New Zealand, located on the south-eastern tip of the globe presents an incredible plethora of people and geography. Its towering peaks gracefully compliments the volcanic structures and topped off by the iconic lakes that cover the two islands makes for a true triumph of mother nature. The populace much like the land that bears them is quite diverse and that is seen on the brews of New Zealand as well.
Much like their often-compared neighbour to the west of Australia, New Zealand’s tryst with the wonderful golden nectar was initiated by the European settlers. The British explorer Captain Cook, at the Queen Charlotte Sound, mixed the indigenous New Zealand herb ‘rimu’ in the brewing process, initially a cure against scurvy and thus in 1773 the first brew was made. Decades later, in 1835, Joel Samuel Polack set up the country’s first brewery in Russel with traditions inherited from their European (primarily from the United Kingdom and Ireland) ancestors.
Ranked 27th in global beer consumption per capita and 64.7 litres of beer consumed per person, per annum beer is centric to the Kiwi way of life. The two breweries that dominate the industry are Lion and DB breweries, however since 2011 there has been a push from the small-scale craft brewers especially their low-carb products, an embrace of healthier trends.
Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand is a sure shot destination on the Kiwi beercation as it houses the archaic and the contemporary. Located on the north of the northern island of the country, Auckland is an abode to craft beers and incredulous breweires that houses the amber nectar that we crave for.
Located on what was once a local timber mill in the 1860s, Sawmill Brewery is one of the premier breweries in the city. Found in Matakana, a short drive from Auckland, Sawmill, certainly worth it. Sawmill opened its doors back in 2004 with the desire to brew beer of the finest qualify free from sugar, preservatives and artificial colour. Now having 14 beers on tap and a drinks list that boats of the natural and organic wines from the local New Zealand producers.
Sawmill is highly coveted as well, their Indian Pale Ale beer was the victor of the gold award at the Brewers Guild Awards and is described by the Brewery as acquiring a “Pale golden colour with a foamy white head. Light biscuit malt notes carry the hops. A mix of American Citra and NZ Cascade hop give the beer a bright and vibrant citrus burst. Crisp and drinkable.” words that make our palate tingle for an irresistible pint. A must visit brewery when in Auckland.
The Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery
“I would give all my fame for a pot of ale” word uttered by the great William Shakespeare that certainly echo in the minds of the folks at The Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery and in the walls of their pristine and iconic brewery. The hotel boasts of its “luscious flavours” of malts and hop without being adulterated by unnatural processes as the beer is not flash pasteurized of filtered.
Housed on Albert and Wyndham street in a building that is 120 years old, founded in 1986, this bastion of beer is the first micro-brew in the country, hence you will be guaranteed a history lesson with your ale. Their fine brews include The Jetset Pilsner, The Gentlemen Stout, The Bastard IPA, The Lover Blonde ale and the Bard pale ale among others, but these beers change quite frequently to keep their patrons interested.
A name that exudes comradery and togetherness, Brothers Brewery is just that, a tribute to the community. It is one of the bigger pubs located in the City Works Depot on Wellesley Street West and presents a decorative ‘70s Kiwi bach image, complete with steel tanks and their array of 16 tap beers. Amongst the favourites are The Brothers Tropical Ale, The Brothers Pilsner, The Brothers Mexican Lager and the Brothers red Ale with periodic seasonal beers like The Piha Beer saltwater Gosa and the Piha beer party wave IPA.
The story of the Liberty Brewing is one of sheer passion for the art of brewing. Started by Stu McKinlay and Brendon Mackenzie, it was transformed when the pair gave the business to Joseph Wood due to his unfettered desire for the art and thus began the journey of Liberty Brewing.
Located in Hellensville Liberty Brewing is one of the best in the city and their award-winning beer is liquid gold. Some of the exciting ones are The Knife Party, an Indian Pale Ale, winning first place at the Westcoast IPA challenge in 2013, The Halo Pilsner, brewed with Gladfield Malts and a Nelson Hops with a generous squeeze of the lime citrus peel and passion fruit, The Yakima Monster, an American Pale Ale, named after a region in Washington State, USA home to a variety of Hop, The C!tra (not a typo), a double IPA with a mammoth 9% alcoholic content. Liberty Brewing will take you on a journey that will certainly make you agree with their slogan!
AUCKLAND BEER FESTIVAL:
The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular has its prongs across the Tasmanian Sea in New Zealand as well, with their Auckland edition of GABS. Showcasing the best brew that the two countries have to offer coupled with a Cider and Food Fest, brought to you by Liquorland, GABS is a can’t-miss. Commencing in 2011 by the pioneers at the Local Taphouse in Australia, Steve Jeggares and Guy Greenstone, GABS has taken off among the beer faithful in both countries and promotes the art of brewing craft beer and espousing the uninitiated. Listed in the top 20 beer festivals in the world in 2015 by The Beer Connoisseur, GABS has been propelled from a beer festival to a celebration of the artistry of brewing.
Satisfying their loyalists for over 6 years by featuring hundreds of beers and ciders-including up to 180 Festival Beers and Ciders, made specifically for the event, complete with a market place of Auckland’s’ scintillating street food and other interactive stalls for people of all ages, GABS is a package like no other.
Some of the brews on offer are the Laksa Ale, by Brother Beer, an homage to the ever-classic Asian laksa, with relishes of coconut, lemongrass, lime and coriander, the Famboise A Trois, by Liberty Brewing, a trans-Tasman collab touting this delicious sour raspberry IPA, a White Walker by the Tuatara Brewing CO, a white IPA Witbier meets IPA with a blend of big bold US hops and Belgian yeast finished off with a fruit and bubble-gum aroma, to name a few amidst the array of New Zealand and Australia’s finest brews.
In such a short span of time the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular has spurted into a global festival commemorating beer as an essential piece of the Aussie and Kiwi experience, with over 300 diverse events across the three cities which attracts 75,000 attendees, this is an experience worth immersing yourself in for the complete beercation.
Beervana is all about discovery and collaboration – interactive themed bars, innovative collaborations, all paired with damn good food. It’s the best way to discover everything that is wonderful about good beer all in one place. Held at Wellington Stadium over two days, Beervana brings together the country’s congregation of craft beer enthusiasts to taste, reflect on and explore the hoppy drop in all its glory. Beervana is all about discovery and collaboration – interactive themed bars, innovative collaborations, all paired with damn good food. It’s the best way to discover everything that is wonderful about good beer all in one place. Held at Wellington Stadium over two days, Beervana brings together the country’s congregation of craft beer enthusiasts to taste, reflect on and explore the hoppy drop in all its glory.
Tell the craft beer capital story through unexpected experiences
Raise the profile of craft beer through brewers, manufacturers and suppliers
Increase Beer Tourism to Wellington and New Zealand