Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24th, 2015

30 Sleeps till PBE

It is now just a month till the fifth Pacific Beer Expo, and things are really starting to fall into place.

The beer list is growing by the day, with local brewers being incredibly supportive and pulling no punches with their festive brews.
For example, today Baylands and Te Aro Brewing made their PBE beers - involving Thai curry paste and grapefruit respectively...

After only a couple of days the confirmed beer list has grown to 37, with even more yet to be confirmed including some gems from across the ditch.

Because we have more beers to announce than there are days in a month, we're going to be announcing at least one PBE beer every day until the 24th over on the Facebook Page and Event, and Twitter account.

If those newfangled social medias aren't your thing, don't fret! I'll be doing a roundup every week here in the old fashioned weekly email, so you can peruse the lineup at your leisure.

So without further ado, the beers announced so far:

Hawaii joins PBE for the first time, with Maui Brewing Co on tap at PBE 2015. We've secured three beers that are usually only available at their brewpub:

Pau Hana Pilsner, Hualeakala Sunryes Rye IPA and Kihei Kolsch!

Two new beers from Portland's Gigantic Brewing Company will be in attendance, Ume Umai Plum & Black Rice Beer along with  SOLID! Hoppy American Wheat Beer.

We'll have more announcements over the next week which I'll round up here next Thursday.

At the moment ticket sales for the Saturday session are surging ahead and seem sure to sell out. So if you're planning on going to that session book your spot now at

Batch 18 vs Batch 2.18

It's Blenheim vs Warkworth, aged vs fresh, Batch 18 vs Batch 2.18.
For their 18th batch ever, 8 Wired brewed a massive 12.5% stout with jaggery sugar & cocoa nibs - and then barrel aged it for 6 months. It was the first of its kind in NZ, and caused waves in the early beer geek community.

Following tradition, the 18th batch brewed at 8 Wired's new Warkworth brewery was made to the same recipe, but this time instead of barrels was aged in two of their new foeders. A foeder is essentially a really, really big barrel and makes oak aged beers far easier (and cheaper) to produce.

That was 6 months ago, so bottles of 2.18 have just come out. It weight in slightly lighter than its older sibling at only 11%ABV.

After a bit of begging, the lovely people at 8 Wired have released to us a single case of cellar stock of the original 2010 Batch 18 - presenting us with a unique geeky opportunity so see how a beer of this magnitude ages.

To do this on your own would be a pricey endeavor - so we're making it easy for you.

This Saturday the 26th we'll be serving up 100ml tasting glasses of Batch 18 & 2.18 side by side, so you can geek out without breaking the bank.

Surfin' Saturday

This Saturday the Vincent Vega Trio are belting out their hot blend of surf, funk, soul and blues in the lounge.
With Chris Armour on guitar, Andy Russell drums and Nick Lissette on the bass.

It kicks off at 9.30pm, with no cover charge - as usual.

Staffie Series Number Five

Our duty manager Dylan likes basketball. Quite a bit. So it makes sense that his Staffie Brew - Fuggsy Bogues - is named for one of the most well known NBA players - Muggsy Bogues.
Muggsy Bogues was the shortest NBA player of all time ( at just 160cm), but more importantly starred in the cinematic masterpiece that was Space Jam. How great was Space Jam?!

Fuggsy Bogues is a 100% NZ Fuggles hopped pale ale, with a dash of Shepherd's Delight malt to give it some body and colour. Some people might call it IPA, some people might not.

Dylan Brewed just 100L of Fuggsy Bogues at the new Te Aro Brewing Company (out the back of Brewtopia on Tory st).

We're tapping the first keg of Fuggsy Bogues at 5pm on Tuesday the 29th of September. Get ready to jam.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 17th, 2015

Beer's Biggest Bash

This Saturday is the New Zealand beer industry's night to celebrate. The Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards (BGoNZAs) is our brewers chance to look inwards and celebrate out own achievements, and those of our many mates within the industry.

Historically the BGoNZAs have been held in Wellington, the day before Beervana. The Brewers Guild found that this timing meant that all the good news from the awards was swallowed up by the excitement surrounding Beervana.

To make the BGoNZAs its own event, the guild moved the date to September, and the venue to Auckland.

Of course this means unless you're in it, there's not as much motivation to fly to Auckland to attend the awards dinner. We usually send a contingent from the bar, and we scrub up pretty well as you can see.

So it looked like us non-brewer Wellingtonians were going to miss out... until the Brewers Guild announced that this year they're streaming the awards night live on the interewebs!

So to try and bring a slice of the party back to Wellington this Saturday (barring technical difficulties on the guild end) we're showing the live stream on the tele, with sound in the red room. 

We'll reserve the whole room for those of you who want to cheer on the awesome people in our industry, and be among the first to find out who get the golds, who gets the trophies, who is named NZ's best beer writer, and who is crowned this year's champion brewer.

The stream should start sometime around 6pm, and will most likely continue till 9-10pm if previous years format is followed. Just like at the real BGoNZA's; formal dress is encouraged

Dancing & Drinking

Around the end of the BGoNZAs, at 9.30pm the Dancing and Drinking Society should be kicking off.

They'll be playing "a mix of old time standards and originals, that make a toast to the intoxicating old world mélange of New Orleans Swing/Blues that will get fingers clicking and feet stomping!"
So if you'd like to add some dancing to your drinking this Saturday, pop on down around 9.30pm to enjoy the show. We even won't charge you for the dancing, but you will have to pay for the drinking.

Beer Book & Book Beer

Last year ex-Hashigo beertender Jules van Cruysen launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his goal of creating a "comprehensive guide book to New Zealand beer and breweries of New Zealand, focusing on the craft brewing industry."
Cynics declared the day of the beer book over - with new beers being released almost every day, they said it would be out of date as soon as it was printed.

However supporters of the book didn't want to see the historical record of this era of growth in the beer industry reduced to a few Untappd check-ins and RateBeer reviews.

The supporters won out, when the Kickstarter campaign raised $20,063, ensuring "BREWED - A Guide to the Craft Beer of New Zealand" would become reality.

I'm looking forward to a book about  written by someone who knows the people, beers and breweries of our industry - and tell the stories behind them. Instead of reducing our entire industry to Monteith's and a few others, and tacking on a bizarre blurb on the popularity of ice distilled beers in NZ....

Jules is holding the Wellington launch of his book at Hashigo Zake this coming Tuesday, followed by a nationwide launch tour. He'll be selling and signing copies of BREWED (there's even a SOBA discount), and might even buy you a glass of the accompanying book beer if you're lucky...

To coincide with the book launch of BREWED, we will have on tap a brand new collab beer from Yeastie Boys and author of BREWED Jules van Cruysen - I AM.

Author Jules describes the beer succinctly:

"I AM is a collaboration between the Yeastie Boys and BREWED author Jules van Cruysen to celebrate the release of BREWED: A Guide to the Craft Beers of New Zealand. It is a hybrid Pilsner / Pale Ale brewed with an eye to the creativity, ingenuity and diversity of the New Zealand craft beer industry."
 While the Yeastie Boys shows their penchant for waxing lyrical in their less-edited description:
"When tasked with the enviable (yet nerve racking) task of creating a beer that represents New Zealand craft beer, we immediately thought of the things that have shaped where we are today. The great brewers both at home and in commercial sites; the inviting bars and their publicans who really opened up the scene in the last 6 years; the growers and suppliers that helped us get to where we are; the hybrid styles of beers that seem (to outsiders) to have metamorphosed from nowhere.
I AM, like the beer industry it is brewed in honour of, is hard to define. It is from nowhere, yet everywhere. It sits somewhere between a New Zealand Pilsner and a Pale Ale. It showcases a combination of local hops and the American ones which helped shape our industry. It's bold enough for the hardened beer geek, yet beguiling and delicate enough to attract the attention of the intrigued craft beer novice."
The books and beers start flowing this Tuesday at 5pm, come along a grab a beer - and maybe even a book.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10th, 2015

A Slice of San Francisco

The next in our series of weekend showcases from BwB's latest shipment features some super exciting beers from San Francisco's Almanac.

We've been having great fun serving up tasting flights when we have a few bigger beers to show off, so this weekend we're serving up almanac flights of four with two big new beers from Almanac supplemented by two classics from Almanac's year-round range.

Emperor Norton is part of Almanac's new 'Fresh Beer' limited series. Beers in this series are strong Belgian styles featuring "even bigger flavors, bolder yeast characters and more intense hop aromas, reflecting our rich Californian agricultural bounty."

Emperor Norton is a 9% Belgian Tripel, but with California-grown summer apricots thrown in and dry-hopped generously with Citra and Hallertau Blanc hops. Sounds pretty damn interesting.

Another first from this shipment is kegs of one of Almanac's most celebrated sours, Dogpatch Sour Cherry. 

A Flanders red style, Dogpatch is fermented with a variety of bugs including wild yeasts, bacteria and SF sourdough yeast. It spends time with these bugs in red wine barrels with California Rainier cherries. The result rivals some of the classic Krieks from Belgium, tart and acidic with plenty of body and cherry flavour to back it up.

After having Dogpatch in bottles, I'm excited to have this amazing beer on tap - but it won't come cheap. So we're including it in Saturdays flights to make sure everyone gets a go at this delicious beer.

Rounding off the tasting flight of four along with Dogpatch and Norton will be the amazing Golden Gate Gose - a tart, savoury wheat beer brewed with sea salt and lemon verbena - and Almanac India Pale Ale - one of the best west coast IPA's I've ever had featuring Apollo, El Dorado, Simcoe and Mosaic hops.

This Saturday only, you'll be able to grab a tasting flight consisting of a 150ml pour of each of these great San Franciscan beers from midday.

Darren's Back

The legendary blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Darren Watson returns to the Hashigo Zake lounge this Saturday.
Darren will be playing solo, a mixture of blues classics and his own creations - such as the controversial "Planet Key".

Darren's blues kick off at 9.30pm this Saturday, and even better it won't cost you a thing to come and see this blues legend up close and personal.

Made in Wellington City

The Maiden label is the brainchild of Adam Laird. You've probably had some excellent beer brewed by him before - under the Baylands name.

After beertending around Wellington for some years, Adam landed an assitant brewer job at Petone's Baylands where he has been honing his brewing skills. To express these under his own label Adam has created Maiden Brewing Co.
This Tuesday's new release is a beer brewed small-scale by Adam at the new Te Aro brewing (out the back of Brewtopia on Tory St).
This beer started out as a collab with the band 'Richter City Rebels' so gained the name 'Maiden Richter City' (get it?!). Adam flexed his creative muscles with this one, brewing a 5.8% toffee and biscuit brown ale and threw in some cranberries for good measure.

I'm really looking forward to tasting this beer, as brown ale is a sorely neglected style these days - and it's not often you get a cranberry beer. We tap our single keg of Maiden Richter City at 5pm Tuesday, and we expect it to run out on the night so get there early.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Septermber 3rd, 2015

Speakeasy's New 50L Cans

Cans are emerging as the next evolution in the packaging of many of our smaller brewers. They have quickly shrugged off their negative connotations created by the bland beer of the duopoly, with striking packaging and education on the advantages of cans over bottles.

This same revolution happened a few years back in the U.S. with most major "craft brewers" (whatever that means) releasing their main brands in the handy little mini-kegs.

The latest of our U.S. brewers to get into cans is San Francisco's Speakeasy.

Instead of shifting their core range beers to cans, Speakeasy has opted to create a new series of beers released exclusively in cans (and kegs, but kegs are just big cans) - The Session 47 Series.

The first beer in the Session 47 Series is a lower-alcohol or 'session' version of their flagship beer - Baby Daddy.

In can form Baby Daddy comes in what is possibly the best piece of beer packaging I've seen. It's great design all around, but the kicker is the pitch black top complete with speakeasy eyes on the pull tab.

Thankfully the beer inside is great as well, conveying the distinct hop character of Big Daddy in a lighter bodied pale ale.

The next two beers in the Session 47 Series - Suds Session Ale & Pop Gun Pilsner - will be arriving in subsequent shipments.

For now though these beauties are in the fridge, and tomorrow we'll be putting one of a few 50L cans (also known as a keg) of Baby Daddy on tap with a couple of its buddies.

Also making its tap debut tomorrow is Speakeasy's Tallulah XPA. A light and super-fruity pale ale featuring the new El Dorado & Calypso hop varieties weighing in at 5.4%. We've had this in bottles before but it'll be great to try this fresh on tap.

Also on tap tomorrow is Untouchable, an IPA featuring our very own Nelson Sauvin hop. A lot of U.S. brewers struggle to use NZ hops, because if you use them like US hops you risk getting some pretty nasty flavours.

Speakeasy have nailed using Nelson Sauvin here, they even get the name of the hop right - in their marketing they name it "Nelson Sauvin" instead of most US brewers who opt for the lazy truncation "Nelson". Nelson is the CITY and Nelson Sauvin is the HOP American brewers! Jeez.

The upshot is from midday tomorrow all three of Baby Daddy Session IPA, Tallulah XPA and Untouchable IPA will be on tap.

Spitfire Live

If you went to last year's PBE wrap party you'll know how much fun Spitfire is.

With their funked-up covers ranging from Britney Spears and Katy Perry to Ernest Ranglin and The Shadows, Zuccollo, Manzanza & Clarke always show the lounge a good time.
The fun kicks off at 9.30pm, with no admission fee as per usual.

Über Berliner

Tiamana and Wild & Woolly have shared a brewery in Mt Cook for months, but are yet to collaborate on a beer.

That's going to change on Tuesday with the launch of Über Berliner.
Über Berliner came about almost by chance. After sharing a stand at Beervana both Tiamana and Wild & Woolly had partially full kegs of their respective Berliner Weiss'.

Llew and Annika had a brainwave, and tried a blend of Tiamana's Meister Wald Woodruff Berliner Weisse with Wild & Woolly's Basilisk Thai Basil Berliner Weisse. The result was greater than the sum of its parts - so a larger scale blend was done with the two partial kegs to create the Über Berliner.

Funnily enough, I've never had a woodruff and Thai basil sour wheat beer... So I'm very much looking forward to this being tapped at 5pm Tuesday so we can all find out.