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.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9, 2012

La Petite Manouche... Choice Beer Week... Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday... Friday... Saturday... IP Watch...

Next week is a big week and we have lots of details below to share, so today's update is coming early to allow for extra study.

La Petite Manouche

This Saturday's 10pm gig is our second ever "gypsy jazz" performance, this time from Christchurch's La Petite Manouche. This is another musical form that we think works beautifully in the environment of our subterranean lounge. Plus of course, we don't charge anyone to come and listen.

Choice Beer Week

The biggest week of the year for New Zealand's brewing industry is just a few days away. We're doing our best to flesh out the week of events so it's more than just an awards ceremony followed by Beervana. All we need to be vindicated is to get a few good turnouts at the events below.


Liberty's Yakima Monster has been brewed a few times before. It was a Yeastie Boys release a couple of years ago. And just a few months ago Liberty's Joseph Wood visited Galbraith's in Auckland and helped brew a version there. He's now taken the step of having a massive batch brewed at one of the country's bigger craft breweries.

Most of this batch is being bottled and, we hope, distributed to bars, bottle stores and supermarkets all over the country. We're hosting the official launch of the new, bottled Yakima Monster on Monday evening. We'll have one of the few kegs to be filled from this batch and we'll also be giving the bottled version a prestigious spot in our fridge.


The first Jed Soane exhibition at Hashigo Zake showed some of Jed's favourite works from over the years as the New Zealand brewing industry's unofficial photo-documenter. That was earlier this year. Since then Jed has attended a workshop run by Australian photographer Trent Parke that has led to some pretty interesting new work.

Jed is entitling this new exhibition Choice Beer: From Farm to Festival. It will feature photos documenting not just brewing, but a cycle starting with the farming of ingredients through to the culture around the consumption of beer.

Jed's exhibition will open in our "Red Room" on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday we'll get to welcome back one of our favourite suppliers and New Zealand's current champion brewer, Søren Erikson of 8 Wired. He's indulging us with a double-, or even a triple-treat of new releases. Ok, so the first, Superconductor Imperial IPA is not completely new, but it is the first time it's been available for some time.

But then we get to put on (and only in small quantities) two absolute show-stoppers. One is Bumaye. Anyone who has viewed the documentary film When We Were Kings might recall the expression. We'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out exactly what "bumaye" means, but it's suitably portentous for a 17% Imperial Stout aged in Pinot Noir barrels.

Søren's final contribution will be another barrel-aged beer - this time his Belgian quadruple called Sultan, that shared its time in a barrel with some interesting bugs. We're expecting something big and sour.

The quantities of these last two beers are small and Søren is donating them, so that's what we'll be doing. I.e. from 5pm we'll be offering small and complimentary samples of these anything-but-small beers.

Also on Tuesday evening we welcome Beervana's crew of volunteers for their official, pre-festival get-together.


This night sees the return of what is becoming something of a tradition - the annual release of Renaissance's Imperial IPA called Marlborough Pale Ale on the Wednesday before Beervana. Renaissance's CEO, the very popular Brian Thiel, is making the trip up from Blenheim especially.


In theory the highlight of Thursday evening is the Brewers Guild Awards Ceremony up the road at the Michael Fowler Centre. But we're having a serious go at upstaging them.

From 5pm we'll be putting two new beers on tap. One is the latest release from Funk Estate's experimental brewing programme. It's an imperial version of their Black IPA, rumoured to be called Clusterfunk.

The other is a beer released on Tuesday of this week (the day before yesterday) at Galbraith's in Auckland. It was brewed by our friends at Liberty as a tribute to Alice Galletly's celebrated Beer For A Year blog and is categorised as an Imperial Red Ale and officially called Liberty 365. We also have reason to believe that Alice, along with a few other northerners in town for Beervana, will be on the premises.

Finally that evening at 10pm we host our first ever schoolnight gig. It's a much anticipated appearance by local blues institution Darren Watson with a lineup he's calling his Underground Blues Band.


With Beervana starting across town we're taking a short break with the beer releases, but not with the late night music. At 10pm Neil Billington and Bullfrog Rata, who made a huge impression just a few weeks ago, are back with more Chicago Blues.


On Saturday we're taking advantage of the presence in Wellington of some pretty special brewers to have "meet the brewer" sessions.

In the afternoon (from 2pm) we welcome Graeme Mahy of 666 Brewing. For the time being 666 continue to make occasional, very small releases at Hamilton Shunters Yard, until the day that Graeme gets to walk into the actual physical brewery that he's been working towards for years. He's just kegged a small batch of Invidia - a beer we're describing as a "brown saison". We'll put it on tap on Saturday afternoon and invite customers to come and try it and discuss it with its maker at the same time.

Also visiting Wellington for Beervana is Lobethal Bierhaus's Alistair Turnbull. Those of you who can remember way back to the 1st of this month might recall that we launched a Lobethal/Yeastie Boys collaboration called Bruce. Bruce is being featured at Beervana so for Alistair's visit on Saturday evening from 6pm we'll put a number of Lobethal's other beers on tap. Again we invite you to come down and request a commentary on what you're drinking from its brewer.

Finally on Saturday night we'll have more blues and R&B in the lounge, this time from the Nick Granville Trio. (And yes, at the other end of the bar there will be a telly or two showing the All Blacks/Wallabies game.)

IP Watch

There seems to be no sign of an early end to the MacCashins/Hancocks Trademark Land Grab.

First came MacCashin's "Bomber", explicitly trademarked as a bottle as well as a beer, when it's well known that this is a North American colloquialism for a 650ml bottle.

Then their partner company Hancock's attempted to trademark "Growler", another well known North American colloquialism for a certain kind of beer bottle.

Now MacCashin's are applying for a trademark for "Snakebite". They've applied for it under two categories - beer and cider - which more or less confirms that they mean to use it to describe the drink that is already universally known as a "snakebite". I.e. a blend of beer and cider. A drink that has a wikipedia page.

(Please don't take our outrage at MacCashin's as some kind of endorsement of the practice of blending cider and lager.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Garage Project... Music This Saturday... Choice Beer Week... IP Watch... Next Week's New Release... International IPA Day...

Happy Birthday Garage Project

Prediction: in ten years Wellington will have around fifteen independent production breweries, making something like three million litres of beer annually. A small industry will spring up running bus tours around the breweries. Even the lamest bars will serve at least one beer actually brewed here. And we'll look back on the 2nd of August 2011 as the turning point.

That was the day that Pete, Jos and Ian carried corny kegs of the first three beers (Trip Hop, Manuka Dark and Pernicious Weed) to come out of Garage Project's pilot brewery down the stairs to Hashigo Zake. Volumes were so low that servings were rationed to 150mls and it was all gone in under an hour.

But while a year has flown by it's not as if progress has been slow. They achieved their (self-imposed) goal of coming up with 24 original beers in 24 weeks, then continued to experiment while occasionally contract brewing and finally imported and installed a beautiful new brewery. That new brewery is now being put to good use and a steady supply of beer is coming out of Aro Street while some interesting experiments are still being brewed on the original pilot brewery.

To celebrate Garage Project's triumphant first year they and we have decided to assemble the best collection of their beer available and put them on tap at once this Friday evening. The lineup will be:

  • Super Angry Peaches (Amped up version of last year's Amarillo-packed Angry Peaches.)
  • Dark Arts (a revised edition of last year's highly successful coffee bock)
  • Cherry Bomb (the Cherry Chocolate Imperial Porter that starred at SOBA's Winter Ale Festival)
  • Trip Hop
  • Pernicious Weed

Music This Week

After last Saturday's Chicago Blues (and Neil Billington and Bullfrog Rata will be back for Choice Beer Week) it's time for another left turn stylistically with a smooth jazz gig from the Tessa Quayle Trio.

As usual this gig kicks off at 10pm.

Choice Beer Week

Our own programme of events for Choice Beer Week is looking somewhat chocka. Please check it out here or by looking at the events page on our website.

There are product launches, meet-the-brewer sessions, additional late evening gigs in the lounge and a photography exhibition. Not to mention there's a better-than-normal chance of running into your favourite brewer at random times of the afternoon or evening.

IP Watch

It seems that there will be a satisfactory resolution to last week's bombshell that Heineken-Tiger-DB-Tui had decided to call a beer in their "Monteith's" range Porter Noir. This had drastically raised the blood-pressure of many a fan of Auckland brewery Hallertau and for good reason.

Many beer and brewery names end up getting more than one use. For instance a brewery in Belgium once had a beer called Luxe, which is also the name of one of Hallertau's beers. But Porter Noir had been completely unique to Hallertau until a corporate brewery across town happened to spontaneously come up with the same name. And staff at that corporate brewer were, oddly, incapable of using or google to see if their clever new beer name was unique.

But then it's easy to see why the firewall at DB-Radler's corporate headquarters might block It would be disastrous for morale for them to see just how lowly the world's beer geeks score their beers. As for google - their motto is (or was) "don't be evil", so perhaps that's an unpalatable message too.

Next Week's New Release

To celebrate (well, to mock) DB's generally appalling mis-use of intellectual property law we're going to make next week's Tuesday New Release a Saison. This was a style that DB were erroneously granted a trademark on once, before they relinquished it with uncharacteristic good grace and common sense. Mind you they had stopped putting out a beer under the name by then, so kind of had to. So for the last couple of years it has actually been legal to import or brew a Saison in New Zealand and we're better off as a result.

So next week's New Release is a Saison from Dutch brewery De Molen. Actually it's called Jaar & Dag (Year & Day) rather than Saison, so it would have been legal to import it even when DB's trademark stood, but why let the details get in the way of a good dig?

New Zealand's one and only keg of De Molen Jaar & Dag goes on tap next Tuesday at 5pm.


Today is the second ever IPA Day - a celebration of the style that may already be the most prominent in the worldwide craft beer movement. In fact the American Brewers Association recently revealed that IPA has overtaken Pale Ale as the most popular style amongst US brewers.

The Australian website Brews News today published a highly recommended contemplation of hops, IPA and IPA Day. And if that makes you thirsty remember our fridges are packed with what must be New Zealand's best collection of hoppy IPAs.