We’re not sure what the optimum number of breweries in a country of four million should be, but we’re pretty sure that the correct answer is not “two”. Yet for more years than our uncles can count that’s exactly how many there were in New Zealand. It took ‘til the late 1990s for the beer revolution memo to get circulated, but soon enough new breweries were popping up like mushrooms. Not the kind of outfits that make green bottle happy juice for the 19th hole, but a community of real brewers recognised for bringing flavour and individuality to the world’s pre-eminent refreshment. One of those breweries began as a backyard operation in the hills above Waikanae. It was founded by Carl Vasta, an engineer with the tastebuds of a wine critic. There’s a degree of loose talk in New Zealand about “kiwi ingenuity”, most of it from people who’d struggle to change a tyre, but Carl is the living, breathing epitome of that noble philosophy. If he needed a shed or a bottler or a tank, he’d just go ahead and build one. Before too long, he’d managed to brew a superb range of ales, porters and pilsners for his friends under the name Tuatara.