Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28, 2013

Last Friday... The Capital Times... GABS 2013... Good Beer Week... Myele Manzanza... Easter Trading Hours... New Release Tuesday...

Last Friday

A funny thing happened last Friday night. Just as we were getting nice and busy at around 6pm, it started raining in the lounge. The culprit was a pipe around two floors above us. By the time the flow was stopped the lounge had been decorated with around 200 litres of water.

After some desperate catching and mopping by staff (and one or two volunteers) the industrial drying gear arrived and by Saturday night we could re-open the room for Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band.

We're waiting to see if the water has inflicted any unseen damage but otherwise things are back to normal.

We apologise for the interruption to their socialising that occupants of the lounge suffered last Friday.

The Capital Times

We understand that the Capital Times is to cease publication. In our three and half years, Hashigo Zake has been mentioned favourably a few times in the newspaper's content and we have been happy to advertise, albeit occasionally, in its pages. We've also appreciated the fact that the publishers took beer and beer writing seriously by incorporating a regular beer column (most recently penned by Kieran Haslett-Moore). In fact Kieran was the first writer to discuss Hashigo Zake in print, for which we were extremely grateful.

So we are sad to hear that the newspaper is closing. We wish the staff and owners well. The Capital Times will be missed.

GABS 2013

GABS stands for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular. It's probably the most ambitious beer festival in our part of the world, aiming to fill the inspiring Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne, with original beer and adventurous beer drinkers for three days in May. A Hashigo Zake delegation witnessed the festival from inside and out last year and can vouch for the lofty goals of the venture and the care and effort its organisers put in. Oh, and much of the beer was amazing.

Even though it's in Melbourne GABS takes the Australasian part of its name seriously and New Zealand breweries get a high profile. It's just a pity that's not reflected in their logo.

So we hereby endorse the festival to customers who might consider attending or even volunteering at. Yes Melbourne is a long way to go to donate labour and beer festivals don't generally have budget for subsidising air travel. There are perks for volunteers, not least of which is a ticket to the festival, but realistically this job is for people who get satisfaction from helping an ambitious venture in the promotion of quality beer and also helping to promote New Zealand beer in Australia.

The event consists of five sessions from May 24-26. Luckily volunteers are only expected to work at one of those. It's at the end of Melbourne's Good Beer Week (more about that below). Prospective volunteers should visit or email

Good Beer Week

Good Beer Week takes place in Melbourne from May 18 to 26. It's a collection of mostly small events that collectively create an umbrella within which GABS and the Australian International Beer Awards look even more exciting.

We in New Zealand and Wellington in particular get quite smug about our place in the beer world. But in just three years Melbourne's Good Beer Week has created something that shames our attempts at building something similar here around the Brewers Guild Awards and Beervana.

Anyone considering attending or volunteering at GABS might consider flying over to Melbourne early to try and take part in some of the dinners and tastings. Details are at

Myele Manzanza

The Myele Manzanza Trio return for their second ever Hashigo Zake gig on Saturday night. Given that this young but over-achieving drummer and producer may just be the official "next big thing", it would make a lot of sense to come down and see him play without a cover charge in a small room while you still can.

Note that because of our requirement to close at midnight on Saturday, we're bringing this gig forward half an hour. So it's 9:30pm-11:30pm.

Easter Trading Hours

We're obliged to close on three and a half days a year, and two of them are this week :- Good Friday and Easter Sunday. While we believe that being a hospitality business means being open as regularly and reliably as possible, this is one cause we won't be martyrs for. And no-one's going to believe us if we pretend to be a restaurant. So we close tonight at midnight and reopen on Saturday, then close at midnight on Saturday and reopen on Monday.

Oh and we also believe that being in hospitality means not penalising our customers for the Holidays Act, so there will be no surcharges on Monday.

New Release Tuesday

Garage Project have a new beer for us next Tuesday. In fact it's so new it doesn't have a name yet. It will be a small keg only of a highly experimental beer made with Chinese New Year in mind, but not quite ready when that came around. It's made with red rice, lotus and chrysanthemum flowers and conditioned on wolfberries.

No we don't make this stuff up. On tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21, 2013

Venusian Pale Ale... Saturday Entertainment... Tuesday's New Release... Look Out For... IP Watch...

VPA Launch

Way back in mid-to-late 2011, Garage Project brewed two beers to coincide with a special event at the Roxy that blended food with Steampunk in the form of Greg Broadmore's work. We got to serve them here as well. One was Venusian Pale Ale, a strong pale ale infused with every just about ingredient they could get their hands on with citric notes, including kaffir lime leaves, grapefruit peel and lemongrass. The result was pretty memorable.

Garage Project have just made the first full batch of Venusian Pale Ale and we're rapt to have the opportunity to (re-)launch it next Wednesday evening from 5pm.

We're planning to decorate the place with a little of Dr Grordbort's memorabilia and receive a visit from the artist himself and maybe even one of Weta's big wigs. There may also be a rare keg of VPA's brother beer, Lord Cockswain's Courage, on tap.

Now it seems that we aren't the only ones who've schemed to use the Wednesday before Easter for a special beery occasion. We encourage anyone with the stamina to take in the VPA Launch and the Yeastie Boys Tap Takeover at Bin 44. It's no more than Lord Cockswain would do before breakfast.

Saturday Entertainment

Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band return on Saturday night. From 10pm but we suggest arriving in plenty of time to grab a seat.

Tuesday's New Release

As well as Wednesday's VPA Re-release, we'll be holding our traditional Tuesday release. In honour of the recent spell of wintry weather, we're breaking out a winter beer. Too bad if the Indian summer will be back on Tuesday. It's Klap van de Molen from the Netherlands' De Molen. The 2012-13 batch is a strong amber ale spiced with cinnamon, vanilla and caraway.

Klap van de Molen will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Coming Up

Apart from the aforementioned rockstar beers being launched in the next seven days there are plenty of beers of note, both new and old, waiting in the keg room. Look out for:

  • Resolute Peerie Pale Ale.
  • 666 Red Se7en.
  • Green Flash Imperial IPA.
  • Hallertau Saison.
  • Bear Empire Saboteur.
  • Hip Hop Pilsner and Tumeke IPA from Mata.

IP Watch

It's a sad but undeniable fact that the acquisition of Emerson's Brewery by Lion Nathan/Kirin means that all of that company's assets - physical, intellectual and pertaining to the soul - became the property of the great brewery gobbling corporation. So we can hardly complain about this, BUT...

isn't it a bit galling to see the "Lion Nathan Brands Company Limited" apply for trademarks for Bookbinder, Taieri George, 1812 (can you trademark a year?), Bird Dog (how do the Verlaines feel about this?), and JP?


Many of you (and us) will be relieved to learn that part of our Red Room now has Hush Panels.

Congratulations to Michael Donaldson for (a) finally getting his weekly column onto the web and (b) demonstrating the benefits of healthy scepticism and a little subject knowledge when reporting on the behaviour of breweries. We suggest that NBR takes note and Hancocks review their branding.

And Hashigo Zake management has reason to believe that long standing staff member Dylan Jauslin will stop turning up to work soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 14, 2013

Cuisine à la Bière... Saturday Entertainment... Midnight Deluxe... Look Out For...

Cuisine à la Bière

Regular customers may have noticed the recent arrival of beer in a lurid pink bottle. It's Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. It is brewed in collaboration with the cult Portland doughnut chain known as Voodoo and is based on a similarly flavoured doughnut. Several staff and customers heard of the beer and pestered us to include it in our latest order from Rogue. It turns out that the purchase came with strings attached. One of these was a requirement to run some kind of "store display" and send proof to Rogue Nation Headquarters.

Since we aren't a "store" we're going to have a Voodoo night. And since there are no Voodoo Doughnut stores in Wellington, we're commissioning pâtissier Makoto Ishigami to create a tribute to the Bacon Maple Doughnut. And next Wednesday evening we'll be giving two of these doughnuts away with every bottle of the beer.

Supplies of the doughnuts will be strictly limited, so we recommend coming down as soon after 5pm as possible.

Vegetarians, diabetics and the gluten-intolerant are advised to avoid this promotion.

Saturday Entertainment

It's jazz and funk again this Saturday in the form of the James Illingworth trio. As usual, it's 10pm and zero charge.

Midnight Deluxe

A couple of weeks ago we featured Liberty's Midnight, a "double oatmeal stout" as our new release. That went down so well that we've pestered the brewery to let us have the barrel aged version - Midnight Deluxe - as next week's new release. This beer has had a spell in lightly charred American oak barrels.

There could be a bonus Liberty beer to try at around the same time too. Joe has brewed a 6.8% New Zealand Draught. Snigger.

Look Out For

Most of Garage Project's collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Ballet - a beer called Hops On Pointe - was bottled; and in an ideal world those bottles would be on sale in New Zealand's better bars, bottle stores and supermarkets already. Unfortunately complications mean that those bottles haven't made it into shops yet, but we'll have a rare keg of this beer on tap soon. It's a strong pilsner made with German hops and finished with champagne yeast.

Meanwhile if there's anyone who hasn't seen this mind-boggling promotional video we encourage you to find a few minutes to enjoy it.

Our final keg (for now) of Southern Tier's Un*Earthly Imperial IPA will be on tap shortly.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013

Too Crafty or Not Crafty Enough?... Funking Out... Geeking Out... Rocking Out... Look Out For...

Too Crafty or Not Crafty Enough

Hashigo Zake endorses and congratulates Newmarket Liquorland on their tweet that shook the world. Their simple assertion that the insult to many brewers contained in the packaging of Crafty Beggars beer was reason not to stock the product is a great example of the market holding the industrial breweries to account for their marketing practices.

By the way, there is a misconception out there that Liquorland is owned by DB. It was actually sold to Foodstuffs some time ago and the individual stores are (we understand) now owner-operated. Which helps explain how several of them, including Newmarket Liquorland, came to be customers of the wholesale arm of Hashigo Zake.

Funking Out

A few weeks ago Funk Estate's (and our own) Shiggy made a lightning trip to the Twisted Hop brewery in Christchurch to collaborate on a strong dark rye saison. Yes, once again Funk Estate are making a black version of a normally pale beer. The result - Funkn'Twisted is getting a release at a Belgian festival in Christchurch on Saturday. We'll follow up with a release here on Tuesday. Funkn'Twisted is described as being bitter, fruity, slightly tart and funky with caramel, chocolate and raisin flavour.

We're also expecting to have some of a second (parti-gyle) beer, called Twisted Funk, made by performing a second mash with the same malts used in Funkn'Twisted. This lower gravity beer has been hopped with Sorachi Ace, so maybe we can expect some lemon curd with the caramel and chocolate malts.

There's talk of getting both beers on both handpump and tap simultaneously, although this will depend on the cooperation of the logistics industry. Whatever turns up on Tuesday will be fresh, slightly unpredictable and on tap from 5pm.

Geeking Out

We've had our share of publicity lately, but being mentioned on the Dominion Post's technology page might just be a new pinnacle. (Down the bottom, not related to the "Budget desktop system for under $700" headline.)

But really the credit belongs to Open Source and Android evangelist, Robin Sheat. Robin's app is here.

Coincidentally, as Robin's work was being recognised, another regular customer, Jay Neilson, was working on an application to do a similar job for Windows 8 phones. That is now available here.

We're flattered and grateful that some of our favourite customers have gone to this much trouble to make it easy for us all to know what's on tap.

Easy for Android and Windows users, that is.

While we're getting technical, here's an article on Wired magazine's site giving us a scientific justification (if one was necessary) for disliking green bottle beer.

Rocking Out

The Nick Granville Trio return this Saturday for more funk and R&B. As usual, it's a 10pm start and a non-existent cover charge.

Look Out For

As always, there's no shortage of goodies on the horizon. For example:

  • From Christchurch's Resolution comes an Octoberfest beer called Biergarten.
  • From Auckland's Schipper's Beer comes another lager style with Germanic origins - Herr X, a Vienna Lager.
  • We've stocked up on beers from Renaissance and Hallertau, which means plenty of beers like Elemental Porter, MPA, Statesman and Maximus IPA.
  • Our last keg (for now) of Oggy's Torrey Pines IPA.