Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012

Southstralian Invasion 1 - New Release Tuesday... Southstralian Invasion 2 - Bruce... Southstralian Invasion 3 - Alistair Turnbull... Choice Beer Week... Music This Saturday... IP Watch... On Tap Now or Soon...

Southstralian Invasion 1 - New Release Tuesday

We promised that a bumper shipment of South Australian beer was on its way and it has arrived. So to warm everyone up for next Wednesday's synchronised, trans-Tasman release of Bruce, we're launching two of South Australia's favourite dark beers next Tuesday. First up is Brew Boys Ace of Spaces, a legendary Australian stout that we've been hearing about and looking forward to for many years.

And alongside it will be Woolshed Brewery's Judas the Dark. This one hasn't had as much fuss made about it, but what we hear is definitely interesting. Described as a "dark ale with native roasted wattleseed" and referencing the legend of the Judas Sheep, which is already engrained in the deepest memories of fans of seminal Australian rock band, Hunters and Collectors, this beer oozes intrigue.

And I said our friend the Judas sheep
Today's companion tomorrow's fresh meat

Both will come on tap at 5pm next Tuesday.

Southstralian Invasion 2 - Bruce

It's a long time since we've got to host a Yeastie Boys release, and it took a lot of patience and the loan of 18 kegs to make it happen, but on Wednesday we join Adelaide's Wheatsheaf Hotel in opening the sluices and pouring Bruce.

Bruce is reportedly a 3.5% golden bitter, made with Maris Otter malt and Golden Naked Oats and hopped with Challenger and Big Banger. Yes, you read that right, apparently Big Banger was the nickname of a new New Zealand hop variety, with an extremely high alpha acid percentage, now known as Waimea.

Sadly, Bruce isn't a humorous reference to a Monty Python sketch, but in fact is the name of Alistair Turnbull's bulldog. And Alistair is the brewer at Lobethal Bierhaus where this collaborative beer was conceived. For more insight on how Bruce came to be brewed, check out the yeasties blog.

To help make a night of it, Stu has revealed that a small volume of 2011's PKB Weemix has surfaced and will be made available for us to put on a hand pump next Wednesday.

The Adelaide launch is at 6pm their time. For true trans-Tasman harmonisation we could hold off pouring Bruce until 8:30pm NZT. But it's a school night, so 5pm sounds much better.

Southstralian Invasion 3 - Alistair Turnbull

Now Lobethal's Alistair is so chuffed that a metric pallet-load of his beer has made it to Wellington that he's going to follow it over. Not next Wednesday for our launch of Bruce, as he'll be at the Wheatsheaf in Adelaide, pouring the first pint over there. Instead he's coming over on the weekend of Beervana, where Bruce will be poured along with around 270 other beers at Westpac Stadium. As mentioned above Bruce isn't the only Lobethal beer to make it to us, so on the evening of Saturday August 19 we'll turn a number of Hashigo Zake's taps over to Lobethal beer. There's quite a lot to choose from - a Double IPA, a Stout, a Porter and something called Goodbier, a Citra hopped lager.

And fittingly, or not, there's an Australia vs New Zealand rugby test the same evening.

Choice Beer Week

Choice Beer Week is the new term to describe the week of events that include the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards and Beervana. In the past the name BrewNZ was used sometimes to describe the awards and sometimes as an umbrella term to describe the week. We now have Choice Beer Week.

Now regardless of what it's called it has always been our goal to help ensure that there is a festival atmosphere during that week with plenty of high quality events going on before, during and between the Awards and Beervana. This year is no different.

From Monday August 13 until Sunday August 19 we're maintaining a busy schedule of events. We even listed one above - an appearance by South Australian brewer Alistair Turnbull, with a number of Lobethal Bierhaus beers on tap, on the evening of Saturday August 18.

We can now reveal a little more about that week of events.

  • All week we'll be hosting an exhibition of new works by the unofficial Photographer Laureate of the New Zealand Craft Brewing Industry - Jed Soane.
  • On Monday the 13th we'll celebrate the launch of Liberty Yakima Monster in 500ml bottles - a radical new move for Liberty brewing that we hope will see their popularity move to another level.
  • On Tuesday the 14th, the 2011 Champion Brewer of New Zealand, 8 Wired's Søren Erikson will be on hand for a New Release Super Tuesday - with at least two radical new beers.
  • On Wednesday the 15th, in what is becoming a tradition, Renaissance Brewing will be present for the release of the 2012 instalment of Marlborough Pale Ale.
  • At 10pm on the Thursday (awards night), Friday and Saturday we'll have live music in our lounge.
  • On the afternoon of Saturday the 18th Graeme Mahy of 666 Brewing will be on the premises while we pour his latest release - an as yet unnamed ale expected to be somewhat Belgian in character.
  • On the evening of Saturday the 18th the aforementioned Southstralian Invasion continues with Alistair Turnbull here.

Music This Saturday

This Saturday's gig is another that has had Wellington's music community abuzz - Palmerston North blues guitarist Bullfrog Rata teaming up with local harmonica player Neil Billington. It's at 10pm in the lounge.

IP Watch

We continue to keep an eye on potential travesties in the application of intellectual property law in the brewing industry, or just find people making weird requests. There have been rich pickings this week.

Firstly it seems that Heineken-DB-Tiger-Monteiths recognise a good beer name when they see it and are keen to borrow the name of Hallertau's magnificent Porter Noir for something that will almost certainly be inferior. Rehabilitating themselves with New Zealand's serious beer lovers doesn't seem to be on the agenda there.

Stoke seem to be on a mission to trademark well known brewing terms. They already trademarked "bomber" - the North American colloquialism for a 650ml bottle. The week they applied to trademark "Stoke Imperial", an odd decision since "Imperial" is routinely being used as a prefix for just about any beer style to denote a particularly strong or hoppy reinterpretation of a style. If they are successful will they be stopping other brewers from making Imperial IPAs or Imperial Stouts?

Mercifully it seems that the Moutere Inn's attempt to trademark "Shandy" - conceived as a response to Heineken-Tui's successful defence of their Radler trademark - has been abandoned.

And really Kirin-Lion-XXX? "Crafty Beggars"?

The good news is that after nine months Hancocks' attempt to trademark "growler" is still languishing in the "under consideration" pile.

On Tap Now or Soon

If we may say so ourselves, the tap lineup right now is looking pretty special, with stellar beers from breweries like Green Flash, 8 Wired, Emerson's and Garage Project all on. But between the current line up and next Tuesday and Wednesday's shenanigans there are more highlights to look out for. In particular:

  • ParrotDog returns. We've got kegs from the first batches of Bloodhound, BitterBitch and new pale ale DeadCanary to come from the brand new setup on Vivian St.
  • HaandBryggeriet Fyr & Flamme IPA was a hit at the SOBA Winter Ale Festival. We've got the other keg of this beer.
  • Twisted Hop Sauvin Pilsner returns.
  • And some time long ago in the mists of time, we got to acquire several kegs of 8 Wired iStout. We're blowing the dust off one of those some time soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012

New Release Tuesday... Bruce... Craft Beer College... Music This Saturday... Silly Season...

New Release Tuesday

Next week's release is an experiment by local start-up Funk Estate, made in collaboration with Motel's Tom Egerton. They've taken a small amount of their recently released Coconut Stout and added rum-infused pineapple pieces. It's going to be called Pintacolada and it could be one of the riskiest acts of beer-doctoring ever.

As usual this will come on tap at 5pm.


As foreshadowed last week a consignment of South Australian beer is on its way to us, including the much-anticipated Yeastie Boys / Lobethal collaboration called Bruce. In the spirit of the ANZACs, CER and John Clarke we're planning a coordinated launch of Bruce with legendary Adelaide beer bar The Wheatsheaf very soon. We're very close to agreeing on a date. Then in the spirit of underarm bowling we'll hold ours the night before.

To get everyone in the mood, and because we haven't yet checked why this beer is called Bruce, some of you might enjoy watching some Python.

As hinted above, a veritable collective noun's worth of other South Australian beers are making the trip from Adelaide with Bruce. And Alistair Turnbull of Lobethal Bierhaus, co-brewer of Bruce, is visiting Wellington for Beervana. So on August the 18th, the Saturday of Beervana, we'll host a mini festival of South Australian beer here at Hashigo Zake. We'll have several Lobethal beers, maybe one or two other South Australian beers, and Alistair. Fittingly there's a New Zealand vs Australia rugby test that evening as well.

Our programme of events for what is now being called Choice Beer Week has just become a lot more condensed. It's gonna be extraordinary. We'll make a full announcement next week.

Craft Beer College

Jonny Day and Steph Coutts have many claims to fame in Wellington's community of those dedicated to the sensible improvement of beer appreciation. They're regular winners in tasting competitions, occasionally wrangle volunteers at festivals here or offshore, write about and judge beer. And, above all, they're regular customers at Hashigo Zake.

But they're now launching a new venture called Craft Beer College. Plenty of individuals and companies have offered the ability to run educational beer tastings before. We even do ourselves occasionally. But Craft Beer College is setting out to specialise in the field. They're going to run a programmed series of tastings over the coming months but will also offer the ability to turn on such tastings to order. Best of all, they're going to use Hashigo Zake as a training venue.

So we're completely supportive of this endeavour. You can even book for their first season of tastings over the bar here at Hashigo Zake.

Music This Saturday

Our musical programme reaches another watershed this Saturday when we host the composer of the greatest New Zealand song ever. Allegedly. But this Saturday Wayne Mason is bringing a rockabilly band. Our first rockabilly band in fact, called the X-Ray Catz. They take the stage at 10pm.

Silly Season

It's getting harder than ever right now to predict what's going to be on tap from one day to the next. A lot of kegs came away unfinished from last week's SOBA Winter Ale festival, we snapped up all the good stuff that we could and they're making their way onto taps as places become available.

There are luxury leftovers like Emerson's Baltic Porter - in fact we got our own allocation of this as well as the festival leftovers, so there should be plenty to go around. There's the last of the last keg of Waldhaus Jubilaums Dunkel, not to mention a rare keg of 8 Wired iStout.

We'll spice that up with more early releases from the new Garage Project brewery. Like last week we've been sent a 20L keg to check the carbonation - this time on Pernicious Weed. And after the triumphant return of Trip Hop last week we're ordering a fresh keg of that.

Meanwhile we've called up the absolute last keg of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA before our next shipment next month.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012

New Release Tuesday... On The Horizon... History Repeating... Some Thank Yous... Music This Week... On Tap Now or Soon...

New Release Tuesday

First of all we applaud Dale Holland for not only producing a formidable Doppelbock that we got to launch on Tuesday, but for turning up to promote it in person and bringing reinforcement in the form of Geoff Griggs.

To be honest we've had trouble programming the "New Release Tuesday" slot for the next month or so. We're expecting all sorts of interesting beers in the near future - in fact we'll talk you through some of them below. But in most cases we aren't sure when we'll get them on the premises.

But at least one of these promised jewels is within Hashigo Zake's walls, it's unusual, it's probably exceptionally good and we can book it in with confidence.

It's a beer from Emerson's Brewery's White Label series, which we think indicates that there's too little of it to get a proper label. It's a 7.8% Stout modelled on certain big, intense American stouts. The brewery claim it came out even better than they hoped and is "beautifully black with a creamy latte head, oily, rich and resiny on the nose" with "licorice, coffee, and molasses flavours to the fore". It sounds like the perfect beer to make a fuss over in the middle of winter. Perhaps it will inspire a pithy haiku.

As usual it will come on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

We can also give early notice of our release the week after. Funk Estate have been busy, not only getting full scale batches of their first two beers out, but doing small batches at Massey University's pilot brewery and performing experiments on unsuspecting kegs of beer. The first output of their research programme - Pinta Colada - will be our release on July 24. More info next week.

On The Horizon

There are some pretty exciting and unusual products on their way to us. Some are still some way away, some are closer and to be honest some could be just about anywhere for all we know. But here are a few teasers to, well, try and convince you that we're busy.

1. Yeastie Boys' Stu and Sam spent some quality time in South Australia back in May. But rather than go empty handed they took eighteen kegs of their own beer. The actual kegs they used were lent to them by.... well.. us. As a consequence we're looking forward to a feast of South Australian beer. And in amongst that shipment will be "Bruce" - the beer that resulted from time the Yeastie Boys spent collaborating with Lobethal Bierhaus, a brewpub in the town of Lobethal, outside Adelaide.

Lobethal Bierhaus has something in common with Hashigo Zake - Adam Page has played gigs at both venues. And Adam has dropped plenty of hints about the quality of certain South Australian breweries. So we have high hopes for this shipment, which right now is in the hands of one of our suppliers of freight services.

2. Liberty Brewing's Joe Wood has been as busy as ever. When he hasn't been slogging away trying to meet demand for C!tra Imperial IPA (which, by the way, is back in stock), he's been conjuring up a number of new beers that we hope to see quite a lot of in the next few weeks. And a few weeks later we hope to get hold of all the Yakima Monster that anyone could wish for.

3. A couple of months ago this article by our friend Geoff Griggs appeared on stuff and in one or two newspapers around the country. It describes a trip to the Oregon brewpub called Pelican by Graeme Mahy and Geoff, made just before Pelican won just about every award possible at the World Beer Cup. Everything Geoff said in the article was correct except for one thing. Describing the Pelican/666 collaboration Geoff wrote "Sadly, most likely none of us will get to sample the finished beer." Well Hashigo Zake followed Geoff and Graeme around Oregon, hounded, hassled and harried Pelican until they filled our kegs and secured stock of Our Precious and a few other Pelican beers. So that sentence should probably read "Only Hashigo Zake's customers will get to sample the finished beer."

Our pallet-load of Pelican beer is currently resting in a cool-store in Los Angeles, waiting to be incorporated into an order of Californian beer coming our way soon, so we're all going to need the patience of Gollum before we get to try "Our Precious".

4. Emerson's Extra Stout has been mentioned above. The brewery have also been good enough to give us access to a couple of other rarities. Ticketholders at Saturday's SOBA Winter Ale Festival will get to try something pretty unusual from them. For those who couldn't get a ticket, small quantities of that beer will be available at Hashigo Zake in the days following the festival.

And after nagging Emerson's for years, asking them to put one of their two regular wheat beers into kegs as well as bottles, the brewery have relented and supplied us with some of their famous Dunkel Weiss in kegs. Now the brewery have renamed this beer a couple of times and it's confused the hell out of, who list one of the previous incarnations as the 8th best in its style in the world.

5. Swan Valley's Feral Brewing is generally considered Australia's and maybe Australasia's best brewery. They're in the middle of an ambitious expansion involving building a shared brew-house with Nail Brewing and are extremely busy. But it looks as though they'll find the time and enough beer to fill some kegs of ours that previously took Renaissance and 8 Wired beer to Perth.

The paragraphs above constitute far more information than we should really be revealing given that most of the beer discussed is not even in New Zealand yet. So please, keep this news to yourself.

History Repeating

Garage Project's anniversary is a few weeks away but possibly a more momentous milestone was passed just now. After nearly a year making 50 litres at a time or venturing to Christchurch a few times to brew at Three Boys, GP installed their own full-scale brew house a couple of months ago. Commissioning took a while but eventually some actual brewing took place and finally the first keg to be filled from the first batch on the new kit was carried from Aro St yesterday down to our premises.

It's a little like the first week of 24/24 revisited as this first beer from the new plant is Trip Hop, and we have just 20L of it. And it went on tap a few minutes ago.

Some Thank Yous

Last Saturday Aimee and Dane of Lemur Attack Force spent some of the final hours before departing for London hanging out, fighting back the combined effects of sleep deprivation and extreme anxiety and supporting our fundraising auction. By the time you read this they'll be about a day from starting the Mongol Rally.

So we thank them for their resilience last Saturday and we also thank Gold for entering into the spirit of the auction and generously bidding enough to take out both prizes.

Music This Week

Our booker's journey through various musical genres takes in another milestone on Saturday with a performance of "funked up jazz and ground soul" from the Kirsten Te Rito Trio. Fittingly there may be some Funk Estate beer on tap at the same time. As usual the music starts up in the lounge at 10pm.

On Tap Now or Soon

After explaining all the goodies coming up in the medium term future, it's time to reveal what's likely to be on over the next few days.

The hand pumps are going to be dominated by the Twisted Hop and Townshend. Nothing particularly unusual about that, but the Townshend beer will be Martin's incredibly popular Fuggles IPA. There will also be some of his 666 collaboration - Sutton Hoo.

Meanwhile we're flush with beer from the Twisted Hop, with Challenger, Twisted Ankle and the re-worked IPA Hopback.

It's time we put another keg of Mikkeller Texas Ranger on, lest time take any of the edge of its beautiful chipotle heat.

The Eagle vs Dog Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster divided plenty of people with its name but no-one complained about the flavour of this Imperial Brown Ale.

Uncle Sam will retain a presence with Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Moylan's Danny's Irish Red and Coronado Islander.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 5, 2012

Recovery Mode... Dry July... Lemur Attack Force... Dale's Brewing New Release... Saturday Music... On Tap Now and Soon... Departures...

Recovery Mode

Thank you to everyone who came along last night and turned July the 4th into our busiest Wednesday ever. And we're especially grateful to our own Sam Whitney who donned his old chef-hat and flag-cape for just long enough to create some splendidly fitting 4th of July food.

Dry July

Dry July is a campaign that raises funds to help cancer patients by wilfully setting out to penalise any and all businesses involved in the supply of liquor. Apparently this is a good thing. But for a business such as ours lifting a finger to help such a misguided cause would be an act of the "turkey voting for Christmas" category.

Nevertheless it has come to our attention that a number of friends of Hashigo Zake have talked each other into participating in Dry July under the "Team SOBA" moniker. They've made it hard for us to help them but there may be a couple of ways. Firstly anyone who comes to Hashigo Zake and can demonstrate that they're participating in Dry July can have their non-alcoholic beverages on us. And if anyone finds themselves on our premises and in a social situation that makes it just ridiculous to try and abstain, talk to us about a Golden Ticket. We'll consider sponsoring golden tickets for deserving cases.

Lemur Attack Force

Speaking of worthy causes, we've got far fewer reservations about Lemur Attack Force, who are regular customers and display no fear of alcohol. As hinted last week we've been looking for a way to help them and so will (silently) auction a mixed case of exquisite bottled beer on Saturday evening, with proceeds going to them.

Dale's Brewing New Release

Dale Holland's brewing company is going from strength to strength and next Tuesday, in our weekly New Release slot, we're helping launch their third variety. Now Dale is keeping the style of his new beer a secret until 5pm on Tuesday, so there's nothing else we can say about the beer itself.

But we can add that Dale will be bringing New Zealand's best known beer writer Geoff Griggs with him on Tuesday to help us all comprehend what we're drinking. We're also going to put the first two beers in Dale's range - the Belgian Pale and American Amber - on tap at the same time and Dale's plan is to be extremely generous with samples of all them.

Saturday Music

We're now fully committed to our regular Saturday music slot and are looking forward to each and every gig that our booker has lined up in the coming weeks. This Saturday it's Latin jazz in the form of the Carlos Navae Band. Kick off time is, once again, 10pm.

On Tap Now or Soon

If you wanted to come down last night and gorge yourself on amazing American beer, but balloons and streamers aren't your thing then there's good news. The remains of most of yesterday's beer are still on tap. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Green Flash Double Stout, Green Flash Le Freak and several other gems are still pouring.

Hamilton's Brewaucracy have been brewing, even if Dry July means one of their brewers will have to stand aside and let the rest of us drink his beer. The result is Clockwatcher and it will be on tap soon.

Renaissance recently released their Black Rye IPA or Black the RIPA. We'll have that and several other Renaissance beers so big that they broke the pallet they were trucked here on.

It's been far too long since we had Nøgne Ø's Imperial IPA known simply as #500 on tap. When our American hop-bombs are drained we'll find room for a keg of this.


Hashigo Zake will be a slightly different place next week, following not one but two departures.

Josh Fensterbush has finished his time in New Zealand as a student and part time bar-person and returns to the US. He will be missed, although we've done quite well to find someone with similar facial hair to sort-of replace him.

And the only person to spend more time here than the staff, the celebrated Nick, is making a gutsy career change that involves leaving Wellington. We look forward to seeing a succession of pretenders attempt to emulate Nick's exploits.