Innovative Kiwi craft beer at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular

27 May 2016: New Zealand’s largest contingent of craft brewers will showcase a diverse range of exciting new flavours at the GABS 2016 Beer, Cider and Food Fest, also known as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular.

Expected to attract more than 30,000 people, GABS was held during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week in May before heading to Sydney this weekend and, for the first time, Auckland on 18 June.

Fourteen New Zealand brewers will bring their edge-of-the-world brewing creativity, unique tropical fruit aromas and the flavour of New Zealand hops across the Tasman with the support of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample a host of exclusive New Zealand festival brews and acclaimed New Zealand ales, stouts and porters, from those with sweet characteristics such as coconut chocolate and golden pineapple to briny flavours such as Bach Brewing Crayporter, possibly the world’s first beer brewed from crayfish.

“The Bach Brewing Crayporter is a great example of how New Zealanders are putting a creative twist on iconic seafood brews such as oyster stouts,” said Clare Wilson, Regional Director, NZTE Australia and the Pacific. “The high levels of calcium carbonate in molluscs are known to provide a very effective clarifying agent. Bach Brewing has taken this idea and created a generous, wintery porter, packed with coffee and chocolate flavours from eight specialty malts and over one hundred crayfish.”

Other distinctive New Zealand flavours at the show include Brave Bikkie Brown Ale by Chur Brewing Australia – a new brand launched by New Zealand’s Behemoth Brewing. The coconut chocolate brown ale has won best in class in the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and is a popular festival beer. Chur Brewing Australia will also be showcasing its Murica American Pale Ale (APA), 6 Foot 5 India Pale Ale (IPA) and Hopped up on Pils pilsner, as well as its GABS festive beer Golden Pineapple Head, an IPA with big hops and big fruit.

New Zealand innovation in packaging, promotion, brewing processes and equipment will also be on display at the festival.

Tuatara Brewing is expected to turn heads with its award-winning bottles featuring  ‘scales’ like that of a tuatara, a rare, spiny reptile found only in New Zealand.

On the promotion front, Tuatara Brewing has brewed a beer specifically to support the release of the New Zealand box office breaking film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Tuatara has bottled the essence of the New Zealand rugged wilderness depicted in the film with its Wilder Brew, a lively pale ale created from wild-growing organic hops, hidden deep in leafy grottos beside the Waikanae River. Also available at the festival for the first time is Tuatara Conehead, a uniquely-brewed, limited edition release green-hopped India Pale Ale which is so popular that it sells out before it is bottled and kegged – even though Tuatara double production every year.

And for those interested in making craft beer at home, New Zealand’s Imake offers an all-in-one electric brewing system at less than half the price of other systems without compromising on quality. Called The Grainfather, the system is small, sleek and easy to use, and can even been turned into a distillery.

New Zealand craft beer has been gaining popularity in Australia over the past five years, during which time the number of New Zealand craft brewers has doubled to more than 110. According to the GABS beer rating app, New Zealand beers rated higher than any Australian state by attendees last year, while in 2012, New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA was named People’s Choice Winner for its Earl Grey infused beer.

“GABS is not only a great opportunity for people to learn more about New Zealand craft beer, but also for New Zealand brewers to create bold new flavours and to collaborate with Australian brewers,” said Wilson. “The Yeastie Boys for example now sell their Gunnamatta ale commercially and we’re also seeing a number of New Zealand and Australian brewers team up to create new and exciting beers.

One such collaboration is between Chur Brewing Australia, the Australian Brewery and Beer & Brewer to create Tripel Threat, possibly the strongest beer in cans sold in Australia (10.5%) made from two Belgian yeast strains and international hops.

This year will also mark the first time that the GABS Festival will take place in New Zealand.  Two sessions are scheduled for Saturday 18 June at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

New Zealand brewers taking part in GABS 2016 include Garage Project, Panhead Custom Ales (trading as Craft Market), Bach Brewing, Behemoth Brewing (trading as Chur Brewing Australia), Deep Creek Brewing Operations, Tuatara Brewing, ParrotDog Brewing, Kereru, Funk Estate, Imake, Eagle Brewing, Moa Brewing Company and Renaissance Brewing.

For more information about GABS in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, visit www.gabsfestival.com