The sweet and the sour: Beervana 2017

As winter draws to a close, Wellingtonians turn to food and drink.  Wellington on a Plate started on Friday, and this weekend also saw the annual beer fest that is Beervana.  This year there were 64 featured breweries and over 451 beers.  That is some choice…and deciding what to try, can be hit and miss.  Anyway, here are a few highlights (and one I am not so sure about) of this year’s tastings.

First up, new brewery Tinker Tailor, where I sampled a really lovely porter, not too overly rich, but with a lovely smoothness.  Karl had the white IPA which went down very well, with a bit of wheat added to the hops.

Tinker, Tailor based in Porirua

Another porter I enjoyed (question…why do I always try these at Beervana and never at any other times of the year?) was from Behemoth, who had a great range this year, and as usual, excellent labels.

You have to love the labels…
Coffee, chocolate and beer
Desert beer?

I had a sip of the Good Morning Vietnam, a one off imperial stout infused with Vietnamese coffee, which was really tasty (can one use an adjective like that about beer?) and a proper tasting of the Chocolate Fish.  Imagine a dark beer infused with raspberries and chocolate.  Quite.  Yes it was sweet and yes it would make a nice desert drink, in a small glass.  (Side note – chocolate fish are a New Zealand lolly (sweet/candy/confection) which are made of marshmallow and chocolate and which are…fish shaped).

It is also necessary to eat at Beervana, and I enjoyed a whitebait fritter, sandwiched in good old sliced white bread.  It was just so tasty, and just the thing to have at an event like this.

Pure magic – a whitebait fritter

Attracted by the name, we wandered over to McLeod’s, and were very glad we did. Karl rated their Bonnie Pale Ale and I enjoyed..guess what? Yes another stout.  Karl also tried their low alcohol beer, which got an ‘excellent’ rating for that type of product.

Some good beers to be had here

There were beers from the US, beers served from an ambulance, live music, and a guy on a bicycle selling gelato infused with cider.   There was even a beer with the delightful name of Up Your Kilt from Laughing Bones Brewery.

Real beer flavour…US brewery Lagunitas


Beer served from an ambulance..Fortune Favours
Quite….actually the Up Yer Kilt was rather good!

Finally, no trip to a beer tasting in Wellington would be complete without local brewery Garage Project.  After all those porters, I opted for a sour beer, The Aardvark.  Labelled an experimental beer, it was a citrus sour beer flavoured with lemongrass ants.  It was certainly sour, and I am still unsure if I liked it or not, but it did go quite well with the oysters to which I had treated myself. Karl had the Cintamani IPA which was a ‘typical Garage Project beer’, which is no bad thing.

Beer and oysters

And so that was Beervana for another year…some interesting tastes, some new tastes and all in all a good event.  All that was needed after that was an afternoon nap…

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @blof678.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on





  1. ooh never heard of a whitebait fritter! I love whitebait, a favourite in English pubs but a fritter looks rather different. Clearly I need to book a holiday in NZ, a 13year gap is far too long between visits!


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