Bungas’s Beer of the Week: North Island

For those who have noticed, I‘ve been on hiatus for a couple of weeks. No beer of the week last week and I apologise profusely. The reason for this was a combination of dodgy internet in Northland and a selection of beer that left a lot to be desired. Harsh, but fair. You’ll learn that Johnny only knows to tell it like it is. And it was shit.

The less said about Whangarei the better. Opononi was nice, but lacked a soul and Paihia in the Bay of Islands was truly special. Unfortunately, the beer was anything but. Having said that, the Waikato Draught got me (and Andrea) through some tough times up north. When the rains threatened but only delivered unpleasant humidity, this little drop was there to ease the pain. And how the pain needed to be eased. A simple draught beer of typically New Zealand low alcohol content, but very tasty nonetheless.

It was due to be the beer of the week until we arrived back in Auckland yesterday. The main problem with choosing a local beer is that there isn’t much I’ve tried that’s actually local. Waikato is a central North Island region and we haven’t even got there yet. Sitting in Brew on Quay again inspired me after three different beers. The first beer I tried left its German-styled mark on me: hefeweizen. Wheat beer! The Tuatara Bavarian Hefe is delectably delightful. We’ve all had Hoegaarden in those impressive “smash to kill” glasses and coming from Western Australia, I also miss my Redback beer. You either love or hate wheat beer, but for me, it soothes the soul with the best of them.

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The label says that Weinstephan yeast gives it banana flavours and the beer menu also describes bubblegum in there. Well I have no idea who or what Weinstephan is, but I did taste those flavours and it was delicious. Very nice on a warmish afternoon. The Tuatara Brewery is located in the lower North Island region, actually close to Wellington. So once again, not in the place where we’ve spent the last week and a half. But what the hey, we’re heading there shortly! The beer was good and, for a travel day, it gets the thumbs up from me.

Name: Tuatara Bavarian Hefe

Brewery: Tuatara Brewery

Location: Reikorangi, New Zealand

Alcohol: 5.0%


  1. Arcadian Dave 17 January, 2011 at 04:56 Reply

    The thing about beer in NZ is that until not so very long ago the trade was dominated by two main breweries DB and Lion (like VB and Tooheys I guess) so for us more discerning NZers the fact that we can now buy something that’s not from them is a joy – locally brewed or not it’s wonderful. Weka, Moa, Dux de Luxe, Stoke Brewery … they’re out there John, listen for their siren song.

    • Geert @ Inspiring Travellers 17 January, 2011 at 18:51

      Yeah, and that’s what I’ve been looking forward to the most; the unique brews. Been having some organic ones lately, they seem to be all the rage.

      We’ve already got Dux de Lux on our radar and I’ve seen Moa’s great range, so will try soon!

  2. metsbwd 16 January, 2011 at 09:26 Reply

    Definitely something to be said for a nice wheat beer, especially during warm weather! Makes me glad that we can find decent imports from Belgium and Germany here for that. Wish we had a decent local wheat beer to talk of…but glad to see these can be found somewhere in NZ. Looking forward to better luck for you in the near term!

    We have the big 0.5L Hoegaarden glasses here…if the normal glasses are “smash to kill”, those puppies are “smash to wipe off the face of history!”

    • Geert @ Inspiring Travellers 17 January, 2011 at 18:47

      Oh yes, love the wheat beer. Many a Redback was had during my drinking years in sunny Perth. I think I’m about to hit some good areas for boutique brews, so can’t wait!

      0.5L glasses, wow!! Only the steins in Germany can boast to be better.

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  4. Chucky Dickens 13 January, 2011 at 18:46 Reply

    Like the label. Banana flavs would be interesting. Wheat beer sure is awesome. Redback misses you too. Yep those Hoegaarden glasses were definitely all kill and no maim.

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