Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013

Australia... BloodyDingo Release... Rogue Spirits... Live Music... Big Bad Wolf and Us... New Release Tuesday... New in Bottles...


The Australian International Beer Awards were judged several weeks ago and announced seven days ago in Melbourne. And not for the first time Blenheim's Renaissance Brewery did particularly well. In 2010 they came close to being named Champion Small Brewery, and the next year they won a trophy for Craftsman. This year they won a trophy for the 2011 vintage of Tribute Barley Wine and picked up enough medals of various colours for other beers to be named Champion Small International Brewery.

Now before we congratulate the brewery it's important to point out that when 2011 Tribute Barley Wine came out we knew it was an absolute cracker, and since Barley Wine is one beer style that should age reasonably well we went hard. So we still have plenty of bottles of this beer and one remaining keg, which won't go on tap for a while at least - maybe after another vintage or two so we can do a really good vertical tasting.

So after years of being the dark horses at awards shows it's great to see Renaissance walk away with a major prize. Congratulations to Brian, Andy, Matt and the rest of the owners and staff. It is well deserved.

BloodyDingo Release

Our mini-festival of beer launches and tastings continues this evening with the New Zealand launch of ParrotDog's BloodyDingo. After a little to-ing and fro-ing, we and the brewery have settled on a 6pm start time. There will be quite a few complimentary servings going around. We're confident you'll all feel the need to buy another glass.

If the 6pm start time is throwing anyone's plans into disarray we encourage you to head over to Golding's Free Dive at 5pm to witness the official launch of not only a beer, but a brewery - Baylands Brewery.

As for BloodyDingo, we can confirm that it's a big, rich hoppy Imperial Red IPA that was tasting, well, bonza at GABS last weekend. It's a not-to-be-taken-lightly 7.7%. We can also confirm that some, all or fewer of the three Matts will be on the premises tonight for the launch.

Rogue Spirits

We've been enjoying offering Rogue's Dead Guy Whiskey as part of our top shelf. It's now been joined by some other Rogue spirits:

  • Single Malt Whiskey, made from Risk™ malt grown at their own farm (where the ingredients for Chatoe Rogue beers are also grown).
  • Hazelnut Spice Rum, made with Hawaiian cane sugar and a mouthwatering list of spices and fruits.
  • Dark Rum.

These have joined our range of standard house spirits. We're also able to sell them by the bottle for takeaway during the hours that our off-licence applies.

Live Music

This weekend the Tony Mad Trio return to play Texas boogie. That's in the Lounge from 10pm with nil cover charge.

Next week the lounge becomes a jazz venue and not just for one night. As part of the Wellington Jazz festival we have music in the lounge late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Here's the lineup:

  • Thursday June 6, Roger Sellers. 9:30pm.
  • Friday June 7, Tessa Q and the Nick Granville Trio. 10pm.
  • Saturday June 8, James Illingworth Trio. 11pm.

Big Bad Wolf and Us

Judging by feedback received so far, last night's tasting of Charcuterie and Beer Pairings with Big Bad Wolf might just have been the greatest event of its kind ever. Perhaps that's an exaggeration but it was sufficiently well received and popular that we're running an encore. It will be on the afternoon of June 30, which, for a change, is a Sunday.

Bookings will be essential and can be made at our web store or over the bar.

New Release Tuesday

Next week's new release will be the first new beer - for us anyway - in some time from Northern California's Bear Republic. It's called Rebellion, a single hop IPA. In this case the single hop happens to be Columbus.

It will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

New in Bottles

We just took delivery of a few new bottles from Melbourne's Moon Dog. They are:

  • Mr Mistoffelees - barrel-aged, sour, mango/passionfruit beer.
  • Nordic Saddle Buffer - shiraz and pinot-barrel aged English barley wine.
  • Lando Kardashian - Belgian IIIPA.

And any day - probably tomorrow in fact - we'll have the second bottled beer from Funk Estate.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013

Good Beer Midweek

Right now a decent proportion of New Zealand’s brewers and quite a few of their biggest fans are in Melbourne enjoying Good Beer Week. It’s a quite staggering collection of events ranging from tiny to massive and from foodie to boozie. It’s also illuminating to see just what is possible with some fine beer, a bit of dedication and a population ten times that of Wellington. And the fact that the Southern Hemisphere's most beer oriented city is missing out to our flash cousins might be enough to send a stay-at-home Wellingtonian into despair.

But we have the solution, in the form of a slightly spontaneous mini Good Beer Week that we’ve concocted for next week. We’re serious that next week’s Good Beer Midweek is a perfect, if compressed, encapsulation of this week in Melbourne. At its core is a food event in the form of our collaborative tasting with Big Bad Wolf. That’s on Wednesday but we’ll say very little about it because it’s actually sold out. What we can say is that we’re already looking for ways to at least repeat it, if not improve on it.

It’s to be bookended by our own mini-GABS. On Tuesday and Thursday we’re hosting the New Zealand releases of two local contributions to the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular. Firstly on Tuesday we have Garage Project’s Death From Above. This is the supposedly controversial beer that inspired a piece of nonsensical non-journalism from Fairfax and the Dominion Post over its reference to the movie Apocalypse Now and Robert Duvall’s Airborne Cavalry. We encourage anyone keen to make a stand against shonky journalism to come down and try some. It’s an American IPA with additions of mango, lime juice and chillies – hence the Indochinese reference in the name. It will go on tap at 5pm on Tuesday, but volumes will be limited.

Then on Thursday we have the local release of ParrotDog’s BloodyDingo. Perhaps between now and then some media outlet or other would like to question the propriety of that name? It’s an Imperial Red IPA that’s probably even hoppier than Garage Project’s GABS beer.

Finally we’re emulating another crucial component of Good Beer Week, which is that there are simultaneous events at multiple locations. So we’re happy to share the fact that on Thursday evening, while we get to know BloodyDingo, the launch of new local brewery Baylands will be taking place at Golding’s Free Dive in Leeds St. Attending any fewer than both launches would be, well, disloyal to Wellington.

Music This Saturday

Our booker has out-done himself this week. Not only is blues/R&B regular Nick Granville back, he and his band are bringing touring US jazz pianist David Berkman. Does our guest realise quite how small Saturday evening's venue is? This gig could be the stuff of legend, for those who make it early enough to get a seat in the lounge anyway.

Petty Theft

Many thanks for everyone who helped spread the word about the televised theft of our old and flimsy yet highly valued chalkboard sign. Our asset was returned and still seems to function, so somehow the message got through that we were looking for it. More investigations into the actual theft are pending the arrival of detectives.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013

Big Bad Beer... Darren Watson this Saturday... Another Liberty Release... Petty Theft... Dingo Ale...

Big Bad Beer

Our tasting programme has been somewhat dormant this year while we let our friends at Craft Beer College show how it's done. That will be corrected, at least a little, in two weeks, when we host a pretty special collaborative tasting.

Since late last year charcuterie Big Bad Wolf have been doing some exciting things with just about every part of the pig and quite a few other free range or feral animals. And even better they're just down the road from us. We've always believed that many of the foods they produce are natural matches for good beer and we've been serving their jerky for a little while now.

On Wednesday May 29 we're taking our relationship with Big Bad Wolf to the next level and hosting a tasting of Beer and Charcuterie Pairings. Our tastings expert and semi-retired chef, Sam Whitney, is taking five Big Bad Wolf products, such as terrines, pâtés and sausages and matching them with beers. Early testing suggests there will be some pretty sensational combinations and we're looking forward to it a lot.

Places will be strictly limited and bookings are necessary. You can book by coming into the bar or using our web store here.

Darren Watson this Saturday

Darren returns this Saturday with his Underground Blues Band. They start at 10pm. Seats in the lounge fill up a little earlier.

Another Liberty Release

Liberty's small brewery has been relocated to West Auckland, but new beers keep flowing. This week it was the dazzling NZIPA called Sauvignon Bomb. Next week it's a new brown ale made with rye that Joseph is calling Rogenator.

As usual the New Release is on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Petty Theft

Here we go again. We thought our previous attempts at exposing acts of stupidity on (or against) our premises had achieved far more notoriety than was justified. But not enough to get through to a particular class of people - the stupid.

There was a slight variation this time - our culprit was suited and took off with a somewhat comical getaway run, giving us the consolation that he's even easier to make fun of. He's already been dubbed the "blackboard bandit".

So the gist of it is: we don't just accept being stolen from and ask the public to take a look at this video and help us get our property back. And in spite of a flurry of activity on the social networks yesterday, no-one has admitted to knowing the blackboard bandit. So if anyone can help identify the culprit, please reply to this email.

Dingo Ale

As some of you are no doubt aware, the Great Australasion Beer SpecTAPular happens in Melbourne at the end of next week. And a number of New Zealand breweries will be launching brand new beers there. One will be ParrotDog's BloodyDingo. It's an 8% Imperial Red IPA. No-one has tasted the beer yet, but visitors to the brewery a month or so ago couldn't help but be impressed by the wondrous hoppy aromas filling the site just after BloodyDingo's brew day.

A handful of kegs didn't make the trip to Melbourne and will be on sale in New Zealand shortly after GABS. In fact the New Zealand launch will be at Hashigo Zake on the evening of May 30, which is the night after the aforementioned charcuterie tasting. There is no reason not to attend both.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Sauvignon Bomb... Sonic Delusion... Death and Beer... Sex and Beer...

Sauvignon Bomb

Apparently Liberty brewery have never before put out a beer that is an all New Zealand IPA. This is a slight surprise, but one that will be corrected with next Tuesday's New Release. It's Sauvignon Bomb, made with local hops and malts. Joseph Wood is even hinting that the yeast is somehow indigenous - and at the same time "reputable".

Described as "balanced... with juicy tropical notes and some fairly savage tongue coating oily bitterness", the beer goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday. Please note that, for now at least, Sauvignon Bomb is strictly a small batch beer and won't be turning up on supermarket shelves in the near future.

Sonic Delusion

We host touring act Sonic Delusion on Saturday night. Consisting of singer, songwriter, guitarist and loop artist Andre Manella and, on Saturday anyway, no-one else, Sonic Delusion "uses a loop pedal to record snapshots of sound, artfully layering them into the weave of the song." The complimentary entertainment starts in the Lounge at 10pm.

Speaking of live music, we'll be hosting a little extra music next month as part of the Wellington Jazz Festival. Details are at

Death and Beer

Tuesday was a revelation for us here at Hashigo Zake. We’ll forever be grateful to the country’s leader for pointing out that the noisy construction going on across the road is not of an apartment block but a mausoleum, those aren’t real jobs at Xero, Trademe, Flexitime and Ninjaflower that our customers are coming from when we see them, the beer being made by ParrotDog, Garage Project, Yeastie Boys and Funk Estate is purely for consumption at funerals and wakes and that liquid filling the gutters on Monday morning wasn’t rainfall but DEATH. There we were feeling sorry for Aucklanders and all they had to put up with, such as.. ahem.. each other, when in fact we were the ones on the wrong side of the pitying!

It’s time to rectify things, so with little further ado we shall be moving our corporate headquarters to Queen Street, our warehouse to Otara and our call centre to North Korea. Hashigo Zake as we know it will remain open with a skeleton - or perhaps zombie - staff, serving meths by the pint to those unlucky enough to own Wellington property that they can’t sell.

It’s a pity because we were just starting to make progress on our plans for 2013’s Beer Week. There have been signs that the week in August that includes the Brewers Guild Awards and Beervana may finally be evolving into a proper season of beer-related events, with some coordination coming from the Brewers Guild and hints that we might not be the only other venue promoting events.

So if Wellington hasn’t been euthanised by August we encourage everyone reading this to make themselves available for as much of the week of August 4-10 as possible. We’ll be making more announcements soon.

Sex and Beer

Finally, is there anyone out there who hasn't listened to our own Shiggy discussing Funk Estate's formulation for stimulating night time exercise? The video is highly recommended, if not for the brewers' views on horizontal jogging, then for the montage of hilariously phallic imagery.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2, 2013

May The Third - Fresh Hop Friday... Coronado Old Blighty ESB... Shake 'em on Downers... Coming Soon...

May The Third - Fresh Hop Friday

This Friday (tomorrow!) we hold our own homage to the art of wet/green/fresh hopped beers, with Fresh Hop Friday. As we did last year, we've assembled kegs of every fresh hopped beer that we can. And yes there are surprising differences from the beers that made up Hopstock a couple of weeks ago.

First and forement we have a rare keg of what is said to be the first and most renowned fresh hopped beer in the country - Sprig and Fern Harvest Pilsner.

We also have no fewer than three beers made at Townshend Brewery, including two collaborations made with Liberty's Joseph Wood.

And we'll have kegs of well known examples of this practice - 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired and Tuatara Conehead. And rounding out the range will be Golden Bear Greenstone Pacific and the returning Renaissance Benelux Pale Ale.

Altogether there will be eight fresh hopped beers on tap, including two pilsners, a Belgian ale and two hand pumped beers, so there should be no noticeable effects on the customary diversity of our tap lineup. Although connoiseurs of blandness will, as usual, be disappointed.

All eight beers should be on tap from opening time tomorrow.

Coronado Old Blighty ESB

Our recent shipment from California means that we not only get lots of fresh stock of great beers like Bear Republic Racer 5 and Green Flash West Coast IPA, we also get the odd keg of one or two seasonal releases from our favourite suppliers.

This week it was the outrageous Green Flash Palate Wrecker. Next week our new release should be a far more restrained beer in the form of Coronado Old Blightly ESB. Will the makers of Idiot IPA have the all round brewing skill to come up with a beer in an authentic English style? And even if they do will anyone give them credit? These and other questions will be answered shortly after 5pm next Tuesday when Old Blighty goes on tap, complete with our outrageous new Coronado Specialty Tap Handle.

Shake 'em on Downers

We're not sure how many of their seven members there will be room for in our lounge, nevertheless we're looking forward to hosting a genuine Swing band on Saturday night. The Wellington City Shake-'Em-On-Downers play from 10pm on May the 4th.

Anyone bringing droids, they'll have to wait outside. We don't want them here.

Coming Soon

When the fresh hopped beers run out we've a few extra special treats up our sleeve. We'll just leave you with their names. No description should be necessary.

  • Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout
  • Racer 5
  • Oyster Stout