Just Moved to New Zealand from Philly...

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by ratbraz, Feb 12, 2013.

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  1. ratbraz

    ratbraz Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    with my wife who is here on a scholarship, and I was really excited about trying craft beers from a new country that aren't big names from belgium, UK, germany, etc. (my first time outside the states). I know a lot of hops are grown here and everyone told me they have a young but good craft scene.

    What I found is 101 takes on a basic pale or golden ale for an insane price tag. 98% of beers I have tried have been super fizzy, light on alcohol, light on hops, and light on taste.

    For all those who have been here, I know that everything is expensive and they include tax on the price tag, but so much money for such basic beer? $16.99 for a sixer of 4.7% pale ale? $18.99 for a 4 pack of 6.2% "extra strong" ale? God forbid you wanna drink a stout, they must tax the use of roasted barley. Please don't think I'm being that cheap, just confused. Even the super macro stuff is higher priced than some crafts. Also, wine is really good and really inexpensive here, so its not really the alcohol. I have been drinking Cooper's sparkling ale and Cooper's dark ale from Aus. Its bottle conditioned, cheap at $12.99 and really tasty.

    My whole point of this post is to say that I am so spoiled to be from the US (especially Philly) and I find myself yearning for my old standbys in the dark watches of the night. I know that I cannot compare to someone who moves to a tiny country with only one beer option (called something like CLUB PILSNER BEER), but anyone else feel my pain? Or know any good NZ stuff thats not too high on the price? Someone shed some light!

    ps. Im in Wellington so PLEASE no one suggest Yeastie boys. Their bottles are like 9oz and about 10 bucks each.
  2. barls

    barls Initiate (145) Nov 15, 2006 Australia

    hmm welly
    parrot dog
    garage project
    just to name a few. ill be there in august for beervana
  3. dgilks

    dgilks Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2008 Australia

    Get used to it is the inly thing to say. Beer is expensive in New Zealand (and even worse in Australia). The good stuff is very expensive at $9 to 20 for a 500 to 750ml bottle. Buying on tap is probably going to be where the value proposition is.

    As for brands, I love Epic, 8wired, Renaissance and Garage Project. I know Parrot Dog does growlers and I think that Garage Project does to. Also, try Regional Wines & Spirits for growlers.
    flexabull likes this.
  4. spicelab

    spicelab Crusader (773) Nov 6, 2009 Australia
    Beer Trader

    Liberty, Croucher, Tuatara and Mike's
  5. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Different tax for different alcohol. I am not entirely sure what the tax regime is in New Zealand, but to give you some perspective on tax in Australia:

    Beer is taxed based on alcohol percentage.

    Wine is taxed at 29% based on the price that the winery sells it. So for instance, if the winery sells the wine at 1c, you pay 29% of 1c.

    Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere! :grinning:
  6. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (954) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    This is just what we're used to paying round these parts. I will say however that price is not very correlated with quality. You will get lots of rubbish beers for $20+ a six pack, and some good ones for slightly less than that. Definitely pays to do your research before you lay out the cash for anything.

    I would recommend Epic, Croucher, Tuatara and 8 Wired in particular. Tuatara's Pale Ale is like an IPA, and Croucher don't seem to make bad beers.
  7. hopswiller

    hopswiller Initiate (0) Jul 17, 2011 Australia

  8. mulder1010

    mulder1010 Meyvn (1,019) Aug 29, 2008 Australia

    I feel your pain. Moved to Australia from Arizona almost 5 years ago. Went through that phase for a year. Now have no issue dropping 30-45 for a locally produced barleywine or RIS.

    It is not Philly, nor will it be. Wellington is a great beer town that only few know of. Go to hashigo zake and little beer quarter. Can find sculpin, wcipa, bear republic and lost coast. I know regional wine and spirits had cantillon so that is better than the US right now.

    Drink lots of liberty and Mikes. C!tra is a great DIPA. 8 wired and epic make good beers. Drop the US palate and open your mind up.

    Says me with all the US BA stouts. :)
    flexabull likes this.
  9. GarageProject

    GarageProject Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2012 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    Welcome to Wellington! It sounds like you've had a rough introduction to the local beers here. We are very close to having our cellar door open, but in the meantime feel free to drop me a message and we can setup a time for a visit and taste of what we're up to. Hopefully we can help get you onto some good bars and local beers! A few recent releases of ours that hopefully run against the notion of beer 101....

    - Rye Chai IPA
    - Chosen Few - White Truffle Honey and Fresh White Truffle Belgium Blonde Ale with Champagne Yeast Secondary
    - Lola - Sour Cherry Cola Rye (11%)
    - Cockswain's Courage - Imp Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels
    - Red Rocks Reserve - Pinot Barrel Edition - Hoppy Red Ale brewed with Stein technique (super heated rocks)
    - Summer Sommer - Nogne / GP Collaboration - Blonde Rye Ale with Pohutakawa Honey
    - Dark Arts - Doppel Bock with huge cold coffee infusion (100L in 1500L brew)
    - Day of the Dead - Chili Chocolate Black Lager with Agave Secondary
    - Calavera Catrina - Maize Blonde Lager with Habenero Chilii, conditioned on Rosewater and Watermelon
    - Kava Coconut - Brown Ale brewed with Coconut Sugar and conditioned on Kava and Toasted Coconut

    And, as an experiment to see how many locals use Beer Advocate, an until now unannounced beer, we have a Chinese New Year celebration (slightly late!) brew coming out shortly made with Red Rice, Lotus and Chrysanthum flowers and conditioned on Wolfberries...



    Jos Ruffell
    Garage Project
    machalel, admiral, flexabull and 5 others like this.
  10. ratbraz

    ratbraz Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for the response. My OP was more of a rant built on 3 weeks of pent up frustration than anything else. Had the Aro Noir today at Fork and Brewer. Delicious, though perhaps a bit too much coffee flavor for me (I prefer chocolate in my stouts and porters). Thanks for the heads up. Will check out more soon
  11. ratbraz

    ratbraz Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    this one sounds most awesome
  12. GarageProject

    GarageProject Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2012 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    All good. We just opened our cellar door this last week. Feel free to drop by for a chat and taste of the beers.

    Redrover, dgilks and spicelab like this.
  13. dgilks

    dgilks Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2008 Australia

    Very nice boys. Looking forward to a visit around Beervana time.
  14. Stephanie

    Stephanie Initiate (0) Mar 12, 2012 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    Check out www.craftbeercollege.co.nz to try a few beer tastings and meet some beery people at Hashigo Zake. It is a great beer bar. There is a lot on offer in NZ. It is not all dire.
  15. chinchill

    chinchill Poo-Bah (6,884) Feb 29, 2008 South Carolina

    Having just returned to the US after a month in NZ, I largely agree with your assessment. Beer in general is way over-priced. As you note, wine is not. Moreover, imports often have pricing similar to the US. Why should a Belgian beer be about the same price as a typcial NZ craft? You might take advantage of this. Not cheap of course, but you can be drinking a Chimay or the like for about the same price as a NZ craft, and cheap German beer for less.
    In addition to what is recommend above, I'll add Wanaka Beerworks and Renaissance. The latter is rather pricey but also innovative and quite good.

  16. GarageProject

    GarageProject Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2012 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    Here's a recent post that breaks down the price of beer in NZ. Unfortunately we have an alcohol tax that is fixed per litre of pure alcohol, so an 8% beer attracts twice the tax of a 4%. Imports can often be cheaper than locally produced beers as most local breweries are relatively small, so lack scale, and the cost of base ingredients is expensive (almost all specialty grain is imported into NZ).

    Here's the article, and rough breakdown ripped from a comment below:


    Making the product - 29%
    Getting the product to you - 13%
    Yeastie boys / brewery margin - 13%
    Retailer margin - 22%
    Sponging government taxing taxes - 23%
    foles likes this.
  17. chinchill

    chinchill Poo-Bah (6,884) Feb 29, 2008 South Carolina

    Thanks for clarifying NZ beer pricing. This also clarifies the strong tendency for NZ beers to be only 4-5% ABV. Still mind-boggling that Belgian and German beers are not pricey (compared to U.S. while NZ beer certainly are, and that Australian and some other imports are the cheapest beers available. On the up side, the markup for beers served in NZ restaurants, bars and the like is generally quite low compared to the U.S. and Europe.

    Another tip for the NZ beer buyer: New World supermarkets have, usually, a relatively good selection and a number of beers on sale.
  18. deathevocation

    deathevocation Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    Think I'm due to visit NZ this year.
  19. jahsausage

    jahsausage Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2002 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    i wouldnt be surprised if "New World" supermarket in thorndon, just up the road from the nz parliament has the best beer range in NZ...
    deathevocation likes this.
  20. ubiq3000

    ubiq3000 Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Whereabouts in Australia? Any solid places in Melbourne?
  21. MrKennedy

    MrKennedy Champion (893) Dec 29, 2006 Australia
    Beer Trader

    mulder1010 is since retired (his account), he's been in Sydney but is up in the Kimberley (Western Australia) at the moment.

    I think @spicelab and @dgilks are going down to Melbourne shortly, they'll be able to report back i'm sure.

    I haven't been down in a while (2 years at a guess). From my last visit, the Great Northern Hotel in North Carlton was good if you are in the northern end of the city. The Local Taphouse in St Kilda for that part of town. In Richmond you have the Mountain Goat Bar that is only open a couple of days a week and across the road is the Royston Hotel which is good. In town Young & Jacksons and Beer Deluxe are ok. Mrs Parmas is probably better.

    Since my visit Moon Dog have opened a new bar near Richmond. Two Row has also opened up and i haven't been to the Terminus Hotel or Alehouse Project.
    ubiq3000 likes this.
  22. ubiq3000

    ubiq3000 Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    I've had the chance to visit a few places on my last stay in Melbourne -

    Mountain Goat - great vibe, solid pizza, decent beer
    Terminus Hotel - also great
    Little Creatures Brewing
    Young and Jackson's

    I look forward to visiting the others. Cheers!
  23. jahsausage

    jahsausage Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2002 New Zealand (Aotearoa)

    Bit of an irrelevant story but NZ had a WW2 law that breweries brewing with a starting gravity over 1040 (=4%) were massively taxed and/or illegal (cant remember which). This was not repealed for a very long time, NZ had a massive beer doldrums 40s-80s where imports were available but must have been painfully expensive. The two NZ breweries (they had bought out all the others and the Government wasnt granting new brewing licenses i believe) didn't mind being obliged by law to brew on the cheap. These 4% macro ales ruled the roost for 50 years, crap like Tui, Lion Red & Speights (in ascending order of drinkability). The big breweries are desperately trying to cling to their market share on these beers but are basically losing out despite the money they are spending on marketting.
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