Craft Beer College
After a successful run of tastings in 2012, as well as this year's "Faux Craft" tastings, the Craft Beer Wānanga are bringing back their original curriculum for a run of Saturday afternoon tastings on our very own premises. The first is on March 9. We wholeheartedly endorse CBC's work and encourage anyone wanting some tutoring with their beer drinking to head along to http://www.craftbeercollege.co.nz/Coming-Up.html for full details on how to participate.
New Release Liberty
Next week's new release is courtesy of Liberty. It's called Midnight and it's a double oatmeal stout. It will be one of the last new beers to come out of the suburban New Plymouth garage that was the first Liberty Brewery. As usual it will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday. In the words of the brewer (who rarely holds back if he's pleased with his results), "it's beautiful beer".
A portion of the batch is currently aging in a barrel and will be released as Midnight Deluxe in a little while.
Music on Saturday
Our music on Saturday night comes from travelling acoustic singer/songwriter Bryce Wastney. It should be some contrast with last Saturday's blues. As always it's a 10pm start and no cover charge.
Today's the last official day of summer (depending whose arbitrary determination of these things you go by) and in anticipation of plummeting temperatures we've got some enormous stouts lined up. One was announced above, being Liberty's Midnight. As well we'll have Moo Brew Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, which has been resting in our cool store since last year's Beervana, and Left Coast's Voodoo Stout.
What's Going On?
With the Great Kiwi Beer Festival behind us we don't have so much news of our own this week. But it looks as though New Zealand's brewing industry has a hydro lake's worth of news and the dam is about to burst. As hinted above, we know that Liberty's 300L brewery will be moving to a new home soon. But the air is thick with rumours at the moment and they relate to transactions between large and small breweries. The aggressive buying programmes of Lion, DB and (In)dependent Liquor may be about to bear fruit, although if you believe one rumour that's already in the public domain one of those may find itself being sold and merged with one of the others anyway.
All of which creates the potential for a great dilemma for us at Hashigo Zake. Our business was founded by consumers who resented the lack of choice in Wellington bars - a situation that came about by design, not chance. We've done well by stocking the products of pretty much anyone but the two big breweries. But if those big breweries have their way New Zealand's best small, independent breweries won't be independent any more and if we want to keep stocking their product your and our spending will once again be going into the pockets of the duopolists.
Incidentally, and before we all get carried away with gloom, one of the rumours to come to our attention recently was of a late decision by one brewery not to go through with a partial sale.