Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:29

Cucumber Newcomer

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, 16 March 2017 15:14

Tolerance and Prohibition

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, 09 March 2017 13:16

The New Old

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, 29 September 2016 15:44

Fortunate Islands & Footy

Fortunate Islands Two Ways

Making fruit infused beer properly is a pain the arse. I can understand why the majority of 'fruited' IPAs use fruit essences, using real fruit is a hell of a lot harder to scale up. While visiting New Zealand last year, Modern Times head brewer Matt Walsh told us about the ridiculous amount of time it took to zest thousands of grapefruit for the amazing Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit Zest. He swore (I think it was the f-word) that they would never ever make that beer again. Luckily for us Matt wasn't true to his word - with the latest US shipment Grapefruit Fortunate Islands has returned!This Tuesday we're tapping 2016 Grapefruit Fortunate Islands at 5pm. We thought it would be fun to have the standard Fortunate Islands on next to it, so we'll tap a keg of that at 5 as well! We'll serve both in 200ml TeKu, 300ml Fancy and 473ml US Pints so you can choose how

Aussie Rules, Aussie Beers & Mince Pies

This Saturday is the biggest event on the Aussie sporting calendar - the AFL Grand Final. The Sydney Swans have yet again made the final, with Western Bulldogs also making it in - for the first time since 1961. The game kicks off at 4.30pm and will be accompanied by some amazing Aussie brewers on tap. We'll have: - Stone & Wood Pacific Ale (4.4%, classic thirst quencher) - N.O.M.A.D. Without a Paddle (5.8%, delicious Kriek from GABS) - Akasha Iago's Revenge(9.8%, Imperial Black IPA from GABS) For the authentic AFL experience we'll even serve up some classic stadium mince pies for a special price. Well, they'll be served like a stadium mince pie: in a bag with a squeezy tomato sauce. The filling will be a little classier, with angus beef mince cooked in 8 Wired Batch 2.18 Imperial Stout. If you're not familiar with the rules of Aussie rules, there will be plenty of authentic Australians around to explain them to you. So come on down at 4, grab a pie and stake out a spot.

JB3 & Special Guests

This Saturday at 9pmJB3 bring the Boogaloo and New Orleans Funk to the HZ lounge. JB3 are Jake Baxendale, Shaun Anderson & Daniel Hayles - but this weekend they've got friends in Welly for a different gig. And they'll be joining in as well. So you get six for the price of three - and that price is free!

The VPs Duke it Out

Thanks to everyone who came down for Tuesday's very... interesting presidential debate. We had a packed house and thankfully the stream only dropped once just before things got underway. RNZ even sent a reporter down and interviewed a couple of ex-pat attendees. We think John Campbell did a pretty good job of pronouncing our name. The next debate may not be as entertaining, as it is between two politicians - Vice Presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. It probably won't attract the same crowd, but we'll still be showing the VP debate Wednesday from 2pm for anyone interested.

Weekly PBE Digest

This week saw PBE beer announcements local and overseas, new and old. Here's what's been shared this week over on the PBE Facebook page in case you missed them.
Our first Vintage Keg Announcement: This Imperial Brown Ale has been aging nicely at Beer Without Borders coolstore since 2014 and will be released for PBE16! From Austrailian brewery Nail Brewing, this batch of Hughe Dunn (named in honour of WA brewing guru Hugh Dunn) won a trophy and a medal at Australian's International Beer Awards and is described by the brewer as: "a deeply brown beer with tonnes of creamy caramel, chocolate and nut aromas" coming in at 8%ABV. We're excited to welcome Mount Brewing Co. from Mt. Maunganui to this year's PBE! They will be debuting Crimson Tide, an American Amber Ale. This red ale is brewed with a generous amount of Columbus, Amarillo, and Nelson Sauvin. Another from Nomad Brewing Co. coming to PBE16 is Freshie Salt & Pepper Gose. Here's their story on Freshie: The brain child of Leo and Brooks while sitting staring out at the beautiful ocean off Freshwater Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The ocean mist and its fantastic smell had to be somehow put into a beer, so why not add sea water directly to the beer. Hold up, don't they add salt to Goses in Germany??!! Traditionally Goses are slightly tart, savory and spicy (coriander), and light in body and ABV. We tried to get as close as possible to tradition as far as malts, yeast, and salt dosage but obviously gave it our very own Nomad twist by adding the sea water and Tasmanian pepper." Brewed for their 1st Birthday, The Laboratory is bringing a cask of their Double Dodo, Imperial Brown Ale to PBE16! This cask conditioned real ale is both rich and nutty, a bit stronger and a bit more hoppy. Llew from Wild and Woolly Brewing is bringing a little bit of Mexico to PBE16: introducing Chelonii Verde! "Chelonii Verde is a chelada, a Mexican beer cocktail. Tart, savoury and lightly spicy it's flavoured with lime juice, a hint of chili and a variety of umami-rich seasonings. Pleasantly refreshing, it's just the thing to cleanse the palate in between hefty festival beers or enjoy a glass of in the (hopefully) sunny outdoor seating areas." Yeastie Boys are remixing one of their signature beers, Pot Kettle Black into Pale Kettle Black for PBE16. Essentially it's "that lovable rogue PKB but without the chocolate or roasted malt." The lovable rogue Stu McKinlay models what could be the new label art. That's all of this week's announcements, keep an eye on the PBE page for more daily updates. But we'll chronicle them here next week if FB ain't your thing. It's looking more like a sell-out PBE each week, keep an eye out for some eye-catching posters around town soon. Get your tickets here before it's too late.
Thursday, 22 September 2016 17:17

Make Real Ale Great Again

The Democalypse Begins

The US presidential election has so far been... interesting to say the least. Next Tuesday they kick into a higher gear, with the first of three presidential debates. Seeing the different debating styles of Clinton and Drumpf Trump go head to head will almost certainly be spectacular. The timing for all of the debates works out fairly well for us, with all debates happening at 2pm New Zealand time. So we'll be screening them live from 2pm - 3:30pm, starting on Tuesday. Take a long lunch and join us for some democracy. Here's the full schedule: Sept 27th, 2pm: Presidential Debate #1 October 5th, 2pm: Vice Presidential Debate October 10th, 2pm: Presidential Debate #2 (town hall style) October 20th, 2pm: Presidential Debate #3We'll be showing all of them live - probably only time our TVs will be tuned to Fox News.

NRT Gets Real

Aidan from Baylands recently went to Christchurch, and collaborated with Jim Holly of Twisted Hop. Together they created a cask conditioned American Brown Ale, for the Twisted Hop's recent 'Firkin Fest' (which sounded awesome - 15 beers on cask). Their creation has been dubbed "Brown is the New Black" and features the increasingly rare US hops Citra and Amarillo. We're getting out the mallet and tapping a 20L cask at 5pm this Tuesdayand serving it through one of our handpumps. Get in!

Te Aro Imperial Stout-Off

It's impressive that Te Aro Brewing have managed to fit a 1000L brewery in the limited space available out the back of Brewtopia. Even more impressive is the fact that they squeezed in a small but excellent barrel aging programme going on, and we've got their first bottled releases available now. This Saturday we'll be pouring the two big hitters from the initial release side by side: Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Chocolate Stout (12%) & Uncle Tom's Bourbon Barrel Stout (10.5%) Grab a 150ml pour of each for $12.5 this Saturday only.

Weekly PBE Digest

This year Choice Bros. are bringing "SUPER HELDEN": "A super version of our standard Pilsner ‘Helden’ - Hoppy New World German Pilsner with secondary fermentation using a private bug blend from Portland, Oregon. Something that would piss off the Germans." And from Nomad, their award-winning Long Trip Saison: "Combination of pale and wheat malts, with the addition into the mash of a special variety of coffee beans from a local specialist roaster. European and American hops then get combined with some fantastic unique Australian ingredients, like wattle seeds added at the end of the boil. Our aim is to create a dry, clean and very sessionable Saison, with hints of coffee, citrus and spice.." North End Brewing are releasing a new Barrel-Aged beer from the Salt & Wood range at PBE16. Introducing: La Voile Noir "La Voile Noir (or Dark Veil) is a blend of three different base beers aged and given secondary fermentation in our wood cellar. The result is a dark funky barrel aged beer loosely in the Saison tradition." Our good friends Kereru from the Upper Hutt are brewing something new for PBE16: Guava Weisse "A refreshing kettle soured Berliner Weisse with loads of guava puree" Outlier Cartel will be debuting a new American-style Fruit IPA named Punica & Herb on handpump at PBE. "Loosely based on an IPA, fermented to dryness by an english ale yeast with pomegranate molasses, NZ, and US hops and juicy goodness. Unfiltered but well conditioned" This year Craftwork Brewery is offering their Anniversaire 2016, a Barrel-aged Saison, with Brett and Redcurrants! "A red brett Saison, aged in a Pinot Noir barrel on Redcurrants, for 6 months. Sweet, tart and fruity. Keg conditioned" You maybe forgiven for thinking that is a large coffee pot sitting in a brewery, but it is the kit that il gufo is brewed on. il gufo (the owl) is a collab with Ninebarnyardowls and Nomad Brewing Co that was brewed in Sydney. It is "a 9% Belgian Style Sour Tripel finished in secondary with the addition of slurry taken from both NOMAD Wild Mongrel (Wild Fruit Ale) and NOMAD Without a Paddle (Kriek)." This keg is very limited, and will only be offered in small pours. Get your tickets soon - Saturday is getting close to selling out!

Hate, Love & Coffee

Haterade is back! Liberty and Hallertau got together again to recreate this Soured IIPA, last seen a couple years ago. Haterade isn't a sour beer as such, but has had a sour mash and contains a large percentage of acidulated malt. This clever brewing wizardry makes Haterade dry and super drinkable without making it thin.
Garage Project brewed Hatsukoi for their Tokyo Taphouse WOAP event, and have now released the leftover kegs. "Meaning "First love", Hatsukoi is a Japanese inspired pilsner, brewed with light malted barley and rice using the traditional first press method. Clean, crisp with a delicate noble hop character."
8 Wired have been nailing the dark beers recently, and the latest batch of Flat White continues this trend. The coffee flavour isn't over extracted, and just tastes like good coffee. The added lactose adds body and rounds out the coffee and roast malt bitterness perfectly.
Thursday, 08 September 2016 17:10

Another Draak

Another Draak On Tap

Aren't rules great? It's not often that rules mean you get to drink MORE beer, but that's the case with this Tuesday's NRT. North End always have some pretty amazing beers aging away in barrels. Thier 'Salt and Wood' series of Barrel aged beers has been impressive so far, and only seems to be getting more adventurous. So naturally they'd want to enter them into the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards (BGONZAs) this November to get some recognition. However, it is a rule of the BGONZAs that all beer entered has to have been 'commercially available'.  Which is fair enough, and is probably meant to discourage the likes of WilliamsWarn using the BGONZAs as a promotion for their equipment. So to make sure it's all above board, North End are giving us a sneak preview keg of their next Salt & Wood release - Oude Draak Barrel Aged Sour Brown. That's right, following this week's NRT of BA Gulden Draak we've got another 'Draak' beer. However the story behind Oude Draak's name is no relation to the Belgian beer. Apparntly the name "Oude Draak" refers to a bi-annual phenomenon where the setting sun makes Kapiti Island look like a dragon breathing fire. I couldn't imagine it with any pictures I found, but after putting my professional MSPaint skills of an artist to work, I think I see what they're getting at: Oude Draak is the barrel aged incarnation of North End's Oud Bruin, which was released at the SOBA Winter Ale Fest back in July. It's been hanging out in an oak barrel since then, developing its wild yeast and bacteria character. We should have a very different beer on our hands by now. We've got just 25L of Oude Draak to share with you, and as usual we're tapping it this Tuesday at 5pm. 

Apple + Beer + Barrel

At PBE 2015 Townshend released an amazing barrel aged beer/cider/something called 'Wynnes Fall'. It was a Yeastie Boys Collab, named after Yeastie Boys brewer Stu's mother. It's a confusing one to explain, because it doesn't taste like beer and it doesn't taste like cider. 'Apple Beer' is probably the best term for it. Wynnes Fall is a 8.7% ABV 50/50 blend of beer and cider apple juice, that has been aged for 6 months in oak. After its launch at PBE bottles quickly sold out, and I thought we'd seen the last of it. But Martin Townshend recently found some more cases, and we acquired a couple. With the hype around this apple beer we thought it'd be gone in a few weeks, but it seems to have flown under the radar. So to bring back the apple beer hype we're featuring Wynnes fall in this Saturday's bottle pour deal, alongside another amazing appley barrely beverage - Peckham's Knotted Kernel. Knotted Kernel is the single apple variety used in this cider. Apparently it is rarely grown due to its "unreliable crop and small fruit." But Peckhams got enough juice out of theirs to fill a barrel they previously used for their apple brandy. The result is a super-serious cider, dry with plenty of tannins to provide body. The barrel aging adds complexity, making this cider probably the furthest you can get from standard sweet NZ "cider". And check out that awesome colour!

Oregon Heavy Hitters - On Tap NOW


We have an inordinate amount of excellent Oregon beers on tap at the moment. It's getting really hard to decide on a staffie... However I find it hard to go past Crux Freakcake Barrel-Aged Oud Bruin - an American take on the Belgian sour brown style. Being American, this one is bigger (10.5%!) and has more pronounced barrel and mixed-ferment characters. It's definitely one of the best beers I've had this year, possibly ever. Don't miss out. Crux also do tamer Belgian styles - like their Farmhouse Saison. This one sits at a (relatively) sessionable 6.6%ABV, and demonstrates what saison yeast character is in a big way. The yeast is the centre of attention with this beer, with everything else balanced around it. Base Camp also followed the trend of adding fruit to IPA with their Nomadic Blood Orange Double IPA - although they've added a dash of Brettanomyces to the mix. Nomadic weighs in at 8.5%ABV but keeps the malt profile fairly pale, leaving plenty of space for the blood orange to shine through with a hint of bretty funk. Because we've got so many big beers on tap at the moment, we've tapped a couple of lower ABV kegs to balance the line up out. Deep Creek continues to impress with their Redwood APA, featuring a big hop aroma in a superbly balanced pale ale. And of course 8 Wired Semi-Conductor needs no introduction. It's tasting great.

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