Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017

New Territory

Nearly eight years after we opened, there are still plenty of innovations we haven’t tried at Hashigo Zake. And if it wasn’t for the person who suggested it, hosting a music quiz might have stayed in the untried category.

But beer and technology writer Hadyn Green is something of an expert at both quizzes and Hashigo Zake and we’re going to put ourselves and the lounge in Hadyn’s hands on June 19.

Hadyn will be quizmaster. We’ll be providing prizes. And the subject will be music.

So get in training for Rock the Cash Bar.

Bottle Pour Saturday

Many of you may be aware that Llew Bardecki’s Wild & Woolly brand is about to take an extended break. Ironically, one of his final acts before doing that has been to venture into bottled product for the first time. He recently packaged three of his last and most extravagant releases.

The beers are:
Cœur De Cerise. This collaboration with Craftwork was launched in our very own New Release Tuesday slot back in March. It’s a Farmhouse Ale with lavender from Llew's backyard and sour cherries from Otago. Officially it’s 4.5%, although some brettanomyces went into the bottles along with the beer, so there’s every chance that the ABV has crept up and the beer will have evolved since March.

From the Ashes: Wine barrel aged sour ale 6%

Sooty Albatross: Peat smoked imperial IPA 9.5%

All three went into champagne bottles that happen to be green, and since green bottles aren’t so good for keeping light out, Llew decided to forgo plain old labels and gave the bottles an old school paper wrap instead. Nice.

On Saturday only we’re offering a chance to sample 100mls of all three of these for just $15.

July 1 Update

Even more good news... a couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that on July 1 we'll be extending our premises up the stairs and into the space outside our front door and even onto the footpath - all so we'll have more space to welcome patrons on the day of the All Blacks vs the Irish & British Lions match in Wellington. We've never done this before and we may never do it again, but since the car park behind us is officially closed right now, we can do it this once!

Today we can announce that Waikanae's Salt and Wood Collective, who did a great job of catering at last year's Pacific Beer Expo, are going to join us and serve food from within our extended premises.

Vintage Release Tuesday

Once again we can’t resist the opportunity to go with a variation on the traditional Tuesday new release. A keg of De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis has somehow remained hidden (but refrigerated) for four long years. Since De Molen like to put best before dates 25 years in the future on their bottles, we’re pretty sure that nothing bad will have happened to this keg in the last four years.

Here’s what the brewery say about this beer:

Hel & Verdoemenis is bursting with flavors. Bitter, roasted, chocolate, coffee. All times 2. It's this why it's our Flag Ship and best selling Imperial Stout. Flavour indication: chocolate, coffee. Translates as  Hell & Damnation

Water. Pale, brown, chocolate,roasted and caramel barley malts. Premian and saaz bitter hop. Yeast (top fermenting).

Bonus Beer!

It turns out that our newest purchase from Kereru is embargoed until Tuesday. It's Night Spirit, their new barrel-aged imperial stout. There were only 1,344 bottles made and we have a tiny allocation.

Night Spirit is not aged in any common or garden used whisky or bourbon barrel either. These ones aged a local whisky for no fewer than 20 years.

Colab Brewing

Colab Brewing is a new brewery (established in 2016) based in west Auckland, in the same neighbourhood as Hallertau and Liberty. For the time being their scale is pretty small – a batch size of 300L puts them at the upper end of nano-brewery status, comparable to our friends at Fitzpatrick’s, Wild & Woolly and Tiamana. And so far their beer has barely made it south of Auckland, the exception being an appearance in Rotorua.

While the vast majority of our favourite up and coming local breweries are ventures by small brewers who have got serious, Colab is one of a handful where a brewer with significant commercial experience – in Colab’s case, Albrecht van Wallmoden - has scaled down. Albrecht is also a well known beer judge, so we feel entitled to expect utterly flawless beer, some of which will be in German styles.

After chatting on and off for some time, we’ve hatched a plan to showcase their beer at Hashigo Zake on June 23.

We’ll put their core range of four beers on tap, plus a seasonal. And if the stars align we’ll host the founders of Colab themselves.

So save the date – June 23 – for Wellington’s first chance to try Colab beer.

Live in the Lounge

Live music takes a break this Saturday, but we'll be more than making up for that the week after. Check out the schedule:

Saturday, June 3 - Vincent Vega Trio
Thursday, June 8 - The Sunlight Band (part of the Wellington Jazz Fest)
Friday, June 9 - Nick Granville Funk Trio (part of the Wellington Jazz Fest)
Saturday, June 10 - Darren Watson and the Dangerous Experts (part of the Wellington Jazz Fest)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6, 2017


News bulletin #385
April 6, 2017

City of the Wind

Next Tuesday’s new release is pretty special. So special there’ll be a simultaneous release at Hashigo Zake and Husk! It’s the result of a collaboration between Matt Walsh of Modern Times and Kerry Gray of Choice Bros/Husk that happened when Matt toured the nation last month.

It seems that while he was here Matt was on a mission to promote the use of hop oil. This is distinct from the more widely used hop extract that can take the place of whole or palletised hops for brewing, particularly for bittering. In contrast, hop oil is a kind of concentrated distillation that provides volatile flavour and aroma compounds but no bitterness. There’s a handy explanation of the process here.

Matt used it in this beer and in another collaboration that we’ll be talking about soon.

Now some readers may recall a beer that Deep Creek surprised 2016 Beervana attendees with, called Hoppy McHopface. Apparently that beer used (or possibly misused, depending on your experience) hop oil that had been extracted from Nelson Sauvin. The little vile of oil that Matt left at Husk was extracted from Eureka hops and he left strict instructions about just how few millilitres to use, because these oils are notoriously concentrated.

The resulting beer is an adaptation of Modern Times’ City of the Sun IPA. Only someone thought that this should be called City of the Wind. And it goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

This Saturday

Playing in our lounge will be JB3, bringing funk and boogaloo from 9:30 until 11:30.

And if it’s still raining (or even if it isn’t) there’s the option to settle in the red room a couple of hours before that and take in the Hurricanes/Waratahs game.

Does it get any better? Why yes, it does, because all this entertainment comes at no charge.

Easter is Coming

Over next week’s Easter period we’re required to close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And this entails being closed on the stroke of midnight on the evenings before those days.

But what we won’t be doing is applying any pesky surcharges on any of those days that we are open, including Easter Monday.

And as soon as Easter is over we go into the season known as Hopstock.

On Tap Now

  • Tiamana Blushing Brew
  • 8 Wired Cascara Hippy Berliner
  • Tiamana Even Older Fritze
  • North End E.S.B (handpump)
  • Beer Baroness First Lady APA (handpump)
  • Mata Hip Hop Pils
  • Graphic Kick Grass Pacific Ale
  • Mike's Leaky Boat Grapefruit Pale Ale
  • Te Aro Oatmeal Stout
  • Beer Baroness Rye-ot Grrrl Rye IPA
  • Oskar Blues OB IPA


We’re in the middle of a mini-sour festival. What is probably the last of a batch of beer made to celebrate a certain power couple’s wedding late last year is on tap. That’s Tiamana Blushing Brew. It’s a low gravity, ultra-refreshing raspberry gose, also known as Himbeer.

Just along from it is there’s a small amount left in our keg of Tiamana Even Older Fritze. The bugs that must have been lurking in the wine barrel that this was aged in have started to take effect and the result is an incredibly complex, big, boozy bock. It’s a rare opportunity to try this beer without investing in a bottle, although investing in a bottle is still something you might want to consider.

Finally we have 8 Wired Cascara Hippy on tap. This is just the kind of divisive beer we love having. The cascara seems to upset the palate of some drinkers. While others correctly love this beer for the complex tang that the cascara adds to the base beer.

At more normal pH, Oskar Blues IPA is on tap. Although on recent form this news may not still be true by the time many of you read this. Get in quick.

Finally, when the aforementioned Even Older Fritze runs out soon, its place will be taken by another beer that has been ageing carefully since some time in 2016. In this case it’s a survivor of last year’s GABS Festival. It’s Paddington, a Barley Wine that must have been one of the last beers made by our old friend Graeme Mahy while he was doing his second stint as head brewer at Murray’s over in New South Wales. The lengths they went to with this beer were pretty extraordinary. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, cardamom and star anise were thrown into the vat and drawn though some big, bitter hops to enhance the citrus flavours. The beer then spent six months in Tasmanian whisky barrels. The result is a perfect beer for winter. Or a really sh!tty autumn.

Cult Beer Store Beer of the Month

Over at the Cult Beer Store, this month’s Beer of the Month is La Sirene’s Farmhouse Red. This is a Red Ale made with rose buds, hibiscus and dandelions(!) in a distinctly Flemish fashion.

In the spirit of synchronicity and simultaneity, we’ll be offering this over the bar and for takeaway at a special price.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017


News bulletin #384
March 30, 2017

Bottle Pour Saturday - Dragon Edition

Way back in Issue 383 of this email we talked about the latest releases of the two beers under the There Be Dragons label – Chasing Harvest Ale and Royal Blood. This Saturday we’re offering customers a chance to get them both by the glass.

Chasing Harvest is a single batch of pinot barrel-aged red ale (with some pinot noir juice) while Royal Blood is a blend across a couple of vintages.

The volumes of these annual releases are incredibly low so there will never be a better opportunity to get to know them. 

New Release Tuesday - Even Older Fritze

Next week’s new release is a rarity from Tiamana. It’s a keg of Annika’s barrel-aged doppelbock known as Even Older Fritz. This particular keg has spent 15 months in a Dogpoint “Section 94” Sauvignon Blanc barrel. We’re promised big caramel, white wine, oak, leather and bourbon notes.

On Tap Now

  • Kereru Big Pigeon Pilsner
  • Oskar Blues Blood Orange Spesh-Ale
  • Craftwork/Wild & Woolly Coeur de Cerise
  • North End E.S.B (handpump)
  • Adroit Theory Legion
  • Hashigo Zake Staffie Series Moalland
  • Te Aro Oatmeal Stout (handpump)
  • Te Aro Brewing Obligatory Pale Ale
  • Mata Rock n Red Ale
  • Wild & Woolly Tall Tosser


It’s nearly three years since a meeting at the 2014 World Beer Cup led to a shipment to New Zealand from the up-and-coming Virginia brewery called Adroit Theory. The highlight of that shipment was a collaboration between local brewer Graeme Mahy and Adroit Theory called Legion. It was a big strong stout, fermented with a Belgian yeast and spiced with Horopito.

One of the last kegs anywhere of this beer is on tap right now and it has aged absolutely beautifully.

Meanwhile in a first for us, Te Aro Oatmeal Stout is on handpump!

Hopstock Planning

Plans are progressing nicely for this year’s Hopstock, which is on just the other side of Easter, in about three weeks. Tickets for organised tours of outlets will be going on sale soon.

Perhaps this is a good time to briefly ponder what makes Hopstock special.

Hopstock is a celebration of new beers that have been made with some portion of unprocessed, fresh-off-the-bine hops.

The challenge to brewers of using wet hops is deceptively difficult. Since hops are beer’s chief seasoning, the prospect of using fresh ones sounds exciting. The reality is that brewers get one shot a year at using an ingredient that comes without the customary technical information, that must be used at 5-10 times the usual volume for the same effect and that is decaying in front of their eyes. What’s more the actual benefits of using wet hops aren’t all that well understood. Because while the characteristics of individual hop varieties are well documented, it’s hard to find anyone who’ll stick their neck out and describe the effects of wet hops on a beer. The closest thing to a consensus is that wet hops make a beer more “green” and “oily”.

This uncertainty about what the beers will be like has clearly not dampened the enthusiasm of consumers, as Hopstock keeps growing in popularity.

One of the attractions of Hopstock may be its appeal to Wellington’s older beer lovers, who remember the custom from around 15 years ago of the festival previously known as BrewNZ, when breweries from outside Wellington (and breweries invariably were from outside Wellington) teamed with bars that became their “headquarters”. The opportunity to taxi from bar to bar trying beers that otherwise never made it to Wellington really was novel and exciting.

And yet some of those bars acting as brewery headquarters were unlikely venues for a high-brow pub crawl. Quite a few were kind of corporate or at least not what you’d call strongholds of small brewing and those of us turning up asking for unusual beers didn’t really feel at home. Truth be told, many of them were probably only involved because they were encouraged to by the Beer, Wine and Spirits Council.

Now in 2017’s Hopstock there will be 22 beers at 22 bars. (2013’s inaugural Hopstock consisted of eight beers at twelve bars.) And therein lies what might be the real beauty of Hopstock. Because in 2017 these venues need no arm-twisting to put on unpredictable beers by small, independent brewers. These are venues that would happily serve beer from their Hopstock brewer any other week of the year. So arguably Hopstock is as much a celebration of Wellington’s rapidly maturing circuit of quality beer bars.

And speaking of Wellington's beer outlets, this week we welcomed two initiates to the very special club of venues that have been well and truly baptised by firefighters. We wish them a satisfactory investigation into the fires’ causes and a comprehensive insurance payout.

New in the Fridge!

The first release by local lads Graphic Brewing has been on tap quite a few times. We can now add that Hashigo Zake is the first (and so far only) Wellington bar stocking Origin Story in its magnificent canned form.

They might have appeared sooner but there was a delay receiving the semi-transparent can labels that give these their vibrant colour-on-aluminium look.

These beauties are a full 440ml in volume and cost $14 over the bar (or even less to take away with you).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23, 2017

Cucumbers and Beer - A Comprehensive History

Pliny the Elder has almost mythical status in the beer world on account of being credited for first identifying and naming the hop plant.

But his friend and Roman Emperor Tiberius was a massive fan of the cucumber. Pliny recorded that Tiberius had his kitchen-gardeners build what were the ancient equivalent of green houses so he could eat cucumber as part of every meal regardless of the season.

(We couldn’t find a picture of Tiberius with a cucumber, but here is one of him with Centurion Picard.)

Now if Tiberius hadn’t been so obsessed with getting boozed on wine then perhaps, with Pliny's help, beer, cucumbers and hops could have been combined long ago.

It took no fewer than two millennia before cucumbers and hops were brought together in a style of German beer that had been on the verge of extinction just a few years earlier – the Berliner Weisse. But given the contempt that the ancient Romans held Germans and beer in, we shouldn’t be surprised that the opportunity was missed all those years ago.


Live in the Lounge

Saturday sees the return of surf rock exponents the Vincent Vega Trio.

Often when the Vincent Vega Trio are booked to play at Hashigo Zake, they make up a new poster, generally based on an old movie poster built around an image of a scantily clad young woman in a pose that…  reflects the mores of a different era.

Here’s the one they sent us this time. It’s relatively mild so we have fewer reservations about this one. It’s based on the poster of a 1971 British movie called Creatures the World Forgot. The French title for the same film was “Violence et Sexe Aux Temps Prehistoriques”. So maybe that’s the theme for Saturday night’s performance – “Violence and Sex in Prehistoric Times”.

You’ve been warned. No cover charge, from 9:30.

Cucumber Hippy

The 8 Wired brewing company was launched at about the same time as Hashigo Zake in late 2009. When their second beer, Hopwired IPA, was first released around Christmas that year, we and a lot of other people really took notice and their place as one of New Zealand’s most adventurous and promising breweries was confirmed. In the seven and a bit years since we’ve lost none of our enthusiasm for 8 Wired and their dedication to continually pushing boundaries while maintaining incredibly high standards.

So when 8 Wired’s down to earth founder Søren Eriksen refers to a new release as a game changer it’s probably worth paying attention. That release is the canned version of Cucumber Hippy - a spin-off of their hoppy Berliner Weisse called Hippy Berliner.

While Cucumber Hippy has been appearing on tap occasionally for over a year now, putting it into 440ml cans is a dramatic move by 8 Wired. To celebrate, this Saturday, we’ll have it available to buy – or maybe even score for free - in cans. But to give it full honours we’ll have a couple of its siblings on tap as well – the original Hippy Berliner and Cascara Hippy Berliner.

And to turn Saturday into a true celebration of the Cucumber, we’ll have a food special in the form of BBQ Brisket & BBQ Jackfruit tacos served on corn tortillas with cucumber slaw, salsa verde, sour cream, fresh coriander, and a slice of lime.

Our recommendation for Saturday? Come in for Cuba Dupa and at the first sign of rain duck for cover, a taco and a cucumber hippy.

On Tap Now

  • Cassels & Sons Alchemist Pale Ale (handpump)
  • Cassels & Sons Best Bitter (handpump)
  • Modern Times Blazing World IPA
  • Oskar Blues G'knight Imperial RIPA
  • Hashigo Zake Staffie Series Island Hopper
  • Hashigo Sake Staffie Series Moalland
  • Garage Project Pils 'n' Thrills
  • Baird Suruga Bay IIPA
  • Mike's Taranaki IPA
  • Almanac Wakatu Sour
  • Hashigo Zake Staffie Series Whare Pango


Did we mention how pleased we are with how our trio of Staffie Series/Modern Times clone beers came out? Seriously they're fresh and delicious and there's one keg only of each.

Almanac have announced that they won't be exporting kegged beer any more. Now they implemented this policy once before and then changed their minds, so we hope that this isn't final. But the supply of kegs of their hoppy sour series is dwindling and we believe that this is the last keg of the Wakatu version in New Zealand.

New in the Fridge!

Look out for the latest releases under the name There Be Dragons. This is the brand of globetrotting beer and winemaker Mike Kush. As part of his annual stint in Central Otago he brews a red ale that incorporates some Pinot Noir juice and puts it in barrels until his next visit.

His latest releases are the 2015 vintage of his beer, which he calls Chasing Harvest, and the blend across multiple vintages called Royal Blood.

Both come in 500ml bottles costing $21.50.

New Release Tuesday - Wild & Woolly/Craftwork Collab Edition

Michael and Lee-Ann from Craftwork have been in Wellington a few times lately and took the opportunity to work with Wild & Woolly on a beer called Cœur de Cerise. Here's the official description:
this beer is a sour cherry and lavender Saison.  The lavender came from W&W brewer Llew's garden in Wellington, while Lee-Ann from Craftwork provided the cherries.  The name comes from the fact that a relatively small quantity of cherries (5kg in 200L of beer) were used, but the beer was left on them for several weeks, thus giving them little cherry colour or fruit flavour, but definite marzipan-y notes that come from the cherry pits.  The NRT keg is only 20L, one of two produced (the other will head down to Oamaru.)  The remainder of the beer will be part of W&W's first ever bottle release in a few weeks time, packaged in 750ml bottles condioned with Brettanomyces for an even more interesting experience as it ages.
Cœur de Cerise is keg conditioned and 4.5% ABV.

But Wait, There's More!

The resourceful Llew Bardecki has another new beer to put on tap alongside Cœur de Cerise. It's called That Tall Tosser. Take it away Llew..:
A table beer whose primary ferment was done with Brettanomyces Clausenii.  This brew was made from leftover wort from W&W's bitter, Badger Me, and once again only one 20L keg was produced for NRT.  It was also the yeast starter for the Brett used in bottle conditioning Coeur de Cerise.  Often primary ferment Brett beers have very little of the funky, barnyard-y aromas that come from secondary fermentation with Brett, but there are definite notes of them here, along with some grass and light fruity aromas from the hops and yeast.  The name is a tip of the hat to the designer of the Badger Me tap badge, as it was his original suggestion for the name of that beer.
That Tall Tosser is 3.5% ABV.

Both beers go on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

New Release Extravaganza

Next week we take New Release Tuesday to new levels, with an unprecedented three beer, in-person homage to San Diego’s Modern Times. Confused?

Modern Times head brewer Matt Walsh is back in New Zealand. In fact, as this is being written, he’s visiting a certain much-loved Nelson brewery to collaborate on a beer. On Tuesday we’ll have him on the premises and we hope he’ll give his seal of approval to no fewer than three beers, made specially at The Occasional Brewer by our very own staff, and based on versions of their own recipes that Modern Times make available.


Saturday Bottle Pour

On Saturday we’re continuing the theme of this week’s not so new release, in that we’re seeing off the dwindling supply of beer from Rogue. There are still a few cases around of Rogue’s Honey Kölsch and there’s the odd bottle of their Oregon Single Malt Whisky (ocean aged for an extravagant three months). We thought this combo would be ideal for a boilermaker. So this week’s bottle pour is a first for us, in that customers will walk away with two glasses, one of which won’t contain beer.

For those who don’t know, Rogue’s Honey Kölsch is one of their ‘Rogue Farms” beers, which means that most or all of the ingredients, including the honey, come from their own farms. Plus the beer is in one of Rogue’s beloved painted 750ml bottles, meaning it’s destined to become a collector’s item.

On Tap Now

  • Modern Times City of the Sun IPA
  • Eagle Brewing Coalface Stout
  • North End E.S.B (Handpump)
  • NOMAD Freshie Salt & Pepper Gose
  • Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils
  • Mike's One More Pale Ale
  • 8 Wired Milou
  • Graphic Origin Story Citrus APA
  • Rogue XS Imperial Stout 2014
  • North End Yellow Eye Anglo IPA (Handpump)
  • North End Yellow Eye Anglo IPA

St Patricks Day

We could scramble to find a stout to offer tomorrow, St Patrick’s Day, but that would be kind of pointless. At the time of writing we have both Eagle Coalface Stout and Rogue Imperial Stout on tap, and they’re likely to still be going tomorrow. And Coalface will be replaced by 8 Wired Big Smoke. Oh and we have 20 bottled beers that are either stouts or imperial stouts. Not to mention a few porters.

What we will be offering is a food special in the form of an Irish Beef Stew, made with Northend Iron Sands Stout.

Coming Soon

Look out for :-
  • Te Aro Seven of Diamonds. Here's what the brewery say about their latest release: "4.3% NZ Pale Ale. Clean, refreshing and sessionable. Perfect for this extended summer we have been having." Everyone's a comedian.
  • Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale. Second chance time! Oskar Blues' flagship beer returns soon.


“the act of forbidding something”
Last weekend some news emerged that shocked and concerned us here at Hashigo Zake and even more so at our importing arm Beer Without Borders. It was announced that production at one of our favourite overseas breweries – Speakeasy - was stopping immediately, while the bank that loaned Speakeasy a ton of money to expand decides what to do. It looks as though the chances of saving the brand and the brewery aren’t quite as low as zero, but to have got this far things must be pretty desperate.
So like Rogue, New Zealand’s supply of Speakeasy beer is dwindling. (It’s just as well Oskar Blues have emerged to fill the gap.) And one of Speakeasy’s best is their amber ale Prohibition. We’ll be putting one of the last kegs in the country on tap shortly.

Live in the Lounge

Live music takes this Saturday off but Vincent Vega Trio will bring surf rock on Saturday the 25th.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

We're Legal

Hashigo Zake has not one, but two liquor licences - one each for on- and off-premise sales. This week both of them were renewed.

Same hours as before, no new conditions.

Not So New Release Tuesday

Every now and then we throw away the imaginary NRT rulebook and put on something decidedly old. Next Tuesday our "release" will be what is probably the last keg in New Zealand of the legendary Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout.

Back in 2009 the Rogue XS range included probably the most extreme beers that we could put on sale. They came in austere but handsome 750ml ceramic bottles and because the Imperial Stout packed some of the most concentrated flavours we’d ever come across, it was our ultimate finishing beer. Apparently the ABV on this is 11%, but back then we were convinced it was higher.

The keg we have is nearly three years old, but (naturally) it’s been kept cold all that time, so we’re expecting that time will have done little to change the beer except, perhaps, help its intense flavours meld just a little more.

Plus we get to use this amazing tap handle one last time.

It goes on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

SOBA Awards Reminder

After seven and a half years of trading we’re still incredibly grateful to SOBA and its members for their patronage, and for the fact that there’s a society whose aim is to promote attitudes to beer and the beer business that are kind of similar our own.

So it’s a genuine pleasure to get to host their annual presentation of awards resulting from SOBA’s 2016 membership survey. That takes place in our lounge at 2pm on Saturday. We encourage any SOBA members reading this to come down and enjoy what should be a pretty social sort of a prizegiving. There will be some perks being given away randomly and we’ve got a hand in at least one of those.

Tasting Delayed

Our planned tasting (with guest appearance via Skype) of Oskar Blues beer hasn't quite been confirmed yet. It's frustrating for all concerned but we hope to have this nailed very soon.

On Tap Now

* Modern Times Blazing World IPA
* Eagle Brewing Coalface Stout
* Beer Baroness Danger Lass
* Mikes Full Nelson IPA
* Wild & Woolly Little Brown Kiwi (hand pump)
* Deep Creek Long White Cloudy
* Modern Times Mega Fortunate Islands
* Cassels & Sons Milk Stout (hand pump)
* Baylands Party Pils
* Deep Creek Passionfruit Berliner
* Kakariki Beer Company Thirst Aid


  • Way back in 2011 the beer that made Wellington drinkers sit up and take notice of Cassels and Sons was their Milk Stout. There were few if any milk stouts (stouts that get extra body and sweetness from the non-fermentable sugar lactose) on the NZ market back then and this beer did well at awards and won over drinkers. It's on hand pump at the moment.
  • Making its first appearance since the arrival of fresh stock from California is Modern Times Blazing World, their Nelson Sauvin-imbued amber ale that is so dank and bracing that it's often mistaken for an IPA.
  • Also from Modern Times, and still on tap after being this week's new release, is Mega Fortunate Islands, their hoppy wheat scaled up to an Imperial IPA.

Coming Soon

Look out for :-

  • Northend Yellow Eye. The Waikanae brewery's new sorta English IPA, which will be on tap and on handpump - maybe even simultaneously.
  • Oskar Blues IPA. This wasn't part of the range that we launched Oskar Blues with a fortnight ago, so this will be new to us on tap.
  • 8 Wired - a new shipment of 8 Wired will be with us any moment, including Hopwired, Big Smoke, Tall Poppy and Milou (a new Belgian session beer).

Live in the Lounge

Live music returns on Saturday in the form of Chocolate Thunder. In the words of either the band or our booker:
A sensuous jazz, funk, soul and fusion maelstrom that strikes without mercy where you least expect it. Sheer groovemanship to make your body move and your flowers blossom. Gird your loins, people!

- Conway Jeune - Guitar, excellent vibes
- Bryn van Vliet - Saxophones, Vocoder, Wind Chimes
- Makura Tomoana - Bass
- Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa - Drums

HopStock 2017

HopStock 2017 takes place next month, during the week after Easter. April 19-24, to be precise.

For those who don't know, it's when Wellington bars showcase one beer each from 20 or so brewers who have made beers with fresh, unkilned hops.

In last week's ballot Hashigo Zake and Baylands Brewery were drawn together, which we're pretty pleased with.

Anyone following the facebook accounts of certain Welington brewers will know that there has been some added drama this year regarding the way the hops have been shipped. No doubt it will all sort itself out but it's adding a little frisson to build up.

Stay tuned for more info.

Off Premise

As mentioned above, Hashigo Zake has our own off-licence, meaning that until 11pm we can sell products from our range for you to take away. Takeaway sales are at a discount to bar prices.

We also have the Cult Beer Store - our online store enabling delivery anywhere in New Zealand. The Cult Beer Store features absolutely no grey market beer, and all stock is stored cold. So you can shop with confidence.

You can even click and collect - shop on the Cult Beer Store and collect from Hashigo Zake.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 2nd, 2017

Superbowl LI

Something changes when you watch major sporting events while in a neutral country. The ugly, tribal aspects of sports-watching can be dispensed with. Instead spectators take more genuine pleasure in the sport and the occasion and competing supporters seem to get on better when they’re in a neutral place.

It’s apparent when you see New Zealanders and Australians watching a trans-Tasman rugby test in a third country.

And this effect may be why we always find screening the Superbowl very enjoyable. It’s unlikely that the self-esteem of anyone joining us on Monday afternoon will depend on the outcome of the game. A gloom won’t descend on the homes and workplaces of supporters of the losing side. Instead everyone can just enjoy the spectacle, the sense of occasion, possibly some athleticism and drama and the fact that it’s a holiday.

Oh yeah – did we mention the holiday? Once again America’s biggest sporting event lands in the middle of the afternoon on a New Zealand holiday.

To help turn Superbowl into a festival of civil sports-watching we’re reaching into our repertoire of great comfort food and comfort beer. In a nod to the host city of Houston, there’ll be both beef and vegan chillies, served with sour cream, corn chips, cheese and white onion. There will also be hot dogs, chilli dogs and pulled buns (with pork, chicken or jackfruit).

On the taps we’ll have the last keg in New Zealand of Modern Times’ wonderful, Mosaic-accented IPA called Orderville. We've also found a keg of Modern Times Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit. We’ll have many people’s favourite amber ale in the form of Speakeasy Prohibition. And we’ll have Speakeasy’s luxurious Imperial IPA Double Daddy.

We’ve also learned that the Atlanta Falcons are sometimes known as the Dirty Birds, so we’ll be doing specials on bottles of Pelican’s Red IPA called Dirty Bird. There will also be specials on Pelican Umbrella, Coronado Islander, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Karl Strauss Tower 10 and Rogue Shakespeare Stout.

For the record, Superbowl LI (51) is on Monday the 6th and we think that kick-off is at 12:30pm our time, although with all the ceremony it's sometimes difficult to tell.

We'll be doing our best to blend ESPN/Sky's broadcast of the game with a feed off the web of the advertising, including Budweiser's latest attempt to offend consumers of the breweries that they've been buying out.

It's being staged at NRG Stadium in Houston and the Atlanta Falcons play the New England Patriots.

Here's a little in-joke about what happened the last time the Patriots contested the Superbowl.

On Tap Now

  • Modern Times Aurora Red Rye IPA
  • GP/Mata/Kereru/Tiamana Banaenae
  • Freigeist/NØGNE Ø Best Brewjob Ever
  • Townshend BlitzGreig IPA
  • Te Aro Fred's US IPA
  • To Øl Frostbite APA
  • Mikes Hopstock & Two Smokin Barrels
  • Twisted Hop Nokabollokov
  • Townshend Old House ESB
  • Tiamana Pilski
  • Tiamana Quincee Jones Gose


There's still a rare chance to enjoy the legendary Frostbite, To Øl's pine needle and orange peel infused APA.

And the beer that won the voting in last night's tasting happens to be on tap right now. that's Freigist's surprisingly smokey Imperial Alt beer called The Best Brewjob Ever. (We aren't fans of the name.)

At the moment we're continuing to work through many of the not so conventional beers of Denmark's To Øl and Germany's Freigeist. In the queue to come on is To Øl's Sur Amarillo, which was one of the hits of last night's To Øl/Freigeist tasting. It's a kettle soured IPA packed with juicy Amarillo hops.

And returning soon, after its appearance a couple of Fridays ago, is the radical Freigeist Pfefferkorner, which is so peppery it's thought to induce sneezing.

Waitangi Day

We'll be open as usual with absolutely no public holiday surcharge. (Does that still even exist?)

And as mentioned nearby, we'll be spicing things up in the afternoon with our screening of Superbowl.


New Release Tuesday

To Øl's Sur Amarillo is mentioned elsewhere here. Another in their series of sour mashed hoppy pale ales is Sur Simcoe. It came as a surprise to us that we hadn't had this beer before, having worked through Sur Citra, Sur Amarillo, Sur Galaxy and one or two others already.

Sur Simcoe is classified as a "session IPA", being just 4.5%. And the only hop in it is the pungent, sometimes sweaty and much loved cornerstone of many an-American IPA - Simcoe. We expect earthy deliciousness.

New Bottles!

Finally, new bottles from To Øl, Freigeist and The Monarchy have reached our fridges. Some of these were in last night's tasting. But not all were, so regardless, we all have homework to do. And remember - 20% off for takeaways.

To Øl Totem Pale Ale 
2.2% Gluten Reduced Pale Ale / $10

To Øl Brett & Butter
3.6%  Bretted Table Beer / $10

To Øl Gose to Hollywood 
3.8%  Gose w/oranges / $11.5

To Øl Santa Gose F&#%! It All 
4% Gose w/ Passionfruit, Guava, and Mango / $10

To Øl Ginie in  a Bottle
4.2% Gin-Inspired Gose / $10

To Øl Surt Til
5% Sour Mashed Table Beer (750ml) / $30

To Øl Surt Til Hibiscus & Cran
5% Sour Mashed w/Hibiscus & Cranberries / $18

To Øl Sur Yule
5.4% Sour Mashed Winter Pale Ale with Cherries / $12

Freigeist Miss Florida 
5.5% IPA w/Oranges, Citrus, & Blood Orange  / $13

To Øl  Frost Bite
6% Winter Pale Ale w/Orange Peel & Pine / $12

To Øl Sur Galaxy
7% Dry Hopped Sour Black IPA / $14

To Øl Sur Amarillo
7.5% Sourmashed IPA / $14

To Øl F%$^ Art Winter Is Coming
8% Tripel w/Cardamom, Coriander, & Orange (750ML) / $35

Freigeist Mango Unchained
9% Mango Gose Eisbock / $28

The Monarchy Methusalem Holunderheimer
10% Imperial Altbier w/Elderberry / $18

To Øl Shameless Santa 
10% Belgian Strong Ale (750ml) / $36

To Øl Jule Maelk
15% Imperial Sweet Stout w/Lactose / $25