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Craft Beer Breweries in Wellington

May 4, 2017  ·  4 min read

words by niall roeder

In what is an outrageous and outrageously good claim, Wellington apparently has more bars per capita than the Big Apple. But what about breweries – can a parched punter find a temple of suds in a moment of thirst? You bet your bottom dollar they can. The craft brewery scene is not only alive and well in Welly, it’s fizzing.

From the home brew-inspired Te Aro Obligatory NZ Pale Ale to the commercial success of Parrotdog’s aggressive BitterBitch IPA, there is a long froth-stained list of craft beers to choose from, and a long froth-stained list of breweries in which to drink them.

We look at the 8 of the best craft beer breweries in Wellington:

The lords running Tuatara Brewery have recently spread their lizardy wings and transformed the old printing building on Arthur Street into the Tuatara Temple of Taste – The Third Eye. Despite their allegiance to the pineal gland, you won’t find the crew serving up DMT-infused brews, but beer made from direct-to-the-source ingredients and done in the way that made that style famous. Tip – Third Eye Attack of the Cones, a fresh and wild hop pale ale.

The crafty guys and gals at Parrotdog sell their amber ale straight from the brewery, so you can get the goods straight from the origin. Tip – the troublesome and very successful BitterBitch is unapologetically bitter with tropical flavours and plenty of malt to balance it out.

Black Dog Brewery Co.
This take-no-prisoners, dog-friendly brewery and taphouse is about making interesting alternatives to the range of beer out there. You might not like every single brew, but there’ll be one or two that you drink and then dream about every night until you meet again. Tip – Black Dog Brewery Co’s Kuri Pango is a mix of New Zealand Motueka, Pacifica and Nelson Sauvin hops, brewed with an American style.

Garage Project
Described as the “darling of the craft beer scene”, Garage Project started as a garage nano-brewery by three close mates. A few years on and they’ve moved to a bigger garage but kept the small-time attitude – risky brews, small egos and free tastings. They also have the Tap Room over the road from the brewery with an impressive 18 taps. Tip – Biere de Garage, an original and favourite GP beer brewed with Saison yeast and whole sour cherries.

Fork & Brewer
A microbrewery pouring beer from 40 odd taps spouting from a giant barrel, on top of fridges full of countless bottles of international beer. The Fork & Brewer is not scared, at all, of beer. Ryan Kelly is the resident brewer at the moment, a man who has won many awards for his beer and cider, so make sure you try his wares. Tip – Fork Brewing Storm Chaser Dunkelweizen.

The Occasional Brewer
Surely you’ve thought about trying it yourself? The Occasional Brewer is a shared brew space where thirsty people can craft their own beer from scratch (with help of expert brewers). No experience, no mercy. Tip – brew it yourself, you lazy fool!

Te Aro
What started off as the boys sharing their home brew at a party, has now turned into the same lads brewing beautiful frothy kegs perfectly suited to parties similar to theirs all those moons ago. The Te Aro drop is being poured at a heap of bars around town and it can be picked up from their shop, Brewtopia. Tip – the strong and zesty Grapefruit Imperial India Pale Ale.

Mac’s Brewbar
A fine establishment on the Wellington waterfront near Te Papa, Mac’s Brewbar is a place for good food and good beer. Drink outside by day and watch rugby (and drink) inside of an evening. Tip – Two serves of the mussel fritters with lemon zest aioli and a couple of Great Whites (a cloudy Belgian witbier with banana, bubblegum and Turkish delight flavours).

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