Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011

New Shipment #1... New Shipment #2... BrewNZ Week... A New Tasting... In the Kegroom Today... Congratulations...

New Shipment #1

You wait months for some new imported beer to come along and then suddenly two shipments arrive at once.

First came a couple of pallets packed with bottles and kegs from our favourite Japanese brewery - Baird. As well as plenty of fresh examples of beers like Rising Sun Pale Ale, Angry Boy Brown Ale and Suruga Bay Imperial IPA, we've got a smattering of sensational seasonals, such as Shizuoka Natsumikan Ale and West Coast Wheat Wine.

But we've had the Natsumikan Ale and Wheat Wine before. What is truly new is the Wabi-Sabi Green Tea IPA. This is one of the more unusual and beguiling beers we've tried in a while. The green tea flavour is definitely present but it makes itself apparent in unpredictable ways. We thoroughly recommend it to the open-minded.

Our fresh stock of Baird beer is available for sale in the bar from today.

New Shipment #2

Somewhere between Auckland and Wellington, and probably at sea, is our second ever container-load of Californian beer. This means that fresh stocks of Green Flash, Bear Republic and Coronado Brewing will be on our shelves from next week. And taking the place of Ballast Point in this shipment is beer from Moylan's in Northern California. (We are hopeful of getting new stock from Ballast Point in a few months.)

Now our shipments are getting bigger and we're selling a higher proportion than ever to other outlets. This means we need to follow the letter of the regulations and put stickers on every bottle saying that we imported them and how many standard drinks are in each bottle. Apparently if we keep putting labels on bottles saying how many "standard drinks" there are, eventually a generation will be born who actually stop and look at them.

All of which means it will be Tuesday or Wednesday of next week before the contents of this California shipment appear on our and other people's shelves.

BrewNZ Week

The numbers who turned out last night to witness ParrotDog turning pro were, to be honest, a lot more than any of us bargained on. We thought we had enough beer to satisfy everyone who came last night and have more kegs waiting in the storeroom for us to rotate BitterBitch back on tap later in the week. Instead all 120 litres were gone in one hour and 36 minutes. More will follow next week.

It was an outstanding result for ParrotDog. In fact it was such a success that it begs for us to reflect and look for significance in the amazing turnout. There are, arguably, three possible explanations. The first is that the appetite in Wellington for beer from Wellington brewers or brewing companies is possibly even greater than any of us foresaw. The second is that Matt, Matt and, er... Matt simply have an awful lot of friends. The third is that BitterBitch is just that damned good.

We'll cop out and assume that all three are true.

Now hot on the heels of the ParrotDog launch comes a whole week of similar events, culminating in the BrewNZ Awards and Beervana.

Below is the lineup here at 25 Taranaki St. Note that the circumstances behind each individual launch vary somewhat. For instance Garage Project are launching with three beers but with volumes that are so low that we'll have to employ some kind of rationing. But we'll be doing our best to make it easy for everyone coming on each night to sample whatever beer or beers are being launched.

  • The launch of 8 Wired Brewing's newest beer - a Belgian Quadruple called The Sultan, on Monday August 1st.
  • The launch of new Wellington brewery Garage Project, with no fewer than three different beers - Trip Hop, Pernicious Weed (best beer name of 2011?) and Manuka Dark, on Tuesday August 2nd.
  • The release of the 2011 version of Renaissance Brewery's Marlborough Pale Ale - their all Rakau-hopped Imperial IPA - on Wednesday August 3rd. As we did with last year's release, we've engineered this to coincide with Beervana Volunteers Night, which guarantees a particularly convivial event for those concerned.
  • Finally we have a treat for lovers of American craft beer, with the first samplings of fresh draft beer from Moylan's Brewery in northern California. This is on Thursday August 4th. Look for a number of taps being given over to Moylan's, with a chance to buy glasses of all of them at a discount.

A New Tasting

Life will carry on after BrewNZ and Beervana. In fact we're keen to draw attention to our wonderful new container-full of California beer, and so we're already planning our first post-BrewNZ event. It's our second ever Hophead's Picnic - the tasting for unrehabilitated hopheads.

This year's will be the "California Edition". It will feature around eight (maybe more, maybe fewer) serious West Coast IPAs and Imperial IPAs. Go to for more information or to book.

In the Kegroom Today...

With a lot of out of town visitors arriving next week for BrewNZ (not to mention a sprinkling of South African rugby personalities here now), we thought we better ensure that over the next ten days or so we have as good a lineup of tap beers as can be mustered anywhere.

So as well as the beers being launched next week, look out for:

  • 8 Wired Hopwired. Any qualification necessary?
  • Renaissance Elemental - Australasia's best porter as a special treat for any Australian visitors.
  • Extra treats for Hopheads: 8 Wired Superconductor, Yeastie Boys Motueka Warrior, Yeastie Boys Yakima Warrior and Epic Hop Zombie.
  • Townshend Sutton Hoo in its cold, fizzy incarnation.
  • From the rejuvenated Peak Brewery - Monkey Point IPA and Festival Bitter.
  • A new batch of the sensational Liberty Taranaki Session Beer.
  • From California, some Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout (plus whatever goodies we pick from the new shipment).


Two new bars of interest to us opened over the weekend. First was the Little Beer Quarter, a new bar concentrating on craft beer in the location of the former Watusi and (for those of us with longer memories) Tupelo. Those of us who wandered along on opening night were well impressed and wish them well.

We might be inclined to say that the recent flurry of new craft beer bars in Wellington confirms the city's status as New Zealand's Craft Beer Capital. Unfortunately by the time some of you read this that phrase may have been successfully trademarked by a group of people in another city. And no, this is not a hoax.

And much, much later that night - that is to say, it was still Saturday in Scotland - Hashigo Zake alumnus Chris Hogg was, we believe, on duty at the opening of the new Glasgow bar of Scottish brewery Brewdog. He may even have been serving 8 Wired beer out of a Hashigo Zake keg.

If Chris couldn't stay in Wellington, we're glad that he's found a worthy new gig.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

ParrotDog Launch... BrewNZ Week... Belgian National Day... On Tap Soon... Finally...


Judging by the RSVPs on facebook there are going to be a lot of you down here next Wednesday for the launch of the first commercial offering by local brewers ParrotDog. Their first beer - an aggressively hoppy pale ale called "BitterBitch" - is in a conditioning tank at Mike's brewery right now and we'll have the first kegs ever on tap on the night. There will be plenty of samples available then more on tap for the rest of the night.

For those who don't know, ParrotDog's Matt and Matt are major figures in the local home brewing scene and have helped bring on the skills of some of our very own staff here at Hashigo Zake. They're also great customers. So it's a pleasure for us to provide the venue for this extremely special occasion.

BrewNZ Week

Hot on the heals of the ParrotDog launch will be a year's worth of treats squeezed into a single week - and that's not even counting events outside the bar, such as the BrewNZ Awards and Beervana.

Here's that lineup again:

  • The launch of 8 Wired Brewing's newest beer - a Belgian Quadruple called The Sultan, on Monday August 1st.
  • The launch of new Wellington brewery Garage Project, with no fewer than three different beers, on Tuesday August 2nd.
  • The release of the 2011 version of Renaissance Brewery's Marlborough Pale Ale - their all Rakau-hopped Imperial IPA - on Wednesday August 3rd. As we did with last year's release, we've engineered this to coincide with Beervana Volunteers Night, which guarantees a particularly convivial event for those concerned.
  • Finally we have a treat for lovers of American craft beer, with the first samplings of fresh draft beer from Moylan's Brewery in northern California. This is on Thursday August 4th. Look for a number of taps being given over to Moylan's, with a chance to buy glasses of all of them at a discount.

Belgian National Day

Today is the 180th anniversary of the inauguration of Leopold of Saxe-Coburg as Belgian King. While some mark the day with readings from Tin Tin, we choose to cook up Carbonade Flamande. It's a classic Belgian dish using beer-marinated beef, some magnificent seasonings and a long slow cook.

Available from 5pm today for $12.

On Tap Soon

Returning like a welcome friend shortly will be a keg of Mussell Inn Captain Cooker. In fact we have two kegs on the premises, so fans have double the chance of walking in on a night when it's on tap.

Likewise it will be a thrill to welcome back a Norwegian beer that's jockeying with Renaissance Elemental on for the title of 14th best porter in the world. It's one of the last few kegs in our last shipment from Nøgne Ø, but negotiations are well advanced towards getting a bigger and better priced shipment in a couple of months time.

Making its debut very soon will be another beer from the resurgent West Coast Brewery - their Malted Oatmeal Stout.

In news for hop-heads, there is more Epic Hop Zombie to come shortly and not too far behind will be Moa McMoa, more Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse and, we hope, multiple kegs of 8 Wired Superconductor.


After leaving hints here and there for months, we can announce that today or tomorrow eight of Hashigo Zake's own kegs will leave what is probably Australia's best brewery - Feral - and begin their journey home with a long haul across the Nullarbor Plain. We may not see these until after Beervana, but the curious might like to head to the Australian bar at Beervana and have a taste.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011

Trademark News... Bastille Day... Mainlining Hop... BrewNZ Week...

Trademark News

Well the news is still sinking in that DB and IPONZ have conspired to make New Zealand Brewing and Intellectual Law an international laughing stock. Strangely the adjudicator in the case has not seen fit to come down and explain himself in person, so it really is a mystery why he ruled the way they did. For a slightly more strident reaction, please read Enough for now.

Coincidentally our attention was brought to a story from the US about alleged trademark infringement. It involves the Moylan's brewery in Northern California, who are being sued by San Diego's Lost Abbey because their tap handles look too similar. As sad as a quarrel like this is, it at least shows how far California's craft breweries have come that they are getting litigious with each other rather than the industrial breweries.

Now regulars will have observed that the use of customised tap handles is one American craft beer practice that we haven't adopted at Hashigo Zake. But we might just make an exception on August the 4th when we put Moylan's beers on for the first time and we can take in the beauty of a lawsuit-inciting piece of sculpture.

Bastille Day

For the commemoratively challenged, today is Bastille Day, the French National day. It's not often we can find the time, inclination, equipment or range of cooking fats necessary to attempt French cuisine in our little kitchen, but we're making an exception today. Since Tuesday we've been curing and confit-ing duck legs, soaking beans and baking breadcrumbs so we can come up with a classic cassoulet, while figuring out how to recreate the cooking steps of this dish with the gadgets in our kitchenette.

Perhaps we're wasting our time but if we can satisfy a single French person, or at least someone who knows the words to the Marseillaise, then it will have been worth it.

To help wash down this treat, we've added some genuine French Bière de Garde (in the form of Trois Monts) to the beer list. Or if you'd like an alternative with slightly fewer miles on the clock, we have a new keg of Bridge Road Bière de Garde that only had to cross the Tasman.

If everything goes to plan, all these treats are available from 5pm today. Oh - and we've found a French Internet radio station to play!

Mainlining Hop

Once again we're living through a period with an abundance of highly hopped beers. The latest batch of Mike's IIPA has been available for a few weeks now, and batch #2 of the extraordinary new NZIPA known as Taranaki Pale Ale has just reached us and is on tap right now.

Meanwhile it sounds as though something truly warped went on in west Auckland when Liberty's Joseph Wood, Epic's Luke Nicholas and Kelly Ryan and Hallertau's Steve Plowman got together to collaborate on a new beer. Perhaps instead of comparing recipes and compromising on their respective malt and hop bills, they combined them. But we aren't deterred and have agreed to buy a stock equivalent to about half of the whole batch of the Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse.

Rumour has it that the ABV of this beer is close to double digits, while the IBU count is well into triple digits. It seems that until now only Aucklanders have been allowed to sample this beer (which does turn around the usual order of things beer-related) but our chance will come in the next day or two.

We're also expecting the first of two new beers from 8 Wired - starting with an Imperial IPA called Superconductor.

BrewNZ Week

Speaking of new beers from 8 Wired, last year's experimental Sultan of Swing (the Belgian-style, sultana infused quarupel) is about to become this year's new release, known simply as Sultan. Its release at Hashigo Zake on August the 1st is the final addition to the dazzling puzzle that is 2011 BrewNZ Week at Hashigo Zake.

It's lucky for Beervana's organisers that they have a lot more capacity than us (about 50 times more) because otherwise we would be in danger of overshadowing them with our programme of events on the same week. Check out before writing that statement off as an idle boast. But instead only the select few who follow our plans will know how exciting the days from Monday August 1 to Thursday August 4 are going to be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011

Tis the Season... Taranaki Tasting Reminder... Bastille Day... On Tap Soon...

Tis the Season

Can anyone suggest a collective noun for a number of launches? The best we could come up with was a "Flotilla" of them. Or maybe a "Space Programme" of launches.

Questions like this trouble some of us occasionally when faced with the prospect of collectively announcing a calendar full of launch-type events. Read on to learn just what we're on about.

Note that several of these events coincide with the week of the BrewNZ Awards and the Beervana festival. This is not a fluke and we'll be taking further steps to make sure that that week is as packed as possible with special occasions for beer geeks. Because you deserve to take that week off work.


First up is the previously announced New Zealand release of the Waldhaus Brewery. This will take the form of a tasting on July the 19th. You can book for this at It does seem a little odd to treat the arrival of a nearly 200 year old brewery as a "launch", but we think that for the full range of a small, authentic, provincial German brewery to come to New Zealand is a kind of a first.

ParrotDog BitterBitch

Next up will be ParrotDog. This name will be new to most readers. This is a new brewing company belonging to two of our regular customers that we'll call Matt and Matt, who have just had their first commercial batch brewed at Mike's in Taranaki. Before their first beer - BitterBitch - makes its way onto the taps of the country's most discerning bars, they've picked Hashigo Zake as the place that it should be poured first.

This will take place on July 27. Come on down that evening and we'll make it particularly easy for anyone to try BitterBitch.

To keep track of ParrotDog, check out their facebook page at

Garage Project

A few weeks ago we took great pleasure in divulging the news that a new Wellington based brewery has been preparing to unleash itself on a thirsty public. We can now announce that Garage Project will bring the fruits of their first brewing efforts to Hashigo Zake on August the 2nd.

In case we failed to make it clear earlier, we have high expectations of Garage Project. And right now Pete, Jos and Ian are articulately documenting their progress at (They also have a facebook page at, not to mention the twitter account @Garage_Project.)


Next up, on August 3rd, will be the overdue return to Hashigo Zake (at least on official business) of the men behind one of our favourite breweries. The occasion is the launch of the 2011 batch of Marlborough Pale Ale, Renaissance's idiosyncratic take on an Imperial IPA, made with the one hop variety known as Rakau.

We're expecting Renaissance's Director Brian Thiel and, we hope, one or more of the their legendary brewing staff of Andy Deuchars and Søren Erikson. The fun will kick off at 4pm.


The last event (for now) that we can advise you about, is the arrival in New Zealand of another extraordinary Californian brewery. This is no idle boast - we're backed up by the judges at the Australian International Beer Awards, who recently named Moylan's the champion exhibitor at the 2011 event.

So on August 4, fresh from a (refrigerated) journey from Novato in Northern California, we'll be serving a number of Moylan's beers. As we have done previously with some of the Californian breweries that we import, we'll offer everyone present a chance to taste a set for a discounted price.

This is all a lot to remember - consider bookmarking the web page If you're a user of google calendar then you can just click on an event and choose to copy it to your own calendar.

Taranaki Tasting Reminder

Next Wednesday our tasting of the "big two" Taranaki breweries - Mike's and Liberty - takes place. At the time of writing there are fewer than ten places left. Book at

Bastille Day

Monday's 4th of July celebrations set all kinds of records here at Hashigo Zake so naturally we want to continue to honour selected countries whose birthdays are this month. Next up is France. We'll augment our modest supply of French beer to go with the meal of the day.

That meal will, by next Thursday, be the culmination of more confit-ing, sautéing and braising in wine than we've ever performed in our under-developed kitchen. The result will be our first ever serving of the wondrous French dish known as Cassoulet. Look for it on the menu next Thursday.

On Tap Soon

You don't need to wait until the aforementioned product launches to taste something pretty special:

  • Right now KJD Tangerine Witbier is on tap. It's the result of a joint venture between two Christchurch brewing identities - Kirsten Taylor and Dickie Fyfe.
  • The champion beer from last year's National Homebrewing Champs has undergone its second incarnation as a commercial beer. This time it has been re-brewed at Sprig and Fern in Nelson, home of it's inventor, Dale Holland. We've secured a keg of this beer, which is described as a New Zealand take on a Belgian Pale Ale.
  • We've got another keg of Golden Eagle's popular South Island Pale Ale.
  • The ever-popular Three Boys Oyster Stout returns to the hand pumps.
  • Some of our favourite imports - Bridge Rd Harvest Ale, Jamieson The Beast IPA and Baird Rising Sun Pale Ale return to the taps in the coming days.