New Zealand might not jump to mind when you think of beer destinations—but its brewing history is fascinating, and its craft scene is growing ever more noteworthy.
It started in the early 1770s, when Captain James Cook worked up the first (known) batch of beer. He knew Native Americans had been brewing beer from corn and birch sap, so he used molasses, branches from a tree that resembled an American black spruce, wort (a solution made from grain), and mānuka leaves (tea tree) to create his own fermented brew. It was meant to combat scurvy and supply sailors with nutrients since vegetables were scarce. This so-called spruce beer was packed with vitamin C, and became immensely popular.
Years later, in 1835, the first commercial brewery was established. And, naturally, two corporate giants eventually dominated the space: New Zealand Breweries (which became Lion Nathan in 1988) and DB Breweries.… Read the rest