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!