Tag Archives: New Zealand beers

Garage Project Fugazi (New Zealand)


The Garage Project is one of New Zealand’s top craft breweries. I’ve mentioned them here before. This is a lighter-style beer that really works.

Garage Project Fugazi
2.2% alcohol
Simcoe and Sauvin hops. This low-strength beer has a light body and tastes very fresh and linear, but there’s lovely aromatic complexity with notes of passionfruit, earth and herbs, as well as a citrus drive on the palate, with some refreshing herb and bitter hop notes. Light and bright, with lovely drinkability and flavour. 8/10

Yeastie Boys Digital IPA (New Zealand)



The Yeastie Boys are a leading Kiwi craft brewery. The ‘boys’ are Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, and they’ve been making beer since the late noughties from their base in Wellington (though the beers are actually commercially brewed down at the tip of South Island in Invercargill). These beers are now seen in the UK also, although these are UK-brewed (by Brewdog). They taste just as good. This beer was purchased and drunk in New Zealand.

Yeastie Boys Digital IPA
5.7% alcohol
Focused and citrussy with orange peel, grapefruit and spice. Clean malt character provides a neutral background for the vital, hoppy spicy notes to play. Very refreshing and complex. Finishes quite dry. This is a really nicely balanced, complex, flavoursome and refreshing IPA. 8.5/10


Garage Project Pernicious Weed Double IPA, New Zealand


Based in Wellington, New Zealand, the Garage Project is one of the very best brewers in the country, with a broad, imaginative range, based on sound brewing and good flavours. This Pernicious Weed is a celebration of hops, but despite the alcohol level it’s amazingly drinkable, and not overblown.

Garage Project Pernicious Weed Double IPA, New Zealand
8% alcohol
Nelson Sauvin and Rakau hops. Golden/orange colour. Powerful but beautifully balanced with lively, sweet passionfruit and nectarine flavours with some grapefruit freshness. Aromatic and enticing with a lovely rich mouthfeel with some sweet fruity notes and a nice bitter hoppiness, although this never sticks out. The high alcohol adds warmth and brings together all the complex flavours. This is a really exciting, well balanced beer with plenty of impact but also real harmony. 9/10

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA


The Yeastie Boys are a leading Kiwi craft brewery and I ran into this in a bar in Blenheim, the country’s wine capital. The boys are Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, and they’ve been making beer since the late noughties from their base in Wellington (though the beers are actually commercially brewed down at the tip of South Island in Invercargill),

This particular beer is brewed with the addition of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea, and the result is thoroughly intriguing and quite delicious.

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA
6.5% alcohol
This India Pale Ale has some Earl Grey tea added. It’s powerful rich and malty with a lovely spicy bite. Hoppy and exotic with bass from the malt and warm herby notes, combined with lively spice characters. 8/10

8 Wired Saison Sauvin – sensational stuff from New Zealand

8 wired saison sauvin

8 Wired Brewing Co. – named after a specific gauge of fencing wire that’s widely used for just about anything in New Zealand – was originally based in Blenheim, in Marlborough (the country’s largest wine region). It started out in 2009 brewing out of the Renaissance brewery (also excellent), where 8 Wired’s founder Soren Eriksen was working at the time. Now, after a few moves, they now have their own brewery north of Auckland. I’ve tried a few of their beers before, and they’re all remarkable. This Saison is a particularly brilliant beer. I found it at Pigs Ears in Richmond, which has a superb beer selection.

8 Wired Saison Sauvin
7% alcohol
This Kiwi take on Saison is brilliant, made with a French saison yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops. It’s so complex, tangy, bright, fruity and hoppy. There’s real spicy intensity with some sweet apple and pear notes, a tangy lemony twist and some dried herb notes. If you look a little more closely it also has tinned tangerine/mandarin notes and a hint of lychee. Thrilling. 9/10

Renaissance Paradox Pilsner, class from New Zealand

renaissance paradox

Last time I was in New Zealand I had a lot of beer fun. They’ve got some really good breweries, including the Marlborough-based Renaissance. They started off in 2005 when Californian ex-pat brewers Andy Deuchars and Brian Thiel leased the Grove Mill in Blenheim. Interestingly, another of the top Kiwi breweries, 8 Wired, was started by ex-assistant brewer at Renaissance, Soren Eriksen. This beer, which I had at the New Zealand stand at Prowein a couple of days ago, really impressed me.

Renaissance Paradox Pilsner
4% alcohol
Full yellow colour, with lovely bright refreshing citrussy fruit and a well judged hoppy bite. There’s a bit of grip here and some nice spiciness. It’s fresh and very drinkable, but it also has nice complexity and detail. 8.5/10

Some beers from Renaissance, Marlborough, New Zealand

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve come across Renaissance Brewing Company beers a few times before on my trips to New Zealand. They’re based in Blenheim, which is in Marlborough, the largest of the Kiwi wine regions, and you can get the beers on tap at Dodsons (which is next door to the brewery) – as well as in bottle across most of the country. Here I tried a few in London with Roger Kerrison, at the Craft Beer Rising show where these beers made their UK debut.

Renaissance Discovery American Pale Ale
4.5% alcohol
Lovely fresh, bright citrussy beer with nice hoppiness. A bright, lemony style with some herbiness. 8/10

Renaissance Voyager India Pale Ale
6% alcohol
Some sweet noes. Rich, tangy and a bit spicy with powerful flavours and lovely spicy depth. Fresh, tangy and intense. 8/5/10

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale
7% alcohol
Made from nine malts, blended together, to produce what they call the ‘red wine’ of their range. It’s not my favourite, but it is food friendly. Malty and rich with some weight. Sweet, tangy and herby with some toffee and spice notes. Richly textured. 7/10

Renaissance Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter
7.6% alcohol
Brewed with cherries. Powerful and intense with spice and chocolate notes, as well as herbs and black cherries, with a hint of sourness. Rich but a little odd. Amazingly complex. 8/10

renaissance black IPA Ripa Renaissance Enlightenment Black IPA The RIPA
6.5% alcohol
A black ale brewed with rye. Powerful, fresh and tangy with a lively citrus edge to the malty, chocolatey stout character. Nice depth and balance here. 8.5/10

You can see some pictures of Dodsons (effectively the brewery tap, in Blenheim, New Zealand) at the bottom of this blog post from my last visit to Kiwi land.