The second season of the Wellington based Garage Project 24/24 initiative is about to commence. If you have forgotten or not heard, the Garage Project’s 24/24 sees the tireless team of brewers release 24 beers in 24 weeks. The good news is they are doing 24 More…We posted on this highlight of the beer drinking calendar last year, here is the link: HERE
Of course, like last year, the venue is Hashigo Zake – cult beer bar in Wellington. Since August 2011, The Thirstyboys began to drop into this establishment every Tuesday night following the Garage Project releases. The 24/24 project sort of kicked started the New Release Tuesday (NRT), which morphed into an in-house curated weekly showcase of domestic and international novelties. Hashigo’s have made Tuesday night an early in the week craft beer event. It’s actually better than a Wednesday.
With a year gone by and Garage Project’s 24 more starting tomorrow (Tuesday), the Jesuit and I (Malice) thought it timely to reflect on Hashigo Zake’s now well-established Tuesday night tradition. It feels like the end of a beer drinking cycle, a new season…
For those not in Wellington, there is a surprisingly supportive local audience for NRT. In fact, it’s almost cultish in the sense that NRT is a fixed point in people’s routines. Some of us make an effort to come every week and regret it when we can’t. Other congregants are more sporadic in their attendance. In acclaimed beer writer Phil Cook’s phrase “Hashigo Zake is beer church” and NRT is one of the sacraments – as the Jesuit would say “who among us is without sin?”
In Greasylightbulb’s phrase, NRT is actually “poetry club”. If you haven’t seen them, we hack out and post these beer haiku to save us the effort of writing up full tasting notes. NRT means we get to quibble over the form and punctuation of haiku and struggle with formulating a suitable seasonal reference. In Greasylightbulb’s world, when the love interest txts “where the hell are you?” He can honestly say “poetry club”.
Hashigo Zake’s year of new releases has been eclectic: this means that what is on offer is not always appropriate for what is in season. However, you know it may be your only chance to sample a new release, or the product of an international brewer not well represented on New Zealand taps. NRT encourages punters to try a wide range of styles… I mean, unless you are an unrepentant hophead, how often would you would you go out and buy a triple IPA?
With NRT, you can rely on the fact that week to week the new releases are picked and the list is curated by people who are passionate about beer. NRT is always a surprise, even when you have looked it up beforehand on the Hashigo Zake news page.
A few words about Garage Project’s 24/24 and 24 More
As we said, we started attending Garage Projects 24/24 around August 2011… regrettably we missed the Venusian Pale Ale VPA and Lord Cockswain’s Courage Porter but we were there in time for the release of Red Rocks, and Aro Noir – The Dark Side of the Street. It’s fair to say we didn’t always relish some of their experiments; notably the notorious People’s Project No.2. Green Coffee Saison. Although the Garage Project did say “No. 2 might be our finest hour, or our greatest failure.” Nevertheless, we always appreciated the spirit of experimentation (pun intended).
It’s a good thing to have Garage Project back in the NRT slot. Garage Project is distinguishable by a high order of professionalism allied with a predisposition to brew new beers. In a very short time they have shown they are good at what they do. They have a couple of decades of professional experience in their team and a restless inventiveness. Beer geeks nearly mobbed them at Beervana this year. Can they sustain it?
One would hope so, and part of their success will be linked to the seasonal services at “the beer church”. Hashigo Zake and Garage Project are a good fit. One is a promoter of a broad spectrum of craft beer, the other creates it. There is a synergy between them that makes them a perfect match for the benefit of beer amateurs and aficionados alike.
Now we aren’t shameless fanboys of the NRT or the Garage Project. You have to hand over hard earned cash to drink at the NRT and be part of exploring new frontiers in craft brewing. We have gagged on the spicy crisps, and left brews abandoned, half finished on the table…but that’s what makes the Wellington craft beer scene so interesting. That’s part of the adventure, and it’s always worth haiku-ing about.
See our blog post on Hashigo Zake -Cult beer bar: Here.
Visit Garage project: Here
Visit Hashigo Zake: Here