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.