Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27, 2012

Music This Saturday... New Year's Eve... New Release Tuesday...

Music This Saturday

As a central city, underground bar we choose to deny the need for New Zealand's traditional summer shutdown and urban evacuation. And so it's very much business as usual here, right down to our weekly institutions including this Saturday night's musical slot. This week it's taken by Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band. If you've ever wanted to take in one of Darren's gigs but were perhaps discouraged by their sheer popularity, this Saturday may be your best chance to find a comfortable pozzy, cradle a nice sipping beer and take in the glory of authentic blues played in a subterranean environment.

The doity old blues played filthily (Darren's words) start at 10pm.

New Year's Eve

Having been in business a few years now, we can look back at our own records and tell a little about how our customers behave when certain annual events roll around. And we have definitely learned that for our customers an increment to the portion of the date denoting the year has about the same significance as a typical Saturday night. Which is fitting since both occasions are equally predictable and momentous, even if one happens 52 times more frequently.

So this year we're treating December 31 (next Monday) quite a lot like a Saturday night - we'll get ready to serve a few more rum and cokes and pinot gris and we'll have musical support from the Nick Granville Trio from 10pm, at no charge. And we expect, in fact we promise, a lot less mayhem and carnage than you'll see on Courtenay Place.

New Release Tuesday

Another institution carries on serenely over the New Year period. New Release Tuesday will be back on New Year's Day with a Mikkeller two punch in the form of Hop Burn High and Hop Burn Low. These are top and bottom fermented versions of what are otherwise identical beers. The wort for both is essentially that of an Imperial IPA. And they both come through at a nice round 10% ABV. Fortunately the 2nd of Jan is also a holiday.

They'll both go on tap at 5pm on New Year's Day. Or perhaps, since few if any of you will be coming from a day job, we'll flick the switch earlier in the day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

Business as Usual... The End of Time... Two New IPAs... Upcoming Music... IP Watch - Enduring Freedom Edition...

Business as Usual

At the risk of boring regular readers, we'd like to emphasise once again how little will change for us over the next few days. We have no choice but to close on Christmas Day (starting from 11:30pm the night before) but will be trading as usual from Boxing Day until Good Friday next year. Our Saturday gigs in the lounge won't stop and there will even be an extra New Years Eve show (see below). And we'll apply none of those annoying holiday surcharges.

The only component of our regular offering to suffer will be New Release Tuesday. With Christmas Day a Tuesday it would just seem wrong to have it a day late or early during a period when many of our regular customers are away, so New Release Tuesday will have its first hiatus since it started as an institution earlier this year. But it will be back on New Year's Day.

Strange as it may seem this email will be back next week. It's hard to tell what we'll have to say and it's unclear whether anyone will be reading it, going by those terribly useful out-of-office replies you send back to us. You know, the ones detailing everywhere you're going and what awards you've won lately. Oops - no that's just Luke Nicholas.

The End of Time

Joseph Wood has been talking up La Fin du Temps, his Mayan-doomsday beer, on the social networks. On facebook today he wrote:

...Brewing the beer was a labour of love. For the best part, I absolutely do not enjoy using whole flowers in my brewing system. Regardless, I had a fairly generous 10 grams per litre of the whole flowers throughout the boil and in the hopback. Then the yeast… well, let’s just say that at 1.091… you need a LOT of yeast to ferment the wort....
...I am extremely proud of this beer. When a brewery is known for its ability to produce big hoppy beers, and big malty beers it can be a struggle to break the mould and attempt something different. I would describe this beer as an imperial Saison… but please don’t let the style connotations guide your experience.

The full text is at Liberty Brewing's facebook page.

It's our habit to put new releases on at 5pm. We could wait until 7:30pm and make a little extra income by making everyone buy other drinks first, but who would be that cynical?

But tomorrow we suspect a lot of you will be drifting home from your jobs a little earlier than usual, so we'll aim to get this beer on nice and early in the afternoon (subject to it being delivered from our warehouse nice and early).

Two New IPAs

Last week we described Ryefix IPA, a collaboration between Australia's Northdown and Denmark's Beer Here, brewed at Invercargill and being sold by us. It's proven to be a pretty rich, tasty IPA and we've already been through a keg over the last two nights. It's available in bottles right now and will be back on tap in the near future.

Also out in time for Christmas is ParrotDog's new American IPA that they're calling PitBull. It seemed a pretty apt name even before the Matts set about intellectualising it:

How quickly and easily America forgets its heroes. Owned by three American presidents and given the highest military honours of any other breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier is a very misunderstood dog. It was even used as America’s canine military mascot during the First World War. However, it’s own extreme power and aggressiveness – which ultimately led to its much less-than-favourable status in today’s society – cannot be underestimated.
And neither can this beer. PitBull has a huge, pungent American-hopped aroma that leaps out of an equally sized rich, golden malt base. The finish is very bitter. This is our most aggressive beer yet in terms of malt, hop and alcohol levels – you've been warned!

Pitbull, which is a limited release, will be on tap very soon.

Upcoming Music

Popular blues band The Nick Granville Trio return this Saturday and will also be back for an extra performance on New Years Eve. And the equally popular Darren Watson will be back with his Underground Blues Band on Saturday the 29th.

IP Watch - Enduring Freedom Edition

Our regular updates from IPONZ regarding trademark activity have had surprisingly few shockers in the last week or two. What has been interesting is a sudden rush by a few brewers that we actually respect to trademark some of their well known and original beer names.

So we're casting a slightly wider net to bring in a shocking misuse of a term we like. Following a tip-off from Hugh of Hopscotch in Auckland we've learned that there's a bar in Ponsonby called Freeman and Grey whose beer taps are 100% controlled by Lion Nathan but are calling themselves a "freehouse". Hugh has taken it up with the Commerce Commission. We wish him luck. Next thing Lion Nathan will be opening their own chain of "Cult Beer Bars". Today's nonsense suggestion is tomorrow's business plan.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

Immediately below Beer Decadence... The End of Time... Rye IPA... Music This Saturday...

Beer Decadence

As foreshadowed in last week's email, next Tuesday Garage Project will unveil what might be the most extravagant beer ever made commercially in New Zealand. The story began when Boundary Road mailed five dollar notes to 22,000 people and Garage Project invited recipients to donate them to a "fermenter fund". The amount raised wasn't quite enough to fund any serious stainless steel purchases, so instead it was used to fund the purchase of the most expensive ingredients possible for a beer.

The result is a Belgian Blonde Ale fermented with a Champagne Yeast, and conditioned on White Truffle infused Honey and fresh grated White Truffles. And we'll be launching this affront to brewing's blue collar roots on Tuesday at 5pm.

The End of Time

Plenty of people seem to have been conflating the alleged Mayan prediction of the end of the world (scheduled for 21/12/2012) with the numerically quaint date of 12/12/12. So really, anyone celebrating having survived yesterday is in danger of looking pretty silly in eight days time.

But for many the question is not "will the world end next Friday?" but "how will we survive?". Yes apparently the end of the world is somehow survivable. Just as well because there's not much point flogging Let's Get Ready to Rapture coffee mugs if you aren't around to spend the proceeds.

But as even the Decembertwentyfirstists admit, they aren't quite sure how the end will come, so it's hard to see what measure will really see any of us through. In other words, we guarantee that the survival strategy we are about to give is as effective as any and every other one.

That strategy is to come along next Friday and inoculate yourself against the end by drinking Liberty Brewing's La Fin du Temps (incorrectly called La Fin du Monde last week) which is an experimental, small batch, strong Saison. Then when you wake up on the morning of December 22 try to remember that we're something like eighteen hours ahead of Mayan daylight time.


A month or so ago we were visited by Adam Betts of Melbourne distributor Northdown and Christian Skovdal Andersen of Danish brewing company Beer Here. They were on something of a tour, mixing white water rafting with some white-knuckle brewing at Tuatara and Croucher, that we believe will result in some collaborative releases in the near future.

They also visited Invercargill Brewery to make a Rye IPA hopped only with Australian "Ella" hops. The resulting beer is Ryefix IPA. At the time of writing kegs and bottles of this beer are on their way north to us and in a day or so we'll be rushing this onto our shelves, taps and to our wholesale customers.

Incidentally Ella hops were once known as "Stella" (just as a slightly better known Australian hop is called Galaxy) until an objection from whichever corporate entity now owns the Stella Artois. No we're not making this up.

Music This Saturday

We host a new musical act this Saturday, just in case there was a danger that some of our regular acts became too much of a good thing. They're Scarlet, a two piece jazz and soul combo. They're on at 10pm on Saturday with the now traditional $0 cover charge.

And just quietly, the 2013 Fringe Festival programme came out yesterday, and there's a small development in our role as a performance venue.

Finally, and still on the subject of live music, Hashigo Zake's management mourns the recent tragic death of the unique performer and uncannily nice Wellingtonian, Steve Andrews.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012

Beer Decadence... More Beer Decadence... Tropical Beer... Music This Week... Christmas Rituals... Something Free!...

Beer Decadence

Way back in late 2011 a certain company specialising in the production of RTDs and green bottle beer that we'll call erm... "Independent" launched a beer brand that we'll call ahm... "Boundary Road". As part of an early brand-building exercise they enlisted volunteer tasters who would later receive a letter with a $5 note paperclipped to it, a little like this.

Many of us were puzzled by this practice of signing up members of the public then just sending out five bucks as reward - an amount that on its own was token but if done 22,000 times dwarfs the annual advertising budget of most of New Zealand's craft breweries. Since Boundary Road didn't seem to need to the cash, Garage Project invited recipients to donate their Hillaries to a Garage Project "fermenter fund".

Now the eventual use that the collected monies were put to will be explained next week. But in the meantime Garage Project invites those who passed on their Boundary Road notes to remind us who you are by getting in touch (replying to this email will do). And maybe leave a little of the evening of December 18 free.

More Beer Decadence

Allegedly the Mayan calendar ends next Friday (December 21) and the world's going to explode. Liberty Brewing have taken this little understood threat seriously and are inviting us to accept the planet's fate and drink a beer fit for the end of the world. Although going by reports from New Plymouth this beer's yeast doesn't appreciate the urgency of the situation and is taking longer than expected to ferment out. But Joe is confident that by Friday December 21 his La Fin du Temps strong saison will be ready to drink.

Now for many of you the 21st will be your last day of work for 2012. (Perhaps it was the upheaval that would be caused by the sudden departure of most of New Zealand's workforce on December 21st that clouded the view of the future for the Mayans, inadvertently triggering today's confusion.) It seems a perfect circumstance for a radical, big new beer from the extraordinary Liberty brewery.

Tropical Beer

Our next Tuesday New Release is another from Singapore's Jungle Beer. In Singapore's climate it seems their fruit-infused wheat beers are enormously popular, to the extent that there are several variants. And international visitors frequently comment on how Singapore-like Wellington's early summer is. Tragically we missed out on the durian-flavoured beer, but we did pick up a couple of others, including this week's new release - Tropical Wheat - Pink Guava and Soursop.

Now before anyone thinks we've sold out and are stocking beer-flavoured alcopops in the style of Stone's notorious (and fictional) Extreme Lemony-Lime, there's another side to this beer. It turns out that Soursop is something of a wonder-fruit with cancer-curing powers. We look forward to demand for this beer resembling the great 1999 mussel-rush.

And speaking of beers perfect for the Wellington, ahem, summer, it was about a year ago that a visit by Nøgne Ø's Kjetil led to the release of Summer Sommer, an attempt by him and Garage Project to create a southern hemisphere Christmas beer, using rye malt and pohutakawa honey. For a tiny batch of beer it over-achieved, picking up a trophy for Best Speciality beer at the Australian International Beer Awards earlier this year. There was even a video made.

Next week Garage Project release the first large batch of Summer Sommer. We look forward to putting it on tap, and if pieces fall into place it may back up our fruity, wheaty friend in Tuesday's new release slot.

Incidentally there are hopes that a batch of Summer Sommer will be brewed at Nøgne Ø some time in 2013.

Music This Week

On Saturday night The X-Ray Catz return to mine the mineral-rich ground beneath the meeting point of rock and roll, rockabilly and swing.

We'd like to offer discounted admission to people with dancing shoes, but there's no charge to start with. From 10pm.

End of Year Rituals

This will be our business's fourth Christmas & New Year period since opening and over the years our attitude to the holiday season hasn't changed. And that is that our duty is to maintain as consistent a service as possible for our regular customers. So apart from Christmas Day, when we're legally required to stay closed, we'll be opening as usual at noon every day. And we will not apply any of those annoying holiday surcharges.

Experience tells us that new year revelry and quality beer don't necessarily go hand in hand and we've learned not to expect New Year's Eve to be a big night for us. Nevertheless we owe it to our customers to provide an alternative to whatever it is you call what goes on in your average Courtenay Place establishment. So we will have live music on New Year's Eve from the Nick Granville Trio.

Our annual survey, which we believe leads to the most reliable and considered report on what's good in New Zealand craft brewing, will be back very early in the new year. (Because no-one would be stupid enough to choose Best Of 2012 awards before the end of the year, would they?)

Something Free!

Thanks to Sky TV we have a couple of massive "Summer of Cricket" posters. Free to a good home.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29, 2012

Hobbit-Themed Beer... Mexas Ranger... Upcoming Emerson's Beer... Craft Beer College "Exam"... Live Music... The 2012 Santa Session...

Hobbit-Themed Beer

A little while ago we featured a beer called Our Precious, that we smuggled over from Oregon at great trouble and expense. That beer was the result of a collaboration between Graeme Mahy of Hamilton's 666 Brewing and the multi-award winning Oregon brewpub called Pelican.

As is often the way with collaborative beers, the beer has been re-brewed by the party that had originally travelled to take part. In other words, Graeme has brewed a local version of Our Precious. It went on tap yesterday. For those who missed out on the Oregon-brewed version it's a superb "New World" Pale Ale.

Yeastie Boys have brewed what we understand is a more "official" Hobbit-related beer. It's Golden Perch, "named for the pub that reputedly served the best beer in Tolkien's Eastfarthing". It's a 4.4% golden ale and will appear on one of our hand pumps any minute.

Mexas Ranger

Next week's new release is one we've been looking forward to since rumours of this beer emerged months ago. It's a variant on Mikkeller's incredibly popular chipotle porter (Texas Ranger) but with five kinds of chilli, almond milk, cocoa, black beans and avocado.

It will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday, before the Santa Session!

Upcoming Emerson's Beer

Yes you read that right. Nothing has changed about our policy of buying from breweries other than Heineken DB and Kirin Lion Nathan. But until the end of the month Emerson's remain independent and the ever-gracious personnel at the brewery were good enough to get in touch this week and let us know that they had some of our empty kegs! So we're getting them filled this week - probably with Weissbier.

Craft Beer College "Exam"

Craft Beer College's inaugural season of tastings comes to a close this Saturday, with an exercise in the important and demanding task of tasting beer "blind". Attendees' ability to discern what they've tasted will be monitored with prizes given to the most discerning. In fact Hashigo Zake is contributing one or two pieces of swag to make sure the prizes are desirable.

Anyone interested in attending should get in touch by emailing

Live Music

This week Darren Watson and his Underground Blues Band return. On past experience this is all that need be said to promote this event.

The 2012 Santa Session

Next Tuesday's 2012 Santa Session is more or less full. If one or two people were to waste no time and proceed to the Cult Beer Store they might pick up the last places.

See you all on Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21, 2012

Breaking With Tradition... Garage Project Releases... Craft Beer College "Exam"... Live Music... The 2012 Santa Session...

Breaking with Tradition

We're breaking with a tradition dating back to the end of the first decade of the 21st century by sending this email on a Wednesday. This is to correct a grievous omission from last Thursday's email. On that day we failed to draw attention to an event of some significance happening, ahem... [shuffles papers, mumbles] this evening.

Yes this very evening we have the pleasure of being the first outlet anywhere to tap a keg of the 2012 release of Tuatara American Pale Ale.

This beer has enormous significance for many of us. To be blunt, its release a couple of years ago was the first time in years that hopheads took Tuatara seriously. It paved the way for Aotearoa Pale Ale, Conehead, Mayday and Double Trouble. But this APA is dependent on the supply of those decadent US hops.

So we're delighted that Tuatara have made a large pile of kegs of the stuff available for us to serve tonight and (depending how tonight goes) for a few more days after that.

Those arriving on or shortly after 5pm should find some pretty generous samples of the beer being doled out too. We're also expecting many of Tuatara's key personnel to be on the premises at the appointed hour.

Now we are also aware that a certain other institution of the Wellington craft beer phenomenon returns this evening - Regional Wines and Spirits Beer Options. For the last couple of years we've sponsored prizes in this event, only to see them come back tucked under the arms of members of a team made up of staff from Hashigo Zake and Craft Beer College. We're undeterred and will, once again, try to supply some swag that gives competitors an extra incentive to unseat the reigning Beer Options champions.

Beer Options competitors are welcome to return to Hashigo Zake after the competition to sample some of the new batch of Tuatara APA. And if you latch on to Dave or Shiggy you might even be able to sponge a taxi ride.

Upcoming Garage Project Releases

There's an unintended theme to this week's news. Just as Tuatara release their clearly American influenced beer, Garage Project are about to release a succession of beers with American "inspirations". The first of those comes on Tuesday. It's California Über Alles, an interpretation of the famous but not so common California Common style. (As in Anchor Steam™.)

The vital info is that California Über Alles is brewed with US Northern Brewer hops, Pale, Vienna, Crystal and Caramel malts and California Lager yeast. We're told that in the next few weeks Garage Project will be releasing batches of Pils'n'Thrills, Golden Brown and Angry Peaches - all with US connections. There's more info on Garage Project's own site.

Note that as a beer made for general release California Über Alles isn't part of Garage Project's 24 More programme. But we know that more experiments in that series are waiting in the wings. We expect more from 24 More before Christmas.

There's some bonus news for fans of Wellington's most garagey brewery. All pretence of secrecy over their trip to Tuatara about a month ago has been abandoned and we can talk openly about their "contract brewed" batch of Red Rocks Reserve. When you turn up at someone else's brewery with your own hot rocks it hardly seems to fit the classic definition of a contract brew. The reason Garage Project took themselves and their rocks to Paraparaumu was to take advantage of Tuatara's bottling capability. So a massive batch of Red Rocks Reserve was brewed and it all gets bottled this Friday. We'll have stock in time for next Tuesday's California Über Alles release - maybe even earlier.

In case anyone has forgotten, Red Rocks Reserve is the beer that results from taking the wort for a pretty tasty, hoppy red ale and passing it through and over ultra-hot rocks, in an adaptation of the tradition of stein-brewing.

And at the risk of repeating a point made earlier, we're very excited to see two Wellington breweries collaborating.

Craft Beer College "Exam"

Craft Beer College's inaugural season of tastings comes to a close on December 1st, with an exercise in the important and demanding task of tasting beer "blind". Attendees' ability to discern what they've tasted will be monitored with prizes given to the most discerning. In fact Hashigo Zake is contributing one or two pieces of swag to make sure the prizes are desirable.

Anyone interested in attending should get in touch by emailing

Live Music

We have to acknowledge another failing in last week's email from us to you :- we failed to mention last Saturday's live gig. But last week's shortcomings are this week's steps on a path of continual improvement.

So we can announce that this Saturday evening live musical entertainment will be provided by the Tony Mad Trio performing Texas Boogie in the tradition of Stevie Ray Vaughan. From 10pm and at no charge.

The 2012 Santa Session

A handful of places remain for the 2012 Santa Session, coming up on December 4. More details and bookings are at the Cult Beer Store.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012

Fresh Baird Beer... The First Hashigo Zake Smartphone App... The 2012 Santa Session... Other Things To Look Forward To...

Fresh Baird Beer

It has been a while since we took delivery of any kegs from Japan's Baird brewery. But they recently made a switch to using plastic key kegs for exporting and we put in an order. When that shipment turned up at our warehouse last week with two of those kegs suffering catastrophic damage en route, the choice of keg was looking slightly problematic. The silver lining is that there's nothing wrong with the beer in the 16 kegs that survived the journey.

So next week we get to put a Baird beer in the New Release Tuesday slot. It's Big Red Machine Fall Classic Ale, a beer released in October every year since 2005 to mark baseball's "World Series". The "Big Red Machine" is a reference to Bryan Baird's childhood and the Cincinnati Reds team of 1975 that won the "World Series".

Big Red Machine won a bronze medal at the 2008 World Beer Cup in Category 19 - "Cellar or Unfiltered Beer".

The First Hashigo Zake Smartphone App

Many regular customers will be used to the sight of our especially regular customer, Robin Sheat, toiling at a laptop in the Red Room while sipping quality ale. We should have foreseen that all that beer-fueled work would yield something inspired. Because a couple of weeks ago he made the first "Hashigo Zake" Android app available. It hooks into the data files we hold on our website to generate our own menu and presents that menu in a more productive and interactive form.

While the app is still quite simple we're in awe of Robin's enterprise and willingness to work with our own haphazard file formats. Serious geek cred.

If you're reading this on an Android device, perhaps consider following this link:

Now, strangely, the idea of creating a version of this app for Apple devices doesn't excite Robin. So we're left with an unintended google-bias in our 3rd party application manifest. Perhaps iOS developers don't like good beer.

The 2012 Santa Session

As predicted last week, we can now announce details of the 2012 Santa Session. It's our chance to celebrate the end of a thoroughly enjoyable year with many of our favourite customers - particularly SOBA members, who get to join the fun for just $20. Not only is the price the same as last year, participants will be able to take away their souvenir glass afterwards!

Anyone interested will need to book, which is done via our webstore: here.

Other Things To Look Forward To

8 Wired have a new pale ale, which we'll have on tap soon.

As promised last week, Liberty XPA (Extra Pale Ale) is very close.

There's a new batch of Funk Estate's Black IPA, which these days is going by the name Funk'nstein. Funk Estate's owners remain oblivious to what an awesome name Blaxpoitation would be for this beer, having all been born in the '80s.

We were saving a keg of Twisted Hop Marmalale, but apparently the brewery need the empty keg back, so we'll have no choice but to put this on shortly.

For those who like their pilsners and wheat beer to taste authentically German, we have Waldhaus Schwarzwald Weisse on tap now, with Diplom Pils coming soon.

As well as next week's New Release, there will be more Baird on tap soon with Suruga Bay Imperial IPA returning.

Finally, since this has been a relatively short dispatch, anyone dissatisfied can find extra reading here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8, 2012

Phew... New Release Tuesday... Saturday Night Gig... On Tap Now or Soon... Some Upcoming Dates...


What a strange few days it has been. After the extremely enjoyable Day of the Dead releases and celebrations late last week, Tuesday brought the bombshell of the sale of Emerson's and we got in something of a debate by press release, blog post and radio interview. Still on Tuesday we launched two chilli beers then yesterday we hosted some of our busiest mid-week trade ever thanks to the US election.

There has been an awful lot said in a short time about the Emerson's sale, so for now we'll just repeat the gist of our stance. That is that Emerson's new owners are a brewing company whose products we decline to stock as a matter of policy. Emerson's investors deserve congratulations and thanks for twenty years of magnificent, pioneering work for which they will now, finally, receive financial reward.

But from our point of view, and unlike the sale of Emerson's, yesterday's presidential election was a victory for good beer. Our take on White House Honey Porter, brewed on Garage Project's pilot system by our own Dave and Dylan, turned out to be actually quite nice. It's a pity it ran out so quickly. And a home brewer (yes, that's a stretch) was returned to the White House.

New Release Tuesday

After two chilli beers from the Pacific Rim next week's new release also features unconventional adjuncts, but comes from Scandinavia. Yes it's another new Nøgne Ø beer with a pretty intriguing name and description. It's called Citrus Hystrix, which happens to be the botanic name for Kaffir Lime, which is in the beer in some form, along with tangerine juice, rye and oats. It's categorised as an IPA, but since we haven't tried it yet ourselves we can't add much more. But reviews on ratebeer are promising and we're looking forward to this a lot.

Nøgne Ø Citrus Hystrix IPA goes on tap for the first time on Tuesday at 5pm.

Saturday Night Gig

The Kirsten Te Rito Trio bring funk back to our lounge this Saturday night from 10pm. As always admission is rounded down to $0.

On Tap Now or Soon

Our lineup is changing as frequently and unpredictably as ever right now, as we juggle special releases (like yesterday's election beer), Tuesday releases and a handful of remaining luxury leftovers from the Pacific Beer Expo. Even on a Thursday it's risky to try and predict what will be on tap on Friday night.

But we'll give one beer a fanfare, although it may not get on tap until next week. It's a new beer from Liberty called Extra Pale Ale. It's designed as a hoppy but very light and easy drinking pale ale. Joe is confident that it will be a hit over the, ahem, "warmer" months. It's packed with Amarillo hops and for many of us the Amarillo version of his West Coast Blond beers of the last couple of summers was the pick of that series.

Some Upcoming Dates

Tuatara's American Pale Ale has always been incredibly popular with our customers and it's about to become available again. In fact we're talking to the brewery about hosting a (re-)launch of the beer in the near future. Stay tuned for more details.

The 2012 Santa Session will take place on Tuesday December 4. We aren't taking bookings yet - all going well we'll open bookings at the same time that next week's email goes out. The format will be more or less the same as the previous two years. We'll bring in lots of the slower moving products from our warehouse, work through them one or two beers at a time and pour liberal samples to all those taking part. We promise extremely good value for money, particularly for SOBA members whose tickets will be discounted.

This very day Liberty's Joe Wood is brewing a new, high-gravity beer that he plans to release in several bars simultaneously on December the 12th - or 12.12.12.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Día de los Muertos... Chilli Beers... Darren Watson... US Presidential Election...

Día de los Muertos

Very shortly we'll be hosting a triple release of Garage Project Day of the Dead beers. Those are Day of the Dead, Double Day of the Dead and Bourbon Barrel Aged Day of the Dead. As many of you will be tired of being told, last year's Day of the Dead was one of the most popular beers, or perhaps the most popular beer of the original 24/24 programme.

Then tomorrow it will be the turn of Day of the Dead's new sister beer - La Calevera Catrina. This maize-based, habanero-infused, watermelon and rose-water-finished curiosity has most of us scratching our heads before we've even tasted it. It could be the start of a phenomenon. But with only a tiny initial batch made it would be tempting fate to not race along to try it tomorrow evening.

Garage Project aren't the only brewery with a liking for the Mexican Day of the Dead. Rogue have been making Dead Guy Ale and Dead Guy Whiskey for years. We started stocking Dead Guy Whiskey recently. The first bottle is nearly finished and whoever orders the last serving can take home the glow-in-the-dark bottle!

Finally to coincide with the next two days' special releases we've tweaked the lighting in our red room to make it even redder and today's music is streaming direct from Mexico.

Chilli Beers

Hot on the heals of our somewhat chilli-infused Day of the Dead beers, the finals of the national chilli eating contest take place on Saturday. Liberty have made a special chilli beer for it, called Dragon's Whaia. Given Joseph Wood's notorious appetite for ridiculously hot chillies it seems reasonable to assume that this will be a challenging drop. It will be one of our new releases next Tuesday.

Now we haven't tried Dragon's Whaia yet but are making a few assumptions about its intensity. So for the sensible among us who prefer our capsaicin in quantities that aren't life-threatening we're putting on a second beer. It's Jungle Brewing's Cerveza Habanero.

Cerveza Habanero will be our first ever Southeast Asian craft beer. We just took delivery of a pallet of beer intended for the Pacific Beer Expo but which (obviously) didn't quite make it in time. We're assuming that a brewery who specialises in wheat beers infused with tropical fruits is going to show a little restraint when making a chilli beer. But then again it shouldn't come as a surprise if something originating in Southeast Asia has a little kick to it as well.

We'll all know for sure at around 5pm on Tuesday

And since we just mentioned the Pacific Beer Expo, a review just appeared on Australia's Crafty Pint.

Darren Watson

Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band are back in the lounge this Saturday night. The complimentary entertainment starts at 10pm.

US Presidential Election

The US Presidential Election is next Wednesday - New Zealand time and weather permitting. As the vote counting begins we're looking forward to tapping the only kegs in New Zealand (that we know of) of White House Honey Porter (Garage Project / Hashigo Zake remix). We'll pipe a combination of a satellite news channel and internet-sourced coverage through the TVs and look out for early signs of an impending zombie apocalypse.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012

La Calavera Catrina... Pacific Beer Expo Credits... N-N-Nineteen... The Return of Adam Page... US Presidential Election... Growler Howler, the Epilogue...

La Calavera Catrina

Plenty of us have vivid memories of last year's pilot batch of Day of the Dead - the chocolate, chilli and agave infused dark lager, launched on 1/11/11, the Día de los Muertos. Many considered it the most successful of Garage Project's 24/24 programme.

Earlier this year it was followed up by Double Day of the Dead, brewed largely for Melbourne's Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in May. But some of that beer made its way to the local market and a little more made its way into bourbon barrels. Indeed we got a foretaste of the barrel-aged version at the Pacific Beer Expo.

Now it would be pretty exciting if all three of those variants on the Day of the Dead beer were available at one place and time. And they will - here, next Thursday, November 1. But Garage Project's brains trust aren't satisfied with that and have come up with a small batch of a completely new beer to commemorate 2012's Día de los Muertos. It's La Calavera Catrina - a maize lager brewed with organic smoked habanero and conditioned with rosewater and watermelon. The result is a spicy complex blonde lager. The artwork alone has been a major project, suggesting that Garage Project see a big future for La Calavera Catrina. But only a handful of people will get to tell their grandchildren that they were there when it was launched, at Hashigo Zake on Friday November 2.

(Reading up the historical and cultural meaning of La Calavera Catrina is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Pacific Beer Expo Credits

Many readers of this email will have attended the Pacific Beer Expo on Saturday or Sunday. Rather than tell you how successful it may or may not have been, we'd like to take time to acknowledge a pretty extensive list of people who made the whole thing work.

Craft Beer College's Steph Coutts and Jonny Day made sure we had a team of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers. Again, this isn't the first time they've provided this service at a festival and do it so well that they're in danger of being taken for granted, which would be a travesty. They cobble together for us a team of volunteers who turn up so motivated that even after a long shift they seem convinced they've enjoyed themselves. It's hardly fair. So we thank Steph, Jonny and their magnificent team.

With little or no prompting some of New Zealand's best brewers changed their brewing schedules to let us have new or special releases that complemented the festival's imported beers perfectly. We were extremely lucky.

After putting ourselves through the stress of running our own catering operation last year, we took the smart option this year and engaged Sarah Searancke Catering. Their food, we think, was of a quality that completely vindicated the move.

And the Boatshed remains the best venue of its kind of Wellington. And incredibly it is almost unique in being available to hire without an obligation to use a particular caterer and/or brewery.

Finally it may not be decent to praise our own staff in public, but the fact is that they deserve it, especially after tolerating extra duties, long shifts and long demands on their versatility and patience. This was both before and during the event. In particular we rely on General Manager David Wood to keep the beer flowing in trying circumstances at this and several other festivals and he never lets us down.

Remember also that we're currently in a phase of "mopping up" Pacific Beer Expo leftovers. This means that small quantities of some pretty festive beers are appearing on tap then being quickly drained and replaced with other luxury leftovers.


We recently received a shipment from Mikkeller that included a number of kegs from their latest Single Hop IPA series. This series, which consists of 19 different beers, includes several that are new to us. In fact many of us had never even heard of some of the hop varieties themselves.

Now as part a previous "Single Hop" series, Mikkeller included an extra beer, called 10, that used a blend of all the hops in the series. This latest series led to a similar blend, called 19.

So next Tuesday we're putting both 10 and 19 on side-by-side as our new release. They'll go on tap at 5pm. And don't be surprised if more Mikkeller Single Hop IPAs appear in the New Release Tuesday slot in the near future.

The Return of Adam Page

Our original late Saturday night music act, Adam Page and the Counts, make a one-off comeback this Saturday night. We're pretty excited about it. But we still aren't charging admission. From 10pm.

US Presidential Election

Hot on the heals of next week's celebration of things morbid and grotesque comes the US Presidential Election on November 6 (November 7 to us). Our specially brewed batch of White House Honey Porter is fermenting away at Garage Project. We look forward to putting that on tap while vote counts and the pontifications of pundits are beamed to us via satellite and fibre all afternoon and, who knows, all evening.

Growler Howler, the Epilogue

Sanity, or perhaps inactivity, has prevailed and Hancock's application to trademark the name "Growler" has been officially abandoned. Sounds like the perfect time for Hashigo Zake Brands Ltd to sneak in and trademark it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012

Pacific Beer Expo This Weekend... New Release Tuesday... Live Music This Week... Día de los Muertos... US Presidential Election...

Pacific Beer Expo This Weekend

As this email goes out there are just under 48 hours until the first session of the second ever Pacific Beer Expo. At this time last year we had more or less announced every beer in the lineup but this year things are a little different. This is partly because there has been uncertainty about some of our international orders. And this year we're including far fewer of the great and iconic beers that we frequently have on tap at Hashigo Zake in favour of truly unusual or rare offerings.

And now with just days to go we have to announce two pieces of bad news about this year's lineup. Orders from Japan's Baird Brewery and Singapore's Jungle Brewery are not going to reach us in time. This is a big blow for the geographical diversity of the lineup and for this we apologise. Customers at Hashigo Zake over the next couple of months will get to drink the beers that would have been in our lineup and will have to imagine still being in the Boatshed as they sip.

But we still have complete faith in the quality and stylistic diversity of this year's offering. And here are some reasons why:

  • We have a preview, not only of a new local beer but a new brewery. It's Fitzpatrick's Brewing Company of Tauranga. Their founder, Craig Fitzpatrick, has been good enough to sell us a keg of beer from an early trial at their brand new 500L brewery - Fitzpatrick's American Amber Ale. Craig wants it made clear that this beer is no more than an early trial, but those of us who are familiar with Craig's work as a home brewer predict great things for the brewery.
  • 8 Wired have provided an early sample of a future release - Barrel Aged Imperial Big Smoke.
  • Wellington's own ParrotDog have a brand new beer receiving it's debut on Saturday - SleuthHound Scotch Ale.
  • Renaissance have sent us a keg of a pilot batch of a future release - Red IPA.
  • Liberty's Joseph Wood recently enquired what "yakima" might mean if it were a Japanese word. One possible answer is "burning devil". Inspired by this he has brewed a one-off small batch of 焼魔, or Yaki Ma. It's an imperial version of Yakima Monster, with most ingredients more or less doubled and worthy of the name.
  • Being from New York State, Southern Tier aren't exactly a Pacific brewery, but they are from a Pacific country. And in lieu of products from our Asian suppliers we're going to stretch the point. So from Southern Tier we will have two of the most outrageously sweet, drinkable and potent beers ever brewed - Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Creme Brulee Imperial Stout.
  • Mike's Brewery in Taranaki have brewed a new beer for us - it's a white IPA that they're calling Great Wit. We're also raiding the far corner of our cool store to dig out a keg of Mike's Whisky Porter

We've now named most of the 32 beers that will be on offer on Saturday and Sunday. There are still one or two surprises that may be worth the price of admission on their own.

Time for a few "public service announcements" regarding the Pacific Beer Expo.

  • Many of you chose to collect your ticket(s) from Hashigo Zake but then our web store rather stupidly asked you to give a shipping address. In these cases we have kept your tickets here for collection. If this or any other complication has left customers confused about where your tickets are, please reply to this email.
  • Any tickets still awaiting collection at Hashigo Zake 30 minutes before the festival session starts will be transferred to the Boatshed for collection at the door.
  • Saturday's session is sold out and we aren't holding any tickets back for door sales. (Having said that we are getting a trickle of tickets returned for various reasons and whenever this happens they are put back on sale.) At the time of writing there remain a number of tickets for Sunday's session. If these don't sell out in advance then there may be door sales.

New Release Tuesday

This weekend's festival won't slow down our programme of new releases every Tuesday evening. We just took delivery of some big orders from Nøgne Ø, Mikkeller, Waldhaus and Rogue which give us all sorts of options for interesting releases in the coming weeks.

So next Tuesday it's a new Nøgne Ø beer with a difference. It's a collaboration between Nøgne Ø and a certain brewer who visited New Zealand some months ago at the invitation of a Japanese corporate brewery. His name is Spike Buckowski and he was one of the founders of the Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia. The beer in question is their Imperial Rye Porter. It will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday and available in bottles soon.

Live Music This Week

Blues return this week in the form of the Nick Granville Trio. They play in the lounge from 10pm.

Día de los Muertos

Last year Garage Project created an instant tradition when they released Day of the Dead, a chilli chocolate dark lager with agave syrup on November 1st. It was one of the most popular beers in the 24/24 programme. So in 2012 they've set out to build on the tradition.

Earlier this year they made Double Day of the Dead and a portion of that batch has been ageing in bourbon barrels. A fresh batch of the original Day of the Dead will be ready for release on November 1st this year. They've also brewed a small batch of a completely new beer also referencing the tradition of Día de los Muertos, that will be released on November 1st as well. (More on this in the coming weeks.)

We suggest keeping November the 1st free.

US Presidential Election

A few months ago, rumours emerged that within the White House beer was being brewed and served at functions there. A petition was started to get the recipe or recipes released. And eventually White House staff relented. Two recipes are available for anyone to download here.

Now the US Presidential Election is less than three weeks away and vote counting will take place on the afternoon of November 7, New Zealand time. We understand that some people find the ordeal of vote-counting, vote-count-reporting and televised punditry compelling entertainment. We're happy to assist such people by putting our Sky subscription and internet connection to good use that day and, if necessary, that evening. So our thoughts naturally turn to the question of what beer should be consumed at such a time?

Like a paparazzo's flash the answer came - White House Honey Porter! Now the White House hasn't been in touch to discuss exporting, so we needed to take their recipe, find a replacement for White House honey, and have a crack. This is exactly what happened this morning at Garage Project brewery, when our own Dave and Dylan were given the keys to the pilot brewery and mashed in presidentially. Which would have sounded much saucier in the Clinton era.

All going well we'll have a keg or two of White House Honey Porter on tap on the afternoon of November 7th. In the interests of bipartisanship we may put Coronado Idiot IPA on beside it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012

New Release Tuesday... Live Music This Week... Pacific Beer Expo News... The Pathway to Hoppiness... The New Tuatara Brewery... IP Watch...

New Release Tuesday

On October the 2nd we got to serve the first in a series of variants of Garage Project's recently brewed Bastard Rye strong blonde ale. That beer was the raspberry infused version. Next week Bastard Rye returns in another variant - one infused with sour cherries and a dash of Six Barrel Soda's kola nut syrup. It's Bastard Rye: Lola, Lola being the name of Aro Park's resident cat, for those not in the loop.

Bastard Rye: Lola goes on tap next Tuesday at 5pm.

Live Music This Week

We have great pleasure in announcing another new act (new for us, that is) for our Saturday night slot. The Nigel Patterson Trio play in the lounge from 10pm.

Our musical schedule is looking about as good as it ever has right now. The following Saturday (also the evening of the first day of the Pacific Beer Expo) features the return of blues from the Nick Granville Trio, and the week after (October 27) we welcome back the act that started it all - Adam Page and the Counts.

The details of upcoming acts are at eventfinder and, if we've been diligent, at our own website.

Pacific Beer Expo News

Earlier this week Garage Project announced one of the more adventurous beers that we'll be serving at the Pacific Beer Expo. It's their Kava Coconut Brown Ale - a beer made with not only toasted coconut, but kava. If anyone else has ever made a commercial beer incorporating the South Pacific's favourite recreational drug, we'd love to know about it. Seriously, do let us know.

Speaking of Wellington breweries, ParrotDog have a new release coming out at our festival - a Scotch Ale called Sleuthhound, the Shleuthhound being the Shcottish ansher to a Bloodhound.

Meanwhile Kereru have a new beer and it was brewed with assistance from our own Dave and Sam. It's a brown ale made with kumera. And Kereru's Chris is making available a small amount of another of his beers - Velvet Boot, a strong Belgian ale.

From Hamilton we've already announced 666 Brewing's contribution, which is a rare Cream Ale. We can now add that it's called Angels On A Pin. Also from Hamilton Brewaucracy are sending us a keg of their rare Punkin Image Limited.

Meanwhile ticket sales are coming along and there's every chance that the Saturday session will sell out in advance. They're for sale here at Hashigo Zake or at our web store.

The Pathway to Hoppiness

Last week's Pathway to Hoppiness tasting, run by our friends from Craft Beer College on our premises, was such an overwhelming success that extra attendees were accommodated and there was still a waiting list. For the benefit of those on the waiting list CBC are considering putting on a repeat event this Saturday. Anyone interested should let CBC know as soon as possible by emailing

The New Tuatara Brewery

Tuatara Brewery and, indeed, Wellington's craft brewing industry passed a significant milestone yesterday with the official opening of the new Tuatara facility in Paraparaumu. Instead of having capacity continually trying to catch up to demand at what was basically a rural site, Tuatara suddenly have a brewery that they can grow into and is on a sealed road.

So great is the capacity at Sheffield St that smaller breweries are beating a path to Tuatara's door to get help increasing their own output. Suddenly Tuatara are assuming a wider role in the rapid development of the craft beer industry in our region. Details like this weren't lost on yesterday's guest of honour, the Prime Minister, who said it was important that he not be seen chundering after drinking Tuatara's beer.

IP Watch

IPONZ and New Zealand's brewing industry didn't conspire to come up with any clangers in the world of trademarks in the last seven days. Instead we can report a little good news. Kirin-San Miguel-Lion Nathan have voluntarily cancelled their trademark on the name Blind Pig, although the reason given was that they didn't need it any more, not that they cared that they were borrowing someone else's beer name.

But to be fair, Castlemaine-Toohey-Lion's lawyer did mention that "[Lion] does not condone any actions which subvert the trade mark rights of brand owners or the integrity of a category (for instance, in the beer category, attempts to trade mark a beer style)."

Fist bump.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4, 2012

IP Watch... Experiments in Televised Entertainment... New Release Tuesday... Live Music This Week... Pacific Beer Expo News...

IP Watch

Our weekly update of comings and goings in the trademark world arrived on our metaphorical desktop from IPONZ this morning. There were some uncontroversial titbits to digest, such as the successful trademarking of "ParrotDog" by the ParrotDog brewery. And there was Lion Nathan successfully trademarking "Crafty Beggars", the name that we believe will be used in their next claim to host a "craft beer brand" within their industrial-corporate entity.

Then this appeared. It seems Lion Nathan have trademarked Blind Pig, the name of one of the world's most celebrated and highly rated IPAs. As documented in wikipedia, the term Blind Pig dates back to the prohibition era to describe a kind of illegal bar. Perhaps Lion Nathan wanted to reference this tradition for some purpose, but they have registered the trade mark for a beer. So it wouldn't have been hard for Lion Nathan or IPONZ to dig around and learn that Blind Pig is the name of an iconic American IPA that is rated 6th highest in the world on

On the other hand, Hancocks' application to trademark "Growler" and Stoke's application to trademark "Snakebite" are both still languishing in the "Under Examination" state. Perhaps IPONZ are beginning to recognise spurious trademark claims.

Experiments in Televised Entertainment

This Sunday afternoon sees us, once again, push back the boundaries of what qualifies as suitable entertainment for a bar. We'll be streaming direct from New York, over our very own fibre connection to the interwebs, the Jon Stewart vs Bill O'Reilly debate, which we predict will be more entertaining than this afternoon's Romney vs Obama debate.

The fun starts at 1pm, provided our time zone adjustments are better than Jetstar's.

New Release Tuesday

After the heady excitement of Garage Project's pretty remarkable Bastard Rye (Raspberry), a new Imperial IPA from New York seems kind of mundane. But participants in last evening's tasting of recent imports from the US will know quite how striking some of the Southern Tier beers can be and the brewery boast that this is a "hop lover's dream".

Southern Tier's 2XIPA goes on tap at 5pm.

Live Music This Week

This week's musical offering is another trip back to the genre of Gypsy Jazz, this time from local five-piece Black Spider Stomp. The music starts at 10pm.

Pacific Beer Expo News

A couple of weeks ago we announced that Oregon's Pelican Brewery will be represented at the Pacific Beer Expo by their Doryman's Dark. We can add to that that their fantastic IPA (India Pelican Ale) will be on tap too.

Pelican's collaborator from earlier this year, Hamilton's 666 Brewing, will be represented too, with a Cream Ale. While it's important for a festival to have its share of show ponies and hop bombs, it's also fitting to have stylistic diversity. Pre-prohibition Cream Ales are pretty rare in New Zealand - Golden Ticket made one once and we brought in a few cases of an example by Mikkeller and Revelation Cat. So we're pleased to announce that 666's Cream Ale will be there to be enjoyed by beer-style geeks and everyone else.

We can also announce the return of a big success from last year - Feral's Barrel Fermented Hop Hog.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012

New American Beer Tasting... Aussie Rules and Other Televised Entertainment... Darren Watson Returns... Garage Project Also Returns... On Tap Soon... Pacific Beer Expo News...

New American Beer Tasting

Our formal welcome to a number of new American beers takes place next Wednesday evening. The core of the tasting will be the Southern Tier beers that we just brought in, but we'll augment those with a few beers that we got for the first time from other suppliers.

It's just $35 to take part and you can book a place at the bar or at the Cult Beer Store.

Aussie Rules and Other Televised Entertainment

We're offering a couple of alternative forms of afternoon entertainment in the coming weeks. First up, in collaboration with Craft Beer College, come the combined "Aussie Rules" tasting and ritual Grand Final viewing this Saturday. Apparently good bars screening the AFL Grand Final are thin on the ground in Wellington (who'd have thought?) so this year ex-pat Victorian Steph made it her mission to create a fitting occasion to watch the big game. To this end she has inaugurated a New Zealand vs Australia beer and pie tasting, starting at 2:30pm, leading into the match itself at 4pm.

More details are at

Now it has come to our attention that a rare trip by our national rugby team to South America will result in the staging of a test at the ungodly time of midday on a Sunday. Fortunately this coincides with our normal opening time so it will be little or no effort for us to show the game. And by the way, daylight saving starts earlier on Sunday morning.

Seven days later it will be a slightly different story. We'll be screening a very different kind of entertainment on the afternoon of October 7 - a live debate between comedian Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly, Fox News' purveyor of (generally daft) opinions. It will be coming over a series of tubes rather than a Sky channel, so we're looking forward to getting good use from our state of the art fibre connection to the outside world. And it looks as though the aforementioned daylight saving change means that this will start at 2pm rather than 1pm as previously stated.

Darren Watson Returns

Darren Watson and his Underground Blues Band return to our lounge for another evening of "Doity old blues played filthily", to quote Darren's own facebook page. Intrigued? Get in nice and early. The filth starts at 10pm on Saturday.

Garage Project Also Returns

When we served the first beer in Garage Project's season of 24 More a few weeks ago, we may have neglected to make a point about 24 More. Which is that Garage Project are making no commitment to release these beers at an actual or even an average rate of one per week. Hence the gap of a few weeks before the next experiment, which will turn up on Tuesday.

But s24e02 will be along next Tuesday and it should grab everyone's attention. It's a preview of sorts of a future barrel aged strong golden rye ale. Except that a small amount didn't make it into a barrel and instead spent some quality time with a few luscious, whole raspberries. It was, reportedly, a "bastard" to brew, which is pretty normal for rye, and so the working title of this beer is Bastard Rye (Raspberry Edition).

And did we mention that it weighs in at 11% ABV? No doubt someone will still complain when we don't serve it in an imperial pint.

On Tap Soon

It seems that now is the time to be revisiting some of the most interesting releases of the last few months (or earlier). For instance:

  • Garage Project Aro Noir and Golden Brown - two big successes of 24/24 return having been brewed on Garage Project's large system for the first time.
  • Our final keg of Emerson's magnificent Extra Stout.
  • Three Boys Coconut Milk Stout, which we now know is a milk stout made with coconut, not a stout made with coconut milk.
  • ParrotDog DeadCanary Pale Ale.

Then there's a new Yeastie Boys release. In a detailed email to outlets this week Stu explained that we must call it "Belgian-style Table Beer", because "Belgian-style Golden Mild" won't sell. The low-down is that it's a session beer (3.8% ABV) with a variety of Weyermann malts and Nelson Sauvin hops, fermented with the Rochefort yeast and it's called Plan B.

What Stu forgets is that the crucial words that help sell a beer aren't "mild" or "Belgian" but "Yeastie" and "Boys".

Pacific Beer Expo News

We like to keep up a steady flow of information about the lineup on Labour Weekend. But at the time of writing we have 20 or 30 beers that are in the probable category as they're either on their way to New Zealand or are still being brewed. Naming beers that aren't sitting in our cool-store right now seems like tempting fate. So here, for now, are a couple that are waiting in our cool-store and we can be 100% confident about.

From San Diego's Ballast Point comes a fruit beer that seems to be dividing critics. It gets comments on ratebeer like "Sweet and sticky, tough to drink, way too boozy", but is in the 98th percentile for its style. All of which makes it a perfect festival beer. It's called Old Barmy Ale and is made with apricots and caramelised honey.

We don't want too many extreme beers, so we're expecting far less fuss from a new (to us) beer from Coronado, called Nutter Brown, which is a brown ale.

Details regarding tickets are the same as before - you can buy them here at the bar or from the Cult Beer Store. Anyone preferring to come on Saturday the 20th might want to get their ticket sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012

Our Precious... Benny and the Jets... Pacific Beer Expo Update... Fact Checking...

Our Precious

Back in May beer writer Geoff Griggs described a trip to the Pelican brewpub in Pacific City Oregon that he made with 666 brewer Graeme Mahy in April this year. In that time Pelican's Head Brewer Darren Welch and Graeme worked together on a pale ale made with New Zealand hops. Geoff commented "most likely none of us will get to sample the finished beer."

Has New Zealand's most respected beer writer ever been more wrong? Little did Geoff realise that his and Graeme's movements were being tracked by a posse from Hashigo Zake, who snuck into Pelican a few days after them, sampled Our Precious from the fermenter, sent kegs to the brewery, cajoled the staff there into filling them, then needed two attempts to collect those kegs as the freight truck couldn't handle the dodgy road out to the beachfront brewery.

The beer has taken a long time to reach New Zealand but it has remained cold this whole time and we're crossing our fingers that it hasn't aged too quickly. In the short time before it ran out at the brewpub it was said to have been the fastest selling seasonal they had ever had. So we'll have great expectations when we put Our Precious on tap next Tuesday at 5pm. Here is Pelican's own description of the beer:

Golden-colored and medium-bodied, Our Precious features a hop character bursting with fruity Kiwi hops, balanced by a malt backbone of Pale Ale, Melanoidin and Caramel malts.

But this isn't the first time that we at Hashigo Zake have stuck our beaks into the business of collaborating breweries. Earlier this year we loaned kegs to Yeastie Boys that enabled us all to sample Bruce, their collaboration with Adelaide's Lobethal Bierhaus. And last year of course we carted Nøgne Ø's Kjetil Jikiun around the country on a tour that yielded Summer Sommer (with Garage Project) and Ø For Awesome with 8 Wired and Renaissance. To celebrate this recent spate of international collaborations we'll put some of our remaining stock of Bruce and Ø For Awesome on tap alongside Our Precious. So next Tuesday you'll be able to come down and sample three examples of New Zealand breweries collaborating with foreign brewers.

Benny and the Jets

Another precedent was set last Saturday night during our weekly musical slot: the band didn't show up. Of all the possible outcomes from our ongoing experiment with live music, a no-show by the band wasn't one we'd considered. We'd give everyone in the bar on Saturday their money back but no-one had actually paid to be there. All we can do is apologise to anyone reading who was disappointed or inconvenienced by the lack of a Latin Jazz band on Saturday night.

A quite powerful tale has emerged for why the band couldn't show up on Saturday but it's not the kind of story that should be discussed publicly. Maybe it will be told one day.

This week we have a new act (for us) in Benny And The Jets. Rather than an Elton John tribute act, we're promised "a night of funk classics and heavily groovilised '70s TV themes. Loads of fun guaranteed to get you up and shaking it."

The shaking starts at 10pm and there will be no cover charge. And for anyone made nervous by the thought of a live band and who hasn't been present for one of our late night gigs, please be assured that if you're not in the room where the band are playing your Hashigo Zake experience is not actually changed much - conversation and even occasional sports viewing are still possible on the other side of the bar.

Pacific Beer Expo Update

Planning for the Pacific Beer Expo is in full swing and we can announce another detail or two.

  • We first brought in some beer from Left Coast earlier this year. Our first order was small - just a mixed pallet of bottles of four beers - the classic, but by US standards understated, IPA called Trestles, a Black IPA called Wedge, Voodoo Stout and a ferociously hoppy Imperial IPA called Hop Juice. We thought that the beers and their beautiful silk-screened bottles were a hit so when the time came to reorder we went hard.

    We now have kegs of most of the range. In particular we have lots of Hop Juice. We look forward to unleashing Hop Juice on festival goers who haven't been lucky enough to try it yet.

    (Customers coming in to Hashigo Zake in the next few days might like to look out for a foretaste of Hop Juice coming on tap.)

  • We had our first taste of beer from Doctor's Orders Brewing just a few weeks ago in the form of their White IPA called Plasma. At the Pacific Beer Expo we'll unleash their next offering, a weizenbock called Defibrillator.
  • Finally we can announce a component of the festival that isn't a drink (or food). It's a travel agent. Beer Tours NZ is a new venture by Auckland travel agent Glen Armstrong. He's developing actual, structured beer tourism for the New Zealand market and will be present at the festival to field queries. And coincidentally his facebook page features a photo of the Pelican brewpub.

Tickets for the event are still on sale here at Hashigo Zake or at the Cult Beer Store.

Fact Checking

Congratulations to Pete Gillespie on another appearance in the media, this time on TVNZ Breakfast this morning. It's at And once again the story was told by a reporter who didn't giggle and snigger all the way through it. A little fact checking wouldn't have hurt though. ("Saturday night" at some "local bar"??!!)

Speaking of fact checking the US presidential campaign has only two years to go. No, sorry, I'm told that's seven weeks. It reaches what may be its peak in a couple of weeks when Fox News rantperson Bill O'Reilly faces probably the finest spokesperson that normal, rational people have ever had - Jon Stewart - in a live debate. The event is being streamed live on the interweb at 1pm on a Sunday (New Zealand time) and it seems like a perfect event to apply our ridiculously fast internet connection to. So who fancies some politics and craft beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012

Three... Music This Saturday... The Pacific Beer Expo... Imported Beer...


It has been an interesting week at Hashigo Zake. Monday saw our highly successful collaboration with Shinobi Sushi go off without a hitch, and our own Shigeo Takagi and Shinobi’s Tatsuhito Sasakura deserve congratulations for their superb six-course dinner matched with Japanese or Japanese-influenced beers.

Later that night, as a few of us reflected on the magnificent meal we’d just had, we were reminded that the date was September 10, making it three years to the day since we declared Hashigo Zake officially open.

But before we could celebrate word came through that our largest ever order of American beer had turned up early. This is thought to be a first in the history of long haul freight. So we hastily roused our team of crack bottle labellers and on Wednesday (yesterday if you’re reading this on the 13th) we sent them out to our secret cool-store to label 14,000 bottles of beer. You read that correctly, 14,000 bottles of beer now carry a little more consumer information than they did on Tuesday. Because the beer just wouldn’t taste the same if you didn’t know the address of the importer.

It’s now Thursday (if you’re reading this today) and after the highs and lows of the last few days it seems appropriate to connect them all up in some kind of orgiastic celebration of beer and birthdays. So New Zealand’s authorised importer of the beer of Bear Republic, which is... err... um... us(!), has donated a keg of ridiculously fresh Racer 5 IPA to be shared with our customers on the dot of 5pm today. It’s a long time since anyone in Wellington had fresh stock of Racer 5, let alone served it at no charge. So we suggest that anyone reading this today stop what they’re doing, come down and help us celebrate three years of serving fine beer.

A warning. This isn’t a very big keg. If you’re reading this tomorrow (Friday) forget about it.

Music This Saturday

At the risk of having the carpet in the lounge worn out by dancers, we’ve re-booked the Carlos Navae band for this Saturday night.

Did we mention that we don’t operate a cover charge for our Saturday evening performances?

The Latin-oriented fun starts at 10pm.

The Pacific Beer Expo

Ticket sales are ticking along nicely for the Pacific Beer Expo. There are only five weeks left so now seems a good time to leak a few hints about what will be served this year.

Back around the end of first decade of the 21st century a lot of American breweries were sending beer to the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards (or BrewNZ Awards as they were then). Not so many do now and exactly why is a long story, but some of those American breweries sent more beer than was needed for judging and some of that beer made its way onto the market in Wellington. That was when many of us first heard of Pelican – a brewpub in Pacific City, Oregon. Their Doryman’s Dark and Tsunami Stout became instant hits but haven’t been seen since.

One of the reasons Pelican stopped sending beer to New Zealand is that they are simply too much in demand. At this year’s World Beer Cup their head brewer Darron Welch must have got tired of being called to the stage by the time he collected the award for Best Large Brewpub. Weeks later in Melbourne Pelican were named “Champion International Small Brewery” at the Australian International Beer Awards. And we know from first-hand experience that Pelican’s consistently great beer and stunning beach location guarantee that they’ll easily sell whatever they brew.

And yet we have persuaded Pelican to fill a handful of kegs for us. Exactly how and why is a story in itself and may be revealed in a few weeks. But at the Pacific Beer Expo we will be pouring the American Dark Ale known as Pelican Doryman’s Dark.

Speaking of the Pacific Beer Expo, beer festivals are financially treacherous events to try and run and we do rely on the support of an elite group of volunteers to make ours work. Now it must be conceded that our volunteers are (pretty much by definition) unpaid, but there are a few perks, not least of which is admission to a session of the festival itself. So if you happen to be interested in mixing your festival attendance with some festival work and all the camaraderie, intrigue and satisfaction that comes with that, please get in touch with our volunteer coordinators. For the Pacific Beer Expo our volunteer coordinators are none other than the fabulously well organised people at Craft Beer College. They can be contacted at

Imported Beer

Those still with us may recall the earlier sections of this transmission. We mentioned a container-load of imported beer. This news deserves some more attention.

With a few more of the country’s bars and bottle stores showing interest in our imports the time came for our biggest ever order of American beer. The container brought ultra-fresh beer direct from Ballast Point, Green Flash, Left Coast, Coronado and Bear Republic. It also brought us our first ever proper order from New York’s Southern Tier. Southern Tier are another example of a booming US craft brewery making big, even extreme, beers. This initial shipment only brought a subset of their total offering, but includes some extraordinary beers, including the absurdly tasty Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Crème Brulee Imperial Stout.

To mark this arrival we’re planning a tasting on October the 3rd of new beers from this shipment. The tasting will concentrate on Southern Tier beers sprinkled with a few other rarities and maybe one or two new offerings from better known breweries. It will take place at 6:30pm here at Hashigo Zake. Tickets are available at the Cult Beer Store.

Furthermore one of Southern Tier's beers will be our New Release next Tuesday. Come along from 5pm to try Southern Tier Harvest Ale - an ESB rated seventh in the world for its style according to

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012

24 More... The X-Ray Catz.... Japanese Cuisine and Beer... 2012 Pacific Beer Expo Tickets... On Tap Now Or Soon... Shame...

24 More

In season after season of 24, Jack Bauer would take more physical and emotional punishment than any human could bear and still come back for another year. (Actually this is an assumption from someone who stopped watching after he survived a nuclear explosion.) But it would contradict everything we understand about a 24 episode series if Garage Project's incredibly successful 24/24 programme didn't make it back for another season.

So with the smugness of a television executive with a guaranteed ratings winner, we would like to announce that next week sees the first instalment of Garage Project's 24 More. Yes next Tuesday from 5pm we'll be partying like it's 2011.

What beer could live up to the anticipation of another 24 experiments from Aro Valley's biggest brewery? Should we expect an ice-distilled, saffron-infused buckwheat quadruple IPA? Or a squid-ink and pepper pilsner?

As it happens 24 More kicks off with a 3.8% Bitter. But it's no ordinary bitter. Well, technically it is an ordinary bitter, but with some uncommon variations. For one thing it was brewed in public on a Sunday afternoon at Moore Wilsons. And some "local" ingredients were added in the form of water from Moore Wilson's own well and everyday groceries such as orange peel and marmalade.

And since this beer was brewed in public, it will be served in theatrical fashion - gravity-dispensed from a firkin on our bar-top.

So Moore Wilson Orange Marmalade Bitter goes on tap in the New Release Tuesday (formerly 24/24) slot at 5pm on the 11th.

The X-Ray Catz

New Zealand music legend Dave Mason returns on Saturday night at 10pm to play more rockabilly with the X-Ray Catz. If you'd told us three years ago that we'd not only host a rockabilly band at Hashigo Zake but welcome them back you'd have been laughed off the premises. Instead we're looking forward to it.

Japanese Cuisine and Beer

We feared that five days lead time wasn't enough for this event and so it proved. So late last week we decided to give ourselves and Shinobi Sushi an extra week before throwing open the doors to Wellington's most adventurous diners.

The rescheduled Japanese Cuisine and Beer starts at 6pm next Monday and places can be booked at Shinobi Sushi on Vivian St, here at Hashigo Zake or from our web store here.

2012 Pacific Beer Expo Tickets

Tickets for the Pacific Beer Expo went on sale on Saturday and have been selling pretty steadily since. The Saturday session has been particularly popular which prompts a couple of comments:

  1. If you want to book for Saturday don't take too long.
  2. Don't forget it's a long weekend so there's no need to fear the Sunday session!

The Pacific Beer Expo takes place on October the 20th and 21st, from 2pm to 7pm at the Boatshed on Wellington's waterfront. Tickets can be bought at Hashigo Zake or from the Cult Beer Store.

On Tap Now or Soon

As promised a few luxury leftovers from Beervana are finding their way to our taps. One of the most interesting is on right now. 8 Wired Festivus 2012 is a feijoa lambic. There are hints of the Mussel Inn's Lambagreeny - their magnificent but rare feijoa gueuze - though Festivus 2012 is probably a lot less sour.

Also coming up is the little that was left after Beervana of Feral Karma Citra. Festival patrons left little to pick over from the two Feral beers offered, but fans of what is probably Australia's best brewery can take heart. A handful of other Feral beers came over too and we'll be putting some on tap soon. (And keeping a little for the Pacific Beer Expo!)

We also snapped up what was left of Beervana's supply of the Bridge Road/Nøgne Ø collaboration called India Saison. Now we've been selling bottles of this beer that originated at Nøgne Ø. But this keg is from a Bridge Road batch. Completists should know that an upcoming shipment of beer from Nøgne Ø will include kegs of their version of this beer.

Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout from Moylan's came on tap over the weekend. For a multiple award winning brewery Moylan's tend to leave people divided. But we can assure patrons that this Imperial Stout is one of their exceptionally good ones. If in doubt, ask for a taste.

In anticipation of the arrival of an enormous order from San Diego's Coronado Brewery, we'll soon be putting on the very last keg of Idiot IPA in New Zealand.


Last Saturday was pretty eventful here for all sorts of reasons, not least being an amazing gig by Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band. But all the fun went out of the evening when an opportunistic thief nabbed the skateboard of one of our staff. It didn't take long to find raw footage of the act thanks to our security cameras. This was uploaded to youtube and propagated by social networking leading to some fairly strong clues about the identity of the thief. Meanwhile the staff at a local skate shop got in touch to say that the thief had sold them the board. (Or tried to - this part isn't entirely clear.)

So it looks as though the goods in question may well be returned to their rightful owner and we thank everyone who helped spread the word over recent days about the theft and the footage. It's not entirely clear whether complete justice will be done, and the story isn't over.

Now we at Hashigo Zake need to be tolerant and patient (it's part of the job) and don't want to be vigilantes. But when the safety or personal property of staff or patrons are threatened we will energetically use whatever tools are at our disposal, including shaming perpetrators, to claw back some of what we lose to petty (or not so petty) crimes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30, 2012

Japanese Cuisine and Beer... Craft Beer College - The Miracle of Malt... Announcing.. The 2012 Pacific Beer Expo... Next Tuesday's Release... On Tap Now Or Soon...

Japanese Cuisine and Beer

Our own Shigeo Takagi and Shinobi Sushi's Tatsuhito Sasakura haven't given themselves or us long to promote their collaborative dinner. It's next Monday evening at Shinobi Sushi in Vivian St. We're providing the beer and Shiggy and Shinobi Sushi - finalist in Wellington On A Plate's Burger Wellington competition - are providing the venue and the food.

The food (and beer) unsurprisingly have a strong Japanese streak, but diners can expect plenty of western influences and adventurous combinations.

If this sounds like your kind of evening out, then waste no time coming in to Hashigo Zake or Shinobi Sushi to make a booking, or even use our web store if you'd rather not get up.

Craft Beer College - The Miracle of Malt

Our plans to encourage enrolments in this Saturday's The Miracle of Malt, the latest tasting in Craft Beer College's winter/spring syllabus, are looking a little pointless right now, as rumour has it that the tasting is full. But rumours aren't always 100% accurate and tentative bookings sometimes come to nothing, so if you're interested in the Miracle of Malt then feel free to come up to the bar and check on availability or get in touch with the Craft Beer Wānanga themselves.

The remaining events in the curriculum aren't booked out yet, with The Pathway to Hoppiness, The Beast That Is Yeast and the "Exam", coming up on the first Saturdays of October, November and December respectively. To really tell if the Craft Beer College should be your next school of higher learning, please study their own website.

Announcing... The 2012 Pacific Beer Expo

The posters have been up for a couple of weeks, so this shouldn't be a complete surprise to regular customers, but it's time to tell the world about the 2012 Pacific Beer Expo.

Yes last year's first ever foray into the fraught and risky world of beer festival promotion can't have traumatised us too much because we're bringing the PBE back. And most of the simple facts are much the same :- it will take place over the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend, tickets are $40 and go on sale on September 1, and once again we're going to fill the Boatshed with the finest beers that we can muster from the Pacific Rim.

While we can't imagine running this event without plenty of iconic American IPAs, it looks as though the lineup will be predominantly new and rare beers, featuring one or two breweries completely new to New Zealand and, perhaps, the debut of a new local brewery.

As stated above, tickets go on sale on September 1, which is Saturday. They'll be for sale at Hashigo Zake for $40, or on our web store here for a little more ($41.50). This is because there is a cost associated with everything we sell on our web store and for this event we would prefer not to absorb it ourselves and risk the financial viability of the whole venture.

We also expect a bit of interest in this year's T-shirt. It hasn't been printed yet, but can be pre-ordered at an advantageous price along with festival tickets.

Next Tuesday's Release

We're going back across the Tasman, figuratively, to try the one Lobethal beer that we had spared until now. And rumour has it that we've saved the best until last, although we would say that, wouldn't we? Lobethal's Goodbier, Double Hop IPA and Choc Stout won a lot of friends on the Saturday of Beervana weekend, so we have high expectations of Red Truck Porter.

It goes on tap, as usual, at 5pm on Tuesday.

On Tap Now Or Soon

Never mind next week or tomorrow - there are some pretty special beers on tap right now:

  • Mikkeller Black Hole. A 13% Imperial Stout from the Danish gypsy brewer.
  • Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
  • Liberty Darkest Day Stout

But then again, there are some pretty tantalising prospects coming up:

  • Garage Project Dark Arts - another instalment of their trophy-winning coffee bock.
  • Liberty Yakima Monster - most of the trophy winning batch of this beer was bottled, but we know where one or two kegs live on.
  • Emerson's Dunkelweiss - there's a little left from the order of kegs of this beer that we were lucky enough to have filled.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012

A New Event... Last Week... New Release Tuesday... On Tap Soon... Music on Saturday...

After the mayhem of last week you'd expect a follow up publicity email to be subdued, a "bit of a comedown", or maybe even lacklustre. Will that be true with this? Only one way to find out.

A New Event

We have great pleasure in announcing a brand new collaboration between ourselves and Shinobi Sushi Lounge - or more specifically a collaboration between our own Shigeo Takagi and Shinobi's Tatsuhito Sasakura. The two have come up with a menu for an evening of Beer and Japanese Cuisine, to be held at Shinobi at 43 Vivian St on September 3 from 6pm.

Tickets will go sale in a few days and will be available from Shinobi, here or from the Cult Beer Store. Previous events like this have been incredibly popular and successful, but teaming up with Shinobi marks an additional level of ambition.

Last Week

It wasn't hard to predict that last week would be our biggest ever and so it proved. What was interesting to us was that a lot of the people who made the bar so crowded on Thursday, Friday and Saturday were from outside Wellington. It seems that Beervana's reputation has been established in places like Auckland and Melbourne and we can expect more beer tourists in the future.

Our gigs those nights were very successful too and we anticipate that the performers we engaged last week will be back soon. In fact in the case of Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band, they'll be back as soon as September the 1st.

It looks as though the Brewers Guild Awards and Beervana themselves were as successful as ever before. There has been plenty of back-patting over the last week over some particularly popular winners, so do we need to single any out particular results? Probably not, but here are a few names: ParrotDog, Liberty, Emersons/Regional, Kereru/Kieran Haslett-Moore, Phil Cook, Funk Estate, Garage Project, 8 Wired, and, of course, Harrington's.

New Release Tuesday

We're handing the New Release Tuesday slot over to Funk Estate once again next week. Fresh from being showered with bronze at the Awards last week they've offered us their latest experimental beer. It's called Samu-rye - a rye ale fermented with a sake yeast.

If the idea of fermenting beer with sake yeast sounds odd, it needn't be. The practice goes on in Japan occasionally and it's a wonder it doesn't happen more often given how much the flavours and aromas of sake are derived from their yeast strains. And those with long memories might recall the fabulous Nøgne Ø Red Horizon (which may be making a comeback) - a strong red ale fermented with sake yeast.

Samu-rye goes on tap next Tuesday at 5pm.

On Tap Soon

The observant might have figured out that an event like Beervana has to over-cater somewhat and that there might be some pretty interesting leftovers. We thought so too and sought to use our influence to get access to the cream of those leftovers - particularly the "festive beers". As soon as the paperwork has been completed we'll be finding room on the taps for these and one or two other luxury leftovers.

Look out too for:

  • Brewaucracy Bean Counter - Greig McGill might have hurried back to Hamilton, having escaped the fate of being re-appointed secretary of SOBA, but a keg of his most famous vanilla infused porter remains.
  • One of the stars of this year's SOBA Winter Ale Festival - Mikkeller Black Hole - returns.
  • 8 Wired Superconductor Imperial IPA will be back.
  • We have taken possession of a keg of Garage Project's amazing Red Rocks Reserve, which will find its way on tap some time soon.

Music on Saturday

After three nights of Blues last week, we're turning back to jazz this Saturday in the form of the Reuben Bradley Trio. As usual there is no charge and the music starts at 10pm. There are signs that there is extra interest in this one, so lateness is not recommended.

Meanwhile earlier in the evening and on the other side of the bar, televisions will be tuned in for the All Blacks/Australia rugby.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012

New Zealand Brewing's Biggest Night... Tomorrow's Events... Saturday's Events... New Release Tuesday... Upcoming Treats...

New Zealand Brewing's Biggest Night

Yes of all nights of the year, tonight probably holds the most excitement and intrigue for the well informed New Zealand beer lover. Because tonight we give two of the year's most eagerly awaited beers their Wellington (in one case) and Worldwide (in the other) debuts.

The world premiere is of the latest Funk Estate experimental beer (of which only around 80 litres were made). It's an "Imperial" Black IPA weighing in at a hefty 9% ABV. In an effort to win over the all important sniggering teenager demographic, Shiggy, Dylan, Jordan and Dan have decided to call this beer Clusterfunk.

At approximately the same time we'll be putting on another small release beer. This was brewed by Spotswood's best brewer - Joseph Wood - to be the 365th and last beer of Alice Galletly's celebrated Beer For A Year blog. Last Tuesday Auckland's finest were out in force to congratulate Alice and try the beer and this week it's Wellington's turn. Alice is flying in at some point in the evening so will be on hand to receive congratulations and adulation. And even later in the evening we're expecting the brewer to make an appearance.

The beer itself is called 365 (of course) and is a big, delicious, rich Imperial Red Ale.

Finally, allowing around five hours for everyone's giddiness over these beers to die down, we'll host our first ever Thursday night live musical performance. And it's a pretty impressive act to launch with. Local blues institution, Darren Watson, will be (in his own words) "playing nothing but VERY old school blues and rhythm & blues with harmonica ace Terry Casey".

The music starts at 10pm in the lounge, goes for around two hours and there is no charge.

And by the way, the Brewer's Guild Awards are on up the road.

Tomorrow's Events

By the standards of this week, tomorrow will be relatively uneventful for us. On the surface at least. A number of our staff will be up at the stadium helping make Beervana go smoothly. Look out for certain familiar faces along with the volunteer staff at the Wellington, Central and Australian bars.

We'll be open as usual and we'll also be hosting live music. This will also be a first for us for a Friday evening. At 10pm in the lounge it will be a return performance by Neil Billington and Bullfrog Rata. Their gig a month or so ago was one of the most popular in our short history as a live music venue. We expect another storming night of beer-friendly Chicago blues.

Saturday's Events

Saturday is another packed day for us. While Beervana continues we know that not everyone is going to every session and not everyone likes crowds, so we've got alternative events here. During the afternoon, from around 2pm, brewer Graeme Mahy of 666 Brewing will be in the bar fielding questions and compliments about his beer, and specifically about Invidia - his brand new "brown saison", which will be on tap at the same time.

A little later in the day, probably from around 6pm, banker-turned-brewer Alistair Turnbull will be on the premises as we put several of his Lobethal beers on tap at once.

Later in the evening many of us will be exceedingly glad that our premises aren't just one big room. Because at 10pm a certain rugby game will be on one or perhaps both of our tellies, while in the lounge The Nick Granville Trio will complete our triple header of late night blues gigs.

There's nothing special scheduled for Sunday but experience tells us to expect a steady flow of pretty jaded brewers and beer tourists coming in for a restorative beverage before heading to the airport.

New Release Tuesday

The fact that many of our regulars will be sporting olympic hangovers next week is no reason for us to shirk our duty of putting the most interesting roster of drinks available in front of our loyal customers. So our favourite weekly institution - the New Release Tuesday - will be back next week with a compelling offering.

It's our first ever beer from Australian contract brewery Doctor's Orders. Their approach is a little like that of Yeastie Boys before they started making some year-round beers. Each batch is an event in its own right, usually with a fair amount of innovation involved. Next Tuesday's beer is Plasma.

It's a "White IPA", meaning, very simply, that it's beer with a malt recipe resembling that of a particularly strong witbier, but the hops of an IPA. It's another style that has emerged recently as brewers hybridise established styles in the search for interesting and challenging outcomes. We believe (without checking, cos that would take forever) that this is the first White IPA we've ever served at Hashigo Zake.

Plasma goes on tap at 5pm next Tuesday.

Upcoming Treats

A lot of the interesting beers waiting in the wings have been discussed above - Clusterfunk, 365, various Lobethal beers and 666 Invidia. There are a few other goodies waiting in the keg room too, that will make it on if demand for quality tap beer is as strong as predicted over the coming days and nights:

  • Green Flash West Coast IPA.
  • Nøgne Ø/Renaissance/8 Wired Ø For Awesome. Yes you read that right - the bottles sold out months ago but we think we know where a keg might be hiding.
  • Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout. Yes, why not?
  • Townshend Foreign Extra Stout.