Tuatara’s Pacific Pale Ale – a tropical idyll

October 9, 2020
Tuatara's Pacific Pale Ale

Witchdoctor’s crafty beer correspondent HADYN GREEN sups on a uniquely southern hemisphere beer style that more of us should be drinking.


Tuatara’s Pacific Pale Ale

Right now, Wellington is in the middle of a period of weather the locals call “Shitsville”. It’s cold and wet and the windiest time of year. In the middle of all of this, I’m drinking a beer that makes me feel like I’m on a sandy beach, bathed in warm sunshine. It’s a Pacific Ale.

Pacific Ale is a style that… okay, style is pretty loose here… it’s not like stout or pilsner. Pacific Ale is a beer made with Pacific hops, specifically the Australian Galaxy variety which is used in many of them. So, in that sense, it’s a bit like the nebulous New Zealand Pale Ale.

The hops give it a tropical flavour, almost pineappley. Combined with its light appearance Pacific Ales have a lot of aliases, depending on the brewery: Summer Ale, Tropical Pale Ale, Australian Pale Ale.

So far you would be right in thinking that this is a solely Aussie affair. And you’d be mostly right, as it was firmly cemented over the ditch, with the Salt & Wood brewery, in particular, adding it to the beer lexicon.

More than a few New Zealand breweries have tried it, especially after getting their hands on Galaxy hops, which are occasionally a rare commodity. But our nation’s brewers couldn’t let an Australian hop like Galaxy run things by itself, so you’ll often find it paired with solid Aotearoa hop varieties, like Nelson Sauvin. This adds different elements to the beer that either complement or enhance the tropical flavours.


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Grown & brewed under the Southern Cross.

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They can be clear or cloudy, but never harshly bitter. Dry-hopped but only for extratropical notes. There’s usually some wheat chucked in there to give it a smoother texture on the palate.

Pacific Ales are one of my personal favourite beers. Smooth but with a nice fruity flavour that almost forces you to think of tropical beaches and summertime.

Tuatara’s new drop is exactly that.

It’s the type of beer that always makes me happy, and not because of the alcohol (4.4% is a nice sessionable ABV).

While there are similar flavours in any number of XPAs and other lighter NZ-hopped beers, a Pacific Ale, like this one, has the ability to transport me – at least mentally – to a summer beach party where I’m slow barbecuing a pork shoulder and prepping some pineapple salsa to go with it. Your destination might be different, but a beer like this is perfect to at least pretend you’re somewhere else.

Tuatara’s Pacific Pale Ale

Tuatara Pacific Pale Ale

Tuatara Pacific Pale Ale is a delicious, crisp new drop. Showcasing Pacific hops (Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy) the brew is light in colour, but punches above its weight with its depth of flavour.

Taste: Light malt, balanced bitterness with tropical fruit hop notes

Mouthfeel: medium body

Finish: crisp finish, gentle lingering bitterness

Aroma: floral, tropical fruit

Look: light straw coloured

ABV: 4.4%

RRP 6x 330ml $22.99


  • This is a Witchdoctor sponsored promotion.

Hadyn has been writing about beer for well over a decade.

While he can’t nail down what the best he’s ever had was, there’s no doubt in his mind about the worst: a paua stout.

He’s often asked, “Why don’t you brew beer?” And the answer is still the same, “Because I can buy beer from people who are very good at making it.”

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