Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29, 2013

Remedy Brewing... Music This Saturday... Degustation Dinners... On Tap Now or Soon...

Remedy Brewing

Next week's new release marks the arrival of another new Wellington brewing company. Richard Deeble won the "champion beer" prize at last year's SOBA National Homebrew Competition. After having a batch of his winning pale ale brewed commercially as a result, he has taken the next step and partnered with James King to start Remedy Brewing. They've taken the winning Deeble's Pale Ale recipe, adapted it a little and taken it to Panhead to be brewed.

This is almost certainly the first contract brewed beer made at Panhead, which is an interesting milestone in its own right. Mike Neilson intentionally built more capacity into his Upper Hutt brewery than most recent startups, confident that demand for his beer would justify the capacity in the medium term, while in the short term contract brewers would put his brewhouse to good use, as is proving to be the case.

Deeble's Pale Ale has been beefed up to 6.2%ABV and is a hoppy pale ale made with English malt and local hops. All the kettle hops are added at the very end of the boil, with quite a few more added for dry-hopping.

It goes on tap at 5pm next Tuesday.

Music This Saturday

The enormously talented percussionist Myele Manzanza returns on Saturday, teaming up with Ed Zuccollo on keys and Scott Maynard on bass. It's only the second time we've managed to book the in-demand Manzanza - come along and check him out in our intimate lounge at no charge.

Degustation Dinners

Bookings are open for the two upcoming dinners that we are collaborating on with Big Bad Wolf and Tatsushi respectively.

We're taking our beer to Big Bad Wolf while they host a dinner on September 15. It's a Sunday and to allow everyone time to enjoy all five courses we're starting at 4pm. Tickets are on sale for $75 from the Cult Beer Store.

And we're reviving our collaborative dinner that was a sellout at Tatsushi back during Choice Beer Week. It's on October 1 and 2. As with our Big Bad Wolf event, diners can expect a five course dinner, with each course matched to a beer. Bookings are open also at the Cult Beer Store.

On Tap Now or Soon

We've got a couple of returning favourites on tap right now or very soon. A couple of them come from Green Flash:

Does anyone think "Pale Ale" is an adequate style name to describe 30th Street Pale Ale. It's hoppier than plenty of IPAs and a favourite of many our staff. On tap now.

Green Flash West Coast IPA is probably the beer that relegates 30th Street to "pale ale" status. It's back on tap soon.

Brewaucracy's Bean Counter vanilla bean infused porter is back shortly for the first time in how long? Years?

Of all things, we have a pale lager called Longfin on tap right now from San Diego IPA masters Ballast Point.

And surely the hoppiest beer to come out of Christchurch's Harrington's brewery is on tap right now. It's their Imperial APA. The brewery are very keen to get feedback on this, so anyone with an opinion on this (or any other) beer should feel free to let us know by telling our staff or replying to this email.

August 22, 2013

The Pacific Beer Expo... Acting Local... Music This Saturday... Degustation Dinners... New Release Tuesday...

The Pacific Beer Expo

We've fielded a few questions lately about our annual showcase of our favourite beers from the Pacific rim. Planning is indeed underway for the 2013 edition. The venue will be different from our preferred one for 2011, 2012 and 2014. It seems 12 months notice wasn't enough to secure the Boatshed this year. We'll be announcing the venue and other details in due course. But the event will take place on Labour Weekend, as before and as in the future.

Now it has come to our attention that another beer-related event is to take place in Wellington just a fortnight earlier. It also seems that the Wellington City Council is in the business of subsidising providing seed funding for beer festivals, which is great news. Since the last thing the council would want is for its "seed funding" to give a new event an unfair advantage over an established one, we look forward to receiving our own five figure grant. Would Councillor Morrison please forward a cheque to 25 Taranaki St, made out to Central Area Society of Hopheads (just the acronym will do)?

Acting Local

Speaking of Councillor Morrison, he's one of several mayoral candidates that we've invited to come along and join us in a candidates' debate here on our own premises. Yes you read that correctly - Hashigo Zake is going to host a debate of Wellington's mayoral candidates. Need we remind anyone on today of all days what the consequences of apathy regarding the political process can be?

The debate will take place on the evening of September 18. We'll reveal more details over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime we invite readers of this email to submit questions for the mayoral candidates. (Just replying to this email will do.) We'll collate them and feed them to our specially selected debate moderators to come up with suitably probing questions that will help inform everyone's voting choice.

At this stage we have acceptances from the mayor and at least one other candidate. Whether he's writing us a cheque or not, Councillor Morrison is encouraged to respond and come along and make his pitch for the informed beer drinker's vote.

Music This Saturday

Barely a couple of weeks after helping entertain the throng that visited us during Beer Week, Darren Watson is back with his Underground Blues Band. From 10pm on Saturday in the lounge.

Degustation Dinners

We believe that the imminent end of Wellington On A Plate is no reason to stop treating the art of Beer and Food Matching seriously. And after getting great feedback (and waiting lists) for our recent collaborative events with Tatsushi and Big Bad Wolf, we're forging ahead.

Firstly, after two popular events in our own lounge where we served selected products from Big Bad Wolf's range, we're swapping roles slightly and taking our beer to Big Bad Wolf while they host a dinner on September 15. It's a Sunday and to allow everyone time to enjoy all five courses we're starting at 4pm. Tickets are on sale from today for $75 from the Cult Beer Store.

Next, after turning people away from our evening of Japanese food and beer at Tatsushi, we're reviving our collaborative dinner. It will be back on October 1 and 2. As with our Big Bad Wolf event, diners can expect a five course dinner, with each course matched to a beer. Bookings are open also at the Cult Beer Store.

New Release Tuesday

Next week we make another dip into our stocks of beer from Netherlands brewery De Molen. This time it's Spik & Span which is in the modest (by De Molen standards) style of a Golden Ale. We're confident that the resulting beer will not be quite so modest. Spik & Span goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013

The Ramen Shop... Music This Saturday... Southern Tier and Compass Sparkling Ale... Craft Beer College 200-level Series... New in Bottles... Finally...

The Ramen Shop

Cult popup restaurant The Ramen Shop pops down to Hashigo Zake tomorrow, for a Friday lunchtime special. Salarymen and OLs are invited to leave their sandwiches in their briefcases and come down for some hearty broth, noodles and assorted toppings from Wellington's up-and-coming ramen maestros.

Music This Saturday

Our musical programme took an unexpected turn this week, when we learned that our booker had signed a local jazz band featuring one of our own staff. Not that we didn't realise that Josh had another career playing Klezmer, Balkan and Gypsy Jazz, we just hope it doesn't interfere with his beer-related studies.

We're still working through some of the implications of this, not least of which is getting someone to cover his shift. But we ask customers on Saturday not to pass your empty glasses to the saxophonist.

In summary then, The Flying Gypsy Biscuits, featuring at least one accomplished bartender, play at 10pm on Saturday in our lounge, with the customary cover charge of $0.

Southern Tier and Compass Sparkling Ale

A couple of nights ago we brought a keg of Southern Tier Plum Noir pretty much straight from the wharf to have on tap as our Tuesday New Release. We've since had time to receive the rest of the order from Southern Tier that Plum Noir is part of. The order certainly impresses us, with the only downside being the sad news that Southern Tier have decided to suspend exporting and concentrate on markets closer to home. So this is, in fact, the last delivery of Southern Tier beer for the foreseeable future.

For one thing, we now have fresh stock of old favourites like their IPA, 2XIPA, Iniquity Black IPA, Unearthly IIPA and (drum roll, please) Crème Brûlée. And we also have one more new beer, in the form of Compass.

Compass is described as a "Sparkling Ale w/ Rose Hips". It may be the easiest drinking 9% beer ever made. It's made with pilsner malts and torrified wheat, giving it a malt profile not much different from a witbier. With hops chosen for citrus-like qualities and the addition of rose-hip, you'd swear that this beer was designed to be quaffable and refreshing, which it is, but at the end of the night you'll be glad we didn't serve it in pints. It's confusing the hell out of ratebeer but scoring highly nevertheless.

It's our new release next Tuesday, so will be on tap from 5pm.

Craft Beer College 200-level Series

The future of beer education kicks off on Saturday with Craft Beer College's first 200-level tasting.

We have a little insight into the selection of beers for the "Weird and Wonderful" Tasting and can vouch for the fact that it's going to be a great way to taste some of the planet's more successful experiments in brewing in one convenient Saturday afternoon.

To apply for a last minute enrolment, email craft beer college.

New in Bottles

We've had several interesting deliveries in the last week or two. First there was a long-overdue sailing all the way from Western Europe with multiple treats from Nøgne Ø. Treats such as:

  • Dark Horizon 4th Edition. Nøgne Ø's original ludicrously strong, coffee-infused imperial stout, now in a toblerone-type cardboard box.
  • Red Horizon 2nd Edition and Red Horizon 3rd Edition. The sake yeast-fermented red ale in distinctive tins.
  • Almost Undrinkable. Some troll left a bottle of Rex Attitude at the Nøgne Ø brewery a couple of years ago. This is their response.
  • Tindved - sour ale brewed with Norwegian malted barley, raw wheat and added juice from pressed sea buckthorn (tindved). Get some before sea buckthorn beers become passé.
  • Aurora Australis - a Quad brewed collaboratively at Bridge Road in Beechworth, Australia, then matured in red wine barrels sailing to Norway.

Along with the aforementioned Southern Tier order we picked up fresh supplies of a few core beers from Ballast Point and Green Flash, including Hop Head Red.

Meanwhile Garage Project have finally got around to bottling some of their legendary, Greg Broadmore-inspired Lord Cockswain's Courage. What made it into the bottles is a blend of the year-old barrel-aged beer that won a trophy at the Brewers Guild Awards last week and a fresh batch of the same beer. We gather from the beer's distributor that only a few cases of this beer were released to the market, so be quick.


Thanks and congratulations to everyone who made last week one long celebration of all the good things in the brewing industry. Of course the biggest winners were Renaissance Brewery, who took out the Champion Brewery Award, to go with a similar accolade from the Australian awards earlier this year. The great thing is that Renaissance would certainly make the short list for a "hardest working brewery" award too, so it's great to see the country's biggest gong go to someone we know deserves it. As happens most years.

But really the whole beer consuming public of Wellington and the visitors who made up the numbers deserve massive back-pats for showing that good beer is being created and consumed with imagination, enthusiasm and common sense by a growing number.

August 8, 2013

Liberty/Panhead/Fitzpatrick's... Live Music... New Release Tuesday...


During a brief window this evening we'll be joined by brewers Joseph Wood (Liberty), Mike Neilson (Panhead) and Craig Fitzpatrick (Fitzpatrick's) before take a wheelbarrow to the Brewers Guild Awards Dinner to collect their trophies. And at the same time we'll be making sure we have several of their beers on tap. Fitzpatrick's have found a second and final keg of their magnificent Imperial Porter. We've got two of the first kegs of Panhead's XPA and Pilsner. And from Liberty we've got some Sauvignon Bomb a rare keg of Bhuty Chocolate Stout.

As a wise bartender once said of the Bhuty Chocolate - "Deep chocolate love burns so good".

Live Music

Tonight marks the start of a mini-festival of live music at 10pm each night in our lounge, to coincide with all the other Beer Week festivities.

This evening it's the Tony Mad Trio playing Texas Boogie in a Stevie Ray Vaughan-soft of way.

Tomorrow it's regular favourite and living legend Darren Watson with his Underground Blues Band.

Finally on Saturday night it's another regular favourite - the X-Ray Catz.

Remember that every gig is completely free.

New Release Tuesday

We've pencilled in a pretty exciting beer for next Tuesday, in the hope that a certain container full of beer will have reached us by then. It's Southern Tier Plum Noir - an Imperial Stout made with Italian plums. Yes this is the same brewery that came up with Pumking and Crème Brûlée, so expect something ambitious and unusual.

There is an element of risk in naming this beer before our shipment has arrived, but all going well Plum Noir will go on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

A Week Of It... GP2... Jed Soane's Third Exhibition... Reel Ale... Collaborative Launches... New Release Tuesday - The 8 Wired Mega-Mix... Liberty/Panhead Night... Music Nano-Fest... In other news... Craft Beer College 200 Level... Finally...

A Week Of It

On Saturday we begin a week of festivities around the annual events known as Beervana and the Brewers Guild Awards. We say a week, but really we mean two weekends and the days in between. Yes, we're defying the Guild and starting two days early on Saturday, rather than on the official Choice Beer Week start date of August 5th.

Why? Well for two reasons. Firstly if you fast forward to Friday and Saturday of next week, it's pretty hard to host anything else when Beervana is on. The night before Beervana is Awards night and the night before that is when the brewers get together at a secret location to have couple of jars. So if we want to host events involving our favourite brewers we really have to hold them pretty early in the week. Or simply start this weekend. The other reason is that Garage Project's second birthday happens to be this week.

There's more about most, if not all, of the events we're planning below. But we should add that this calendar of events has been like a greased pig when it comes to finalising the details, so they've been changing up until the moment this email goes out and may well change again.


Garage Project turns 2 this week. We're celebrating it on Saturday.

For a brewery struggling to push product out the door at a rate that will satisfy anyone, it's remarkable what gems they were able to conjure for their own birthday. These aren't just words. We were genuinely surprised and amazed at the birthday list:

  • Angry Peaches
  • Pernicious Weed
  • Smoke & Mirrors
  • Bastard Rye Raspberry
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Cockswain's Extraordinary Ordinary - a new release that is a low gravity ordinary bitter.
  • Spezial K - also a new release - a keller bier to be served from a pitch lined barrel on the bar top.
  • Pils & Thrills
  • Chai Brown Stout - a new release and a collaboration with Moon Dog Brewery

We'll have all of these beers on tap by 4pm on Saturday. Possibly a little earlier for some of them.

We had previously announced a special food option to coincide with the festivities but that has fallen through. We apologise for any inconvenience, but trust that the occasion's other highlights will compensate.

Jed Soane's Third Exhibition

For the third time we're throwing our Red Room over to photographer Jed Soane. The theme of next week's exhibition is New Wellington Breweries. Although - let's face it - there aren't many old ones. Jed's put up a sneak preview here.

To add to the occasion of Garage Project's 2nd birthday, the exhibition should be ready for public viewing by 4pm on Saturday.

Reel Ale

So it might be stretching the point to call this a film festival and give it a pretentious title, BUT... we have legit, high quality copies of two recent and very cool documentaries relating to the beverage that we obsess about, and we're out to entertain you all as much as possible next week. So at 3pm every day from Monday to Thursday we'll be screening, alternately, Beer Hunter: The Movie and Suds County, USA.

For the sharp-eyed, Beer Hunter: The Movie is the very same film that is receiving its New Zealand premiere on Sunday night, courtesy of SOBA. The SOBA screening will be in a superior setting and it will be the local premiere so we encourage readers to go along and walk along the red carpet.

Collaborative Launches

We have not one, but three brand new beers to launch in the next few days that are the results of collaborations between New Zealand and Australian breweries. The first has already been mentioned - it was cooked up by Garage Project and Melbourne's Moon Dog way back in February when Josh and Karl from Moon Dog were over here.

The other two date from May, when a legion of New Zealand breweries infiltrated Australia. Fly By Night is a collaboration between ParrotDog, Two Birds and 3 Ravens. It's a Black IPA. We had hoped to have it here to launch on Monday but it looks as though it's not going to make it in time. So we're transferring its launch to Wednesday, by which time we hope that Jayne from Two Birds will be in Wellington.

Finally Wendy is the second collaboration between Yeastie Boys and Lobethal Bierhaus. There's no official statement on the beer's style but we understand that it will be a strongish porter with a secret ingredient that is a variant on another unconventional adjunct that Yeastie Boys have been using a lot of lately. Wendy was always going to be launched on Wednesday, because that's when they're launching it in Adelaide. And we believe the kegs will actually arrive in time.

New Release Tuesday -The 8 Wired Mega-Mix

We could never settle for any old new release next Tuesday. And after protracted negotiations (actually quite short negotiations with long periods of inactivity) we've come to an arrangement with New Zealand's champion brewer of 2011. Not only are we releasing 8 Wired's most challenging beer ever, we're going to dip into our own stocks and bring out some forgotten 8 Wired gems.

So on Tuesday we will be serving, in extremely small portions, Ice-Distilled Bumaye. A sample has gone to a lab to be tested, but this beer is estimated to be over 30% ABV.

To prepare everyone for this finisher, we will also be serving:

  • Mighty Imperial Ale
  • the newly released Barrel Aged Saison
  • a keg from the first commercial batch of iStout
  • the last known keg of Ø for Awesome by 8 Wired, Nøgne Ø and Renaissance

Liberty/Panhead Night

Liberty Brewing are in the process of converting Auckland's Hallertau brewpub into a much larger brewing facility for themselves and Hallertau to share. And Panhead are releasing the first batches of a range of beers from their brand new Upper Hutt brewery. But it's not that long since Liberty's Joe Wood and Panhead's Mike Neilson had day jobs and brewing was purely a hobby.

So on Thursday evening we hope to take advantage of a small window before the Brewers Guild Awards to celebrate their progression from home brewers to entrepreneurs. We'll pick a couple of kegs from our stash of great Liberty beers and will sneak two of Mike's first releases on tap as well. And we hope that in between grooming themselves and turning up at the Awards the pair will grace us with a walkabout.

Music Nano-Fest

As mentioned above, we're not just here to supply beer next week, we also want to provide entertainment. And as we've seen, there's often someone with an axe to grind after the awards are given out so on Thursday night it's fitting that we provide some sounds to soothe any savage breasts.

In fact we're providing live music every evening from Thursday to Saturday of next week, plus of course a performance this Saturday. So here's the lineup:

  • Saturday August 3, the Reuben Bradley Trio. Jazz,
  • Thursday August 8, the Tony Mad Trio. Texas Boogie.
  • Friday August 9, Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band.
  • Saturday August 10, the X-Ray Catz. Rockabilly.

The music starts at 10pm each night and there is no cover charge.

In other news... Craft Beer College 200 Level

It would be a travesty if the following news got lost amongst the fuss about next week, so we beg readers to hang in there.

We get occasional queries about the fate of the regular tastings that we used to run ourselves, often featuring the beers we import ourselves and usually happening about once a month. It would be fair to say that we ran up a certain amount of fatigue from running these events, and have recently concentrated our efforts on the New Release Tuesday slot while being kept increasingly busy with our importing business. Meanwhile Craft Beer College have emerged and are talking the art and promotion of beer tastings to another level.

So with a certain amount of encouragement from us, Craft Beer College have developed their repertoire of tastings and have just announced the 200-level series, taking place in the second half of this year. We think they will achieve a lot of what we used to try to with our own tastings programme and more. And they also look like a lot of fun.

The series features a glassware tasting, at which the claims of glassmakers about the difference a glass can make to the taste of a beer will be put to the test. And participants will get to keep not only the beers they drink, but the glassware they try them from. There will also be a couple of tastings dedicated to the exploration of styles that, shall we say, new beer drinkers might struggle with. All the details are here.


IPA Day? Every day is IPA Day.