Whether you adore a craft brew or just want to pop to the local supermarket to pick up a 6-pack, this list of amazing New Zealand beers has got you covered.
Ah, beer. Is there any other drink that’s ideal for a winter night by the fire and a summertime BBQ? We don’t think so.
New Zealand may be best known for its incredible hiking trails, breathtaking scenery, and unique wildlife, but it’s also home to an amazing range of craft breweries that are just waiting to welcome you with a few freshly poured pints.
On the hunt for hops? We’ve got your back.
Or perhaps you want something with a bold flavour and smooth mouthfeel? Gotcha.
Regardless of what you’re searching for, you’re bound to find something on this list of New Zealand beer spots that floats your boat.
Now let’s get down to business and uncover the best NZ beers, found both in specific breweries and at bars, bottle shops and supermarkets right around the country.
There are loads of good craft breweries spread around the country. I love far too many to mention. Whenever I travel our country I always search out good breweries and wineries.Lara Wills, NZTT member.
Thank you to our wonderful community for sharing their favourite New Zealand beers. Join us in the Facebook group for more insider tips about travelling in Aotearoa. Or, for more tips about beer in NZ, join Saving the World with Couch Beers.
The Best New Zealand Beers to Try
Whether you pay the Panhead tasting room in Wellington a visit, or pick up a pack from your local supermarket, it’s one of our favourite New Zealand beers.
This brewery sells a wonderful range of custom brews, including the iconic Nayslayer Pacific IPA and the Dust Up IPA.
However, their most popular exports will forever be the Supercharger IPA (which is possibly the most delectable pale ale in the country! It perfectly balances a distinctive bitterness with a light malt base to produce a flavourful sip that will have you coming back for several 6-packs.
For the ultimate experience, we really do recommend heading to their tasting room, where you can try as many beers as you like. It’s also easy to find their brews in supermarkets and bottle shops right around Aotearoa.
Our favourite Panhead beer: The Supercharger IPA.
Tasting room: 27 Blenheim Street, Upper Hutt 5018, Wellington, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Mata is tucked away in the Bay of Plenty and it’s one of the best spots to grab New Zealand beer (and cider).
In fact, if you’re looking for exclusive and unique craft beer that instantly catches the eye, this is the New Zealand beer for you.
Each can or bottle is decorated with a different piece of artwork, and you can even pick up the “beer of the month” for an incredible discount.
If you’re not buying online and are lucky enough to visit Mata beer in person, be sure to check out the tasting room. They serve a selection of bar snacks, allowing you to sip away on a selection of award-winning beers while soaking it all up with pizzas, wedges, and more.
Our favourite Mata: Hoppity Hooch Hazy IPA.
Any hazy IPA from any NZ brewery is amazing.Tim Whiting, NZTT member.
Tasting room: 17 Gateway Crescent, Coastlands, Whakatāne 3194, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Garage Project is one of those breweries that has built itself up from nothing but has become a much-loved local haunt through sheer grafting and hard work.
It was formed in Wellington by Pete Gillespie and Jos Ruffell and has grown from a microbrewery to a serious contender for NZ’s best beer stop.
Now, the main cellar door is in Auckland. There, they have thirteen different beers on tap, always changing them up. They also have beer cocktails, hard seltzers and wines, all served by their qualified team. Choose a tasting, order a flight of beers, or pick some kai from their curated menu.
You’ll find amazing hearty IPAs on the menu that have been made with strong hops, but you’ll also find a selection of lighter brews for casual nights on the couch.
This place may be relatively small, but every single sip promises to be complex and utterly delicious.
We also love the stunning artwork on each of their cans!
Our favourite Garage Project beers: Chipper (IPA) or the alcohol-free favourite, TINY But Mighty!
I LOVE Garage Project’s new alcohol-free beer called Tiny. Just in case you’re driving.Jennifer Miller, NZTT member.
Cellar door: 357 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland 1021, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Urbanaut is based in Kingsland and is one of the best places to visit for ice-cold beers and juicy burgers – what better combination?
There’s a seriously wide range of New Zealand beer on offer here, all of which are highly regarded.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend the Ahipara West Coast IPA and Bermuda Triangle Brut IPA (for those in the market for something stronger).
Fancy something fruitier? You can’t beat the Lucky Lychee & Yuzu Hazy IPA.
Regardless of which brew you choose, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also order this amazing NZ beer online.
Our favourite Urbanaut beer: Bermuda Triangle IPA.
Taproom: 597 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland 1021, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Moa is a wonderful brewery in the Marlborough region, offering an amazing range of craft beers.
It’s only been around since 2003 but has quickly become one of the finest spots for New Zealand beer.
You can order a few 6-packs from the comfort of your own home, but you’ll want to visit their tap room if you’re in the area.
Visiting them will allow you to try all their new releases, enduring favourites (like the Southern Alps White IPA), and a few exotic brews. You’ll walk out feeling on top of the world.
Our favourite Moa Brewery beer: Southern Alps White IPA (NZ Beer of the Year award-winner).
Taproom: 258 Jacksons Road, RD3, Blenheim, Marlborough, online, and in shops NZ-wide.
Crimson Badger Brewing
Although Queenstown is better known for its wineries, it’s also home to some of the best beers in New Zealand, and that’s where Crimson Badger comes in.
Unlike the other spots on our list, this place specialises in a perfectly balanced alcoholic ginger beer. It’s slightly sweet but is inherently spicy, making it the perfect drink for those transitional months when the cold is just starting to bite.
With that said, if a more traditional beer is your go-to, they’ll be able to take care of you too.
Our favourite Crimson Badger Brewing beer: Ginger Bear.
Off-licence sales: 141c Glenda Drive, Frankton, Queenstown, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Bach Brewing encompasses everything we love about New Zealand.
Somehow incorporating the surf scene, gorgeous landscapes, and our signature sense of adventure into a single can, Bach is the ultimate place to visit for a good kiwi brew.
They pride themselves on being a family-owned brewing company that’s perched right between Auckland’s harbours.
Their brewery creates everything from their mellow Hops of Anarchy to their super-strong Widow Maker Double IPA, all made with love, of course.
Like a few others on this list, Bach Brewing cans are a work of art too!
Our favourite Bach Brewing beer: The Hops of Anarchy.
Available online and in shops NZ-wide.
We couldn’t write a list of the best New Zealand beer spots without mentioning Canyon Brewing.
It’s probably the most aesthetic microbrewery in the country as it’s set against the backdrop of the Queenstown mountains and overlooks the Shotover River.
And did we mention that every single brew is handcrafted on-site and that they have an amazing restaurant with an extensive menu?
Speaking of handcrafted brews, you can choose from a collection of hazy pale ales, rice beers, and regular lagers. Or, if you’re after something hoppier, the Stunt Juice is a glorious pilsner.
Our favourite Canyon Brewing beer: Vacation Hazy Pale Ale.
Microbrewery: 1 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point, Queenstown 9371, online and in shops NZ-wide.
Pro Tip: Find your way to Canyon Brewing on their free courtesy shuttle (that runs on Friday nights), or on the bus with this transport information.
If you’re planning to swing by Wellington on your next jaunt through New Zealand, be sure to stop by Parrotdog for some seriously good NZ beer.
Founded in 2011, it prides itself on creating excellent beers that don’t rely on fancy marketing or aesthetics to sell.
So, you can expect uncomplicated APAs like the Falcon and hazier IPAs like the Birdseye.
You won’t find fascinating artwork on the cans, but you will be treated to wonderful citrusy brews with a silky and mellow mouthfeel.
Our favourite Parrotdog beer: Birdseye.
Cellar door: 60/66 Kingsford Smith Street, Lyall Bay, Wellington 6022, online and in shops NZ-wide.
McLeods is one of Waipu’s not-so-hidden gems, offering award-winning craft brews that promise to satisfy every palate, and delicious pizzas… another match made in heaven!
This New Zealand beer spot isn’t enormous, but it’s vibrant, bustling, and is always packed to the rafters with friendly travellers and loyal locals.
We appreciate the sheer number of award-winning beers they have here, and you will too!
Not only did their Harvest Moon Dark IPA win big at the 2021 New Zealand Beer Awards, but they also picked up gold medals for their Smugglers Bay Belgian Strong Ale and Black Sour brew!
In short, these folks know how to make excellent NZ beer and they can certainly prove it.
Our favourite McLeods beers: Far North Chili Pilsner, Harvest Moon Dark IPA, Smugglers Bay Belgian Strong Ale or Black Sour.
Brewery: 2 Cove Road, Waipu 0510, Northland, online and in stores NZ-wide.
The Tuatara is one of our incredible native animals (it is considered the closest living link to dinosaurs!), but it’s also a great brewery that boasts some of the best New Zealand beers around.
This brewery has been rocking the NZ beer scene since 2001. Even now, it aims to instil every single beer with a touch of Kiwi influence. You’ll even notice tuatara spikes on the neck of their bottles.
Though everything is good, their Hazy IPA is gorgeous. It blends passionfruit, mango, pink grapefruit, and white peach stone fruit for a fresh and smooth mouthfeel that you simply can’t beat.
If you visit their Wellington Tap Room, you’ll be able to sample everything from their pilsners to their IPAs. To make things even better, you’ll be served an amazing selection of snacks and pizzas to soak things up.
In short, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Our favourite Tuatara beers: Hazy IPA.
Tap room: 7 Sheffield Street, Paraparaumu 5032, and in stores NZ-wide.
Monteith’s Brewing Co.
Monteith’s knows the score when it comes to creating popular NZ beer. This brand is one of the best-known local brews. It was also one of the first craft breweries in the country.
The brewery itself is based in Greymouth and is renowned for its experimental beers, in-depth tours, and fabulous hospitality.
If you choose to embark on their brewery experience tour, you’ll find out all about their brewing methods, get to pour beers from the tap, and will receive a free 6-pack of your favourite New Zealand beer.
You’re unlikely to be disappointed by anything from the extensive beer or cider menu. We also recommend enjoying a few dishes from their restaurant menu before leaving.
Our favourite Monteith’s beer: Summer Ale or Raddler.
Brewery (where tours are hosted): 60 Herbert Street, Greymouth, West Coast, and in shops NZ-wide.
Tui might not be the place to visit for bougie craft brews. However, it’s our top NZ beer company for travellers on a budget who still want to try a few local brews!
Though you can buy Tui practically everywhere, it has its home in Mangatainoka. There visitors can take a guided tour of the brewery each day and enjoy tonnes of delicious bar snacks and brews.
Our favourite Tui beer: East India Pale Ale or Frank the Tank.
Brewery: Mangatainoka, Pahiatua 4982, and in stores NZ-wide.
Last but not least on our list is Speight’s, another affordable, well-known New Zealand beer.
Mass-produced, it still packs a flavourful punch and has a number of different brews to suit most tastes.
The flagship GMA beer is a real favourite, as is the refreshing and crisp Summit Ultra.
If you’re partial to a full-flavoured beer that’s on the weaker side, the 2.5% Mid-Ale is also a great choice.
Though you’ll find this beer right across the country, it’s best experienced in the deep south, where it first originated. In Dunedin, you can join a guided tour and dig into a tasting too.
Our favourite Speight’s beer: GMA.
200 Rattray Street, Dunedin Central, Dunedin 9016, online or in stores NZ-wide.
Other Highly Recommended NZ Beers and Breweries
- Behemoth Brewing Company
- Good George Brewing
- Aotea Brewing Company – 50A Mason Road, Great Barrier Island, Auckland 0991
- Sawmill Brewery – 1004 Leigh Road, Matakana 0985
- Epic Beer – 230B Neilson Street, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
- The Beer Spot – 71 Jellicoe Road, Panmure, Auckland 1072
- Bootleg Brewery – 452b Tauwhare Road, Matangi, Hamilton 3284
- Hopnotic Brewery – 400 Raynes Road, Tamahere, Hamilton, 3282
- Three Sisters Brewery – 87 Devon Street West, New Plymouth Central, New Plymouth 4310
- Duncan’s Brewing Company – 4B Sheffield Street, Paraparaumu 5032
- Boneface Brewing – 27 Blenheim Street, Maidstone, Upper Hutt 5018
- Te Aro Brewing Co – Aro Bar, 27 Blenheim Street, Maidstone, Upper Hutt 5018
- Mean Doses – 130 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
- Heyday Beer Co – 264a Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
- Eddyline Brewery – 8 Champion Road, Richmond, Nelson 7020
- Three Boys Brewery – 592 Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch 8023
- Cassels & Sons Brewing – 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch 8024
- b.effect Brewing Co. – 60 Anderson Road, Wānaka 9305
- Arc Brewing Co. – 70 Anzac Avenue, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016
- Emerson’s Brewery – 70 Anzac Avenue, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016
- Noisy Brewing Company – 7 Anzac Avenue, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016
New Zealand is an absolute goldmine for anyone who adores craft brews and beautiful views.
With so many unique beers on offer all around the country, you’ll have your work cut out for you if you plan on exploring them all!
Which New Zealand beer spots are you planning to put on your itinerary this year?
Let us know!