Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24th, 2015

Boxing Day Beers

It seems as though almost every bar in Wellington is closed this Boxing Day, but we don't see any reason to close.
In fact, we're open as normal from midday every day this holiday period - bar Christmas Day.

To lay it out in a more traditional manner:
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: Open from midday-late
  • Sunday 27th: Open from midday-late
  • Monday 28th: Open from midday-late
  • Tuesday 29th: Open from midday-late
  • Wednesday 30th: Open from midday-late
  • New Year's Eve: Open from midday-late
  • New Year's Day: Open from midday-late
  • Day after New Year's Day: Open from midday-late
  • Every other day in January: Open from midday-late
Easy. And of course on public holidays we won't be adding any poxy surcharges to your pints.

New Release New Year's Eve-eve-eve

There's so many new beers in the latest BwB shipments that our NRT programme can't afford to take a Christmas holiday.

This coming Tuesday we're tapping our first keg of a vary exciting beer from San Francisco's Almanac Beer Co.

Saison de Brettaville is Almanac's year-round Saison Dolores, that has been aged in white wine barrels with a dozen different strains of brettanomyces.
We tasted this at our recent Fresh Off the Boat tasting, and it came in a very clear second place. The white wine barrel character is far bigger than I anticipated, which works really well with the earthy funk of all that brett.

We'll be tapping the keg at 5pm this Tuesday the 29th, and serving it up in 200ml TeKus, 300ml fancies and even 473ml US pints.

A Chilled Out NYE

We're not the type of bar to hold a big New Year's Eve blowout party. Instead we're kinda running business as usual, with a couple of special additions.

Our very organised music booker managed to find us an awesome act to play the lounge, with Kristopher "King" Kreabsley & John "Sting" Rae funking up the lounge with Nu Jazz Soul from 10pm till next year. 

We'll also be tapping a few special kegs from some of our favourite overseas brewers such as:
Rodenbach Grand Cru, Modern Times City of the Sun IPA, Almanac Horchata Almond Milk Stout and it wouldn't have been 2015 without the phenomenal Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.

The Almanac Horchata Almond Milk Stout will be a new one, and sounds pretty interesting:
"We took the classic ingredients of Horchata and put them into a milk stout, brewed with a blend of dark malts, oats, lactose, and almonds from GL Alfieri Farms and finished with whole vanilla beans and Vietnamese Saigon cinnamon. The result is an inky, dark ale with hints of spice and sweetness." 
We'll have all of the above pouring from midday New Year's Eve.

Fresh in the Fridge

Finally, we've had a few new additions to our fridge from the latest BwB Cali shipment:

  • Almanac Farmers Reserve Blueberry Sour
  • Ballast Point Indra Kunindra (curry stout)
  • Modern Times City of the Sun IPA cans
  • Dogpatch Grand Cru 750ml (10.5% Imperial sour ale aged in red wine barrels with a blend of California-grown Zinfandel, Syrah, Tannat, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo grapes)
  • Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  • Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale
  • Ballast Point Victory at Sea 355ml
If you run out of beer on Boxing Day these and all other bottles in our fridge are available to take away for 20% off bar prices, and you can always grab a rigger of anything on tap.

Wishing you all a great day tomorrow, I hope you get to enjoy a few beers in the sun.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17th, 2015

A Christmas Eve-eve-eve Treat

Last night's To Øl tasting showed how great their funky beers can be, with the 3.8% Gose to Hollywood beating out the big 10%+ imperial stouts for crowd favourite - the reverse of normal tasting votes.

Next Tuesday we're tapping a keg of another funky To Øl beer that suits the season - Yeastus Christus, a Brettanomyces fermented farmhouse IPA featuring Tettnanger and Simcoe hops.

I'm careful to say funky rather than sour, as Brettanomyces yeast alone contributes a big earthy 'farmhouse' character rather than the sour acidity created by bacteria.

So this one won't be on the sour tap, but should be a good companion to whatever is on at the time (probably something from 8 Wired).

The brewer's description is typically satirical yet informative:

"Is Jesus alive? We don’t know. Did Jesus get offspring descendants that are living today? We don’t know. But since God created everything, you could call this a collab with God. This a rustic bretty farmhouse IPA, loaded with different grains, hops and godly intervention. “Nobody Fucks with the Jesus!”"

(Cue the profanity filter email rejections)

To Øl Yeastus Christus is tapped on Christmas eve-eve-eve (Tues 22nd) at 5pm.

Stock up at Borderstop

Beer Without Borders has once again acquired a special licence to be able to sell beer directly from the coolest warehouse on Abel Smith St.
Borderstop is a prime opportunity to stock up on cases of your favourite BwB imports. Beers like Sculpin IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin, Habanero Sculpin and.... Others...

In fact the newest shipment from California may arrive just in time for Borderstop, meaning there's a chance you'll be able to be among the first to grab bottles of the returning Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA!

If entire cases are out of your price range, there will be single bottles available for purchase, as well as a bargain bin.

There will be EFTPOS available at Borderstop, but no credit card facilities. So payment on the day will be by cash and EFTPOS only.

Borderstop starts up at 24 Abel Smith Street from  midday this Saturday the 19th and will run till around 4pm.

Live in the Lounge: Vincent Vega Trio

Live music returns to the lounge this Saturday with Vincent Vega Trio playing from 9.30pm.
Catch their hot blend of surf, funk, soul and blues for free with Chris Armour (guitar), Andy Russell (drums), Nick Lissette (bass).

The music kicks off at 9.30pm and runs till 11.30pm.

Open as Usual

If you're one of the three people who stick around in Wellington after Christmas, you'll know how the CBD tends to shut down. But that doesn't mean the few remaining Wellingtonians stop wanting good beer.
So we're continuing our policy of only closing when we're legally required to (and 7's zombie apocalypse), making our Christmas opening hours very easy to remember:

  • We're legally required to be

closed on Christmas Day (that's the 25th of December, aka next Friday).
  • That's all. Otherwise, we're open from midday as usual.

  • Meaning, we're open from midday on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Years Day and the Day After New Years Day.
    Don't forget about our off-licence, meaning you can come grab emergency Boxing Day re-stocks of bottles and riggers any time from midday-11pm.

    Coming Soon to the Sour Tap

    With the popularity of our dedicated sour tap it seems we were right about Wellington being ready for sour beer.

    Currently on tap there's a tiny smidge left in a keg of Almanac Dogpatch Cherry Sour, which will be replaced any second now by 8 Wired Flanders Pale Ale.

    Following the 8 Wired is a new Rarebird kettle sour from ParrotDog: Tomtit. This time it's a refreshing sour ale aged on tamarillos. Yum.

    Thursday, December 10, 2015

    December 10th, 2015

    Sur Fest Tomorrow

    It's truly the summer of sour now To Øl has arrived! Just in time for our tap launch tomorrow too.
    From midday tomorrow we'll be tapping three very intriguing To Øl beers:

    Nelson Survin: Sour mashed IIPA feat. Nelson Sauvin (9%)
    Sur Amarillo: Sour Mashed IPA feat. Amarillo (7.5%)
    Likeweisse: Berliner Weisse (sour wheat) dry hopped with Motueka & Citra.

    As with all of our tap sours, we're serving these up in the excellent 200ml TeKu glasses as well as the standard pours.

    Tomorrow only we'll also be serving up all three in a tasting flight of 150ml tasting glasses, which will run you $15.

    Beer is Charity

    We've been part of Garage Project's Kegs for Christmas from the beginning and this year is no different!

    We've drawn the excellent Dirty Boots APA (6.6%) as our K4C beer:
    "Hop into the mosh pit. Dirty Boots, grunge inspired all American pale ale, especially for Music2Brew2, a hard core, hoppy celebration of the tunes that inspire the beer we brew."

    We'll be tapping Dirty boots at midday on Saturday, and all proceeds from the sale of Dirty Boots will be donated to Kaibosh. So basically, you're making a donation to Kaibosh and you get a beer to say thanks!

    Additionally, our tip jar will become a donation jar for Kaibosh in case you feel like adding to your donation.

    NRT: Watermelon Weisse

    To Øl are dominating the email today, but they feature once again in next week's New Release Tuesday slot with Braziller Weisse Watermelon Berliner Weisse.

    Billed as a "Super easy, refreshing, tart Berliner Weisse brewed with watermelon for extra fruitiness. Refreshingly sour with a huge hoppe fruity finish"

    We tap Braziller Weise at 5pm this Tuesday as usual, and will be serving up in 200ml TeKu, 300ml fancy or 473ml US-pints.

    Døn't Miss the Bøat

    Next Wednesday is our final tasting for the year, and we're showcasing the big and exciting beers from To Øl that have just arrived, and a couple of Almanac to top it off.

    We'll be tasting:
    • Baltic Frontier - Seabuckthorn IPA (6.5%)
    • Fuck Art This is Architecture - Belgian Farmhouse Pale Ale (5%)
    • Goliat - Imperial Coffee Stout (10.1%)
    • Gose To Hollywood - Gose brewed with Oranges (3.8%)
    • Liquid Confidential - Imperial Chili Stout (12.2%)
    • Yule Mælk - Barrel Aged Sweet Stout (15%)
    • Almanac Saison de Brettaville - Saison aged in wine barrels with brettanomyces (7.2%)
    • Almanac Paris of the West - Quadrupel with Raisins, Candi Sugar and Oranges. (9.5%)
    The tasting is this Wednesday 16th of December, kicking off at 6pm as usual.
    It's $45 per person, you can grab your spot now at or over the bar next time you're in.

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    December 3rd, 2015

    Sour vs Sour, Hop vs Hop

    The Summer of Sour kicked off with a bang on Tuesday with two sour taps. Our suspicions that Wellington is ready for (a lot) more sour beer were confirmed when a keg of Rodenbach Grand Cru was consumed in a night.
    Very soon we'll be tapping our first keg of Lindemans Gueuze on the sour tap, to be followed by Brouwerij Boon Kriek Boon.

    However yet again this Tuesday we'll be featuring two sour beers on tap, in a very beer-geeky showdown.

    Almanac's new "Hoppy Sour Series" takes new-world hops, and melds them with their wine barrel aged sour blonde ale. Beer Without borders got kegs of the the first two beers in this series, so why not put them both on side-by-side?
    This Tuesday we'll be tapping a keg of each, and serving them up in TeKus side-by-side.
    Hoppy sour beers are a fairly new thing, as traditional gueuze and lambic beers use aged hops to ensure no hop character comes through.
    Almanac are certainly not a traditional brewery, and wanted to see what happens when you couple big characterful new world hops with an earthy lambic-style sour ale.

    They seem to have succeeded, with the Thirsty Bitches going nuts for Citra sour in the latest Border Post.

    The brewery describes Citra Sour thusly:
    "Citra Sour is our very first single-hopped sour release. As the name suggests, Citra hops lend citrusy, fruity flavors and aromas, leaning toward grapefruit or even melon and passionfruit. It’s a popular hop in blends behind big West Coast IPAs, but bold enough to shine solo.
    These fruity aromas blend harmoniously with our tart, earthy sour blonde ale, creating a beer that simultaneously contradicts and compliments itself."
    And Simcoe Sour:
    "Simcoe is a hop that almost needs no introduction. This US-born hop is big on musty, piney flavors and has long been a favorite of brewers on both coasts and everywhere in between.
    These signature Simcoe flavors and aromas blend seamlessly with the fruity, funky character of our wine barrel aged sour blonde base beer, creating a complex sour ale packed with dank, lime-like aromatics and refreshing tartness."
    From 5pm Tuesday you'll be able to grab a 200ml TeKu of each of these beers for a special price, and decide for yourself whether hops and acidity belong together. (hint: the answer is yes).

    Fresh Øff the Bøat

    We've had a small amount of To Øl beer in the past, but in a few days the biggest shipment yet from the Danish brewer will arrive in Wellington.

    There are a few kegs in this shipment, but more on those later. Most of it consists of bottles of To Øl's innovative and out-there beers. These bottles are a great excuse to stage another "Fresh Off The Boat" tasting. 
    Looking down the list of incoming To Øl beer, each line seemed to be more exciting than the last...

    Beers like:
    • Baltic Frontier - Seabuckthorn IPA (6.5%)
    • Fuck Art This is Architecture - Belgian Farmhouse Pale Ale (5%)
    • Goliat - Imperial Coffee Stout (10.1%)
    • Gose To Hollywood - Gose brewed with Oranges (3.8%)
    • Liquid Confidential - Imperial Chili Stout (12.2%)
    • Yule Mælk - Barrel Aged Sweet Stout (15%)
    Rounding off the tasting will be a couple of interesting newbies from Almanac: 
    • Saison de Brettaville - Saison aged in wine barrels with brettanomyces (7.2%)
    • Paris of the West - Quadrupel with Raisins, Candi Sugar and Oranges. (9.5%)
    We'll be tasting these beers on Wednesday the 16th of December, kicking off at 6pm as usual.
    The strength and nature of these beers mean this tasting is a little more expensive than others recently, but at $45 per person still a bargain.
    Grab your spot in this exciting tasting over at now.

    To Øl Sur-Fest

    As I mentioned previously, there are also a few To Øl kegs arriving shortly - and quite a few are sour or funky.

    A lot of these will be featured as Summer of Sour New Release Tuesday beers, but to give you a taste of things to come we're launching with three new To Øl beers on tap next Friday (11th Dec).

    In the spirit of the Summer of Sour all three are sour and funky:
    LikeWeisse Berliner Weisse: "Our take on a traditional Berliner Weisse. 3,8% and packed with Citra and Motueka. The Citra traditionally adds citrus fruits as well as the Motueka, which is known for its lime touch and tropical fruit backbone. This is one thirst quenching drink alllll day mofo Weisse."

    Nelson Survin: "This is our sour DIPA boasting with Nelson Sauvin hops. Crazy tropical sour notes, all in one beer. we call it Sourvin…"

    Sur Amarillo: "An intricate, sour, friendship starts here. Single hopped Amarillo IPA, partly sour mashed to create a fruit bomb seen no where else…"

    We'll have all three tapped from midday Friday 11th December. A pint of each might be out of some peoples budgets and you may not have any tooth enamel left at the end. So to make sure you can try all three we'll be offering tasting flights featuring 150ml of each beer - on Friday the 11th only.

    Jazzy Mosh Pit

    Get in the mosh pit this Saturday when Reuben Bradley and the Death Hos perform their amazing brand of Jazz Metal.

    Featuring the music of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Steely Dan and Band of Gypsies. Music will be stretched apart and extemporised upon. 
    Featuring: Daniel Hayles on Keys, Nick Tipping on Bass & Reuben Bradley on Drums

    The Jazz Metal kicks off at 9.30pm this Saturday, and as always there's no door charge.

    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    November 26th, 2015

    Santa Sold Out

    You were warned! Santa Session is officially sold out.
    I'm sure you very informed subscribers all secured your tickets weeks ago, but if you did miss out there's still two very good reasons to come along next Tuesday anyway.

    Tuesday is the first day of our month-long sour celebration: The Summer of Sour. To kick this exciting event off we figured one beer isn't enough, so we're tapping two sour beers this Tuesday.

    Both Modern Times Fruitlands Cherry Gose and Rodenbach Grand Cru will be on tap next Tuesday. Fruitlands was one of the most loved beers from PBE, and Grand Cru is a timeless classic which we're super-exited to serve on tap.

    Both Fruitlands and Grand Cru will be available in convenient 200ml TeKu glass pours, which are recommended if you're partaking in Santa Session as well. Of course the normal 300ml fancy and 473ml U.S. pint sizes will also be available for either.

    Whizz Bang Wednesday

    Back at the start of the month, Beer Without Borders flew Modern Times head brewer Matt Walsh to NZ for a few promotional engagements and events.
    Naturally an international collaboration brew had to be done, and what better fit with Modern Times than Garage Project.

    Matt and Pete got together down at GP's Aro Street brewery and whipped up something typically unique and intriguing: Whizz Bang IPA.

    Whizz Bang is a 6.2% " Hop Rocket IPA " hopped with Riwaka, 'American Mystery Hop #07270' and a touch of gunpowder tea to finish.
    Sadly, gunpowder tea doesn't actually contain gunpowder but is a compressed green tea that looks like gunpowder.

    As our regular release spot of Tuesday is a little crammed with events (Summer of Sour, Santa Session, Regional Beer Options etc), we've moved the new release to next Wednesday at 5pm.

    The word is that Modern Times is brewing a version in the US, so hopefully we can do a side-by-side of both at some stage.

    Happy Birthday Nick

    It’s Nick Granville’s birthday this Saturday, and he’s celebrating with his musical mates in the HZ lounge.

    Come along from 9.30pm to enjoy the funky Nick Granville Trio, along with vocals from Bella Kalolo and impromptu jams from Nick’s melodic buddies.

    Of course you can enjoy this musical spectacular for free - no door charge.

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    November 19th, 2015

    The Ballast Point Situation

    The news broke on Tuesday that one of our most beloved US breweries has followed the likes of Lagunitas, and sold to a large multi-national corporation.
    Ballast Point was sold for one billion dollars. Yes, that's billion with a B.

    The buyer this time round is not one of the expected mega-brewers, but beverage brand conglomerate Constellation Brands. This was unexpected, and made it difficult for us when the inevitable questions came about whether we'd still be stocking Ballast Point.

    If one of the global mega-brewers bought BP, the answer would be easy: no more Ballast Point.
    We don't stock the products of Lion, DB and their parent companies because their anti-competitive behavior is to blame for the wasteland that was New Zealand's beer market until recent years.
    These mega-brewers anti-competitive practices continue to make life hard for smaller producers, so we continue to avoid their products.

    However, Constellation Brands is a company we know very little about. They seem to own many, many brands of wine, a few spirits brands and a few popular brands of Mexican lager - notably Corona.
    So as a company we don't really know how they will act in the beer industry, and can't really predict what will happen to Ballast Point under their ownership.

    Luckily we have a few months to ponder and observe before stock brewed under Constellation arrives in the country, so in the short term you'll definitely still be able to have your pints of Grapefruit Sculpin at HZ. In fact we have 80L of super fresh Grapefruit Sculpin lined up to come on tap tonight...

    What we can say is that Beer Without Borders has no plans to drop Ballast Point from their distribution, so even if we decide to move away from Ballast Point you'll still be able to get your Grapefruit flavoured IPA fix.

    For a more eloquent and detailed explanation, Dominic has published a summary over on The Ladder.

    Tuesday: Find Your Lost Horizon

    We've had heaps of hoppy treats from Modern Times, but not an IIPA. That's going to change on Tuesday the 24th, when we tap a fresh keg of Lost Horizon IIPA.
    Lost Horizon is a little different to MT's usual hoppy beers, as founder Jacob McKean says on his blog:

    "Lost Horizon, our new double IPA featuring Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe, and Calypso hops. It’s definitely on the piney/citrusy/resinous end of the spectrum, quite different from our other hoppy offerings.

    And there’s a reason for that. Although I am huge fan of hops that tend towards the fruity end of the spectrum (Citra, Mosaic, Nelson, and Amarillo being my personal faves), not everyone who works at Modern Times has the same preferences.

    There were calls for us to make a beer at the other end of the hop spectrum, emphasizing the above-mentioned ‘traditionally’ hoppy characteristics. Being the endlessly empathetic, magnanimous, and deeply humble boss that I am, I allowed it, and Lost Horizon is the happy result. I believe it is very, very good and an exceedingly well-made example of the style."

    We tap our first keg of Lost Horizon IIPA at 5pm this Tuesday, at 8.5% we'll only be doing fancies of this one, but it'll still go quick - don't miss out.

    Carlos is Back

    Our favourite funky Mexican musical maestro Carlos Navae returns to our lounge this Saturday.

    Carlso and co will be playing Afro-Cuban Jazz, Soul, Funk and Caribbean beats such as Reggae and Reggaeton.

    Carlos and co always get the crowd moving, join in from 9.30pm this Saturday night. And that's with no door charge, of course.

    The Summer of Sour

    Christmas will come early this year, with multiple keg-shipments arriving at the start of December, including heaps of sour beers!
    There’s so many kegs of sour & funky beers coming that we’re going to dedicate a tap to sours for the entire month of December (and maybe longer).

    Here are just a few of the treats we’ll have on tap during December:
    • Rodenbach Grand Cru & Classic
    •  Frank Boon Kriek
    • Modern Times Fruitlands Gose
    • Lindemans Geuze
    • Duchesse de Bourgogne
    • 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Berliner, Sour Side of the Moon
    • Almanac Dogpatch Cherry Sour, Citra Sour, Simcoe Sour
    • To Ol Nelson Survin, LikeWeisse Berliner Weisse, Sur Amarillo
    All will be available in 200ml TeKu glass pours in addition to our regular pours.

    Additionally, every New Release Tuesday in December will feature a sour/funky new release, with some weeks featuring tasting flights of multiple beers.
    To keep track of what's on and see all of the special events for Summer of Sour check out its FB event. Click that 'going' button, because we'll be updating the event with every new sour beer that comes on!

    Tasting Time

    Seems I told a lie last week when I predicted that next Wednesday's Old Beer Tasting would sell out - there are still two spots left. So if you've left it to the last minute it's not too late.

    And if you're planning on going to Santa Session on December 1st, grab your spot soon. There are just 8 places remaining for our annual 'opening of the cellar'.

    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    November 12th, 2015

    LitCrawl: What We Write About When We Write from Prison

    LitCrawl is a pubcrawl with a difference. Firstly it's not just pubs - you've got galleries, books shops and even a 'Concerned Citizens Collective' as venues. But also pubs.

    Secondly, the focus isn't on drinking, but rather on celebrating the art, literature and spoken word performances by over 80 writers; local, national and international. But there's still drinking if you want.

    LitCrawl is split into three sections: 6-6:45pm, 7:15-8pm and 8:30-9:15pm. At each of these times there are five separate literary events happening at various venues around Wellington, allowing you to pick your own route.

    Hashigo Zake is taking part in LitCrawl once again, so from 7:15-8pm this Saturday in the lounge we're hosting 'What We Write about When We Write from Prison'.

    Arts practitioners who believe creative writing can be a powerful element in change share work by prisoners from Aotearoa and around the world. Featuring writers William Brandt, Pip Adam, Gigi Fenster and James George; theatre makers Kaly Newman and Julia Campbell; and Corrections Adviser from Arts Access Jacqui Moyes.

    Entry to all LitCrawl sessions is by donation.

    Chocolate Thunder

    Chocolate Thunder started as the nickname for our lovely bar manager Tasi, and then became the nickname for the Renaissance chocolate porter she was involved with (Fifth Element). However this whole time a local jazz band beat us to the name, and they're playing this Saturday.
    Join Chocolate Thunder (the band) as they embark on a "psychedelic, fusion-powered voyage of discovery to investigate the strange disappearance of the prodigous young Conway Jeune."

    Chocolate Thunder are a sensuous jazz/funk/soul/fusion maelstrom which strikes without mercy where you least expect it. Sheer groovemanship to make your body move and your flowers blossom."

    Bryn van Vliet – Reeds

    Leonardo Coghini - Keys

    Makura Tomoana – Bass

    Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa - Drums

    The thunder starts at 9.30pm this Saturday, with no door charge. There might even be chocolate thunder (the beer) on tap.

    Salt, Coriander & Ginger

    The newest West Coast shipment from Beer Without Borders is FULL of new kegged treats from the best brewers of the west.
    The first treat we're unleashing is Ginger Gose, a ginger version of their renowned tart/salty Golden Gate Gose:

    "We’ve added a new seasonal twist to our classic Golden Gate Gose. We took our tart, Leipzig-style recipe of pale malt, wheat, coriander, and SF Bay sea salt and ramped up the flavor with spicy ginger.

    The result is an aromatic, refreshing beer packed with earthy and spicy flavors, perfect for sipping through the late summer months."

    We never miss an opportunity to geek out, so on Tuesday only we'll also have Golden Gate Gose on tap right next to Ginger Gose. So you can taste the base beer without ginger right next to the gingered version.

    We'll be serving up 200ml of each beer side-by-side in beautiful TeKu glassware for $14.5.

    Old Beer + Santa Sesh

    Last week I announced two upcoming tasting events, and tickets started flying before I even clicked the send button.
    Places to our Old Beer Tasting on Weds 25 November are nearly sold out, which is unsurprising considering places are just $20 and we'll be tasting things like 2012 Green Flash Rayon Vert and 2008 Rogue Old Crustacean Barley Wine....

    So secure your spot asap, because this time next week I'll be telling you it's sold out.

    Soon after Old Beer is the 2015 edition of our legendary 'opening of the cellar', Santa Session.
    Places for this have also been popular, we're selling 60 spots for Santa Session this year, and over half have already sold.

    Santa Session always sells out, so book in now for $35, or $25 if you're a SOBA member.

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

    November 5th, 2015

    Meet Modern Matt

    Last night's brewer's dinner with Matt Walsh was quite spectacular. I'll spare you the details so I don't trigger all the FOMO, suffice to say we'll be looking to collaborate with Zibibbo more often!

    If you didn't make it to the dinner, you can still hang out with Modern Times head brewer Matt Walsh tonight at our 'meet the brewer' event.

    We've currently got four Modern Times beers on tap, including PBE 2015 favourites Fruitlands Cherry Gose and Grapefruit Fortunate Islands along with classics Lomaland Saison and Black House Coffee Stout.

    Matt is currently doing a collaboration brew with (Deloitte Fast 50 winning) Garage Project, but after that's done he'll be hanging out at the bar ready to meet his adoring fans. Mat'll be here around 5.30pm all going well.

    Te Aro Brewing's Obligatory Pale Ale

    A couple of weeks ago Te Aro Brewing Company put down their first ever full-sized batch on their 1310L brewery, an Aotearoa Pale Ale.

    The hoppy pale ale is the cornerstone of a good beer lineup, and Te Aro's APA sounds like a solid foundation. All NZ Gladfield malt combine wtih all NZ (Cascade, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka) hops, to create an easy drinking but still interesting 4.9% pale ale.

    Celebrate with the brewers and be among the first to try Te Aro's first big batch when we tap it at 5pm Tuesday.

    JB3 Funk

    This Saturday JB3 bring the Boogaloo and New Orleans Funk with Jake Baxendale, Shaun Anderson & Daniel Hayles.

    They kick off at 9.30pm this Saturday, and of course won’t cost you at thing to enjoy.

    Santa Session 2015

    The 2015 Hashigo Zake Santa Session takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 1. 

    This will be the sixth time we hold this "opening of our cellar", where stock that's outstayed its welcome gets the boot.

    For first-timers, the process is pretty simple. 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.

    This year will feature beers from the likes of Left Coast, Pelican, Bear Republic, Baird, Rogue and more.

    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.

    This tasting is open to the public but is also our way of celebrating the end of 2015 with the Wellington members of the Society of Beer Advocates, so we offer a $10 discount to SOBA members.

    The Santa Session takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 1st.

    Make your booking on then turn up on December 1 at 6:30pm.

    Is Fresh Always Best?

    While most beer is designed to be drunk fresh, there are a few styles that actually benefit from a little age.

    Traditionally beers that age well are strong and malty, but recently this wisdom has been challenged by a few members of the beer community who claim other styles age just as well.

    At this tasting we'll be trying aged examples of both, in a quest to answer the age old question: "is fresh best?"

    Beer Without Borders has a back catalogue of beers ranging from a few years to almost a decade old, and spanning styles from IPA and golden ale to imperial stout and barley wine.

    We'll be seeing what happens to an IPA after years, how a barley wine evolves over time and learn about how things like oxidation and autolysis affect the flavour of beer. 

    Expect beers from Rogue, Moon Dog, Green Flash, Bear Republic, Southern Tier, Dieu du Ciel and more. 

    We're only charging $20 for this tasting, which takes place at 6pm on Wednesday the 25th of November. Book your spot over at!

    Thursday, October 29, 2015

    October 29th, 2015

    Modern Times Visits Wellington

    We've been enjoying Modern Times beer fresh from San Diego for almost a year now, and in that time it's made a huge impression in Wellington.

    Exciting news then, that Beer Without Borders has organised a visit next week from their head brewer, Matt Walsh.

    To make the most of Matt's visit he'll be doing some collaborations with local brewers, and participating in a couple of tasting events.

    The first of which is a dinner organised by BwB, at our upstairs neighbours Zibbibo.

    Chef Glen Taylor has recently become involved with Zibbibo, and is keen to get involved in beer events. So a Modern Times collaboration dinner was a natural choice for Matt's visit.

    The dinner will consist of five courses each matched to a Modern Times beer, with Matt explaining each beer and chef explaining the food match.

    A five-course dinner like this would usually cost well over $100 a person, but you'll be able to experience these five matches for just $85 per person. That's some amazing value, especially after seeing the preliminary menu which looks ridiculously delicious.

    The dinner is 7pm next Wednesday (4th) however, so book quickly by calling Zibbibo on 04-385 6650.

    If you can't make the dinner, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on meeting the man behind Modern Times. Next Thursday (5th) we're holding a more informal "meet the brewer" evening at the bar.

    Matt Walsh will be hanging out at the bar, available for hand shaking and geeky question answering. Plus we'll be putting three exciting Modern Times beers on tap.

    PBE favourites Fruitlands Cherry Gose and Grapefruit Fortunate Islands will make a return, along with the classic Lomaland Saison.

    Rhino Boogie

    The Rhino boys are back in the lounge this Saturday, with funk hip hop fusion from live horns and drums, combined with looped samples from the turntables of Uncle Silverback.
    Their innovative funky/jazzy tunes start at 9.30pm this Saturday, with no cover charge as per usual.

    Day of the Horchata

    Horchata is a Mexican dessert-drink made from rice and featuring cinnamon and vanilla. It's quite delicious and worth a go if you see it on the menu at your next mexican dinner.

    Until then, why not try a beer based on the drink?
    There was in fact a Horchata-inspired beer at PBE - the Laboratory/Kinocine Wake up! Time to Die! was a horchata-imperial porter.

    After making that beer, brewer Jim Holly wanted to make the antithesis of WUTTD - an horchata imperial cream ale.

    Horchata Blanca is a collaboration between Kinocine (Ryan from BwB) and Steampunk (Jim from Twisted Hop/Laboratory). Being a cream ale, Horchata Blanca is quite pale and contains some corn adjunct. However it weighs in at a hefty 7.8%, hence the 'imperial' prefix. The bigger body provides a nice base for the traditional horchata ingredients of cinnamon and vanilla.

    We'll be tapping Horchata Blanca this Tuesday at 5pm, it's gonna be an interesting one.

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

    October 22nd, 2015

    Two Sleeps 'till PBE!

    PBE 2015 is upon us, in just two days we take over the Boatshed and the Rowing Club and insert the best beer selection the Waterfront has seen all year.

    This year we will have 46 beers available each day, which is a lot to wrap your head around. We'll be making sure that no beers are drunk dry on the Saturday, so don't fret if you're coming Sunday.

    If you'd like to plan your drinking order ahead of time, we've got you covered. You can now access the entire beer list in convenient spreadsheet form, so you'll be able to use your elite spreadsheet skills to order all the beers by ABV, serving station, which half they're on or whatever your heart desires.

    There's also a map of the layout so you'll know where you're going for each beer as soon as you arrive.

    One thing I noticed is that this is possibly our lowest ABV festival yet, with 25 of the 46 beers being less than 6%.

    Tokens are the same poker-chip style as last year, but each one has now been marked with its dollar value and token type.

    In your TeKu at the start of the session you'll get two red $2.50 "Food Only" tokens, and four white $2.50 "Food/Beer" tokens.

    Your PBE TeKu has two markings on the back, one at 100ml and one at 200ml. All beers are one token per 100ml. ie. one token for a 100ml "taste" and two tokens for a 200ml pour.

    This pricing is standard across all beers at the festival, although some of the stronger/rare beers will only be available in 100ml pours.

    One other thing to note is that we don't quite have enough taps to have all 46 beers on at once. So there'll be ten beers that are only on for the first half (2pm-4.30pm) and ten beers that are only on for the second half (4.30-7pm).

    There are still tickets available, so it's not too late if you've left it to the last minute.

    Post PBE Robots

    If you're hungry for some jazz after PBE on Saturday, we'll be hosting the Jazz Robots in the lounge post-fest.

    The Jazz Robots (not actual robots, sorry) will be playing groove-based jazz inspired by all sorts of styles and greats like The Head Hunters, Jeff Beck, John Coltrane, Steve Coleman, Jimi Hendrix and The Miles Davis Quintet.

    Their innovative funky/jazzy tunes start at 9.30pm this Saturday, with no cover charge as per usual.

    Murray's Moon Boy

    We didn't quite have space for all of the Aussie beers that arrived for PBE, so one beer from Murray's in NSW will be relegated to next week's New Release Tuesday.
    The Murray's/NZ connection is former 666 brewer Graeme Mahy, who has been head over at Murray's for a few months now.

    He's pretty happy with how the beers are now, so was open to sending a few kegs back home for PBE.

    The straggler we'll be tapping on Tuesday is their golden ale Moon Boy. 

    "Moon Boy has a very light Australian Pilsner malt backbone with a crisp, dry, very moreish finish.

    Extensive dry hopping with the New Zealand Motueka and Australia Ella hops gives a late tropical fruit aroma to spice things up - but without too much residual hop bitterness. Light, dry, lightly filtered, Moon Boy is great warm weather drinking."

    Sounds like an easy going beer to warm down from the craziness of PBE. We'll be tapping Moon Boy at 5pm this Tuesday.

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    October 15th, 2015

    When's Our Birthday Again?

    PBE preparation and planning has been dominating our world down here, so much that we nearly managed to forget our next big milestone.
    It was a surprise then, to receive an email from the lovely folk down at Garage Project, letting us know they've brewed us a special beer for our 6th birthday!

    "Ohh yeah, it's about that time isn't it?"

    It doesn't seem like six years since we first opened our doors. But thinking back to the beer scene in 2009 I can really appreciate how far Wellington has come in just six years. Going from a city with no breweries just a few years back to over ten now. Wellington has now become a world class beer city, not only consuming more good beer but also producing it. Beer bars have popped up all across town, with momentum showing no signs of slowing. Good beer has become expected as standard.

    So next Tuesday we're celebrating our sixth birthday with the help of our birthday beer 'Fú Rú Dōng Hǎi' - that's a traditional Chinese birthday wish meaning "May your luck be as immense as the Eastern Sea."

    The beer Fú Rú Dōng Hǎi is a pilsner with Chinese influenced adjuncts added, namely Red Rice, Ginger and Szechuan Pepper. It sounds like a beer reminiscent of some of the original 24/24, and should impress.

    Fú Rú Dōng Hǎi will be tapped this Tuesday at 5pm.

    There will be cake.

    Just 9 Sleeps till PBE

    Things are really clicking into place for PBE now. Beers are arriving, glasses have arrived, caterers are sorted (see below) and the beer list is finalised after a few late entries.

    We've been announcing beers over on the social medias all week, but if you've not seen them yet check out the last week's announcements below (click on each beer for more info):

    - Wild & Woolly Goose Dog & Bobby Leach's Mandarin Comeuppance

    - Lord Almighty Salsus Ursus Salted Imperial Stout

    - Baylands Thai Delaksa

    - 8 Wired Hippy Berliner - Cucumber Edition

    The full beer list and spreadsheet will be released next week, and I'll include a link in next week's email. That should leave you with plenty of time to plan your PBE day(s).

    If you don't have your tickets yet, what the hell? Grab 'em at

    Delicious TeKu

    The pallet of PBE glassware arrived this week, fresh from the Rastal factory in Germany.

    That's right, GLASSware - thankfully our liquor license didn't force you to drink out of a glorified plastic cup. So at PBE you get treated like an adult, and get to drink out of a glass designed to enhance your beer.

    This year we've stuck with the same TeKu glass that proved so popular last year. The TeKus have 100ml and 200ml markings on the back, which are mainly for our volunteers to know where to pour to - but will also come in handy afterwards if you're splitting a bottle into a few of them.

    The other PBE milestone this week was finalising the food available. This year the talented Fire Truck crew is looking after catering, and have put together a sizable and delicious looking menu:

    This will all be available from the Boatshed kitchen during PBE 2015, so make sure you use up your complimentary $5 of food tokens on something tasty.

    The Inclinators Live in the Lounge

    The massively talented Inclinators return to our lounge this Saturday.

    They'll be dishing out some Big Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Sonny Terry, James Cotton and Slim Harpo.
    Come along by 9.30pm this Saturday to enjoy the blues harp of maestro Terry Casey, guitar of Chris Armour, Richard Te One on drums and Steve Moodie with bass.

    And as always, no cover charge!

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    October 8th, 2015

    Mahalo Maui

    Maui Brewing Co. have been on my radar for a few years now. They were one of the first breweries to challenge my perceptions of beer cans as an early adopter in the "micro-canning revolution" (as they call it).

    Their CoCoNut PorTeR blew my mind back in 2009 when I tasted it stewarding for the BGoNZAs. It must have impressed Chris from Kereru too - I'm fairly sure it's part of the inspiration of For Great Justice.

    Later, I picked up a can of Big Swell IPA from Thorndon New World. Despite being mistreated grey market beer (don't tell Dom) it had kept remarkably well in its can. So after tasting what properly treated can of Big Swell tastes like last month, I'm pretty excited to find out what a properly imported keg tastes like tomorrow.

    Because tomorrow from midday we'll be tapping our first ever kegs of both Big Swell IPA and CoCoNut PorTeR - as well as a newbie: Mana Wheat.

    Mana Wheat sounds pretty intriguing too, not your normal boring American wheat ale. Mana has Maui Gold Pineapple added for 'extra fruity sweetness'.

    We tap all three of these Hawaiian beauties at midday, so pop on down any time tomorrow to try some of Hawaii's best.

    16 Sleeps till PBE

    Wooooah, that's just over two weeks to go. It's getting reeeal.

    We've now finalised the list of brewers to be showcased at PBE 2015, which is now available on the FB event.

    Our daily announcements also continue on the FB event/page and twitter.

    On Tuesday we announced that renowned Austrailian farmhouse brewer La Sirene will be available on tap for the first time at PBE. We even did a press release.

    Four La Sirene beers will be on tap at PBE 2015: Belgian Praline (GABS people's choice), Botanique, Belle-French Ale and Saison Nouveau.

    There's also bottles coming over with these kegs, which include their legendary brettanomyces dosed Wild Saison. Bottles of which will be available at the bar following PBE.

    We announced plenty of other beers over the last week, check them out below (click on each beer for more info):

    - Choice Bros Peanut Slab Stout

    - Te Aro Brewing Grapefruit Gulpin' IIPA

    - Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

    - Coronado Punk’In Drublic & Ballast Point Pumpkin Down

    - Brewcult Milk & Two Sugars Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

    We'll be releasing the whole beer list in spreadsheet form, the week of the event. It'll include columns for ABV, country, brewery, which half it'll be on and more. So those of you who like to plan your drinking lineup can rest assured.

    If you don't have em yet, grab your tickets at

    Jazz Vocalised

    It's not our just instrumentals this Saturday in the lounge, with vocalist Moira Jean joining Reuben Bradley (drums), Tom Callwood (bass) and Ayrton Foote (keys) to form the Reuben Bradley Quartet.

    They'll be whipping out a fine assortment of new and old soul, jazz & rock treats that are apparently "for the filthy animal in you."

    The Reuben Bradley Quartet kicks off at 9.30pm this Saturday night, and as usual, there's no charge for coming along.


    Parrotdog weren't the only ones collaborating in Portland. Panhead brewer Mike Neilson also found time to collaborate with Widmer Brothers Brewing while recently visiting for the Portland Brewer's festival.

    Mike & Widmer teamed up to create the Wid Hog xIPA. The 'x' is for experimental, as they used un-named experimental varieties of hops in this 7% IPA.

    Kegs of this beer just arrived from the states, so we’re tapping it fresh at 5pm next Tuesday the 13th of October.

    Fresh Off The Boat

    Last week we announced our 'Fresh Off The Boat' tasting, which occurs next Wednesday the 14th.

    We had some weirdness with our online store making it go 'out of stock' whenever anyone booked a spot, so you might have thought you'd missed out.

    Fear not! There's still a few places left, and we've fixed the issue with the store, so head over to and lock in your spot for  just $35.

    We'll be tasting all the newbies from the latest shipment including:

    Modern Times Fortunate Islands With Grapefruit Zest - hoppy wheat ale with grapefruit

    Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm - vanilla coffee cream ale

    Gigantic SOLID! - hoppy wheat ale

    Gigantic/ParrotDog/Het Utilje Sun Never Sets - India wheat lager

    Gigantic Ume Umai - plum & black rice ale

    Ballast Point Pumpkin Down - spiced pumpkin scotch ale

    Coronado Punk'in Drublic - imperial pumpkin ale