The Australian International Beer Awards were judged several weeks ago and announced seven days ago in Melbourne. And not for the first time Blenheim's Renaissance Brewery did particularly well. In 2010 they came close to being named Champion Small Brewery, and the next year they won a trophy for Craftsman. This year they won a trophy for the 2011 vintage of Tribute Barley Wine and picked up enough medals of various colours for other beers to be named Champion Small International Brewery.
Now before we congratulate the brewery it's important to point out that when 2011 Tribute Barley Wine came out we knew it was an absolute cracker, and since Barley Wine is one beer style that should age reasonably well we went hard. So we still have plenty of bottles of this beer and one remaining keg, which won't go on tap for a while at least - maybe after another vintage or two so we can do a really good vertical tasting.
So after years of being the dark horses at awards shows it's great to see Renaissance walk away with a major prize. Congratulations to Brian, Andy, Matt and the rest of the owners and staff. It is well deserved.
Our mini-festival of beer launches and tastings continues this evening with the New Zealand launch of ParrotDog's BloodyDingo. After a little to-ing and fro-ing, we and the brewery have settled on a 6pm start time. There will be quite a few complimentary servings going around. We're confident you'll all feel the need to buy another glass.
If the 6pm start time is throwing anyone's plans into disarray we encourage you to head over to Golding's Free Dive at 5pm to witness the official launch of not only a beer, but a brewery - Baylands Brewery.
As for BloodyDingo, we can confirm that it's a big, rich hoppy Imperial Red IPA that was tasting, well, bonza at GABS last weekend. It's a not-to-be-taken-lightly 7.7%. We can also confirm that some, all or fewer of the three Matts will be on the premises tonight for the launch.
We've been enjoying offering Rogue's Dead Guy Whiskey as part of our top shelf. It's now been joined by some other Rogue spirits:
- Single Malt Whiskey, made from Risk™ malt grown at their own farm (where the ingredients for Chatoe Rogue beers are also grown).
- Hazelnut Spice Rum, made with Hawaiian cane sugar and a mouthwatering list of spices and fruits.
- Dark Rum.
These have joined our range of standard house spirits. We're also able to sell them by the bottle for takeaway during the hours that our off-licence applies.
This weekend the Tony Mad Trio return to play Texas boogie. That's in the Lounge from 10pm with nil cover charge.
Next week the lounge becomes a jazz venue and not just for one night. As part of the Wellington Jazz festival we have music in the lounge late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Here's the lineup:
- Thursday June 6, Roger Sellers. 9:30pm.
- Friday June 7, Tessa Q and the Nick Granville Trio. 10pm.
- Saturday June 8, James Illingworth Trio. 11pm.
Big Bad Wolf and Us
Judging by feedback received so far, last night's tasting of Charcuterie and Beer Pairings with Big Bad Wolf might just have been the greatest event of its kind ever. Perhaps that's an exaggeration but it was sufficiently well received and popular that we're running an encore. It will be on the afternoon of June 30, which, for a change, is a Sunday.
Bookings will be essential and can be made at our web store or over the bar.
New Release Tuesday
Next week's new release will be the first new beer - for us anyway - in some time from Northern California's Bear Republic. It's called Rebellion, a single hop IPA. In this case the single hop happens to be Columbus.
It will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.
New in Bottles
We just took delivery of a few new bottles from Melbourne's Moon Dog. They are:
- Mr Mistoffelees - barrel-aged, sour, mango/passionfruit beer.
- Nordic Saddle Buffer - shiraz and pinot-barrel aged English barley wine.
- Lando Kardashian - Belgian IIIPA.
And any day - probably tomorrow in fact - we'll have the second bottled beer from Funk Estate.