New Shipment #1
You wait months for some new imported beer to come along and then suddenly two shipments arrive at once.
First came a couple of pallets packed with bottles and kegs from our favourite Japanese brewery - Baird. As well as plenty of fresh examples of beers like Rising Sun Pale Ale, Angry Boy Brown Ale and Suruga Bay Imperial IPA, we've got a smattering of sensational seasonals, such as Shizuoka Natsumikan Ale and West Coast Wheat Wine.
But we've had the Natsumikan Ale and Wheat Wine before. What is truly new is the Wabi-Sabi Green Tea IPA. This is one of the more unusual and beguiling beers we've tried in a while. The green tea flavour is definitely present but it makes itself apparent in unpredictable ways. We thoroughly recommend it to the open-minded.
Our fresh stock of Baird beer is available for sale in the bar from today.
New Shipment #2
Somewhere between Auckland and Wellington, and probably at sea, is our second ever container-load of Californian beer. This means that fresh stocks of Green Flash, Bear Republic and Coronado Brewing will be on our shelves from next week. And taking the place of Ballast Point in this shipment is beer from Moylan's in Northern California. (We are hopeful of getting new stock from Ballast Point in a few months.)
Now our shipments are getting bigger and we're selling a higher proportion than ever to other outlets. This means we need to follow the letter of the regulations and put stickers on every bottle saying that we imported them and how many standard drinks are in each bottle. Apparently if we keep putting labels on bottles saying how many "standard drinks" there are, eventually a generation will be born who actually stop and look at them.
All of which means it will be Tuesday or Wednesday of next week before the contents of this California shipment appear on our and other people's shelves.
The numbers who turned out last night to witness ParrotDog turning pro were, to be honest, a lot more than any of us bargained on. We thought we had enough beer to satisfy everyone who came last night and have more kegs waiting in the storeroom for us to rotate BitterBitch back on tap later in the week. Instead all 120 litres were gone in one hour and 36 minutes. More will follow next week.
It was an outstanding result for ParrotDog. In fact it was such a success that it begs for us to reflect and look for significance in the amazing turnout. There are, arguably, three possible explanations. The first is that the appetite in Wellington for beer from Wellington brewers or brewing companies is possibly even greater than any of us foresaw. The second is that Matt, Matt and, er... Matt simply have an awful lot of friends. The third is that BitterBitch is just that damned good.
We'll cop out and assume that all three are true.
Now hot on the heels of the ParrotDog launch comes a whole week of similar events, culminating in the BrewNZ Awards and Beervana.
Below is the lineup here at 25 Taranaki St. Note that the circumstances behind each individual launch vary somewhat. For instance Garage Project are launching with three beers but with volumes that are so low that we'll have to employ some kind of rationing. But we'll be doing our best to make it easy for everyone coming on each night to sample whatever beer or beers are being launched.
- The launch of 8 Wired Brewing's newest beer - a Belgian Quadruple called The Sultan, on Monday August 1st.
- The launch of new Wellington brewery Garage Project, with no fewer than three different beers - Trip Hop, Pernicious Weed (best beer name of 2011?) and Manuka Dark, on Tuesday August 2nd.
- The release of the 2011 version of Renaissance Brewery's Marlborough Pale Ale - their all Rakau-hopped Imperial IPA - on Wednesday August 3rd. As we did with last year's release, we've engineered this to coincide with Beervana Volunteers Night, which guarantees a particularly convivial event for those concerned.
- Finally we have a treat for lovers of American craft beer, with the first samplings of fresh draft beer from Moylan's Brewery in northern California. This is on Thursday August 4th. Look for a number of taps being given over to Moylan's, with a chance to buy glasses of all of them at a discount.
A New Tasting
Life will carry on after BrewNZ and Beervana. In fact we're keen to draw attention to our wonderful new container-full of California beer, and so we're already planning our first post-BrewNZ event. It's our second ever Hophead's Picnic - the tasting for unrehabilitated hopheads.
This year's will be the "California Edition". It will feature around eight (maybe more, maybe fewer) serious West Coast IPAs and Imperial IPAs. Go to http://www.cultbeerstore.co.nz/collections/tastings/products/hopheads-picnic-2011-california-edition for more information or to book.
In the Kegroom Today...
With a lot of out of town visitors arriving next week for BrewNZ (not to mention a sprinkling of South African rugby personalities here now), we thought we better ensure that over the next ten days or so we have as good a lineup of tap beers as can be mustered anywhere.
So as well as the beers being launched next week, look out for:
- 8 Wired Hopwired. Any qualification necessary?
- Renaissance Elemental - Australasia's best porter as a special treat for any Australian visitors.
- Extra treats for Hopheads: 8 Wired Superconductor, Yeastie Boys Motueka Warrior, Yeastie Boys Yakima Warrior and Epic Hop Zombie.
- Townshend Sutton Hoo in its cold, fizzy incarnation.
- From the rejuvenated Peak Brewery - Monkey Point IPA and Festival Bitter.
- A new batch of the sensational Liberty Taranaki Session Beer.
- From California, some Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout (plus whatever goodies we pick from the new shipment).
Two new bars of interest to us opened over the weekend. First was the Little Beer Quarter, a new bar concentrating on craft beer in the location of the former Watusi and (for those of us with longer memories) Tupelo. Those of us who wandered along on opening night were well impressed and wish them well.
We might be inclined to say that the recent flurry of new craft beer bars in Wellington confirms the city's status as New Zealand's Craft Beer Capital. Unfortunately by the time some of you read this that phrase may have been successfully trademarked by a group of people in another city. And no, this is not a hoax.
And much, much later that night - that is to say, it was still Saturday in Scotland - Hashigo Zake alumnus Chris Hogg was, we believe, on duty at the opening of the new Glasgow bar of Scottish brewery Brewdog. He may even have been serving 8 Wired beer out of a Hashigo Zake keg.
If Chris couldn't stay in Wellington, we're glad that he's found a worthy new gig.