Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9, 2012

La Petite Manouche... Choice Beer Week... Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday... Friday... Saturday... IP Watch...

Next week is a big week and we have lots of details below to share, so today's update is coming early to allow for extra study.

La Petite Manouche

This Saturday's 10pm gig is our second ever "gypsy jazz" performance, this time from Christchurch's La Petite Manouche. This is another musical form that we think works beautifully in the environment of our subterranean lounge. Plus of course, we don't charge anyone to come and listen.

Choice Beer Week

The biggest week of the year for New Zealand's brewing industry is just a few days away. We're doing our best to flesh out the week of events so it's more than just an awards ceremony followed by Beervana. All we need to be vindicated is to get a few good turnouts at the events below.


Liberty's Yakima Monster has been brewed a few times before. It was a Yeastie Boys release a couple of years ago. And just a few months ago Liberty's Joseph Wood visited Galbraith's in Auckland and helped brew a version there. He's now taken the step of having a massive batch brewed at one of the country's bigger craft breweries.

Most of this batch is being bottled and, we hope, distributed to bars, bottle stores and supermarkets all over the country. We're hosting the official launch of the new, bottled Yakima Monster on Monday evening. We'll have one of the few kegs to be filled from this batch and we'll also be giving the bottled version a prestigious spot in our fridge.


The first Jed Soane exhibition at Hashigo Zake showed some of Jed's favourite works from over the years as the New Zealand brewing industry's unofficial photo-documenter. That was earlier this year. Since then Jed has attended a workshop run by Australian photographer Trent Parke that has led to some pretty interesting new work.

Jed is entitling this new exhibition Choice Beer: From Farm to Festival. It will feature photos documenting not just brewing, but a cycle starting with the farming of ingredients through to the culture around the consumption of beer.

Jed's exhibition will open in our "Red Room" on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday we'll get to welcome back one of our favourite suppliers and New Zealand's current champion brewer, Søren Erikson of 8 Wired. He's indulging us with a double-, or even a triple-treat of new releases. Ok, so the first, Superconductor Imperial IPA is not completely new, but it is the first time it's been available for some time.

But then we get to put on (and only in small quantities) two absolute show-stoppers. One is Bumaye. Anyone who has viewed the documentary film When We Were Kings might recall the expression. We'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out exactly what "bumaye" means, but it's suitably portentous for a 17% Imperial Stout aged in Pinot Noir barrels.

Søren's final contribution will be another barrel-aged beer - this time his Belgian quadruple called Sultan, that shared its time in a barrel with some interesting bugs. We're expecting something big and sour.

The quantities of these last two beers are small and Søren is donating them, so that's what we'll be doing. I.e. from 5pm we'll be offering small and complimentary samples of these anything-but-small beers.

Also on Tuesday evening we welcome Beervana's crew of volunteers for their official, pre-festival get-together.


This night sees the return of what is becoming something of a tradition - the annual release of Renaissance's Imperial IPA called Marlborough Pale Ale on the Wednesday before Beervana. Renaissance's CEO, the very popular Brian Thiel, is making the trip up from Blenheim especially.


In theory the highlight of Thursday evening is the Brewers Guild Awards Ceremony up the road at the Michael Fowler Centre. But we're having a serious go at upstaging them.

From 5pm we'll be putting two new beers on tap. One is the latest release from Funk Estate's experimental brewing programme. It's an imperial version of their Black IPA, rumoured to be called Clusterfunk.

The other is a beer released on Tuesday of this week (the day before yesterday) at Galbraith's in Auckland. It was brewed by our friends at Liberty as a tribute to Alice Galletly's celebrated Beer For A Year blog and is categorised as an Imperial Red Ale and officially called Liberty 365. We also have reason to believe that Alice, along with a few other northerners in town for Beervana, will be on the premises.

Finally that evening at 10pm we host our first ever schoolnight gig. It's a much anticipated appearance by local blues institution Darren Watson with a lineup he's calling his Underground Blues Band.


With Beervana starting across town we're taking a short break with the beer releases, but not with the late night music. At 10pm Neil Billington and Bullfrog Rata, who made a huge impression just a few weeks ago, are back with more Chicago Blues.


On Saturday we're taking advantage of the presence in Wellington of some pretty special brewers to have "meet the brewer" sessions.

In the afternoon (from 2pm) we welcome Graeme Mahy of 666 Brewing. For the time being 666 continue to make occasional, very small releases at Hamilton Shunters Yard, until the day that Graeme gets to walk into the actual physical brewery that he's been working towards for years. He's just kegged a small batch of Invidia - a beer we're describing as a "brown saison". We'll put it on tap on Saturday afternoon and invite customers to come and try it and discuss it with its maker at the same time.

Also visiting Wellington for Beervana is Lobethal Bierhaus's Alistair Turnbull. Those of you who can remember way back to the 1st of this month might recall that we launched a Lobethal/Yeastie Boys collaboration called Bruce. Bruce is being featured at Beervana so for Alistair's visit on Saturday evening from 6pm we'll put a number of Lobethal's other beers on tap. Again we invite you to come down and request a commentary on what you're drinking from its brewer.

Finally on Saturday night we'll have more blues and R&B in the lounge, this time from the Nick Granville Trio. (And yes, at the other end of the bar there will be a telly or two showing the All Blacks/Wallabies game.)

IP Watch

There seems to be no sign of an early end to the MacCashins/Hancocks Trademark Land Grab.

First came MacCashin's "Bomber", explicitly trademarked as a bottle as well as a beer, when it's well known that this is a North American colloquialism for a 650ml bottle.

Then their partner company Hancock's attempted to trademark "Growler", another well known North American colloquialism for a certain kind of beer bottle.

Now MacCashin's are applying for a trademark for "Snakebite". They've applied for it under two categories - beer and cider - which more or less confirms that they mean to use it to describe the drink that is already universally known as a "snakebite". I.e. a blend of beer and cider. A drink that has a wikipedia page.

(Please don't take our outrage at MacCashin's as some kind of endorsement of the practice of blending cider and lager.)


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