Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 25, 2014

Speakeasy Visit... Lord Almighty... Rules from Australia... More from Australia... Surf Rock Saturday... Pacific Beer Expo News...

Speakeasy Visit

Brandon Nash from the Speakeasy Brewery in San Francisco is in Wellington next week. We've only just confirmed all the details but we're now able to announce and invite bookings for a tasting of the Speakeasy range in the company of Brandon, at Hashigo Zake, next Tuesday.

This is the third in what has been a very enjoyable season of tastings whose primary purpose is to make Hashigo Zake's General Manager, David Wood, wish he'd never gone on holiday.

Tickets can be booked here, at the Cult Beer Store.

Lord Almighty

Many Wellingtonians will remember Dan Lord well. As well as being a tremendous customer of Hashigo Zake, he was one of the initial four partners in Funk Estate. After being relocated to London by his then employer a year or so ago, he got out of Funk Estate and started his own brewing venture - Lord Almighty.

Like Funk Estate, Lord Almighty is, for now a contract brewing operation, and is using facilities in interesting locations such as Yorkshire and, recently, Upper Hutt. Which means that Dan's beer is now available in New Zealand.

Lord Almighty's New Zealand range consists of Dan's Yakima IPA, a highly hopped (with Citra) 6% IPA. And this beer is getting its Southern Hemisphere launch at Hashigo Zake tomorrow (Friday) evening.

Rules from Australia

The small but well organised Australian portion of our customer base have insisted that our TVs be tuned to Victorian sport's biggest day, this Saturday. In other words the AFL grand final, featuring the Hawthorne Hawks and Sydney Swans, will be screened on Saturday afternoon. The nominal kick-off time appears to be 4:30pm NZ time, but really this is barely relevant given the veritable feast of entertainment that the afternoon holds for the dedicated viewer.

More importantly though, this gives us an excuse to dip into our stash of Aussie beer and put on a couple of appropriate choices. So we'll have a Sydney beer in the form of Young Henry's Newtowner. This is a golden ale from the Sydney suburb of Newtown. And in the red corner will be Brewcult's Pepper Steak Porter. Now Brewcult insist that in spite of its name, this is a vegan beer. But in case that lack of meat in the beer disappoints anyone, we'll be offering Pepper Steak pies during the afternoon.

More From Australia

We continue to pay homage to the home of chicken parma and the guernsey on Tuesday, when another new (to us) Australian beer takes the New Release Tuesday slot. It's the highly regarded HUGhE Dunn Brown from Perth's Nail Brewing. Nail isn't so well known this far from Perth, but their status in their home town is, well, huge. They're one of the area's longest established craft breweries and their Clout Stout has a fearsome reputation. And for the last year or two they've been sharing a brewery with none other than Feral. The strategy of sharing a brewhouse enabled both parties to quickly scale up.

HUGhE Dunn Brown Ale won the Cryer Malt Trophy for Best Porter at this year's Australian International Beer Awards. There are some useful details about the beer here at the Crafty Pint. It goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Surf Rock Saturday

Surf rock peddlers the Vincent Vega Trio return on Saturday night for some thirst-inducing entertainment. From 10pm and at no cost.

*** Correction. Our over-worked and underpaid publicity department got this completely wrong, and this Saturday's gig is in fact JB3, which consists of Shaun "Shandy" Anderson, Daniel "Dank" Hayles and Jake Baxendale teaming up to deliver some bowel-shaking grooves. ***

Pacific Beer Expo News

There was a lot of disappointment last month when shipping delays meant than an order of Australian beer arrived too late to be included in the Beervana festival. In fact the disappointment was probably felt most acutely by Beervana's organisers, since the general consensus has been that 2014 was the best Beervana ever.

Nevertheless a large consignment of some of the best Australian beer in existence arrived in Wellington a few days after Beervana. We've been doing our best to help find good uses for that beer, including a couple that are mentioned above. And a large portion of it will end up at the Pacific Beer Expo.

We'll single out a couple of those Australian beers now. They're from legendary West Australian brewery Feral. They've made fleeting appearances in New Zealand before, so should get some hearts pounding. Specifically:

  • Watermelon Warhead - the legendary watermelon infused Berliner Weisse.
  • Funky Junkie - one of the best known sours in Australasia.

Tickets went on sale about a week ago. There has been a lot demand for Saturday tickets, and we suspect two reasons for this. One is that people are planning to attend the festival on Saturday and the Wrap Party on Sunday night. In this case, we applaud your foresight.

The other theory is that people are overlooking that Sunday the 26th of October is followed by a holiday Monday. If that's the case we encourage customers to consider coming on Sunday.

Tickets can be bought here at Hashigo Zake or at the Cult Beer Store.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014

Saturday Night... Is God An American?... Baird Tasting... Chocolate Thunder... Pacific Beer Expo News... On Tap Now... Stop Press... Stop Press 2...

Saturday Night

Our frequent practice of showing international rugby early on Saturday evenings gets sidelined, as it were, this week, by a different form of slipping, ball-dropping and general playing of the man. So for those who find watching election results more sport than sport, we'll be throwing our modest couple of televisions and our sound system over to election coverage on Saturday evening.

The exact makeup of our coverage is under discussion, but it may involve some hybrid of television pictures and an alternative audio feed.

Note that patrons in our lounge can remain oblivious to all this.

Is God An American?

How much information would you like about a beer before you drink it? For next week's New Release, we have an over-supply.

For instance, about the artwork, we are told:

Based on a Russian and Revolutionary motif, G/I/A/A resonates with the angry underdog, the 99%, the resilient downtrodden masses. Inspired by David Bowie’s sardonic anthem, I’m Afraid of Americans, the artwork and style features a stark, red-and-black color scheme. It takes careful reading to decipher the text on the label, written backwards, top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. Amid the confusion is stamped the lyric from Bowie’s song that gives this beer its acronym name: God Is An American.

We also know that the recommended food match is, specifically, Pecan-Crusted Ripshin Pork Loin. The cheese match is Ossau-Iraty Sheep’s Milk and the cigar match is Carlos Torano Master Maduro.

Now we realise that the appearance of a few bottles means that several of us have had the chance to preview this beer. And it's very, very good. It's an Imperial IPA, packed with Citra hops and aged on charred Ash wood that has been infused with vodka.

Nevertheless Tuesday represents this beer's first time on tap in New Zealand. Adroit Theory's God Is An American is on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Baird Tasting

As previously mentioned, the first shipment of beer to arrive from the new, improved, relocated and enlarged Baird Brewery gives us a chance to simultaneously (1) catch up on some new beers (2) evaluate the beers coming out of the new brewery and (3) compare beer from the old and new brewery.

This is happening on Wednesday September 24. Bookings for the Baird tasting can be made here.

Chocolate Thunder

We were somewhat puzzled and perturbed when we heard who is booked to play in our lounge this Saturday night. Several years ago one of our staff was given the nickname Chocolate Thunder and it has stuck. We've talked for years about a tribute beer (and in a sense, this is on its way). What we didn't expect was a tribute band.

Not that we believe Chocolate Thunder are aware that they share a (nick)name with one of our own staff. (Although "sensuous jazz/funk/soul/fusion maelstrom" could possibly describe Tasi.)

Anyway, on Saturday night, while we wait to learn what shaped beast will be (mis)leading the country for the next three years come along at 10pm and try out Chocolate Thunder the band. Chocolate Thunder the beertender may be on hand. And Chocolate Thunder the beer will be on tap in another month.

Pacific Beer Expo

It's time for some more propaganda about the Pacific Beer Expo. Now it is becoming common at beer festivals to offer some kind of VIP ticket. Such a ticket might let you in earlier or give you a little free beer, or the possibility of getting to sit down. We've taken note and can now announce the Pacific Beer Expo VIP ticket.

Holders of Pacific Beer Expo VIP tickets get the following benefits:

  • A generous portion of complimentary food and beer tokens.
  • A souvenir branded cooler bag, doubling as a "goodie bag".
  • A souvenir TeKu branded glass. It's thought that this is the first time that the spectacular TeKu glass will have been made available in New Zealand.
  • A Coronado branded key ring/bottle opener plus other items of merchandise from breweries.
  • The opportunity to meet visiting brewer Bryan Baird, founder of the Baird Brewery in Japan.
  • Custom oxygen masks so that VIP ticket holders won't have to breathe the same air as other attendees.

Ok, so the last part isn't true. In fact none of it is true. Every ticket is a VIP ticket, with all of the aforementioned benefits (except for the oxygen mask). Why would we stage what we think is a special event with a great atmosphere and then offer an inferior experience to the majority of attendees?

About those tickets... they're now on sale here and at Hashigo Zake from 5pm today!

On Tap Now

Finally, can we draw attention to a couple of particularly rare and special beers on tap right now, but not for long:

  • Behemoth Brave Bikkie Brown Ale won the trophy for the best festive beer at this year's Brewers Guild awards. The theme this year for the festive beer category was to honour the Anzacs and the Anzac biscuit. This beer, with its intriguing syrupy coconut character was considered the finest example.
  • This week's new release - Nøgne Ø / Bridge Road Aurora Borealis 2 is still on tap but will run out soon. It's a boozy Belgian-y tripel packed with flavour and character from its time going half way around the world in a cognac barrel. This will probably be the only chance to try this beer outside the Pacific Beer Expo!

Stop Press

It looks as though Friday week (the 26th) will see us host the launch of a new beer by a sort of a new brewery - Lord Almighty Yakima IPA. Lord Almighty is a gypsy brewery started by Dan Lord, once of Funk Estate. Most of their beer is brewed and sold in the UK, and this is a precedent setting first New Zealand batch.

Stop Press 2

Speakeasy Brewery in San Francisco are sending one of thir brewers, Brandon Nash, to New Zealand. We hope to host an event with him at Hashigo Zake on the 28th. More info next week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Five Years... New Release Toosday... Tastings... Music This Saturday...

Five Years

We have a bit of a tradition at Hashigo Zake of observing milestones late. Back in 2009 we traded for several weeks before having an official opening. We typically have our staff Christmas Parties in March. Our fifth birthday celebrations will be similar.
Yesterday was the anniversary of that official opening back in 2009. But with Beervana and the birthdays of several other prominent businesses going on in August and September, we decided to postpone celebrations until October. This way celebrations can also flow into the Pacific Beer Expo, making for a late October week long festival of revelry.
So happy birthday to us and all that, but please save the week of October 20-26 for the partying.

New Release Toosday

It is reasonably well known now that beer from many of Australia's best breweries was on a ship crossing the Tasman that suffered significant mechanical trouble and therefore missed this year's Beervana festival. But eventually the beer got to New Zealand and is making its way into the local beer supply.
As a result, we have a keg of a pretty special beer to be our new release next Tuesday. It's the latest in a series of collaborations between Norway's Nøgne Ø and Australia's Bridge Road. The idea is that each brewery makes a big strong beer (initially a Belgian Quad, now a Belgian Tripel), puts the beer in a barrel and ships it to the other, who bottles and sells it. The resulting beers were called Aurora Australia (for the Australian beer shipped to Norway) and Aurora Borealis (for the Norwegian beer shipped to Australia).
So on Tuesday our new release is Aurora Borealis 2. It's a Belgian Tripel transported to Australia in Cognac barrels. It will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.
Enthusiasts will have the option of having it alongside a bottle of the original Aurora Australis.


This week Beer Without Borders took delivery of a new shipment from Japan's Baird Brewery. This shipment is pretty special, as it's the first from what is called the Baird Brewery Gardens Shuzenji. The new brewery is a massive step up in scale from the old one and is fitted out with some rather sexy German brewing equipment. Plus this shipment has several beers that are new to New Zealand. So it seems like a perfect time to revisit the Baird range with an exhaustive tasting of those beers that are in the country at the moment.
So we'll make this happen on Wednesday September 24, which happens to be a week after our "Cork and Wire" tasting built around the beers of Virginia's Adroit Theory Brewery. Incidentally the Cork and Wire tasting just sold out. Bookings for the Baird tasting can be made here.

Music This Saturday

If our booker tried to explain that he had a father and son percussion act lined up to play on Saturday we might have questioned his competence. But not when the father and son in question are Sam and Myele Manzana. The younger (Myele) is hot property and it seems like just last week that he joined Justin Firefly and Ed Zuccollo in our lounge to do things with Kraftwerk, Britney Spears and Lorde songs that their composers had never dreamed of. While the elder (Sam) has been entertaining Wellingtonians for at least 25 years now.
So we expect great things from Sam & Myele Manzanza's Afrobeats from 10pm on Saturday night. Please note that this is a change from a previously tweeted band announcement for this week.

Pacific Beer Expo

News is starting to leak out about this year's Pacific Beer Expo, now just six weeks away. And there is a lot of news to leak. From the festival glassware and goodie bag to the assistance we're getting this year from the current World Beer Cup Champion Mid-sized Brewery and the presence of a certain high profile brewer from Japan. There will be a lot of details coming out between now and Labour Weekend. Most of them will have to wait a few days until we get physical tickets to sell here at the bar. In the meantime, please take in the glory that is the 2014 Pacific Beer Expo poster - the work of Golding's Free Dive founder, Sean Golding.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014

Cork and Wire... NHRT... Riding for Cancer... Music This Saturday... Food This Friday...

Cork and Wire

Our own General Manager has taken off for some R and R in the US. Before leaving he did some serious string pulling to secure tickets to the Great American Beer Festival for himself and his travelling companion. The GABF might be huge, but tickets to it sell out in minutes and preferential buying rights are kind of priceless.

So while Dave embarks on a frenzy of envy-inducing beer experiences, those of us left here feel we have a need and, indeed, an obligation to turn the tables on him and create as many individual events as possible to make him wish he’d never buggered off. We’ll start with our first ever "Cork and Wire" tasting – a tasting of beers so fancy they come with corks instead of caps.

Please note that any suggestion that a cork closure somehow guarantees that a beer is special is made with tongue in cheek. We’re all for judging a beer on the content of the bottle (or can) rather than the detail of the packaging. It’s just that we have a bunch of beers from Adroit Theory that are amongst the best packaged beers we've ever seen and they’re begging to be showcased in a tasting.

We’ll supplement these Adroit Theory beers with some of the finest cork closed European beers we can get our hands on. For instance an archaeological dig recently uncovered a small number of bottles of Chimay Grand Reserve bottled around the turn of the century.

The Cork and Wire Tasting takes place at 6pm on Wednesday the 17th of this month. Places are limited as the beers themselves are scarce! Book here.


Next week's new release gives our customers a chance to taste not only a new beer, but a new hop. Garage Project have been collaborating in some kind of top secret test programme with New Zealand Hops and Plant & Food Research to put experimental hops through their paces. Apparently there have been beers brewed that never left the brewery and the hop varieties involved have no name and are grown at Plant & Food's own garden rather than a commercial hop farm.

So on Tuesday evening at the usual time we will put on Hop Trial 1, which is a 7% single-hopped IPA. That's about all we can say, except that the site will be live some time in the near future with more information.

Riding for Cancer

Founding Hashigo Zake staff member and Funk Estate brewer Shiggy Takagi is taking on the Ride to Conquer Cancer this November. There is more information about Shiggy's own effort and the event in general here. To give his fundraising a boost he has dug into Funk Estate’s stocks and is donating beer that we’ll be putting on tap this Saturday, with proceeds going to the Shigster’s fundraising.

On offer will be Funk Estate’s Parleyer Pilsner, So’phisticuffs IPA and their 2014 Brewers Guild Awards Festive Beer, called Jamber Ale, which is an amber ale brewed with Oat, Golden Syrup and Boysenberry Jam - more information here.

There are limited volumes of these charity beers (we have to try and make a dollar ourselves!), so we invite Shiggy's army of fans to come along at 5pm on Saturday and pat him on his lycra-clad erm... back... and have a drink.

Music This Saturday

Speaking of this Saturday, our late evening lounge music slot is being filled this week by a trio of musicians who are new to us as a group but very familiar from other acts that they have been part of. They're simply going by the moniker Zuccollo - Manzanza - Clarke (Ed Zuccollo keyboards, Myele Manzanza drums and Justin "Firefly" Clarke guitar). And they're threatening to play music from Britney Spears and Katy Perry to Ernest Ranglin and The Shadows.

Maybe Ed will bring his talkbox.

Note that this is a slight change from the previously announced Ed Zuccollo Trio, even though both acts are trios whose personnel include Ed.

Food This Friday

The Fire Truck is back this Friday, serving superior food truck food from 5pm.