Thank F*** it’s Friday with James Hay – craft beer brewer

James Hay: making beer that reflects the adventurous attitude of those who live here.

James Hay: making beer that reflects the adventurous attitude of Southern Alps locals.

Nothing screams it’s time to crack into a cool new craft beer more than a sunny Friday afternoon. ANNABEL WILSON shared a frosty cold one with Wanaka beermaker James Hay of BEffect to talk synchronicity, scones and sweet adventures. Then we give you the chance to try his new beer Mojo Pin, we’re slinging another free mixtape your way AND letting you know What’s ON this weekend.

What’s happening in the world of BEffect at the moment?

Where to start? Brewing more beer. The Mojo Pin Belgian Ale made with red wine yeast has been taking a far bit of my time and attention. Buying fridges. I seem to always be buying fridges – seems irrelevant with this weather though. Skiing – can’t forget skiing; skiing and beer have a high level of natural synchronicity. Talking with people, planning and trying to find the best path forward for BEffect into the future one year from now, two, five, and ten years as well. Also thinking about making a 50% ABV beer with Charlie Anderson.

Describe BEffect in five words.

Small changes causing big effects.

Wanaka currently has some inter-cafe rivalry going on in terms of who makes the best scones. What’s your stance on scones? Sweet or savoury?

Savoury seems scrupulously super safe. The best scone is a big call. It’s a bit like saying who has the best steak, or the best beer. In saying that I reckon The White House has the best steak.

Which living person do you most admire and why?

Noam Chomsky. Because he can simplify a complex problem down to a level that most people can understand. His level of research, his ability to recall facts and figures is truly remarkable, and at 86 he is still working harder than most. I pity the day when he leaves this world.

What wakes you up in the middle of the night?

Things like when I forgot to ring my grandmother the other day, making beer and getting up early for a sweet adventure.

What is your most treasured possession?

“I own no possessions; they only own me”. I’ve read this many times before. So I’m going to have to say, although it’s probably not what you mean – my freedom.

If we raided your fridge, what would we find?

Beer, more beer, yeast, hop seeds, vegetables, cheese and out of date average dairy products from guests that I won’t mention here.

The best thing about Friday is…

That the average New Zealander shuts off from work at 3:08pm on Fridays and starts planning her or his weekend. And that you can now do your own thing.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Everything happens for a reason.

What’s ON for winter?

Skiing, apres beers, planning new beers, listening to good music, reading and making the most of what Wanaka has to offer.

What’s OFF?

Water skiing, running (it’s too cold), TV and going to the supermarket at the wrong time.

What do you like best about Wanaka?

The lifestyle and accessibility to the outdoors. A big attraction is the great people that live here and the cool things they are doing for such a small town. How it is small enough that you can bump into the right person at the right time. Synchronicity and deju-vu occur often enough here in Wanaka.

Damn straight. We are big fans of syncro-destiny. In fact just mentioning it here will probably mean a whole lot more of it happens over the next few days…

If you’re wondering what’s ON the cards for you this weekend, then follow ON’s lead and head to Gin and Raspberry to hear Danny play at 6pm tonight, then La La Land for some Northern Soul. We’ll be up super early on Saturday to catch the powder that’s meant to be coming our way then we might just sneak back to GNR for Mark Hamilton followed by Dj C-She. We’ll be cranking some fresh n’ edgy new Kiwi tunes from LOOP and schooling up on our beer geek facts to discuss at the launch of BEffect’s Mojo Pin at The Cottage on July 29. It’s invite only so if you want to get on the list, contact

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