Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019

Planet Watson


Darren Watson is an authentic champion of free speech.

With apologies to anyone who knows this story well, in 2014 Darren came up with something that’s now quite rare – political satire in song form. Planet Key was recorded and released during the months before that year’s election, which is what you’d do if you’re an artist with political convictions, wanting to remind the populace of the faults of the then Prime Minister.

The Electoral Commission didn’t care for the distinction between satire and electioneering and deemed the song (and accompanying video) as an “election advertisement”, and subject to the same constraints as political broadcasts. That effectively banned it from being played on radio and television as a piece of music. Even the youtube link had to be taken down.

Darren and his collaborator on the video, Jeremy Jones, went to court over the decision and won in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, relying on a legal team that worked pro bono. And as long as the case was making its way through the courts, any possibility of recouping a buck from sales of the recording were slashed.

It’s unlikely that there’s anyone alive who thinks that the Electoral Commission were in the right. But if Darren and Jeremy hadn’t kept the fight up with little to gain but a moral victory, all of our rights to free speech would be a little more constrained today.

So for this and other reasons it’s a pleasure to welcome Darren Watson back to the Hashigo Zake lounge this week. Darren is returning after taking a break from gigs following his 2018 album release and national tour. But judging by his recent activity on social media and appearance of RNZ this morning, Darren appears to be refreshed and eager to get in front of an audience.

This gig is categorised as “acoustic” and rather than his full band (coming later in the year) Darren will be joined by keyboardist Dayle Jellyman.

TL;DR: Darren Watson and Dayle Jellyman perform in our lounge at 10pm on Saturday night. No cover charge!



On Tap Now

  • The Theoretical Brewer Chrysanthemum Lager
  • Deep Creek Coromandel Gold IPA
  • Renaissance Discovery APA
  • Deep Creek Hoppy McHop Face IIPA
  • Hallertau Lemon Curd (Nitro)
  • Hallertau Maximus IPA
  • The Theoretical Brewer Quantum Eraser Pilsner
  • Kereru Rojito Extra Pale Lager
  • Renaissance Stonecutter
  • The Theoretical Brewer The 1st Finch
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER
As mentioned last week, the combination of maintenance on some of our taps and the holiday season slowdown caused us to run with a reduced number of tap beers. We now have every tap pouring again and the hand pump will be operational later today, when we put Kereru Silverstream Pale Ale on. It will be the first time for months that we have twelve beers on tap at once.

Customers wanting to concentrate on pale hoppy beers might want to look to the right as they approach the bar.

Some current or future tap offerings of note:
  • We now have four beers on tap from New Plymouth's Theoretical Brewer.
  • Along with the shipment from Hallertau that includes next Tuesday's new release, was a nitrogenated keg of their very popular sour called Lemon Curd. It's on tap now.
  • Our underkeg scale tells us that cult IIPA Hoppy McHopface will run out early this evening, if not sooner.
  • Coming soon is a keg of Peckham's Chisel Jersey cider.

The Anti-Fining Phenomenon


Next Tuesday’s New Release will be Hallertau’s contribution to the flood of hazy IPAs - So Hazy Right Now. Will it have an initial aroma and flavour like a glorious cocktail of fresh fruit pulp, before finishing like a nagging, oversweet, made-from-concentrate orange and mango flavoured apple drink? Plenty of people will be hoping so.

We haven’t tried it yet, so can’t say, but we can confirm that the keg is already on the premises so we’re just rapt that there will no crossing of fingers or mercy dashes to a freight depot next Tuesday afternoon.

So Hazy Right Now goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Cult Film Basement


After last week’s “vintage” American horror, we’re switching back to the often disturbing world of Japanese horror, in the form of Suicide Club.

It’s a 2002 film about an inexplicable fashion for teen suicide that divides critics and audiences. Parental supervision is advised against.


Holiday Monday


Happy Birthday Wellington. We wish everyone getting Monday off an enjoyable rest. We’ll be open as usual. And as usual there’ll be no public holiday surcharge.

Is anyone looking for a relaxing use of your day off? Monday is the day of the two Conference Championship games in the NFL – effectively the Super Bowl semi-finals. But maybe don’t call them that. The first game takes place before we open, but the AFC Championship Final, between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, kicks off at 12:40pm on Monday.

During the regular season the Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 on their own home turf and have been one of the NFL’s most reliably successful teams for many years, but this game is in Kansas City and the Chiefs have a superior record.

It’s a perfect way to get into the mood for our annual Super Bowl extravaganza, which will take place exactly two weeks later.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January 10, 2019

Welcome Back

Yes, returning to regular work patterns can be a challenge, especially when the sun is shining (and the road outside is being dug up).

To ease the pain we’re making a rare and very special offer with nearby workers in mind. Those discounts that we offer from Sunday until Wednesday to certain categories of valued customer, such as SOBA members, will be extended until 6pm tomorrow (Friday the 11th).

Full Complement


During the quiet period over Christmas and the New Year, we took the opportunity to let the beer on a couple of our taps run out and perform some overdue repairs. Those repairs were finished earlier today and over the next day or so we're progressively recommissioning those taps. That boost in tap numbers will let us put on several beers from a new supplier – The Theoretical Brewer.

To the best of our knowledge, The Theoretical Brewer’s beers haven’t been on tap in Wellington yet. We were sent samples by founder Doug and were impressed enough to get a keg each of his current core range. 1st Finch Pale Ale is already on tap. Most of TransPorter, Chrysanthemum Lager and Quantum Eraser Pilsner will make it on tap by tomorrow.

Doug has just expanded from a facility built at the back of his house in suburban New Plymouth – a beginning that should sound familiar to anyone following the New Zealand beer scene.



On Tap Now

  • HeyDay Beer Co Agua Fresca Tamarindo
  • Deep Creek Drop Top Chardonnay Brut IPA
  • Deep Creek Dusty Gringo
  • Deep Creek Hoppy McHop Face IIPA
  • Kereru Rojito Extra Pale Lager
  • The Theoretical Brewer The 1st Finch
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER
  • Kereru Yellowhead IPA

Live Music


Live music returns on Saturday. As we suspected, the programme has been tweaked since last Thursday’s announcement and Saturday’s band is to be The Inclinators.

This blues and R&B band last played in our lounge more than two years ago. They include several musicians, such as Terry Casey and Richard Te One, who played with Darren Watson for years, plus guitarist Chris Armour, who seems to feature in at least one band for every sub-variety of rock ‘n roll in existence. With all that experience we expect a consummate performance of “hot and sweaty R&B”.

And speaking of Darren Watson, the legendary blues performer is returning to gigging after a brief hiatus that followed his album release and nationwide tour last year. And we’ve got him playing an acoustic show on the 19th. (He’ll also be back with his current band, The Dangerous Experts, later in the year.)

Cult Film Basement


The Cult Film Basement’s programmer is a big fan of John Carpenter and Carpenter’s 1980 supernatural thriller The Fog is our cult movie on Sunday. Sadly we’re unlikely to repeat the stunt used when the film was released of firing up fog machines in cinemas. But we will be offering the usual free popcorn.



Our New Neighbour


The beloved and much fĂȘted restaurant – and our fellow tenant at 25 Taranaki St – called Zibibbo is no more. We’ve been told a very small but crucial piece of information about the operation that Zibibbo’s owners are creating in its place. And that is that they're collaborating with DB.

Yes, the brewery that we’ve probably been more critical of than anyone else in the world, and who arguably did more to deny New Zealanders access to good and diverse beer than anyone (except maybe Lion Nathan), is moving in upstairs.