Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30th, 2015

Quake Keg

Llew of Wild & Woolly was supposed to be landing in Nepal today, to meet up with his parents who are already there. He's been there twice before, and said everyone he met were just lovely accommodating people.

However with the tragic ANZAC Day earthquake, Llew won't be joining his parents there any time soon.

Thankfully Llew's parents were in an area less affected by the quake and are fine, but that can't be said for millions of others in Nepal.

Llew wanted to do something for the people who treated him so kindly, and asked whether we'd help raise money with him by donating the proceeds of a keg of his Pastoral Pale Ale to the Red Cross.

Naturally, we were more than happy to help. So tomorrow we'll be tapping a keg of Wild & Woolly Pastoral Pale ale to raise funds for Red Cross' Nepal Earthquake response.

Saturday Supergroup

This Saturday new group The Superheaters are making their debut at Hashigo Zake and have a pretty impressive pedigree.
The Superheaters are Wayne Mason (writer of that little song, Nature), Richard Te One (drummer for Darren Watson/x-Ray Catz), Steve Moodie on bass and Chris Armour on guitar (Vincent Vega Trio).

Together they 'take a wild and twisted look at early rock n roll and rhythm & blues roots'.

They've been practicing together for months to get polished enough to perform, and have chosen HZ as their first ever gig.

Come on down to see them play in public for the first time from 9.30pm, for free!

Stool Stout

I managed to taste a few of the coffee beers at our recent 'Sleepless in Wellington' tasting, including ones we brought in specially for the tasting. One of these that stood out to me was De Molen's Kopi Loewak Imperial Stout.

I thought it had the most intense coffee flavour of the beers tasted, and backed it up with the silky malt backbone of a well made 11.2% imperial stout.
You may have guessed by the name that the coffee used in Kopi Loewak isn't regular coffee - it's Civet Cat coffee.

If you don't know yet, civet cat coffee is made when ripe coffee fruit are eaten by Civet Cats. The beans and surrounding fruit are digested by the cat, and the whole beans excreted in their poop. Then people collect their poop, wash it, roast it and De Molen put it in a beer.
Because some people are a bit iffy on buying a whole bottle of poop beer, we’re making 150ml pours available this Saturday for $7

Recently there has been reports of less-than-ethical practices surrounding the production of Civet Cat coffee, De Molen were pretty certain their beans were okay but couldn't be 100% - so they have since ceased production of this beer.

I Shook You

We're doing something a bit different for the new release this Tuesday. It'll be our first featuring a new bottle, rather than a tap release.
Choice Bros I Shook You! is a bottle conditioned barley wine that brewer Kerry Gray has been cellaring for 9 months to mellow.
Only 150 bottles of this beer were made, and even less than that will be sold to the public.

It features a mixture of Ale, Wheat , Rye, Oats and Crystal Malts and is hopped with both American and NZ Hops to 100IBU.
We'll be pouring glasses of I Shook You! from 5pm Tuesday, and if you really like it you'll be able to buy a bottle (or 3) from Kerry himself.

Basement Hops

Friday May 8th is our fourth annual fresh hop tap takeover.
It used to be that we'd be able to get every fresh hop beer of the season on tap for our takeover, and still have a couple taps spare for a wheat beer and a stout.
It's a sign of our thriving beer industry that this year we've had to pick and choose from around thirty fresh hop offerings, and have easily filled every tap and handpump - and then some.

Consideration was first given to beers that weren't featured in Hopstock, which gave us two beers from Three Boys, one from Wild & Woolly and one from Two Thumb.

The rest were ones customers were most vocal about liking during Hopstock, which gave us a total of sixteen fresh hop beers.
Whoops, we only have eleven taps... So now it's a fresh hop weekend! The five extras will rotate on tap as the first eleven run out.

Here's the full lineup:

On tap:
- Two Thumb Fresh Hop Pale Ale followed by ParrotDog Rare Bird Kakapo IPL
- Garage Project Sea of Green Pilsner
- Panhead Joy Ride Amber followed by Raindogs 17 Seconds ESB
- Three Boys Fresh Hop IPA followed by Three Boys Fresh Hop Golden
- Wild & Woolly Fresh Hop Savvy Llama
- 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired followed by Panhead Fresh Hop Vandal
- Funk Estate Fresh Hop Oh Lordy! followed by Cassels Fresh Hop Pale Ale
- Liberty/Hallertau Bier Das Schwarz Massive (BDSM)
- Mikes Hopstock and Two Smokin Barrels
On Handpump:
- Choice Bros Perichor Red IPA
- Kereru Fresh Hop Special Bitter
The first eleven will be on tap from midday on Friday the 8th of May (that's next week).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23rd, 2015

Llew's Llavender Bllonde

Around four years ago, I found a bottle of homebrew in the corner of the Hashigo fridge. I was told some Canadian homebrewer left it with us to see what we thought and give him some feedback.

The beer was pale and slightly hazy. It had a wonderfully floral aroma of lavender, that came through well in the flavour as well due to the simplicity of the base beer.

I was impressed, and later learned that the brewer was Llew Bardecki - who would go on to found Mount Cook's Wild & Woolly Brewery.

Llew has now scaled his Llavender Blonde up to a commercial sized batch, which will be making its debut on tap at Hashigo this coming Tuesday at 5pm.
He says the lavender has a big effect on the beer:

"Infusing our blonde ale with lavender turns it on its head! A simple beer becomes something exciting with a lovely floral, herbal nose. Not everyone's cup of tea, but those who like it LOVE it. An exciting, aromatic beer without big hops or high alcohol."

Because we can, and because we love geeking out we'll also have the un-lavendered base beer on tap next to it so you can see how much the lavender effects the flavour. Llew says the base Bllonde ale is an uncomplicated beer:
"A simple, straightforward beer. Straw yellow in colour, with just enough bitterness to balance the sweet malt body. A hint of tangerine from the Pacifica hops on the nose give this beer more character than your typical pale lager."

Llavender Blonde was one of my favourite of Llew's homebrews, so I'm quite looking forward to tapping the first commercial keg of it at 5pm this Tuesday. Hope to see you there.

Carlos Navae Quartet

Carlos and co are back this Saturday with their sexy sounds.

It won’t cost you a dime to listen to their Traditional Mexican, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Soul, Funk and Caribbean beats such as Reggae and Reggaeton.

That’s 9.30pm this Saturday, with no charge as always.

Beer or Cider?

Rogue strive to be self-sufficient, so grow their own hops, malt their own barley, grow their own yeast and even harvest their own honey. All of these come together in their Marionberry Braggot.

Rogue's Braggot is an interesting one. It's in between beer and cider, but doesn't really taste like either. The addition of highly fermentable honey & berry juice to an already strong beer makes for quite the mouthful at 11.4% ABV.

Marionberries, if you were wondering, are kind of like blackberries.

A 750ml bottle of this is too much for one person to take on alone, so this Saturday we’ll be doing 150ml pours of Braggot for $7.

National Sculpin IPA Day

Don't forget, tomorrow we'll be taking part in the first National Sculpin IPA day with Grapefruit, Habanaero and normal Sculpin IPAs on tap together for the first time.

They'll be hitting the taps at midday, we've only got a little bit of some of these, so don't expect any to be left by Saturday.

Belgian Classics Return

A new shipment of Belgian beers has replenished some classics that have been missing from our fridge for some time.The O.G. monk-brewed brettanomyces pale ale Orval is back, along with nunnery relative Tripel Karmeliet.

Rodenbach Vintage is now in handy 375ml bottles, and we've grabbed some entry-level sour Rodenbach Classic as well.

The most bad ass of beers Gulden Draak is back, primarily so I have an excuse to use its massive gold rimmed tulip glass.


Out of interest, here's a word cloud of the feedback from Mata Sahti so far. It's still going, so if you'd like to try it and contribute some feedback pop on in.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16th, 2015

Finnish Guinea Pigs

Mata has been experimenting again, and I've volunteered all of you as test subjects.

Head brewer Tammy has family connections to Finland, and has been taken with a unique traditional Finnish stlye of beer named Sahti on her visits there. So she's decided to give it a go over here.

Sahti is traditionally brewed in an open wooden trough called a kuurna, where juniper branches & berries are mixed with hot water and malt to create the sugary wort. However Mata have added a kiwi spin, as Tammy says:

"Juniper branches are hard to find here, don't think it grows well in NZ, so we've used the manuka tips instead along with the juniper berries."
A kuurna mash tunI'm pretty sure it wasn't made in a kuurna either, but the main flavours are there. Sahti is usually fermented with a Finnish bakers yeast, which gives a banana character similar to German hefeweizen. So Tammy has used a hefe yeast to emulate this.Only 50L of this beer was made, which came out at a rather impressive 9.2% ABV. We'll be tapping the only keg of this very intriguing brew 5pm this Tuesday. Tammy was keen for your thoughts on the beer as well, so we'll have some feedback forms available for you to share your first Sahti experience with the brewer.

We're Hopstockin'

Hopstock successfully kicked off yesterday with much fanfare.

We not only kicked off with our two hopstock beers; Baylands Wai Fly II IPA and Raindog's 17 Seconds ESB on both handpump and tap, but also a charity keg of Baylands Wai Fly Supersonic.
Supersonic is an amped up 8.5% ABV version of Wai Fly II, featuring a whopping 5kg of fresh Nelson Sauvin for this 50L batch. The hops soaked up so much liquid that only 40L was left to put in the keg. After tasting it I can assure you this angels share was worth losing.
All proceeds from Wai Fly Supersonic will be donated to the wonderful food charity Kaibosh.

A lift of the keg this morning revealed we chopped through half the keg last night, so I'd get on down tonight if you want to try this beer and donate to a good cause.

Sleep is for the Weak

Wednesday's coffee beer tasting is half sold out, so if you want to get caffeinated this Wednesday, book soon for just $35.

Hashigo barman and ex-barista Dylan Shearer will be taking you through a selection of our best coffee infused beers.
You'll be treated to the likes of:
  • Mikkeller Beer Weak Breakfast
  • Rogue Allegro Coffee Porter
  • Modern Times Black House
  • Ballast Point Victory at Sea
  • Mikes VCP
  • Moon Dog Cold Drip War
  • De Molen Kopi Loewak
  • Mikkeller/Amager HR Fredriksen Bourbon BA Coffee Imp Stout
Book your spot online at the Cult Beer Store or at the bar any time.

Rhino Boogie

Rhino Boogie are back in the lounge this Saturday.
Grab a beer and listen to their awesome brand of funk hip hop fusion, with live horns and drums combined with samples from the turntables of Uncle Silverback.

Catch 'em for free from 9.30pm this Saturday

Feeling Over Hopped?

This Saturday we'll be offering a malt bomb to help cleanse your palate between hopstock bombs.

Karl Strauss' Off The Rails is a double version of their core range Red Trolley amber ale.

This malt driven beer weighs in at 8.5% and features rich caramel malt and brown sugar flavours.
We’ll be serving 200ml pours of this big red beer for $7 this Saturday.

National Sculpin IPA Day

Beer Without Borders has obtained an unprecedented three different varieties of Ballast Point's flagship IPA: Sculpin.
Next Friday Hashigo and seven other bars across the country will be celebrating what has been dubbed National Sculpin IPA Day with Grapefruit Sculpin, Habanero Sculpin and Sculpin IPA on tap side by side.

We'll also have a limited amount of Sculpin branded pint glasses and bottle openers to give out on the day.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 9th, 2015

Minuscule Monk

Coronado's Brewer Series had been kind to our New Release Tuesday programme, providing us with a few kegs of small batch beers with each new shipment.

The final Brewer Series beer from the previous shipment hits the taps this Tuesday: Friar Starter Belgian Blonde.

As the helpful infographic to the right explains, this isn't your hefty 7-10% abv Belgian ale. Friar Starter should give you the Belgian experience without the big alcohol hit.

It seems the Belgians have been doing this for decades without new drink driving laws to point to as a reason for lower alcohol beer. Kudos to them.

The recipe is the classic and simple pilsner/wheat malt base, but veers from tradition with Simcoe hops added with the noble Saaz. At only 13 IBU don't expect much if any hop character to show itself over the fruity esters that the Belgian yeast throws.

Our single 20L keg of Friar Starter will be tapped at 5pm this Tuesday.

Swingin' Organ

Our free musical entertainment this Saturday is provided by the Hammond Head Three.

Nigel Patterson (aka Hammondhead) will be firing up his 1961 Hammond B3 organ to deliver this hard swingin' late '60s inspired organ trio.

Also featuring Tia Beaufort on drums and Jules Blewman with guitar.

Catch them for free from 9.30pm this Saturday.

Sleepless in Wellington

We've recently noticed that we have quite a few interesting coffee beers. Then our mates up at Beer Without Borders got a bag of the beans that go into one of them: Modern Times Black House.

This provided a great excuse to make a night of it and show off our more interesting caffeinated brews.

So on Wednesday the 22nd of April. Hashigo barman and ex-barista Dylan Shearer will take you through a selection of our best coffee infused beers.
You'll be treated to the likes of:

  • Mikkeller Beer Weak Breakfast
  • Rogue Allegro Coffee Porter
  • Modern Times Black House
  • Ballast Point Victory at Sea
  • Mikes VCP
  • Moon Dog Cold Drip War
  • De Molen Kopi Loewak
  • Mikkeller/Amager HR Fredriksen Bourbon BA Coffee Imp Stout

You weren't planning on sleeping that night anyway right?

The tasting will only cost $35 per person, and kicks off at 6pm on Wednesday the 22nd of April.

Book your spot online at the Cult Beer Store or at the bar any time.

Fresh Hop Sneak Peek

The word is that Saturday's Pathway to Hoppiness Tasting is almost sold out.

Book soon if you want to hear Panhead's Mike Neilson speak about Panhead, hops, beer and ask him all your burning questions.

This tasting will also be the first sneak peek at Panhead's Fresh Hop Vandal, which will be making an appearance.

You can book by emailing Steph at, or online

Hopstock 2015

The annual Wellington-wide fresh hop celebration that is Hopstock is upon us.

If you don't know already, fresh hopped beer has been hopped with cones picked fresh from the bines. Usually hops are dried and pelleted, otherwise they'd go off mere hours after picking. But in drying and pelleting some volatile aromatic oils are lost.

Every year at hop harvest season NZ Hops have been getting more and more wet hops to more brewers, meaning we can experience more super-aromatic fresh hop beers every year.

There are so many fresh/wet hop beers being made for Hopstock this year, a few bars had to host two beers (damn eh?).

A few weeks ago we pulled two breweries names out of a hat to see what beers we'd be serving next week. We were stoked to pull Petone's Baylands Brewery and Christchurch's Raindogs Brewing.

These are a great combo, as Baylands have made WaiFly II, a super hoppy NZ IPA while Raindogs have done 17 Seconds ESB, which melds fresh hops with English yeast and malt.

To make things even more interesting we'll have both of these beers on handpump as well as on tap. So you can geek out about serving differences while you geek out hops.

Because there are so many beers, both WaiFly II and 17 Seconds will be available in a 150ml Taster size as well as the usual 300ml fancy and 473ml US pint.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday the 15th, and runs till Saturday the 18th. so come along and grab your Hopstock booklet and start collecting stamps!

Fresh Off the Boat

As I write this, the poor souls up at Beer Without Borders are sitting in their cool-store warehouse, shivering as they apply 'standard drinks' and 'imported by' stickers to thousands of newly imported bottles of US beer.

Later this afternoon we're hoping their shaking hands will have applied enough stickers to send some exciting newbies our way.

The biggest rock star of this shipment is arguably Gigantic Pipe Wrench - a gin barrel aged IPA that started a small trend of adding a shot of gin to pints of IPA when it made an appearance at Beervana last year.

Pipewrench will be competing with bottles of 3 varieties of Ballast Point Sculpin. Bottles of standard Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin are back in stock, along with Habanero Sculpin in bottles for the first time.

Also from Ballast Point, Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is now available in the much more sensible size bottle of 355ml. So you can have one all to yourself!

Speakeasy are back, with restocks of Prohibition amber and a new easy going lager Metropolis.

Karl Strauss is also included in this shipment, with bottles of Big Barrel IPA. We're even going to be serving 200ml pours of this 9% IIPA on Saturday for $7 a pop.

These newbies should all be in the fridge later tonight.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2nd, 2015

Yoo Rah Tuh

For the second New Release Tuesday in a row we'll be featuring a Coronado collab - apparently winter was collaboration season in San Diego.

This time Coronado have teamed up with the renowned Cigar City Brewing from Tampa, Florida.

They've opted for the rarely-seen-but-usually-brilliant style of Baltic Porter for this partnership with Jurata (a nod to a mythological mermaid known to roam the depths of the Baltic Sea).

Baltic Porter is a bit of a weird one. The style originated in the Baltic states in the 18th century as a strong, syrupy dark beer with the rich roasty flavours you'd expect to see in an imperial stout. The tale goes that they made the beer stronger to prevent it from freezing when shipped.

It's also a lager.

The use of lager yeast is probably what makes Baltic porter a rare style, as cold-fermented lager yeast takes a lot longer to ferment out and condition. But if you're willing to put in the time it can give you a crisp, clean finish that is hard to emulate with ale yeast.

Thankfully Coronado and Cigar City took on the Baltic porter challenge, and according to online reviews have done a damn good job of it. You can expect "leather and licorice aromas." and flavours of "raisin and chocolate with some sherry" with "expresso notes in final" (

Clearly the beer tastes so good it knocks the ability to spell right out of you.

We'll be tapping our 20L keg of Jurata at 5pm this Tuesday.

Another US Import

On Saturday you'll be able to experience a different kind of US import. Unlike all of our other imports this one hasn't been shipped in a refrigerated container.
Freshly air-freighted to NZ and performing in our lounge this Saturday is U.S. Jazz vocalist/pianist Brenda Earl Stokes.
Brenda is visiting after touring North America and Europe in support of her latest album 'Right About Now'.

Brenda has performed at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Toronto Jazz Festival, and Avery Fischer Hall as well as appearing with the likes of Wycliffe Gordon, Donny McCaslin and Maurice Hines.

Catch her with local legends Reuben Bradley (drums) and Nick Tipping (bass) from 9.30pm this Saturday.

Lord Cockswain Returns

We've managed to acquire a small amount of the rare, World Beer Cup silver medal winning Garage Project Bourbon Barrel Aged Lord Cockswain's Courage Porter.
We'll have around six 375ml bottles of BBALCCP which will be served 100ml at a time this Saturday.

This was last seen during Beervana last year on sale for a large price. We're not sure what the charge will be on the bottle pour yet, but it will be far more accessible for sure.It's first come first served, from midday this Saturday.

Hops are the new Hops

People love hops. Get used to seeing plenty of hoppy beers because that's not changing in a hurry.

Pundits are forever predicting the downfall of hoppy pale ales, but session beers, sour beers, mild ales or whatever you want to say is 'the new hops' always fails to be as popular as any IPA we have on tap.

The same is true for Craft Beer College's 'Pathway to Hoppiness' tasting, with it selling out every year.
It is guaranteed to fill up once again with the addition of head brewer/owner Mike Nielson from Upper Hut's Panhead Custom Ales in attendance to share his mastery of the aromatic flower that is humulus lupulus.

We've moved the tasting to the larger lounge room to accommodate more people, so a few spots are now open.

You can book by emailing Steph at, or online

Easter Weirdness

Two of the three and a half days we are required to close by law occur this weekend. If you're that person who elects to remain in Wellington over the long weekend, our altered trading hours are expertly explained by today's chalkboard:

All liquor outlets will be closed tomorrow and Sunday, so make sure you grab your beer supplies today. Ooh, that reminds me - don't forget that we have an off license with 20% off bar prices for takeaway bottles and reasonable rates for rigger/growler/flagon fills.