Beers of Australia/New Zealand

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Dec 17, 2020
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Next week I'm going to be headed "down under" with my wife and 2 kids for our biggest adventure yet. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip, so naturally I want to make the most of it. And of course by make the most of it, I mean try as much local beer as possible!

I'll try any beer once, whether it's regional light lager or barrel-aged limited edition microbrew, if I can't get it here in the US, then I want to try it. What's worth seeking out down there? Is there anything I should steer clear of? (Other than Fosters).

We'll be spending some time in Aukland and Sydney, and then a longer stretch in the outskirts of Adelaide (for a wedding). I'm the only beer drinker in the family, but the rest of them are usually happy to eat at a brewpub or indulge me in the occasional brewery tour.

I'm looking forward to hearing any suggestions!
Not fromand never been, but FWIW, Wikipedia says there are major local brands. Sounds like they're all parts of conglomerates now, but might be worth a look at what the "standard" beer is.
E.g. for NSW I'd be looking to try a Tooheys Old. But I like boring beer :)
It seems like there should be some great Hazy IPAs down there, since that’s where all the hops are coming from. Is there an Aussie or NZ version of Treehouse?
Well, I've touched down in Auckland and had a chance to stop by the local New World grocery and buy a couple of singles. I figured I might as well post some tasting notes, since these seem to be pretty rare to see in the U.S., if at all.

Here's what I picked up today. I'll add my notes as I work my way through them.
  • Garage Project Pernicious Weed
  • Duncan's Cone Dip Fresh Hop NZIPA
  • Urbanaut Mesa Verde Hazy IPA
  • Sawmill Fresh Hop NZH-106 Hazy IPA
  • Garage Project Party & Bullish#*7
My selections were mainly based on the label art, and looking for local NZ hop flavors.

First up, Garage Project Pernicious Weed.
  • 8.0% ABV
  • Nelson Sauvin and Rakau hops
  • “Oldman’s Hop Field”
Poured into cleanish wine glass with a vaguely Teku shape (best I could find in my rental).
Orange/copper color, slight haze, bright white head that dissipates quickly.
Grapefruit/lychee/grape notes in the nose. Assertive bitterness that lingers pleasantly, grapefruit rind, flavors similar to aroma.
A bit of Munich/vienna on the malt side.
Very solid west coast IPA style with just a bit of additional NZ tropical notes. Pretty dank.

Duncan’s Brewing Company Cone Dip Fresh Hop NZIPA
  • 6.0% ABV
  • Single Hop Riwaka
  • Eggers Hop Farm
  • Apparently they chartered a plane to fly these hops from the fields to the brewery. "Harvest to brew in a single day".
Golden straw color, just shy of bright, bright white foam that laces the glass.
Aroma is strong passionfruit.
Light bitterness, on par with a modern pils.
Flavor is nice blend of grapefruit/passionfruit.
Not much going on malt-wise, just clean base malt flavor.
I'm not familiar with Riwaka hops, but this seems to be an excellent showcase of exactly what this hop brings to the table. I could crush one of these on a hot day easily. A second might get tiring because it is so laser focused on this single hop flavor.