Most New Zealanders are descendants of the British and it should therefore come as no surprise that brewing the beverage is regarded as being part of the country’s culture.
It is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country and is usually found in the form of a light or amber lager in the 4-5 per cent alcohol content range. However, the country has been involved in the micro brewery revolution and has produced some incredibly good craft beers and Indian Pale Ales.
The honor of brewing the first beer in New Zealand goes to legendary English explorer Captain James Cook. Although he did not discover New Zealand, he was the first to chart its coast and brewed the beer in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1770. It was not with the intention of having a party though, the beer was brewed in an attempt to stave off scurvy – a disease which leads to a slow painful death due to lack of vitamin C. Historical evidence does not suggest that the indigenous Maori brewed been before the arrival of the Europeans.
Beer was very much a part of the New Zealand culture, but it only narrowly rejected a prohibition ban in World War 1, but a 6pm ban on sales in pubs was introduced and remained in effect until 1967.
These days it is a different story altogether and beer is enjoyed until closing time in all pubs and bars. You can take many tours of the pubs and the micro breweries that they house inside and watch the whole process. The craft beer market is growing exponentially and attracts visitors from all over the world.
New Zealand suffered a hops shortage in 2010, and as a result began to grow its own, which has led to the creation of a new strain that has a particular flavor that is endemic to the islands.