Category Archives: Opinion

10 pros and 10 cons of the canning revolution…pssssht-ah!

The arguments in favour of canned beer have been exhaustively canvassed (pun intended). However, on Tuesday, in the quiet lull before the new release beer was poured, a few of the Thirstyboys tapped into their collective thoughts and decided to brew over some pro’s and con’s of the phenomena of craft beer in cans.

The Jesuit claims the most experience in this area having enjoyed all the canned beers offered by Garage Project…he’s obviously a very Thirstyboy, and as the only beer drinker in his household, the serving size and cost are probably convenient and economical.

I’ve got to say that for the most part, at least the cans I‘ve seen look good. GreasyLightbulb thought they would look better if they were made in the shape of little metal kegs. He’s a closet marketer this guy…he also wants to know, “Can you condition in a can?” Whatever your experience, or your preference, here is a light-hearted listing of what’s good and what’s not so good about those crafty tinnies. PROS:

  1. Cans chill quicker
  2. You can take cans tramping – they don’t shatter and some seem to have a coating that prevents perforation.
  3. Cans stack easier and fit into bags and coat pockets (like pigeons)
  4. You can build good towers with cans
  5. Cans are actually a handy size – 330mls?
  6. Cans are collectible for charities
  7. Cans don’t fall off shelves and smash in earthquakes
  8. Cans are not quite as lethal in a fight as bottles “I have been bottled…GBM”
  9. Cans are light, light-proof and air proof
  10. You can’t see your own reflection in cans


  1. You can’t see how much beer is in cans – “if Parrot Dog had a canning line that their bottling line used to have, then I wouldn’t buy any of their cans…”GLB
  2. Drinking from a can as opposed to a bottle may imply (in some social circles) that what you’re drinking is a chavey beer…GBM
  3. Cans don’t create the same drinking sound as a bottle
  4. You can’t recycle cans for your home-brew (waaaaah! Jesuit)
  5. The direction of spray from a can is more likely to be self punishing
  6. You can’t see your own reflection in cans
  7. Cans don’t really pour well, so drink from the can
  8. Cans don’t reveal the foamy head on a beer or let you contemplate that Belgian lace.
  9. Mining bauxite is far from environmentally friendly, real far… recycle, reduce
  10. Finally, recycling cans is all good, but some people feel compelled to make their shoes from beer cans (painful looking ones)
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Six reasons why we write Beer haiku

As we have recently posted our 50th beer haiku, it is time to reflect why we compose poetry in this short Japanese lyrical verse form. To be brief, like haiku, here are some key points of reflection.

1.     We compose beer haiku because this abbreviated form of poetry (unlike this sentence) offers us the opportunity to record tasting notes in a type of “beer reviewers shorthand” that is also a recognizable lyrical verse form.

2.     There’s too much to read on the internet via twitter, blogs, facebook and other forms of social media. Our readers have limited time. Haiku are quick reads.

3.     We have limited time too. Composing haiku is difficult. It takes thinking time, arguing time, it fritters away our limited beer drinking time; we don’t havetime to craft several paragraphs with flowing transitions. We just don’t…

4.     We write haiku, because like all good explorers it’s useful to map where you’ve been, the beers you have tasted, the beers you have enjoyed and those you have abandoned.

5.     What could be a more appropriate location to develop our skills in a Japanese lyric beer poetry form than in a place called Hashigo Zake Cult Beer bar?

6.     When (or rather…if) we master the ancient art of beer haiku writing, the Jesuit has said he will teach us the lost art of composing beer “villanelles”…I’ll have to look that word up.

ancient Egyptian beer making diorama…no haiku scribes in sight – go hard lads!

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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emersons wake

 Let us leave theories there and return to here’s hear.

– James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

When the Thirsty Boys foregathered for their customary investigation of Hashigo Zake’s Tuesday new releases, it was in the shadow of the sale of Emerson’s Brewery to Evil Multinational Conglomerate™ Lion Nathan. This subject had already been source of much consternation on Twitterbook, Faceyspace, and other manifestations of the intardwebz.

But, was a wake in order?

The resourceful Thirsties agreed to test the proposition using the scientific method, i.e. a pro and con table. This is what we came up with:

Injection of capital into the Emerson’s operation Now DB might buy their own craft brand
Possibly some richly deserved bank for Richard Emerson himself Emerson’s production standards will go the way of Mac’s and Monteith’s
Better access to tied outlets Production volume rises at the expense of quality
Potentially more ‘craft’ beer in venues that otherwise sell only mainstream lagers Loss of customer loyalty owing to association with Evil Multinational Conglomerate™
Mainstreaming of quality product, assuming it stays that way.
More and better marketing.

On balance, we conclude that there may be less to fear than seemed the case at first blush. Perhaps the sky isn’t falling after all?

Note: The title of this post and the quotation are derived from Joyce’s mid-20th century masterpiece Finnegans Wake. The novel is the real time account of a dream experienced in a single night by Dublin publican Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (HCE), apparently in the year 1132.

TEXT: The Jesuit

….and you can like the Thirstyboys on facebook if you scroll to the bottom

Is this destined to be one of the last photographs ever taken of a Emersons beer poured at Hashigo Zake Cult beer bar? 6 November 2012


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Reflections on New Release Tuesdays at Hashigo Zake and GARAGE PROJECT 24 more

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.

New Release Tuesday and Garage Project keg- I’ll have one!

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”.

Unidentified man at The Thirstyboys favourite beer haiku writing table

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.”[1] 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 posts on Garage Project Here and Here.

See our blog post on Hashigo Zake -Cult beer bar: Here.

Visit Garage project: Here 

Visit Hashigo Zake: Here

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