Traditionally, beer means different things to different nations. In Continental Europe it is very often lager style - cold, sparkling and refreshing - and this is the generally preferred style in North America, Australia and New Zealand. And we British have the reputation of liking our beer flat, warm and hand pulled at the pump, a nice pint of bitter.
Things have changed radically for beer drinkers everywhere over the last 10 years or so with much of the inspiration coming from the American craft brewing scene, a much needed counter to the particularly tasteless brews that are ubiquitous there.
And the same could fairly have been said about New Zealand beer but not now. There are brilliant craft brewers and specialist beer bars all over the country, creating and innovating and reinventing and taking advantage of the superb quality of their raw materials - Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops are revered by brewers all over the world.
Kiwis still don't quite understand the British flat warm beer thing just yet, but they'll get there...
Some of our favourite brewers, beers and drinking places:
8 Wired from Blenheim - super premium beers and their massively hopped Super Conductor Double IPA is as good as it gets
Epic from Auckland - try Armageddon IPA which is super hoppy
Tuatara from Paraparaumu - APA, Aotearoa Pale Ale is the one to look for
Yeastie Boys from Wellington - great name, obviously, and really innovative brewing too
Moa - considered by some purists to be a bit commercial these days but their beer is good and widely available and they have their own beer cellar door in Marlborough
Brothers Beer - best of both worlds in Auckland with their own brewbar and a huge range of tap and bottled beers, their own and guests
Hallertau - in Auckland and along the same lines as Brothers with a great restaurant as well
The Mussel Inn - in Golden Bay with live music and home-brewed beer including Captain Cooker which is made with manuka
Hashigo Zake - an even cooler name than Yeastie Boys and the only pub you need to visit in Wellington, once you find it...