The New Zealand craft beer scene has taken off in the past few years, with a remarkable surge of craft beer drinkers and events our New Zealand breweries have shown great growth and innovation.
New Zealand has truly made its mark on the international craft beer map including the most renowned local breweries contributing to this thriving culture such as Garage Project which we see pushing the creative boundaries with their styles and flavours. Tuatara Brewing which is another local craft beer brewery with their known consistency of high quality and flavourful beers is another highly recognisable brewery.
As the craft beer industry in NZ continues to flourish, whether you are sipping a hop forward IPA in the far north or a rich malty Stout in the South Island, NZ crafties promise a diverse and palate pleasing experience for beer enthusiasts and newcomers.
From very humble beginnings to a thriving movement, the New Zealand craft beer scene has undergone a complete transformation of the past few years. Once a niche interest to a selected few that has truly blossomed into a dynamic industry fueled by innovation and passion.
The key milestones here start from Mac's brewery who have truly paved the way since the early 1980’s, since then the landscape has grown and many boutique craft beer breweries are popping up. Trending hazy IPAs, barrel aging drops and much more has truly captured our beer aficionados. Today, we are seeing growth in this industry with not only a growing interest and appreciation for the crafts but also making their mark internationally and producing world class craft beers.
Today, we see a lot of events and festivals being created just for craft beer. Fizzing with hops, the New Zealand craft beer scene continues to grow with several craft beer festivals around the country. A very popular choice for our hopheads is Beervana which is located in Wellington, a two day event held in the windy capital which shows craft breweries all around New Zealand come together to celebrate.
Another popular craft beer festival is Beers at the Basin, also held in Wellington each year, take a picnic blanket and your best mates and enjoy live music, local craft beers and much more.
Native hops, malt and a diverse array of botanicals are captured from our diverse New Zealand terrior. Our New Zealand craft beers are usually locally sourced elements that have then been infused with distinctive characteristics of floral and citrus to earthy and malt forward profile that have been rooted in NZ fertile soil, with many local craft beer breweries using local sources shows off our sustainability and preserving of the unique flavours that New Zealand captures.
We are also seeing a rise in collaborations between breweries and brands such a Boring Oat Milk and ParrotDog, Doe Donuts and Brothers Beer and a shortly to be released collaboration between Duncan's Brewing and Kaibosh Food Rescue.
Craft beers offer a wide range of flavours and styles, each with their own unique style. Let's take a look into some of the most popular craft beer styes:
IPA’s are known for their bright hoppy flavours. Their taste profiles usually feature citrus, floral and pine notes that range from light and crisp to strong and bitter. There are also several variations you can get of the classic IPA including American IPA, New England IPA, Double IPA and Session IPA.
The Tuatara’s Kapai series and Garage Project Hapi Daze are two great examples of your classic fresh IPA.
Food Pairing: Hoppy and citrus, IPA’s complement a variety of foods. Consider pairing with a spicy dish and you’ll be surprised how well they go together.
Pale ales are characterised by a balance between hops and malt with a special focus on malt sweetness. Pale ales usually show a hop flavour and clean finishes. There are a few variations you can get including American Pale Ale and New Zealand Pale Ale.
The Emerson’s Bookbinder and Epic Brewings Pale Ale are two delicious examples of a kiwi Pale Ale.
Food pairing: Well balanced, Pale Ales go nicely with homemade burgers and grilled chicken.
Pilsners are known to be crisp, clean and utterly refreshing. Balanced and bright flavours, you’ll find this style of crafty shows noticeable hop bitterness. You might also find variations of your classic Pilsners such as German Pilsner and NZ Pilsner (also known as NZ Pils).
Garage Project who is a Wellington based craft beer brewery are highly known for their craft beers and in particular their Pilsners, scroll their range here.
Food pairing: Pilsners are the perfect accompaniment to your classic pub style
Dark, rich and creamy. Stout is known for its smoky creamy taste mixed with roasted malt flavours. You’ll find Stout craft beers range from dry and coffee-like to sweet and chocolatey. You will also be able to tell what scale a stout is by its name, you’ll usually find the name inserted with ‘dry’, ‘sweet’ or ‘imperial’.
Food pairing: Dark and creamy, match your favourite stout with hearty and rich meals such as barbecues, chocolate desserts or a classic fish and chips dish.
Sour Beer, kinda like a sour lolly? Sours taste very different, different breweries show wide ranges of staples with tart and acidic flavours. They can be fruity tasting, some a bit funky and others barrel-aged. A great example of a sour beer is from Garage Project, they have a delicious bevvy named ‘Day of the Long Shadow’.
Food pairing: Sour Beers and their tartness goes well with several dishes but in particular experiment with seafood, sorbets or oysters and you’ll be smiling!
It is always fun to experiment with and discover your own favourite pairings so use this as a pairing guide and create your own food match!