Originally Posted by dbennett78
I travelled New Zealand last March around the North and South Islands ala campervan and while its an amazing place, I didnt find many of their beers to be all that spectacular. Most of it is fairly basic and low alcohol while still being relatively expensive. The only place to find a decent beer are in the bigger cities like Auckland/Wellington. Brew on Quay in Auckland had a huge list of beer, but again alot werent New Zealand native. Mac's Brewbar in Wellington was a pretty neat spot and their beer was decent. Monteiths is the dominant beer in the South Island and can be found at pretty much every bar.
We went by a bunch of Hop Farms near Nelson/Motueka (hence the hop names), but Im guessing that it is probably not worth the hassle of trying to get them through customs.
There arent a massive number of craft breweries here, but the one there are can hang with any of the US ones. Clearly you didnt get to the good stuff. Sadly distribution of craft beers is a bit crap. Also, a lot of the breweries are very small, not helping distribution either. It means buying a good beer outside of the major centres can be real pain.
Mac's is decidedly below average as is Monteiths. And neither are craft breweries. Both are owned by the major breweries in NZ.
The one's I'd look out for include:
Theres a bunch more, but those are the major ones
As for the low alcohol, the craft beers generally sit at around 5-7%. unfortunately in NZ alcoholic drinks are taxed according to percentage. But i wouldn't call them low alcohol. the mass market swill is a different story.
Primary: DIPA, Quick Flanders, RIS, Flanders Red, Oud Bruin x 2, Fijoa Gose
Keg: Gose, Amber/APA
Bottled:Belgian strong ale with brett, Belgian strong ale, Belg Amber, Belg blonde, Belg dark Strong, Belg not-wit, Belg tripel, berry blonde, belg stout, coffee dubbel, chili APA, APA, Belgian Dubbel, Rye (Brett) Saison