Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26, 2012

New Release Tuesday - Shunters' Yard... Brewjolais™... X-Ale'd... On Tap Soon... Other People's News... A Couple of Farewells...

New Release Tuesday - Shunters' Yard

Shunters' Yard is a nano-brewery in Hamilton. We're told that the brewing equipment is fashioned from leftover dairy equipment by the brewers themselves, Dave and Pete. It also happens to be the home away from home used by Brewaucracy and 666 to brew their beers.

To the best of our knowledge Shunters' Yard's own beer hasn't made it this far south before, so it's an honour to give them a Wellington debut. So next week's Tuesday New Release will be two beers from Shunters' Yard: No. 7 Pilsner and Shunters Ale. They'll be on tap on from 5pm.

To learn more about the brewery go to

This marks the beginning of a run of new local breweries and brewing companies in the Tuesday New Release slot. Shunters' Yard will be followed by the first releases of two new New Zealand brewing companies.


Brewjolais is actually a trademark held by Lion but since they seem to have stopped using it there seems no reason not to dust it off ourselves. So we're declaring May 4 2012 Brewjolais Nouveau Day and putting all the wet hopped beers we can find on tap at once.

It's almost certain that this is the first time that this many commercial wet-hopped beers have been brewed in the same year in New Zealand. At the moment the lineup of breweries is looking like:

  • Garage Project
  • Townshend (Last of the Summer Ale)
  • Sprig and Fern (Harvest Pilsner)
  • Tuatara
  • 8 Wired (Fresh Hopwired)
  • Golden Bear

There's a question mark over the Garage Project beer at least, so please accept our apologies in advance if sightly fewer than six beers make it. And thanks to Søren Erikson for suggesting this micro festival.

(Of course May 4th is also Star Wars Day, but there's no obligation to come down in costume, except for one or two that we really expect it of. And for anyone wondering about the jargon, "wet-hopped"/"green-hopped" beers are made using hops fresh from the vine that haven't been kilned or pelletised. They can only be brewed within a few hours of the hops being picked.)


At the risk of sounding smug, we were pretty pleased with how X-Ale went on Saturday. As well as putting some pretty amazing and interesting beer out in front of everyone, we were just as experimental in the way the festival was run, from the way we allocated tastings and offered a buffet to the location. Enough of these experiments came off to justify doing it all over again. Although in a year's time the ParrotDog brewery won't be nearly so empty so the search for a new venue starts now.

Now very few of the kegs tapped on Saturday were emptied, so don't be surprised when some of those beers appear on tap here at Hashigo Zake over the coming days and weeks. Fortunately most of the beers are robust to the point of being nearly bullet-proof, so being tapped, partially consumed then re-tapped a little while later should have little if any effect.

On Tap Soon

As mentioned above, there are some pretty interesting X-Ale leftovers making it on tap at the moment. But in addition to those and our usual smattering of interesting imports from our own stocks there's one beer coming that should raise the heart rates of at least a few readers. Yes winter's coming, and so is Three Boys Oyster Stout.

We'll also have not one, but two beers that are the results of collaborations between Graham Mahy (666) and Martin Townshend (Townshend). One is Sutton Hoo which should be well known to many but which we haven't had for a while. The other is the brand new Scissor Jacks, described by Martin as an "India Pale Lager", not because it resembles, ahem.. Kingfisher, but because according to Martin it's an IPA fermented as a lager.

Look out too for our last keg (and quite possibly the last keg) of last year's Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse, last year's valiant attempt by Luke Nicholas, Kelly Ryan, Stephen Plowman and Joseph Wood to create a beer that was too hoppy.

Other People's News

Garage Project

Garage Project's transformation from nano-brewery to micro-brewery is agonisingly close to completion. Who'd have thought that a concrete floor was something to be excited by? But the floor they've laid on the Aro St property is a thing of beauty, with a raised outside edge, a gentle slope and drainage everywhere it needs to be.

The brand new stainless steel brewing equipment has been delivered and most of the installation done, with more services being connected to it by the day. Commissioning is not far off. Brewer Pete Gillespie says the quality of the gear is as every bit as good as they hoped for. The beginnings of a customer area are visible too. "Exciting" seems the only word that does the whole process justice.

The New Old

There was a watershed in the history of New Zealand broadcast television a couple of weeks ago. A programme was screened about New Zealand craft beer that was responsible, took its subject seriously (but not too seriously) and contained no sniggering. While the programme wasn't perfect, brewers Ian Ramsay (Galbraith's) and Paul Croucher (err... Croucher) did a great job and were actually given freedom to express themselves. After coverage by certain journalists in the past that was simply embarrassing, episode one of The New Old on TVNZ7 was a breath of fresh air.

What a pity that the channel that screened the programme is scheduled to be demolished to make way for an interstellar bypass. Surely only a fundamentalist libertarian would think the elimination of public broadcasting such as this was a good idea.

The programme in question can be viewed on demand here.

A Couple of Farewells

This weekend two regular customers and Pacific Beer Expo volunteers both happen to be having their final HZ sessions before heading overseas. We wish Hamil and Reiji well.


Greig McGill said...

I'm *so* not biting! ;P

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