Monday, December 27, 2010

December 23, 2010

Christmas Trading...
Green Flash...
Ballast Point...
Boxing Day Test...
Coming Soon

Christmas Trading

This time last year it seemed that you'd all left town and trade was slow. So this week we let several key staff disperse to various parts of the world (like Japan and the South Island) and looked forward to a low key few days of trading in the last days before Christmas. Instead we've been as busy as ever. Admittedly launching Green Flash on Tuesday played a part, but it's been a pleasant surprise to see the bar packed out pretty much every night this week.

So thank you all for keeping us busy and please accept our apologies if our standards of service have been affected by the unexpected level of business.

As you'll see below we aim to maintain business as usual as much as possible over the Christmas period. We are obliged to turf you all out by midnight on Christmas Eve and not open again until Boxing Day, but apart from that we will be open from midday every day.

Green Flash

From where we stood our launch of Green Flash on tap on Tuesday was a runaway success, with a lot of people rapt to be drinking Californian beer in the kind of condition the brewer would approve of.

Our initial kegs of 30th St Pale, West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red and Double Stout were all gone early on Wednesday, but they'll all be returning soon and regularly. But we're unlikely to have more than two on at once from now on. 30th Street will be on tonight.

Ballast Point

Tuesday's Green Flash launch was so enjoyable that we are planning a similar event for Ballast Point on New Year's Eve. More details in next week's email and on Facebook and Twitter closer to the time.

Boxing Day Test

As discussed, it's business as usual on Boxing Day, which coincides with one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events in a long time. We know an English accent when we hear it and we know there must be a lot of support amongst our customers for one side (or the other). We'll put a keg of Fuller's London Pride on, the beer engines will be pumping and we'll even make sure there are plenty of Pork and Chorizo pies in stock.

Coming Soon

Some of our key suppliers have the nerve to go on holiday over the next few days, so we've had to stock up big time.

  • We've got a pallet load of beer from Renaissance, including Elemental Porter, Voyager IPA and Discovery.
  • The steady flow of beer from Golden Bear continues, with more Patriot Pale Ale and Hop Toad.
  • We've got a new beer from the Mussel Inn called Happy Jackal Pumpkin Ale.
  • And because we know that 8 Wired's Tall Poppy is turning drinkers into addicts we've hoarded two kegs.
  • Our first ever Moa keg is ready to have its day. It will be their radical 7.2%ABV Pale Ale.
  • And last but not least, expect to see beers from Bear Republic, Coronado and Green Flash (in addition to the four launched on Tuesday) sneaking onto the taps or into the bottle fridges over the coming days.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Hashigo Zake.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 16, 2010

Reefer Madness.. Ballast Point Brewing.. Green Flash Launch Party.. Boxing Day Trading.. Our Evolving Website.. Christmas Farewells....

Reefer Madness

Like impressionable children listening for news on Santa's arrival on Christmas eve, we've been intently waiting on calls and emails giving us news on the progress of our container-load of beer as it steams across the Pacific. And progress has been good. Our container arrived in Tauranga on Monday and right now is somewhere between there and Wellington. Apparently it arrives in Wellington on Sunday. We're confident enough to firm up plans for Tuesday's Green Flash Launch Party (see below).

Ballast Point Brewing Company

Of the four breweries represented in this shipment, there is a nice symmetry about the fact that Ballast Point is one of them. Ballast Point was arguably the only brewery to do better at the 2010 World Beer Cup than our favourite from Japan, Baird. Like Baird they took away three gold medals but were also named Best Small Brewery.

A glance at (if you put any stock in this) shows that the World Beer Cup was no fluke. Ballast Point are apparently in the world's top twenty breweries and make the third best IPA in the world. That IPA is Sculpin - one of two Ballast Point IPAs in this shipment, in addition to Dorado Imperial IPA which we will only have in bottles.

But perhaps it's a dark beer - Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter that should really be raising the excitement levels. When news came through that Flying Dog were ceasing exports to this part of the world I promised that we would find a beer to replace Gonzo Imperial Porter (of which some stock remains, incidentally). Victory at Sea is that beer. It is dazzlingly rich and complex. As well as a healthy stock of 650ml bottles, we have four precious kegs of this beer to put on in the first few months of 2011. We recommend keeping a close eye on our ever-changing tap list to know when you can come in and drink this 10% Imperial Porter from the taps.

Green Flash Launch Party

As mentioned earlier our plans for a Green Flash Launch Party next Tuesday evening are a little less tentative now that we know the beer is in New Zealand territorial waters. We'll put West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red (allegedly the best Amber Ale in the world), 30th Street Pale Ale and Double Stout on tap. For $20 anyone can buy a ticket entitling you to a 330ml glass of all four beers. We will also be taking a close look at the swag that came with the order to see if there is anything we're inclined to share.

The whole thing kicks off at 6pm next Tuesday, December 21.

Boxing Day Trading

While every Wellington-resident Pom or Aussie will be pining to be in Melbourne on Boxing Day we know that you can't all get there. So we're proposing an easier alternative. We will open for business as usual at midday on Boxing Day, which will give you plenty of time to find a comfortable position before play starts at 1pm in the Boxing Day Ashes Test.

To sweeten the deal we've arranged a fresh keg of Fuller's London Pride - a far more palatable option than Carlton mid-strength from a plastic cup, surely... And we might even serve it in full 570ml measures. And we'll make sure there are good stocks of beers on the hand pumps.

But it gets better. Boxing Day falls on a Sunday so instead of a holiday surcharge, we'll be applying our usual SOBA discounts.

Our Evolving Website

Checked out our re-skinned website over the last seven days? We know of at least one glitch involving the photos and Firefox which is now resolved.

As time goes on we're adding more to the site, particularly up-to-date information about what's available over the bar. In short - keep coming back to

Christmas Farewells

No doubt this email will lead to a flood of out-of-office replies as some of you have already left for the beach. For those departing soon, please accept the best wishes of Hashigo Zake's owners and staff. Thank you for your part in making 2010 a great year for our young business.

For those going nowhere for the next week or two: good decision! We'll continue to operate as usual, with a couple of exceptions. Firstly we are obliged to close on Christmas Day. Secondly the coming weeks will see the best and freshest American beer ever to appear on a New Zealand bar's taps. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 9, 2010

Going Live, Ready or Not.. Bear Republic Brewing Company.. Golden Bear.. Congratulations..

Going Live, Ready or Not

For the last sixteen or so months our website has drawn a variety of reactions. It's strength and weakness is that it was written by a software developer. This means it's low on visual style but can do things like update our beer menu on the fly.

Before returning to the film industry our Creative Director, Sean Golding, designed a few graphical elements for a new website version. Our favourite Glaswegian bartender (and part time website designer) Chris Hogg then refined these into working HTML. Finally our resident geek scavenged the necessary hours to shoe-horn all the original content and functions (and a few new bits) into the new site.

Rather than keep postponing the live date while we refine things more, we're throwing caution to the wind today and launching. So point your browsers at from around about now to see our website reskinned.

Features of version 2 are:

  • a news page that consolidates content from the archive of this email, the proprietor's blog and arbitrary pieces of news that we can insert any time.
  • a food page that displays up to date information on the flavours of pie that are available.
  • the same live tap beer menu that we know some of you check religiously.
  • it looks nicer.

Our mobile beer list web page, designed for browsers such as that on an iPhone, remains unchanged. We appreciate that although useful, it has shortcomings. Some day we'll find time to address those.

Bear Republic Brewing Company

Like the other breweries in our upcoming shipment of Californian beer, Bear Republic should cause palpitations and salivation amongst the, notebook-carrying segment of our customers. Their lineup includes an IPA whose name is one of the most recognisable in North American brewing (and is ratebeer's 14th highest rated IPA) and a rye Imperial IPA that is so distinctive it probably distorts people's perception of rye beers.

Bear Republic are the only brewery in this shipment not from San Diego. Instead they are from yet another hot bed of brewing - Sonoma County in Northern California, a mere twenty minutes drive from Russian River.

So in addition to Racer 5 IPA and Hop Rod Rye, you can expect to find soon XP Pale Ale, Red Rocket Ale, Pete Brown Tribute Ale, Big Bear Stout and Apex Imperial IPA.

They should start appearing in bottles and on tap just before or just after Christmas. We recommend cancelling out of town holidays.

Golden Bear

It's fitting to mention Golden Bear brewing next to Bear Republic. Golden Bear is the creation of the enigmatic Jim Matranga, a Californian who set up his brewpub in Mapua, Nelson.

We've been impressed with just about every beer we've had access to from Golden Bear, but brewpubs are notoriously difficult to secure a regular supply from as their own outlet takes priority. Jim must have been busy lately though, because we've been able to pick up several of their beers including our favourite - Patriot's Pale Ale. (Not to be confused with Croucher's recent black IPA with a similar name.) So look out for Golden Bear making it back onto our taps over the next few days and nights.


You're probably tired of us reporting on compliments and awards that we've either had bestowed or were begging for votes for. So this time we can congratulate a few friends in the brewing industry for some milestones.

First there's Rotorua's Croucher, brewers of a triumvirate of great beers that we regularly pour - namely their pilsner, hefeweizen and pale ale. This week the Croucher Pale Ale was named champion beer in Capital Times' Beer Necessities survey.

Secondly Søren Erikson's 8 Wired Brewing just had a shipment of beer arrive in Denmark, imported by none other than the brewer Mikkeller. It's a fantastic landmark for Søren, and further evidence of the export potential of New Zealand craft beer.

Finally we note with satisfaction that James Franklin of the Black Caps (the team we have in lieu of a national cricket team) has hit a rich vein of batting form since celebrating his 30th a few weeks ago on our premises.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 2, 2010

Green Flash Brewing Company.. 8 Wired Mini-festival.. Other Treats.. Beer Options.. Fishhead

Green Flash Brewing

Beer from the Green Flash Brewery is on the water. Of the four breweries coming in this shipment, Green Flash are probably the best known. Their West Coast IPA is considered something of a classic, although it will be interesting to see if its uncompromising maltiness, bitterness and fresh, green hop aroma - especially in ultra-fresh condition - are too much for some.

The name Green Flash refers not to a lime-clad superhero, but to the optical phenomenon that occurs just after sunset or just before sunrise, when a green spot is visible for a moment above the sun. At least that's what we're led to believe. Equally plausible is that the brewery was named (in 2002) with foreknowledge of the 2008 movie Green Flash, which looks destined to become the seminal beach volleyball movie of our time.

We're planning a Green Flash Launch Party at Hashigo Zake on December 21st. We'll put West Coast IPA, 30th St Pale Ale, Hophead Red and maybe one other on tap at once, offer discounts to anyone wanting to work their way through the whole range, and we'll be as generous as ever, maybe even more so, with the samples. We may even be persuaded to part with a little of the precious merchandise that's sharing container space with the beer.

8 Wired Mini-Festival

Our equal favourite Danish brewer Søren Erikson has been busy and we at Hashigo Zake are the beneficiaries. In his quest to make a great Belgian Tripel, Søren split his test batch into three and used three different yeasts to ferment the portions. He offered to blend the results back together but we insisted that it would be far more fun to try them separately.

So sneaking onto the premises this afternoon were three small kegs of 8Wired Test Batch Tripel - 20 Litres each made with Westmalle, Unibroue and La Chouffe yeasts respectively. We suggest trying all three and giving us your feedback. It's unlikely that we'll manage to sneak all three on at once. But at 9%ABV that may be just as well.

Another of Søren's experiments is referred to as SMaSH. This stands for Single Malt and Single Hop. It's a pale ale made with only Munich malt and Motueka hops. Now at first Søren was somewhat non-committal about its quality, saying things like: "if it tastes terrible you are welcome to send it back, I won't be offended". Lately though he's saying "after a bit of conditioning it's actually OK". We know Søren well enough to know that he's a master of understatement and expectation management. (He once threatened to tip out the beer that is iStout.) So we've a feeling that SMaSH will be worth getting at least a glass of.

And to complete our mini-festival Tall Poppy will be back on tap soon AND we've picked up kegs from recent batches of Hopwired IPA and Rewired Brown Ale.

Other Treats

Stu from Yeastie Boys was in at lunchtime today, keen to find out when our one keg (and one of three nationwide) of PKB Remix goes on. The answer turned out to be just after Stu left. In fact for a very short time PKB the porter and PKB Remix the incredibly aromatic, hoppy dark ale are on tap alongside each other.

Another treat for the inner beer geek in all of us should be the chance to taste the marvelous Sutton Hoo in both hand pumped and cold/fizzy configurations.

Kieran Hazlett-Moore of Regional Wines described the fact we have Galbraith's Resurrection as "a coup". Who are we to argue? And we're confident it's the best Belgian Tripel being brewed in New Zealand - at lease until we check out Søren's experimental ones. Resurrection is on tap right now.

Beer Options

This year's Beer Options contest, organised once again by Regional Wines and Spirits, took place last Thursday. We decided to contribute by offering a couple of bar tabs as prizes. It did seem a little redundant when a team made up of our own General Manager David Wood and a number of regular customers took out the main prize.

But congratulations to Dave and his team. They join an elite honours board of teams who have been able to win and defend the annual Beer Options competition.


The December/January issue of Fishhead Magazine came out a few days ago. This is the first issue to include a new column on beer-related matters, penned by Hadyn Green. Not entirely coincidentally, we have an advertisement in it. We recommend it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 25, 2010

Coronado Brewing Company.. Awards Season.. On Tap.. Finally...

Coronado Brewing

As announced last week, we are in the process of bringing to New Zealand one of the most ambitious import orders of craft beer ever. While we wait for our refrigerated container to turn up, here is some information on one of our suppliers.

The Coronado Brewing Company is a brew pub in the city of Coronado, which is part of San Diego and one of the most affluent urban areas in the US. Of the four breweries whose products we are beginning to import, Coronado is probably the least well known. But the reputation of some of their beers means that we've snapped up the chance to bring them in. Check out their own website at

Our order includes five of their beers - Mermaid Red, Orange Ave Wit, Islander IPA, Idiot IPA and Black IPA. Most of what we are bringing in will be for our own taps, but there will also be a limited supply of bottles of a few of these beers. They will be available for takeaway from the bar, by mail order from the Cult Beer Store or for sale to wholesale customers.

Awards Season

It seems as though we're forever asking for your support in some popularity contest or other. In the case of the Beer and Brewer Magazine's awards, the late publication of this month's issue means we don't even know if everyone's efforts have been fruitful. (And we're still in the dark about what the judging process was.)

So just those of you who are highly motivated, please consider going to and giving our hard-working, ever-cheerful staff your nod for the award for the best service in Wellington.

On Tap

We're still working our way through the dazzling array of products outlined last week, so we'll make just the one product announcement this week. But it's a good one.

For the first time ever we're taking delivery of beer from Galbraith's Ale House in Auckland. Now it's well known how exacting Galbraith's are about the serving of their English-style beer, and we hope one day to acquire the equipment that will let us put those very beers on. But for now it's Galbraith's European style beers that we are bringing down from Auckland. This means the Munich Lager and Resurrection - their strong Belgian abbey-style ale.

They'll make their way onto our taps over the weekend or early next week.


Best of luck to those taking part in Regional Wines and Spirits' Beer Options this evening. To add a little interest, we're contributing to the prize pool with a couple of bar tabs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, 2010

This week: Accolades #1... Accolades #2... Tap News This Week... Big Announcement #1... Big Announcement #2

Accolades #1

The scene behind the bar at 5pm last Saturday resembled a group huddled around a transistor radio listening to a rugby test in an earlier era. Except it was a laptop rather than a transistor radio and the "event" was the instantaneous release of the results from this year's SOBA National Homebrew Champs.

When the countdown finished and the results came up it was immediately apparent that the name of one David Wood appeared a ridiculous number of times. That of Shigeo Takagi was there too, but the barman-cum-brewer looked incredulous and explained that his bronze-medal winning beer was the first he'd ever made. And our own Dylan Jauslin joined the party too, picking up a bronze for his brown ale.

Dave, who traveled to the Hallertau brewery for the awards dinner, learned that if he'd picked up another point with one of his beers he might have taken home the biggest prize of the night. But all in all our staff are pretty happy with the compliments heaped on them last Saturday.

It's equally pleasing to acknowledge our regular customers who shone at the Home Brew Champs. I'm thinking of Dale, Llew, Dylan, Matt and Matt and almost certainly others whose names I haven't connected.

It's great to see this SOBA-run event raising the profile of home-brewing. Not only does home brewing bring some fairly obvious rewards to those involved, home brewers are increasingly stepping up to commercial brewing - to the benefit of the industry.

Accolades #2

By today, we expected to have heard how we fared in Beer and Brewer Magazine's awards for beer outlets in Australasia. We had been given a broad hint by the publisher that we would feature in the results and went to some trouble (at their prompting) to make available some good photos of the bar. But no news is no news. So here are alternative versions of our reaction to whatever news eventually comes:

First let me say that

we are humbled and flattered by this award.
it's an honour to come second to such an illustrious venue.
the judges had a difficult task.

We plan to:

build a shelf big enough for the trophy.
blockmount the certificate.
print the email and use the back to take down food orders.

We are so grateful to Beer and Brewer magazine that:

we'll immediately start advertising in it.
we'll buy an extra copy of this issue.
please consider this email a cancellation of our subscription.

Tap News This Week

Look out for:

  • More Tall Poppy. (Did we announce this last week? It really will be here any day, and since the pilot batch last month was such a success we've bagsed enough to last for weeks.)
  • Townshend/666 Sutton Hoo - this unheralded collaboration between Martin Townshend and 666's Graham Mahy was last week's surprise hit. We've been offered a keg this week, so it will be fascinating to see if it's as good cold and fizzy as it was warm and flat.
  • Twisted Hop Raspberry Chocolate Porter. Enough said.
  • Yeastie Boys' PKB. It's black but definitely not black market.
  • More Flying Nun - the "Amber Wit" from Emerson's.

Big Announcement #1

Since Fishhead was launched and the launch party stumbled onto our premises for a couple of rounds of drinks, we've been impressed by the up-and-coming magazine. We believe that the publication shares the same ideals of taste without pretense and the encouragement of intelligent discourse that we aspire to and will be an enormous asset to Wellington.

Given the generally sniggering, juvenile treatment that beer gets in most media (with notable exceptions - you know who you are), we suggested to Fishhead that their magazine and the NZ craft beer movement would be well served by a new beer-oriented column. We even suggested a regular customer be its author and have agreed to sponsor it.

So on Monday the newest edition of Fishhead Magazine will be on sale and will include the first article by Hadyn Green. We encourage our customers to consider investing in a copy. Note that Hashigo Zake has no influence on what's written and at the moment no-one here has seen Hadyn's first article. But we have great expectations.

Big Announcement #2

After months of hint-dropping and hedging it comes as a relief to announce a few details of our next big shipment of American beer. This shipment represents a departure (in more ways than one). It's more than three times the size of any previous shipment, involving no fewer than four breweries. And in accordance with the demands of those breweries it will be shipped refrigerated.

Right now the breweries are filling or have just filled our kegs and will then move the kegs and bottled beer to LA where the ocean journey begins. The ETA in Wellington is just before Christmas. But bitter, bitter experience tells us that the eventual arrival could be anything from December 20 to January 31. So our launch party plans are pretty tentative right now.

To learn the identity of one of these breweries, find your way to the events page on our website.

Our gratitude to the breweries concerned and to our allies on several continents is incalculable.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 2010

Your Tasting Pleasure... The Santa Session... Hitting the Taps This Week... Fresh Rogue.

Your Tasting Pleasure

Just last week we announced the Hophead's Picnic, the tasting we are holding next week for the amusement of those addicted to hops. Clearly we've found the secret to pleasing our customers because it is fully booked already. Congratulations to those who made the cut. For the rest of you, please be consoled that in the not too distant future we will be taking delivery of supplies that will satisfy the cravings of the most desperate hophead and there will be no need to book to get to taste them.

The Santa Session

We can now announce our final tasting of the year, although this will be as much Christmas party as tasting. The Santa Session takes place on Tuesday, December the 7th. SOBA members may recall that the first Tuesday of the month is usually the night of the monthly SOBA Social. For December we've made a proposition so compelling that SOBA have agreed that this event can double as SOBA's December get-together.

Here is the offer: we will look through our stocks of beer that we have too much or too little of, particularly those that might not keep, and bring case after case out for everyone's tasting pleasure. For $25 (or $15 for SOBA members) participants can, within reason, fill their boots. We have in mind a variety of beers from most of the world wide web of brewers that we import, and one or two from New Zealand. All beers will be high quality but if any one doesn't please, another will be along shortly afterwards. And at the same time we get to reflect on a great year for SOBA, Hashigo Zake and the New Zealand craft beer scene.

To book for the Santa Session, just go to and fill your virtual shopping cart.

Hitting the Taps This Week

Some popular local beers are returning this week. Look out for:

  • Fresh stocks from Renaissance, including the very latest batch of MPA.
  • Brew Moon's Hophead IPA and Amberley Pale Ale.
  • A fresh keg of Yeastie Boys' PKB.
  • Batch #4 of Tuatara'a APA (which we're promised has been dry-hopped for a lot longer than batch #3).

In addition, we just received a single 30L keg of Three Boys' elusive Aftershock, the beer that commemorates Christchurch's big quake.

And there is one keg of Emerson's latest Brewer's Reserve. It's called Flying Nun Amber Wit and at 6% ABV it sounds like a lot more than an average witbier.

We're near the half way mark of our shipment of Baird beers. The second keg of Suruga Bay Imperial IPA went on last night. This lasted about two days last time, so don't wait too long to come and try it. After that we have another single hopped pale ale made with New Zealand hops, but this time it's Hallertau Aroma. And it's time we put on another keg of the great Rising Sun Pale Ale.

And looking ahead.. next week should see a flurry of beers from 8Wired. Søren seems to have a few in the tank, including another experimental batch, like the highly successful Tall Poppy prototype that we got to try last month.

Fresh Rogue

Somewhere in the North Island, possibly even the Wellington region, is a pallet of Rogue beer with our name on it. No kegs this time, just 70-odd cases of 650ml bottles with fresh stock of some of our favourites, including Chipotle Ale, Captain Sig's Norwestern Ale, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, St Rogue Dry Hopped Red and Mocha Porter. And there will be small amounts of a couple of new items - John John Hazelnut (Hazelnut Brown aged in whisky barrels) and Santa's Private Reserve.

Now at the time of writing we aren't sure whether we will take delivery of this shipment tomorrow (Friday) or next Monday. But anyone in the bar over the weekend might like to cast an eye along the Rogue shelves for something tempting.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4, 2010

Announcing: The Hophead's Picnic... Next Tuesday's Tasting... On Tap Now or Soon... Open for Lunch... The Flaw... We Don't Want Your Old Clothes Either.

Announcing... the Hophead's Picnic

Over the last year, we at Hashigo Zake have been lucky enough to share some exquisite and rare beers brought back by Jos Ruffell - friend of the bar and very frequent flier. Lately though, Jos has outdone himself and has quite a handy stock of Russian River's Pliny the Elder - probably the most famous Imperial IPA in the world - and Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Hop Harvest Ale. These have not even been freighted commercially. Instead, they have been carefully carried in the luggage of willing mules collaborators. But they do need to be drunk before Customs find out.

So we're building a tasting around these iconic and extremely hoppy beers. It only seems fitting then for us to dig out the hoppiest pales ales, IPAs and IIPAs that we have in our arsenal to try and compete with these extreme beers. So brace yourselves for the Hophead's Picnic - a celebration of some of the most unashamedly hoppy beers to have been brewed in or imported into New Zealand.

The Hophead's Picnic will also be a fitting occasion to announce what will be in our next ground-breaking shipment of imported craft beer.

The event takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday the 16th of November. Book here:

Next Tuesday's Tasting

Mikkeller's experiments in zymurgy continue with two new series. First up will be the "yeast series" :- the same beer brewed with five different yeasts - Lager, US Ale, Hefeweizen, Belgian Ale and Brettanomyces.

This will be followed by the Black Hole series :- Black Hole Imperial Stout followed by the same beer aged in Red Wine, Rum, Bourbon and Peated Whisky barrels.

There are still places available for this event. You can book and pay using our online store - just go to

On Tap Now or Soon

Nelson's Founders have been known to make some outstanding seasonal beers and we've got two of them in this week - Arts Sup-porter and Show Hopper. The Arts Sup-porter is, unsurprisingly, a porter and Show Hopper is a hoppy lager. And they're both completely organic.

There may be a little left of a keg of Mata's lively witbier known as Blondie Wheat.

We're currently pouring Baird's NZ Cascade Pale Ale and this will be followed soon by Numazu Lager (best amber lager at the 2010 World Beer Cup) and more Suruga Bay Imperial IPA.

There's more Australian beer in the form of Hargreaves Hill ESB.

Look out for beer from Kaimai, Golden Bear and Pink Elephant.

Open for Lunch

Do you find yourself craving one of our cult pies for lunch but find it too hard to choose one? One of Wellington's most progressive workplaces has it sussed - they get an email every Friday morning alerting them to the pies that are available that lunchtime, and they respond with their order. The result is that Friday lunchtimes here at HZ are often teeming with satisfied lunch diners.

If your workplace is nearby and you think this kind of 21st century solution might suit you, just get in touch by replying to this email. Remember we open every day at noon.

The Flaw

New floorboards are on the premises and will be laid in the area between the stairs and the bar over the weekend. There will be no effect on our trading hours.

We Don't Want Your Old Clothes Either

The weather must be improving because more and more people seem to be heading out into the night, oblivious to the fact that they've left a layer of clothing with us. We generally try to do the right thing and hold onto your things until someone comes and claims them, but we have limited storage space. So seven days from the sending of this email we're taking a load of them around to a charity shop.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28, 2010

  • Baird Kegs
  • Importing Beer
  • This Week's Highlights

Baird Kegs

The Baird Kegs delivered last week have been disappearing at a rate that is pleasing but almost alarming. A keg each of Rising Sun Pale Ale, Teikoku IPA and Suruga Bay IIPA gone in six days. Fortunately there is more of each of those. But the keg of Red Rose Amber Ale that went on last night (Wednesday) is definitely the only one in the country.

Now it seems that over the last year or so Bryan Baird has been going out of his way to incorporate New Zealand hops into the Baird lineup. Earlier in the year we secured a few cases of their Kiwi IPA and there have been a couple of other seasonals that we missed out on. But in a day or two we will tap one of two kegs of Baird's NZ Cascade Single Hop Pale Ale. We also have a similar single hop pale ale made using NZ Hallertau Aroma hops.

None of us have tasted these two new Baird beers yet, but past experience suggests that foreign beers made with New Zealand hops can defy expectations.

Importing Beer

We've had a steady stream of Australian, Japanese and Norwegian beer lately. And we hope there will be plenty more from the west coast of the US in the near future too. So this seemed a good time to reveal that there is more than just indiscriminate importation going on here. There is in fact a strategy.

Most of the Australian beer we've served lately (in particular those from Jamieson's and Bridge Road) have been sent to us in kegs that are owned by either Hashigo Zake or a New Zealand brewery. These kegs were earlier used to deliver New Zealand craft beer over there. These small orders are a small step towards the goal of creating a network of brewers, bars and discerning drinkers around the Pacific, sharing fresh stocks of each other's distinctive craft beer. This loosely defined ambition is still relatively new, but is shared by like-minded people dotted around some of the countries mentioned above.

The point is that in a roundabout way the consumption of such imports is indirectly helping New Zealand craft brewers get their products abroad. So we can all sip our Beasts and Blings with peace of mind. By contrast, the only thing being sent abroad when you drink the products of this country's industrial brewers is profit.

This Week's Highlights

We have already given a few clues to this week's highlights in the preceding paragraphs. Look out for more exciting instalments in our serialised drama - The Baird Kegs, including Red Rose Amber Ale (now showing) and NZ Cascade Single Hop Pale Ale.

We have more Hargreaves Hill ESB and Jamieson's The Beast IPA to dispense.

We're throwing a new variable into the Pilsner equation - Harrington's Rogue Hop. And while we're at it, we've sourced a keg of Harrington's Wobbly Boot Porter.

Mata's Jaysen came all the way from Kawerau with a keg of the latest batch of Mata's Blondie Wheat.

And in case we were getting predictable with our porters, we're putting on a keg of Emerson's London Porter before reverting to the highest rated Australasian Porter on - Renaissance's Elemental.

Hallertau's Statesman Pale Ale is on right now, with more Luxe and Stuntman to follow.

Finally... with Christmas coming and certain large import orders on the water or nearly ready to ship, we've cast our eye across our overflowing shelves, looking for anywhere that we might make room for new and returning products. And it is with mixed emotions we note that we have a glut of a certain precious range of beer. It's the Mikkeller Single Hop IPA series, made up of eight different but uniformly delicious IPAs, each flavoured with one and only one hop. They're beautiful beers that have come a long way and still have a year before they expire, but they're taking up a lot of space and are selling slowly. So for the immediately future we're reducing the price on each to a barely sane $12.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 21, 2010

  • Japan's Finest on Tap
  • Hallertau Beer
  • Returning Friends
  • Our own Travails
  • Labour Weekend Trading

Japan's Finest on Tap

It seems a long, long time since we arranged for a supply of one way kegs to be delivered to the Baird Brewery in Numazu, Japan. Merely getting them to the brewery turned into a mission, then came the comparatively fun but slow task of agreeing what to fill them with and waiting while Baird worked through their brewing cycle. Finally it was more waiting as the shipment made the laboriously slow sea journey out here.

But they finally arrived this morning, a matter of hours after the last of our Nøgne Ø kegs was drained. This is fortuitous because it allows us to leave one tap dedicated to beer from whale-hunting nations.*

So the Nøgne Ø tap becomes the Baird Tap for the next month or two. We may decide to have more or fewer than one on tap at a time depending on the rate at which they are consumed. So here, in random order, are the beers represented in the shipment. And for those wondering, we do indeed have more than one of some - Rising Sun and Suruga Bay in particular:

Kurofune Porter
Rising Sun Pale Ale
Red Rose Amber Ale
Angry Boy Brown Ale
Teikoku IPA
Numazu Lager
Suruga Bay Imperial IPA
NZ Cascade Single Hop Ale
NZ Hallertau Aroma Single Hop Ale
Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine

The astute amongst you will note that Baird have been dabbling with New Zealand hops. We'll let on more about these beers in the next week or so.

Hallertau Beer

Hallertau will be nearly as prominent as Baird over the next week or two as we work our way through kegs of Steve Plowman's Stuntman, Statesman and Luxe. Our first ever keg of Stuntman went on a couple of days ago. It joins Renaissance's MPA as one of the few commercial Imperial IPAs made with only New Zealand hops. The Kölsch, Luxe, is on right now too.

Returning Friends

After previous abundant supplies of the Mussel Inn's Captain Cooker, we've been doing it tough over the last month or so. But a new batch is out and we have a keg ready to come on over the weekend.

It has been even longer since we had Twisted Hop's Sauvin Pils, but two kegs of this arrived yesterday too.

Remember to check our real time, web-two-point-oh feed of what's on to help time your imbibing over the coming days. It's at or (for those doing their browsing on the go)

Our Own Travails

Regulars have probably been all too aware of the recent fluctuations in the, ahem, flatness of parts of our floor. We thank you for your patience. Our problems will soon be over, we believe. We have a plan to lay a completely new floor on or around the end of the month. Please keep the faith.

Labour Weekend Trading

Labour Weekend will make no difference to our opening hours. I.e. we will open at midday every day and close some time late in the evening. Not only that, we will not be penalising you with a surcharge for being thirsty on a holiday. If we get picketed for this by the executive of the Hospitality Association, please step around them.

Even better - members of SOBA will still benefit from our discount on Sunday and Monday.

*This should not be construed as an endorsement of either whale hunting or the practice of taunting whale hunters.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 14, 2010

We apologise to customers this week who are having to put up with a slightly moon-like experience when approaching the bar. This is due to an equipment failure last week that left some of our floorboards temporarily underwater. While we mopped up quickly the undersides of the floorboards are drying slowly creating some weird warping effects and gaps between floorboards and floor. We are attempting more permanent repairs on the weekend but in the mean time we ask for your patience and understanding.

Immediately below...
  • Beta Testing Beer
  • Stuntman
  • Last Chance to Try Nøgne ø
  • Other Goodies
  • Tastings

Beta Testing Beer

A little while ago our equal favourite Danish brewer, Søren Erikson of 8 Wired Brewing, suggested that we might like to act as an outlet for experimental batches that he makes on his tiny pilot brewery. And so it has come to pass that with Søren all set to brew a commercial batch of his new Imperial Red Ale, we have a keg's worth of his trial batch. Søren sent it up yesterday and it's on tap now. He is calling it Tall Poppy and describes is as an amped up version of the marvellous Red Dwarf Amber Ale. He wants to get as much feedback as possible before diving in to full scale production of it, so please let us know what you think, or write on the 8 Wired Facebook page.


A pallet of beer just arrived direct from rural Auckland. We now have enough Hallertau beer to satisfy the thirstiest jafa. First on, some time over the next few days, will be Stuntman, Steve Plowman's Imperial IPA, with this batch made entirely using New Zealand hops.

Remember that to find out what's on tap at any point in time you can just go to

Last Chance to Try Nøgne ø

We're onto the fifth and final keg of our Nøgne ø shipment. This time it's their IIPA/Barley Wine hybrid known as #100. Congratulations and thanks to those of you who have been adventurous enough to sample tap beer all the way from Norway. There should be just a short hiatus before we're pouring Japanese beer on tap with our latest Baird shipment due any day.

Other Goodies

For those who sensibly refrain from spending whole sessions knocking back Imperial IPAs and Barley Wines there are some more restrained treats due to come on tap:

  • A new beer - "Bales Bitter" - from Nelson's Golden Bear.
  • The blessed trinity of NZ Pilsners - Emerson's, Three Boys and Croucher.
  • More Aussie beer in the form of Hargreaves Hill ESB.
  • Paradox blonde - the lightest of Renaissance's pale ales.


Bookings are open for our next two tastings. Next Tuesday is our Kamishin Sake tasting. Details and a chance to book are at

And next month on Tuesday the 9th will be our tasting of two series from our equal favourite Danish brewer, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. Details are at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 7, 2010

Immediately below...
  • All that Glisters
  • Tastings, tastings, tastings
  • Dark Horses
  • On Tap Now & Soon
  • Nordic Beer
  • Mead
  • A Word About GST & Pricing

All that Glisters

It seems appropriate during Commonwealth Games season that we have just been showered in bronze tinged accolades. There's nothing wrong with third, after all (just ask our athletes), especially when you're but an inexperienced youth up against established champions with the best physicians money can buy.

So it is with humility and gratitude that we say Thank You Wellington for naming us the third best bar in the capital. (According to Capital Times' Best of Wellington Survey.) And in fact, the best bar in Wellington that wasn't first or second last year.

But that's just the beginning. Our own David Wood - barely 14 months ago a fulltime supermarket employee and part time beer expert - was named equal third best barman in Wellington.

So much positive feedback and we're barely out of the blocks.

Tastings, Tastings, Tastings

Our tasting programme is back in full stride after the chaos and distraction of Beervana and everything else that went on in August and September. On Tuesday night will be our Quebec beer tasting. No prior knowledge of Quebec beer or French language is necessary. At the heart of the tasting will be the extravagant beers of Dieu du Ciel. Supporting roles will be taken by Unibroue and St Ambroise. You can book and pay for a place at

The following week will be a sake tasting made up of our new range of sakes from Kamishin brewery in Okayama, augmented by some extras from other Japanese breweries and Europe's first sake. Bookings are at

And it is with great pleasure that we can announce a tasting of special interest to anyone with a particular interest in... beer. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller continues to do things with hops, malt, water and yeast that other brewers can only dream of. This time we are providing a chance to sample two of his series, in which he creates a collection of beers with exactly one point of difference. Sound obscure? Maybe. A priceless opportunity to understand the influence of one component of the brewing process? Absolutely.

The series in question are the yeast series and the Black Hole barrel aged series. It happens on November 9. For more info and the chance to book a place, go to

Dark Horses

When we import pallet loads of beer at a time it's sometimes hard to give every arrival the attention it deserves. Occasionally we need to make a special effort to draw attention to some of our dark horses. In fact we could probably give a hundred beers this treatment at any point in time, but here are a few:

  • Mussel Inn Dark Horse. After Beervana we took the opportunity of reducing the load that the Mussel Inn people had to take back to Golden Bay. So we have good stock of some of their beers that are even rarer than Captain Cooker. Dark Horse is a 4% porter and Golden Goose is also 4%, but a pale lager. As a rural brewpub with virtually no public transport it's no wonder that the Mussel Inn have a few 4 percenters.
  • Anderson Valley. We took the liberty of bringing in a few of the Anderson Valley range. They are classic, West Coast, American craft beers. Included in the range are an amber ale, an IPA and a Double IPA. And Andy Deuchars of Renaissance used to work there!
  • Rogue Mogul Madness. So what if it's their winter beer - we liked it so much we made a point of re-ordering this when it ran out a month or so ago. As rich and complex as it is, there's nothing cloying about Mogul Madness so you needn't be shivering to appreciate it.

On Tap Now & Soon

Some treats to look out for:

  • Tuatara APA Batch #3. On tap any day.
  • Croucher Pale Ale - back after a brief hiatus and on tap right now. This batch seems to have had more filtration than we're used to. Let us know what you think.
  • Aussie Beers. We still have a few kegs left of Jamieson's The Beast IPA, Hargreaves Hill ESB and Bridge Rd Bling.
  • Renaissance Voyager, Yeastie Boys' Punkadiddle, Three Boys Golden Ale and Peak Mendip Bitter on the hand pumps.

Nordic Beer

We're two and a bit kegs into our first ever order of kegged Nøgne ø beer, and no-one has been disappointed (unless they expected a bargain). The condition of the beer has been magnificent considering the odyssey the kegs undertook to get here. There was a particularly poignant moment last evening when the IPA keg ran dry.

The Imperial Brown Ale is on now, with Saison and #100 to come.

The just-as-good news is that there should only be a short interval between when the Nøgne ø runs out and 18 kegs of Baird beer arrive from Japan.


Rhys Morgan of Peak Brewery makes a little mead on the side, under the Girdwood Estate label. It comes in an elegant 375ml bottle with a cork stopper and will be selling for $20.

A Word About GST and Pricing

If Consumer Magazine comes calling then we might as well 'fess up - our prices didn't go up by a uniform two and a bit percent last week. Some didn't go up at all, while for a number of others we took stock of all the price changes we've overlooked over the last twelve months and went to town. The aim of the exercise was simply to adjust prices enough to cover the increased GST bill that we'll be faced with shortly. We hope you understand and can think of your own imminent tax cuts when you judge our prices.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

September 30, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Nøgne ø on Tap
  • Quebec Beer Tasting
  • Sake Tasting
  • Finally..

Nøgne ø on Tap

Today marks another watershed for Hashigo Zake. This evening Norway joins the list of countries that have been represented on our taps. (For the curious, that list is New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the US, the UK, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.) We've been acquainting ourselves with the fabulous new bottled beers that came in our recent Scandinavian shipment for long enough and it's time to take the plunge and put on one of Nøgne ø's plastic key kegs.

So some time tonight, when our current keg of Yeastie Boys' Pot Kettle Black runs out, we'll wrestle with obscure European keg couplers and wrangle Nøgne ø Porter on to a tap.

Quebec Beer Tasting

As announced earlier, we are planning a tasting to celebrate and thoroughly test our recent shipment of beers from three Quebec breweries. The breweries are Dieu du Ciel, Unibroue and St Ambroise. The tasting takes place on Tuesday October 12 at 6:30pm and places can be booked online at

Now it has come to our attention that October 12 coincides with one of the All Whites' upcoming international matches. We appreciate that many of our customers are partial to a bit of footba' and some people might have an interest in attending both events. At the same time we're loath to change plans without good reason. So if anyone would like to make the case for moving the event then please get in touch and we'll see how many of you there are.

Sake Tasting

Last week we announced the arrival of a range of sakes from the Kamishin brewery in Okayama, Japan. These are pretty interesting, especially for anyone fond of sweeter and/or fruitier sakes. It seems fitting to welcome them properly by showcasing them with a tasting. But we have other recent arrivals to give this tasting added interest. We will throw in samples of the first sake ever brewed in Europe - the Nøgne ø brewery's new Daiginjyo-shu. We also have a small amount of sake and umeshu from the Kiuchi brewery. Kiuchi are better known outside Japan for brewing Hitachino Nest beer and this umeshu is even made from distilled beer.

This tasting takes place at 6:30pm on October 19, and you can book and pay for a place at


A couple of human interest stories... Firstly, two of this business's investors and most reliable customers have their last drinks at HZ for some time tonight. The couple known as Pete and Kathryn are going to spend some time in Central America and Nelson (go figure). Please excuse the large crowd of well-wishers that may join us in the bar tonight (Thursday).

Also our favourite Samoan Tolutasi Laga has been grinning for the last 24 hours after convincing the City Council that she's fit to be a certified manager. Tasi insists that there's a difference between bitchiness and bossiness and we're about to learn what it is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23, 2009

Immediately below...
  • Tuatara in Japan
  • New Sake
  • New Imported Beer
  • Our Electronic Menu
  • Awards Season

Tuatara in Japan

This week your correspondent is back in the wintry southern hemisphere, having spent several of the last few days helping Tuatara Brewery to spring their products on unsuspecting Japanese festival attendees. And a very successful venture it may prove to be for the local brewery.

Tuatara appeared at the Yokohama Great Japan Beer Festival in some prestigious company. Immediately to the stall's left was Italy's Revelation Cat brewery, who specialise in acquiring new lambic beer straight from Brussels breweries and aging and dry-hopping them back in their Rome headquarters. In fact one of their four extremely sour beers had been dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. (We hope to have more news of Revelation Cat in a couple of months - stay tuned.)

Further along were a variety of celebrated American beers. They were there either because they were part of the stables of Japan's most prominent craft beer importers or as part of an enormous donation to the festival by the American Brewers Association. There was one trestle table after another laden with maple-syrup flavoured saisons, lemon-grass and kaffir-lime ales, quadruple imperial IPAs and coffee vanilla chocolate porters.

For all the extreme beers surrounding us, there was a glaring lack of a good, bracing, aromatic pale ale below 6% ABV. Except that is for Tuatara APA. It wowed all the industry types around us, while the civilian festival tended to be satisfied with Tuatara's IPA and Ardennes.

It remains to be seen whether informal requests about availability from several bar managers turn into international orders, but for now Tuatara have taken a big step towards trading in one of the most vibrant beer markets in the Asia Pacific region. Many congratulations Carl, Sean and everyone at the brewery.

New Sake

We have just taken delivery of the full range of sakes from the Kamishin brewery in Okayama prefecture, in Southern Honshu, between Osaka and Hiroshima. This range was specially selected by our resident sake/cocktail/stout expert Shigeo Takagi and imported exclusively for us by our friends at Tokyo Foods. The whole range is high quality and all sold in individual 300ml bottles. We don't recommend drinking it warm.

In the next few days we'll update the sake menu, but in the mean time if you're curious and Shiggy is on duty then feel free to ask him for a recommendation.

Oh - and don't forget that we have a few bottles of Europe's first ever sake, from none other than Norway's Nøgne ø.

New Imported Beer

At the risk of repeating the news of the last three weeks again, our recent deliveries of Mikkeller, Nøgne ø, Unibroue, Dieu du Ciel and St Ambroise beers are trickling onto the tills and into the fridges. It might take a while to find room for them all as the fridges are somewhat chocka, but feel free to ask what's new.

Electronic Menu

The new electronic menu is attracting lots of comments, which is fantastic because we would otherwise have remained oblivious to its limitations. We look forward to finding time between sourcing the world's best beers, battling with freight companies, attending the world's beer festivals and dealing with the GST increase to enhance the look and information on our new menu.

Awards Season

Nominations close soon for the Beer and Brewer Magazine's Awards. We aren't sure exactly how the voting/judging process works, but more nominations can't hurt us. So we encourage readers to go to and register a vote for whatever small, underground bar that comes to mind.

Meanwhile we've been tipped off that we should pick up a copy of the October 6 Capital Times when they announce the results of their Best of Wellington survey.

Which makes it all the more disappointing that a certain recently published guide book seemed to base its listings on information from the middle of the last decade. Ah well... luckily we are attracting plenty of Wellington's visitors so the publication in question can't be as influential as we're led to believe.

September 16, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Beer Tourism
  • Well Traveled Beer and announcing a New Tasting

Beer Tourism

This week's missive comes to you from Japan, where summer temperatures have been breaking all records and the Yokohama edition of the Great Japan Beer Festival starts on Saturday.

The Export Consulting Division of Hashigo Zake International Corporation is here at the request of Tuatara Brewery to help showcase their range in the back yard of Lion Nathan's paymasters, Kirin.

It should be a fascinating few days, and an interesting contrast to Beervana. It is the done thing at these events in Japan to squeeze as many people as possible into a small, shapeless hall. And with the cost of samples included in customers' ¥4000 ($67) ticket price, there will only be the attendees' innate sense of decorum stopping things getting quite ugly.

We're also taking the opportunity to conduct a tasting of New Zealand beers for a select group of Tokyo's elite beer geeks at Baird's Nakameguro Taproom on Sunday evening.

Well Traveled Beer and announcing a New Tasting

But while some of us follow beer around the world, more well travelled beer is finding its way to Hashigo Zake.

New stock from the US, Denmark, Norway, Canada and Australia have all arrived over the last few days. It has left us with a backlog of paperwork, bills for excise and GST and a headache as we try and find room for them in our display fridges. Bear with us while we find time between serving drinks in two hemispheres to find space for all these exciting new beverages.

Or... consider booking for our October tasting of Quebec beers. At the heart of this tasting will be the beers of adventurous Montreal brewpub Dieu du Ciel. Expect beautiful labels, intense flavours and innovative uses of adjuncts such as spices. What's more the tasting will finish with something of a shootout of stouts in Ratebeer's 100th percentile - Dieu du Ciel's Aphrodisiaque and Péché Mortel and St Ambroise's Oatmeal Stout.

It takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, October the 12th. Anyone interested in booking is hereby invited to take part in an experiment - bookings are now being taken via our web store. Follow this link to book.

September 9, 2010

Immediately below...
  • 52 Weeks
  • New Drinks for Year Two

52 Weeks

Excuse me if, instead of the usual modest tone these messages try to strike, we indulge in a little smugness for once.

It seems just yesterday that a Beervana 2009 patron, visiting our stall and hearing about Hashigo Zake, said "But how are you going to survive?" There has certainly been no end of things we've supposedly done wrong. You'd think that when you take Heineken, bottled water, cheap tequila, jagermeister, hot chips and loud music out of a Wellington bar all that would be left is an empty shell.

But Hashigo Zake has, if anything, been an experiment in answering the kinds of questions that people with little or no hospitality experience idly wonder about. What if we ask the breweries we like, wherever they are in the world, to sell us beer? What if we don't go cap in hand to one of the big breweries? What if we trust customers to understand if we keep rotating the beers? What if we don't take any notice of what anyone says?

We should have been on our knees by January, apparently, and yet, here we are 52 weeks later, doing quite a lot better than just surviving. We've lost count, but we think there have been around 200 different beers through the taps, many of them being offered in a New Zealand bar for the first time. Our turnover has grown steadily over the last twelve months, peaking two weeks ago with Beervana at a level way above our most optimistic projections. We've built a roster of staff that I'm frankly tired of hearing compliments about. Brewers who are starting out or experimenting and looking for an outlet now seem to know that they can contact us and we'll be receptive. And similarly supermarkets and bottle stores are starting to show interest in picking up some of our exclusive imports. And we've created the most exciting range of pies known to man.

So we think we have something to celebrate this week, and this is how we intend to do it.

Tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow evening, there will be a generous supply of tickets being handed out at the door that can be redeemed for a complimentary drink. Keep one side of that ticket because at 8pm we'll draw some numbers out of a hat and the winners will take away some rather special bottles. We even promise not to have emptied them first.

We'll also be making an announcement during the evening that we think is very exciting for Wellington beer lovers.

Many of the drinks we're offering will be courtesy of generous sponsorship from Tuatara, Renaissance, Emersons' and Yeastie Boys.

Note that we are only sending a general invitation and no-one is more welcome than anyone else. If you feel like being part of this, or if you just feel like a Thursday or Friday drink then please come on down.

New Drinks for Year Two

Life carries on after this week and there are some exciting shipments on the water at the moment that should add interest over the next few weeks.

Arriving soon - possibly next week - will be a combined shipment from Scandinavian breweries Nøgne ø (Norway) and Mikkeller (Denmark). The Nøgne ø order is particularly exciting because it not only includes a number of beers that we have never had before, it contains some of the first sake ever brewed in Europe. It also includes a handful of kegs AND new stocks of Tyttebaer - the extraordinary sour fruit beer that won a gold medal at BrewNZ.

The Mikkeller products include a range of Imperial Stouts aged in rum, wine, bourbon, whisky and Islay whisky barrels (because Mikkel didn't think he'd made enough Imperial Stouts) AND several of his experimental series of pale ales made to the same recipe except the yeast used.

Also due very soon is our long promised stock of bottled beers from Quebec breweries - including several from the great Dieu du Ciel.

And Japan's Baird Brewery have announced that they have dispatched no fewer than 18 kegs of beer to us. But knowing what freight from Japan can be like we shouldn't get too excited just yet.

Oh - and.. Three Boys Golden Ale is back from its winter hibernation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Big Thank Yous
  • Our 1st Birthday
  • Treats in Store
  • Japan Festival

Big Thank Yous

Last week was our biggest ever in trading terms and almost certainly our most exhausting. But it was extremely successful thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of our customers and the tireless endeavours of our staff. So thank you all.

We also seem to have become the home away from home for many of the country's best brewers, and it was a pleasure to see many of them coming back night after night last week, going hard on the plum wine.

It was also pleasing that several breweries built into their Beervana planning the option of selling their leftover beer to us freight-free.

Our 1st Birthday

The astute among you might have noticed that we're up to Issue #51 of what is more or less a weekly dispatch. Which means we must be close to a year's worth.

Our birthday is next week, and at that time we will contemplate the significance of the milestone while expressing contempt for those who were skeptical a year ago. This week however is for shamelessly promoting the event itself.

So... next Thursday and Friday, with the assistance of a few of our favourite brewers, we will offer several hundred complimentary glasses of fine, locally made ale to thank you, our beloved customers for your patronage. We will also find a way to give away one or two of our most precious bottles of imported beer.

There will be no gilt-edged invitations and no-one is more or less welcome than anyone else. Just come on down and enter into the spirit of things.

Treats in Store

The Sprig and Fern brought all their remaining Harvest Pilsner to Beervana and didn't sell it all. Which means we have enough to last another week or two, which is great news for lovers of aromatic pilsners.

Good stocks of various Bridge Road beers and Jamieson's The Beast IPA are making their way into our repertoire.

The leftovers of the Rogue XS beers that we took to Beervana will be on over the next few days. These are the Imperial Stout and the Old Crustacean Barley Wine.

The Mussel Inn had a stand at Beervana and left us with a healthy amount of their rare bottled beers - Dark Horse and Golden Goose Lager.

The second to last of our Meantime IPA kegs is on right now and will be followed by the final one soon.

Hawkes Bay Independent Brewery have a Perry (Pear Cider) in possibly the most elegant bottle we've ever seen. Cider drinkers might enjoy the alternative.

For those who've appreciated seeing the Mike's dispenser being used for IIPA, brace yourselves - the next keg will be one of their extremely good and much feted Whisky Porter.

Japan Festival

This weekend the Town Hall hosts a very different kind of festival from Beervana - The Second Wellington Japan Festival. Take a look.

August 26, 2010

In this Newsletter
Immediately below...
  • Beervana
  • Life After Beervana
  • Our 1st Birthday

We just crossed the 200 subscriber mark for this service. In this era of social networking and microblogging it's a relief to know that there are this many stick-in-the-muds who are prepared to sign up for an old fashioned email. Many thanks and please stay tuned.


We're now about half way through the exhausting calendar of events of which tomorrow's Beervana is the culmination. There are already plenty of bloodshot eyes and dopey, tired faces appearing as trade people, brewers and even one or two of our own staff wander down our stairs in the mid-afternoon.

We've been rapt to have the likes of Søren Erikson, Brian Thiel and Ron Trigg put in personal appearances to promote their fine beers. As well there's been a steady flow of beer judges, brewers (often the same people), old friends, celebrities and even a Discovery Channel film crew.

If the presence of the industry's rock stars disturb the serenity of your drinking experience, please bear with us - it will be over in a few days.

Remember if you are attending Beervana we'll be there with probably the strongest menu of beers in the Town Hall. In terms of ABV that is. Specifically:

  • Meantime IPA
  • Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
  • Rogue XS Imperial Stout
  • Jamieson’s The Beast IPA
  • Liberty Brewing Summit Imperial IPA

Note that we have more beers than taps, so at any point in time only four of these will be available.

Life After Beervana

We're doing our best to keep our ordering and planning ticking over as if Beervana wasn't happening. And we can guarantee that all this weekend the lineup on tap here at HZHQ will be as good as ever. What's more there's every chance we'll strike deals with some of the breweries at Beervana and have some surprises in store early next week.

Look out for these fist timers:

  • The Sprig and Fern's new IPA
  • Golden Bear's new Hop Toad
  • Bridge Road Chestnut Pilsner
  • Mike's Whisky Porter

And there will be the following returning favourites:

  • Renaissance Voyager
  • Twisted Hop IPA
  • Bridge Road Bling IPA
  • Tuatara APA
  • Sprig and Fern's Three Berry Cider

Our 1st Birthday

A year ago, almost to the day, we tentatively opened for the first time, in what we called "preview" mode, while simultaneously preparing for Beervana 2009, which we were sponsoring and attending. Those first days and nights of trading were such an effort that it was another week or two before we formerly declared ourselves open on September 10. So on September the 9th and 10th this year we will commemorate our first birthday.

At the moment we have promises of sponsorship from a couple of breweries, which will ensure that we can show some generosity to all visitors to the bar on those nights. That's not to say we won't welcome any more offers if suppliers of interesting beverages want the chance to promote themselves and win our undying gratitude.

We'll do our best to make those evenings particularly memorable, while sticking to our policy of always remaining open to the public. So anyone who wants to join in the celebrations will be free to. We will announce more details soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19, 2010

Immediately below...

It's our bumper pre-BrewNZ edition. We sincerely hope you find time to take in everything below, because there really is a ridiculous amount going on over the next nine days.

  • Foreword
  • Next Week's Events
  • Beervana
  • T Shirts
  • Other BrewNZ Week Treats
  • But Wait There's More
  • And Finally...


In the ensuing paragraphs, you will find many examples of self-promotion and show-boating as we try to draw attention to the special events and drinks that we have over the next week or two. But it's important to remember that BrewNZ and Beervana represent the best opportunity of the year to catch up with regular customers, suppliers and foreign guests and to celebrate the magnificent benefits we get from having high quality and steadily improving beer at our disposal. If a little of this celebrating takes place on Hashigo Zake's premises then all the better.

So we sincerely encourage readers to enter into the spirit of the event and look for opportunities to socialise and participate. We'll even try and take this advice ourselves.

And when the dust settles, remember our boast that Hashigo Zake runs what is essentially a never-ending beer festival.

Next Week's Events

Next week is without doubt the biggest of the year for the New Zealand craft brewing industry. And not just because of the two days of unashamed beer geekery that make up Beervana. All next week there will be a true festival's worth of events, not least of which are the judging and presentation of the BrewNZ Beer Awards.

We are playing our part in making BrewNZ a city-wide, week-long festival by squeezing in a succession of events next week, in addition to turning up at Beervana with the planet's most outrageously festive beers.

It starts on Monday when the Winston Reid of New Zealand Brewing, Søren Erikson, will take a break from judging the beer awards and will be on the premises from 5pm to 7pm. We'll see if we can bring ourselves to give away some samples of Hopwired (in case there's anyone left that hasn't tried it). In fact Søren has said that he'll make available a one-off keg of Hopwired that has been dry-hopped in the keg. We are also hoping that the same delivery will bring brand new batches of Rewired Brown Ale and Big Smoke Smoked Porter.

The next day it's the turn of Søren's bosses at his day job - Renaissance. The latest batch of Marlborough Pale Ale is being released at 5pm and it has already raised a few eyebrows among the lucky few who have tried it. It is moving further from a typical American style Imperial IPA to something darker, maltier and not so far from a Barley Wine. But it's still extremely hoppy and bitter. There will be samples available and Brian Thiel and, we hope, others from the brewery will be on hand to accept bouquets or even brickbats.

Then on Wednesday we're welcoming Ron Trigg of Mike's Brewery to answer any questions you've been saving up regarding our Passport Beer - Mike's Organic Imperial IPA. Not only that, he has promised to bring samples of this year's release of their Whisky Porter. Ron will be in the house from 4:30pm until 6pm.

We're still hoping to line up another big name from the New Zealand craft brewing industry to take the limelight on Thursday evening.


For Beervana itself, we're killing the fatted calf, selling the family silver and slaughtering the goose that lays the golden egg. Onto the taps of our much loved portable bar will be going the jewels in the crown that is our beer cellar. In no particular, guaranteed order:

  • Meantime IPA
  • Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
  • Rogue XS Imperial Stout
  • Jamieson’s The Beast IPA
  • Liberty Brewing Summit Imperial IPA

T Shirts

People have been asking us for ages when we'd get around to printing some more Hashigo Zake T-shirts. The day has finally come. What's more, we have agreed to be an outlet for Beervana T Shirts. So right now, today even, you can come on down and smarten up your wardrobe enormously while showing your support for the consumption of quality beer.

Here is the full, new season catalogue:

Beervana T-shirts in a variety of colours, sizes and styles.$25
Hashigo Zake T-shirts in basic black or charcoal and in a variety of sizes.$35
Hashigo Zake polo shirts in black and a variety of sizes.$40
Baird Brewery T-shirts - a few left in a variety of sizes and styles, made from wagyu cotton and imported from Japan at enormous expense.$65

Other BrewNZ Week Treats

If the above snippets of news aren't enough to get you salivating, then the news isn't over.

Sprig and Fern's Harvest Pilsner was the hit of this year's Marchfest and was a roaring success when we snaffled some shortly afterwards. The brewery held back a small amount to enter in the Beer Awards and what was then leftover has been shipped to us. The first keg will come on stream over the next couple of days.

And because the rest of the Sprig and Fern's range is too good to ignore, look out for their Dopplebock, Pale Ale and new IPA. The Three Berry Cider is possibly the brewery's most famous beverage. Last time we put it on it proved a handful to pour on our system and caused a lot of angst and one or two breakdowns behind the bar. But the fact is, it's too popular for us not to give it another try.

Auckland's celebrated Hallertau brewpub have forwarded another pallet of their marvellous beer. This time we have a mix of their Luxe Kolsch, Statesman Pale Ale and Copper Tart Red Ale. And because Hallertau is where the amazing Liberty Summ!t Imperial IPA was brewed, we picked up an extra couple of kegs. (See our list of Beervana beers, above.)

Now we've been teasing regular readers with hints about our Australian (specifically Victorian) shipments for weeks. Well they've finally arrived. Bridge Road's beers have been turning up in New Zealand off and on since, well, last year's Beervana. We've got them to send over their unique Chestnut Pilsner, Beechworth Pale Ale and no fewer than three kegs of the great Bling IPA. We've also been tipped off that Bridge Rd will be at the Brewer's Guild stall at Beervana.

And last but not least comes... The Beast. This is a big, American style IPA made by Jamieson's Brewery, also in Victoria. It's an extraordinary beer and we've acquired more kegs of it than you can shake a stick at. Look out for it on tap in the bar and at the portable cult beer bar at Beervana.

But Wait There's More

Could we have any more surprises up our sleeves? Not after you read the following:

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is one of the craft beer world's most famous brewers, but he doesn't own a brewery and hasn't quit his job as a school teacher. So he's the last person who should be shipping draught beer around the world. But he does, albeit in small and extremely expensive quantities. We have precisely one 30L keg of his Mikkeller Y Pale Ale. And in honour of our equal-favourite Danish brewer Søren Erikson we'll tap this on Monday night. Which means SOBA members can take advantage of their discount to get this beer at an almost normal price!

And Finally...

An unexpected piece of news dropped into our inbox this morning. Beer and Brewer Magazine, which we subscribe to and leave lying around at Hashigo Zake, have announced the opening of voting in their awards to find the best beer venues in Australasia. There are a number of categories, including "Best Beer Venue - Small Bar/Pub (under 150 patrons)". (Yes there really are fewer than 150 people in on Friday evenings.)

Now we don't want to exert any pressure on you, our subscribers, to take any kind of a stand here. It's a conscience vote. But here, for your edification, is a link:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Beervana Passport
  • Beer and Chefs
  • MPA Launch
  • New and Returning Beers

Beervana Passport

We are now up, running and thoroughly participating in the Beervana Passport promotion. This is where you are invited to roam around Wellington's bars and collect evidence of your travels to earn the right to go into a draw for a trip to Melbourne.

Each participating bar is showcasing one beer, which is the one you need to buy to earn the passport stamp. In our case this is Mike's Organic Imperial IPA - surely the biggest, hoppiest, richest organic beer ever made in New Zealand (and possibly anywhere, for that matter). This beer is usually in short supply but as part of the Beervana Passport promotion the brewery is obliged to keep us stocked.

To join in you need a copy of the passport booklet itself, which we can supply.

Beer and Chefs

Another event organised under the Beervana umbrella is Beer and Chefs. Restaurants and bars are invited to offer a special meal, where the food is matched to a particular beer. Since we keep getting compliments on our pies this seemed like something we should be involved in. At the same time we're not going to make things too hard for ourselves, so we've paired our own favourite, the Venison Vindaloo Pie, with the same Mike's Imperial IPA that we are serving as part of the Beervana Passport. We actually think the match is superb, even if a little less chef school theory went into it than most of the other competitors.

MPA Launch

MPA is the Imperial IPA from Renaissance Brewery. It has been a consistent favourite since we opened last year and the latest batch of it will be launched here, at Hashigo Zake, at 5pm on August 24. The brewers themselves will be here to hold the hands of anyone daunted by an 8.5% IIPA, and explain what needs to be explained. And there will be plenty of complimentary servings to win everyone over.

Even better for some of you - this coincides with the Beervana Volunteers briefing. You'll never feel so appreciated.

New and Returning Beers

It's a week for experimentation. We are giving two smaller breweries a turn on our taps for the first time. Masterton's Peak Brewery specialise in English style beers and have produced Monkey Point IPA, which is on one of our hand pumps right now.

And Christchurch's Wigram Brewery have sent us a keg of their Kortegast Spakling Ale. It uses hops that were found growing wild on the South Island's West Coast. This will come on tap some time over the next few days.

Renaissance Brewery (see MPA, above) have ventured into new territory for them, by making a beer specifically intended for a hand pump. It's Voyager IPA, and it must be arriving here soon because the brewery have been telling people we have it. And on the same shipment from Blenheim will be our last installment of their much loved Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Note that a number of breweries that supply us, especially those whose products we are serving for the first time, get in touch now and then to ask for feedback. If you've got strong feelings or constructive criticism of the beers we serve, feel free to pass them on.

A couple of old favourites are returning this week. Mata Brown Boy is back, and Jaysen insists that every time they make this they double the volume of hops going in. There's only one way to tell what effect it's having.

And another Canterbury brewery is back - Brew Moon's Hop Head IPA will be on tap this weekend.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bar... Yeastie Boys have a new release. It's Her Majesty - a strong Belgian dark ale. Or to use the name on the press release, it's "Her Majesty 2010". Available now by the bottle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 5, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Imperial Stouts and Porters
  • Fresh This Week
  • In the Pipeline
  • Beervana
  • Twitter
  • Imperial Stouts and Porters

    Perhaps our most eagerly awaited tasting ever takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday. This has been fully booked for a while (which is why we haven't been promoting it), but if anyone would like to go on the waiting list or cancel their booking, please get in touch by replying to this email.

    Fresh on Tap

    This week looks like being one of those rare ones when every beer that appears on our taps has appeared before. But that's not to say the offerings are at all lacking:

    • Look out for Batch #3, Keg #2 of Hopwired.
    • Wedding FSA, the beer brewed to celebrate the wedding of Yeastie Boy Stu McKinley, will be back on a handpump.
    • Speaking of the Yeastie Boys, we have hand pumped versions of both Yakima Monster and Motueka Monster.
    • Twisted Hop IPA is on right now.
    • Renaissance's Craftsman - their chocolate infused stout - is on right now.
    • The second batch of Tuatara's fabulous new American Pale Ale is out and we'll be putting it on between now and the weekend. And in case anyone was getting bored with the wheat beers we've been putting on lately, we've called in a keg of Tuatara'a Hefe.
    • In The Pipeline

      Our most recent consignment of kegged beer from Oregon's Rogue Brewery has nearly been consumed. There are a few choice examples still to be tapped (see below under Beervana), but Rogue's place will soon be taken by other extraordinary beers from other corners of the world.

      We've already gone through the first of several kegs of Meantime's IPA, and those willing to pay a little extra for a beer from the Greenwich Meridian weren't disappointed. There's more to come and we also passed one keg on to a certain bar in our vicinity, although we aren't sure if the proprietor is going to share that or just keep it for personal use.

      We are in possession of a single keg of Mikkeller's Y Pale Ale - surely the first keg of Danish craft beer to make it to New Zealand (unless you count the work of Søren at 8 Wired).

      Soon we'll have some long awaited examples of the state of the art of brewing in Victoria, Australia. These could be with us as soon as next week. Look out for an IPA that we ordered a pallet of on the basis of one exceptional sample. There will also be the welcome return of a couple of last year's favourites from the highly regarded Bridge Road Brewery.

      Some time this month we'll take delivery of a number of beers from three Quebec breweries. That's right, Quebec, Canada. We've been looking for the chance to get our hands on these products for a long time and we've been able to get supplies from the Australian importer.

      Somewhere between here and Norway are several kegs of beer from Nøgne Ø. The shipping industry is toying with us again, so we can't predict when these will make it.

      And a pallet-load of kegs are currently being filled for us at Japan's Baird Brewery. Again the ETA keeps being pushed out, but we should be serving Rising Sun Pale Ale on tap by October.


      Beervana is just a few weeks away now, and we're looking forward to playing our part in making it the most interesting and enjoyable event it could possibly be.

      We will be there with what we hope will be two perfectly preserved kegs of some of the most remarkable beer to come out of the United States. We don't want to say too much because keeping kegged beer can be a risky exercise. But neither of these beers will be lacking, shall we say, a built-in preservative.

      Meanwhile our good friend Steph Coutts is still on the lookout for one or two more volunteers to help at Beervana. It should be fun to be involved and there are perks, so we recommend going along to the volunteer registration site here.


      Last Friday was our busiest night ever, in part because we were descended upon by a community of users of everyone's, well, some people's, favourite micro-blogging and social networking tool.

      Maybe it's karma because we called last orders on them, but since then our powers of twittering have been clipped. We can see people address messages to us, but can't respond or even revisit our old gems. And the feed from facebook has stopped too. We're still trying to decide whether to be gutted or simply relieved by this, but if anyone is wondering why we aren't answering your messages - sorry, err.. tweets - that's our excuse. It sounds as though we aren't the only ones affected either. Meanwhile we suggest that anyone with an urgent question comes down and asks us over a beer.

      Thursday, July 29, 2010

      July 29, 2010

      Immediately below...
      • Fresh South Island Beer
      • Another First
      • Wedding FSA
      • Met the Brewer
      • Free Crown Caps for Home Brewers
      • Mysterious Gatherings
      • Fresh South Island Beer

        From famine to feast: just last night we were scratching our heads trying to find just the right beer to put on an empty tap. This afternoon no fewer than 16 kegs of beer from seven different South Island breweries turned up at our door. (And Shiggy had to single-handedly haul them away.)

        As well as some reliable staples from Renaissance and Three Boys, there's no shortage of exciting rarities to get us all salivating. Please read on...

        • Golden Bear's Winter Ale, which we tried a few weeks ago, gets another turn. And we still have good stocks of Patriots Pale Ale too.
        • Dux de Lux's Nor'Wester is always hard to source, but we have snapped up one more keg.
        • Townshend Brewery have taken their Rosedale Bitter, which we've often had on our hand pumps, and produced a kegged version. At only 4% ABV it's refreshing to have a moderate strength session ale on a tap as well as a hand pump.
        • Renaissance's Craftsman is back, for all those who appreciate a well and truly chocolate infused dark ale.
        • We've nabbed some more 3 Boys Oyster Stout, since there wouldn't be much point ordering their summer release yet.
        • Last but not least, a certain Danish brewer living in Blenheim has put together a new batch of his most famous product. We've secured not one, but two kegs of this beer, apparently before it was due to be kegged. It's best not to divulge how we got them. We can't make promises about when the first of these stealth kegs will make it on, but it will probably be between 6pm and 10pm tomorrow (Friday the 30th).
        • Another First

          A few days ago, and after much confusion over keg couplers, we became the first bar in New Zealand to offer Meantime IPA on tap. This is as hoppy as many a New Zealand or American IPA, but the hops are English Fuggles and Goldings, making it a refreshing change. And there can be nothing more fitting than having an IPA that's actually been shipped from England. (Unless we were actually in India.) It's a remarkable beer to have on tap, and only a handful of kegs are available from the importer, us.

          Wedding FSA

          In amongst the plethora of South Island beer mentioned earlier is another that's destined for one of our handpumps. It would be fitting if it goes on the handpump sold to us by Stu McKinley, because the beer is Wedding FSA. Apparently FSA stands for Fritha and Stu Ale (or something similar) and has been brewed in anticipation of the forthcoming nuptials of Wellington's very own Yeastie Boy.

          Will it be bad luck to drink the wedding beer before the wedding? We've got a hand pump needing beer, so we aren't going to wait for an answer. Cheers Stu.

          Met the Brewer

          We have to pay tribute to Richard Emerson. He had a five day stint in Wellington last week, during which he was whisked from event to event by his minders at Regional Wines and Spirits, made to taste and talk about his product for hours on end and was required to remain upbeat the whole time. For the last leg of this ordeal he was delivered to our door, and, seemingly unaffected, mingled with his many admirers, played guess-the-whisky, consumed the countless beverages bought for him and generally showed why he remains New Zealand Craft Brewing's biggest personality. And the complimentary keg of Weizenbock didn't hurt either. All in all Saturday evening (normally a strange, strange time for our business) was a lot of fun to be part of.

          We took advantage of Richard's good nature to secure as big a supply this year's JP as possible. Geoff Griggs' review of the beer is here.

          We also have Bookbinder on tap right now, and Emerson's Pilsener back on soon.

          Free Crown Caps for Home Brewers

          We have a large, large box of crown caps with Beervana 2009 stamped on them. Free to good, brewing homes.

          Mysterious Gatherings

          We understand that among our patrons tomorrow evening will be a group of people who have one thing in common with each other - the medium by which they made their plan to meet. How weird is that?

          July 22, 2010

          Immediately below...
          • Emerson's Week
          • On Tap Now or Soon
          • A Call For Volunteers
          • Something Beerly Related
          • Emerson's Week

            This is Emerson's Beer Week, when the Emerson's Brewery is showcased in its biggest market, Wellington, by their local distributor, Regional Wines and Spirits.


            As part of this celebration, several Hashigo Zake staff were reluctantly subjected to a masterclass at which a number of Emerson's beers were matched with dishes prepared by Crazy Horse Restaurant. Arguably the most striking beer of the whole event was the 2010 edition of JP, Richard's annual homage to Belgian brewing. This year the style chosen was the not-so-traditional Belgian IPA. This is a style we tend to associate with American craft breweries who love nothing better than to set the distinctive aromas and flavours of warm-fermented Belgian ales against the intense fruit and bitterness of American hops. Judging by the way Flying Dog's Raging Bitch flew off our shelves it's a style that you, our customers, find appealing.

            The good news is that Emerson's new beer succeeds magnificently at reconciling the conflicting flavours that make up a Belgian IPA. The choice of the relatively clean Duvel yeast means there isn't too much spiciness competing with the American hop character, but there remains enough ale character to distinguish it from the (still remarkable) beer it would have been with a more generic yeast.

            Hashigo Zake's trade negotiation team immediately entered into talks to acquire as much stock of this extraordinary one-off beer as possible, which should be available for sale at Hashigo Zake by the time you read this.

            Meet the Brewer

            The undoubted highlight of Emerson's Week is Saturday's Meet The Brewer event on our own premises. Yes Richard will be here from 6:30pm this Saturday, dispensing samples and mingling with appreciative drinkers.

            Even better, the brewery will provide a keg of Emerson's Weizenbock for the event. This is from the brand new 2010 batch. The 2009 version beat the legendary Schneider and Sons' Aventinus to the prize of Champion Wheat Beer in the Australian International Beer Awards back in May. This is the first time any of this beer has made it into a keg.

            On Tap Now or Soon

            Last week we promised another New Zealand first - Meantime IPA on tap. It's now on the premises and is sitting in the waiting room, chomping at the bit, waiting for its chance. By the time you read this it should have fought its way on to a tap, but to be sure, remember you can check here.

            Rogue's Northwestern Ale, the India Red Ale named in honour of real life crab fisherman Sig Hansen, is on tap for the final time. When it's gone it will still be available by the bottle.

            While we wait for the second batch of their APA to come on stream, we've nabbed a keg of Tuatara Pilsner to take the place of the usual Three Boys, Emerson's and Croucher Pilsners for a while.

            Maredsous Tripel, a real live Belgian tripel, is on tap and will be a for a bit longer while we commemorate Belgian National Day (July 21st).

            Yeastie Boys' Motueka Monster and Yakima Monster are both back, this time on the hand pumps.

            A Call For Volunteers

            As you probably know, New Zealand's most important beer festival - Beervana - takes place at the end of next month. As big as Beervana is, it does rely on volunteers to support the organisers and all the stall holders. So Steph Coutts, the volunteer coordinator, is looking for willing helpers to work at one of the four sessions.

            There are perks. For one thing you will also get a free pass to attend one of the Beervana sessions that you aren't actually working at. PLUS you get to attend Lautering with Intent - The Beervana Volunteers Briefing which will be held here at Hashigo Zake on the Tuesday evening before the event.

            Sound good? Check out the volunteer registration page here.

            Something Beerly Related

            Hashigo Zake has a longstanding relationship with FlexiTime, the payroll software company run by SOBA treasurer Rob Owen. This has been a good week for FlexiTime. They have been profiled in an article in next Monday's DominionPost, and to emphasise the stress-free qualities of his product, Rob chose to be photographed in his "happy place" - sitting at our bar.

            The company is also taking part at this week's Bizzone expo at the TSB Arena. For this event FlexiTime engaged the services of Sean Golding and Florian Karp, the design/build team responsible for the way Hashigo Zake looks and for our much loved portable bar, to design and build their booth. And we've just heard that they have taken out the prize for the most creative site. Congratulations to all involved.