Our beer week in Welly kicked off with the debut of 8 Wired’s 2012 Superconductor – not bitter enough according to brewer Søren Eriksen – light dry limited malt character, with huge hop character – mix of American and New Zealand Hops – more of a citrus character – full flavour and floral notes from the dry hopping – a little astringent, mouth filling, but drinkable. 8.8 percent alcohol means it was served in small portions. We compared it to Liberty’s Yakima Monster – which was bland only by comparison – a more balanced presentation of hops, with a little hint of caramel malts as a foundation for the citrus hop character.
Hashigo was packed, “the equivalent of a crowded Friday night” with people backing up the stairs. The staffing always impresses us – not a single new face behind the bar since last year, in spite of certain members of staff starting a brewery…
Free samples of Bumaye and Grand Cru from 8 Wired were also flowing as the evening started, with the Grand Cru running out first. It’s a helping of Sultan aged in funky pinot barrels, plus a couple of barrels of scotch ale infected with Brett and Pedio added to the mix. After a year, it’s still not sour enough for Søren, so he’s not “giving up” and bottling quite yet.
Bumaye, the imperial stout, was too big for some of the punters. After 12 months in pinot barrels, it’s very smooth and intense, with big oak and vinous flavours and it’s less warming than you’d expect at 17%. This barrel aged behemoth is a great sipper, and will age wonderfully.
Coming from Nelson, it was fun to see the excitement about the Townshend’s beers on hand pump. When we arrived, Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys recommended we start with Martin’s Scotch Ale, and when we went back later in the night his Barrel Aged Strong Ale got the big thumbs up from the SOBA crew. As expected, it was a very different barrel experience to Søren’s Grand Cru.
We arrived early, of course, and were able to get a seat near Francis and Ted, Ted who was out for his second Tuesday since being released from hospital after a stroke. Francis was keeping a keen eye on his energy levels, but agreed that it was great for him to be motivated to get out, and no one is surprised that his Tuesdays at Hashigo were his motivator. It was nice to see the who’s who of beer week dropping by their table to “pay respects” to this dedicated volunteer and genuinely nice guy.