Craft beer is a segment
of the beer market that has grown considerably since the reintroduction of craft beer to
New Zealand in the 1970s. There are a large number of craft, and faux craft breweries in
New Zealand and Jules has set himself the task of reviewing them, their beer, and what the
styles produced are supposed to be based on international examples.
Van Cruysen starts off by giving a brief history of beer brewing in New
Zealand, followed by short discussions on the types of malts, hops, yeasts and other main
ingredients that are used in beer., followed by the principle styles, such as lager, white
beers, pale ales, dark beers and so forth. There is a short section on beer festivals,
which are growing in prominence year by year, and beer tasting events as well as beer
Anyone familiar with a Belgian Beer Café knows that the shape of the
glass can impart a different flavour profile, as does the temperature the beer is serves
at. There are recommended temperatures for serving certain styles (and my experience
suggests that most Australian lagers be served as cold as possible so you cant taste
The bulk of the book is devoted to the approximately 130 breweries
claiming to make craft beer in New Zealand. These range from Lion and DB to microbrewers
such as Eruption Brewing of Lyttleton, whose output was about a barrel-sized batch per
month (theyve since up-scaled). As with any industry there are certain nodes, and
besides the main centres, greater Nelson is New Zealands hidden brewing capital. But
this is hardly surprising, as Nelson province is the home of New Zealands hop
Proximity drives use and innovation.
Concluding the book are a number of short regional guides with maps of
varying quality giving the locations of breweries, significant resellers, and free-houses.
It seems Wellington is the capital of New Zealands craft beer scene, with double the
locations of its nearest rival to the title.
If you like beer, this is the book for you. But youll have to prise
it out of my hands first.