Monday, May 24, 2010

Tuatara APA Unleashed on Unsuspecting World

There is an old saying about buses – none for ages and then three turn up at once. That’s not quite the case either for Wellington (none for ages then three go on strike) or Tuatara (no new beers for three years, then two in twelve months).

Tuatara is proud to confirm the launch of Tuatara APA (American Pale Ale) both in kegs from 26 May 2010 and, later, in very limited edition 750ml bottles. The official launch party will take place at Malthouse the 26th from 5pm. It will be a chance to try the new brew and mingle with the best and brightest from the Wellington beer scene. We might even get mentioned in the newspaper again! Friends of Tuatara do not need to RSVP – just pop in after 5pm till late.

Now that everyone wants to come to the party, it is probably an appropriate time to explain a little more about the beer. It was inspired by Head Brewer Carl Vasta’s recent visit to Chicago. He had gone to meet Tuatara’s American distributor and later tried some very good APAs over there. He was particularly taken with the phenomenal products from Dogfish Head (“off-centred stuff for off-centred people”) and thought “it must be about time I made one of these.”

So, in his usual matter-of-fact manner, he did. Tuatara APA is the first Tuatara beer to draw its inspiration from America, rather than Europe. It also uses American hops, an exception to the usual brewery policy of using the best local ingredients. American hops really bring a lot to this particular style of beer.

For the beer geeks, it uses US Cascade, US Simcoe and US Amarillo hops. The speciality malts are Maris Otter and Low Colour Crystal which is needed, Carl explains, “to balance out the big hop.” Those big hops produce around 60 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) and there is plenty of weight at 5.7% alcohol. It is the biggest, hoppiest beer Tuatara has ever made and we think it will sell well.

APA is a style New Zealand drinkers are a bit infatuated with at the moment, to be honest. Kiwi tastebuds have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Tuatara Director Sean Murrie recalls having to “tell off” Carl at the old Polar Brewery for making the lager too hoppy. Back then, people wouldn’t drink it. Today, they can’t seem to get enough.

Tuatara APA is an assertive hoppy ale built on a solid malt foundation. The nose is big and floral while the body is silken yet slightly resinous. There are notes of fruit (passionfruit, grapefruit and even peach) before a cleansing, lingering finish. While the alcohol content is relatively high, it does not dominate the beer. Tuatara’s APA is not as over-the-top as some other offerings. Carl reckoned he needed a bottle of water handy to rehydrate after sampling some of the truly massive APAs in the US. He wanted to create an APA which would allow people to comfortably have a couple of pints.

There is only one way to be sure – try Tuatara APA for yourself.

Cheers from the team at Tuatara.


  1. Fantastic - looking forward to trying it. Will it be available outside Wellington, and is it going to become a permanent addition to the range? Would love to see six packs of this available up in Auckland.

  2. Tried it last night with three friends at The Malthouse, WLG. We agreed, though it's probably personal taste, that the finish was a tad too bitter. Yes, we like hops and can see where this one is going, however it did not make easy drinking. Maybe we should have warmed it up a little. Thanks.

  3. Wow! it read like one of our next beers:
    1) yakima monster: golden promise, caramalt, nugget, simcoe, amarillo - ~6%, 56ibu.
    2) motueka monster: golden promise, caramalt, southern cross, nelson sauvin, nz cascade - ~6%, 56ibu.
    Can't wait to try it!