Tuatara Brewing

Tuatara Brewing

Monday, 04 April 2016 00:00

Hunt For the Wilder Brew

If you've got The Knack, well, it's only natural to put it to use. (Can't argue with instinct.) 

That's why we wrangled The Knack of a couple of young, local Hop Hunters and their motley band of brewer, bushman and city boy to hunt out the wildest and most untamed of hops, hidden deep in the leafy grottos of the Waikanae River.

For only the wildest and gnarliest of hops are behooved to pair with a gutsy Pale Ale, brewed to celebrate Taika Waititi's Hunt For the Wilderpeople - a film portraying the bold, wild nature that (if you just scratch the surface) resides within us all!

We rallied our early morning, crack-of-dawn task force of Hop Hunters, led by local 14-year-old cobbers, Ari Hartmann (son of Tuatara Brewery Manager, CJ) and Max McNeil, to hunt and gather a stash of wild hops to go into our 5% Wild Pale Ale, Wilder Brew.

The troupe was joined by Davey Hughes (local bushman/personality, owner of Swazi Outdoor Clothing and Outdoors Consultant on the set of Hunt for the Wilderpeople), CJ and Richard (Tuatara Head Boy).

Under the cloak of darkness, and sworn to secrecy, the Hop Hunters made their way to a classified location to gather sackfuls of wild, fresh, sticky hops off the bine for Davey to ceremoniously pop into the fermenter back at the brewery.

But the mission was, in reality, a trek - originally kicking off last year when CJ heard a local rumour of wild hops growing around the banks of the Waikanae River, and obtained the services of Ari and Max to hunt them down.

“I'd heard talk about wild hops off the Waikanae golf course, so Ari and Max jumped into a raft and paddled all the way down stream and couldn’t find anything. Punctured the raft, came back wet."

Not letting this deter them, Ari and Max continued hop hunting in their spare time. They finally found a patch down by the river… but on return with CJ, found the hops has disappeared due to some thoroughly diligent weed spraying by the District Council.

Still undeterred, and with the fervour of ones possessed with hop fever, further extensive searches by Ari and Max finally yielded, revealing a thicket with chartreuse-hued bines, laden with bobbing little hop heads, twisting and curling up amongst the scrub, which is where the hops for Wilder Brew were eventually foraged.

CJ's theory on how the hops originally came to grow there was that they were planted by Waikanae early settlers, who brought the hops to the water source instead of lugging it back to their hops.

"It just makes sense. If you're going to make something and your biggest and heaviest ingredient is water, then you'd plonk your other ingredient right next to that primary source to save back-breaking backwards and forwarding," he says.

He wagers the hops have been growing there for a long time because they've taken over the area, and they are an old variety.

"Maybe Sticklebract? It covers the flavour spectrum.

"The nature of the wild hops is that you don't often get the same amount of those flavour-inducing alpha acids, but in saying that, this batch was dry-hopped with these wild hops, giving it a really nice, noticeably citrusy character with a little bit of feijoa in there too."

Serving suggestion: wrap up in your wooliest, hardiest outdoor gear of choice, go bush, stoke a fire up underneath a crisp, star-filled sky with a cronie or two, boil up some pork and puha, then wrap your laughing gear around one of these.

Check out the majestical video of our Hunt For the Wilder Brew!

Monday, 18 November 2013 17:18

A Rogue Tuatara Walks into a Bar...

We are very excited to announce that we are now official importers and distributors of Rogue Ales from Newport, Oregon, USA.

Much like Wellington's craft scene, Oregon is considered by many to be the Craft Capital [State] of the US. This is not necessarily due to their large volume of craft brewing output, but moreso because of local appreciation and dedication to the product by everyone from brewers, to retailers, to drinkers.

Rogue was founded in 1988, which incidentally now signifies their 25th birthday. This interesting infographic summarises these 25 years. Over thier quarter century of business, Rogue has developed a fantastic range of beers, many of which we are now importing. Rogue have also in more recent years come to be known as a pioneer brewer of "experimental" styles of beer; some might say they have directly provided inspiration for many of our younger local breweries to create some very interesting and wacky brews. Rogue's untraditional offerings include beers infused with chipotle, chocolate, bacon and maple syrup, and even beard hair. Yes, you read that correctly. Perhaps our head brewer Rick will be inspired after tasting a few?

We are one of only two New Zealand based companies to have an official trade agreement with Rogue to import the beer, the other being Hashigo Zake's Cult Beer Store.

Not only are we importing bottles of Rogue, but also kegs. Because of the obvious overhead of sending metal kegs to-and-fro, Rogue are supplying us in very cool disposable 30L kegs called KeyKegs. These kegs are vaccum sealed and 100% lightproof to provide a hospitable environment for the brews to travel in and be served from.

We will initially be importing and supplying the following Rogue brews:

Dead Guy Ale
Brutal IPA
Chipotle Ale
St Rogue Dry Hopped Red
Hazlenut Brown Nectar
Chocolate Stout
Mocha Porter
XS Imperial IPA
XS Dead Guy Ale

And will be offering these beauties too from mid-December onward:

Rogue Farms OREgasmic Ale
Rogue Farms Honey Kolsch
VooDoo Doughnut: Bacon Maple Ale
VooDoo Doughnut: Choc Peanut Butter & Banana Ale
Yellow Snow IPA
Morimoto Soba Ale
Cap’n Sig's Northwestern Ale

We will be using our existing Tuatara sales platform and nationwide team to get this fantastic import into as many bars and stores as we can. Our obvious passion for true craft beer, our first-hand understanding of how breweries want to export their product, the large volume we can import, our strong existing distribution lines, and the prescence of local Tuatara sales representatives across NZ, means we are the perfect company to help Rogue Ales reach the distribution it deserves around our crafty nation. This large scale plan also means we are able to offer the product at a very affordable price point for retailers and consumers. Rogue beers are already in Malthouse and Fork & Brewer in Wellington, New World Wellington City, and stock is being sent out to a chain of several prominent off licence stores as I write.

If you are a retailer and are interested in stocking Rogue Ales you will need to set up an account with us, as we are currently only supplying directly, i.e. not via our usual third party distributors. You can contact 0508 TUATARA to organise this. Many Wellington based Tuatara customers will already have accounts with us. You can also ask your local Tuatara sales rep about Rogue Ales next time they pop in for a visit, and get them to place an order for you.

Rogue Ales lineup at Malthouse

On the shelf at New World Wellington City

The Team at Tuatara

Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:20

We've Scaled Up Our Bottles

While we're definitely of the opinion that "it's what's inside the bottle that really counts", we've always paid a great deal of attention to how we put ourselves on display as a brand. We closely watch the triumphs and fails of our competitiors in the market, and we know that brand direction, design, and marketing is of vital importance to how people choose to approach your products - both as drinkers and media critics.

When we first started brewing beer over a decade ago for punters at the old Malthouse and Bodega, the name 'Tuatara' was a simple nod to our native reptile, and not anything too cleverly thought out over a late night strokey-beard meeting. Tuatara was, in hindsight, a great choice of name for us - the wee guy with strong local values, just pottering along surviving and keeping to ourselves in a world of big numbers and flashy lights.

Since then, while slowly but surely growing to a size we could never have imagined, we've embraced our namesake more and more in our marketing and design - no lizard flavoured beers though thankfully. You'll probably have noticed features of our scaly friend appearing on some of our posters, the past couple of bottle caps, maybe an ornament on our festival displays - but until very recently we've never really gone "full Tuatara".

Well now we've scaled up!

Our new bottles have been out for a few months, and are now being used across our entire 330ml (boxed) and 500ml (single) ranges. Their release has been met with a huge amount of positive feedback from the beer sector, the design/marketing/packaging industries, and most importantly our customers.


Awards and Kudos

We were stoked when our scaly bottles took out the Packaging Trophy at this years Brewer's Guild of New Zealand Awards in August. We also took this award last year for our 3D Double Trouble Labels - but considering the huge effort put into the new bottles by all involed, the victory this year was all the sweeter. We're very proud to be part of a National beer community that recongises the 'full package' when it comes to a product.

Our Creative and Design Director Anton Hart is also a finalist in the packaging category of the 'Best Awards', New Zealand's premier design awards, for his stellar work on the project. Good luck mate, we're sure you'll take out the award! Awards night is the 11th of October, We'll keep you posted!

The positive feedback from our fans about our new scaly bottles has been overwhelming too. Thank you to everyone who has shared their kind words over social media and in person about the design and implementation.

Some of the best comments about our bottles from Twitter & Facebook are below:

"Love the new bottle design! Totally iconic for any Tuatara loving kiwi"
"Picked up some Pilsner from the brewery on Saturday and love the new bottles. Real nice touch!"
"Loving the new Tuatara's all about the texture."
"Very fitting, and cool, new Tuatara bottles"
"Awestruck. I don't think anyone gets a drink JUST cause of the bottle but I would and will!"
"The new Tuatara bottles. Ridged. Knobbed. Like… a tuatara."
"Wow, your new bottles really stand out on the shelf now! Great work!"
"Ribbed for her pleasure. You know, so it doesn't slip out of her hand... what were you thinking!?"
"Brilliant new bottle design team! Well done"
"LOVE the new bottle design. Please, please, please use it for more releases!"


Manufacturing and R&D

After a couple of unsucessful prototypes with other companies, O-I is the company that came through for us to realise our vision for these bottles. They have done a truly fantastic job molding and manufacturing the bottles for us.

O-I have also put together a great video feature that covers the bottle production and how it compliments our brand direction. The 3 minute video features our very own Carl Vasta, Design Director Anton Hart, the brewery lads hard at work, and lots of VERY cool shots of big machines and production lines and molten glass and stuff - shot at our brewery and at their factory. Definitely worth a view via the link below!

Cheers for the support everyone,
The Team at Tuatara

Friday, 16 August 2013 16:04

Tuatara Dubbel Arrives

After the successful launch of our Belgian Tripel at LBQ early this year, it only made sense to have a crack at a similarly originated Belgian style ale, the Dubbel. The first batch of "Tuatara Dubbel" is now ready, and we'll be releasing it on tap in Wellington and Auckland over 21st - 22nd August.

Wednesday 21st will see Dubbel's first launch at Brother's Beer in Auckland. Brother's Beer will also have our Pilsner and Double Trouble on tap, and the rest of our range in bottles on the day.

Then on Thursday 22nd we'll be releasing Dubbel in Wellington at Bar Edward in Newtown. Dubbel's flavour profile matches very well with certain foods, so we're excited to have the chef Gavin Grant at The Hop Garden prepare especially matched nibbles for this launch. Bar Ed will also have other Tuatara available on tap and in bottles. At the Wellington Tripel launch a few of the Tuatara team dressed up as Belgian Monks - we're not discouraging the public to join us this year.

Check out both launch events on Facebook for full details of times and locations here:

Tripel Dubbel is a very different beast to the pale and effervescent Tripel. Our Dubbel pours mahogany brown, and is rich, and malty with fruit characteristics of raisins and stone fruit. Dubbel exhibits a caramel sweetness with spicy phenolics, and a mild bitterness with dark chocolate notes.

Carl authentically rendered down sugar with yeast nutrient from authentic Westmalle yeast (from the Belgian Trappist Abbey of the styles orgin) to create a sweet brewing caramel especially for the brew. This sweetness is worked into a malt heavy brew with a touch of hops, making Tuatara Dubbel elegant and drinkable - yet still a full bodied strong brown ale. Dubbel weighs in at 8.5% ABV.

Typical to the long-living Westmalle yeast, Dubbel will mature well and is perfect for cellaring. Our commercial description of Dubbel that will feature on the label alludes to the fact that this brew will only get better with time:

Perhaps it’s time to discuss putting beer down. No we’re not insulting the object of our love and livelihood, we’re talking cellaring. With six different malts and house-made Belgian candy sugar, this classic Dubbel could benefit from 6 to 30 months of repose in a quiet, cool place. If you can bear the wait you’ll find the plum and raisin characters, the characteristic phenolics and the hints of dark chocolate reconciled to perfection.

Dubbel will be available on tap and in 650ml bottles following the release.

Cheers, Hope to see ya'll there! The team at Tuatara

Many of you will have already tried our latest release, the Black Light Stout. Black Light has been happily flowing from the taps of many Wellington watering holes over the past month, and it's also made a tap debut at some of the country's best out-of-Wellington beer venues, such as Galbraith's in Auckland and Pomeroy's in Christchurch.

What a lot of you won't realise is that the 500ml bottles we've just released, or more specifically the labels, are actually quite special. Much like our 3D themed Double Trouble IIPA, the Black Light Stout beer label offers our drinkers a healthy dose of eye-melting goodness.

Black Light stout labels have been lovingly printed with multi-coloured ultraviolet ink, otherwise known as 'invisible ink'. If you've ever been to a neon party you'll know what we're on about. It's super-heroic in a way; under the everyday light of earth the bottle might seem like any other beer bottle (mind the new scaly finish), but under an ultraviolet black light (UV-A), the bottle shines fiercely into the night!

Now we do admit that most of you will have to work a bit harder to witness this miracle first-hand, as we can't financially justify handing out a complimentary ultraviolet bulb with every bottle like we do with Double Trouble's cardboard 3D glasses. For many of you, photos on social media and the nifty UV-preview in our website's 'Range' section will be enough to sate your curiosity.

But for those of you who are willing to go the extra mile to find or buy a UV-A lamp, or work in an industry where they are commonplace, or are a bit odd and have one sitting at home - we're going to reward you with an incentive to break out the black light lamp, and the Black Light beer, and your finest photo taking contraption.

Entry Details

So, being a photography comp and all, you've probably assumed that to enter you need to submit a photo. You are correct. This photo must include at least one 500ml bottle of Black Light Stout with activated/glowing UV ink. Artistically we're looking for uniqueness, creativity, and of course a beautiful well shot photograph! We'll even excuse people drinking straight from the bottle if it adds artistic merit.

After you have the perfect snap, simply share your entries with us! There are a few sharing options:
- Post the photo on our Facebook timeline
- Post photo on Twitter including our handle @TuataraNZ and hashtag #BlackLightComp
- Email entires to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line "Black Light Comp"

All entries will be shared with the public on our Facebook Timeline, regardless of entry method.
The Tuatara Black Light black light photo competition will run throughout August, Wellington's biggest month of beer, and entries will be accepted right up until 1st September.

Prizes and Fame!

Of course, every competition needs a prize and a winner!

The main prize for best photo is fittingly a whole case of Black Light Stout (12 x 500ml bottles) - we'll also throw in a Tuatara T-Shirt, and a triple pass for a Tuatara brewery tour and tasting session. All together that's over $200 worth of goodies.

We'll rate photos based on a combination of scores from the Tuatara Crew, and also Facebook likes. An averaged score of up to 20 points can be achieved from the Tuatara judges, and every 20 Facebook likes your photo gets will gain you another point. The photo with the most amount of points on September 5th will win!

Happy snapping!
The Tuatara Team



Disclaimer: Your media rights and concerns are important to us!
You will of course retain ownership of any photos you send us, and can use them however you like until the end of time. But please note that by entering a photo you are also allowing US to use it publicly online within the context of this competition. Your photos will not be used for any other Tuatara promotion or for any commercial use outside of this competition without your direct permission.

Saturday, 06 July 2013 12:20

Tuatara Tasting Staff Wanted!

We're looking for Tuatara Tasting Staff!

To run in-store and special event tastings in one of these locations:
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay

You must:
Be at least 18 years old, have your own car and full drivers licence, be well presented, have a great attitude, have an appreciation for good beer

Extra Points For:
Already being an avid fan of Tuatara, being knowlegable about beer styles and brewing processes, having an understanding of beer & food matching

We'll Provide:
Tuatara gear, training, and support

Expected Hours:
12-18 hours per week including some Saturday tastings

Pay Rate:
TBC with candidate

Interested in joining our National team? Apply on our website

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