In this series we ask brewers to talk about three of their own beers and three beers they love from other breweries.

Favourite beer in your core range?

This is a tough one as it generally changes based on mood, weather and such, but I’d say I’d be most inclined to reach for a can of Highwayman APA. It’s a super crisp, classic West Coast-style APA with loads of Citra, Simcoe and Amarillo hops and a dash of caramalt. I find it has this lovely orange sherbet texture, and a strong bitterness which makes it super clean.

The beer you are most proud of?

I’d have to say our schwarzbier Octopus Clamp. It’s a lovely, crisp and balanced dark lager that steers towards a cocoa malt character, rather than being a big roast bomb. It’s picked us up multiple awards in NZ and Australia, and it’s the beer that other brewers will order when they come for a visit. We work hard to make beer that our peers in the brewing industry will enjoy (and ourselves, of course), as feedback from our industry is so rewarding.

Octopus Clamp

Which new beer are you most excited about?

I’m super excited to release our first ever fresh hop beer this month. It’s a take on one of our original favourites which we haven’t brewed for a while, so watch this space. We also have a special wee number stashed away, which we’ll release when the weather starts to cool down a bit more. I’ll give you a hint — smoke meets caramel.

First beer you fell in love with?

After being raised on Double Brown, and then fancying it up with the odd box of Flame (for special occasions), some notables were Epic Armageddon, Liberty Citra and 8 Wired’s Tall Poppy. However, the first beer I fell in love with was Mike’s Imperial IPA — a huge Simcoe and Amarillo bomb that came in a 750ml bottle which Joe Wood had a hand in developing (see? it’s good). I was fortunate to get my first brewing job at Mike’s and would, years later, find myself brewing that very beer.

Global beer you’d like to have now?

Blueline Blonde by Haliburton Highlands Brewing in Ontario. It’s a tiny little brewery just north of where my fiancée comes from. Covid has kept us away for over three years, so it’s the beer I’m most excited to get my hands on right now, as we’ll be enjoying it with good friends and family. That’s always the best tasting beer, right?

A NZ beer you are enjoying lately?

Well, I’m suffering from some serious hop fatigue after sampling what felt like a thousand hazies while judging the New World Beer & Cider Awards the other week, so I’m after a clean lager. If I see a McLeod’s Longboarder Lager on tap, it’s a sure thing I’ll be drinking it. Always perfect and clean, that beer is a real testament to the work those guys do. I also had the nicest tasting can of Liberty Divine Wind the other day, which I’ve thought about fondly several times since then.

Brewer’s personal drive for low carb beer

Scott Sharp-Heward, quality manager and technical brewer at Sawmill in Matakana, wants to make a low carb beer after learning he had developed Type 1 diabetes, possibly as a result of Covid-19.

Hopstock celebrates 10th year

This week, Wellington’s annual fresh hop festival, Hopstock, is marking its 10th anniversary. Denise Garland looks back on decade of fresh hop beers.

The spirit of spontaneity

Spontaneously-fermented beers, or wild ales, are making a comeback. Luke Owen Smith visits some of the Kiwi brewers working with mother nature.

Froth yeast turns Bookbinder into trophy winner

One of the highlights of the Brewers Guild Awards last year was Emerson’s Bookbinder taking out the trophy in the British Ale category. For a beer that’s been around for almost 30 years, a beer that was a gateway to craft for so many enthusiasts, a beer so-well loved,...

A tiny pub for these troubled times

My Little Pub takes the idea of a backyard shed to a new level with their bespoke miniature pubs delivered to your door.

Hannah Blackwood: Showcasing the art in beer

Heyday co-owner and designer, Hannah Blackwood wanted to design beer, so she went the whole way and started a brewery.