Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28, 2013

Darren Watson's Final Gigs... Big Bad Wolf's Christmas Charcuterie... The Ramen Shop... Santa Session... Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout... Finally...

Darren Watson's Final Gigs

Wellington's own living blues legend, Darren Watson, has announced that he'll retreat from the rough and tumble of pub gigs at the end of this year and concentrate on recording and ticketed concerts. It's an entirely reasonable decision, but it means we'll only get to host two more performances from Darren and his Underground Blues Band here at Hashigo Zake.

This is the very much the end of an era - some of us remember Darren and Chicago Smoke Shop playing gigs around Wellington in the 80s. The second to last such gig is this Saturday at 10pm. The final one will be on December 21. No matter how much sentiment is attached to these final performances, our cover charge remains the same - $0.

Big Bad Wolf's Christmas Charcuterie

The final (for 2013) and most ambitious of our collaborations with Big Bad Wolf takes place on Sunday, December 8, on the charcuterie's own premises over on Wakefield St. All our previous food and beer matching events with Big Bad Wolf have been enormously popular and received rave reviews. The eating and drinking starts at 4pm. Tickets are limited and are available from our own Cult Beer Store.

The Ramen Shop

Asher and Tsubasa bring the Ramen Shop back to Hashigo Zake tomorrow. From 11:30am we'll be serving their ramen bowls, including freshly made noodles, an interesting variety of toppings and, best of all, delicious porky broth.

The Santa Session

We've learned that a certain, long standing tradition of the Wellington craft beer scene has been moved to take place on the first Tuesday of December, clashing just nicely with the 2013 Santa Session. We could complain, panic or hastily reschedule. We even thought of having a second Santa Session, but there can only be one Santa Session in any calendar year. So in the end we're just going to suggest that this is a golden opportunity for those who missed out on places in the Santa Session to snap them up from those who would rather go to Beer Options.

For those happy to keep their Santa Session booking, we'll see you at around 6:30 on Tuesday.

Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout

Back in the day, Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout was one of our early big sellers. Black as the bottom of a cave at midnight, packed with coffee, chocolate and liquorice flavours, finishing gratuitously bitter and poured from a ceramic bottle that seemed to absorb light, it was very much one of the original "cult beers" that helped establish Hashigo Zake's reputation.

Supplies of it have been erratic since then, so it's good to know that New Zealand's original importers of Rogue Ales are, about now, taking delivery of our largest ever order of this beer. In fact it's the largest order of Rogue beer we've ever received. There will also be new season Yellow Snow, fresh Chipotle Ale, more Beard Beer and a couple of new beers in the form of Integrity Ale, Honey Kolsch and Rogue's own Pumpkin Ale, made with pumpkins grown on their own farms.

Hold your breath.


The era of the celebrity-guest beertender begins tomorrow night in Auckland, when our own Dave Wood helps programme the taps at Brothers and dispenses beer and advice to their customers. It will be like "Playing Favourites" but with beer instead of songs. And the list of beers is, unsurprisingly, pretty stellar.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 7, 2013

Santa Session... Wellington Beer in Auckland... New Release Tuesday... On Tap Now or Soon...

Santa Session

The 2013 Santa Session has provoked a decent amount of interest from many of the people that we hoped it would, so we thank those of you who have booked already and advise that those dithering that half the places are now gone.

For those who don't know what we're talking about, here's how it works:

We set up a pouring station away from the main bar and stockpile a wide variety of bottled beer that we rotate through as the evening goes on. Ticket holders are welcome to come back to our pouring station over and over again and get their glass refilled with whichever beer we're pouring at the minute. Some of the beer may be slightly past its best, some of it you may not have heard of and some will be absolute gems that we simply have too much of.

The action lasts two and a half hours, starting at 6:30pm on December the 3rd. Tickets can be bought over the bar or at our web store. And of course there's a substantial discount for SOBA members.

Wellington Beer in Auckland

A couple of Wellington breweries don't have the attention they deserve in Auckland at the moment, so today (Thursday) we're coordinating with Brothers Beer in Auckland to give them a little bit of a profile. Specifically Kereru and Remedy Brewing will be on tap this evening. There will also be recent releases from Funk Estate and ParrotDog to ensure that Brothers is oozing with Wellington-ness this evening.

Why are we telling you this? Simply in case anyone reading this happens to be residing in Auckland right now and/or because you have Auckland friends dying to know what the next big thing in the beer world is going to be.

New Release Tuesday

There's an element of shame, embarrassment and risk associated with next week's new release. The shame and embarrassment comes from the fact that most of us should have tried it already but missed out. This is because it was scheduled to be served at the Pacific Beer Expo, but the content of the keg didn't match the name written on the top.

The beer in question is Liberty/Hallertau KomissionA the New Zealand Pale Ale brewed to commission the new, shared Liberty/Hallertau brewery. The risk of rescheduling it as our new release on Tuesday is that we don't know for sure what will come out of the next keg called KomissionA. We may have to have a backup beer just in case.

So Liberty/Hallertau KomissionA may or may not be our new release next Tuesday at 5pm.

On Tap Now or Soon

We're having a beer festival in slow motion right now. Leftovers from the Pacific Beer Expo are steadily making their way on tap. Insane, decadent, extravagant, exotic and generally special beers are taking abbreviated turns on tap. For instance, look out for:

  • Jungle Brewing's Tropical Wheat and Kiasu Stout.
  • The Yeastie Boys/Pretty Things collaboration - Our Turn Your Turn.
  • Green Flash's Saison Diego
  • Speakeasy Prohibition Amber Ale
  • The extremely pink Baylands Pacific Sunset.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October 31, 2013

Big Thanks... 2013 Santa Session... Music on Saturday... New Release Tuesday... Ramen... Finally...

Big Thanks

Hashigo Zake has a number of people to thank for the enormous success of Sunday's Pacific Beer Expo.

First and foremost we thanks the hundreds of people who did "get" what the festival is about and how it works, knew not to question why the ticket price was what it was, and came along and enjoyed themselves. It's not our style to wait at the door with survey forms, so we can only go by the anecdotal feedback we've received. And that feedback suggests that attendees were pretty happy and satisfied. So thank you for coming.

Steph Coutts of Craft Beer College and her pool of willing volunteers are one of the reasons why Wellington is at such an advantage when it comes to the organisation of beer festivals.

We got all sorts of help from Goldings Free Dive. And ParrotDog and Garage Project helped make sure we had enough taps to pour that number of beers.

A number of brewers went to a lot of trouble to supply us with new and/or interesting beers. A few even attended. One actually volunteered to pour his own beer.

For once we are in a position to make a nice early announcement about next year's Pacific Beer Expo. It will take place on the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend (October 25 & 26) at our original venue of the Boatshed, but with one key difference. We'll also have the use of the adjoining Wellington Rowers Function Centre, giving us significantly more capacity than we've had before, but in not one, but two, character venues.

2013 Santa Session

Now also seems the ideal time to announce the 2013 Santa Session. This is our now annual exercise in clearing a little stock and celebrating the looming year's end with some of our favourite customers, organised in collaboration with (and with a discount for members of) SOBA.

It may or may not be common knowledge, but our wholesale business has grown around 300% in the last year, which means that there's a lot more beer passing through our warehouse with increasing potential for some really good products to get overlooked by our wholesale or bar customers.

There must be plenty of Santa Session veterans by now, so you know the drill... tickets are available at the Cult Beer Store, or we'll take your booking over the bar. Anyone taking advantage of the substantial discount to SOBA members will be expected to show a SOBA membership card on the night.

Music on Saturday

We host something of a Wellington Jazz supergroup on Saturday evening, with Leigh Jackson and Nick Granville playing as the Leigh Jackson & Nick Granville Quartet with the four made up by Nick Tipping (bass) and Reuben Bradley (drums). From 10pm in the lounge, at no charge.

New Release Tuesday

Our favourite Tauranga nano-brewery is now generating a little more variety and has invested in a stock of the same 10 litre kegs that Mike's brewery use. And because we aren't contractually bound to pour Mike's beer through the Mike's machine, we can take advantage of this new diversity we're getting from Fitzpatrick's. And next week we'll make Fitzpatrick's ESB our new release. On tap from 5pm on Tuesday.


Tomorrow is a Ramen Friday. Delicious porky broth and freshly made noodles go on sale from around 11:30am tomorrow. Thanks to the Ramen Shop.


Tonight is the Night of Pretending To Be Out, so tomorrow must be the Day Of The Dead. Which presumably explains the unheralded arrival of these:

They look like anything but a vessel containing beer, and we don't know if there are more where they came from. But they and a couple of kegs that appeared at the same time came with some message about an embargo that will run out some time tomorrow.