A funny thing happened last Friday night. Just as we were getting nice and busy at around 6pm, it started raining in the lounge. The culprit was a pipe around two floors above us. By the time the flow was stopped the lounge had been decorated with around 200 litres of water.
After some desperate catching and mopping by staff (and one or two volunteers) the industrial drying gear arrived and by Saturday night we could re-open the room for Darren Watson's Underground Blues Band.
We're waiting to see if the water has inflicted any unseen damage but otherwise things are back to normal.
We apologise for the interruption to their socialising that occupants of the lounge suffered last Friday.
The Capital Times
We understand that the Capital Times is to cease publication. In our three and half years, Hashigo Zake has been mentioned favourably a few times in the newspaper's content and we have been happy to advertise, albeit occasionally, in its pages. We've also appreciated the fact that the publishers took beer and beer writing seriously by incorporating a regular beer column (most recently penned by Kieran Haslett-Moore). In fact Kieran was the first writer to discuss Hashigo Zake in print, for which we were extremely grateful.
So we are sad to hear that the newspaper is closing. We wish the staff and owners well. The Capital Times will be missed.
GABS stands for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular. It's probably the most ambitious beer festival in our part of the world, aiming to fill the inspiring Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne, with original beer and adventurous beer drinkers for three days in May. A Hashigo Zake delegation witnessed the festival from inside and out last year and can vouch for the lofty goals of the venture and the care and effort its organisers put in. Oh, and much of the beer was amazing.
Even though it's in Melbourne GABS takes the Australasian part of its name seriously and New Zealand breweries get a high profile. It's just a pity that's not reflected in their logo.
So we hereby endorse the festival to customers who might consider attending or even volunteering at. Yes Melbourne is a long way to go to donate labour and beer festivals don't generally have budget for subsidising air travel. There are perks for volunteers, not least of which is a ticket to the festival, but realistically this job is for people who get satisfaction from helping an ambitious venture in the promotion of quality beer and also helping to promote New Zealand beer in Australia.
The event consists of five sessions from May 24-26. Luckily volunteers are only expected to work at one of those. It's at the end of Melbourne's Good Beer Week (more about that below). Prospective volunteers should visit gabsfestival.com.au/volunteer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Beer Week
Good Beer Week takes place in Melbourne from May 18 to 26. It's a collection of mostly small events that collectively create an umbrella within which GABS and the Australian International Beer Awards look even more exciting.
We in New Zealand and Wellington in particular get quite smug about our place in the beer world. But in just three years Melbourne's Good Beer Week has created something that shames our attempts at building something similar here around the Brewers Guild Awards and Beervana.
Anyone considering attending or volunteering at GABS might consider flying over to Melbourne early to try and take part in some of the dinners and tastings. Details are at www.goodbeerweek.com.au/.
The Myele Manzanza Trio return for their second ever Hashigo Zake gig on Saturday night. Given that this young but over-achieving drummer and producer may just be the official "next big thing", it would make a lot of sense to come down and see him play without a cover charge in a small room while you still can.
Note that because of our requirement to close at midnight on Saturday, we're bringing this gig forward half an hour. So it's 9:30pm-11:30pm.
Easter Trading Hours
We're obliged to close on three and a half days a year, and two of them are this week :- Good Friday and Easter Sunday. While we believe that being a hospitality business means being open as regularly and reliably as possible, this is one cause we won't be martyrs for. And no-one's going to believe us if we pretend to be a restaurant. So we close tonight at midnight and reopen on Saturday, then close at midnight on Saturday and reopen on Monday.
Oh and we also believe that being in hospitality means not penalising our customers for the Holidays Act, so there will be no surcharges on Monday.
New Release Tuesday
Garage Project have a new beer for us next Tuesday. In fact it's so new it doesn't have a name yet. It will be a small keg only of a highly experimental beer made with Chinese New Year in mind, but not quite ready when that came around. It's made with red rice, lotus and chrysanthemum flowers and conditioned on wolfberries.
No we don't make this stuff up. On tap from 5pm on Tuesday.