Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27th, 2014


Mikkeller make some amazing, boundary pushing beer. A side-effect of pushing boundaries is that it tends to push prices up as well.
This makes many Mikkeller beers perfect for bottle pour Saturdays, and this Saturday we'll be serving another rare Mikkeller beer by the glass: Malaga Barrel Aged Hvedegoop.

Mikkeller's 'Goop' series is a collaboration with the legendary brewery Three Floyds from Indiana, in which they challenge themselves to make a barley wine style beer using a large proportion of non-standard grains.
So far they've done oats (Oatgoop), rice (Risgoop), corn (Majsgoop), buckwheat (Boogoop), rye (Ruggoop) and wheat (Hvedegoop).
Three Floyds are one of the most renowned breweries in America, which was evidenced when I attended the Great American Beer Festival in October. Of the hundreds of breweries on offer, Three Floyds was the only stand to have a twenty metre line mere seconds after the doors opened.

Saturdays bottle pour beer is their wheat-wine incarnation, which has been aged in barrels which used to house the Spanish dessert wine, Malaga.
At 10.4% abv it's not for the faint of heart, but it should be interesting to see what kind of oak and oxidation characters these rarely used barrels give the beer.

We'll be serving 125ml pours of Malaga Barrel Aged Hvedegoop for $9.

Emptying the Cellar

Instead of our usual new release this Tuesday, we're holding our annual emptying of the cellar - Santa Session.
Tickets went on sale last week and it's once again looking like it'll be a sellout - only a quarter of places remain so get in quick at Again, tickets are just $35 - or $25 if you're a SOBA member and we'll be featuring beers from the likes of Green Flash, Almanac, Bear Republic, Bellerose and more.

Surf Funk

This Saturday we’re setting the heat pumps to their highest cooling setting thanks to Vincent Vega’s hot blend of surf, funk, soul and blues.
With Chris Armour on guitar, Andy Russell manning the drums and Nick Lissette’s bass.
The music kicks off at 10pm and is free as always.

Some Beers You Can Drink

We've tapped some great beers this week (as usual), which you probably haven't had before or in a while.

In a market that tends towards big, hoppy and extreme beers, I love that Townshend still releases subtle, balanced and perfectly made English ales.

My favourite of his traditional range is Cathcart's NTA, a beautiful golden ale which hasn't been available for quite a while. I was very happy when we were offered a few casks of NTA, which are now quickly working their way through our handpumps.
Tasi's fifth birthday collab with Renaissance The Fifth Element/Chocolate Thunder is back on. This is possibly the best chocolate beer I've ever had, hopefully Renaissance make it again.

Finally, we have a keg of a limited release IPA from San Fransisco's Speakeasy: Untouchable IPA. Untouchable features our own Nelson Sauvin hops blended with US Centennial, in a 6.8% abv package.

Vive la résistance!

Our staff had a blast at last Thursdays photo shoot for the NZ Craft Beer charity calendar. It's been amazing seeing the lengths our beer peers are going to for this brilliant cause.

Below is a low quality preview of what our photo will look like, head over to PledgeMe to secure your calendar and see us in full 1080p high def.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20th, 2014

Jumping the Shark

It's almost like Moon Dog's Jumping the Shark was made for Bottle Pour Saturday.
Their annual high abv experiments tend to be above 14% and contain challenging adjunct ingredients. Even the small 375ml bottles they come in are too much for most to tackle alone.
On Saturday we'll be pouring small glasses of two vintages of Moon Dog Jumping the shark. We've just received stock of the latest 2014 vintage, which is a Hungarian oak barrel-aged, saffron'd imperial red ale, and weighs in at a mere 14.1% abv.
The saffron gives the beer a beautiful red hue, while the oak still manages to be present despite the intensity of everything else going on in the beer.
Alongside this will be last year's vintage, described as a Cognac barrel-aged, truffled imperial stout. This one tips the scales at 15.1%. If you're a fan of massive imperial stouts you should enjoy this one, and the year of age should have calmed it down somewhat.
From 12pm Saturday we'll be serving 125ml pours of these two ridiculous beers.

Hop Trial #2

Next week's New Release Tuesday hearkens back to Garage Project's original 24/24 series, as they continue their new series of beers hopped with yet-to-be-named experimental varieties.
The hop in Hop Trial 2 is not yet named, and as it is still in development, we're not allowed to know anything about it. Not even its batch number or alpha-acids (the bitter oil in hops).
The only thing we will know is what it tastes like. Number two is an Imperial IPA, at 8.5%. It uses a few more specialty malts than the first trial, giving it a deeper colour and more malt depth.
It should be noted that this will be your only chance to try this one on tap as the entirety of the rest of the batch is being packaged in 440ml cans.
Don't miss this unique chance to taste the development of NZ's hop growing industry, from 5pm Tuesday. We might even dust off the old feedback coasters.

Father & Son

This Saturday we have an afrobeat treat, in the form of father & son duo Sam & Myele Manzanza.
Myele Manzanza often plays the HZ lounge as part of his trio, but this is the first HZ appearance of his dad; Sam Manzanza.
Sam is a Congolese musician who is credited with keeping African music alive in New Zealand since arriving here in the 1980s. So come down to the basement this Saturday for Afrobeat, Ska, Funk, Soul, Blues and Reggae with these two percussion maestros. Somehow, this event is still free to enjoy. And as usual it kicks off at 10pm.

Beery Beneficence

After closing tonight, we're turning our lounge area into a French resistance bunker. This isn't just an excuse to crack out our berets and baguettes, it's actually for a good cause.
Well known Wellington beer personalities Megan Whelan and Jess Ducey, purportedly came up with the idea for a charity craft beer calendar during this year's PBE.
It's a testament to their enthusiasm and organisational skills that just a few weeks later we're holding our resistance themed photoshoot in the beer bunker.
The calendar will feature the people and places that make this industry such a wonderful thing to be a part of, and all proceeds will benefit the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network. You can support the calendar over at PledgeMe, with various levels of support gaining you high fives, hugs, your own customised day or even a calendar.

Santa's Coming!

It's almost that time of year, the December event that you've been looking forward to for months is upon us.
That's right, our annual Santa Session is back for the fifth year, on Tuesday December 2.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of the Santa Session, the process is pretty simple. We set up a couple of pouring stations 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.
It's a good way for you to taste a few of the beers that are usually overlooked in our fridges, for a set price of just $35 - or $25 if you're a SOBA member.
This year will feature beers from the likes of Green Flash, Almanac, Bear Republic, Bellerose and more.
Tickets are now available over at There's only 60 spots available, so first in first served.

Rogue Revolution

Finally, a quick reminder that tomorrow we're hosting seven Rogue beers on our taps.
On tap will be XS Imperial Stout, Brutal IPA, 7 Hop IPA, Hazelnut Brown, Chocolate Stout,American Amber and Double Dead Guy Ale - courtesy of Beer Without Borders.The beautiful Rogue branded Spiegelau stout glasses will also be on sale for $15 each.
I've put the awesome poster at the end of the email so you can see it in its full glory. Our very own Jimmy put this one together - it won't be the last you see of kiwi farmer rogue guy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13th, 2014

Inaugural Bottle Pour

Saturday's going to be a big day, with three events happening in succession.

As I mentioned last week, on Saturday we're beginning a new tradition.

I've delved through our bottle list and can now divulge the full details of the inaugural Bottle Pour Saturday.
We decided to launch with a bit of geekiness, by pouring two similar-but-different beers side by side. Cos we can.

So on Saturday from midday you'll be able to order a glass of Mikkeller's USAlive! and/or It's Alive.

It's Alive is Mikkeller's tribute to the legendary beer, Orval.

It's a fairly standard Belgian pale ale made with noble hops, but then dosed with a culture of the wild yeast brettanomyces to allow it to develop in the bottle. This brett adds an interesting earthy aspect to the beer, often described as "sweaty horse blanket" (it's a good thing, trust me).

USAlive! is the exact same beer as It's Alive, except it ditches the noble hops for the more fun American grown Tomahawk, Cascade and Amarillo. It should be interesting to see how these more aromatic hops interact with the brett character.

Usually a bottle of these beers would cost you $30, but on Saturday you can grab a 200ml glass of either for $9 - while stocks last.

Literary Saturday

Before Saturday's musical act we're hosting entertainment of a different kind, as part of this weekend's LitCrawl event.

From 7:15pm to 8pm we'll be hosting three Christchurch poets, who will present some of their work, one with a ukulele.

According to LitCrawl:
"Ben Brown, Andy Coyle and Doc Drumheller are full of charm, music, and style, and together they weave a set of distinctive voices and sounds into something remarkable.."
Entry to all LitCrawl events is by gold coin "donation", but we don't mind doing $1 cash outs for you.

But of course, the music following the event is free as usual.


Louis Thompson-Munn is playing trio styles at HZ this Saturday. They'll bang out a mix of originals and groove staples drawing from funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop and R&B.
Louis is on the keys, the groovin' Rom Smith on bass & bangin' Thomas Friggens on the tubs.
The music kicks off at 10pm and is Free to enjoy.


West Australian based Mash Brewing is back this week for NRT, this time with their renowned Copycat American IPA.

Copycat won Champion Australian Beer at this year’s AIBA awards, which is no small feat.
Mash says of Copycat:

“A 6.8% 70ibu ball tearer of a U.S IPA, laden with a big Piney, Stonefruity nose, enough malt to stop the bitterness getting out of hand and a long lingering resinous bitterness.”
Copycat IPA hits the taps 5pm Tuesday!

Rogues Revolt

You might've noticed a few Rogue beers on special at various supermarkets over the last few months. If you've purchased any of these heavily discounted bottles you may have noticed that the beer wasn't quite tasting as good as you were hoping.

Last year another Wellington company imported a large amount of Rogue beer, even though Rogue was already being imported and distributed. A year later they decided to dump this sub-par stock on the market at cheap prices.
We've been seeing complaints about the old beer coming in over social media, getting increasingly frustrated with each one - so now we'll do something about it.

Friday week (the 21st) we will showcase what Rogue beer should  taste like by hosting seven Rogue beers on our taps. Some of these just arrived from Oregon this week, others have been kept cold up the road at Beer Without Borders.

On tap will be: XS Imperial Stout, Brutal IPA, 7 Hop IPA, Hazelnut Brown, Chocolate Stout
American Amber and Double Dead Guy Ale (on tap for the first time at HZ).

There's also fresh stock of the beautiful Rogue branded Spiegelau stout glasses which will be on sale. Last time they sold out in a few hours.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 6th, 2014

Fancy 2.0

We think good beer deserves to be treated with respect. Which is why a couple years ago we introduced the Spiegelau beer tulip or  "Fancy" glass as our standard 300ml pour.

Unfortunately the thin glass design which made the Spiegelau fancy so attractive, also made it susceptible to chipping and cracking when tested by the rigors of a bar environment.

This meant we had to go back to the old glasses and give out fancys on request, to increase the lifespan of these somewhat expensive glasses.

Today those dark days are at an end.

Along with the TeKu glasses we had printed for PBE, we had a pallet load of Rastal's "Lüttich" glasses printed with a 300ml pour line. Today these beautiful glasses become the standard for any 300ml pour.

As you can see, the Rastal Lüttich (left) glass is a very similar shape to the Spiegelau, but with the key differences of slightly thicker glass and more sturdy stem.

Come and give the new fancy a test drive any time.

New R(y)elease Tuesday

Continuing the Aussie invasion series of NRT's, next week's new beer comes from West Australia's Mash Brewing, with their Rye Porter.
According to the font of Aussie beer knowledge that is The Crafty Pint, there were only two kegs of this limited release sent to NZ. One has already been on up at Brothers Beer, making this your last chance to try it.

According to The Crafty Pint:
"Rye Porter is the brewer's attempt, as with his Koffee Stout, to 'squeeze character and complexity into small beers'. It's a 4.2 percent beer, brewed with 'a good whack of rye' in the mix. We're told it's pretty straightforward other than 'an interesting little hop addition'."
Mash Brewing Rye Porter hits our taps at 5pm Tuesday, see you there.

Ear Jelly

This Saturdays musical entertainment is provided by Dayle Jellyman's Three Rays. 

Come on down this Satuday to fill your ear holes with early Ray Charles and Nat King Cole style rock ’n roll blues, boogaloo and boogie-woogie. Courtesy of Dayle Jellyman on keys, John Rae with thedrums, Nick Tipping slappin' da bass.
The music kicks off at 10pm and is Free to enjoy.

Bottle Pour Saturday

While travelling the west coast of the United States of America I tried my fair share of tasting trays.

I came across a few breweries that would offer some of their bottle-only products on the trays as well, which got my mind turning.There are so many wonderful beers in our fridges that don't get the attention they deserve because they're in a big bottle, which tends to come with a big price tag. If you don't have a few mates to split the bottle with you're not really going to be able to enjoy it, which is where Bottle Pour Saturday comes in.

Starting on Saturday the 15th, each Saturday afternoon we'll be serving a selected bottle (or two) from the more rare, strong, and expensive beers in our fridge. This will allow you to try a beer that might cost around $80 a bottle for around $10 a glass.
We're yet to decide which of our many beers we'll launch this new weekly event with, but it's likely to be a couple beers from Europe which will be interesting to compare... More in next weeks news.

New Bottles

Speaking of interesting bottled beers, we've got a couple new ones arriving tomorrow.Sour beer specialists Almanac have released a seasonal Dark Pumpkin Sour ale described as:

"A rich and roasty dark sour ale brewed with organic heirloom pumpkins and spices and aged in used red wine barrels for a year."

Joining Dark Pumpkin Sour will be the infinitely loveable beer from Byron Bay Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, in convenient 330ml bottles.