The best way to sample the varied delights of the New Zealand brewing industry is to visit during their annual national beer festival, Beervana.
Run sporadically for close to a decade, the event has really hit its straps since being taken over by the NZ Brewers Guild three years ago. Held in Wellington, the annual event is run in conjunction with the BrewNZ Beer Awards, an international beer competition, as well as a growing number of beer-related events.
The festival runs across four sessions over two days and showcases many of the country’s best beers, as well as a number from Australia and further afield.
The best way to picture it is as the Great American Beer Festival writ small, but that is no insult. Last year 4,000 beer loving and beer curious folk passed through the door, with an increasingly large attendance of world travellers coming especially for the event.
With its size, the event does not need the aircraft hangar space of a major convention center and is based in the historic Wellington Town Hall. It’s the perfect size for the event—even allowing for a few years of growth—and imbues the event with a warmth and charm that can be lacking at larger events in more industrial settings.
A major focus of the event, apart from the obvious tastings and meeting the brewers, is education: international experts run classes in all manner of beer and food matching, beer and style master classes, and sensory evaluation.
New Zealand is a strikingly beautiful country with a rapidly evolving and original craft beer scene. Beervana provides the perfect opportunity, or excuse, to visit.