Monthly Archives: October 2012

BEER HAIKU # 26 Nøgne Terrapin Imperial Rye Porter

Hashigo zake Cult Beer bar – New release Tuesday, 23 October 2012

This beer was a collaboration between Nøgne Ø of Norway and Spike Buckowski, one of the founders of the Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia USA. This was a smoky, bitter chocolate tasting beer that caused many a furrowed brow. We considered it a night-cap beer, the type of beer you’d have instead of a cognac.

The food matches included a cigar, a Davenport truffle log or bonfire night black corn. It took the gathered beer haiku-ers a record 25 minutes to agree on the composition of this haiku. Are we getting too serious here? Is the Jesuit’s domination of poetry club under threat!?

Nøgne Terrapin Imperial Rye Porter 9%

Norway, USA

Lustrous temptress brew

Fjords of a. borealis

Delve into darkness

LINK:  Nøgne Ø

LINK: Terrapin beer co.


hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

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BEER HAIKU # 25 Lola – Sour Cherry Cola Rye Ale by Garage Project

Hashigo zake Cult Beer bar – new release Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The latest tantalising offering from Garage Project was based on their Bastard Rye which we haiku’d a couple of weeks ago. They soured up this version and gave it some cherry. There were mixed reactions round the haiku table from “Oooh that’s weird!” to “This is like drinking a cocktail except it’s a beer!”. After some contemplation, someone stroked their beard and suggested it tasted like “sour morello with a little marzipan” another said “lemoncello!”.

The food matches we came up with were venison, wild pork, pigs ears, goats cheese crouton, or lemonade apples. This definitely a “hot day beer” the type of beer you’d reach for on Christmas day, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. This dopplegangerish beer will show up again in coming months. This is our first bilingual haiku in English and te reo Maori.

Lola – Sour Cherry Cola Rye Ale

Garage Project

Day light saving time

Inumia te kawa (drink the sour)

Ray Davies folly

Māui tū te wā*

Inumia te kawa (drink the sour)

Rori Ray Davies

*literally, Māui stops time (daylight savings)

LINK: To discover the connection this beer has with music and cats please visit:

hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

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THE GREAT PACIFIC BEARD (I mean BEER) EXPO 2012 – a short review and photo gallery

Text and beard spotting: Malice and Greasylightbulb

Once again the Great Pacific Beer Expo (PBE) was held in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 20-21st, 2012. It was well organised, well promoted and a commendable follow-up to the first event of last year. The Saturday session was an opportunity for beer geeks and all-comers to try something familiar, new, experimental, or hard to get. I enjoyed my four and half hours exploring beers of the Pacific rim. Here is a very short review, followed by the beards of the Great Pacific Beer Expo 2012.


The venue was the Boatshed down on the Wellington waterfront next to the lagoon. We had great views of the harbour, with sunshine and a bit of a northerly sweeping  the balcony from time to time. The large second storey room was well organised with six serving stations, four of them in a central hub.  A merchandise stall sold T-shirts, posters, and branded glasses and hats. A food stall kept the punters fed. The event programme was single sheet of paper with a map, menu, beer list and acknowledgements. It’s all you need.


The menu included spiced beer nuts, Kranski sausage in ciabatta and slightly heavier fare including lamb burgers, butter chicken curry or cashew nut and eggplant coconut curry. I had two Kranski’s with caramelised onions and garlic aioli…good tucker and just the right size to manage with one hand. Only a one minute wait.


For those that knew, there was some disappointment that the Japanese and Singapore beers planned for PBE didn’t make it. (Actually, I noticed that the ship on the poster had a few less kegs on its bow than last year). However, as Tom pointed out, there was several PBE exclusives and previews that more than made up for this absence. The range of styles and flavours was pretty good overall – from Crème Brulee, to apricot, chocolate, kumara and of course coconut and kava. There were curiosities for even the most cosmopolitan beer geek. The strengths of the beers covered a spectrum from the light to the very heavy. By my count, half of the 32 beers were over 7% with four at 10%. Four beers were from Australia and the rest were from New Zealand and the United States.

Predictably, I was looking forward to the kava coconut beer from Garage Project – a local brewery. For me it was the beer that spoke most to the spirit of this event. Although the Kereru Kumara brown Ale could have been successfully pitched as a beer with an ancient Pacific voyaging connection. There was a lot going on around the kava coconut brew. When served, drinkers received a “tiki” stamp on the hand. They could also buy kava coconut t-shirts and posters. Some punters were nervous about trying the beer too early in the session. For a couple of us it was the second beer of the day. We thought the coconut dominated this brew in both smell and taste, but it wasn’t overwhelming. However, it was quite difficult to isolate any specific kava aroma or flavour. One knowledgeable beer geek, with furrowed brow, thought he detected a slight tingling of his lips after his first taster. That said, the kava coconut beer was most drinkable. I enjoyed it, I had three. The anticipation and novelty of this brew made it worth waiting for…let’s hope there is another edition.


I think there were three hundred tickets sold to the Saturday afternoon session (2pm-7pm). I was told I got the third to last one when I picked it up on Tuesday. The space was certainly full. The crowd was an eclectic mix of men, women and even children. It was clear there were people of a diverse age range, different backgrounds and wide interests. There were international visitors from Canada (on holiday) and footy fans from Brisbane over for the Phoenix vs Roar game. There were many locals and familiar faces, even a few brewers and beer aficionados. The crowd gave off a good vibe. There was a tolerable din, but no need to shout. It was a pleasure to enjoy a few decent beers and take in the atmosphere.

Overall impressions

The PBE should have a long life. The brand has a geographical point of difference that encompasses an ocean of possibilities. It can only expand. The PBE has a commitment to the new, and the experimental that any brewers or beer geeks worth their hops will surely support. It’s just the right size now, it’s not too big, it’s intimate and comfortable. It will be interesting to see how it develops. A further frontier to explore could involve inviting brewers to brew a Pacific inspired beer to feature in a special section – a~la kava coconut or referencing some explorer or event in the region’s history. I’d donate a prize for that…


Beards and beer

This year, I thought it would be a bit much to write a full review of all the beers our group tasted. Last year’s two-part review took me freaking hours to write. To spread the load and offer a range of perspectives, Greasylightbulb and I decided to ask the bearded beer geeks of the Great Pacific Beer Expo (PBE) to nominate their best beer of the day and share their impressions of the (PBE) experience. Their commentary and images follow below. If you click on the first image you will get an annotated slide show, otherwise scroll on down.

Note: Thank you to everyone we approached for sharing your thoughts and putting your beards out there.

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THE GREAT PACIFIC BEER EXPO 2012 – a kava coconut beer?

Text: Malice

The Great Pacific Beer Expo is on this weekend in Wellington, New Zealand. It is run by Hashigo Zake Cult Beer Bar and follows on from last years successful event. Once again, the Thirstyboys are looking forward to exploring the beers of the Pacific rim.

The Great Pacific Beer Expo poster 2012

The beer I am looking forward to most is the kava coconut beer from Garage Project. For me, it’s a conspicuous offering in what is a mouth-watering line up of the regions craft beer. This is the beer that will speak to the history of indigenous beverages in the region like no other this weekend…mainly because it is made from coconut and kava. There is no need to describe coconut here, but kava is a beverage made from the roots of the kava plant (piper methysticum). The dried roots are crushed into a powder-like form and mixed in a bowl with water. It is often served informally, although its most important use is in meetings and ceremonies. It has some physical effects on drinkers, including numbness of the lips, and a sense of well-being and relaxation. Excessive daily drinking over a long period can cause health problems.

Mixing kava, Mt Victoria, Wellington 2011

By invitation of the Garage Project brewer, Pete Gillespie, my wife Tere and I had a chance to contribute to the development of this  new kava coconut brew. I got hold of a couple of bags of dried kava powder, and one evening in one of the Garages of the Garage Project, Tere mixed Pete a big bowl, made him drink it and offered  tips about taste, strength and protocols around its use and consumption.

Tere and Pete test the kava

Pete’s last taste of kava was unpleasant, it was in Australia and involved insects. It’s a story he should tell sometime. Beermeister Mr Phil Cook, who was also present, sipped his kava from the coconut cup like a gentleman, thinking it through, ruminating on its aroma, muddy appearance and taste. He wasn’t ecstatic but he was working it over. Now, I am not one to argue beer with Mr Cook but I said, “c’mon…it’s only slightly muddier than a Belgian wheat beer!” and I think he uttered “ I’ll give you that…”. Pete probably felt more culturally indebted to us as we’d mixed a large bowl of the sacred beverage, which could not be left standing. Over the course of 45 minutes, he managed to down several coconut cups in one go (with little pauses to breathe) tuning in his taste buds but losing feeling in his face. It was obviously enough to give him confidence to concoct this new beer. I look forward to his blog about the brewing process. Once the kava was consumed, we left Pete and Phil to close up the Garage Project for the night, which Pete seemed to be attempting in super slow motion.

Pounding the dried kava root, Rabi , Fiji 2008

Mixing the powdered kava, Rabi, Fiji 2008

Tere was brought up with kava in Fiji, where it is called yaqona. She is well conditioned to drinking it. I have consumed kava among Tongans in New Zealand, in the bush of Ambrym in Vanuatu and in Suva and Rabi in Fiji. Occasionally, we have had informal sessions at home in New Zealand. I am still not completely used to it, but I have drunk gallons of the stuff in the interests of experimentation, social obligation and getting to know my in-laws. Every evening in Rabi, while drinking kava in the kerosene lamp light in the family village, I used to dread the sound of the pounding of kava root out in the darkness. They pound it in a pipe closed at one end using a heavy iron pole. When you see one of the lads emerging into the light of the drinking circle and straining under the weight of two 20 litre buckets of muddy coloured liquid, you know that night will be a long one. Your back teeth will be floating…

Kava coconut beer – Garage Project, New Zealand 2012

This weekend the kava coconut beer has the potential to bring back for me memories of travel, good times and numb lips. I don’t know what to expect. The beer might just be evocative of kava…aromatic perhaps. It might be more coconutty, or face numbing…or it could be something else. The Great Pacific Beer Expo 2012 is the place to find out …looking forward to it!

Read the brewers account of the coconut kava beer 

LINK: The Great Pacific Beer Expo 2012

LINK: The Garage Project:

Previous related LINKS:

The Great Pacific Beer Expo 2011 Part One

The Great Pacific Beer Expo @011 Part Two

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BEER HAIKU # 24 Southern Tier 2XIPA

We held off publishing the haiku from new release Tuesday this week. There was a couple of extra contributions to the blog so I thought I’d save the haiku for the forecast rainy weekend. It’s a day for the pub…

This week Hashigo offered another beer from the Southern Tier brewery in the United States. Kate thought that this deeply golden brew came across as a bit flat, a little gentle at first taste, while the gingerbeardedman ruminated on what he described as its “rich and weighty, almost cakey,” character. Coincidentally, it was also a Thirstyboy’s birthday so the cakey reference was spot on. There were a couple of anonymous quotes such as “This is the type of beer you have after a sh*tty day…I’ve had a sh*tty week!” and “reminds me of a beer I drank in Hamilton.” Anyway, here’s the haiku…

Southern Tier 2XIPA

ABV 8.2%

Birthday big dipper

Clearly carbonated , burp

Now ripe for spring

Food matches: 1. sausage rolls 2. roast beef and radish sandwich 3.tuna sashimi 4. chorizo

…and the Thirstyboys have a facebook page now that you can like.


hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
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