New Zealand Beers on Tap – The Local Taphouse May ’11 SpecTAPular

As part of the Good Beer Week festivities across Melbourne this week, there was another SpecTAPular at Australia’s ‘best beer bar in the land’ , The Local Taphouse. Pouring 20 different beers, from 20 different New Zealand brewers, this was another great day to get ‘paddled up’ and sample a few brews (or all of them). Now let’s get straight to the beers.

The Winners

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale – this is a delightful beer, with a rich caramel and toffee sweetness and a host of other subtle flavours all beautifully balanced, I could have happily drank this one all night long (if there weren’t so many others to try).

Epic Hop Zombie 2IPA – the self-proclaimed ‘hoppiest beer in New Zealand’ was certainly packed with strong fruity hops flavours but not as bitter as expected, due to the malt and higher ABV.

8 Wired Hopwired – As good as in the bottle, a strong tropical fruit aroma but without lingering bitterness, again due to the malt backing.

Manuka Wit – Overheard an Epic brewer calling this beer the triumph of the day. I approached this one hesitantly but was pleasantly surprised, as this was not your typical wit. More malty with an almost copper colour and some unique flavours (possibly the Manuka Tree) all perfectly in balance.

The Let Downs 

You know how some beers seem to be different just to be different well that was the Yeastie Boys with the first 100 per cent peated whisky malt beer in the world. Catching a whiff of this golden ale, reminded one of sitting around a campfire where the smoke from the fire keeps blowing in your face. The tasting guide did say this would be the one beer you would remember, unfortunately, it wasn’t in a good way.

The Golden Bear Hanky Panky was fairly ordinary in taste and lacked the cohesiveness of the other beers. That there were only two beers I was disappointed though attests to the high quality of the brews on display.


A really impressive display from the Kiwis, as you might expect. I think the likes of Emersons, Renaissance, and 8 Wired, are still a step ahead of the Aussies in terms of the quality of their beers, and their beers today only served as a reminder to that. There was also a consistently high quality across a range of different styles from all brewers, which was impressive to see.

Good Beer Week

This week of events highlighting the craft beer scene appeared to be a success, certainly the Taphouse was packed, when I went down to the Mountain Goat on Wednesday it was the same, and almost all of the ticketed events appeared to sell out. Wish I had the wallet to enjoy more events than I did.

On a final note, the collaboration brew from Mountain Goat, Moon Dog, and Matilda Bay, a special brew to mark the week, was actually a really tasty beverage. A dessert beer really, it was very sweet with more than a hint of raisins, but really smooth with a decent body. Apparently waffles were throw into the mix but I’m not sure what effect this had and am slightly disturbed by this recent trend of throwing weird stuff into a beer purely to make it sound more crazy. The beer certainly wasn’t crazy, it was quality, and that’s what really matters.

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