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Wellington Craft Beer Eateries

Mika Reilly gives Beervana an overview of suggested Wellington craft beer loving eateries


Wellington is often touted as New Zealand's craft beer capital, with the highest rate of per capita craft beer consumption in the country. Wellington's also often touted as New Zealand's culinary capital (gosh, we Wellingtonians sure like to take advantage of our status as the capital city, don't we?).

How do these two titles sit side by side? Where in Wellington can you get great food AND great beer? Heaps of places. All kinds of eateries - from neighbourhood cafes to fine dining restaurants - have cottoned on to the fact that discerning diners don't just want a nice wine list, but also nice beer, and on the other side of the coin, there are a number of craft beer bars serving up quality, interesting food.

Dunedin in a day


I am off to Dunedin, I am searching for something, in fact what I am searching for made Dunedin the first and largest city in New Zealand in the 1860’s. I am searching for Gold, but not the dig in the dirt or pan in a stream type; I’m after liquid gold - Beer.

There is a long history of beer in Dunedin going way back to 1876 when James Speight founded the iconic brewery and started brewing here, all the way through to the 90’s where we saw the birth of New Zealand craft beer with the industry’s ‘Grandfather’ Richard Emerson brewing at multiple sites around the city since launching the Emerson’s brand in 1993.

A Guide to Auckland Craft Beer

It wasn’t so long ago that beer lovers, myself included, were grumbling about the lack of good beer in Auckland. We didn’t have cool bars selling exotic imports like Wellington, or boutique breweries nestled in rolling green hills like Nelson. What we did have was a thousand restaurants and bars selling the same six types of lager.  

The list below shows just how far we’ve come in a short space of time. The majority of places on it did not exist three years ago, and two of them opened while I was putting this post together. We now have multiple brewpubs, craft beer bars, and beer-loving eatery’s to choose from, which, as an Aucklander, is a beautiful thing to behold.

Use the list below to start plotting your next Auckland pub crawl.


Dish Pale Ale Tasting


The recent hot summer days and nights call for delicious and refreshing craft beers. With the range of top quality New Zealand beer on offer it is difficult to decide what drop to drink. Lucky for you that our wonderful friends at Dish Magazine have released the latest issue (Feb-Mar) and it features their top 15 Pale Ales decided by a panel of judges, including; Michael Donaldson- author of Beer Nation; Cameron Douglas- Senior Lecturer (AUT) and Master Sommelier; Yvonne Lorkin- Dish Drinks Writer; Shane Morley- brewer, Steam Brewing Company; Stephen Plowman- brewer, Hallertau Brewing. Pick up a copy of Dish Magazine to see what beers were included in the Dish top 15 and how they were ranked! 

The crafty year that was 2012


On New Year’s Eve 2011/2012 I certainly hoped for a good year for the craft beer industry but even buoyed with optimism I never would have predicted what transpired.

It began with some projects from the larger end of the Craft market. Montieth’s reopened their facility in Greymouth and launched a new craft range. Independent brought over Spike from Terrapin brewing in the USA and put out a great range of beers under the Resident brand including a Red Rye Ale.

These developments were quickly followed by start-ups in Wellington, with Garage Project, ParrotDog and the Fork & Brewer strengthening Wellington’s credentials as the craft beer capital. Meanwhile across the strait in the craft brewing capital, McCashin’s delivered an impressive debut on to the Deloitte Fast 50 with growth at a jaw dropping 1826%, placing them 1st in manufacturing and 3rd overall.

Beervana serves up inspiration

It always takes me a few weeks after Beervana to emerge from the haze. There's something about seeing all of those people, in one place, drawn together by a curiosity about and love for craft beer, that blows my mind.

It might be because I have seen Beervana slowly grow over twelve years, from very humble beginnings to the premium event on the beer lover's calendar that it is today.

It might also be because each year I find new and intriguing brews in my glass, poured for me by the extraordinary brewers that reside from one end of the country to the other (and a few across the ditch of course!).

And it might also be because of the enthusiasm and generosity that so many people show for the event, from our incredible volunteers, to our event partners, to the brewers, and my team.

My Beervana Top 11


It’s 1.59am and I’m trying to wind down after another manic, mad, and mind-blowing two days of Beervana. Top 10 lists are usually the preserve of exceptional Brewers (nod to you Mr Nicholas) and internationally famous comedians, but I feel one coming on.


Here’s the Beervana Top 11 (because 10 just wasn’t enough) from this lowly Project Manager’s perspective…


11. David Cryer—the man behind the machine, and one of the most genuinely kind-hearted, generous and genuine people I know. His passion for craft and Beervana is infectious and all of us who love beer are lucky to have him at the helm of this brilliant event (how’s that for a suck up to the boss?!).


Get a seminar in ya!

Apart from all of the incredible beer on show, a real highlight of Beervana (in this Project Manager's humble opinion) is the seminar programme. The people we get together, and beg/bribe to give us their time, share their knowledge, and help get New Zealanders schooled up on what makes great beer, is pretty phenomenal.

So, without further ado, I proudly announce the seminar programme for Beervana 2012. 

Survey reveals more breweries and more beer


15 days out from New Zealand's most prestigious beer awards, the results from The Brewers Guild Of New Zealand's latest industry wide survey are available, covering the period from January 2008 to December 2011.

Conducted by Market Research, the survey is anonymous and all breweries in the country are asked to participate to paint a revealing and accurate picture of the brewing industry.

Monteith's reopens doors


The 18-month-long transformation of the iconic Monteith’s Brewery in Greymouth is now complete with the official opening staged today.

Grey District Mayor, Tony Kokshoorn joined Monteith’s head brewer Tony Mercer in officially opening the brewery this afternoon during a celebration attended by MPs, tourism representatives, locals, former staff and media.


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