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Neil Miller - NZ

Bold expansion for three Kiwi craft breweries

The Kiwi beer scene continues to grow.  Following right on from the dual silver medal successes of New Zealand beers at the World Beer Cup in San Diego (Garage Project Cockswain's Courage Double Barrelled Edition Porter and Speight's Triple Hop Pilsner), the huge popularity of local fresh hop beer festivals (Hopstock in Wellington and Fresh Hop 2014 in Auckland), my inbox has been filled with news of other breweries expanding their operations as our collective thirst for quality beer shows no signs of slaking.  In this post, I’m going to share three very different examples of how breweries I love are getting bigger. more info

Auckland may not be quite as bad as I have previously intimated…

The vast majority of New Zealanders not currently residing in the greater Auckland metropolitan area have a “love-hate” relationship with our country’s biggest city.  We hate them, they love themselves.  Previously, my visits to Auckland would usually consist of a flight in, a day of business, an evening at Galbraith’s Ale House then a taxi ride to the airport and straight out of there.  more info

Why can’t I get a decent beer at 35,000 feet?

It is a very valid question.  In New Zealand, travellers routinely pay hundreds of dollars to fly and, provided they travel at the ‘correct’ time, are occasionally offered a reasonable selection of local wines or a couple of very mainstream beers, usually in trendy, tiny, stupid cans.  Recently, Moa Brewing Company produced metal bottles principally so their Original Pale Ale could be served on Air New Zealand flights.  That was a small step in the right direction – but not nearly enough.  more info

The three faces of brewery acquisitions

Big breweries buying little breweries has been a global trend for decades and, in terms of beer quality, the results have generally been pretty awful.  While not quite on the same scale as Britain or America, it is happening in New Zealand.  Recent events have made me reflect on brewery sales and acquisitions in New Zealand, particularly how differently they all turned out.  more info

Hopstock 2014 – Be sure to wear some Humulus Lupulus in your hair

It is absolutely no secret that I really like hops – lots of hops.  One of the single most incredible beers I have ever tasted was the inaugural incarnation of Mac’s Brewjolais – a green hopped beer made with hops picked that very morning.  It was the first fresh hopped beer I’d tried and I still fondly recall its sticky, resinous, volatile bitterness.  Sadly, Mac’s have long since given up the annual Brewjolais tradition but they seem to have inspired the local craft brewing scene with an increasing number of fresh hopped beers poised to hit our taps as the 2014 New Zealand hop season begins. more info

Popular beer festival damaged by excess compliance and over-regulation

Last week, I posted a personal review of the highly successful and enjoyable Greater Wellington Brewday festival in scenic Martinborough wine country.  This week, I’m going to discuss an event I did not attend – the New Zealand Beer Festival in Auckland - which received a far more mixed reception.  more info

Beer, sun, music, snacks and trivia

On Saturday 8 March I had the distinct pleasure of attending Greater Wellington Brewday, one of the best beer festivals I’ve ever been to. It is hard to single out one particular reason why it was so enjoyable – I guess I have to put it down to the beer, weather, location, music, food and entertainment. So, pretty much everything in other words.  more info

Beer for the right reasons

We all know that beer is a wonderful social lubricant and is, frankly, delicious, but it can also be used to help very worthy causes.  On Monday 17 February I ran a charity beer tasting which raised almost $2,000 for a good cause.  We were able to raise that much money because of the generosity of breweries and bars which donated beer and prizes to the event. more info

My take on the best beer names in the world

Beer names is undoubtedly one of the most common – or possibly overused - topics for beer blogs and articles.  However, there are always beer names which are so clever, creative, funny and/or cheeky that they simply deserve to be shared.  In this article, I will present some of my favourites, suggestions from social media and a few of the classics from international websites. more info

Beerly Reading: 2014 Pocket Beer Book

Noted beer writers Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb modestly decided to write the “essential guide to the best craft and traditional beers in the world” and then ensured the resulting tome could fit in a beer drinker’s pocket.  Their “2014 Pocket Beer Book” is 320 (small) pages literally stuffed with beer wisdom and guidance.   more info

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