel. This time we've decided to hold one of these casks back a few days so we can at least tell you all about it.

So late tomorrow afternoon we'll be hoisting the second and last barrel of Left Field Best, an ordinary bitter (subtitled Out Of The Ordinary), onto the bar and filling glasses gravitarily.

Upcoming New Release Tuesdays

The hardest part of our new institution - New Release Tuesday - is squeezing all the upcoming releases in. We're already often releasing two beers on the same night.

Next Tuesday will be another double header. We've been holding back what is probably the only keg of Norwegian Pilsner in New Zealand. And Garage Project have decided that their collaboration with Norway's Nøgne Ø is ready. That beer, whose name is being changed due to a clash, is a strong rye pale ale with added pohutakawa honey. So both of those beers will be coming on at 5pm next Tuesday.

The schedule after that is crowded and not yet finalised. Liberty's Yakima Scarlet, a red IPA, will be with us in a week or so. As will ParrotDog's new blonde ale. Stay tuned.

Anniversary Weekend

Monday is a holiday for Wellingtonians, but as usual we'll be making no change to our opening hours and we won't be applying public holiday surcharges. In fact since it's a Monday our discount to SOBA members will apply.


Over the last couple of years we've enjoyed coaxing a few people down on a Monday afternoon to watch the Superbowl while eating and drinking something suitably American. This year the NFL have contrived to schedule the event on Waitangi Day. This may necessitate adding some kind of unlikely Kiwi adjunct to some quintessentially American dish. The imagination of our staff is being taxed right now.


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