Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30th, 2014

Pacific Beer Aftermath

Once again PBE went very smoothly thanks to the help of some wonderful volunteers, well behaved punters, brilliant brewers, amazing caterers (how good was that food! cheers Catering Studio), merciful weather and a pair of beautiful venues.

However if you're one of (what seems to be) the majority of Wellingtonians who left Wellington over the long weekend, you'll have a chance to experience a small slice of the joy that is PBE. As usual, there are plenty of leftovers to get through.

So over the next couple of weeks we'll be tapping beers like Boatrocker Mitte Berliner Weisse, Renaissance Terroir IPAs, Brew Cult Can't Fight The Funk IPA, Kaiju! Cthulhu Black IPA and Garage Project Trip Hazard. These will be short-lived apperances, so keep an eye on your Hashigo beer list apps (available on the right hand side there---> )


We return to our regular New Release Tuesday schedule with a three-way collaboration beer that sets the record for the longest name of any NRT beer ever.
Bridge Road Brewers/To ├śl/Birra del Borgo One Autumn Sunday Morning Somewhere Three Hours North Of Melbourne Black Session IPA (yes that's actually its name), with eighteen words takes the title from Yeastie Boys/Firestone Walker/Panhead Englebert Pumpernickel with a paltry seven word name.

It's questionable whether Black Session IPA is actually a style, so the three brewers decided to add fuel to the debate by making one. The hop bill is comprised of the odds and ends the visiting brewers found during breakfast. The beer itself mixes tropical hops with roasty cocoa flavours all in a sessionable 4.5% package.
Come on down at 5pm Tuesday to try this concoction.
(I realise hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a fear of long words, but I couldn't find the term for a fear of long beer names but you get the picture.)

Beertender to Musician

One of our bartenders, Josh, switches roles this Saturday. Not only is he a great beertender, but a hugely talented musician.
Josh is part of the band OyAzoy, who return this Saturday for a second gig in the Hashigo lounge.

OyAzoy bring a fat, soupy blend of Balkan, Latin, and Klezmer music, mixed up with Soul and Ska grooves. It takes seven musicians to create their amazing sound, we'll have to make a bit of extra space so there'll still be space to get up and groove in our wee lounge.

OyAzoy kick off at 10pm Saturday, and as usual is free of charge.

Barrel Ageing 101

Barrel aging isn't just reserved for wine and spirits, many styles of beer can be changed and improved with a bit of time in oak. Craft Beer College will be demonstrating this point in their next class "Big and Barrel Aged".

This tasting will be showcasing the big and barrel aged offerings in our fridge and Beer Without Borders' catalogue. These tend to be on the pricier side of things, so it's a great opportunity to try a range of interesting beers for a bargain price.

If you're free on Saturday 15 November email to book your spot then come on down at 2pm to enlighten your taste buds.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23rd, 2014

The Expo Cometh

It's been such a busy birthday week already, it's hard to believe we've still got the Pacific Beer Expo this weekend.

Nonetheless we've been busy making final preparations, and this week we can release the beer list in its entirety.

You'll notice that a lot of these beers are new releases, or have been brewed just for PBE. We love how local brewers get behind PBE and make us something special.

Local brewer Kereru has put together an intriguing chilli smoked wheat beer, Underparty. The notes for this beer come in haiku form:

Full-bodied wheat beer.

Manuka smoke. Mild chilli.

Fruity with bacon.

Also brewed out at Kereru on their test batch kit is Funk Estate's PBE offering Pash 'n Dash.

Pash 'n Dash is a Berliner Weisse (one of three at the festival), a type of sour wheat beer.
Brewers like Beliner Weisses as as they are soured in the mash then boiled, meaning their equipment isn't tainted with scary bugs like lactobacillus. Which can infect other beers.

Traditionally you'd add a fruit syrup to your pint of Berliner Weisse to cut back the sour bite, but Funk Estate have saved you that effort by adding passionfruit, kaffir lime leaf and chilli.

Before moving into their new brewery Baylands put together a geeky yeast experiment for us. Smokey & The Belgian and Smokey & The Americano are the same imperial stout, but fermented with different yeasts (Belgian & American). This way you can see how fermentation affects the flavour of these 10% behemoths. They'll be on all festival over in the Rowing Club.

Panhead made quite a splash earlier in the year when they released their black barley wine Black Sabbath. Black barley wines usually benefit from a bit of aging so most of this beer went into bottles so punters could throw some in their cellars. There's no reason why you can't age a keg, so we held on to a 20L keg of Black Sabbath and have been cellaring it in our chilled warehouse.

PBE might your last opportunity to have the original Black Sabbath on tap, so visit station 1 from 4.30pm to get yours.

Sunday session goers need not worry, we'll be cutting off sales of Black Sabbath (and similarly rare beers) once half is gone.

So here it is, in all its spreadsheety glory - the 2014 Pacific Beer Expo lineup!

Currently the weather is looking good for Saturday, and we're hoping Sunday's forecast changes soon.
Get your tickets now!

Expo Food

A beer festival can live or die on its culinary offerings, so we're pleased to be teaming up with The Catering Studio for PBE.

The menu they've come up with is mouth watering to say the least. It covers the pacific rim, with a bit of Karaage chicken, some Mexican tostadas, 'murican style cheese-steaks and more.
Check it out in delicious pdf form.

Expo Meet & Greet

In another PBE first, you'll be able to meet one of the overseas brewers whose beers you'll be sampling at the expo.Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing is in town this weekend, visiting from Japan. No doubt he'll be surrounded by adoring fans all festival-long, so to give you a chance to pick his brain we're holding a short tasting with Bryan at the start of each session.

At 3pm each session head over to the Rowing Club to participate. It'll cost two tokens, which gets you all of the Baird offerings at the fest: Brewer's Nightmare Rye IPA, Yabai Yabai Scotch Ale & Wabi Sabi Japan Ale.

Uber Expo

It's best not to drive to or from beer festivals. So with new "Rideshare" technology Uber quickly revolutionising the Wellington taxi-scape, we were stoked when they contacted us with an offer for PBE goers.
New users to Uber can get two free rides (up to $20) by using the code PBE2014
The process is simple:

1. Download the UBER app on an iPhone, Android or Windows device, and create an account.

2. Enter the promo code "PBE2014" when prompted.

3. Check the ETA, 'REQUEST' when you need a car, and enjoy the ride!

Uber's rates are pretty damn reasonable, so $20 will get you a fair way.

Jazzy Bayou Juice

The spirit of jazz visits the HZ lounge this Saturday, with new act The Bayou Bros.
I'm no jazz expert, so here's their description:

The Bayou Bros. Present their medicine Show.
Roll up, roll up, the Bayou Bros. Medicine Show is in town.
Filled with the restorative power of tiger glands, the strength of a hurricane, and the beauty of the taj mahal at midnight; the swinging sounds of the Bayou Bros. cannot be denied.
Feel whole once again, as your spirit returns to bourbon street, and your heart sings with the joy that only the jazz of the bayou bros. can bring. 
The Bayou Bros. are: Lex French - trumpet/ vocals, Daniel Hayles - piano/ vocals, and Daniel Yeabsley - double bass. Pop on down after PBE and wind down with their bayou beats.As usual the show kicks off at 10pm, and is free of charge.

No Release Tuesday

Sad news. Next Tuesday we won't be hosting a new release beer on tap.

We think the combination of it being a virtual Monday following a beer festival and the fact that we threw dozens of new releases out there this week with our birthday and PBE - we think people might be a bit new released out.So we won't waste our precious new releases next Tuesday, but will return to regularly scheduled programming the following week.

On Tap Now/Soon

If you haven't been down to try any of our birthday beers it's not too late. We got a few kegs of each so some are still going, Tasi's collab with Renaissance Fifth Element Porter has been particularly popular.
We're told over 10kg of cocoa nibs went into it and it shows. Most declare it even better than Renaissance's own Craftsman choc stout.
Also still available from Monday are 8 Wired's Wireless Pale Ale & Nieuw Bruin, Cassels & Sons 5 Hour Hoppy Wheat, 666 God Told Me To IPA and Twisted Hop Imperial Twisted Ankle.

Hallertau and Liberty have teamed up again, and for a change they've made a big hoppy IPA.

Haterade IIPA weighs in at 8.5%, so halves only.

For some reason the tap badge declares it 'soured', but in reality it tastes like a traditional hop bomb. Maybe they just want people to hate on Haterade. If you've got any hate for them, there's even a twitter account to vent at: @HateradeIPA

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16th, 2014

Birthday Beers

With our quinquennial birthday celebrations just four days away, it's now time to reveal the beers made to help us all celebrate.
We asked breweries to create a special beer with a five-ey theme, and we're stoked with what was delivered.

As mentioned last week, Tasi teamed up with Renaissance to produce a more quintuplicate version of her favourite Elemental porter. The fifth element of cocoa nibs was added to the usual ingredients of malt, hops, water and yeast giving the beer the name The Fifth Element. Although we all know it's real name is Chocolate Thunder.

Cassels and Sons contribution to the festivities came by its pentacular name serendipitously.
Five Hour Hoppy Wheat Beer is so named because during brewing, the 'runoff' (when sugary wort is being rinsed out of the malt) took five hours instead of the usual one or two. I'm sure the brewers weren't as happy with this fact as we are, but there you go.

One of the very last beers to come out of Hamilton's 666 Brewing will be featuring on Monday. 666 brewer Graeme Mahy has been made an offer he couldn't refuse to return to Australia and brew for Murray's.

We're gutted to see Graeme go, as his beers were some of the most consistent and interesting beers we've had on tap over the years. However we're very happy that he can continue his passion for brewing great beers, while making a good living. I know I'll be seeking out Murray's beers next time I'm across the ditch to keep up with  Graeme's handiwork.

Before winding up at 666 Graeme brewed us a beer named God Told Me To, a 100% US hopped IPA made with five different malts. All the best in Aus Graeme.

Of course Garage Project are on board for a birthday beer, and have applied the five theme in typical GP fashion.
The flatteringly named Five Hop Down to Hashi is a 7.5% IPA made using five different kinds of unreleased, unnamed trial hops from NZ hops. The five theme doesn't stop there, as this beer was continuously hopped at 5min increments throughout the boil, and then for good measure double dry hopped.

Part of the deal of using trial hops is that you can't reveal anything about them, so if you want to find out what they're like you'll have to drink the beer on Monday. Plus, there's only one keg.

Other breweries didn't have space in their brewing schedule to bang out a beer for our 'wood anniversary', but wanted to provide something special and new anyway.

Christchurch's Twisted Hop are sending up a firkin (40L cask) of the brand new Imperial Twisted Ankle. Unsurprisingly, it is an imperial (9.5%) version of their wonderful old ale Twisted Ankle.
You can expect the same rich and roasty flavours, but even richer and roastier. Not to sound like the out of touch CAMRA, but yes, this is a legit cask conditioned real ale.

Both hand pumps will be pouring legit real ale thanks to (champion NZ brewery) Townshend. Martin's sent us up a few pins (20L casks) of his latest creation Donelan's 2xE.

This session ale is brewed in collaboration with NZ Hops' Doug Donelan, and apparently 2xE is a reference to a certain 'East India Pale Ale' featuring a native bird.

Lagers take twice as long to create than ales, so it's no surprise that no birthday pilsners were made.
Thankfully Beer Without Borders has a new shipment in from the States this week, containing a Coronado Golden Pilsner which has never been seen in NZ before. We'll tap it for the first time on Monday.

Rounding out the birthday lineup, 8 Wired have sent some pretty special beers for the festivities. The 100% brettanomyces fermented Wireless Pale Ale will see its Wellington Release on Monday, along with a pretty special collab from Aussie.
Bridge Road/8 Wired Nieuw Bruin is a Belgian Brown ale based on ReWired, which has been fermented in the same cognac barrels used to create Aurora Borealis II which was NRT a few weeks back.

As you might have guessed, this is one of the Beervana kegs that was unfortunately delayed, and we're told it's the only keg of the beer in the country.

It wouldn't be a birthday party without cake, so we've asked Dough Momma to make us a big ass Rogue chocolate stout cake.

All of the above beers will be on tap from 5pm Monday 20th October, some we have a few kegs of and will last thorough the week, others will dry up on Monday. See you there!

Cheese is a Kind of Meat

Seeing as we're releasing eight beers on Monday, we figure a new release on Tuesday might get a little overlooked.
So instead of putting another new beer on tap, we'll be pairing Monday's new releases with a complimentary cheese match when you buy a glass.
We don't yet know what the beers taste like, so we can't pre-match any cheeses but we'll be open to suggestions on Monday.

Tuesday Night Grammy

Following a cheesy Tuesday afternoon, on Tuesday night we have a very special musical act performing - all the way from California.
Legendary trombonist Fransisco Torres is visiting Wellington to run a workshop, and was keen to play while he's in town. We were more than happy to oblige, and it ties in nicely with our birthday celebration.

Fransisco is the trombonist and musical director for the Grammy-Award winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, as well as a member of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. Francisco has in recent years produced and arranged for Poncho's albums garnering several Grammy nominations, as well as developing a small reputation for Latin Jazz arranging.

Joining Fransisco is Tom Warrington, one of the busiest acoustic and electric bass players in Los Angeles. Tom began his career in New York City, playing for three years in the Buddy Rich big band and trio. He also toured Europe extensively as a clinician and performer, and worked with many other great N.Y. artists, including Stan Getz, Dave Liebman, and Hank Jones.

Some excellent local talent will be collaborating, including Rodger Fox (also) on trombone, Lance Philip on drums and Nick Granville with the guitar.

This once-off gig is free, and being a school night kicks off at the earlier time of 8pm.

Scheduled Fire Drill

Wellington's most delicious repurposed fire truck will be pulling up outside tomorrow night, providing delicious fare to go with your delicious beer.

Will and Kim will be serving up:
- BBQ pork with split pea, rooibos tea, seaweed and a soy mirin dressing.
- Smoked fish with spiced chic peas curry leaves and a tofu sesame dressing.
- Plus another dish, which they're still working on.
They'll be providing savoury treats from around 5pm.

Latin Saturday

The sensual Carlos Navae quartet will be adding a bit of latin spice to your pints on Saturday night with a bit of Afro-Cuban Jazz, Soul, Funk and Caribbean beats.

As usual there is no charge, and it kicks off at 10pm Saturday night.

Just Nine Sleeps

It's only nine sleeps till the biggest Pacific beer expo yet, and with the extra space we've managed to expand the varieties of beer available. We're still finalising the beer list, but it's looking like there'll be at least 45 different beers spread across a massively diverse range of styles.

Today we can announce a few brews from Aotearoa, a couple from breweries that don't even exist yet.

Tiamana and Wild & Wooly are currently setting up a shared brewery space in Mt Cook, and are run by HZ regulars Annika & Llew respectively. The brewery is still under construction, but they've managed to get a few small batches out early.
Being that Llew is Canadian, and that halloween thing is observed there - Wild and Wooly have put together pumpkin spice ale. But with a dash of rum added and named Hop the Plank to bring it more into a pirate theme.

Annika is drawing upon her German roots with Tiamana's PBE offering, Kiersch Me. Touted as a Black Forest Cake beer, it might go quite well with (or as) dessert. As Annika says:
"A beer inspired by my German grandma's Black Forest Cake - a chocolate stout with dark cherries soaked in original 'Kirschwasser' (German cherry schnapps). Prost!"
PBE might be the last beer festival where 666 Brewing will be served. We'll be showcasing a twist on their regularly brewed pale ale, Gabriel.
Gabriel Pilsner is the usual Gabriel recipe but fermented with a lager yeast, making it a bit crisper and more refreshing. You can't just have imperial stouts and IPAs at a beer festival eh?

By next week's email we should have a link to the entire finalised beer list, so you can start planning which you'd like to try. Get your ticket now!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9th, 2014

Happy Birthday To Us

Has it really been five years? I guess time flies when you're enjoying good beer.
Our actual fifth birthday was in September, but we decided to delay the party due to the proximity to Beervana and other birthdays. Also, I was out of the country so it totally wouldn't have been fair.
Today I can announce our official fifth birthday celebration will occur on Monday the 20th of October, to kick off the week of Pacific Beer Expo.
To mark the occasion we asked some of our favourite brewers to help us celebrate by brewing us a special birthday beer, and many kindly obliged. 
Monday the 20th will see a tap lineup of mostly brand new beers, like Renaissance Fifth Element (aka Chocolate Thunder)
Renaissance Elemental Porter is possibly our bar manager Tasi's (aka Chocolate Thunder) favourite beer ever. So Renaissance offered to fly Tasi down to Blenheim to help put together a special edition Elemental Porter for our birthday. Fifth Element is the porter we all know and love, but with a fifth ingredient (get it?) thrown in - cocoa nibs.
We'll also have the first showing of the next beer in 8 Wired's 100% brett fermented "Wireless" series - Wireless Pale Ale. These two should whet your appetite, and expect a full lineup announced in next weeks email as we firm up details.
To keep the party going on Tuesday (the 22nd) we'll be swapping out our usual new release Tuesday for New Release Cheeseday. You can thank Dominic for the cheesy pun.
Seeing as Monday's lineup will be mostly new releases, on Tuesday we'll pick cheeses to match each birthday beer and offer them as a pair. We'll be looking for cheese pairing suggestions on the Monday night.

PBE News

The Pacific Beer Expo is quickly creeping up on us, a mere three weeks from now. Details of the Coronado.
beer lineup are quickly firming up, and this week we can announce some of the rare offerings available from San Diego brewer and PBE sponsor,
Some of their rarer brews have been made available to us specifically for PBE, the crown jewel of which is probably Barrel Aged Stupid Stout (9.8%). There were only 240 bottles of this Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout available, and even fewer kegs - but we got one.
Usually only available at the brewpub, Monkey Island (8.5%) is an amped up dark lager brewed in collaboration with Monkey Paw.

Balancing out the stronger offerings of the festival, Coronado have provided some of their lighter beers. Coronado Golden (4.9%) is a refreshing pilsner, while U.S.S. Coronado (5%) is a classic APA, named after a US Navy vessel (referencing Coronado island's massive naval base).

Get your tickets from or at the bar. Do it.

Tuesday of the Damned

I was worried that Dominic would exhaust our supply of Adroit Theory new releases while I was in

the States. I had my eye out for anything from AT, but it seems they're even rarer in their home country than here on the other side of the world.
Luckily for me Beer Without Borders brought in enough varieties of Adroit Theory, that next Tuesday I'll be able to see what the Virginia based nano-brewer is capable of.
We'll be tapping the first keg of the typically grandiose named "Love of the Damned". LotD is brewed in the style of an Old Ale, which is a rare style to see in itself. But that's not enough for AT, so they amped it up to 9.6% ABV and aged it on Syrah grape must.
Or, as the brewery more poetically puts it:
"Can there be a greater dilemma? Dare I love that which is condemned - damned - to an everlasting inferno? Is my faith in redemption enough to sweeten and soothe? These are the questions you must ask yourself as you take in and savor this Olde Ale brewed with Syrah Grape Must. Was that the sighing of the wind you heard, or did Mephistopheles whisper, "May I have this dance?" Deliverance is but a handshake away."
Meet the Damned from 5pm next Tuesday.

Rhino Boogie Saturday

Our favourite funk hip hop fusion group Rhino Boogie returns to our 'acoustically sweet side-lounge' this weekend.
Enjoy live horns and drums combined on the turntables of Uncle Silverback for free on Saturday from 10pm.

Lacto and Pedio and Brett, oh my!

If you don't know what Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and Brettanomyces are, then you need to attend
Saturdays 200 level Craft Beer College class.

There are only three places remaining for what is possibly the most advanced class CBC have held yet. You'll be tasting some of the best sour offerings from around the world, while learning more about special brewing techniques and how our friends brett, lacto and pedio contribute to the unique flavours found in sour ales.
To secure your spot in Saturdays tasting, email
... Quickly!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 2, 2014

Music This Saturday... New Release Tuesday... Pacific Beer Expo News... The Truck of Fire... Further Reading...

Music This Saturday

"Squeeze into the acoustically sweet side-lounge on nano-gig nights" - Lonely Planet, New Zealand, 17th Edition.
Last week, in one of the larger blunders in the history of this email, we announced the musical act who would in fact be playing about a month later. So we're making no mistake this week and if the Reuben Bradley's Death Hos aren't performing this Saturday night at 10pm then there will have been a pretty mind-blowing reason.
The "Hos" consist of Daniel Hayles on Keys, Nick Tipping on Bass and Reuben Bradley on Drums. Expect extemporisations on Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Steely Dan and Band of Gypsies.
Looking further into the future we predict that Rhinoboogie will be in the lounge on October 11 and the Carlos Navae Quartet will appear on the 18th.
All gigs are at 10pm and have no cover charge.

New Release Tuesday

Our mini-season of Australian new releases continues next week (with a hat-tip to Beervana). We have another beer from Young Henry's in Newtown, Sydney. Last Saturday we put their excellent, sessionable pale ale called Newtowner on tap in time for the AFL Grand Final. On Tuesday it's an IPA that goes by the probably tautological name of Hop Ale. Here's the brewery's own description:
This beer harks back to the classic English style IPAs. Hefty malt backing meets truck loads of hop flowers added to all stages of the process. The all Australian hop flavour is not aggressive in its bitterness, but is evident in flavour and aroma and slowly asserts itself with a lengthy, lingering and throughly enjoyable palette.

Pacific Beer Expo News

We mentioned earlier that this year's festival will host a visiting overseas brewer for the first time, in the form of Bryan Baird, founder of Japan's Baird Brewing. Since this year is also the first time that we've spread the event over two connected venues (the Boatshed and the Wellington Rowers Club) we have the opportunity to have an "event within an event" - a mini tasting led by Bryan of a small number of Baird beers. So on both days, shortly after the 2pm start, we'll hold this tasting in the Wellington Rowers Club. The "cost" will be a couple of the starting tokens that all attendees receive. Bryan is one of the most articulate and confident speakers in the industry, so our strong advice is to take advantage of this opportunity.
In the most recent league table of the largest American craft breweries, San Diego's Ballast Point were by far the biggest movers, breaking into the top 30. And we think that it's fair to say that this rise has happened with no compromise in quality. It has also made it hard for the brewery to keep up with demand, even with a massive new brewing facility. So we've found it difficult recently to get hold of stock of some of their rarer products. And what rare beers we do get from them will be going straight to this year's Pacific Beer Expo. Specifically, we're expecting a very small amount of an old favourite in Tongue Buckler Imperial Red Ale. Likewise there will be a strictly rationed volume of something new to us in Grapefruit Sculpin - that's right, one of the world's greatest IPAs with added grapefruit rind.
Tickets are on sale now from the Cult Beer Store. Places at the Saturday session are selling at about three times the rate of the Sunday session. What's with that?

The Truck of Fire

Wellington's most popular repurposed fire apparatus returns tomorrow (Friday) evening, dispensing some of the most high-brow takeaway food ever devised. Keep an eye on the twitters or the bookface for the evening's menu.

Further Reading

We endorse everything about this article by Jono Galuszka.