Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27th, 2015

All the Bairds to the Yard

The brewery that helped inspire Hashigo Zake's creation is back in a big way. Tomorrow we celebrate the return of Baird Beer to our country by putting all six kegs from the latest shipment on tap at once.

From midday we'll be tapping:

  • Numazu Lager
  • Rising Sun Pale Ale
  • Single-Take Session Ale
  • Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale
  • Japan Tale Ale
  • Suruga Bay Imperial IPA
We tried most of these at last night's tasting. The votes for favourite beer were the most split I've seen - which should indicate the consistent quality of the Baird range. 

We're getting them all on before opening at midday, and we expect a few to run out before the night is over. Which will conveniently make room for some other new beers to come on tap this Saturday...

Vanilla and Spice

Along with the new Baird shipment, BwB has received its largest shipment yet from the US. And it's so full of goodness we've got to spread it out over the next few weeks.
We noticed a small theme in a few of the new kegs from Ballast Point, so decided to kick things off this Saturday with a themed mini-takeover. The title might give it away.

Calm Before the Storm is the summer version of the much loved Victory at Sea. Instead of adding coffee and vanilla to a 10% imperial porter, Calm Before the Storm features the two adjuncts in a 5.5% cream ale. We're very interested to see how these two compare - so they'll both be on tap this Saturday.

Wahoo Wheat is a staple of Ballast Point's core range, and a brilliant witbier on its own. But we've got a special version of this refreshing witbier for you on Saturday.

It goes by the fairly unimaginative name of Wahoo with Thai Chilli, Lime and Ginger. Yes, these staples of thai cuisine have been added to the orange peerl and coriander base of Wahoo to make something resembling a delicious thai curry - but in beer form. We thought it'd be fun this Saturday to have this curry beer on next to Ballast Point's other curry beer (because real breweries have more than one curry beer) Indra Kunindra.

Of course, we're not expecting you to drink whole glasses of all four of these heavily flavoured and high alcohol beers - that would be irresponsible. Drawing on the popularity of our Road to Beervana vintage beer flights, we'll be offering tasting flights of all four of these beers while they last. That's a 150ml serve of each, Saturday only.

Carlos Navae Quartet

If the beers aren't spicy enough, this Saturday Carlos Navae is back in the lounge.

Carlos and three buddies will be raising the temperature of the lounge with Afro-Cuban Jazz, Soul, Funk and Caribbean beats.
They kick off at 9.30pm, and enjoying their music won't cost you a penny.

Gigantic comes To Wellington

Next wedenesday Gigantic's head brewer Ben Love will be holding a tasting in the red room - via the internet.
Beer Without Borders have organised for Ben to take us through some of Gigantic's range via a video link to Portland Oregon.

It's also a great opportunity to pick the brain of a leader in one of the world's greatest beer cities.

Ryan from BwB will be hosting the tasting on this end, and has a great lineup planned including brand new beers from the latest shipment:

  • Gigantic IPA
  • Ginormous IIPA
  • Pipewrench
  • Snakebite
  • White Light White Heat
  • Intensify Belgian IPA
  • Saboteur Baltic Porter
You can book your place now over at cultbeerstore, or over the bar next time you're in. 

Morocco meets Belgium

North End might have only just completed the first brew at their new Kapiti brewery, but they've had a barrel programme running for months already.

Head brewer Kieran is keen to enter a beer from one of these barrels into the upcoming BGoNZAs, but a pre-requisite is that the beer has to be 'commercially available.' Which is good news for us!

This Tuesday we'll be tapping the first 'preview' keg of an upcoming beer in North End's "Salt & Wood" range - Cuvee du Moor.

Kieran has taken a classic belgian style, quadrupel, and added a Moroccan twist. What makes it Moroccan? Cous cous was added (just for fun) with the malt during the mash, then dates, prunes, raisins and figs were added during the boil. After fermentation the beer was transferred to a brettanomyces infected pinot noir barrel along with even more dates. We're told the brett is subtle at the moment.

In true quadrupel style, Cuvee du Moor comes in at a hefty 10.5% ABV, meaning we'll only be doing small pours. Possibly a good thing seeing as we'll only have a single 20L keg, and the rest will eventually be going into bottles.

We tap it at 5pm this Tuesday, see you then. 

Fresh off the Boat

As mentioned, the latest US shipment contains many treats. Several of the bottled/canned treats have already made it into our fridge (including the very first legitimate consignment from a well known Hawaiian brewery).

They await your enjoyment:

  • Maui Big Swell IPA cans
  • Maui CoCoNut Porter cans
  • Speakeasy Baby Daddy IPA cans
  • Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale 355ml
  • Ballast Point Dorado IIPA 355ml
  • Ballast Point Pumpkin Down 355ml
  • Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin cans
  • Almanac Valencia Gold 650ml 

More goodies will be making it in as we clear space, keep an eye on the social medias for announcements thereof.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20th, 2015

What's an AMA?

I've seen the term "AMA" used quite often on the internets, but it wasn't till Grainfather contacted me asking to do a homebrew "Ask Me Anything" session that I clicked to what the initialism stood for.

Grainfather is an ingenious all-in-one, all-grain, plug-and-play homebrew kit, designed by kiwi company iMake.

It got homebrewers (including myself) excited when it launched a year ago for just $1000, which is less than what I initially spent on my homebrew kit consisting of pots and buckets.

To celebrate Grainfather's first birthday they have brought their head brewer and ex-Wellingtonian, James Kemp (JK), over from U.K. to do some collaborations and hand out advice to homebrewers, whether they use a grainfather or not.

It's a little short notice (blame Beervana crazyness), but we're hosting JK's AMA tonight in the red room from 5.30pm.

JK has worked for big names like Fullers, Thornbridge and Buxton in the U.K. so it's a great opportunity for any homebrewers with questions out there to get advice from a seasoned professional.


I'm not sure if such a thing as a nano-contract brewer existed before NineBarnyardOwls, but Brayden Rawlinson's anagrammatic brewery
certainly qualifies.

All of NineBarnyardOwls' brews so far have been made on small kits, generally less than 100L and usually for a special event.
Brayden is soon moving to South Sydney to take up a position at a small brewery there. But before he leaves there's the matter of releasing his latest creation: Duvowl.

One of his largest batches yet, 140L of Duvowl was made at the new Te Aro Brewing - out the back of Brewtopia on Tory street. Brayden has some winemaking background, so a lot of his brews draw upon this experience. Duvowl is a 7% abv SMaSH beer - that's Single Malt and Single Hop - using just Gladfields Light Lager Malt and Nelson Sauvin Hops.

The wine influence comes in with the yeast: Duvowl is fermented solely with Saccharomyces Bayanus yeast, which is usually used in wine and cider fermentation. According to Brayden, this resulted in a "polished, bright golden beer. It's beautiful to look at. Unnatural, almost fluorescent gold." Interestingly it has a very wheat-like aroma, which reminded Brayden of a certain Belgian and led to the name. No prizes for guessing which one.

We've got a 20L keg of Duvowl hitting the taps at 5pm this coming Tuesday, it's bound to be an interesting beer, so probably won't last long...

Sam's Afrobeats

Live in the lounge this Saturday we have Afrobeat, Ska, Funk, Soul, Blues and Reggae from percussion maestro Sam Manzanza. He's joined by Jacqui Nyman and Olivia Campion.

The music kicks off at 9.30pm this Saturday and comes free of charge.

The Road to Baird-vana

The Baird has arrived, and is currently having little compliance stickers stating the standard drinks put on every single bottle.
This process should be done by next week, which will be just in time for our Baird tasting on Wednesday.

Ticket sales have been pretty slow for this one, but I've decided we're going to go ahead regardless of how many places are sold and adapt the style accordingly.

It might just be a few staff (essential training) & customers sitting around a table tasting and discussing the new brews, or if sales pick up we'll run it in a more formal format.
Either way, next Wednesday we'll be cracking a whole lot of fresh Baird bottles including Fruitful Life Citrus IPA, Rainy Season Belgian-style black IPA, Cool Breeze Pils & Suruga Bay IIPA.

If Wednesdays don't work for you, hopefully Fridays do. To say "welcome back" or "okaeri" we're hosting six Baird Beers on tap, starting from midday Friday next week (28th).
These will be:

  • Numazu Lager
  • Rising Sun Pale Ale
  • Single-Take Session Ale
  • Wabi-Sabi Japan Pale Ale
  • Japan Tale Ale
  • Suruga Bay Imperial IPA

I'm really excited to have these beers back on tap fresh, as they made a big impact on me all those years ago when we first started to get Baird into NZ.

P.S: PBE tickets on sale here!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13th, 2015

The End of the Road

Just a quick update this week. We're nearing the end of the (hashtag) Road to Beervana, so we've got plenty to keep us busy at the bar.

Right now it's our Timeless on Tap vintage beer takeover. On tap right now is: 8 Wired 2013 iStout, Moylans Old Blarney Barley Wine 2012 and Mikkeller Big Worster Chardonnay BA 2013.

You can grab a tasting flight of all four of these beers today only.

Tomorrow from midday we're hosting Tauranga's best brewery on Six of our taps. Fitzpatrick's Imperial Porter, IPA, Fitzy's Special, Pale Ale, Kaffir Lime Wit and American Brown Ale will all be on tap.

Craig Fitzpatrick himself is driving the kegs down as I type, so they're brewery fresh.

There's still a few gems coming on tap soon, including: Gigantic Pipewrench, Almanac IPA, Sculpin IPA, ParrotDog Puffinus Huttoni & High Time IPA, Panhead/Liberty Skidmark and Mike's Strawberry Sour Porter.

A Chilled Out NRT

I'm sure you'll be tired of barrel aged sour smokey imperial everythings after Beervana, so next week's NRT is a nice, simple Czech Pils from our comrades in Chch - Pomeroys.

This Pilsner is made in the more traditional style that most kiwis will not be accustomed to. No superfruity kiwi hops here, just traditional grassy, earthy noble hops on a slightly amber malty base.
Pomeroy's Czech Pilsner goes on tap from 5pm Tuesday.

Music to Attain Beervana To

We've got a double helping of live music in the lounge this week to supplement your Beervana experience.
Friday from 9.30pm we have The Inclinators, featuring blues harp maestro Terry Casey, Chris Armour on guitar, Richard Te One on the drums with Steve Moodie with bass.

Apparently you should "bring a spare singlet because it might get a little hot and sweaty."
Then on Saturday from 9.30pm the Tony Mad Trio will be banging out some Texas Boogie. With pure old-school Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix styles from the lead guitarist of The X-Ray Catz!

Of course both of these acts are free of charge.

A Gigantic Baird

Don't forget our next two tastings are available for booking now.
A new shipment of Baird will be showcased on now. It's be on Wednesday August 26th, we'll be tasting super-fresh regulars like Rising Sun Pale Ale & Suruga Bay IIPA, as well as new seasonals like Fruitful Life Citrus IPA, Rainy Season Belgian-style black IPA & more... Book your spot now at Cultbeerstore or over the bar for $40.

The week following we're showing off some new Gigantic Brewing beers with Gigantic's Brewmaster Ben Love live from Portland via the interwebs.

You'll be able to taste along with the brewer, and ask him all of your burning questions about Gigantic and the Portland beer scene.

Reserve your place now over at or at the bar for $40.

Obligitory PBE Reminder

Don't forget that tickets are on sale now for this year's Pacific Beer Expo. Don't miss out like so many did with Winter Ale Fest and book early! Tickets are on sale now at LilRegie.

Keep an eye on the PBE facebook page for info, and of course we'll be making big announcements right here in the weekly email.

August 6th, 2015

The Big Week Ahead

For the rest of the world it may be international beer day tomorrow, but in Wellington it's lasting all next week.

Last week I ran through in detail our plans for The Road to Beervana, but in case you missed it here's a quick reminder.

Tuesday the 11th: NRT - Lord Almighty (12%) Ursus Imperial Stout, plus Takahe XPA and a new batch of Yakima IPA
Wednesday the 12th: Beer & Spirits matching - Top shelf Scotch, Bourbon, Tequila, Gin and Rum matched with top shelf beers.

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

Thursday the 13th: Timeless on Tap - Vintage beer on tap.  Renaissance 2013 Tribute,  8 Wired 2013 iStout, Moylans Old Blarney Barley Wine 2012 and Mikkeller Big Worster Chardonnay BA 2013. Tasting flights available.

Friday the 14th: Fitzy's Friday - Fitzy's Imperial Porter, IPA, Pale Ale, Kaffir Lime Wit and American Brown Ale all on tap.

These events will account for some, but not all of our 11 taps. For these remaining taps we've got some pretty outstanding beers planned.

Keep an eye on the taps throughout the week for: ParrotDog Puffinius Huttoni, Funk Estate Affrogato, Coronado Friar Starter, Gigantic Pipewrench GinIPA & Intensify Belgo IPA, Panhead/Liberty Skidmark Bourbon BA brown and Renaissance Abundance Cherry Porter. There's even more exciting kegs waiting in the wings, depending on how thirsty people are.

Black Spider's Stomping New Album

Hashigo lounge regulars Black Spider Stomp have chosen HZ to launch their newest album "Gypsy Waltzes."
The BSS boys will be playing the album live in the lounge, with the first set consisting of Gypsy Waltzes, warming up to Gypsy Swing in the second half.

The Gypsy Jazz starts at 9.30pm this Saturday, with no fee for entry - but I assume the guys will be selling the album.

Two Tastings

A rare double whammy of new imports has given rise to a double whammy of beer tastings at the end of the month.
Beer Without Borders has organised the largest ever shipment of Baird Beer which is on its way to NZ in a chilled container right now.

It's been a while since our last shipment of Baird, so to welcome them back we're holding a tasting of all the newbies along with the old stalworts.

The tasting takes place on Wednesday August 26th, we'll be tasting super-fresh regulars like Rising Sun Pale Ale & Suruga Bay IIPA, as well as new seasonals like Fruitful Life Citrus IPA, Rainy Season Belgian-style black IPA & more... Book your spot now at Cultbeerstore or over the bar for $40.

Around the same time BwB is expecting a big shipment from the West Coast of the US. Included in this shipment are some exciting new beers from Portland's Gigantic Brewing. Ryan from BwB will be hosting a tasting of these new beers, joined live from Portland (via intertubes) by Gigantic's Brewmaster Ben Love.

The latest shipment contains fresh stock of core range beers, and some new innovative seasonals. You'll be able to taste these along with the brewer, and ask him all of your burning questions about Gigantic and the Portland beer scene.

Reserve your place now over at or at the bar for $40.

Trans Pacific Beer Partnership

Tickets are on sale now for this year's Pacific Beer Expo! PBE takes place 24 - 25 October (labour weekend), and you can book your place right now over at LilRegie

Once again tickets are $50 per person, and will include some beer tokens to get you going, a $5 food voucher and a beautiful printed TeKu glass.

We have a mountain of exciting announcements to make for this year's lineup, with two pacific countries new to PBE and dozens of beers and brewers featuring.

We'll be making these announcements right here in the coming weeks, as the details firm up.