A one-man craft beer operation in Nelson has been declared New Zealand's top brewery.

Townshend Brewery beat 83 others to be named champion at the eighth annual Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards in Wellington last week.

Read more:
NZ's best beers named
Craft beer bonanza tipped for kiwi brewers

Craft beers are gaining in popularity here and around the world. As a result, some brewers are steering away from traditional ingredients, opting instead for unique (and wacky) flavours.


Here are our top 10 strange ingredients in craft beer:

10. Bananas

Sprecher Mbege Ale from the Sprecher Brewing Company in Wisconsin, is a fire-brewed, unfiltered beer that uses bananas to give it a unique flavour and yellow colour.

9. Avocado

Sure, beer goes well with nachos and guacamole... but Angel City Brewery in downtown Los Angeles decided to put it all together and created an ale that contains avocado and cilantro.

8. Barley tikka vindaloo

Again, beer is synonymous with a curry. At Sharp's Brewery in the UK, Stuart Howe created a beer using curry spices - chilli powder, ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom and fennel. This beer is "best served with popadoms," according to its creator.

7. Seaweed

Kelpie Seaweed Ale by Wiliams Bros Brew uses bladderwrack seaweed to capture the taste of traditional Scottish coastal brews.

6. Pizza Crust

A margarita pizza topped with tomato, oregano, basil and garlic is mashed up and used to create Mamma Mia's Pizza Beer.

5. Oysters

The Porterhouse Brewing Company originally from Ireland is known for creating speciality beers. It's bestselling stout is the Oyster Stout - using French oysters to add to the beer's sweetness.

4. Bacon and Maple Syrup

from the US has dedicated their bacon and maple doughnut-inspired brew to Portland-based Voodoo Doughnuts. Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale is also a collaboration between Rogue Ales and Voodoo Doughnuts.

3. Cat Poo

This is better than it sounds. The civet (a weasel-like animal from south-east Asia) eats only the best coffee berries. These are broken down by the cat's digestive system and collected to create one of the world's most expensive coffees. Mikkeller Brewery in Denmark also uses these beans in their Imperial Oatmeal Stout.

2. Bulls' testicles

Another US-based company - Wynkoop Brewing - created Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. Unlike the oysters listed previously, rocky mountain oysters refer to bulls' testicles.

1. Beard

is in our number one spot for using the yeast from company brewer John Maier's beard to create their Beard Beer. Maier and company president Brett Joyce were researching new sources of yeasts when a technician swabbed Maier's beard - which hasn't been shaved since 1978 - as a joke. It was found to be viable and Beard Beer was created - "Dedicated to Beards."