Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24th, 2016

Don't Miss Santa!

Our annual emptying of the cellar that is Santa Session is two weeks away, but it's almost sold out!

This year's event is from 6.30pm to 9pm on Tuesday December 6th. Basically we declare open season on any stock that's outstayed it's welcome between those hours.

Santa session costs $35, or $25 for SOBA members.
We've got an indication from BwB of which stock they'll be contributing to this year's festivities, and it'll include beers from Pelican, Rogue, Baird, and Bear Republic. Some of which we've never actually seen down here at the bar.
Towards the end of Santa Session we'll also be looking to make space in the 'naughty fridge' (the fridge on the back bar with the pricier beers in it). So don't assume it'll all be old Panhead stock!

There are just 13 spots left for this year's Santa session - so book now or miss out!

Lincoln's Finest

You'll struggle to find beer from The Laboratory outside of its Lincoln brewpub.
This Twisted Hop related pub opened last year and quickly became a pillar of the Lincoln community. They brew enough on their small kit to keep up with the local's demand, but there's just not enough beer for them to distribute this far north.

We were delighted then, to see on the most recent Twisted Hop pallet that a sneaky keg of Laboratory beer had made it on.

Succinctly named Hopping Round The World: Fuggle Edition ESB, it appears to be the first in a series of single hop beers. They're approaching it in a more sensible manner, choosing a classic hop to showcase in a classic style. For example the next in the series is a Hefeweizen featuring Hallertau (don't think we'll be seeing any of that one sadly).
Eschewing the usual handpump serving of ESB, this one's in a keg so it'll be served cold and fizzy. Sorrynotsorry CAMRA.
There's just the one keg, which we'll be tapping as usual at 5pm this Tuesday.

Bogan Jazz

The amazing Death Hos return to then HZ lounge this Saturday, and they're bringing the Jazz metal

Featuring the music of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Steely Dan and Band of Gypsies which will be stretched apart and extemporised upon by the trio of:
- Dayle Jellyman on Keys
- Tom Callwood on Bass
- Reuben Bradley on Drums

And of course, there's no door charge as usual.

Rogue Taps

The latest Oregon shipment is working its way into the bar, with three much loved Rogue beers to be flowing soon.

In the bottle we've just go in the new rye IPA from Rogue: Promise Gone Aw-Rye IPA. I figured given the name that it had Golden Promise and rye malts, but nope. It does have plenty of Rogue Farms malts, and Rogue Farms Dream Rye. Weighing in at 7.5%, it's hefty, hoppy and reminds me a lot of the classic Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic.

On tap soon we'll have the new 7.77% 7 Hop IPA, the addictively delicious Hazelnut Brown Ale and possibly Rogue's most well-known beer: Dead Guy.

It's not a Rogue beer, but the newest release from Wild & Woolly is coming on tap soon and I'm SUPER excited about it.

Back when we were getting a regular supply of Green Flash from San Diego, W&W brewer Llew fell in love with their heavily Summit hopped Imperial IPA.
Now that we can't get GFIIPA, Llew has created an Imperial IPA of his own in the image of GF IIPA: Ogopogo. And I'd say it's better than the original.
Just like Green Flash's it weighs in at 9% and heavily features the uniquely distinct fruity/oniony (in a good way) Summit hop. It's in your face yet dangerously drinkable, and on tap soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 17th, 2016

A Wild Flight

La Sirène love a wild ferment. That is, leaving their beer open to the air and allowing whatever microorganisms are around get in and do their thing.

They do this at the brewery by transferring the wort from the boil into a 'coolship' instead of chilling it with a heat exchanger straight away.

A coolship essentially a wide, shallow pan that holds a few thousand litres of beer. This gives the airborne bacteria and yeast plenty of surface area to work with, and lets the beer cool quicker.
This method of fermentation is risky and doesn't always yield the right mixture of microbes, which is why La Sirène pour a significant proportion of their batches down the drain. But when it all works out right the results can be spectacular.

This Saturday from midday we'll be showcasing three of La Sirène's wild beers in a 3 x 100ml bottle-pour flight for $14.50.

The beers are:
Avant Garde Collection Soixante 6%
To say overt is an understatement – perhaps the opposite of the provision beer. There are no subtleties with the Soixante, just pronounced wild yeast wet hay & horse stable characters. This beer will polarise yet delight for some.

Wild Tripelle 8%
Built upon a Belgian style Tripel base, we allow the yeast to slowly ferment the wort after natural innoculation and as a result the beer initially has strong citrus & funky lemon notes aromatically then leads to a full bodied creamy mid palate and finishes dry and lingering with a memorable, malty & wild ale finish.

Wild Saison 6.5%
Fermented and aged with wild Brettanomyces yeast, this is probably Australia’s truest expression of ‘the funk’.

Wild Tuesday

Keeping with the theme of wild beers, next week's New Release Tuesday is another spontaneously fermented beer from La Sirène.

Vin Folie Grenache was initially an enigma to us - when we saw our single 20L keg arrive, we quickly googled it for more info. Surely with a name like that this is an exciting beer!
However every search we did just came back with various wine portfolios. As it turns out this beer is so rare there is no record of it anywhere online - not even Untappd.

Thankfully an email to La Sirène head brewer Costa quickly shed some light on what we had, and it definitely lived up to expectations, he said:
"The Vin Folie Grenache (ABV 7.6%) is a
100% wild fermented Farmhouse Ale Co-fermented with South Australian Grenache grapes. It was like doing ‘a ferment within a ferment’ and the result is a pink stained wild yeast focused ale that has juicy Grenache grape characters with a funky and raw mid-palate and very dry finish that blurs the lines between wine & beer. Refreshingly well-attenuated and juicy."

This might be your only chance to try this incredibly intriguing beer, as only the single 20l keg made it to NZ.

We tap Vin Folie Grenache at 5pm Tuesday.

Santa's Coming!

Long term readers of this newsletter will know exactly what Santa Session is, and exactly why you need a ticket to this year's session on Tuesday December 6th. So if that's you here's the link to secure your spot. If you're not familiar with Santa Session, read on.

Santa Session is a pretty simple event. Our goal is to move through plenty of stock that has outstayed its welcome. On the first Tuesday of every December we set up a pouring station away from the main bar and stockpile a wide variety of bottled beer. We rotate through these the evening goes on, so you get a huge variety of beer.
Ticket holders are welcome to come back to our pouring station over and over again and get their glass refilled with whichever beer we're pouring at the time.
Some of the beer may be slightly past its best, some of it you may not have heard of and some will be absolute gems that we simply have too much of.

The Santa Session bar is open from 6.30pm to 9pm, and all you need pay is the ticket price. It's also our way of celebrating the end of the year with SOBA members, so we offer them a $10 discount.

This year we'll have beers from the likes of De Molen, Mikkeller, Pelican, Maui, Karl Strauss and many more.

If that's convinced you, head over to to book or do it over the bar ($35 each or $25 for SOBA members).

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 10th, 2016

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge - On Tap

Back in May I was over in Melbourne for GABS. On our first night there we visited Forrester's Hall, who were having a Belgian tap showcase.
Among the taps I spied two Rodenbach beers I'd never had: Foederbier & Caractère Rouge. The Foederbier was a draft-only unblended two year old, but the Caractère Rouge really stood out.
The berries, oak, sweetness, tartness and funk were all amazingly integrated and balanced. I fell in love immediately.
Since then I've been on a mission to being Caractère Rouge to Wellington, and thanks to Boutique Beer Imports my mission is nearly complete.
After much nagging, Peter from Boutique Beer Imports found a source for a small amount of Caractère Rouge bottles, and two kegs!

So this Tuesday we'll be tapping Caractère Rouge and serving it 'till both kegs are dry.
If you're not familiar with Caractère Rouge, it is created by taking two year old Rodenbach and macerating it with cherries, raspberries and cranberries for an extra six months.

The result is a very tart yet slightly sweet beer full of fresh berry flavours and aromas.
Or as Rodenbach put it:

"The taste is rather sour but exceptionally pure. With its long, clean aftertaste and its unique combination of delicacy and strength, Rodenbach Caractère Rouge is reminiscent of a crisp Burgundy wine."

This world class beer is tapped at 5pm Tuesday, and will be served in 200ml TeKu, 300ml Fancies and 473ml US Pints (mainly because it's a fantasy of mine to have a pint of Caractère Rouge).

If you can't wait until Tuesday, we have 750ml bottles available at the bar now. They ain't cheap but they make excellent gifts!


This Saturday at 9pm the Jazz Robots are bringing groove-based jazz to the lounge.

Inspired by all sorts of styles and greats like The Head Hunters, Jeff Beck, John Coltrane, Steve Coleman, Jimi Hendrix and The Miles Davis Quintet. The Jazz Robots have been around since 2011 with their innovative funky/jazzy feels. There's no door charge to see Peter Elliot (drums), Deane Hunter (guitar) and Tom Callwood (bass) do their thing this Saturday.

Missed The Boat

There was supposed to be a shipment fresh from Oregon in time for PBE this year, full of exciting new beers from our favourite Oregonians and a few surprises.
Sadly that shipment missed the boat, and as a result has only just arrived in Wellington.

The good news is that we'll be seeing super fresh stock from Gigantic and Rogue on tap and in the fridge over the next few weeks.
Right now we have super-fresh Gigantic IPA which is tasting amazing. The first of the Rogue bottles to make it to the fridge is their new Cold Brew IPA. A Stumptown coffee cold brew infused IPA which actually manages to integrate coffee and hop flavours nicely.
Keep an eye out on tap for fresh kegs of Rogue 7 Hop IPA, Dead Guy and Hazelnut Brown.

Also of note and coming to tap very soon (as in probably tonight or tomorrow) is another keg of the amazing Pirate Life IIPA, Stone 6th Anniversary Porter from PBE and a brand new batch of North End's Blanc de Houblon IPA.

This new batch of Blanc de Houblon is one of the best White IPA's I've ever tasted. The fruity hop character works seamlessly with the farmhouse yeast. They combine to make a tropical fruit bowl in a glass.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3rd, 2016

Te Aro Unleashes a New Barrel

Te Aro Brewing's barrel aging programme may be small, but it is yet to disappoint.
We're excited to be hosting the release of the next Te Aro barrel aged beer: Flanders Red Ale.
The Flanders Red style was made popular locally by the legendary Rodenbach Grand Cru, and tends to have a rich malty base which blends well with a distinct oakyness. Acidity from wild yeast and bugs is key to a good Flanders red - and Te Aro's should fit the style.

Te Aro Flanders Red gets it's malty base from Munich, Vienna, Medium Crystal and Shepherds' Delight malts. It was fermented in chardonnay barrels with East Coast's Flanders yeast blend.
Brewer Karl gave us a very, very precise ABV reading of 7.86%, making this slightly stronger than most Flanders reds around.

We tap our keg of Te Aro Flanders Red at 5pm Tuesday - it's only a small keg so don't miss out!

Red vs Blue, Brown Ale vs Witbier

One of the most astounding election cycles of modern times will finally be over next Wednesday.
We'll be watching it all come to an end at HZ, with US presidential election results coverage starting from midday.

In the spirit of democracy we're running a poll over on the FB event to decide what channel's coverage we show. But in the spirit of the electoral college system we reserve the right to completely ignore the popular vote. 

It's looking like it'll be a busy election day, so we'll try to organise a TV for the lounge area (which may pose some technical difficulties, so no promises). We'll also have a separate screen constantly showing an up to date results map.
We've had a few enquiries about booking tables for large groups, but to keep things fair tables will be first come first served.

Rory and I popped in to Wild & Woolly last Saturday to check on our election brews.
Rory's 'I'm Wit Her' was tasting great - lots of orange zest aroma coming through, and a nice hazy golden witbier colour.
Rory then proceeded to ruin the beer's appearance by adding squid ink to it. The results of which can be seen to the right.
The idea was to make the beer democrat blue, however it may end up grey-green in the glass. We'll see on the day!
At Rory's insistence I'm Wit Her will be served with a slice of orange on the rim.

On the other side of the brewery my republican beer 'Make Brown Ale Great Again' was tasting amazing. The mix of Gladfield specialty malts gave a rich and complex base, while the Cascade and Columbus were prominent but didn't overwhelm.
Inspired by the Republican candidate's tendancy to improvise off the cuff, I then threw in more than double the dry hops than the recipe called for. Time will tell whether this was a good idea or not (probably not).
We've even had a red "Make Brown Ale Great Again" hat made, which we'll give away on the day.

We'll have just a 50L keg of each of these beers available from midday Wednesday.
Regardless of the result, I think we've all earned a beer or two for putting up with this election cycle for the last 18 months.

The Bruery has Arrived

You're probably gutted if you missed out on last night's tasting of the new range of beers from The Bruery. I know I am.

The feedback from the tasting was the every beer was amazing. There was a surge of post-tasting off-license sales, but they kindly left some for other to taste. So in stock in 750ml bottles we have:
Humulus Terreux 6.3% (Hoppy Pale Ale w/ 100% Brettanomyces)
Or Xata 7.1% (Blonde Ale w/ Rice, Cinnamon & Vanilla Beans)
Frucht with Yumberry 4.7% (Berliner-Weisse w/ Yum Berry)
Rueuze 6% (Lambic-style Blended Sour Ale)
Tart of Darkness 7% (Bourbon Barrel Aged Sour Stout)
Quadrupel Tonnellerie 10% (100% Brett Barrel Fermented Belgian-style Quad w/ blackberries)
Poterie 16.8% (Bourbon Barrel Solera Blended Old Ale)

Prices range from $30/750ml for the smaller beers, up to $70/750ml for the massive Poterie.

The Bruery wasn't the only amazing mixed ferment beers to hit the fridge this week, we also have new bottles from La Sirene.

- Sour Red 6.5% (Sour version of their Farmhouse Red)
- Wild Saison 6.5% (La Sirene Saison with brettanomyces yeast introduced)
- Wild Tripelle 8% (100% Spontaneously fermented Tripel - a staff favourite)
- Soixante 6.5% (Pronounced "swasonte", a farmhouse style ale that has undergone multiple mixed fermentations over many months).