Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

Adam Page and The Counts... Tapliteration... To Øl... Emerson's... Tasting Announcement... Double Day of the Dead... On Tap Now or Soon... Finally...

Adam Page and The Counts

Our return season of music from Adam Page and The Counts starts on Saturday night. From 10pm our lounge will host the coolest, funkiest gig Wellington has seen since Christmas Eve. And we look forward to seeing if Adam can avoid head-butting the lampshades as he plays.

Here again are the deets:

  • Musicians: Adam Page and the Counts - Adam Page, Ricky Gooch and Ed Zuccollo (with a little mixing and matching over the four weeks).
  • Saturdays the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd of June.
  • Start time: 10pm. Approximate finish time: midnight.
  • Door charge: nil.
  • Venue: The Lounge at Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki St.


Tomorrow (Friday's) mini-festival of the finest beer to come from Spotswood, New Plymouth - or perhaps any New Zealand suburb - is developing a life of its own. The lineup of some of Liberty's best was looking pretty steller anyway, but then we found the final keg of the batch of Summ!t Imperial IPA that Joe brewed for X-Ale. This might be the only Imperial IPA nicer than C!tra. For the first time we'll get to try them side by side.

Meanwhile Joe Wood has confirmed plans to make the trip down to Wellington.

But the main reason for tomorrow is to treat Wellington to a pin of Liberty/Galbraith's Yakima Monster. We've had cask-conditioned beer before and we've had beer made at Galbraith's before. But as far as we know no cask of Galbraith's beer has ever been this far south. Having said that we only have a single 20L pin and it probably won't last long. To mitigate this Galbraith's have also been persuaded to rack 40L of the same beer into kegs that we will dispense from our hand pumps. In this form the beer won't truly be cask-conditioned, but it will be the next best thing and it will be fascinating to try next to the gravity-dispensed stuff from the pin.

Also making their way down from Galbraith's will be a small number of special release T-shirts. There will be several sizes but only a couple of each. These collectors' items will be for sale for $40.

To Øl

Danish "gypsy" brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller is well known to us now, but we're starting to get access to beers from some who have been influenced by him. For instance Mikkel's other career is as a schoolteacher and he isn't afraid to let these two careers mix. Outside of normal school hours he taught certain pupils how to brew. More useful than woodwork. Two of those students, Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, have gone on to create their own brewing company, To Øl ("Two Beers").

So next Tuesday our new release is our first beer from Mikkel's apprentices. It's Reparationsbajer ("Recovery Beer"), a 5.8% pale ale, hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Nelson Sauvin. These guys don't own a brewery and this beer was brewed at Belgium's De Proefbrouwerij, as are many Mikkeller beers.

While fact-checking some of the details of To Øl and Reparationsbajer, this video turned up in a search result. It's an interview of Mikkel conducted by Alex Liberati, proprietor of Brasserie 4:20 in Rome, importer of several New Zealand breweries and one time guest of Hashigo Zake. It's a couple of years old but made with reasonably good production values, contains some interesting information and starts with footage from the main bar and the rooftop bar at the glorious Brasserie 4:20.


Did anyone notice a lower than usual count of blue-haired staff last week? The reason was that our own Steven Wells was "on assignment" at Emerson's brewery, as part of our programme of putting our own staff on the floors of New Zealand's most important breweries, gathering experience and insight and offering free labour.

As part of his time there Steven collaborated with the brewery on a test batch of a new mild ale, which we look forward to slotting into a New Release Tuesday some week in the near future.

Tasting Announcement

As mentioned last week, New Zealand's first ever shipment direct from legendary Dutch brewer de Molen has arrived. So we're planning a tasting so we can all get to know a small portion of their range properly. Not only that, this shipment includes a few goodies from certain other European breweries that de Molen are allied with, particularly Copenhagen's Amager. So on Wednesday June 20 we're trying some of Europe's most exciting and new (to us) breweries.

Bookings as usual are through the Cult Beer Store, at

Double Day of the Dead

Many of us have fond memories of the beer Garage Project brewed last year called Day of the Dead. This chilli/chocolate/agave dark lager was brewed on their experimental brewery and consumed in a couple of hours on November 1. This year they brewed a little over 1000 litres of a stronger version at the Three Boys Brewery for Melbourne's Great Australasian Beer Specatapular (GABS). (This was before their own sexy new brewery was delivered.) Almost all of that beer ended up in Australia. A little made its way into a bourbon barrel and one keg has come into our possession.

So the only keg in Wellington (that we know of) of Garage Project Double Day of the Dead will go on tap at 5pm, here at Hashigo Zake on Friday the 7th of June.

On Tap Now or Soon

The first five kegs of Funk Estate Black IPA lasted just a few hours, forcing us to re-order sooner than expected. But we've a couple more kegs and one is on tap now. Come down this afternoon and get one poured by the brewer himself (Shiggy).

We have a keg of one of Mikkeller's Single Hop IPA series - Amarillo this time.

And speaking of Scandinavian IPAs, Nøgne Ø's Citra IPA will be back on soon.

In the same shipment from Hallertau that brought us Nora Luka comes a keg of Stuntman Imperial IPA.

For the first time in a while we have some beer from Mata - a keg each of their Blondie Wheat and Brown Boy Amber Ale.


It should hardly be a surprise that the success of Renaissance and 8 Wired means they're running out of capacity. Now Søren has hinted that he'll not only construct his own facility but may look for investors. Forget partially floated SOEs and overvalued social networking giants - this could be an investment opportunity to get excited about.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012

Adam Page and The Counts... Nora Luka... Barrel Aged Stonecutter... Estate We're In... Brouwerij de Molen... Rogue's Return... Tapestry... Mediawatch... Stanley Cup... Finally...

Adam Page and The Counts

As mentioned last week, the best fun that money can buy is back. Musical genius and Rogue Nation Citizen Adam Page is back for another four-Saturday residency with The Counts.

If you're reading this and recall reading a similar message in November last year, were you someone who knew a good thing when you read it and came along? Or did you wait to hear if it was as good as we promised then let the whole four week season go by? If you're in the second category then consider yourself reprieved. Not only are we resurrecting the entertainment event of 2011, we're bringing the start time forward to 10pm to make it a little easier.

So here are the vital statistics:

  • Musicians: Adam Page and the Counts - Adam Page, Ricky Gooch and Ed Zuccollo (with a little mixing and matching over the four weeks).
  • Saturdays the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd of June.
  • Start time: 10pm. Approximate finish time: midnight.
  • Door charge: nil.
  • Venue: The Lounge at Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki St.

Nora Luka

Next Tuesday's new release is a re-brew of last year's National Homebrew Competition winner, produced at Hallertau. It's a Belgian Golden Ale called Nora Luka and it comes to us under the Bambule Brewing label. Regulars on might recognise that moniker.

It goes on tap at the usual time of 5pm on Tuesday and we've a suspicion that the brewer might be in attendance.

Barrel-Aged Stonecutter

Another big hit at the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular was Renaissance's Barrel Aged Stonecutter. Twenty kegs of this beer were shipped to Melbourne and one stayed in New Zealand. That one keg is ready and waiting to go on tap some time this weekend.

Estate We're In

Funk Estate had a lot to answer for yesterday (Wednesday) morning. We'll go a long time before seeing a Tuesday night like the last, when a quarter of their 1000 litre batch of Black IPA disappeared in a few hours. Clearly some of you were coming back for seconds and thirds, so the guys must have got something right.

Re-live the moment that the lads officially turned pro here:

So congratulations and thanks to Dan, Jordan, Dylan and Shiggy for enticing so many through our door with their first release. We look forward to topping up our allocation of this beer and stocking future releases.

Brouwerij de Molen

Part time beer importer (and new owner of Karori's Mud Cycles) Dave Waugh has done us an enormous favour by securing the rights to import the beers of Netherlands' de Molen Brewery to New Zealand. His first shipment is on New Zealand soil and we look forward to finding spots for many of them on our fridge shelves and taps in the coming weeks.

Rogue's Return

Following the arrival of more Rogue beer than you can shake a stick at, we're celebrating this Friday with a Rogue Trifecta on tap - Dead Guy, Yellow Snow IPA and Shakespeare Stout. Come for the Dead Guy tap handle, stay for the fantastic Oregon beer.

There's no hard start time for this event. We'll start bringing these on tap as and when it's convenient from Thursday evening, and guarantee to have all three on by 4pm on Friday. Stay tuned to facebook or twitter or keep watching to check progress.


A month or so ago Liberty's Joseph Wood travelled up to Auckland as part of Galbraith's laudable programme of recreating great New Zealand craft beers at their brewery. It happens that Galbraith's are, to the best of our knowledge, the only company in New Zealand with permission to import whole cone hops (as opposed to pelletised ones), and usually they use this privilege to bring in English hops. But Joe's renowned talent for putting American hops to great use necessitated the acquisition of whole American Simcoe and Amarillo and the result is (probably) the first cask-conditioned ale made in New Zealand using whole cone US hops.

Normally the beers produced in Galbraith's Great Brewers Cask Ale Series don't leave the premises they're brewed on, but Joe, bless him, insisted that some be made available to the patrons of Hashigo Zake. So on Friday June 1st we'll be putting 20L of Yakima Monster, conditioned in the pin (cask) that it will be dispensed from, on our bar-top and opening the tap.

Now 20L of this beer isn't going to go far and some kind of rationing may be necessary. But another way of coping with a shortage of one Liberty beer is to make a plethora of other Liberty beers available too. "Tap takeovers" are so 2011. So June 1 will be our Liberty Tapliferation. Look for several or more from the following:

  • a keg of the latest batch of Liberty C!tra.
  • a keg of Liberty Yakima Scarlet.
  • a keg of one of the West Coast Blonde series.

Best of all, Joe Wood plans to be here on the night.


Congratulations to Angela Moriarty and Positively Wellington Tourism on convincing the Sunday Star-Times to give generous coverage to Wellington's craft beer scene in last Sunday's travel section.

And congrats too to Steph Coutts for tactfully correcting a few of Dominion Breweries' misconceptions about beer and gender in today's news. ( No doubt her advice will fall on deaf ears and Lemony-Lime Tui will be pouring from pink taps in selected Courtenay Place bars in about seven weeks.

Stanley Cup

We understand the Stanley Cup finals start in aboot seven days, New Zealand Time. We look forward to welcoming our (ice) hockey-watching friends down on four or more afternoons in the near future.


Today is the birthday of Garage Project brewer Pete Gillespie. Presumably their rapid progress toward full scale brewing is the present he wished for.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012

Australia... Funk Estate... On Tap Now or Soon... Rogue's Return... Even More Good News...


Right now many of our suppliers and quite a few of our customers have their attention focused on Melbourne, which is in the middle of "Good Beer Week". This festival of beer-related activities kicked off last Friday when the historic and, frankly, gorgeous Royal Exhibition Hall in Carlton hosted the three day Great Australasian Beer Spectapular.

As predicted this was one of the most ambitious beer festivals we've ever seen. All sixty beers, with maybe one exception, were brewed specially for the event. The venue was filled with long tables and bench seating to create a "beer hall" atmosphere and allow participants to sit down to do their sampling. There was seating for 2800 and plenty more open space to mingle in.

In the Anzac spirit New Zealand breweries were given a high profile, with a quarter of the beers coming from our side of the Tasman and New Zealand's contingent listed first in the programme and on the taps, which seemed to encourage punters to try them first. Yeastie Boys' Gunnamatta, their radical tea-infused pale ale, ended up being voted the most popular beer of the event. But we can report that most of the New Zealand beers made a good impression, particularly 8 Wired C4 (which strongly resembled their coffee-infused Double Brown brewed for last year's Pacific Beer Expo), Renaissance Barrel-Aged Stonecutter and Liberty S!mcoe.

The Hashigo Zake delegation can also report that there were some pretty special offerings from the Australian breweries. Unsurprisingly Feral contributed a little stunner in the form of a 1.9% melon-infused Berliner Weisse. A couple of breweries that were new to us came through with fine brews and we'll be endeavouring to bring the leftovers of one or two of those across the Tasman.

There were so many innovations to GABS that it's no wonder that there were hiccups. In particular serving multiple samples at a time on paddles to thousands of customers at once led to some long queues. This issue in particular caused the organisers plenty of angst and there will be a lot of thought given to improvements in the next twelve months.

Meanwhile Melbourne beer lovers continue to be spoiled with smaller events around the theme of craft beer, with a climax of sorts tonight when the winners of the Australian International Beer Awards are named. New Zealand breweries have done well at AIBA over recent years so we'll be listening for news with interest.

Funk Estate

Next week's New Release is pretty special. Funk Estate is a new brewing company formed in Wellington by regular customers Dan Lord, Dylan Shearer, Jordan Scott Evison and our very own Shigeo (Shiggy) Takagi. A few weeks ago they headed to Kawerau to use Aotearoa Brewery's gear to make their first beer, a Black IPA based on a recipe of Shiggy's.

From 5:30pm on Tuesday we'll be giving that beer and Funk Estate their first public outing. We're anticipating that this will be one of the bigger events in the Wellington craft beer scene for some time. We recommend coming nice and early.

On Tap Now or Soon

It's a good week or so for new local beer. As well as next week's Funk Estate launch, the aforementioned GABS-popular-vote-winning Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta is on the premises and should make it onto a tap in the next few days. Meanwhile the Yeasties' Digital IPA will be poured on the hand pump very shortly.

The next few weeks will be big ones for Liberty. In a few days there will be some stock of C!tra Imperial IPA for ourselves and all the supermarkets and bottle stores that call daily to ask if we have any. We'll also be putting Joe Wood's newest beer - Alpha Dogg - on tap for the first time.

As special as C!tra and Alpha Dogg will be, we have something to trump even those. Sitting in our coolstore is a pin of a special batch of Yakima Monster brewed by Ian Ramsay and Liberty's Joe Wood at Auckland's Galbraith's. Now as well as being devoted to traditional methods of brewing and dispensing beer, Galbraith's happen to be the only people in New Zealand (that we know of) allowed to import whole cone hops, rather than pellets. For this batch of Yakima Monster they brought in actual cones of American Simcoe and Amarillo, making Galbraith's/Liberty Yakima Monster a completely unique beer. As mentioned, Galbraith's are pretty particular about how they serve beer and for this special batch they've agreed to let us have this 20L pin for direct, bar-top dispensing.

We're hoping to get Joe down from the 'Naki on Friday June 1 (the Friday of Queen's Birthday weekend) and we'll tap this pin of precious beer then, possibly along with one or two other Liberty goodies.

Rogue's Return

For the first time in a long time we can say that we're well stocked with Rogue beer, with most of a container load arriving on Tuesday. The only problem is that we're struggling to find room in our fridges for all of it. So we'll be phasing lines of Rogue's fantastic beer onto the shelves over the coming week or so. Bottles of Captain Sig's, Chipotle, 200 Metre, Imperial Pilsner, Double Dead Guy and Yellow Snow could be in your hands soon. Then on Friday the 25th we'll put Dead Guy Ale (complete with an awesome tap handle) and one or two others on tap at the same time.

Even More Good News

Late last year in the run-up to Christmas Adam Page and the Counts entertained us on four utterly memorable Saturday nights with their blend of funk, boogooloo, shuffle and ecstatic, improvised musical creativity. Well we're looking at repeating the whole experience in June.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012

Busted... New Release Tuesday... On Tap Now or Soon... Postscript...


This was looking like a slow news week, what with Melbourne's Great Australasian Beer Spectapular kicking off tomorrow, and next week's New Release Tuesday suffering from a change in lineup. And then along comes one of the juiciest pieces of scandal to hit the brewing industry since Guinness (Diageo's corporate progenitor) got busted for shady share dealings in the 80s. Thank you, Diageo, thank you.

For those who haven't picked this up from the more beer-oriented corners of the social media universe, drinks giant Diageo (owners of Guinness and many other drinks brands) have been caught telling the organisers of the British Institute of Innkeeping's awards for the Scottish hospitality industry who should win. To be fair, they didn't actually say who should win, just who shouldn't, namely BrewDog. The trouble was BrewDog's name was already engraved on the trophy.

For those of us who grieve every day at the way the beer market is subverted by the anticompetitive practices of large beverage companies this is as good an opportunity for self-righteous indignation as we'll ever get. Good on you, Diageo!

Now if only this story had a local angle. What if some award for the brewing or hospitality industry in our part of the world also had their judging process compromised by undue influence from say, a sponsor, or someone protecting advertisers. Of course, that would never happen. Or has it?

New Release Tuesday

Next week we were hoping to host the launch of a pretty exciting new venture in brewing. But the handful of you still in the dark about that particular venture will have to wait another week while the fab four get their first beer into kegs.

In the meantime we have another Mikkeller beer to unleash on you all. It's their Simcoe IIIPA. We don't know as much about this beer as we'd like, but it looks like a one-off batch brewed to celebrate the first anniversary of Mikkeller's Copenhagen tap house about a year ago. So while it isn't a brand new beer it is new to us and we trust that the intensity of the hops will have helped it keep.

As usual it's on tap from 5pm next week.

On Tap Now or Soon

  • For the first time ever we'll have a keg of Sprig and Fern's Hefeweizen.
  • A succession of some of our favourite American imports will be occupying one tap, with Ballast Point Sculpin first, then Green Flash 30th St Pale Ale and Coronado Islander IPA.
  • Another keg of 666 Avarice Imperial IPA. (For news of 666's next beer, read here).
  • A brand new Porter from Townshend.


This is a funny time of year for us with the World Beer Cup taking place in San Diego last week and the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular kicking off in Melbourne tomorrow. So news is short this week, but we promise a bumper edition next week with reports on who out of the NZ contingent at GABS behaved the worst.

May 3, 2012

Brewjolais Nouveau... Resolute Brewing... On Tap Now or Soon... Mikkeller Update...

Brewjolais Nouveau

Our promised celebration of wet-hopped ales takes place this Friday. It looks like we will have at least six beers after all:

  • Mountains are being moved to make sure that Garage Project Oldhams Farm makes it in time. This is the latest, and perhaps last, beer brewed for them at Three Boys before the new brewery at their Aro St equipment is fully functional.
  • Townshend Last of the Summer Ale.
  • Tuatara Mayday IIPA.
  • 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired.
  • Golden Bear Taia Wild Harvest.
  • Spring and Fern Harvest Pilsner.

All these will be on from midday on Friday, so some of you can knock off the first one or two over lunch. It's possible that the Garage Project beer won't make it on tap until later in the afternoon.

Resolute Brewing

Resolute Brewing is the new venture of Nathan Crabbe, who has been part of the Christchurch brewing scene for the last few years. First he founded contract brewery Golden Ticket with Ally McGilvray, then went to work at Harrington's brewery for two years to spend some time in the guts of a production brewery. He's now starting his own Resolute label and brewing at the revived Twisted Hop brewery.

The first Resolute beer is being launched on Saturday in Christchurch and we're giving it its Wellington debut next Tuesday.

That first beer is called Zaragoza Stout. It's a "mole beer" - that's mole (moh-lay) the Mexican national dish made using ingredients like chocolate and spices such as chilli. At 4.5% it should be reasonably "sessionable".

Resolute Zaragoza Stout goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday. AND the brewer, Nathan Crabbe, will be in attendance!

On Tap Now or Soon

At the time of writing Liberty Summ!t Imperial IPA is still on tap. For many people this was the finest beer to come out of 2010 and two years have changed little.

Speaking of Liberty we're continuing to work through the West Coast Blond series, with Riwaka on now and Simcoe coming up soon.

Other returning favourites include Yeastie Boys Digital IPA, Galbraith's Bohemian Pils and Mike's American Pale Ale.

Mikkeller Update

A couple of new bottled Mikkeller beers have made it after a longer than expected journey. In particular Koppi IPA, a coffee infused IPA, and Green Gold, an American IPA, are in the fridge now.