Category Archives: Reviews

Rogues Gallery: The Rogue Ales of Newport Oregon, USA.

Text: The Jesuit

Tasting: Malice and staff of Hashigo Cult Beer Bar, Wellington, New Zealand

In May 2015, a parcel of Rogues aka the Thirstyboys wandered into a bar, Hashigo Zake Cult beer bar as it happens. The occasion, a tasting of beers selected from the range of Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon – a long established player in the American craft beer scene (founded 1989).

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1. Brutal IPA 6% ABV (Manpoints 5.5) 

Not at all brutal by current hop-crazed standards, this beer is more like a beeted up bad boy version of Coopers Sparkling Ale (as described by the Gingerbeardyman). It would pair well with fish and chips or a flavorsome pie.

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2. Hazelnut Brown Nectar 6.0% ABV (Manpoints 3.75)

Brown ale enhanced by hazelnut essence, i.e. what it says on the tin, the nectar reminded us of a nutty liqueur. According to the Little One; “peanut brittle in liquid form”. This might work well as a winter warmer. Potential food matches: pork roast, boysenberry ice cream, pancakes.

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3. Rogue Farms Fresh Roast (5.7%ABV) (Manpoints 7.0)

“Smells more than it delivers,” opined the Little One. However, the rest of us felt it held its sweetness better than the two preceding beers. Among suggestions for food pairings were roast chicken, Maggi Onion dip and sticky date pudding with custard.

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4. Rogue Farms Chipolte Ale (5.5%ABV) (Manpoints 4.0)

Gingerbeardyman declares this beer reminiscent of a bad scotch but he is a cruel man. In reality, the beer is mild, has hints of smokiness, and not a lot of heat. It was marked down on the man points because it purports to be more than it really is. Food match: chicken quesadillas. “You might drink it…,” declared Gingerbeardyman “ …if you didn’t have any chips!”

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5. Chocolate Stout (6.3ABV) (Manpoints 7.25)

Nice, smooth, boozy and definitely chocolaty, we liked this so much we drifted into conversation about television current affairs programmes (or lack thereof). Food match: spicy salami on rye.

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6. 7 Hop IPA (8%ABV) (Manpoints 8.0)

Hopsessive Grassy as a sauvignon Blanc or a freshly cut lawn opined Mr Horse. Either way it caused Gingerbeardyman to succumb to some cub scout inspired PTSD. We might drink this with a creamy pasta, say carbonara.

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7. (Bonus beer) Marionberry Braggat (11.42%ABV)

This beer incorporates 17 ingredients, notably marionberry a cultivar indigenous to Oregon aka (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus) or Marion blackberry. An award winning brew in 2014 and 15…a big way to end the night.

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BEER ADVENTURES: THE LITTLE BEER QUARTER

LITTLE BEER QUARTER, EDWARD ST PRECINCT

The Little Beer Quarter, or LBQ, is a self proclaimed ‘beer geek haven’, owned by four beer-loving women. As a fellow blogger thundered when LBQ first opened, ‘take THAT, gender stereotypes’. Indeed.

The Little Beer Quarter, tucked away in the back alleys of the Edward St Precinct.

The Little Beer Quarter, tucked away in the back alleys of the Edward St Precinct.

BEER SELECTION:  LBQ offers 2 handpulls,  14 rotating taps and over 100 beers in the fridge that cover much of the craft beer spectrum, from ‘windswept and interesting’ to ‘fireside beers’, although The Jesuit observed that the selection was perhaps somewhat less ‘exotic’ or ‘off the wall’ than some of their geekier competitors. Their website provides an extensive and helpful list of their offerings.

For the Thirsties, the beer of the night was Yeastie Boys’ White Noise from the handpull – a gentle beer for an equally gentle summer evening.

FOOD: Snacks, bigger snacks and mains including a range of pizzas and burgers, which are served on the buns of the moment, brioche, and with beers to match if desired. LBQ also offers all-manner-of-things battered with beer, including Panhead Port Road Pilsner battered onion rings. The beer battered chips are truly fantastic. Yum.

Who could resist a whole pint o sausage rolls?

Who could resist a whole pint o sausage rolls?

AMBIANCE: Pleasantly Bohemian

Even the loos are stylish - perhaps evidence of female ownership.

Even the loos are stylish – perhaps evidence of female ownership.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES:  Themed bartenders. On the night we visited bedraggled surfer boy chic was the go. Alas, we missed Double Denim night. Sorry, they didn’t stay still long enough for a photo.

LBQ also offers The Cigarro, a shelter for smokers to happily puff away in out of the sun, wind and rain.

SERVICE: Good

CLIENTELE: Very mixed, from suave older suits and office girls drinking glasses of rosé, to care freee, twenty-something couples. Its the sort of place for the young and the restless.

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you’re on a date (a good one, not a bad one). Although, The Little One was disappointed to see that the ‘kissing couch’ had disappeared. Alas, no confessions followed.

A bar for lovers, even the chandelier forms a heart shape at dusk.

A bar for lovers, even the chandelier forms a heart shape.

LBQ: an enclave of urban sophistication amidst the office blocks of Manners and Victoria Streets.

HOURS: Monday – 3:30pm til late, Tuesday – Saturday  – 12 noon til late, Sunday – 3pm til late

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BEER ADVENTURES: FIVE BOROUGHS, FOUR BEERS

FIVE BOROUGHS, CNR ROXBURGH AND MAJORIRBANKS ST, MT VICTORIA

Five Boroughs is a New York styled, neighbourhood ‘deli, diner and dive’ in Mt Victoria. With an exterior hording promising ‘ice cold beer’, the Thirsties squeezed into a booth one sunny January to evening partake in a chilled beer or two.

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The promise…

BEER SELECTION:  ‘Limited’ would be a charitable description of Five Borough’s beer list which comprises four (four!) beers: one Founders beer on tap (a fact also boldly declared on the side exterior), and three Garage Project beers by the can, although one ran out while we were there. The Jesuit swiftly assessed the Founders 2009 IPA as ‘bloody diabolical’, and declared the Garage Project’s Garagista a thousand times better. Apparently Five Boroughs will be adding more choice soon.

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The reality: two of the four beers on offer. The Garage Project beers far outshone the Founders offering.

FOOD: American diner fare – burgers, subs and sandwiches, including a version of the ubiquitous Reuben Sandwich.

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A tasty classic American cheese burger – a welcome relief amongst the plethora of designer burgers popping up on menus everywhere.

AMBIANCE: A little bit of New York City in Wellington – Travis Bickle and Frank Serpico would drink here.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Bottomless coffee

SERVICE: Generally friendly albeit a little tardy at times

CLIENTELE: Mt Victoria hipsters and their kids

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you want to eat and don’t care about choice.

FIVE BOROUGHS: a long way from beervana.

HOURS: ‘from early to late’

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BEER ADVENTURES: CRAFTERS & CO

For 2015 the Thirsties have decided to put more emphasis on documenting the dynamic and burgeoning Wellington craft beer scene more widely. To that end, we will be publishing occasional mini-reviews of bars  in and around Wellington (New Zealand). Our first trial stop, at the end of 2014, was Crafters & Co.

CRAFTERS & CO – CAFE, BAR & OFF LICENCE, 211 VICTORIA ST

Crafters & Co is located ‘off the beaten track’ in the soon-to-be upgraded desert lands of upper Victoria Street. A bit like the Tardis, it’s bigger and more sophisticated than it looks from the outside, and well worth a visit.

BEER SELECTION:  11 taps plus a walk in fridge crammed full of bottles. Crafters stock a wide selection, with an emphasis on Wellington regional brewers, including Garage Project, Pan Head and Tuatara.

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Crafters offer glass sizes from seven oz (pistol) to a Bavarian (bazooka).

FOOD: Punters can indulge in a range of quality baked goods including cakes and Siggy’s pies, or order from the menu, which includes brioche burgers. Thursday is paella night. (Warning: to Malice’s quiet outrage his cheese scone was served sans jam, however, some of us don’t believe that cheese scones should come with jam).

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For those needing to buy a gift on the way home, Crafters stock a range of local artisanal products including WCF Chocolate, Fix and Fogg peanut butter and moustache wax.

AMBIANCE: a sun-dappled interior in which kegs, maritime memorabilia, bunches of flowers and a showy wooden ceiling happily mix. The café bar features three ambient spaces to suit everything from an intimate date to a group gathering.

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Cottage flowers, possibly a unique feature on the Wellington craft beer scene.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: operates as an off-licence and doubles as an entrance into Mokomuseum, the national tattoo museum of New Zealand. There is also a door to The Occasional Brewer if you fancy making your own beer rather than simply buying one.

SERVICE: Young, friendly, helpful and beer wise beyond their years.

CLIENTELE: Varied in age, gender and hipsterness

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you knock off early from work for Christmas on a rare beautiful Wellington summer’s day and want to escape Courtenay Place.

CRAFTERS & CO: a very welcome little enclave of Portlandia on the No.7 bus route to Brooklyn.

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A glass of Sly Persuader from the Yeastie Boys’ Spoonbender series with Some Young Punks.

HOURS: 8am-12am Sunday to Thursday,  8am-3am Friday-Saturday.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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