Kiwis like their beer, some of the popular brands are Tui, Speights (particularly in the South Island) and Export Gold. Lion (owned by Japanese company Kirin) and DB (owned by Heineken) are the two big breweries in the country. Competing for a pint of the action are at least 50 micro breweries. Our list concentrates mainly on brewpubs that sell their own brews, it's a work in progress, if there's a brewpub we haven't listed feel free to contact us.
By drinking at brewpubs or buying direct from micro breweries you are not only able to sample some unique brews but the breweries and brewpubs are benefiting directly as they can recoup more profit than they can when competing with the two brewery giants to supply supermarkets, liquor stores etc.
Cheers - buy the designated driver some non alcoholic ginger beer and taste what boutique brewers have to offer.
PS: This information is intended for those aged 18 and over, 18 is the legal age to purchase alcohol in New Zealand.
Note: Prices shown, happy hours mentioned etc should be used as a guide only as it may be some time between visits, see websites and Facebook pages for the most up-to-date information.
What's New? The Laboratory, Lincoln; Victoria Store Brewery, Clyde
Galbraith's Alehouse, 2 Mount Eden Road, Eden Terrace
Galbraith's Alehouse is in a character building that was once Grafton Public Library. Beer is brewed onsite and you can watch brewers at work from a viewing area. Galbraith's is known as one of the best places in the country to drink craft beer and they "can trace the origin of every pint".
They brew up Resurrection Trappist-Style ale made in the style of the Trappist monks who brewed the ale in the Abbeys of Belgium. They also produce Bitter and Twisted made for "supping not quaffing". Meals like braised beef cheeks, beef wellington and bangers and mash are served. Tasting tray - 4 glasses, $16. Open Mon-Sat, noon to 11pm and Sunday noon to 10pm.
Brothers Beer, City Works Depot, Shed 3D, 90 Wellesley Street West
If you're curious about craft beer Brothers Beer is a retail store, brewery and tasting lounge so you can see where their beer is brewed, choose to taste from 18 taps or take home a few bottles. The Garage Project bottles captured our attention with names like Angry Peaches, Mon P'Tit Chou (meaning 'my little cabbage'), and triple hopped Trip Hop. We were impressed by the friendly guy who was working when we visited as he not only helped us choose a tap but used his craft beer knowledge to assist two people who were obviously visiting a craft beer bar for the first time.
It took us a while to get to Brothers Beer but given the service and selection it won't be long before we return. Brothers is a casual space with retro lounge furniture, shiny brewing tanks and wooden shelves and fridges full of bottled beer. Pizza is on the menu including a cheese and spaghetti option for kids. Our beer cost us $8.50 a glass and was tasty enough for us to go back for seconds. Open Monday to Sunday from midday.
Brothers Juke Joint BBQ, 5 Akiraho Street, Mt Eden
Brothers Juke Joint BBQ opened in September 2015 in a former factory in Mt Eden. Juke Joint has a similar feel to Brothers Beer in City Works Depot at least inside, but outside there's a covered wooden seating area separated from the kitchen by a green space, and a sand pit tucked into the corner for kids. Ordering food is a bit different here, you tick the boxes on these handy menu forms, take your order to the kitchen and your food is put together in front of you.
If you like meat sandwiches choose from beef brisket, mutton, pulled pork, and sausage. We both liked the tender meat in our sandwiches, and the sauces, but the buns could have been a lot fresher. The beer is Brothers own and you can call in for a glass from 11.30am Tuesday - Sunday (closed Monday).
Buy your own personal brewery, invented in Auckland by Ian Williams and Anders Warn - www.williamswarn.com
Deep Creek Brewing Co., 111 Clyde Road, Browns Bay
Deep Creek Brewing Co. opened in August 2011, beer brewed onsite includes Little Armoured One, The Dusty Gringo and Pontoon in a Monsoon. Zeffer cider brewed up the road in Matakana is on tap and that was our choice along with one of Deep Creek's best selling brews - 309 (NZ Pale Ale). A tasting paddle (6 x 200ml glasses) is $22 (it may include the Basilica - vanilla chocolate porter, $24 for a 750ml bottle). Tasting platters and meals like Jack Daniels BBQ ribs and Surf and Turf are on the menu, there's also a menu for the kids.
We're not frequent visitors to Browns Bay so a nice surprise for us was walking to the back of the bar and finding an outdoor area facing the beach, and a skate park (could occupy the kids if they're that way inclined). The interior is spacious, there's a brewing mural along one wall, and large shiny brewing tanks behind the bar. Guys will find something interesting in the men's room. If you're a keen home brewer enquire about the Home Brew Club. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - midnight. (No surcharge on public holidays). (Note: You will also find Deep Creek Coast in Orewa and Deep Creek Cove in Oneroa on Waiheke Island).
Hallertau Brewery, 1171 Coatesville Riverhead Highway, Riverhead
Wow, Hallertau had changed when we revisited in July 2016. There is a new sub division on its doorstep and it could be one of the reasons the place was packed on a Sunday afternoon, if you're driving from afar a reservation might be a good idea. The only seats left were at the bar which was all good and we were well looked after by the staff. Note to those attached to technology - 'no public wi-fi ... speak to the people you came with' says a footnote on the menu.
The new Hallertau Brewery is made up of a set of pavilions and it would be an especillay good place to be in summer. There is an enclosed restaurant area, a big biergarten, and shiny brewing tanks behind the bar. The beer now has names as well as numbers and a 5 x 100ml tasting tray costs from $15, the beer coasters double as beer descriptions. Guest beers were Epic Eric the Red and Wild Beer Co. Ninkasi Apple Saison. We chose shared plates of fat chunkies, garlic flat bread, and free range pork belly with apple fritters, add a tasting tray and it was $50 exactly, and well enjoyed. Closed Monday in winter, usual hours Monday - Sunday 11am - 10pm.
You can soak in hot water at Hot Water Beach, but if you're visiting Austria you can soak in the Starkenberger Beer Pool.
Hot Water Brewing Co., 1043 State Highway 25, RD1, Whenuakite
Hot Water Brewing Co. opened in October 2013 on the grounds of Sea Breeze Holiday Park in Whenuakite, a short drive from Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel. What struck us as different about Hot Water Brewing compared to other brewpubs we've visited is that they can their beer as well as have it on tap. It's a trend in America I was told, I've since found the AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival that used to be held on North Drinkwater Boulevard :) Apparently beer tastes better out of a can, I wouldn't know, but Garage Project in Wellington are onto the can too.
Hot Water Brewing didn't have tasting trays on offer when we visited but we were given an informal tasting through the taps by a very hospitable gent. We went with the 6.2% Super Golden Ale, I suspect we liked it best due to its high sugar content. Other craft beer on tap was Good George and Tuatara. We matched our Super Golden with a Sunday Roast pizza - lamb, feta, roast beetroot and pesto, I'd go back for that alone. Hot Water Brewing is open 7 days from 11am.
Beer in a different kind of bar - Global Soap in Nelson handmake Golden Ale, Oatmeal Stout, and Pilsner Lager soap.
Good George Brewing, 32A Somerset Street, Frankton
Good George Brewery and Dining Hall is in an industrial area of Frankton. You may see brewers at work behind the bar making brews like white ale, drop hop cider and stout. We took a six beer tasting flight ($19) - the beer menu has tasting notes if you're interested in trying to distinguish the different tastes and aromas. Something unusual we noticed at Good George was a beer cocktail menu, they also cater to good kids - a main and dessert is $12.50, and there's a colouring competition.
Have a Good George brew at The Green Dragon Inn at Hobbiton.
BREW Craft Beer Pub, 1103 Tutanekai Street (aka Eat Streat)
BREW is owned and run by The Croucher Brewing Company. Croucher beer is on tap and there are guest taps that change when the keg's empty so there's a changing range of NZ craft beer to sample. Beer and wine is discounted for hoppy hours on Fridays 5pm -7pm, and live music is a regular feature. Read about the BREW Beer Club on thecuriouskiwiblog. Open 7 days.
Okere Falls Beer Fest is an annual event held in October.
King Country Brewing Co, 10 Waitomo Caves Road
King Country Brewing Co's tag line is 'Born, Bred & Brewed Here', add their hat logo to the mix and you could include 'Worn Here'. The logo is a Haddad hat, designed by the Haddad brothers, long time supporters of local businesses and owners of a clothing store in nearby Otorohanga. If the Haddad brothers drink beer they may drink King Country brews at The Thirsty Weta in Otorohanga, we had ours at King Country Brewing Co's brew bar underneath HUHU Cafe on Waitomo Caves Road.
A four glass tasting flight is $16, a taste of the easy drinking Czech style pilsner lager had us buying pints ($10). I thought the pilsner was a good match for the tastiest lamb curry I've had in a while. A staff member made another trip down the stairs with a chocolate and orange mousse in a brandy snap basket - we doff our virtual Haddad hats to King Country Brewing Co and HUHU for a top notch dinner and drinks. (Note: The brew bar is currently only open Thursday - Saturday from 6pm during summer, but you will also find the beer on tap at Curly's Bar in Waitomo Caves Village).
Crafty Trout Brewing Co, 131-135 Tongariro Street
A brewpub with a trout theme in Taupo - see thecuriouskiwiblog.
Sunshine Brewery, 49 Awapuni Road
Sunshine Brewery have been brewing beer in Gisborne since 1989. Under new ownership by a group of locals from the wine industry, The Taproom opened in November 2014. The Taproom is a short stroll from Waikanae Beach and it's reflected in the design of the surf board style tasting trays. A board of five beers is $15 and includes the brewery's flagship beer - Gisborne Gold Lager, as well as a Pilsner, Pale Ale, Red Ale, and Black Magic Stout. Other brews on tap during our visit were Waka Blonde Summer Ale, and a low alcohol beer - Power Cut Mild Dark Ale.
Platters and toasted cheese rolls are on the short food menu, and if you'd prefer a glass of wine to beer there is Sunshine Gisborne Chardonnay and a few other local wines on the beverage menu. We liked Gladstone's Ginger Beer ($5) brewed a few streets over at The Cidery, 91 Customhouse Street. Incidentally, you can do a free tasting at The Cidery of their range of ciders including Scrumpy, Harvest, and Thomas & Rose.
Beer Appreciation Day is held in Havelock North in March.
Rooster's Brew House, 1470 Omahu Road
Rooster's Brew House is a small, friendly micro brewery located on the outskirts of Hastings. I've read that most of Rooster's beer is sold onsite and on the day we visited plenty of people were "filling their own" for $10. Our choices from the beverage menu were the Gisborne brewed Harvest cider and Rooster's Haymaker. Other beers in the Rooster's range include Golden Wheat and Draught. There's a small bar inside at Rooster's and a beer garden at the back. Rooster's Brew House is open Monday - Friday, 10am - 7pm and Saturday, 2pm-7pm.
SOBA Mountain Ales Craft Beer Festival - see SOBA Taranaki.
Tuatara Brewery, 7 Sheffield Street, Paraparaumu
Tuatara Brewery have more of a tasting room than a bar or pub in Paraparaumu. They do serve food though - pizza, nachos and platters. The beer is well priced and it's reflected in the cost of their tasting trays - $14 for four brews. We found the beer easy to drink and the Bavarian Hefe and Helles Lager were our picks, the Helles being what Mike looks for in bars these days.
The bottle openers are neat and the swag of beer awards shows they're brewing something good. If you don't get the chance to try all the brews you can take home a Mix 6. Tuatara Brewery have expanded in recent years and their beer is distributed in Australia and Hong Kong, more power to them. Hours.
The Third Eye - Tuatara Temple of Taste, 30 Arthur Street, Te Aro, Wellington city
Tuatara's micro brewery on Arthur Street has an impressive tuatara mural painted on the outside. Inside silver and copper tanks fill the back of the exposed brick space and upstairs is an exhibition area, when we visited work by contemporary artist Sam Mathers was on display.
Behind the bar there were around 10 taps of Tuatara to choose from, guest taps included Gold Leader Belgian Pale Ale made by Wellington's Wild and Woolly Brewing, and Unicorn Session APA brewed by Fiasco Brewing Company in Christchurch. If you're keen to know more about craft beer Tuatara offer Tasting Experiences on Saturdays. Open 7 days from 12 noon.
Wellington city has plenty of craft beer bars including Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki Street, Te Aro; The Malthouse, 48 Courtenay Place and Golding's Free Dive, 14 Leeds Street. The first brewpub opened on 7 March 2012 - The Sprig & Fern Tavern, 342 Tinakori Road (see below).
Craft Beer Capital can take you on a tasting trail. Wellington Craft Beer News collects and produces information about the craft beer scene and has a beer related calendar of events.
Learn more about craft beer in Wellington with Craft Beer College.
Fork & Brewer, 14 Bond Street, CBD
Fork & Brewer is a spacious upstairs venue with a separate dining area and an outdoor balcony. You can drink your way around the huge barrel of taps behind the bar. A tasting tray of four brews is $12, we made a start drinking our way around the country with Emerson's Bookbinder, Dunedin; Bulmers Cider, Gisborne; Moa Five Hop, Blenheim; and kept it local with Tuatara Hefe.
On a second visit to the Fork & Brewer I went with their Berried Alive cider, loved it, Mike was happy to see Tuatara's Helles. We stayed for dinner and had the lamb rump salad, and the pasta of the day, both meals were under $20 and were really good. Beer doughnuts were dessert, can't say we're fans though, they may have been overcooked. I clocked Men'N Skurrts on the barrel as I walked out the door, next time. Closed Sunday, open from 11.30am other days.
Wellington Chocolate Factory make this very hip looking Craft Beer Bar.
The Sprig & Fern Tavern, 342 Tinakori Road, Thorndon
The Sprig & Fern is smartly decked out in black and white, some history remains in the form of an old coal range with brick surround. A tasting tray is $18 (choose five brews), and there's a "Buy Your Mate A Beer" board. There is a quiz night, and a curry night during the week or board games can keep you occupied any time. The Sprig & Fern feels like a welcoming local, the kind of place where neighbours call in for a beer on their way home from work. Open 7 days. (Revisited July '15)
Moa Brewing Co, Jacksons Road, RD3
Moa Brewing Co's range includes Moa Methode Pilsner and Moa Session Pale Ale, there's likely to be a couple of extra seasonal or special brews on tap. A tasting is $5, there's tasting notes but no tasting trays, the same glass takes you through the taps. It's the cheapest craft we've had from the $5 tasting to the $6 (and up) glass of tap beer and $4 tap cider.
Moa's listed on the NZ Stock Exchange and a "big building with some bits and pieces chucked in it" is on the way said founder Josh Scott. This may mean big changes for the little bar, it's currently laid back and casual, a local told us that on a sunny day the outdoor picnic tables are packed with punters. Hungry punters can order a bar snack from the small menu and test their hand/eye co-ordination with a round of croquet. Open 7 days from 11.30am.
Pick up a copy of the Nelson Craft Beer Trail from an i-SITE.
The Sprig and Fern Taverns
There are currently five Sprig and Fern Taverns in the Nelson area selling beers, ales and ciders that are brewed at the brewery on 53 Beach Road, Richmond. Buy direct from the brewery, online or at one of the taverns. We visited The Sprig and Fern, 134 Milton Street - a quality refurbishment has turned a former residential property into a cozy tavern that warmly welcomes locals and visitors.
We sat outside on the deck surrounded by flowering planters with a $15 tasting tray - Fern Lager, Ginger Lager, Blonde, Alcoholic Lemonade, Apple Cider, and Ginger Beer. Platters are on the menu or you can order takeaways to go with your brews from Milton Street Takeaway next door. Open from 10am, 7 days.
McCashin's Brewery Bar & Kitchen, 660 Main Road, Stoke, Nelson
McCashin's Brewery was started in 1981 by Terry McCashin, a man credited with kick starting the craft beer culture in New Zealand. The Mac's brand was bought by Lion Breweries in 1999 and Lion leased McCashin's Brewery. Over time production of Mac's was moved offsite and in 2009 Terry McCashin's son Dean re-opened the Brewery to brew Stoke Beer.
Revisiting McCashin's in June 2016 we found a madeover space with a large wall of wall paper resembling bricks that looks really good as a backdrop to the earthy toned decor. Fridges behind the counter are full of the onsite brewed Stoke Beer and Rochdale Cider ranges, and one of the dishes on the snack menu is 'green lip mussels in a garlic and Rochdale Cider sauce'. Brewery tours are run Monday - Friday at 11am and 2pm and cost $25pp including tastings (bookings required). Open 7 days.
Read The McCashin's Story, how Terry McCashin sparked the Kiwi brewing revolution (the book is sold at McCashins Brewery Bar & Kitchen).
Golden Bear Brewing Company, Mapua Wharf
Fat Toad, Hop Hanger and American Wheat were pouring when we finally made it to Golden Bear Brewing on popular Mapua Wharf in June 2016. We nabbed one of the few inside tables in the small tasting room/bar and settled in with glasses of Cruise Control and Autumn Lager. If you're hungry there is a short menu of Mexican style food, and plenty of seating outside if the weather allows. If you're looking for an unusual beer themed souvenir you'll find Golden Bear underwear in the merchandise cabinet. Open Monday - Thursday from 3pm, Friday - Sunday from 12 noon.
Take a self guided beer lovers bike tour with The Gentle Cycling Company.
The Mussel Inn, SH 60, Onekaka (17 kms from Takaka)
The Mussel Inn is a rustic bar with an outside fire, laid back atmosphere and regular live music performances. Families are welcome, there's no dress code and they're not keen on cell phones in this part of the country. If you want to give up your phone to the cell phone tree they'll nail it up for you. A signature brew is Captain Cooker Manuka Beer, inspired by the first beer brewed in NZ by Captain Cook in 1773.
We chose the tasting collection of 5 x 200ml samples for $15 - Captain Cooker, Apple Roughy Cider, Dark Horse Black Beer, Golden Goose Lager and a seasonal brew - Happy Jackal Pumpkin Ale. Mussels are on the menu and snacks are served all day, main meals from 6pm-9pm. Open from 11am, 7 days (usually closed for a few weeks around August).
Craft beer, cider, music and entertainment for the whole family is on offer at MarchFest in Nelson.
Although we didn't count them, it's said there are more than 150 craft beers behind the counter in the Brew Bar, and Dux's flagship brews Ginger Tom and Dux Lager are on tap. The new brew Dux Shandy gets my vote as an easy drinking lager / home made lemonade hybrid. Dux Central has some unusual features like an interactive urinal and graphic toilet doors, you can see both via TVNZ.
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival is held in Christchurch - 27 January 2018.
The Twisted Hop, 616 Ferry Road, Woolston
Sometimes I choose beer the way I choose horses at the Boxing Day races - because I like the name. At The Twisted Hop that meant a Twisted Ankle and a Challenger. We visited during a $6 beer happy hour - the temperature of the beer was a bit of a surprise initially as it's served at a warmer temperature than we're used to, but after a few mouthfuls our taste buds adjusted. The service was especially good and friendly - The Twisted Hop has happy hour a couple of times a week, and live music.
A Mid-Winter's Ale Festival is held in Rolleston (22kms from Christchurch) in July.
Cassels & Sons - The Brewery, 3 Garlands Road, Woolston
The Brewery is on the site of the old Woolston Tannery, there's a large outdoor area with both covered and uncovered seating. The interior is a large, airy space and brewing takes place behind the bar. A unique aspect of their brewing process is the use of a wood fired kettle. The brewery also produces cask conditioned ale which is an English style of beer - warmer and not as fizzy. Beer on tap includes Cassel's Pilsner, Dunkel and Lager; a seasonal brew on offer when we visited was the Cassel's Medicinal. Guest beers from a variety of craft breweries are also on tap. Tasting trays from $14.
Unusual flavoured wood fired pizza is on the menu - we chose half and half of Horotane (pear, blue cheese, thyme and smoky bacon) and Kirwee (ground spiced lamb with currants, mint and mozzarella).
Breakfast is served from 7am, there's a Brewer's Platter and all eggs, chicken and pork are free range. Live entertainment is frequent, and The Brewery is part of the boutique retail, art and food space - The Tannery, it's well worth a visit.
Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn, 292 Kilmore Street
We stayed at Pomeroy's late 2013 and as is usual when you book a room you receive a voucher for a beverage of your choice. We miss the old decor and atmosphere of the pub personally but it's still an incredibly popular drinking venue in Christchurch.
Pomeroy's now offer tasting trays of craft beer and have their own Beer Baroness brews on tap. There's still good food coming out of Victoria's Kitchen and its popularity means it's best to book. Closed Monday.
Do you want to make your own home brew, wine or spirits? Visit Your Shout, 225 Linwood Avenue, Linwood, Christchurch.
Scotts Brewing Co, 1 Wansbeck Street
Scotts Brewing Co relocated from Auckland to the owner's home town of Oamaru in 2013. Scotts Brewing are the first legal brewery in town since Prohibition won the vote in 1905. There's a small tasting room near the harbour where friendly staff can pour you beers like the Vienna Lager, Wainak Witbier and Nineteen 05. Invercargill Brewery's Pitch Black Orange Stout was on the guest tap when we visited and Wishbone Heat 'N' Eats were on the food menu. I liked the Nineteen 05 Golden Ale which we also found on tap down the road at The Criterion Hotel, 3 Tyne Street. If you're after a gluten free beer Scotts Brewing produce a gluten free Pale Ale.
Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival is held at Forsyth Barr Stadium in November.
Victoria Store Brewery, 34 Sunderland Street
Victoria Store Brewery is in the historic precinct in Clyde. The craft brewery shares the stone wall space with Olivers Restaurant & Bar, and Merchant of Clyde Cafe, Deli & Bakery. The history of Central Otago is reflected in the names of the beers including The Stone Mason Pilsner, The Gold Panner Golden Ale and The Blacksmith Porter. Soak up the history inside or take a seat in the courtyard with a tasting tray. Open 7 days.
Read the life history of beer in NZ: Beer Nation - The Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer by Michael Donaldson.
Comments to date: 2. Page 1 of 1.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Roger, really appreciate it.