Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 31, 2019

Upcoming Events

Monday the 4th is Super Bowl Monday. As described last week, we’ll be putting our lounge in screening room mode for the afternoon, and welcoming anyone who thinks they might enjoy the season finale of the world’s most lucrative sporting league.

We’ll even throw our doors open a little earlier than the standard midday, to help everyone get fed and watered in plenty of time before kick, which is at around 12:30pm.

We’re particularly looking forward to serving Ram Burgers made from braised lamb shoulder, served in Pandoro beer and barley burger buns.

Rock The Cash Bar

The first instalment of Rock The Cash Bar for 2019 takes place on Monday the 11th.

Rock The Cash Bar is our very amusing and increasingly popular music quiz, run by popular culture guru Hadyn Green. Anyone wanting to take part is encouraged to head along to the event’s own facebook page and ask for a table booking. But if you’re lucky enough to not be on facebook, feel free to just reply to this email for more info.


We’ve been visited by weather that residents of most parts of the world would recognise as typical of summer. The reaction has been as if the temperature had in fact been ten degrees higher.

But a correction is on its way, in the form of a brief cool change on Saturday. Based on recent evidence this should lead to panic buying of woollen mittens and hot cocoa. We have just the beer for next week’s New Release then, in the form of a Belgian Quad made with coffee and chocolate. And fittingly it has come all the way from Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck in Belgium. Kasteel Barista goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday. Servings will be small, as this is an 11% beer.

The Cosmonauts

Classifying the music of the Cosmonauts is tricky. They bill themselves as “Soviet Folk, 19th Century Balkan Hits and Italian Chanson”. Our booker distils that down to “Balkan Swing”.

From our vantage point behind the bar they are the band most likely to trigger dancing without employing a drummer.

Things we can say with certainty about them:
  • They play a piano accordion (and guitar and double bass).
  • They have a loyal fan base.
If in doubt, check out their youtube channel.

The Cosmonauts play in our lounge at 10pm on Saturday, with no cover charge.

Cult Film Basement

This Sunday the Cult Film Basement returns to the USA, for an 80s action classic. It should be a radical change from the disturbing Japanese horror films of the last couple of weeks. Except that… Runaway Train is based on a script by Akira Kurosawa. That’s right – Japan’s most famous film director and “Asian of the Century” penned a forerunner to Die Hard and Speed. In fact this shouldn’t seem so strange since Kurosawa’s films were always made to be broadly entertaining.

But enough digression. Runaway Train is an action film about escaped prisoners, Alaska and, well, a runaway train. It is broadly admired (“thunderous proto-Speed.. also works as an existential art movie”) and occasionally panned “bodaciously bad, grotesquely overblown, lurid in its emotion, big ideas on its brain.” Perfect cult film basement fodder!

Come on down at 7pm on Sunday for beer, free popcorn and a popcorn movie.  


Yes, cricket, that sport that we were world beaters at about a week ago.

Can the team formerly known as the New Zealand Cricket Team pick up the pieces of its reputation from cow corner and the third man boundary, or whichever parts of Mount Maunganui the Indians dispatched those pieces to? Find out this afternoon and this evening, from 3pm.

On Tap Now

  • Peckhams Chisel Jersey
  • The Theoretical Brewer Chrysanthemum Lager
  • HeyDay Beer Co Dinglehopper Hoppy Saison
  • Deep Creek Drop Top Chardonnay Brut IPA
  • Deep Creek Lotus Pale Ale
  • Maiden Brewing Co Multiverse Kiwifruit & Lime
  • HeyDay Beer Co Oaktown IPA
  • Hallertau Pilsnah
  • Renaissance Stonecutter
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER

Chisel Jersey

Please note Peckham’s Chisel Jersey in the above list. Few, if any, of us here at Hashigo Zake claim to be experts on cider, so the following comments are strictly those of an occasional cider observer.

The name comes from the variety of cider apple that it’s made from and the mere fact that this is a cider made from cider apples makes it unusual in New Zealand. It’s also spontaneously fermented and has had some contact with oak. All those details suggest a result that might somehow be extreme – maybe in sourness. In fact this cider is incredibly approachable and drinkable. It’s reasonably dry and a lot more tannic than typical New Zealand ciders, but the overriding flavour is of the apple variety it’s made from.

For a lay-cider drinker, it’s a revelation and highly recommended.

HeyDay Oaktown IPA

A little like the Peckhams Cider mentioned above, this beer has had just enough contact with oak to add complexity and maybe a few tannins, without completely transforming it into a big, boozy, bourbon-fuelled kitchen-sink of a drink. The result is stunning and highly recommended. Great work by brewer and former Hashigo Zake staff-member, Sam.

Te Rā o Waitangi

Open as usual ✔
Discounts to SOBA members ✔
Surcharges ✖

Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019

Planet Watson

Darren Watson is an authentic champion of free speech.

With apologies to anyone who knows this story well, in 2014 Darren came up with something that’s now quite rare – political satire in song form. Planet Key was recorded and released during the months before that year’s election, which is what you’d do if you’re an artist with political convictions, wanting to remind the populace of the faults of the then Prime Minister.

The Electoral Commission didn’t care for the distinction between satire and electioneering and deemed the song (and accompanying video) as an “election advertisement”, and subject to the same constraints as political broadcasts. That effectively banned it from being played on radio and television as a piece of music. Even the youtube link had to be taken down.

Darren and his collaborator on the video, Jeremy Jones, went to court over the decision and won in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, relying on a legal team that worked pro bono. And as long as the case was making its way through the courts, any possibility of recouping a buck from sales of the recording were slashed.

It’s unlikely that there’s anyone alive who thinks that the Electoral Commission were in the right. But if Darren and Jeremy hadn’t kept the fight up with little to gain but a moral victory, all of our rights to free speech would be a little more constrained today.

So for this and other reasons it’s a pleasure to welcome Darren Watson back to the Hashigo Zake lounge this week. Darren is returning after taking a break from gigs following his 2018 album release and national tour. But judging by his recent activity on social media and appearance of RNZ this morning, Darren appears to be refreshed and eager to get in front of an audience.

This gig is categorised as “acoustic” and rather than his full band (coming later in the year) Darren will be joined by keyboardist Dayle Jellyman.

TL;DR: Darren Watson and Dayle Jellyman perform in our lounge at 10pm on Saturday night. No cover charge!

On Tap Now

  • The Theoretical Brewer Chrysanthemum Lager
  • Deep Creek Coromandel Gold IPA
  • Renaissance Discovery APA
  • Deep Creek Hoppy McHop Face IIPA
  • Hallertau Lemon Curd (Nitro)
  • Hallertau Maximus IPA
  • The Theoretical Brewer Quantum Eraser Pilsner
  • Kereru Rojito Extra Pale Lager
  • Renaissance Stonecutter
  • The Theoretical Brewer The 1st Finch
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER
As mentioned last week, the combination of maintenance on some of our taps and the holiday season slowdown caused us to run with a reduced number of tap beers. We now have every tap pouring again and the hand pump will be operational later today, when we put Kereru Silverstream Pale Ale on. It will be the first time for months that we have twelve beers on tap at once.

Customers wanting to concentrate on pale hoppy beers might want to look to the right as they approach the bar.

Some current or future tap offerings of note:
  • We now have four beers on tap from New Plymouth's Theoretical Brewer.
  • Along with the shipment from Hallertau that includes next Tuesday's new release, was a nitrogenated keg of their very popular sour called Lemon Curd. It's on tap now.
  • Our underkeg scale tells us that cult IIPA Hoppy McHopface will run out early this evening, if not sooner.
  • Coming soon is a keg of Peckham's Chisel Jersey cider.

The Anti-Fining Phenomenon

Next Tuesday’s New Release will be Hallertau’s contribution to the flood of hazy IPAs - So Hazy Right Now. Will it have an initial aroma and flavour like a glorious cocktail of fresh fruit pulp, before finishing like a nagging, oversweet, made-from-concentrate orange and mango flavoured apple drink? Plenty of people will be hoping so.

We haven’t tried it yet, so can’t say, but we can confirm that the keg is already on the premises so we’re just rapt that there will no crossing of fingers or mercy dashes to a freight depot next Tuesday afternoon.

So Hazy Right Now goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Cult Film Basement

After last week’s “vintage” American horror, we’re switching back to the often disturbing world of Japanese horror, in the form of Suicide Club.

It’s a 2002 film about an inexplicable fashion for teen suicide that divides critics and audiences. Parental supervision is advised against.

Holiday Monday

Happy Birthday Wellington. We wish everyone getting Monday off an enjoyable rest. We’ll be open as usual. And as usual there’ll be no public holiday surcharge.

Is anyone looking for a relaxing use of your day off? Monday is the day of the two Conference Championship games in the NFL – effectively the Super Bowl semi-finals. But maybe don’t call them that. The first game takes place before we open, but the AFC Championship Final, between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, kicks off at 12:40pm on Monday.

During the regular season the Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 on their own home turf and have been one of the NFL’s most reliably successful teams for many years, but this game is in Kansas City and the Chiefs have a superior record.

It’s a perfect way to get into the mood for our annual Super Bowl extravaganza, which will take place exactly two weeks later.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January 10, 2019

Welcome Back

Yes, returning to regular work patterns can be a challenge, especially when the sun is shining (and the road outside is being dug up).

To ease the pain we’re making a rare and very special offer with nearby workers in mind. Those discounts that we offer from Sunday until Wednesday to certain categories of valued customer, such as SOBA members, will be extended until 6pm tomorrow (Friday the 11th).

Full Complement

During the quiet period over Christmas and the New Year, we took the opportunity to let the beer on a couple of our taps run out and perform some overdue repairs. Those repairs were finished earlier today and over the next day or so we're progressively recommissioning those taps. That boost in tap numbers will let us put on several beers from a new supplier – The Theoretical Brewer.

To the best of our knowledge, The Theoretical Brewer’s beers haven’t been on tap in Wellington yet. We were sent samples by founder Doug and were impressed enough to get a keg each of his current core range. 1st Finch Pale Ale is already on tap. Most of TransPorter, Chrysanthemum Lager and Quantum Eraser Pilsner will make it on tap by tomorrow.

Doug has just expanded from a facility built at the back of his house in suburban New Plymouth – a beginning that should sound familiar to anyone following the New Zealand beer scene.

On Tap Now

  • HeyDay Beer Co Agua Fresca Tamarindo
  • Deep Creek Drop Top Chardonnay Brut IPA
  • Deep Creek Dusty Gringo
  • Deep Creek Hoppy McHop Face IIPA
  • Kereru Rojito Extra Pale Lager
  • The Theoretical Brewer The 1st Finch
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER
  • Kereru Yellowhead IPA

Live Music

Live music returns on Saturday. As we suspected, the programme has been tweaked since last Thursday’s announcement and Saturday’s band is to be The Inclinators.

This blues and R&B band last played in our lounge more than two years ago. They include several musicians, such as Terry Casey and Richard Te One, who played with Darren Watson for years, plus guitarist Chris Armour, who seems to feature in at least one band for every sub-variety of rock ‘n roll in existence. With all that experience we expect a consummate performance of “hot and sweaty R&B”.

And speaking of Darren Watson, the legendary blues performer is returning to gigging after a brief hiatus that followed his album release and nationwide tour last year. And we’ve got him playing an acoustic show on the 19th. (He’ll also be back with his current band, The Dangerous Experts, later in the year.)

Cult Film Basement

The Cult Film Basement’s programmer is a big fan of John Carpenter and Carpenter’s 1980 supernatural thriller The Fog is our cult movie on Sunday. Sadly we’re unlikely to repeat the stunt used when the film was released of firing up fog machines in cinemas. But we will be offering the usual free popcorn.

Our New Neighbour

The beloved and much fêted restaurant – and our fellow tenant at 25 Taranaki St – called Zibibbo is no more. We’ve been told a very small but crucial piece of information about the operation that Zibibbo’s owners are creating in its place. And that is that they're collaborating with DB.

Yes, the brewery that we’ve probably been more critical of than anyone else in the world, and who arguably did more to deny New Zealanders access to good and diverse beer than anyone (except maybe Lion Nathan), is moving in upstairs.