After much planning - well, a little planning over a long period - we have a confirmed venue, a fearsome lineup of beers and an even chance of being granted a liquor licence. So it's time to announce New Zealand's newest and most rock-n-roll beer festival ever:
Don't be fooled by the short notice - there have been months of planning and venue scouting for X-Ale, and we can finally confirm that the venue will be 29 Vivian St, the site of the ParrotDog Brewery. We say the site of the ParrotDog brewery because brewing and fermentation equipment are still weeks away and it's highly questionable whether a working brewery is anywhere to hold a piss-up.
The lineup is a collection of the fruitiest, riskiest, biggest, bitterest, sourest and strangest beers that have been made available to us over the last year. Here are a few examples:
- Hallertau Funkonnay - a sour ale aged in Chardonnay barrels.
- Nøgne Ø Aku Aku Lemongrass Ale.
- Mikkeller 1000 IBU Light - all the bitterness of 1000 IBU but only half the body to balance it.
- Green Flash Le Freak - one of the most famous "Belgian IPAs" ever made, applying a Belgian yeast to an aggressively hopped, 9.3% IPA.
- Mikkeller / 3 Floyds Boggoop - the latest in their collaborative series of Barley Wines made with alternative grains, this time buckwheat.
This is just five from the lineup of 13 starting beers plus one mind-boggling finishing beer for anyone who makes it through the first 13.
The date is Saturday April 21, from 1pm and places can be booked here or at the bar. There is only one session and we only have 20 litres of some of the beers, so seats on this flavour roller coaster are strictly limited.
The cost of joining in the fun is exactly $50. For this you not only get your first 13 samples of beer, you also have access to a buffet of beer-friendly snacks like strong cheeses and chewy small goods to soak up the beer and compete with the extreme flavours.
The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular is another bold and exciting new beer festival, happening in Melbourne a few weeks after our own X-Ale, on May 11-13. GABS's organisers, St Kilda's Local Taphouse, have asked 43 Australian and 17 New Zealand breweries to submit completely new beers for the event. It's hard to think of another circumstance when so much new beer is available in such a short time. Except perhaps a typical week at Hashigo Zake.
Now it's well known that at a lot of big beer festivals working is more fun than actually paying to attend. GABS should be no exception as they'll be relying on volunteer labour to succeed. And a big chunk of the workforce at GABS is going to be made up of Wellingtonians. Steph Coutts - well known in Wellington for her work at festivals such as Beervana and the Pacific Beer Expo - will be in charge of GABS' volunteers and even some of Hashigo Zake's ruling elite are going to make the trip over and observe GABS from the inside, before crossing to the customer side of the bar for the later sessions.
As always we have a juicy combination of established favourites and new offerings waiting for you this weekend. Look out for:
- Coronado Islander - the San Diego IPA that many think outshines the bigger names that come out of this brewing centre.
- Townshend King Tide - another experiment in higher than usual hopping rates from Nelson's Martin Townshend
- For the first time since the visit by the brewer last November, it's Nøgne Ø Double Hop IPA.
- A fresh batch of Croucher's Galaxy IPA.
- Some time in the next few days, look out for a keg of what else but.. Galbraith's Resurrection. It's actually the last keg from an old batch that we're confident will have aged beautifully. In the near future we'll have some of the latest batch - in kegs filled by none other than our own Shiggy, who has been on loan to Galbraith's for a few days.
Next New Release Tuesday
It's another Mikkeller Double Header next week, with two more from the Single Hop IPA Series. But this time, one of them will be Sorachi Ace, the head-scratching, Sapporo-developed hop that has a tendency to dominate any beer it is present in, for better or worse.
Alongside it will be the Bravo single hop IPA, with Bravo being another American bittering hop with very similar origins to Apollo (featured this week).
These two beers go on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.
Easter Trading Hours
Easter is a strange time for us, being our closiest time of the year. Of the three and a half days when we're legally obliged to stay closed over the course of a year, two are this weekend. Those days are the Friday and Sunday of Easter. That means we have to cease all hospitality at midnight (effectively 11:30pm) on Thursday night and then do the same again on Saturday night. But we will be open and surcharge-free on Saturday and Monday.
This evening some lucky diner will be chomping on the SIX THOUSANDTH PIE to come out of our faithful Pietomiton 100®. Not bad for a dish that was a last minute idea for dealing with the leftovers of our daily meals. Congratulations to us. We're so excited we may even give Dave Wood a small discount on his birthday pie!