Timely tidbits from the New Zealand beer world

Don’t Miss These New Releases

A stream of new beers are flowing onto the market right now. Many are small run limited releases, so don’t miss out!

Emerson's TribulationEmerson’s Tribulation – Limited Release

Emerson’s will be releasing just 100 cases of Tribulation – a pinot noir barrel aged Imperial Stout. Cellar Master Jo Scott says, “If you’d like to pre-order and secure your stash, we suggest you get in touch by emailing”. If any is left, it will be available at the cellar door in a few weeks. (If you are a Facebook member, you can watch for special releases here: but you must be logged in, due to age restrictions on the page.)

Tracy Banner with fresh hopsSprig&Fern 2015 Motueka Pilsner – Limited Release

Using Motueka hops grown Upper Moutere that are freshly picked in the morning and into the brew by lunchtime the same day, Motueka Pilsner has a quite tasty, bold passionfruit character. Brewer Tracy Banner says, “The beer has a crisp Pilsner finish and a wonderful hop bouquet – a reflection of fresh Nelson hops at their very best.” Find a tavern near you:

Hop Federation 2015 Barrel Aged StoutHop Federation 2015 Barrel Aged Stout – Limited Release

This second annual release of Barrel Aged Stout has been sent out in kegs only until mid June when they will release bottle conditioned stock. Owner Simon Nicholas says, “Hopefully there’s enough to go around as we’ve managed to produce 12 barrels this year compared to only 2 last year.”

Epic AwakeningEpic Awakening Pils

In his usual direct style, owner Luke Nicholas states, “Awakening Pils is a beer for those beer drinkers that haven’t ventured far from their ice cold green bottled lagers. An easy, welcoming and somewhat familiar first step in the direction of drinking beer that actually has some flavour.” And he gives a warning to Epic drinkers that it’s not meant to be a hop bomb – Larger this ain’t. It is a fresh fruity clean drinker. Look for it from 2 June.

Epic ApocalypseEpic Apocalypse IPA – Limited Release

Hop lovers never fear, Epic has also re-released Apocalypse as a winter seasonal Black IPA (or Cascadian Dark Ale) with a single batch in 2015. As the label says, “Face punchingly aromatic…with a lingering hoppy bite.” If you like this style, grab it while you can.

Again, Facebook members can watch for Epic updates if logged in:

Sriracha_StoutRogue Sriracha Hot Stout – Limited Release

And from the US, Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout goes on sale this weekend. Some folks are down on Rogue for becoming too gimmicky, but you cannot deny the beauty and fun of a collaboration like this. So what is it? Here’s the pitch “Made from Huy Fong original hot chili sauce and sun ripened Rogue Farms ingredients, is ready to drink with soups, sauces, pasta, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein, or anything you’d like to wash down with a spicy kick.” Love it or hate it, NZ is pretty lucky to get this beer, since the hugely popular hot sauce rarely makes it this far. Check for a location near you for launch events on Saturday 30 May:

NZ Did Alright at AIBA

Parrot Dog Champion Small Brewery at AIBAOfficial results have been released, and NZ is bringing home 6 of the 28 Champion and Major trophies awarded at the Austrialian International Beer Awards, the biggest annual beer competition in the world. Not bad, since several categories are specifically for Australian beers and we were competing against over 1,700 submissions by 344 companies from 35 countries.

Brewers Guild of New Zealand chairman Bob King said “This is a golden era for New Zealand brewing and once again we’ve shown that our breweries are among the best in the world.”

Once again, Kiwis snagged the hotly contested City of Ballarat Trophy for Champion International Small Brewery – this time the champs are Wellington’s Parrot Dog Brewery (Blenheim’s Renaissance Brewing won the title in 2013 and 2014). The Matts also picked up RASV Trophy for Best Reduced/Low Alcohol for ClippedWing. The industry consensus is that it couldn’t have gone to nicer, harder working guys.

Lion Beer Spirits Wine had the best single beer, with Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark claiming ExpoNet Trophy for Champion International Beer as well as the Cryermalt Trophy for Best Amber/Dark Ale.

While winner of the highly coveted Kegstar Trophy for Best IPA was Epic Brewing with Armageddon IPA.

Last but not least, Spiegelau Trophy for Best Stout: Monteith’s Velvet Stout from DB Draught Brewery.

And those were just the trophies. Kiwis will also be lugging home no fewer than 121 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. See the full list of NZ winners. (For the full competition results visit the AIBA page.)

Join the celebrations by raising a New Zealand beer tonight!

June Craft Beer & Curry Nights at The MK

Nelson’s The Monaco Kitchen is trying out a creative new way to promote local craft beers matched with their menu. For the month of June, each Wednesday night at 6:30 pm they will be hosting a brewer and serving curries with a guided tasting of their beers.

The schedule for Craft Beer & Curry Nights is:

3 June 6:30 PM McCashins Brewery

10 June 6:30 PM Hop Federation Brewery

17 June 6:30 PM Dale’s Brewing

24 June 6:30 PM The Mussel Inn

For $39 you get to taste the beers, and your choice of curry (each curry night will feature seafood, a chicken, a red meat and a vegetarian curry option) and a side dish.

To book, email or phone 03 547 0792.

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.

Great Kiwi Beer Fest 2015 Tix Go On Sale

It’s time to buy your tickets to the fourth annual Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Hagley Park, Christchurch.

With fifty breweries and cider producers, over forty gourmet food producers, five live bands plus lots of demos and talks, it’s always a day to remember.

VIP, Hoptimized and Early Bird tickets go on sale on Wednesday 10th December through Dash Tickets.

Early Bird tickets are priced at only $29.90 (plus booking fee) and are limited to the first 1000 sold. They include an official festival glass and access to all features and entertainment.

For more information, visit or the Great Kiwi Beer Festival Facebook page.

Secret Seven

The Secret Seven Manifesto

The Secret Seven Manifesto

Our network has been intrigued this week by the arrival of packages of beer from the newest beery cabal: Secret Seven. We are sure all will be revealed in time, but we thought we would spare a few lines to talk about the beer.

It is indeed hoppy, and amber in colour, but lacks the body and amber malt flavour for an American amber style. The aroma is complex. Full of citrus, mostly lemon and a hint of grapefruit and orange. Then comes a hint of malt and below that some yeast character. This is a young beer.

The flavour is very hop centric, again with the lemon citrus flavours. We find the hops American in character, with hints of pine lurking in the lemon patch, but no stone or tropical fruit. It is very dry, a bit astringent, less than optimally carbonated, and a tad thin. As a drinking experience, at first the lack of balance and astringency were off-putting, but in the end it is an enjoyable. Those of you who don’t like lingering bitterness will need to look elsewhere. This one builds.