Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013

Today!... Music On Saturday... Whoops Apocalypse... New Release Tuesday... Photography...


Years of planning and manoeuvring by Wellington brewer Andrew Childs come to what should be a triumphant climax this evening with the release of Celia Wade Brown Ale (a.k.a. Celia Wade Coffee Brown Ale) under his own brand - Behemoth Brewing.

The beer was brewed a year ago under the "Wellington in a Pint" umbrella, as a collaboration with Yeastie Boys at Invercargill Brewery. This time it's purely a Behemoth release, and was brewed at the Twisted Hop in Christchurch.

In Andrew's own words:

A coffee brown ale that symbolises Wellington, the city I adore. With Havana PNG organic coffee beans, New Zealand Hops, British malts and yeast (the Mayor is British after all) this beer has combined what Wellington runs on coffee and craft beer, with just a hint of politics, that melds together into something beautiful.

We're launching the beer at 5:30pm tonight. Andrew's flying down from his flash job in Auckland and we believe the person the beer is named after might be in attendance as well. And as certain people have been quick to point out on the social networks, there will be a few complimentary glasses of it for early birds.

Come and see how a homage to Wellington, brewed by an Auckland resident at a Christchurch brewery tastes.

Music on Saturday

This Saturday Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band return.

Now shortly after the recent seismic activity Darren joked on facebook about wanting danger money for playing here. Perhaps this is a good time to point out that Hashigo Zake is not on the City Council's list of earthquake prone buildings. In fact not only are we not on that list, we have a letter from the council stating that our building has been surveyed and is quite definitely above the threshold for being considered earthquake prone. So any ground-shaking and consequent building damage that goes on while Darren plays is purely his responsibility.

We'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to correlate the list of earthquake prone buildings with the list of recently earthquake-damaged buildings.

The blues begin at 10pm.

Whoops Apocalypse

A couple of months ago the "Four Horseman of the Hopocalypse" - Steve Plowman of Hallertau, Luke Nicholas of Epic, Joe Wood of Liberty and Kelly Ryan of Good George - got back together to brew another ludicrously hoppy Triple IPA. Some of our kegs were lying around at the brewery and so they were filled and dispatched to our warehouse with so little fanfare that we didn't even know they'd arrived.

We've been alerted to their existence and one of those kegs is lined up to come on tap. Fittingly it will replace Liberty Sauvignon Bomb when that finishes.

Now feedback from the Auckland launch of this beer suggested that some of the locals there found it "too hoppy". We're taking that as Auckland speak for "just about right".

New Release Tuesday

Next week we're going back to the deep well of interesting beer that is our recent De Molen shipment. This time it's an all-Citra sessionable IPA, weighing in at just 4.8%. It goes by the imaginative name of De Molen Single Hop Citra. In fact De Molen have a whole series of single hop IPAs at this strength. If this goes well we may invest in other varieties in future orders.

De Molen Single Hop Citra goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

By the way, this week's new release - Fitzpatrick's Imperial Porter - is still on tap and we were pretty impressed at how well it turned out.


Regular readers may recall that during "Choice" Beer Week next month, we're not only having our very own nano-film festival, we're once again showing an exhibition by popular local photographer Jed Soane.

But there's more. Only it's not here. Nearby bar Goldings Free Dive are holding a competition to uncover great examples of amateur beer photography. Sound a little left field? We're confident that some pretty cool images are going to emerge from it. And possibly some pretty disturbing ones. The mind boggles.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013

The Latest from Tauranga

Last month we managed to acquire a keg of Fitzpatrick's New Zealand Pale Ale, which confirmed what we already believed - that the Tauranga nano-brewery is destined to make some great beer.

Next week we're putting the brewery's third beer (that we and Untappd know of) on tap. In fact it's going to be our official new release. It's an Imperial Porter that Craig Fitzpatrick says is modelled on the great Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog. This isn't a complete surprise given the way Craig talked up Gonzo after he had been a steward at the 2009 Brewers Guild Awards. (Gonzo took away a gold medal.)

In Craig's words it "weighs in at 75 IBU... has a heap of Cascade and Centennial. Finished full bodied at 1.022 and 8%."

Fitzpatrick's Imperial Porter goes on tap on Tuesday at 5pm.

SOBA Winter Ale Festival

The lineup at SOBA's Winter Ale Festival is actually looking pretty stellar, and we say this not only because a few of the goodies are coming from Hashigo Zake's own stocks. For one thing it looks like it will be the first time any of us can sample the output of Mike Neilson's new Panhead Brewery. And then there's the infamous Super-Afrodisiac from Funk Estate. Not to mention new beers from Baylands and Garage Project. In fact it could be the most stellar lineup of festival beers outside of the Pacific Beer Expo.

Any tickets that are left are at

More Beer Week Events

Plans for week starting on August the 3rd are evolving. Today we can announce a few more details:

As we did last year, we'll be extending our usual Saturday night musical offering to include the Thursday and Friday. So we'll have live music from 10pm on the 8th, 9th and 10th of August. Specifically:

  • On Thursday the 8th it will be the Tony Mad Trio.
  • On the 9th we host the always popular Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band.
  • And on the 10th we'll host the X-Ray Catz.

Since the season of beer events once again clashes horribly with the Wellington Film Festival, we're coming to the rescue of those frustrated that they can't quite enjoy both simultaneously by hosting our own nano-festival of beer related documentary films. And yes, we have the perfect name for this event: Reel Ale.

Reel Ale will kick off at 3pm on Monday the 5th. On that afternoon we'll host New Zealand's second official screening of Beer Hunter: The Movie, the recently completed documentary profiling the late, great Michael Jackson. We'll rescreen Beer Hunter on Wednesday the 7th.

On Tuesday the 6th and Thursday the 8th at 3pm, we'll be screening Suds Country USA. This film is all about San Diego and its recent brewing history. We think this is an interesting documentary for a couple of reasons. One is that it features a lot of our favourite breweries. But for anyone enjoying the current resurgence in brewing in Wellington the parallels with what went on in San Diego are glaring. So watching Suds County USA is weirdly like watching present-day events but presented as history.

The even better news is that these will be no dodgy hand-held captures or torrented screeners. Both films are legit copies that we have the right to screen publicly.

Finally we can elaborate a little on what we're up to on Saturday August the 3rd. Not only is Jed Soane's exhibition of photography of Wellington breweries opening at the same time as we celebrate Garage Project's second birthday :- between 4pm and 7pm we'll have Vicky from the Dumpling House on the premises, frying and selling her full range of dumplings on the spot.

Also, it looks as though one of the goodies that Garage Project will offer up for their birthday will be a collaboration brewed when Josh and Karl from Moon Dog visited Wellington back in February.

Remember to go to to see our calendar of events during Beer Week.

Music on Saturday

In true Wellington fashion our music this Saturday comes from another permutation of some of the same musicians we've seen in different combos over the last year or so. So from 10pm it's Nick Granville playing guitar, James Illingworth on keyboards and Lauren Ellis on drums making up Granville, Ellis and Illingworth.

Behemoth Celia Wade Coffee Brown Ale

Last year Andrew Childs devised Celia Wade Coffee Brown Ale as part of Wellington In A Pint. The beer was one of the competition winners and a batch was brewed. The competition may have been consigned to the recycling bin of history, but the beer remains part of Andrew's plans for world domination. Nor has he let being turned into a temporary Jafa stop him from revisiting his very Wellington creation.

So... now operating under the Behemoth brand, Andrew returns in 2013 with a new edition of Celia Wade Coffee Brown Ale. And the new version gets a launch at Hashigo Zake on July 25 - a week tonight.

In the interests of balance in an election year, we invite any brewers out there to be inspired by the candidacy of any other mayoral contenders.

Old Friends in New Packages

Anyone who has been pining for Rogue's Double Dead Guy should be advised that it has returned in a new form. It's now labelled XS Dead Guy and comes in the same magnificent resealable ceramic bottle as beers such as Old Crustacean. And anyone purchasing the bottle for consumption on the premises may ask to get the empty bottle rinsed and put in a paper bag to take home and put whatever you like in.

Finally, Liberty's New Zealand IPA, Sauvignon Bomb, which was a huge hit when Joe brewed a small amount a few months ago, hits the market properly this week, with kegs and bottles becoming generally available. We'll have bottles in our fridges by knock-off time tomorrow and should have it on tap some time soon as well.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

Craft Beer College Exam... Voodoo Doughnut Beers... Princess Lost... SOBA Winter Ale Festival... More Beer Week Events... Next Week's New Release... Music On Saturday...

Craft Beer College Exam

The Craft Beer College's "Exam" takes place on Saturday. We use inverted commas because final / lolly-scramble / game / tasting might be a better description. Beers will be served and questions asked that are intended to reveal who has been paying attention during previous tastings. But the event can also be seen a chance to sample some pretty tasty beers AND pick up some very nice swag. In fact some of that very swag will come from our own collection of brewery-sourced glassware, attire and, maybe, prophylactics.

To join in the mayhem, contact Craft Beer College by email.

Voodoo Doughnut Beers

In all the excitement surrounding the Fourth of July last week we may not have made it clear that some of that day's tap offerings came from a very large shipment of Rogue beer that had just arrived. There are more treats to elaborate on from that shipment, starting with not one, but two beers inspired by doughnuts from Portland's Voodoo Doughnuts.

A while ago we were lucky enough to get a supply of Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale. That proved popular and sold out, so now we've not only been resupplied, but have gone one better and got a supply of Voodoo 2 - Voodoo Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Butter Ale.

Rogue's mastery of, ahem, unconventional methods of brewing and packaging will also be enjoyed by anyone ordering Chipotle Ale soon in the near future. Insist on drinking from the correct glassware!

Princess Lost

From a couple of nights ago there is a massive hole in Hashigo Zake's personnel. Our very own princess is to return to Japan. Rei was with us back on opening night on September 10, 2009 and apart from the occasional absence while she holidayed in her homeland, she has been an incredibly popular member of staff ever since. As someone who claims to not actually like beer, Rei has been a complete anomaly amongst our staff, but employed an encyclopaedic recall of beer descriptions and some degree of personal charm to more than compensate. She will be missed.

Any regular customers wanting to farewell Rei can come along next Monday evening and get in the queue to buy her a plum wine.

SOBA Winter Ale Festival

The SOBA Winter Ale Festival is approaching quickly. July 20 is just nine days away. SOBA's ruling elite are crowing about how good the lineup is going to be, especially since it includes a couple of goodies from Hashigo Zake's own stash. Specifically :- Moon Dog Dasher's Envy (a Christmas beer, which is appropriate for a winter festival) and De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis (meaning Hell and Damnation, which is kind of puzzling alongside a Christmas beer).

Tickets are at SOBA's website.

More Beer Week Events

Last week we announced a few of our Beer Week events, starting with the Garage Project Second Birthday Celebration on Saturday, August 3. Now it turns out that August 3 is two days too early to be considered part of the Brewers Guild's Choice Beer Week, which leaves us with no choice but to label our agenda simply Beer Week. Sigh.

As some of you are probably tired of hearing, Melbourne celebrated Good Beer Week back in May. (Is this a good time to mention that Good Beer Week ran for nine days?) Anyway, some of our brewing friends made good use of their time in Australia. ParrotDog took advantage of the chance to team up with 3 Ravens and Two Birds to brew a beer they called Fly By Night. It's a Black IPA made with, naturally, Falconer's Flight hops. And a handful of kegs from this batch are on their way to us.

Yeastie Boys meanwhile made a second visit to the fabulous Lobethal Bierhaus in the Adelaide hills for a second collaboration there. (The first, a moderate strength golden bitter called Bruce has become a hit in Adelaide and is permanently on tap at the Wheatsheaf.) This year they've gone for a darker, stronger beer with a twist that might just still be a secret. It's to be called Wendy, named after the other bulldog of Lobethal's owner/brewer Alistair.

From left, 8 Wired's Søren Erikson (just a visitor that day), Sam Possenniskie, Stu McKinlay and Lobethal's Alistair Turnbull.

The following announcements might just be subject to change as both beers still have to be extracted from Australia:

On Monday, August the 5th we'll launch Fly By Night. And on Wednesday, August 7th we'll launch Wendy.

By the way, we're also taking advantage of this order of Wendy to bring over a pallet-load of other Lobethal beers, which is pretty good news, we believe.

To view the full range of events at Hashigo Zake between the 3rd and 10th of August follow this link.

Next Week's New Release

This week's new release was from De Molen which may have alerted some of you to the fact that a new shipment has arrived from the Dutch brewer. So we're gonna ride this wave and make next week's new release a De Molen beer as well. It's Lentehop, an IPA fermented as a lager, which some people therefore dub an India Pale Lager.

The arrival of this shipment also means that we have some pretty extraordinary bottled beer to sneak into the fridges as and when we can make space.

Lentehop goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Music On Saturday

This Saturday harmonica virtuoso Neil Billington returns with his band for two hours of Chicago blues. From 10pm and at no charge.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013

Today... Tatsushi Collaborative Dinner... Garage Project Second Birthday... Wellington Brewing Photography Exhibition... 10,000 Pies and New Release Tuesday... Music This Saturday...


Today's the Fourth of July. (Another June has gone by.) Our once-a-year opportunity to celebrate our favourite citizens of the world's one and only superpower - people like Jon Stewart, Daniel Ellsberg, Stephen Colbert, Edward Snowden, Sam Whitney... Not to mention the brewers who transformed the phrase "American beer" from a joke into an unstoppable movement.

So we've turned almost all of our taps over to US beer today and we think it makes for a compelling and varied line up and some pretty ostentatious tap handles. Specifically:

  • Speakeasy BIG DADDY IPA
  • Left Coast HOP JUICE IIPA
  • Coronado OLD BLIGHTY ESB

While regular customers will need little in the way of guidance regarding these beers, we must add a couple of comments:

  • Today marks the launch in New Zealand of San Francisco's Speakeasy brewery. We're confident that Big Daddy IPA will meet everyone's expectations of a great northern Californian IPA.
  • Rogue's Shakespeare Stout is nitrogenated rather than carbonated. Serving beer this way is new for us and this may be the first time that a nitrogenated stout has been dispensed from a key keg in New Zealand. We're looking forward to trying this famous oatmeal stout with the promised silky texture that should come from this particular treatment.

Better still, in something of a departure for us, we invited American-style barbecue specialists Three Little Pigs to set up in the nearby outside space that we, ahem, don't actually own, and serve their amazing food. From late this afternoon they'll be offering the following menu:

  • Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Beef Sandwich
  • BBQ Tasting Plate

Tatsushi Collaborative Dinner

It is with great pleasure that we make the first of a number of announcements about what we'll be up to during the week of the Brewers Guild Beer Awards and Beervana.

Tatsushi is the new favourite restaurant of our in-house expert on things Japanese and food-related - Shigeo Takagi. He's worked with Tatsushi's founder, Tatsushi Mikuni, to come up with a menu matching the restaurant's food with fine beer, most of which will come from a fresh shipment from the acclaimed Japanese brewery Baird.

So on August the 6th and 7th we're proud to co-host a dinner at Tatsushi of Japanese cuisine matched with beer. Tatsushi is one of Wellington's littler eating places and there will be room for just 16 diners each night. So booking is essential. Get along to this page at the Cult Beer Store to book.

Garage Project Second Birthday

And it's with equally great pleasure that we make our second announcement regarding the week leading up to the Brewers Guild Awards and Beervana. On or about the 2nd of August it will be two years since Garage Project's Jos and Pete carried three puny cornie kegs of beer, brewed on their pilot plant, down the stairs to Hashigo Zake. Though the token volumes of beer lasted about 45 minutes, that launch event signalled the return of commercial brewing to Wellington.

Who'd have thought that in just two years they would be rapidly growing out of a brewery 50 times bigger than the one those beers were brewed on? And more significantly Wellington has been transformed into a thriving brewing centre instead of just being the place where the rest of New Zealand sent the beer they couldn't sell to their own locals.

To commemorate their second birthday Garage Project are venturing into the deepest, darkest recesses of their Aro Street site to dig out some kegged treats. We'll be putting them on tap at 4pm on Saturday August 3.

Wellington Brewing Photography Exhibition

Finally we can announce a third component of our Beer Week celebrations. Photographer Laureate of the New Zealand Brewing Industry, Jed Soane, will use our Red Room for the third time to exhibit a collection of his photos, this time showcasing the booming Wellington brewing industry. The exhibition will go up on the afternoon of August the 3rd, in time for the Garage Project 2nd Birthday celebrations starting at 4pm. They'll be up until the 11th.

10,000 Pies and New Release Tuesday

A quick query against the database behind our till system revealed that we're closing in on 10,000 pies served at Hashigo Zake. We're extrapolating that we'll pass the 10,000 mark next Tuesday.

Anyway, to celebrate 10,000 pies fittingly we've asked our own Sam Whitney to come up with a once in a lifetime pie filling that will go on sale next Tuesday, along with De Molen Pijl & Boog, a strong Belgian Ale that we just received from the Dutch brewery. Our commemorate pie will be the most decadent pie that we could conceive of without actually barrel-ageing the filling, incorporating oysters, mushrooms and truffles.

Pie and Pijl go on tap at 5pm next Tuesday, the 9th.

Music This Saturday

Appearing for the first time this Saturday are The Sly Collective - a new collaboration between Wellington musicians Ashton Sellars (Brockaflower), Ayrton Foote (The Bandits), Adrian Laird (Wellington Mingus Ensemble), Richard Thai (The Bandits) and Thomas Friggens (John the Baptist) paying homage to Jazz Fusion greats such as Herbie Hancock and John Scofield.

They're on from 10pm on Saturday night, with the traditional non-existent cover charge.