Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30th, 2015

The Subway to Beervana

In just two weeks, every beer geek worth their salt will descend upon Wellington.

Beervana has been encouraging Wellington's beer industry for years now. In each instance a fresh batch of newly enlightened beer lovers emerge -it's probably where many of you had your first beer epiphany.

So naturally the industry supports Beervana back.

In the build up to the main event on Friday and Saturday, dozens of beery events will be held city-wide on "The Road to Beervana" (RTB).

Hashigo Zake has put together a schedule of spectacular events from the 11th - 14th August to get you warmed up for the big weekend.

First up on Tuesday the 11th, is a special New Release Tuesday from Lord Almighty. We're starting off as we intend to continue with the massive Ursus Imperial Stout hitting the taps for the first time ever from 5pm. Ursus weighs in at 12% ABV and will be joined by a few other Lord Almighty beers, including a new batch of their Yakima IPA.

Wednesday the 12th is our only sit-down tasting event of the week with Whisk(e)y Wednesday. This one started out as a simple whisky/bourbon & beer matching, but our resident Scotsman Ross was more ambitious than that.

As well as whisky and bourbon, he's keen to see which beer styles go best with top-shelf gin, tequila and rum. He's going to be doing plenty of experimentation in the lead up to find some great combos, which I'm sure is a burden he can bear.

The tasting kicks off at 6pm and will run for around two hours. Ross will be taking you through five beers matched with five spirits, which adds up. So make sure you've had dinner before-hand!

Places are $45, and are available for booking at cultbeerstore or over the bar.

Thursday the 13th is when we drag some kegged gems from our cellar/cool room for Timeless on Tap.

For a beer to stand up to the ravages of time, it needs to be BIG. We've been collecting various vintages of big beers from NZ and around the world for years, and we're cracking into four of the best on RTB Thursday.

From home we'll have Renaissance 2013 Tribute (10.8%) pouring alongside 8 Wired 2013 iStout  (10%). Delving into our stores from abroad, Moylans Old Blarney Barley Wine 2012 (10%) and the big bad Mikkeller Big Worster Chardonnay BA 2013 (18.3%) will also be on tap.

Having even a half of each one of these would be a little irresponsible, so we'll be offering a tasting flight with 150ml glasses of all four on the Thursday night only.

Friday the 14th isn't technically part of the 'Road to Beervana', seeing as that's when Beervana starts... But that's not stopping us from featuring Tauranga's best brewer Fitzpatrick's.

The Fitzpatrick's brewery is only 500L, so almost all of their beer is consumed locally. Beervana Friday is a rare chance for locals and pilgrims alike to taste the whole range of Fitzy's beers in one place.

That's Fitzy's Imperial Porter, IPA, Pale Ale, Kaffir Lime Wit and American Brown Ale all on tap. A great warm-up or warm-down for your Friday Beervana-ing.

Binary Jazz Solo

This Saturday, The Jazz Robots invade the HZ lounge for the first time.

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. The Jazz Robots have been around since 2011 with their innovative funky/jazzy feels. Featuring Peter Elliot (drums), Deane Hunter (guitar) & Tom Callwood (bass).

The ‘bots boot up at 9.30pm this Saturday, no operation fee.

Double Single Track

Croucher’s series of single hop IPAs continues with the release of two more ‘Single Tracks’, following the stunning Citra edition.

The whole point of a single hop IPA is to really find out how a certain hop variety affects a beer.

With both Amarillo and Centennial releasing simultaneously, we thought: why not have them both on tap so you can really geek out and compare the hops?

So from 5pm this Tuesday only we’ll have both single track Amarillo & Centennial IPAs on tap for your drinking pleasure.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23rd, 2015

Reviving an Extinct Beast

Remember Black IPA? A few years back it seemed every new brewer included the oxymoronic black-pale-ale style in their lineup. Nowadays you'll struggle to find one on the shelves of even Thorndon New World.

The origin of this trend can probably be traced back to Yeastie Boys' classic Pot Kettle Black. It turned peoples idea of porter on its head by amping up the hop levels in a very measured and balanced way.

Some people took to calling PKB a Black IPA, others a hoppy porter. Many arguments were had, and eventually everyone stopped caring about silly names and just enjoyed the beer.

PKB never cared what you called it, and it inspired many budding homebrewers to give the 'style' a go. Homebrewers like Wild & Woolly's Llew Bardecki.

Llew created his own recipe in the 'style' named Beast of Burden (BoB). I was so impressed with Llew's recipe for BoB that I borrowed the recipe and made a clone of the clone on my kit.
Years later Llew now has his own commercial brewery, and BoB is making its first public appearance.

You can expect BoB to have a rich, roasty malt base with aromatic orange-zesty NZ hops on top. Currently this level of hop character is up in the air. Out of the fermenter it tasted like a Black IPA, but after cold conditioning it tasted more like a hoppy porter.... Which goes to show you can't shoehorn every beer into a style.

Beast of Burden makes its commercial debut this coming Tuesday at 5pm. As Llew has just gained the capability to put his beers on handpump BoB will be available on both tap and handpump (I recommend a 50/50 blend).

Double Drum

The battle of the drum-kits returns to our lounge this Saturday, when four Wellington legends going at it hard in competition to see who can be "the downright funkiest nastiest bad-assiest mofo this side of everywhere."
Both Lance Philip and Richard Te One will be dueling drums, while Nick Granville (guitar) and Ross McDermott (bass) ensure nothing it doesn't get too dirty.

The showdown of the skins starts at 9.30pm this Saturday, and won't cost you anything to spectate.

Fresh in the Fridge

We've had a couple of recent noteworthy additions to our fridge.
The Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse is an annual four-way collaboration between Hallertau, Liberty, Epic and Kelly Ryan. The 14% IIIPA (Intergalactic Imperial India Pale Ale) has made its way into bottles for the first time this year and is now in the fridge. After a recent taste I was surprised to still have feeling in my tongue, as while the hops in this beer are insane - the malt is there to pull them back... a little.

To best experience the stupid amount of hops forced into this beer we recommend drinking it fresh.

Mata Sahti is the polar opposite of the Horsemen, with the focus on big malt and interesting adjuncts.

You may remember Sahti from a New Release Tuesday a couple months back, when we launched the trial batch of this beer. Tammy then made a few tweaks to that recipe and went full scale Sahti.
A kiwi twist on a traditional Finnish brew, Sahti features juniper berries and manuka branches on a massive malty 9% base beer.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16th, 2015

B-Side Beer

Sometimes beer gets old. The vast majority of beer styles are meant to be drunk fresh, so when you're a beer distributor with full cases of beer that's past it's best you have some choices to make.

You could flog it off for cheap - but that just puts sub-par beer in the hands of your customers and drags the brewers name through the mud.
You could dump it down the drain, essentially the same as burning cash.
Or, you can have some fun with it.

Faced with this conundrum Beer Without Borders staff chose option number three, which we're including as the fourth beer in our Staffie Series.

When a particularly nice rye IPA became too dated to sell, the BwB crew thought "why not make an IPA out of IPA?"

Llew at Wild and Woolly brewing is a big fan of crazy ideas like those, so agreed to make it happen at his Mount Cook Brewery.

So a few weeks back Ryan, Steve and Brendan lugged cases of old rye IPA to Mt Cook, where the bottles were emptied and the beer boiled to drive off the alcohol.

Once the beer had cooled to 70 degrees Celsius it was then used in place of water to mash in on a 50L batch of IPA.

Using beer as mash water means you've already got plenty of residual sugars and IBU in the beer, which is then built on by the additional hops and malt. The hops chosen to supplement the Ella already in the mash beer were Cascade, Mosaic - and even more Ella.

After a long but successful brew day and incedent-free ferment, the beer came out at 5.2%. Though I'm informed by Llew that it tasted more like a 9% IIPA when he dry hopped it. This is most likely due to the huge IBU and increased residual sugars from the IPA mash in.

Steven, Ryan and Brendan settled on the name Bonus Track IPA, which I think nicely captures the idea of giving this old beer another chance to shine. We'll be launching Bonus Track this coming Tuesday at 5pm. Just under 50L of this beer was made, so make sure you don't miss out.

Fresh from the States: Mark Lockett Trio

A different kind of US import will be at HZ this weekend in the form of  hard swinging Jazz from NYC based drummer/composer Mark Lockett.
Mark is fast making a name for himself on the New York scene and is currently working with heavyweights Joe Cohn, Danny Walsh, Joel Frahm, Ratso Harris and Orlando le Fleming.

In the HZ lounge he'll be sharing the stage with Richard Thai (sax) and Tom Callwood (bass), playing some originals and having fun with classic standards.
It all kicks off at 9.30pm and won't cost you a thing.

Your Very Own Right Hand of Doom

This Saturday from 6pm to 8pm we'll be running 6 simultaneous silent auctions for two bottles each of a very special beer. Dominic put together a great summary of this event over at borderpost:

"Rogue are renowned for special releases that are connected to people or things that don't actually have much to do with brewing.

There’s Sriracha Stout and the Voodoo Doughnut beers, of course, but also multiple beers made in collaboration with Chef Morimoto, Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale and the precedent-setting PDX Carpet IPA.

There are so many that Rogue themselves sometimes overlook the significance of some of them. Right Hand of Doom is a case in point.

After going to the trouble of brewing what we’re confident is an awesome Red IPA as a tribute to a legendary comic and getting glorious screen printed bottles made, they made a single batch and declined to sell it in more than a few markets.

Word that a Hellboy beer existed reached New Zealand and Beer Without Borders got requests to stock it. But they weren’t able to place a full, commercial order of this beer. Instead they got friends at the brewery to sneak a few bottles on top of the most recent shipment.

..Bottles that are now being distributed in the most judicious way possible. And what we’ve come up with is a fundraising auction.

So at 6pm on Saturday, July 18, at Hashigo Zake, we’ll auction twelve bottles of Right Hand of Doom.

Six silent auctions for two bottles each will run simultaneously from 6pm to 8pm. With the help of Faction Comics all proceeds of the Right Hand of Doom auctions will go towards helping a New Zealand comic book artist get to the San Diego Comic Con in 2016. The largest convention of its kind in the world."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9th, 2015

A Big Batch of Homebrew

The Society of Beer Advocate's (SOBA) National Homebrew Competition (NHC) is generally considered the highest level of homebrew competition in New Zealand.

The judges are experienced, with each table of three judges usually having a judge who has judged at the World Beer Cup.
The beers are judged to commercial standards and style guidelines - to win even a bronze medal at the NHC is quite an achievement.

Each year the highest scoring beer out of the hundreds of entries is brewed commercially at Hallertau.

The 2014 winner came from Aucklander John Golics, with his 'Dog's Golics' Rauch Bock.

From memory his beer scored an unbeaten 48/50, which gained it a gold medal and brewing honours at Hallertau. Only ten gold medals were awarded out of the 417 entries in 2014.

Rauch Bock is a fairly unknown style in New Zealand. Essentially you take a big strong rich German bock bier, and throw in some beechwood smoked malt - Bamberg-style.

The challenge with this beer is balancing and matching the smoke character to the malt without dominating its delicate lager character.

After tasting The Dog's Golics at SOBA's City Of Ales festival in Auckland I can confirm that John and Hallertau have managed to scale the homebrew masterfully. It has just the right amount of classic Bamberg smoke flavour and rich malt while still obviously being a bock.

We've secured one of the few kegs of this beer for its Wellington launch, this coming Tuesday at 5pm.

JB3 Funk

This Saturday the JB3 Trio return to the HZ lounge.

JB3 will be pumping out Boogaloo and New Orleans Funk from 9.30pm with Jake Baxendale, Shaun Anderson & Daniel Hayles!

As per usual the door fee is $0, so we'll gladly withhold 20% for the IRD's new crowdsourced tax-collection scheme.

Taste ALL the New Beers

If you want to taste all of the new beers from our most recent shipments, Wednesday's tasting is for you.

On Wednesday July 15th at 6pm in the Red Room, we'll make our way through eight of the newest additions to our fridges. It'll be a less-than formal, relaxed evening as we taste through:

Modern Times Mount Remarkable IPL

Modern Times Oneida American Pale Ale

Speakeasy Blind Tiger IIPA

Rogue Pumpkin Saviour

Coronado Señor Saison (Jalapeno Saison)

Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Strawberry Sour

Rogue Sriracha Stout

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra (curry stout)

You can book your place to taste over at The Cult Beer Store for just $40.

The tasting kicks off at 6pm and will just have light snacks provided - so eat dinner beforehand!

A Word on Vaping

Vaping has emerged over the past year as a popular way to give up smoking. As they are not a tobacco product vape-pens aren't covered by the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003, so it's not illegal to use them inside bars.

With vape-pens now being used in enclosed public areas, inevitably conflicts arose. One side touting the safety of their vapour and the other pointing to studies showing possible harm coming from primary and secondary vapour. This debate is heated and ongoing, and I'm not going to comment on it either way.

Instead, our issue with vape-pens is simple. Politeness.

Most vape-pen users we've encountered have been polite enough to check before using, and we've let them. However as e-cigarettes evolved into 'advanced personal vaporisers,' the amount of vapour produced increased significantly. Flavourings were also added to the 'juice' (the substance that is atomised) to make the vapour taste & smell like anything from mint to pineapple lumps.

With the clouds of vapour increasing in size and aroma, subjecting others to them in public indoor areas becomes intrusive and disruptive.

At Hashigo Zake we want people to be able to enjoy their beer unhindered and in comfort, so we will now be asking vape-pen users to please partake of them outdoors.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2nd, 2015

Bigger is Better

Dominic's witty and entertaining assessment of our July 4th celebrations last week were pretty much spot on. But it seems he just can't get into the 'murica mindset leading up to American Beer Day.

Clearly, on this day more than any other day, bigger is better.

When we held our first celebration of US brewing all those years ago we had 5 US beers on tap and put up a few streamers and balloons.
The following year set us on an upwards trajectory when had US beer on all 8 taps, US flags, more streamers, balloons, po' boys and warm apple pie.

Then it was more beers, more flags and american BBQ meat. Last year we plastered the walls with stars and stripes, filled the bar with balloons and even had a US beer on handpump.

So, what can we do this year? The only thing we can do: go bigger!

The Hurricanes and Highlanders gave us some assistance with that, we'll be showing the rugby grand final coverage from 7pm.

As usual we're giving Uncle Sam ipecac to decorate our walls with even more red, white and blue - but that's all by the by. The main show is the beers.

We've now got access to a huge range of small 20L american kegs thanks to Beer Without Border's well timed US shipment, that arrived last week.
The smaller keg size means the tap lineup will evolve throughout the night. We'll be featuring fresh imports of old classics combined with beers we've never had on tap before.

We'll be starting off with the following lineup:

Almanac Saison Dolores
Ballast Point Longfin Lager
Ballast Point Indra Kunindra
Speakeasy Prohibition Ale
Almanac Farmers Reserve Strawberry Sour
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Speakeasy Blind Tiger IIPA
Coronado Barrelman's Brown

Most of those are just wee kegs, so waiting in the wings will be:

Modern Times Lomaland Saison
Almanac Honey Saison
Coronado Golden Pils
Ballast Point Fathom IPL
Coronado Stupid Stout
Ballast Point Victory at Sea
Karl Strauss Off the Rails
Almanac Golden Gate Gose
Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
Almanac IPA
Gigantic IPA
Speakeasy Double Daddy IIPA
Rogue Mocha Porter

So, there's little chance of us running out of great beer this Saturday. 

The Fire Truck is taking over our little kitchen from 5pm and will be plying you with an amazing looking american inspired menu:

After the big game The X-Ray Catz will rock(abilly)ing out in the lounge, to help you celebrate the Hurricane's victory.
Their  high energy rockabilly. surf, swing and classic rock 'n' roll starts a little later than usual at 10pm.
So in summary: US beers on tap from midday, Fire Truck food from 5pm, rugby grand final from 7pm, X-Ray Catz from 10pm. Should be a good Saturday.

Choka Partywave Brah

Hot Water head brewer Dave is a pretty understated guy.

Instead of brewing a crazy, adjunct-filled, gimmick beer for GABS; he just brewed a normal IPA.
Partywave IPA is made with malt, hops, yeast, water and nothing else - and is one of the best IPA’s you’ll try this year.
It turns out combining the hop bills from his Kauri Falls pale ale and About Time IPA yields a damn good, balanced, fruity, delicious IPA.

We’re tapping our keg at 5pm this Tuesday, see you there.

Ya Gotta Be Fresh

The very same shipment that had allowed us to go nuts on the 4th also contained quite a few new bottles and cans.

New to our fridge are: Modern Times Oneida Pale Ale, Mount Remarkable IPL and Ballast Point Fathom IPL (in cans!).

Restocked are: Ballast Point Indra Kunindra, Even Keel cans, Blind Tiger and small Victory at Sea.

Have Reached Peak Hop?

The very latest shipments in from the USA had plenty of new brews to showcase - but not so many of them were hoppy pale ales...
Maybe this is a sign of changing times in the states... or maybe we just wanted a theme to tie together this eclectic mix of excellent beers that just arrived fresh from the states.

Clickbait title aside, on Wednesday July 15th at 6pm we'll be holding a tasting consisting of:

Modern Times Mount Remarkable IPL

Modern Times Oneida American Pale Ale

Speakeasy Blind Tiger

Rogue Pumpkin Saviour

Coronado Señor Saison

Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Strawberry

Rogue Sriracha Stout

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra

You can book your place to taste over at The Cult Beer Store for just $40.

The tasting kicks off at 6pm and will just have light snacks provided - so eat dinner beforehand!