Recently, a few of the Thirsties had a chance to get a close up look at this tattoo on local brewer Shiggy of Funk Estate. A great composition and low-key use of colour and shade – it’s all about the hops. Tattooing by Tim Gau of Renegade Tattoo, Wellington, New Zealand.



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BEER HISTORIES: The Anzacs from the brewery at Mangatainoka

On 25 April 2015, we will commemorate the centenary of the landings of New Zealand and Australian soldiers (the Anzacs) on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during the first world war. To mark the centenary, and as part of our Beer Histories series, I thought I’d share a story of the sacrifices made by one small district and some of the men who worked at its brewery.

Before the Tui Brewery and rise of the now famous Tui Tower in 1931, the North Island Brewery Co. Ltd at Mangatainoka produced “Tui” beer and stout – popular brews which were distributed and sold throughout the country. The brewery was started in the 1880s by Henry Wagstaff. By 1919, it was reportedly one of the “largest and most up-to-date brewery concerns” in New Zealand, although the impact of the war of 1915-1918 had threatened the brewery’s survival.

At the start of the war, men from throughout the Mangatainoka district volunteered for military service or were called up in a series of ballots. The war would take a heavy toll on Mangatainoka and its neighbouring communities. According to one newspaper report, it appeared as if every man from the district was called to service, and for a time it looked as if the brewery would have to close down. Several employees ended up giving their lives in service of their country.


Lieutenant Henry Rawlings COWAN, Wellington Battalion, NZEF. 17th Ruahine Regiment – and brewer/assistant brewer

The managing director of the brewery, Mr Henry Cowan suffered greatly. He and his wife lost their youngest son Lieutenant Harry Cowan (aged 25) at Gallipoli in 1915. Harry was a single man who was described as “a great favourite throughout the fortymile bush, where he was born and lived his life”. The following year Cowan lost a second son, Sergeant William Cowan, a veteran of the Boer war who died in France. He was an engineer by trade, married with three children. Charles Riddell (aged 36) another brewery employee, survived the disastrous Gallipoli campaign but eventually succumbed to wounds he received on the battlefields in France. Mr Robert Henderson, the brewery manager in 1919, was a volunteer who returned to the brewery after surviving the war.


Cap badge, 17th (Ruahine) Regiment, circa 1916, maker unknown. Gift of the Defence Department, 1916. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH021133)

The First World War impacted the lives of all New Zealanders. It changed the people who went to war, and those who stayed at home. The story of the Anzacs from the brewery at Mangatainoka reminds us of some of the ways communities, families and businesses in small towns were affected by the war. Sometimes these stories are lost in the grand narratives of history and the nation…as we share a beer with friends this week, let’s not forget them.


North Island Brewery Co. (newspaper article 1919)

H.R.Cowan (newspaper article Roll of Honour 1915)

Charles Riddel (newspaper article 1919)


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Location: 30 Arthur Street, between Taranaki Street and Cuba Street), Wellington, New Zealand.


Ambience: Pub-Industrial. Lots of exposed brick and refinished timber plus copper and stainless steel brewing equipment.


Beer selection: The offer is largely confined to the Tuatara range, along with the odd Cider and a guest tap (on this occasion Choice Bros’ Modern Love).



Food: House snacks include nuts, olives, and something called bacon nut spread. Toasted sandwiches and other grilled delicacies are provided by Goose Shack of Berhampore.


Service: The venue is run by the legendary Scott Boswell with assistance from Funk Estate maestro Shiggy (ex-Hashigo Zake) and various others. As we expected, the staff are knowledgable and friendly without exception.


Clientele: Given the proximity to two Universities, there was a surprising lack of students and a preponderance of business dudes when we visited. This may or may not represent a trend.

IMG_2536This is the sort of place: you can watch commuters in mid-existential crisis at the start of the urban motorway.


Special features: A Spartan beer garden where the furniture appears to be made from repurposed pallets. Could be inviting in the right weather. Could be quite jolly at night. Also.

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A Beer Postcard from Marseilles – Fietje, Cave à bières

One of the Thirstyboys recently had the opportunity to visit Marseilles on the south coast of France. They had craft beer there…


According to our French craft beer advisors, the term Fietje is an onomatopoeia, and has been coined to mean the sound of beer can at the moment you open it.


A feature of this bar is a unsealed brick wall and the lighting. The building dates at least to the 1700s,… the recycled crates are more recent.


Weissbier was one of several styles on offer. The beer menu is presented on transparent glass or acrylic sheets set out from the feature brick wall.


The tap beers change regularly…


There is even special glassware for readers of the French language…


Dogs are allowed…especially when they match the decor.


This bar is located on a quiet back street – the kind of street you’d meet a character played by Jean Reno if you were in a movie called Ronin…and there is outdoor seating for a chilly February evening. Worth a visit for the atmosphere, the setting, and of course the bieres.

Check out Fietje, Cave à bières


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THE LAST BEER HAIKU #100 Garage Project – Hop Trial 2

As a better poet than us – Rudyard Kipling – once wrote, ‘last, loneliest, loveliest’. Of course, Kipling was writing about turn of the twentieth century Auckland, then farthest bastion of Empire. We only ever write about beer though but this may be the loneliest, certainly not the loveliest, but definitely the last in our haiku series. We will provide a follow up on the reasons for abandoning this beloved feature. In the meantime, it is almost poetic that our last haiku beer albeit not our last Tuesday night new release at Hashigo Zake Cult Beer Bar is a brand new experimental effort from perennial haiku muses, Garage Project.

Garage Project HopTrial #2 Imperial IPA (8.5%ABV)

Lips oozing whispers

Licks every precious grass

Consumed her body*

* this haiku was generated entirely using Malice’s Haikubes. No synapses were injured in the process.

Food match: pickled eggs, mushy peas with malt vinegar & tommy sauce

It’s the kind of beer you drink when: you’ve done the same thing a hundred times!


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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