Winter Warmer Beer Events 2015

New Zealand Winter Beer EventsIf you follow beer on social media and you aren’t in Australia, you are probably feeling a bit of FOMO about GABS and Good Beer Week. It is surely the biggest thing on the beer calendar right now, but it’s not the only thing!

Here are some upcoming Nelson and New Zealand options that will give you plenty of festiveness for your beer buck.

Meet The Brewer at Bel-Aire Tavern

To help us all fight the Mondays throughout winter, Bel-Aire Tavern in Tahunanui hosts a monthly Meet the Brewer session. These are friendly, casual, free tastings where you get to find out about the beers from the people who make them.

First up this winter is Totara Brewing, New Zealand’s only hop farm brewery, “so you can expect the evening will be heavily loaded towards discussing our local hops.”

Event Details

Time: Monday 25 May 2015, 7:30 pm

Place: Bel-Aire Tavern, Tahunanui

Tickets: No need for tickets, but do sign up for the newsletter or like the Facebook page to be notified of upcoming sessions.

 Mussel Inn Beer Tasting Competition

Fancy yourself a bit of a beer nerd? Then the Mussel Inn Beer Tasting Competition is a fun way to test your skills. All you have to do is correctly identify 12 Mussel Inn beers in a blind tasting. Surely you know your Captain Cooker from your Dark Horse? The trick is in the competitors, veterans from the past 8 or so comps and professionals like Martin Townshend. Still it’s worth a shot…

Event Details

Time: Sunday 14th June 2015, 1.30pm

Place: The Mussel Inn, Onekaka, Golden Bay

Tickets: $20, includes tastings. Available from

 SOBA Winter Ales Festival in Wellington

SOBA president Dave Wood is excited that with a month to go, half the tickets have already sold for the 6th Winter Ales Festival. Steven Wells of Beer Without Borders says he has lined up around 30 beers from at least 18 breweries. He’s especially excited to have acquired sour beers from North End and a special Funk Estate beer made for GABS. This event typically sells out, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.

Event Details

Time: Saturday, 13 June 2015, 2pm – 7pm

Place: Hunter Lounge, Victoria University, Kelburn, Wellington

Tickets: $45, includes a souvenir glass and EIGHT half glass beer tastings and a $5 food voucher. Available from

SOBA Auckland City of Ales Festival

Also in June is the SOBA Auckland City of Ales Festival. The beer scene has been slow to take off but is finally mushrooming in the country’s fastest growing city, so many new breweries should be available. In it’s 4th year, this fest is also anticipating around 30 beers. Expect a relaxed and intimate feel.


Time: Saturday 27 June 2015, Two sessions: 12pm – 3pm or 4pm – 7pm

Place: The Maritime Room 175 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Tickets: $40, includes souvenir glass, 2 beer tokens & a plate of delicious food. Available from


Beervana has just announced quite a bit of a change up. Originally created by the Brewers Guild of New Zealand, it was sold a few years back to Cryer Malt. It was growing too big for the Guild to manage, but David Cryer didn’t want to let it die. David put his life and soul into growing it into a national event. Now this successful festival has become bigger than Cryer Malt could manage, and so it has been sold again to the Wellington Culinary Events Trust (WCET), the organisation that runs Visa Wellington On a Plate.

The immediate impacts will be a shift in dates to coincide with the first weekend of Wellington On a Plate, and a change in how the beer is bought from breweries. Also, the types of festival bars (pouring stations) will be consolidated somewhat.

Otherwise, attendees shouldn’t expect dramatic changes as David Cryer will be heavily involved in the transition this year. All feedback from past events will be used to make this year better than ever.

Event Details

Time: Friday 14 and Saturday 15 August 2015, 4 sessions, plus special packages

Place: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Tickets: will go on sale from Monday 15 June (Visa pre-sale) Available from


Fresh Choice Tasting Nights

Even if you are hanging in Nelson all winter, Fresh Choice Richmond will again be bringing the brewers to you. You’ve just missed out on tickets to hear Carl Vasta from Tuatara Brewery in June, but there will be more.

Event Details

Time: varies, typically a Weds evening from 7 – 10pm

Place: Cafe on Oxford, Richmond

Tickets: $30 includes at least 5 beers with matching tasting menu. Sign up to the Wine and Beer Club to be notified


Looking for more festivals? Bookmark the Beer Tourist Festivals page and check in periodically.

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About Fritz and Maria

Fritz and Maria have been living, drinking and brewing together for over 20 years. As beer commentators and educators they strive to create a beerocracy where people exercise their palates by voting for quality in the marketplace. Their interests include the personalities, business, and culture of craft beer worldwide. As distillers for Rough Hands, they loved being at the place where magic meets science. Fritz and Maria can be found speaking at beery events, holding guided tastings, judging competitions.

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