Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24, 2013

Final Pacific Beer Expo Update... Music on Saturday... New Release Tuesday... Labour Day Surcharge - Just Kidding...

Pacific Beer Expo Update

We're just three days from what we think is the highlight of the year for anyone who appreciates the same kind of beer that we do. A couple of days ago we announced the nearly final lineup for the Pacific Beer Expo on facebook and twitter. You can read that announcement here.

One particular beer didn't quite make Tuesday's announcement on account of the fact that we hadn't talked to its brewer for a week or two and it is not the kind of beer we want to bait people with then switch. It's an early preview from the extensive barrel ageing programme that 8 Wired is running. The particular beer we're serving on Sunday has the working title of Wild Feijoa. It's a strong pale ale brewed almost two years ago that has been sitting in a barrel with some feijoas.

Pooh Beer

We've also been slow to reveal details of what might be one of the most interesting beers at the event. But here goes... on a recent trip to Vietnam the Hashigo Zake delegation was given the chance to buy some authentic civet cat (or "weasel") coffee - coffee beans collected after passing through the digestive system of the coffee cherry-addicted civet cat. There were two varieties available - unwashed, unroasted free range beans, still in a form best described as actual cat poo. Fearing that NZ Customs might not look kindly on a random passenger flying in with a jar of cat poo, we plumped for the alternative - washed and roasted beans from farmed cats.

As sensible as this sounds, it seems that there is growing disquiet around the world about "farmed" - or perhaps "battery" - civet cat coffee. So unless and until we find a source of weasel coffee that's guaranteed to have been excreted humanely, we're viewing this exercise as a one-off.

Nevertheless, having transported our small packet of maybe-not-so-humanely farmed civet cat coffee we weren't going to waste it. We entrusted it with Garage Project who already have done great things with coffee-laced beer and they created a small batch of their gold medal winning Ca Phe Da. We believe that the result is New Zealand's first, commercial, civet cat coffee beer. And it might be the last for a while.


Did we mention that we've persuaded Ruth Pretty Catering to try and come up with foods to match the festival beers? We treated them to a taste of a few representative beers, including Ballast Point Victory at Sea and Southern Tier Crème Brûlée. Check out the menu they've come up with:

  • Caramelised Chilli Almonds
  • Rugelach with Apricot, Walnut and Chocolate
  • Turkish Cheese Pastry
  • Turmeric Chicken Satay with Caramelised Peanut Sauce and Flatbread
  • Turmeric Vegetable Satay with Caramelised Peanut Sauce and Flatbread (v)
  • Toasted Sandwich with Braised Beef Bavette, Swiss Cheese and Pickled Red Onion
  • Toasted Sandwich with Mushrooms, Swiss Cheese and Pickled Red Onion (v)
  • Mocha Crème Brûlée


With a new venue, a legendary caterer and a beer list that tops just about anything we've ever seen, this year's event is looking pretty exciting. But not everything automatically goes our way and there is one cloud on the horizon. We're hearing lots of grizzles about the booking fee that is imposed on anyone buying online. We aren't unsympathetic but ask supporters to save their complaints for now. The ticket agent comes with the venue. We either use them or hold the festival in a swamp.

We were given permission to sell a few tickets in our own right, which we duly did. Surprisingly we've just been allowed another allocation, so for a little while we are once again able to sell a few over the bar. Apart from those few tickets, any additional purchases have to be via the official ticket vendor and the relevant web page is here.

Music on Saturday

It may be a long weekend with a rugby final on one evening, a beer festival the next day and a day of rest to top it all off, but regular traditions remain unaffected. In other words, we will have live music, as usual, in the Lounge on Saturday night.

In fact Saturday sees the triumphant return from illness of Darren Watson and his Underground Blues Band. From 10pm with the customary non-existent cover charge.

New Release Tuesday

This one takes some explaining. It's one of the latest Moon Dog beers - kind of. We recently took delivery of Mummy Have A Bite, which is a calvados barrel aged amber ale. The brewery also filled a 20L keg for us with the base beer before it went into barrels. It has been referred to as "beer from fermenter #2" and "Toffee Apple Beer (without the apple)". So maybe we'll just go with Toffee Apple, even if it is meaningless without the correct context. (And context will be a few feet away in the form of bottled Mummy Have A Bite.)

Moon Dog Toffee Apple will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Labour Day Surcharge - Just Kidding

Do we need to keep making this point or have the advocates of public holiday surcharges crawled into a hole?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17, 2013

Pacific Beer Expo Update... On Tap Now or Soon... Saturday Music... New Release Tuesday... Ra Ra... Recommended Reading...

Pacific Beer Expo Update

There are just ten days to go now until the Third Pacific Beer Expo. We're encouraging breweries to supply new and even experimental beers for the event, which inevitably means that even this close to the date there are question marks over places in the lineup. It's disconcerting but all part of the fun. Nevertheless we're getting closer to a final lineup and can make a few more announcements:

From Taranaki's Mike's comes their latest hemp beer - a 5% IPA. From the sounds of things there's a lot of hemp at their disposal up there in Urenui and they're doing their darnedest to come up with a beer that can take advantage. And it seems like a nice follow-up to last year's Kava beer from Garage Project.

The nation's champion brewery - Renaissance - have a new beer that we know little about except that it's a fruit wheat beer. That will make at least three fruit-infused wheat beers on tap during the event. The other two confirmed are Baylands Brewery's Blueberry Wheat, which apparently has come out an interesting shade of pink, and Jungle Brewery's Tropical Wheat - Orange & Mango, all the way from Singapore. Having three fruit infused wheat beers on tap at the same time and place is not something we would normally embrace, but festivals are all about expanding horizons, right?

As an antidote to all the wheaty fruitiness we can also reveal that there will be at least four beers, and possibly more, that fit loosely into the Imperial Stout category, including a face off between the two biggest show ponies of the world of dark, high gravity beers - Ballast Point Victory at Sea and Southern Tier Crème Brûlée.

From Nelson's Golden Bear we have a beer they're calling an IPAL. It's essentially an IPA but fermented with a blended yeast in a fashion that puts it somewhere between an ale and a lager.

Finally (for now) we can announce a collaboration between Hamilton breweries 666 and Brewaucracy. The premise, as described to us, was to take the recipe for Brewaucracy's In Triplicate, which is a Belgian Tripel, and subject it to the kind of hopping regime that 666 specialises in. Presumably the result will resemble an Imperial Belgian IPA. It's to be called Devil In The Details.

At the time of writing our own supply of tickets here at the bar has been exhausted. We're hoping to re-stock, but in the meantime please use Ticketek. And if you go in and book in person you don't have to reveal all your personal information just to make a purchase.

On Tap Now or Soon

There are some goodies backed up, waiting to come on. But of course we'd say that. Anyway, here's the proof:

Last week's promised Epic Coffee & Fig Imperial Stout is coming, honest.

With a massive order of Californian beer about to arrive it's time to clear our stocks from the last such order. Which amounts to: about one keg of Ballast Point Dorado Imperial IPA.

Minumus is Hallertau's much-admired version of brewing's holy grail :- the hoppy session beer. On tap shortly.

We've snapped up a couple of kegs of Schippers beer - one each of Mistress Pilsner and Scallywag.

And not on tap but new and spanking fresh in bottles is this year's batch of Peckham's Elderflower Cider.

Saturday Music

This Saturday's band was particularly popular with staff last time round, so comes with an even more sincere than usual recommendation. The Digg's fusion of jazz and Hendriks-meets-Tarantino psychedelic surf rock was our idea of a good time back in June, so we're looking forward to having them back at 10pm on Saturday night. In the lounge and at no charge.

New Release Tuesday

We're following this week's sensational Spontonframboos from Mikkeller (of which a few servings remain) with another sour of a sort from the Danish gypsy brewer. It's Funky E-Star or perhaps Funky E★ if we're all writing and reading this on compatible devices.

On tap from 5pm on Tuesday.

Ra Ra

Tomorrow, being an every second Friday, is Ramen Shop Friday here at Hashigo Zake. Come in from 11:30 for lunch from the best ramen vendors in the Southern Hemisphere. (Can we say that?)

Recommended Reading

The collective known as the Thirsty Boys are paragons of both loyalty (being regular attendees at New Release Tuesday) and fine beer writing. But even they surpassed themselves this week when they handed the keys to the blog over to their own Ladies Auxiliary.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10, 2013

Pacific Beer Expo Update... IP Watch... On Tap Now or Soon... Saturday Music... New Release Tuesday...

Pacific Beer Expo Update

There's a danger when building a lineup of beers and taking advantage of the choicest imports and seasonals at our disposal, that we end up with a very "bottom-heavy" festival. That is, this may seem a danger to some attendees. To others a lineup packed with high-gravity, flavour-packed beers is the best news possible.

Nevertheless we're tailoring the 2013 PBE lineup with extra care this year to make sure that there are plenty of sensible, easy drinking but still very interesting options. And so, we can announce the following inclusions in our lineup:

  • Left Coast Tommy - a 4.1% session ale from the makers of Hop Juice.
  • Green Flash Citra Session Ale - a 4.3% session beer that, admittedly, strongly resembles a 6.5% IPA in flavour, but without the loss of judgement.
  • Kereru Pohutakawa Golden Ale - straight from a conditioning tank at Kereru's beautiful new facility near Maidstone Park in Upper Hutt, comes their easy drinking summer beer.

Of course we've already announced two inclusions from Singapore's Jungle Brewing - their Orange and Mango Tropical Wheat and Nutmeg and Mace Steam Lager will round out the easy drinking end of our spectrum of flavours.

Tickets continue to sell steadily. We recommend buying early for your and our peace of mind, either at Ticketek, or (while stocks last) here at the bar.

IP Watch

It's been a slow news day here at Hashigo Zake's Global News Headquarters, but on days like this a glance on the IPONZ website to see what trademarks are being applied for can salvage things a little.

Today's shocker was pretty obscure until we started putting the web's best known search engine to use. Because really... a simple application to trademark "Beer O'Clock" as a beer name seems pretty harmless. But it turns out that "Beer O'Clock" was more than just a one time slogan of one of New Zealand's mega-breweries. It's one of the most used colloquialisms the world of beer has. It has an entry in, there are multiple websites whose very names are based on the phrase and there's more merchandise out there (clothes, clocks etc) incorporating the phrase than you can shake a stick at.

Only an IP lawyer could explain whether that complete lack of originality is enough to warrant throwing the application out. But it begs the question, what opportunist would try and grab a trademark on a phrase that's so patently unoriginal? Turns out it's someone called Bruce Calvin Clark of Darwin in Australia.

Mr Clark has made quite a few interesting trademark applications over the years - in both Australia and New Zealand. For instance there's one across the Tasman for "New. Real. Lager.". Apparently those full stops are part of the name and really important. He made another trademark application for a beer called "Very Fine Lager". There's no sign that VFL and N.R.L. are actual beers. But for some reason there was a need to trademark them as beer names.

Clark's application for a trademark on "Beer O'Clock" went through a Lower Hutt firm called A J Pietras & Co. They've helped apply for trademarks on some pretty interesting names. There's "666", which we know as a Hamilton-based brewery but in some countries is an energy drink. But here "666" has been trademarked by the low-profile "Premium Brands Marketing Limited", along with other energy drink names like "Jolt". A J Pietra & Co, bless them, also represented the energy drinks company that trademarked "Big Cock" and "Huge Cock" and another drinks company that felt the need to trademark "S.H.I.T.".

The things you can learn on a simple government department's website.

On Tap Now or Soon

Right now, kitchen sink beer Green Flash Le Freak is on tap and will be followed by Ballast Point's hop bomb Dorado IIPA.

Nøgne Ø's malty Christmas beer God Jul (one of their three Christmas beers) is on tap right now, though not for much longer. It will be followed by the Twisted Hop's hop-less and trophy winning festive beer called Cheery, then Epic's legendary Coffee & Fig Imperial Oatmeal Stout.

We have an imposter on the wheat beer tap at the moment - Peckhams Kingston Black Cider. When it's gone look out for some Canterbury wheat beer in the form of Brew Moon Luna Wit and Twisted Hop Hefeweizen.

Also look out for up and coming locals Kereru Moonless Stout (on already) and Deeble's Pale Ale from Remedy Brewing.

And Lobethal Bierhaus' India Pale Al, the unassuming little brother to Double Hop IPA, is on tap right now and exceeding expectations.

Saturday Music

Carlos Navae returns on Saturday night to bring Latin Jazz and other testosterone-fuelled musical forms to our lounge. All cover charge-less and from 10pm.

New Release Tuesday

We've been waiting for the perfect time to unleash Mikkeller Spontenframboos on unsuspecting drinkers and Tuesday is it. It's a wild-fermented, raspberry-infused, barrel-aged sour beer. We've had others in the sponten- series by the bottle before and they've all been pretty mouth-puckeringly sour. This time the sourness will be on tap. From 5pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3, 2013

Pacific Beer Expo Update... Kimchi... New Release Tuesday... Saturday Music... Ramen Friday... Stop Press...

Pacific Beer Expo Update

Somewhere between here and California is a 40ft refrigerated container with, among other things, our latest order from Ballast Point Brewing. In that order will be a number of the highlights of this year's Pacific Beer Expo. For instance we're expecting kegs of a batch of their Black Marlin Porter that has been infused with cocoa nibs, chipotle chillies and orange peel. We're also bringing over some Fathom India Pale Lager, one of ratebeer's highest rated Imperial Pilsners.

Also this month we're expecting supplies of another offshore collaboration by Yeastie Boys. This time their co-conspirators were Massachusetts brewery Pretty Things. The result is Pretty BoysOur Turn Your Turn, a hoppy pale wheat ale, with added Lindenflower.

Tickets for the Pacific Beer Expo are on sale now. They cost $50 each, and that gets attendees a souvenir Spiegelau glass (that doesn't resemble a sex-toy), programme and a significant number of starting tokens to spend on food and beer. We have a few for sale here at Hashigo Zake or you can get them from Ticketek here (or for mobiles here).


We're on a mission, that in all likelihood will never end, to develop the perfect menu of beer-friendly snack foods. The latest addition is the classic Korean appetiser, seasoning and general miracle food - kimchi. And a bowl of this spicy, stinky deliciousness costs just $4.

To celebrate its arrival we also have a Venison, Beef and Kimchi pie available for a limited time.

New Release Tuesday

On Tuesday we're going back to the well of fine beer that is our recent shipment from Adelaide's Lobethal Bierhaus. This time it's their India Pale Al. Yes you read that correctly - India Pale Al is partly named after its own brewer, Al. It's a very traditional English style of IPA in marked contrast with their delicious Double Hop IPA.

India Pale Al goes on tap at 5pm next Tuesday.

Saturday Music

We apologise to anyone who was inconvenienced by our last minute change in musical act last Saturday. Blues stalwart Darren Watson had to cancel on Saturday due to illness. Our booker and some of Wellington's most dedicated musicians scrambled, and a replacement act was improvised at the last minute. And it was great! Many thanks to Chris Armour, Neil Billington, Richard Te One and Richie P.

This Saturday's act is a new one for us:- Reece McNaughten & Justin Firefly Clarke, featuring "Eastern European-influenced new and old school Jazz grooves and loops". From 10pm in the lounge.

Ramen Friday

Tomorrow the Ramen Shop return to combine their freshly made noodles, delicious broth and various toppings into the nicest lunch on offer. To make things even easier we'll make sure we're open by 11:30am tomorrow. And we'll be offering some kind of ramen+beer special.

Stop Press

Gravity pouring is back! Tonight and maybe tomorrow we have a firkin of Garage Project Cockswain's Extraordinary Ordinary, sitting on the bar, dispensing cask-conditioned session beer.