Do you know your ales from your lagers? Your stouts from your sours? Navigate the chilled section with our New World Beer Guide to find a bottle or can you’re bound to enjoy.
How are beers categorised?
New Zealand’s craft beer industry has exploded, with more varieties of beer available than ever before. Not sure what the difference is between a hefeweizen and a hazy IPA? Here’s your guide to understanding the different types of beer in your bottle, can or keg.
All beer is made using the same four ingredients: water, yeast, hops and malt. How you combine them together, how long you brew them for, and whether or not you add anything else into the mix influences what your beer will taste like. Click here to see how beer is made.
It may help to think of beers like siblings in a family. A Pale Ale and an IPA are both ales. They are two different varieties of beer, and while they share similarities there are also plenty of differences. Each one is unique.
In this New World guide to beer styles we’ll cover all the main types of beer and some of the categories within them.
Schwarzbier or Dark Lager
India Pale Ale (IPA)
American Pale Ale (APA)
Extra Pale Ale (XPA)
British Style Ales
|Stout, porter and black beer
Sweet & dry beers
Ale or lager - what's the difference?
One of the most frequently asked questions in the beer world is “what’s the difference between ale and lager?” To be perfectly honest, these days, not much. But 500 years ago? Quite a lot.
So, what’s the difference between an ale and a lager? The answer is simple: Yeast.
Humans have been making beer for thousands of years, long before we discovered yeast was a living organism, and caused fermentation around the mid-1800s. People used whatever ingredients they had to hand – from wild yeasts that make sour beers to what was predominantly used – through trial and error, a yeast variety called Saccharomyces cerevisiae which was used to make ale.
This yeast worked away quite happily in open-topped fermenters at temperatures of around 18-24℃. This yeast produced fruity flavours like apple, pear, banana, and strawberry.
But in Germany, mountaintop-dwelling monks wanted to make their beer last a little bit longer and started storing it in chilly caves over the summer. Not only did the beer stayer fresher longer, but a new yeast strain, one which liked chilly temperatures, started to work its own brand of magic on the beer.
This yeast strain worked slowly but cleanly. It gobbled up more of the malt sugars than ale yeast and didn’t produce as many fruity flavours. The result was a smooth, crisp beer. Liking what they were getting, the monks over time allowed this strain of yeast to dominate. They named the style of beer for the process used to create it: ‘lagern’ which is the German word for “to store”. This of course is where we get the word lager.
Colour has absolutely no influence over whether a beer is an ale or lager. There are brown and black lagers just as there are golden and pale ales.
Over time, new brewing methods have given brewers greater control over the fermentation process. Now, using temperature and pressure, brewers can make yeasts do what they want, depending on the kind of flavour they want to create. So the difference between an ale or a lager today is less about the kind of yeast used.
As New World Beer and Cider judge Kelly Ryan says: “The yeast strain doesn’t make the beer. It is how you, as a brewer, manipulate the variables you need to get beer with flavour and aroma you want.”
It sounds complicated, but the bottom line is that any yeast can be used to ferment any style of beer, what really matters is the taste.
A modern lager is pale yellow, clear, smooth with a light hop bitterness. Unlike ales there are no prominent esters (or fruit aromas) on the nose. These days, most lagers are pale in colour but that trend was driven by the creation of pilsner. Traditionally lagers were dark, like most other beers. You can still find traditional darker styled lagers like amber, doppelbock, and schwarzbier, which is black.
Pale lager is the most popular style of beer on the planet – and for good reason: its smooth approachability and tempered bitterness make it one of the most refreshing beers you can find.
Pale lager is regarded as a simple beer: cold, gold and fizzy. But making a great lager requires patience and technical skill. Long, cold conditioning is needed to create the silky smoothness of the beer, while refining the malt-hop balance is more complex as the brewer doesn’t want anyone flavour to outweigh the other. E Everything should be in check and any flaws are easily exposed. A good lager is clean, refreshing and dry.
Types of Lager
Modern lagers tend to be clear, smooth and crisp with a light hop bitterness, and more malty rather than fruity flavours.
Beer history is full of wondrous stories of madness, invention and good luck.
The madness here was the good folk of Pilsen in the Czech Republic dumping barrels of beer because they didn’t like the taste. The city started its own brewery, known now as Pilsner Urquell, and hired a German brewer to come up with a recipe that worked.
Josef Groll brought a lagering technique from his native Germany, some pale English malt and had the good luck (or knowledge) to understand that Pilsen’s very soft water (low in minerals) suited the making of a light style of beer. Add in some locally-grown spicy Saaz hops and a style was born; Pilsner.
What made pilsner a more popular beer was a combination of science and technology. Just as scientists were understanding yeast in the 1860s, clear glassware was coming into fashion and the advent of refrigeration helped create the cool temperatures needed to create this style of lager in places other than German caves.
Pilsner took the world by a perfect storm. Modern pilsners are some of the best known beers in the world – Stella Artois, Heineken, Becks and of course Pilsner Urquell.
The style arrived in New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century and 100 years later New Zealand breweries are reimagining Pilsner with the generous use of aromatic Kiwi hops which lend tropical fruit notes to the nose rather than the spicier aroma created by traditional “noble” hops. Parrotdog Pandemonium does the trick with Aussie hops.
Looking for an award winning Pilsner?
Brave Brewing Co The People's Pils
This beer fills your mouth with soft, textural, bready malt and finishes fresh and cleansing. Its simplicity belies the cleverness.
Coherent, clean and with lots of tart, lemon-zesty flavour you’ll finish a glass before you know it.
Panhead Port Rd Pilsner
Everything about this beer feels like a high-revving race car – from the pale lemon appearance, through the tight, white frothy head and finishing with a bright bitterness that’s solid but doesn’t dominate the malt sweetness.
Named for its colour, Golden or American style lagers are very clean, crisp and refreshing. Like most lagers, you’ll find little in the way of hops or fruity flavours.
Golden lagers are normally served chilled for maximum refreshment. Also because, combined with greater carbonation there is usually little depth of flavour.
This is the beer you’ll reach for after mowing the lawns on a hot summer’s day. Golden lager is quenching, just a little sweet, with mild malt flavours.
Halfway between a golden lager and a doppelbock, Amber Lagers have a dark, reddish brown colour.
Amber lagers have a medium body. There’s more complexity than a golden lager, but not quite as rich or heavy as a doppelbock.
A signature flavour from Amber Ale is caramel-malt, with perhaps very subtle levels of hops or bitterness.
Again, variations of this lager, including Classic Bock, Helles Bock and Eis Bock originate in Germany. Doppelbock is a strong-style of beer, with ABV percentages sometimes as high as 8%.
Doppelbock is very malty in flavour, perhaps with hints of chocolate or caramel. It’s full bodied with a minimal hop bitterness. Traditionally Doppelbock was served as a winter warmer during the colder months, and it’s rich maltiness makes it an ideal dessert beer.
Scharzbier or Dark Lager
The dark colouring can come from the kind of malts used, or by using heavily roasted malts, which makes dark lagers similar to stout.
Scharzbier is famous for coffee and chocolate flavours. Schwarzbier or dark lager can be bitter or sweet depending on how far the brewers take the roasting process.
Looking for an award winning lager?
Body is light and delicate and the mouthfeel a little airy – it’s like a dandelion on a windy day, it just floats off your palate. The flavour profile is sweet and approachable.
Zeelandt Black Monk
The body is lager-light but rich in flavour. It’s full, smooth, sweet and yet delicately refreshing – a great winter alternative to a pale lager.
Boneface Brewing Outlaw IPL
Tropical fruit hoppiness dominates the aroma, the palate is rich and sumptuous, but it finishes dry and clean.
McLeod's Longboarder Lager
Looks a million bucks in the glass – or rather looks like the kind of sparkling jewel a millionaire might buy for show.
Types of ale
Once upon a time the only letters you might have seen on a barrel of beer were XX. These days you’ll find IPA, APA, XPA, ESB … and yes, in the case of that famous Aussie beer, XXXX.
Ales are made at a warmer temperature to lager. The type of years used in ales leaves behind a little more sugar, plus fruiter flavours, which opens the door to a lot of experimentation.
Pale Ale was first brewed in the early 1700s. Until then English ale was all porter and stout, made from malts darkened by roasting in wood-fired kilns. The invention of coke (the non-smoking form of coal) meant better temperature control and no smoke so maltsters were able create a paler malt. Beers brewed with this new malt became known as pale ales as they were pale compared to porter and stout. They were also hoppier and gradually came to be known by their bitter taste.
Modern Pale Ale is almost entirely based on the American craft brewing movement. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter ended the last prohibition era law when he made homebrewing legal.
Those first home brewers became fledging craft brewers. The leader of the pale ale pack was California’s Sierra Nevada, whose pale ale influenced generations of brewers. Just as with pilsners, New Zealand breweries have been experimenting with the essential oils in our home-grown hops to create a distinct style. So much so there is now a clear difference between English-style pale ale, American pale ale (APA) and New Zealand pale ale, with the term NZPA widely used overseas to show a beer was brewed here.
American Pale Ale is about grapefruit and pine hop characters on a malt base with a hint of balancing sweetness. New Zealand Pale Ale tends towards tropical fruitiness, and now we're seeing more XPA (Extra Pale Ale) where the brewers strip back the sweet malt a little to create a lean, tightly-structured base for the smoothly bitter hops to play on.
No matter where it’s brewed a good pale ale should be like an almost-balanced see-saw of hop-malt bitter-sweetness but can tip slightly one way or the other. Find out more about craft beer here.
Looking for an award winning Pale Ale?
Epic Hopshine Pale Ale
Passionfruit, papaya and mango are slathered across your palate with an oily, resinous mouthfeel painting the inside of your mouth with layers of flavour.
Sunshine Brewing Summer Ale
This beer is Gisborne in a glass. Bright and sunny and bursting with tropical fruit.
IPA (India Pale Ale)
Instead everything seems to end in PA – for Pale Ale. IPA is not, as you might hear someone say, “eepa”. It stands for India Pale Ale.
And strangely, for a beer that was born in England and drunk initially in India in the 1780s, the first recorded use of the term “India Pale Ale” came in Sydney in 1829.
IPA’s were created to solve a problem. How can we ship our beer from England to India without it going off on the months long journey? It took a lot of trial and error, but brewers found the beer only survived the journey if it was amped up with hops and alcohol, both of which are known preservatives. It took a number of years to perfect the recipe and an equally long time for India Pale Ale to enter the drinker’s lexicon.
India Pale Ale is the most written about, debated, and divisive style of beer on the planet. So much of its history is shrouded in mystery, marketing and re-imagining of events 400 years ago. There is no doubt that British breweries were exporting beer to India and the West Indies in the 1700s and sometime around 1760 it became common practice for these export beers to be more highly hopped than beer brewed for domestic consumption.
Gradually these beers came to be known, according to historian Martyn Cornell, as “Pale Ale prepared for the East and West India Climate” and were sometimes referred to as pale India ales before brewers landed on ‘India Pale Ale’. Again, it was the adventurous American brewers of the late 20th century who took this hoppy English style and spun the wheel of fortune, gambling on versions bittered with American hops which had more dominant citrus and pine characters than their earthy, herbal English counterparts.
IPA now comes in every shade imaginable from white to red to black and in styles that vary from country to country. However the basics remain the same – strong character, decent alcohol and a clean yeast profile to showcase the local hops.
English IPA tends to be sweeter and more caramel malt-driven while the US versions are hop-forward with floral, citrus and pine aromas and a savoury minerality followed by robust bitterness. New Zealand IPAs tend towards more tropical fruit such as passionfruit and lychee and can appear sweeter and more approachable than their aggressive American cousins. A good tasting experiment is to compare Epic Armageddon (US-Style), with Renaissance Voyager (English-style), ParrotDog Bitter Bitch (English-NZ style), Bach Brewing Kingtide IPA (US-NZ, or Pacific-style) and 8-Wired Hopwired (NZ-style).
Looking for an award winning IPA?
Panhead The Vandal NZIPA
Huge passionfruit, lime, diesel and grape juice notes plus some sweet alcohol heat are tightly bound with a slick, oily mouthfeel that coats the entire palate in lush goodness.
Garage Project Fresh IPA 2020
As expected, it’s juicy peach and apricot on the nose, which gives way to an underlying floral and herbal pungency followed by a nicely tart citrus bitterness that keeps the sweet flavours in check.
Lakeman Hopadelic IPA
Lots of lush tropical fruit and berry notes coupled with a bracing bitterness that cradles your entire palate.
McLeod's Great Migration IPA
-This IPA is almost jammy at first sip – a chewy, sweet, orange marmalade sweetness. That gives way to a gradual unfolding of oily pine resin and grapefruit pith, combining to create a long, dry finish.
Also hugely popular are Double IPAs, also known as Imperial IPA. These are juicy, rich, resinous brews around 8-10% abv.
This is a highly American styled beer that takes a passion for hops and runs with it. It’s name comes from, in many cases, doubling the amount of hops and malt required for the recipe. The end result also includes the higher, though not necessarily double ABV.
The ingredient overload means you can expect even hoppier highs and maltier depths than what you would from a normal IPA.
The latest craze to hit New Zealand’s craft brewing scene are Hazy IPA’s. Normally, the mark of a good beer is it’s colour and clarity. Usually you can look through your glass and at least see through to the other side. Not with a Hazy IPA.
What makes an IPA a Hazy IPA is that most Hazy IPAs are brewed with some high-protein grains like oats or wheat which creates a softer texture and mouthfeel in the beer, as well as making it cloudy. To take the haziness one step further, some breweries also won’t filter the beer.
Hazy IPA’s, also known as Juicy IPA’s only appeared on the American craft brewing scene in 2015, and their popularity has exploded from there. Because brewers aren’t worried about beer clarity with a Hazy IPA, it’s opened the door to experiment with different ingredients.
While people expect IPA’s to be packed with hops, Hazy IPA’s tone down the strong hoppy flavours and allow some of the fruity flavours of the beer to shine through. With many New Zealand craft brewers adding fruit to their recipe, taking those flavours to the next level.
Like all beers, drinking fresh is best. So if you buy a bottle or can of Hazy IPA, make sure you consume it within three weeks.
Looking for an award winning hazy IPA?
Bach Brewing JUICY AF
This hazy pale ale captures all that’s great about the style with aromas of sweet orange and mango followed by an almost pineapple juice flavour washing across your tastebuds.
Behemoth Me Time Mosaic Hazy IPA
Me Time Mosaic was the champion IPA at the New Zealand Beer Awards last year and is proving so popular it’s gone into 6-packs. Easy to see why when you smell the huge, sweet tropical fruit juice aromas.
APA (American Pale Ale)
APA, in contrast, stands for American Pale Ale – and no, that doesn’t mean someone was shipping beer to the United States, although it’s fair to say the American brewers at the heart of the 1980s craft revolution freely imported ideas.
Pioneering San Francisco brewer Anchor, under the direction of Fritz Maytag, set about brewing a classic English pale ale in the late 1970s but changed out the subdued British hops for American varieties that were more in your face. Anchor Liberty Ale set a benchmark for what a pale ale could taste like. Others like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale followed suit and soon everyone in America was making their own interpretation of a pale ale, a style that came to be known, eventually, as American pale ale (APA) and separated from its British roots by those resinous American hops with their notes of citrus and pine.
To further complicate things, in the race between emerging microbreweries to get noticed, these APAs gradually became hoppier and higher in alcohol and thus the American-style IPA was born. Where a British-style IPA is malty, even buttery, with fruity esters and a hop character that delivers herbal and blackcurrant notes, the American-style IPA had a cleaner, leaner malt base and used the brash citrus and pine characters of native hops to create a bolder drinking experience.
Both APA and modern US-style IPA sit on a hard-to-define sliding scale. It’s often accepted that an IPA must be over 5.8 per cent but lots of APAs, such as the popular Panhead Supercharger sit on this border.
The key is the balance. An APA should exhibit a good malt-hop balance while an IPA will be tipped towards hops. As Mike Neilson from Panhead says: “You shouldn’t finish an IPA saying `that was a well-balanced beer’ you should finish saying `those hops were delicious’.”
As more brewers play with styles, the lines between pale ale, APA and IPA continue to blur. In fact, New Zealand-style pale ales made with our delectable hops are widely recognised overseas by the abbreviation NZPA.
American-style beer is a broad church but the bottom line is hops. Take a classic beer style, transport it to California and turn up the volume. And if there’s one beer style above all others that really benefits from being overhauled by Americans, it’s Brown Ale. The humble brown in its British habitat is a malty, sweet, tame creature with notes of toffee, nuts, chocolate, coffee, liquorice, molasses, plum or raisin. Sweet trumps bitter easily. But take that style to the US and add hops – particularly citrus-focused varieties – and the result is a pleasingly complex beast that’s both familiar and exciting. The lush chocolate and toffee malts are still there but the beer finishes dry and clean with a tangy twist. Think punchy amber ales, red IPA, black IPA.
Another example is Amber Ale - in another setting, it's a sessionable, malt-driven beer designed for easy drinking. But ramp up the hops and alcohol in the style of the northwest USA brewers and you have a punchy, hoppy beer that retains its drinkability but becomes pleasingly complex.
Looking for an award winning APA?
Good George APA
Robust bitterness finds a counterpoint in lush, sweet malt with well-integrated stone fruit hop character rising up to deliver a deeply satisfying drop.
This is about as good an APA as you’ll find. A perfect marriage of stunning flavour, drinkability and satisfaction.
XPA (Extra Pale Ale)
But lately drinkers are seeing another beer on the alphabet horizon – XPA.
It’s widely accepted XPA stands for extra pale ale. The question is then: extra what? Is it extra-pale ale, or a pale ale with something extra?
Naturally, it’s a bit of both.
The common view is that it’s a pale ale where the sweeter, caramel malts are stripped out to create a body that’s got more in common with a pilsner – lean, pale and crisp – but with a hopping regimen similar to an APA. The design is around easier drinking than a big IPA but with the same vibrant hoppiness.
Looking for an award winning XPA?
Epic Shotgun XPAFrom a brewery famed for their hoppy beers, this is lemon bright with a hint of sweetness.
Think British, think bitter – you know how it goes, a character in Coronation Street walks into the Rover’s Return and asks for a pint of bitter. The thing is no one in this part of the world slaps the term “bitter” on a bottle if they can avoid it (unless it’s preceded by the words “extra special” which somehow diminishes the intent of the word “bitter”). The humble English bitter with its calm restraint, earthy hops and naturally low alcohol is slowly making inroads against the brash hop-heavyweights muscling in from America and there are some fine examples being made in New Zealand. While it’s not actually Britain, near neighbour Ireland and its famous red ales also fall under this umbrella.
In short – if you can call an old-fashioned bitter by another name there’s a good chance you can sell more of it. Which is why Amber Ale is such a nice catch-all term. It’s not a style unto itself – more a description of colour and it does justice to the fact that a traditional English bitter is often not really all that bitter (at least not by today’s standards) and rather finishes firm and dry.
Another standout English-style beer is what's known as barley wine. To be clear, this is a beer, not a wine. But barley wine has plenty of wine-like characters, notably the high alcohol content. Usually dark, but not necessarily so, barley wines are perfect for cellaring because of the complex flavours and high alcohol. English barley wines are decadently malty with a rich fruitiness - think plums, dates, raisins - and lots of caramel, toffee and molasses.
This is quite possibly the most Kiwi beer term ever. Talk to anyone outside of New Zealand and draught beer means that it was pulled from a keg rather than served from a bottle or glass. So how come we can get ‘Draught beer’ or ‘Draft beer’ in a can?
Draught beer has an unfortunate reputation as a cheap mass-marketed commercial beer, but in developing its own style, craft breweries are now producing draught beer too.
The ‘Draught’ style of beer is an immigrant story. Early settlers to New Zealand tried to make English beers using local ingredients and German strains of hops. New Zealand’s warmer temperatures compared to England gave the beer a fruitier flavour. People adopted the term ‘Draught’ so they could tell the difference between this beer and the maltier, more crisp lagers that were being brewed.
According to the BrewNZ style guidelines for judging beer, a draught beer should be “amber, reddish brown, or copper coloured", including tastes of caramel malt, with low levels of hops.
Germans and Belgians, with their rich beer history have a raft of styles that can change from town to town or can depend on which order of monks made a certain style – Trappist or other (Abbey). Berliner Weisse, Rachbier, Tripel, Saison … each is worthy of a chapter on its own. And then there’s the range sour styles, gueuze, gose (salty-sour) and Lambic, which are starting to make quite an impact with Kiwi brewers. In New Zealand many breweries tackle Saisons (or Farmhouse Ales), which were traditionally seasonal beers made with whatever was available at the end of summer, stored over the winter and served after hot work in the fields the following summer.
There’s a huge variety of styles in Belgium, but the bigger beers – the strong dark ales and Quadrupels – are the ones that capture the imagination. Strong dark ales and quads are essentially siblings and overlap stylistically. Belgian Tripels, with their high alcohol, fruity sweetness and spice are popular. Quadrupels tend to have a bit more body and sweetness, with the strong darks more delicate and drier.
Gose (pronounced go-zah) originated in the town of Goslar on the Gose river in central Germany in the 16th Century. Production of Gose almost stopped during World War II, and the cleaving of Germany in the east and west was almost the death knell for the style. One brewery kept alive a family recipe, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall modern brewers brought Gose back to life. Brewed with salt, coriander and lactic acid on a wheat base, it's a stunningly refreshing and versatile style.
Wheat beer and other grain beer
Wheat beers are among the most confusing to those not deeply embedded in beer subculture. There’s two main forks in the family: the German wheat (Weiss or Weizen; white or wheat), which must feature at least 50 per cent wheat and are dominated by banana and clove yeast aromas; and Belgian (wit) where the citrus-spice aspect is enhanced by the addition of coriander seed and orange peel.
This is where wheat beers are different to lagers. Lagers are made using little to no wheat, while in wheat beer it’s one of the main ingredients.
Witbiers tend to be cloudy, but the Germans can go cloudy (Hefewiezen) or clear (Kristall). You can add colour to the mix with dark wheats (Dunkel) or bock styles (Weizenbock). To add to the confusion, the Germans have kettle-soured wheat beers (Berliner Weiss) and a salted, sometimes fruited, version (Gose). And, of course, once you let the Americans and Kiwis loose on the whole project you get hoppy wheats.
In all wheat beers, the commonality is a dominance of the yeast flavours – with banana, clove, spice or bubblegum – wafting out of the glass. The body is creamy and the head frothy (that’s the wheat with its added protein). They are often tart and sometimes come with added fruit. Whatever wheat beer you prefer it should be tart and refreshing with a nice spritzy carbonation reminiscent of sherbet.
A common German style wheat beer, light and cloudy in colour. The yeast makes the beer taste like banana and cloves.
Similar to a Hefeweizen, but it uses more roasted malts which give their beer a darker colour. Adding malts also adds a depth of caramel flavours to the beer.\
A stronger hefeweizen that’s higher in alcohol. The texture is sometimes a bit creamer and flavours are usually maltier and fruitier.
A Belgian style wheat beer that has the banana and clove flavours of a hefeweizen, but also tastes of orange peel and coriander.
Also known as a ‘Sour Beer’ because many brewers add salt to the recipe. Common flavours are a lemon sourness, and a herbal, grassy aroma.
Bavaria 0.0% Wit
You’ll be as stunned as the judges when they discovered a zero alcohol beer that scored a remarkable 98 out of 100.
Three Boys Wheat
This is such a sensory-pleasing style of beer. Wonderful aromas, great mouthfeel, refreshing finish – and this is a world-class example. If Witbier rebranded as the “original hazy” it would be all the rage.
Stout, porter and black beer
After asking, “What is the difference between Lager and Ale?” The second most popular beer question is “What is the difference between Porter and Stout?”
Some people use those terms interchangeably. Back in the day, it was a question of alcohol. Stouts were originally known as ‘stout porters’ because they had a higher ABV content. Today, brewers will make porters with a higher alcohol content and stouts with a lower alcohol content, so the lines can seem a little blurry. There are subtle differences that most brewers agree on.
Porters are made using malted barley. The barley grains have been soaked in water, allowed to germinate and take the first step in the fermentation process.
Stouts are made using roasted, unmalted barley. Instead of using water to break down the hard barley shell, brewers roast them in a kiln or oven which gives porters those dark chocolate, bitter and coffee flavours.
Porter is a style of beer that dates back to the 1700s when it was the most popular form of beer throughout Britain. In those days, because all sources of heating and cooking involved a lot of smoke, it was impossible to make pale malt. The smokiness of the fires involved in the brewing process added to the dark brown colour of the beer.
Porters and stouts can range from 4% ABV right up to Baltic porters of 10% ABV. They tend towards a caramel and dairy milk chocolate and can range from dry to sweet and modern interpretations can handle strong hop regimes, as well as the addition of fruit, spice and coffee.
Because of the strong malt profile these styles can handle the addition of cacao, coffee beans, vanilla or chilli. Contrary to popular opinion, just because a beer is dark, doesn't mean it's heavy.
Looking for an award winning Stout, Porter or Black Beer?
Renaissance Elemental Porter
It’s one of the absolute classics of New Zealand craft beer: a rich, chocolately, silky, syrupy smooth Porter with a hint of coffee and licorice. Winter goodness in a glass.
Sprig & Fern Scotch Ale
The generously rich, malty, sweet style is also known locally as “Wee Heavy”.
Kererū Night Spirit Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
This massive beer is a special treat. Warm with layers of raisins, chocolate, sherry and oaky tannins, it “walks a tightrope” said the judges. It perfectly balances amazing depth of flavour and spirit heat with a gentle drinkability that fills your senses but doesn’t overwhelm them.
8 Wired iStout
It’s a decadently gorgeous imperial stout which will soothe your senses. Chocolate, dates, leather and licorice coupled with a fortified wine’s satin intensity.
Speciality, experimental, aged, wood-aged and flavoured beer
The rise of craft brewing within New Zealand has led to a lot of experimentation. People are pushing boundaries and testing the limits of flavours and beers just to see what can be done. This is a broad category which captures some of the unusual beers on the market, as well as low alcohol beers.
What is sour beer? It’s probably one of the oldest forms of beer, before we fully understood and mastered the brewing process. Sour beers can be made by:
• Adding salt or salty water to the beer recipe;
• Fermenting beer in a wooden barrel where microbes and oxygen can influence brewing;
• Using ‘wild yeast’ strains in the brewing process; or
• Introducing a lactobacillus culture, the kind used to make Greek yogurt, to sour the beer.
Sour beers have funky, tart, even fruity flavours which makes them popular with non-beer drinkers.
Traditionally, the creation of kettled soured beers takes months - even years - as wild bacteria and other microbes do their work at the end of the brewing process. But kettle-souring speeds up the process by pre-souring beer. Lactobacillus (the friendly bacteria that helps make yoghurt and other fermented foods) is added to the raw beer (wort) to create a tangy, clean taste profile with high acidity. These beers favour the addition of fruits and syrups to create complex flavour profiles.
All beer has flavour of course. At its simplest beer is four ingredients – malt, hops, yeast and water. That’s not where it stops. Beer can handle a raft of flavours from fruit and nuts, to spice and herbs, to tea and coffee. The brewer is limited only by their imagination and what works.
Today, in New Zealand especially, it’s common to see fruit on the list of beer ingredients. Adding citrus to beer has been a time honoured tradition and there’s good reason as the flavour compounds in lemon, orange and grapefruit are similar to those found in hops.
This trend is popular in New Zealand, with smaller craft brewers and larger, mainstream brewers all producing citrus beer ranges.
Some say the origins of citrus beer are found in Germany in the early-1900s, when an innkeeper mixed his beer with lemonade to make it stretch a bit further. Today, many brewers add lemon as part of the brewing process to get that same refreshing result.
Citrus beers are normally of a lower ABV, with some around 2% and other being made completely alcohol free. The result is a beer you can enjoy all summer long. You can quench your thirst and stay hydrated, while still drinking responsibly.
Looking for an award winning sour beer?
Emporium Brewing Drop, Cover, Hold Tropical Sour
The sourness is very light, just a brisk acidity really and the fruit character is passionfruit, pineapple with a hint of spice.
Garage Project Electric Dry Hop Acid Test
Salty acidity on nose – almost fresh seaweed. Bright acidity buzzes across the palate on the first sip and it hangs on for a long ride. A little sweet malt pushes through to balance and it finishes with a tingle of lime zest and woody spice.
Want to enjoy a beer, without the classic beer taste? Perhaps you have more of a sweet tooth? A sweet beer is a beer without too much of the beer taste.
Sweet beer is a very large category, taking in some pale ales all the way up to heavy porters. A good sweet beer has a lot to do with your own personal preferences. If you’re not sure where to start, ask the liquor manager at your local New World for some pointers.
Corona with a Lime
It’s refreshingly light, and the addition of the lime gives this beer a citrus, fruity punch. Served chilled, this is a sweet beer you can enjoy right through summer.
Hoegaarden Original White Ale
This Belgian sweet beer is brewed with orange peel, coriander and spices. It’s light, sweet, and just a little sour with the hints of citrus coming through. Great for a sweet beer lover.
Duncan’s Brewing Company Maple Pancake Pastry Stout
This little brewery out of Paraparaumu is doing big things with flavour. Just imagine the texture of fluffy pancakes all covered with maple syrup with hints of coffee and caramel. Dessert in a bottle.
The question, “What is dry beer” has everything to do with the brewing process. While beer is being brewed, the live yeast cultures east sugar to create alcohol. Any sugars not broken down during the process give the beer it’s sweet taste.
Brewers can play around with this process to adjust the levels of sugar or alcohol in their beer.
A dry beer is one where the yeast has eaten up all of the sugar. A simple way of looking at it, is a ‘Dry beer’ is the opposite of a ‘Sweet beer.’ Even in ‘regular’ beers you’ll still find some sugar, but in a dry beer you won’t find any.
Because of the lack of sugar, dry beers normally have little to no aftertaste and are considered quite crisp and refreshing. With no sugary taste, dry beers allow you to focus more on the flavours of the other ingredients, like roasted malt.
Asahi Super Dry
Possibly Japan’s most favourite beer. It’s a lager without the typical sweetness or heavier malt flavours. The result is a beer that is crisp, refreshing beer that’s very easy to drink.
A popular beer from Australia, Carlton Dry is a golden lager that bills itself as “smooth and uncomplicated. Low in carbs, and just a little fruity aroma, Carlton Dry aims to be a refreshing, thirst quenching beer.