Top 6: Lost Kiwi Beers

Luke Nicholas

Luke Nicholas is a New Zealand based beer expert. Creator of the website RealBeer, previously head brewer of the Cock & Bull's beers, owner of Epic Brewing Company and Epic Pale Ale, international beer judge, industry commentator, founding president of SOBA, and vice president of the Brewers Guild of New Zealand.

Over time beers come and go due to many reasons. A lot of it these days is that everyone wants to drink international style lagers (or should I say drinking brands) that are bland and boring. So I thought I would come up with six beers that I would like to try again once, now that they are not available anymore.

1. Kiwi Lager - New Zealand's lost lager. The one that could have become our nations signature beer. DB had to stop making Kiwi Lager as part of their deal to start production of Heineken. Thanks Heineken.

2. Malt Mac - this was the most interesting beer to come out of Mac's. It was made with peated malt so had a big peaty scotch whisky taste, but behind that was a huge Cascade hop hit. Also was exported to the Michael Jackson Beer Club in the USA and was featured beer for a month.

3. Montieth's Sasion - best example of D Saaz in any beer made in New Zealand. A shame the public of New Zealand didn't get it (understand it I mean). Also a shame that they announced this beer on the same day they announced the closure and layoffs at the Greymouth Monteith's Brewery. It was possible the beginning of the commercialization of what had been an exciting brand with interesting beers.

4. Monteith's Dopplebock - I'm talking about the 7% version that was within style and the marketing people that didn't know anything about beer, hadn't called it a Winter Ale on the label. This beer was even better years after its best before date (yes a cellared beer, even vintaged can you believe it) as the slight oxidation continued to increase the malt. Awesome malt.

5. Mac's Hop Harvest Pilsner - this was the second best Mac's beer that was ever made. The hop aroma and flavour was at a level that could justify the term "hoppy". Nice work Mr Goldman.

6. Leopard Continental Lager - I'd like to try this again due to the fact it was one of my very first memories of drinking beer, and drinking from one of the old steel cans when I was a kid. It just tasted like beer then, be nice to have known what it actually tasted like. (not the rehashed version Lion came out with a few years ago, I'm talking about the 70's)

I could have included the likes of Australis Benediction or Romanov (cause I still have some), and the 1998 Pink Elephant Mammoth, or any number of obscure one off beers that most of the nation didn't get to try, but I didn't

 
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  • EarlyRiser says
    And yet there are other beers like NZ Lager which should be extinct due to their bland flavour. It's definately not one I would morn the loss of.

    Having said that, why is Steinlager still around? It should have gone the way of Reineck.



  • DaveM says
    I agree with the above, the new Monteith's Lager is almost exactly a replica of the Kiwi Lager of old. Well to my taste buds anyway...
  • Marty says
    I sadly never tried Kiwi Lager.. BRING IT BACK!!

    I did like the Dopplebock though. Monteiths are still my favourite range of beers (followed closely by Emersons).
  • Nos4R2D2 says
    The 7% Monteith's Dopplebock was my favourite beer, I believe if it had been marketed well it would have been phenomenally successful!
  • @earlyriser, i agree completely. Steinlager is not a nice beer.
    Good memories of Leopard. And Tui, the original, not the current one brewed with Auckland water.
  • Jimmynz says
    The Pilsner is a great drop, why limit production? Why cant bars have a variety of beers to choose rather than the common few that mainstream drinkers enjoy.
  • Ebbz says
    Bring back KIWI LAGER! I miss it!
  • Rex says
    Leopard Strong Beer (came in red cans) was a favourite in the late 70"s when I was a teen. It's a pity DB brewed Heineken, the taste has never even matched the true yeasty flavour that was of the imported batches around the early 80's.
  • Mike says
    Got a full unopened bottle of Leopard Continental Lager siting on my desk actually, if you want to try it!
  • Norman says
    I miss Leopard. Am a yank and first encountered Leopard at a Pizza joint in Kodiak Alaska. They had a very extensive collection of beers which over several years worked my way through. Two stand out in memory, Tooth and Leopard. Throughout the years I have looked for these with no joy. So sorry to hear they are both gone.

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