Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012

News and Social Networking... Brewery Britomart... July 3 and July 4... Live Music... Lemur Attack Force...

News and Social Networking

There have always been at least two schools of thought at Hashigo Zake about electronic social networking. There are those of us who believe that technology should help human interactions by being unobtrusive and above all, discreet, taking note of increased sensitivities in western societies to the sanctity of an individual's privacy. Let's call that camp the curmudgeons. And there are those with no built-in scepticism about modern social networking tools such as facebook and twitter, willing to surrender more personal information than an army of Stasi informants could ever muster, and have that sold for profit by Mark Zuckerberg. Let's call them the kids.

Well the curmudgeons were disgusted earlier this week when it emerged that facebook had taken liberties with the details that users has provided about themselves. So the curmudgeons insisted on 48 hours of facebook silence as a protest. The fact is though that on most days of the week you could find something to be disgusted by in the behaviour of the company with the shonkiest IPO in living memory. Which suggests that the day that we - and probably a lot of other people - run out of patience with them can't be far off.

With this in mind we used our 48 hours of facebook silence to work on alternative ways to keep our customers updated about what's going on here. We've revisited our own, neglected, news-feed and incorporated its content into our on-site electronic menu. (You'll just have to visit the bar to see it in action.)

Of course our preferred means of keeping 350 or so of you informed is this email. And we guarantee we won't be selling your details to paying customers and we won't be bothering you with other people's advertising (except maybe for the odd plug for like-minded people, as below).

Finally, while we're at it, there is one specific practice of facebook users the curmudgeons would like to comment on. When facebook registered a location called "Hashigo Zake" and invited people to check in, they didn't consult us or give us an option. Kind of presumptuous really. So now if our guests want to tell the world that they're here, well we can't stop you and it's your own privacy you're sacrificing. But please, please don't tag other people in your check-ins without their consent.

Brewery Britomart

As mentioned last week, we've been following the progress of Brewery Britomart since they took over the run-down Rose and Crown pub in Fort St, Auckland. And now that their brewing operation is in full swing we've brought a selection of their beers to Wellington to have on tap this Friday.

Now we had an arrangement with the brewery that our release this Friday would constitute the Wellington launch, but one side seems to have forgotten the arrangement, so strictly speaking the beers we put on tomorrow won't quite be a Wellington first. Nevertheless we encourage you to come down and try a number of them, including the extremely pleasant Customs 69 IPA and Monk's Hip Hop Belgian IPA - the most popular beer at last weekend's City of Ales festival.

July 3 and July 4

It's America's national day next week and we're going to take the opportunity to get some gems of American craft brewing out of our cool store and onto our taps. This proved pretty popular last year. In fact last July 4th was our busiest Monday ever.

It would be a challenge to come up with a better list of West Coast beer outside of the Pacific Beer Expo. Here are just a few:

  • Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  • Bear Republic Navigator Doppelbock
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Like last year we'll be scouring the video vaults for the most fitting entertainment to sneak onto our screens. And we'll be putting on some quintessentially American food. We may even get Sam to don his flag/cape and do hourly fly-bys.

All this too-good-to-be-true shenanigans will go on all day, from midday, next Wednesday.

As a kind of preview, and because it's our only 4th of July beer that we've never served before, we're putting Moylan's Hell's Lager on a day early as our Tuesday New Release. It's a dortmunder (or according to ratebeer, a hellerbock). It's not often we make a fuss about a lightly hopped lager, but Moylan's have shown an ability to surprise - although usually with intensely hopped ales.

As usual it will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Live Music

Following last Saturday's triumphant finale to Adam Page and the Counts' residency, we now enter a brave new world of weekly, rotating gigs in that late Saturday slot. Expect high quality, moderately amplified music for grown-ups, with a weighting towards jazz and blues, but who knows - elements of funk, folk and maybe even country.

It all starts this Saturday night, at 10pm, with a gig by Hot Cafe, a string-based combo playing "gypsy jazz" - with a history dating back to the early 80s. We anticipate something pretty special.

Lemur Attack Force

Regular customers Aimee Whitcroft and Dane Foster are about to embark on an expedition involving the kind of ambition and daring that most of us can only dream of. They're forming Lemur Attack Force and heading to the charitable Mongol Rally 2012. They had a fundraising evening at the Hop Garden the other day and we may even try and stitch together some kind of similar effort to help them here before they leave in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime we encourage everyone to check out their site and see what they're about.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012

Feedback Needed... Britomart... ParrotDog... Menu Changes... New Release Tuesday... Music... Finally...

Feedback Needed

As regular customers may have noted, we often have beers on tap that are completely new or even experimental. While it's great for us they often come with a request from the brewer for feedback. And all too often we end up telling them what we think rather than what our customers do.

So if anyone has any comments to make about any of the beers we serve, feel free to email us at We'll package them up and send them on to the various brewers. (Or feel free to make whatever contact you are inclined to with the breweries themselves!)


Last year two Auckland brewers, John Morawski and Laurence van Dam, moved into what was once the Rose and Crown pub in Customs Street East. They went to a great deal of trouble and expense to restore what was, by then, a pretty shabby site, and installed a flash, new Canadian brewery. The result is another impressive Auckland brewpub to join the likes of Galbraith's and Hallertau.

They've now decided that their brewing operation has got to the point where they can sell some of their beer outside the venue. So we're delighted to be taking delivery of a variety of their beers next week. And we understand that when we put them on tap next Friday (the 29th) it will be a Wellington first.


Speaking of new breweries we have reason to believe that one of Wellington's new breweries will be productive in the not too distant future. If so it will be the result of an extraordinary effort by the Matts, after many a critic thought the installation and commission of their new brewery would take months.

Menu Changes

The food side of our offering has had a few tweaks over the last week or so. For your snacking pleasure:

  • Gyoza are back. Veggie are on the menu right now, with pork being added shortly.
  • We now, finally, serve cheese - check the menu for the cheese of the week.
  • We had a visit last evening from Scott, of Tongue Hammer Food, who are the New Zealand importers of Blair's Sauces and Snacks. Scott left us with a case each of their Habanero and Jalapeno Cheddar crisps. These are strictly for "Hot-heads", a club that seems to share a lot of members with the "Hop-heads". Anyone unused to extremely spicy food may need to sign a waiver before purchasing these snacks.

New Release Tuesday

If this week's new releases were a nod to a gentle, traditional style of brewing, with two New Zealand made, sub-5% milds, then next week will represent a 180° turn.

On Tuesday come two monsters from Mikkeller. One will be their Imperial Pilsner known as Draft Bear. The name, right down to the spelling of "Bear" is intended to mock Danes' expectations of a lager. But be warned, this is a fully grown, 8% "bear".

The other new release is Frelser, which means Saviour in Danish and is a homage to Paulaner Salvator - the original doppelbock. Again, this isn't a beer for taking lightly - it's 11%ABV.

As usual, these will both go on tap at 5pm. (Note that a few bottles of both of these beers have been available before, but this is their tap debut.)


The last instalment of our precedent-setting, ground-breaking run from Adam Page and the Counts is this Saturday night from 10pm - conveniently just a short time after the end of the rugby.

After that we go into an even braver new world of weekly, one-off gigs by some of Wellington's finest musicians. For instance on June 30 we'll host "gypsy jazz" exponents Hot Cafe, whose very name should trigger flashbacks to the 80s for older readers.


We're big fans of Rogue, but this recent news is frankly a bit disturbing. We promise not to start culturing anything derived from the beards of our staff.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012

Modest Mouse... Music... De Molen and Amager... On Tap Now or Soon... A Plug... From Our Foreign Correspondent...

Modest Mouse

We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we'd sent our own Steven Wells to Dunedin as part of our programme of getting our staff onto the floors of some of New Zealand's finest breweries. In this case Emerson's were the recipients of some donated labour.

But rather than just put Steven to work carrying sacks of grain and cleaning the mash tun with a toothbrush Richard was kind enough to involve him in designing a pilot batch of a new beer. That beer's time has come and so we're in possession of a number of kegs of Mild as a Mouse. It's a mild in style and is intended for our hand pumps. So on Tuesday our new release will be the first ever Emerson's/Hashigo Zake collaboration.

As usual the first glass will be poured - this time by its assistant brewer - at 5pm.


We're unlikely to ever be a full-time music venue, but we're taking small steps towards having a regular, credible musical presence at Hashigo Zake. As you may be tired of being told, we're in the middle of a season by our good friend and favourite South Australian Adam Page with his trio of Counts. That's Counts. And the second to last date of this memorable residency takes place at 10pm on Saturday.

After Adam Page and the Counts finish their run on Saturday the 23rd, we're planning to turn the 10pm Saturday slot into a regular, rotating gig. We'll announce more details over the next couple of weeks, but all the signs are that there will be another reason to come down for serious beer on Saturday evenings.

De Molen and Amager

A few places remain for our tasting next Wednesday (the 20th) of brand new imports from De Molen and Amager. This week's launch of De Molen Bed and Breakfast should have made a few curious, although it may have put one or two off as well.

Bookings can be made at the Cult Beer Store, at Note that signing up here will get you on our list for the evening, but no physical tickets will be issued.

On Tap Now or Soon

As usual there will be no shortage of rare and/or interesting offerings on tap now or in the coming days.

  • As promised last week, Yeastie Boys Her Majesty 2012 is on tap right now. And as promised it's an extravagant twist on a Scottish/Scotch ale.
  • Also still on tap is this week's new release - De Molen Bed and Breakfast, for anyone wanting a potent dose of coffee with their pale ale.
  • Some returning favourites in the form of Invercargill Boysenbeeryand Mata Brown Boy.
  • From Norway's Nøgne Ø (and in collaboration with Japan's Tamamura-Honten brewery) comes Not So Mild Ale, which is a mild ale, regardless of what the name suggests.
  • And to appease the inner hop-head in all of us, a keg of Green Flash West Coast IPA shall be consumed.

A Plug

From what we're told, this year's SOBA Winter Ale Festival barely needs any promotion and it looks certain to sell out again. This may be because the lineup this year will be the best yet. And it will include one or two from our own cellar.

Sadly we have to avoid calling it the Matariki Winter Ale Festival this year, lest an opportunistic wine company comes looking for royalties.

For more details, go to or buy tickets from

From Our Foreign Correspondent

It's a pleasure to see Yeastie Boys earn some well-deserved attention for their stunning showing at the recent Asian Beer Awards in Singapore. It was a fascinating event and something of a reunion for several figures from the New Zealand brewing industry, who were participating as judges and/or entrants, including Leon Mickelson, formerly of Hawkes Bay Independent Brewery, Colin Paige, once of the Wellington Brewing Company and Mac's and Gareth Hughes, the General Manager of Moa.

The awards ceremony was an interesting and quite casual affair, with many of the New Zealand contingent making it on to the podium and medals going to generally sublime but at times ridiculous beers. The full results are here.

Yeastie Boys are one of a handful of New Zealand breweries being imported on a tiny scale into Singapore. A new company called The Beer Bach is responsible for a lot of this - their stall at last weekend's Beer Fest Asia is pictured. We wish Melissa and Shem well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7, 2012

Adam Page and The Counts... Double Day of the Dead... De Molen and Amager... On Tap Now or Soon...

Adam Page and The Counts

Our four week residency by Adam Page and The Counts continues on Saturday evening at 10pm. Last Saturday, as promised, the live music in the Lounge made little difference to those in the Red Room, so those less interested in the music need not agonise about whether listening is obligatory. It's just recommended.

Double Day of the Dead

Garage Project enjoyed their Auckland launch on Tuesday, when the great and the good from the Auckland craft beer scene (yes they exist) came out in force at Galbraith's to try the four beers that they've brewed at Three Boys prior to installing their own new brewery. One of those was Double Day of the Dead, the amplified version of November's Day of the Dead, which, some of you will remember, was one of the 24/24 programme's biggest triumphs.

As we hinted last week, most of this batch of Double Day of the Dead ended up in Australia, as strange as that must seem. Auckland's allocation was snapped up on Tuesday and Wellington's will be on tap with us from 5pm on Friday evening.

De Molen and Amager

Our tasting of De Molen and Amager beers takes place on June 20. This is a pretty momentous tasting, we feel, as until now we've been deprived of many of the great contemporary European breweries (except, of course, for Mikkeller and Nøgne Ø). So the inner beer geeks that are hidden deep within Hashigo Zake's personnel are actually quite excited.

Full details and the chance to book are at:

To get everyone fully in the mood we're going to preview one of two De Molen beers in next week's New Release Tuesday slot.

On Tap Now or Soon

There are already a couple of beers on tap worth getting excited about.

Emerson's must be tired of hearing us beg them to keep making Oreti Red. They seem to be settling for once a year, which is better than nothing. In fact it's quite good. But we'll keep working on them.

Also on tap right now is a new favourite in Funk Estate Black IPA.

Some treats coming within or after the next 24 hours are:

  • Croucher Double D, strange name but we're really looking forward to this. We're expecting a hoppy amber ale, like Oreti Red, although when it's labelled an "Irish Red Ale" it's a little harder to get excited.
  • Mikkeller Amarillo IPA - the beer we promised seven days ago will probably be tasting even nicer now.
  • Nøgne Ø Citra IPA.
  • Three Boys Oyster Stout on hand pump.
  • Not one but two treats from Yeastie Boys. We've a keg of Digital IPA, which you may be familiar with. We also have a rare keg from the annual release they call Her Majesty. This year's Her Maj, which we assume is not released to coincide with a certain figure's jubilee, is said to be influenced by traditional dark Scottish Ales but with a "secret twist". Meanwhile on they're putting it in the herb/spice/vegetable category..
  • We've a keg of Galbraith's fabulous Belgian Abbey style Resurrection and we even have a few of the fabulous goblets that Galbraith's serve it in themselves.