Craft beer at Black Dog Brew Co in Wellington?

I really wanted to like the Lucky Mongrel golden ale at Black Dog Brew Co, but it was the White Fang wheat beer that got me up for a second glass. Mike’s pick was the Golden Lab, I don’t know if they’re attempting to match beer to personalities but Mike’s definitely a docile lab and I can be feisty at times.

White Fang & Golden Lab at BlackDog Brew Co

White Fang & Golden Lab at BlackDog Brew Co

Tasting tray $24

Tasting tray $24

You know you’re drinking in a working brewery at Black Dog, big shiny silver tanks sit next to boxes of Chomp NZ Pale Ale. There’s a growler station where you can fill your own and if you ‘Join the Pack’ they’ll give you a $25 voucher for your birthday. (Who gives away beer? Read on and you can see why they can afford to give their product away. Until the the recent alcohol law changes they were giving you a growler on your birthday).

BlackDog Brew Co

BlackDog Brew Co

Ideas are brewing - beer keg seat

Ideas are brewing – beer keg seat

It’s the sort of bar that gets you to think while you drink  …

Just do it - think before you buy, what are you paying for?

Just do it – think before you buy, what are you paying for?

We’re still wondering why the dog has lightening coming out its rear end though? We should have asked the very hospitable staff behind the bar, if we owned a drinking establishment we’d be trying to get them to come and work with us. Meet the friendly staff at Black Dog Brew Co, 17-19 Blair Street.

Bow wow, fill a growler

Bow wow, fill a growler

I get a bit feisty ……
I’d finished writing this post when I found out that Black Dog Brew Co are owned by DB / Heineken. It wasn’t hard to change, I just added a question mark to the heading and added a few words. I wondered how I’d heard about the brewery in the first place, I realised I hadn’t, we saw it in a brochure in Wellington advertised as a craft brewery and happened to be in the neighbourhood. Its downtown location on Blair Street was a bit of a surprise, not so much now knowing who owns it.

We’re not beer connoisseurs, let alone craft beer connoisseurs, but we like to support NZ owned and made which is one of the reasons we have brewpubs on our website. It’s good to know where a beer comes from and we’re often curious about a brewery’s (true) story. I’m interested to see how brewpubs are fitted out, and we both like to support people who are often taking a financial risk to follow a dream. Black Dog Brew Co don’t say they’re owned by DB / Heineken on their website, although look at Tui’s history or lack of.

Are Black Dog being intentionally misleading by stating ‘What we are keen to do is build a craft beer brand that we can have some fun with’, and yet don’t say who owns it? My guess is it’s a tactic to take a slice of the relatively small craft beer market. Why not be up front about ownership and build your brand from there?

People will have their own opinions as to whether Black Dog are producing craft beer, and some may say if you like the beer it shouldn’t matter who produced it. All I know is that before I buy my next Black Dog brew I’ll be doing some more thinking about what I’m paying for. It’s more likely my dollars will be spent at the tap of a truly independent brewery.

Black Dog Brew Co

Black Dog Brew Co

2 thoughts on “Craft beer at Black Dog Brew Co in Wellington?

  1. Their beer is not even brewed @ black dog in wellington anymore. Bottles now say ‘brewed around nz’ i.e. at D.B.s main breweries.

    • Interesting to know as we haven’t had a Black Dog beer since we visited in 2014.

      I have a short piece about Black Dog from Kia Ora magazine which begins ‘The Black Dog Brew Company began production when a group of three brewers intent on introducing some different and compelling flavours began using a small downtown Wellington plant previously owned by one of the big chains’ (yeah right).

      Naming the ‘big chain’ as DB would have cut a bit too close to the bone I guess. I really dislike their lack of transparency, and the ‘brewed around NZ’ on the bottles plays right into that.

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