My Top 10 New Zealand Beers

Posted: July 19, 2010 in Off Topic

Over the last few years I’ve got more and more enthusiastic about New Zealand Brewing. I do a bit of micro brewing myself and have become a huge fan of New Zealand Boutique Brewery’s. Here is my top 10.

Update : I have now started a site dedicated to New Zealand Beer.

1. Epic Ale
Epic Ale is the Lamborghini of NZ Beers. With 23 Hops per bottle it is neither subtle or delicate, but totally brilliant. It deserves number 1 spot because it’s bold and daring and has moved NZ beer forward 10 years. However drinker beware, the name Epic could also be applied to the hangover drinking more than 3 will bring.

2. Emerson Pilsner
NZs most delicate, floral and elegant Pilsner has been a big favourite of mine for years. I’m not the only fan, it places every year in the Australian International Beer Awards, distinguished from 1170 beers entered from 34 countries. I love the description on the bottle, “oozes citrus and passionfruit aromas and flavours”.

3. Hallertau Luxe (No 1)
This is something different, a Kolsch ale. The taste is somewhere between a wheat beer, a pilsner and happiness. Exhibiting hits of summer, passion fruit, blueberries and a piece of dry straw.

4. Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale
Malt and salt, chocolate on the nose and palate, a hint of cheese and cigar ash. Half red beer, half stout with huge flavour. Best matched with Haggis and a cold day.

5. Moa Original
This brew is the creation of Josh Scott, winemaker for the Allan Scott wine family. Everything about it feels champagne like to me. Light and bubbly, hoppy with fruit notes and hint of straw. This is one for the champagne flute.

6. Moa Harvest
It takes a good wheat beer to interest me and a brilliant one to make the top 10. Nelson hops and Marlborough cherries brought together by an award winning wine maker. This a summer essential, so refreshing it hurts!

7. Hallertau Statesman (No2)
This pale ale is characterised by strong Malt flavours bordering on oak, followed by a massive hop hit. It’s bold and persuasive, like an arm up your back or a gun to your temple. It tastes like Hugo Boss suits and oak book shelves.

8. Harringtons Summer Ale
Aromas of citrus, ginger and coriander, mixed with honey and a light hoppy finish. This is the king of summer ales and the only one which doesn’t taste of cordial.

9. Wigram Munchner Dunkel
True to the label it starts with crisp sharp hop flavours then quickly follows with hints of coffee and toffee. I’m even getting the advertised hazelnut essence, which greets you from the first sniff. Almost a dark beer in flavour but lacking the heaviness. Perfectly carbonated and fresh, which is sometimes a struggle for fully flavored dark beers.

10. Epic Mayhem
Until the recent release of its Stout, Epic has been a one trick pony. My tongue may be generalising but its three Ales are only differentiated by the quantity of hops. Epic Ale, Mayhem and Armageddon are the Speed, P and Crack of beer. If Epic Ale leaves you searching for more you move on till you have a $12 a bottle habit which leaves normal beers tasting like water and earns you head splitting hangovers. Mayhem is like drinking a freshly mown lawn, big and green enough to make your eyes water.

  1. Mitchell says:

    I’m with you on the Epics, but amazed you didn’t rate the Armageddon in your top ten – for me it’s the most balanced of the trio, despite having enough hops to incapacitate an angry rhino.

  2. joelmacfarlane says:

    Clearly I will have to do more research!

    What others have I missed, which you would consider top 10?

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