Eat & Drink

A Local Beer Lover’s Guide To The Best Breweries In Wellington

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Move over New York, Wellington has more restaurants, cafes and bars per capita than The Big Apple, and it’s about a million times friendlier. Of these food and drink joints, a lot of them are craft breweries, making this New Zealand city a beer lover’s paradise.

Having been lucky enough to fly over to Wellington on the first Trans-Tasman bubble flight out of Sydney, my good luck continued when I joined a Craft Beer Tours NZ tour with owner Mike Henderson, a man who knows his beer. In fact, he even brews his own.

Thanks to his passion for craft beers, he basically gets you a backstage pass on his tours, with different breweries showing you the goods, and letting you taste it too. Let me just tell you, Welly makes a good beer — from the tasty to the whacky (looking at you Margarita Sour).

As the expert, I’ve handed the mic over to Mike for the top 10 breweries (in no particular order) you simply must visit on your next trip.

#1 Boneface Brewing Company

“These guys started in 2017 and have taken things to a next level,” Mike explains. “Owner Matt Dainty developed the Boneface Craft Beer brand from all things beer, sci-fi and legendary music. From beers, food to their crew these guys are a must-visit in Wellington”.

Location: 27 Blenheim Street, Upper Hutt
Website: boneface-brewing.com

#2 Fortune Favours

 

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“Situated in Wellington’s tastiest laneway, (Hannah’s Laneway), is an old rustic furniture de-stripping factory turned new innovative craft beer brewery,” says Mike. “These guys are pushing the boundaries with both their amazing brews and their support for local sports teams. Sponsors of Wellington’s top men’s and women’s cricket teams along with, football and rugby. These guys smash it out of the ballpark”.

On a personal note, this was definitely my favourite brewery. The IPAs on point and the upstairs is adorable.

Location: 7 Leeds Street, Te Aro
Website: fortunefavours.beer

#3 Whistling Sisters

“This industrial central Wellington brewery has three things in mind: make good beer, sell it and put the proceeds towards the research into advanced breast cancer,” Mike shares.

“One of the owners lost one of his daughters to breast cancer and set the brewery up to fund their charity named the Karen Louisa Foundation which they send all their profits to help advance cancer research and treatments for breast cancer patients”.

Besides being for an awesome cause, and even besides the beer being delish with quirky labels, the food is out of this world.

Location: 100 Taranaki Street, Te Aro
Website: whistlingsisters.co.nz

#4 Panhead Custom Ales

“Like Panhead said themselves, “if you can customise a bike or car in a garage then you should be able to do the same with beer,” shares Mike.

“Panhead has boosted themselves and within 10 years have become a beer fridge regular in NZ. Their core range is famous but it’s their small-batch being produced in their pilot brewery that gives these guys a fith gear”.

Location: 27 Blenheim Street, Maidstone, Upper Hutt
Website: panheadcustomales.com

#5 Fork and Brewer

 

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“One of the OG’s in the Wellington craft beer scene. Who else has 42 beers on tap with 41 of them being their own, all brewed by one guy?” asks Mike.

“Almost every style of beer is represented in their taps and almost every kind of beer desire is satisfied. Situated in the heart of the city this place fills up with city slickers by day and the spiritual craft beer vicars by night”.

Location: 20 Bond Street, Te Aro
Website: forkandbrewer.co.nz

#6 Garage Project

 

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“The rock stars of the NZ craft beer industry. You can find these brews everywhere, even in Australia,” says Mike.

“Another OG in Wellington these guys opened for business in 2011 and dropped hop bombs from above ever since. Whether it be a hazy, wildly fermented sour or wine, these guys are dabbling in all things brewing to sold-out audiences. They have two breweries in Wellington, the original situated in an old petrol garage (no, really)”.

Location: Furness Lane, Te Aro
Website: garageproject.com.au

#7 Heyday Beer Co.

 

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“These guys keep Wellington beer fresh on the regular. Their biggest market is local and if you visit, you’ll understand why,” Mike reckons. “The decor, the staff and especially the beers are as fresh as a Palm Springs morning in December. Cool, cool, cool”.

“Oh, and they also have Southward Distilling Co. pumping out some very fine small-batch gin”.

Location: 264 Cuba St, Te Aro
Website: heydaybeer.com

#8 Double Vision Brewing

“When four mates start homebrewing, have fun, go more pro but still keep enjoying themselves — you get Double Vision Brewing in the suburb of Mirimar, Wellington,” says Mike.

“Also the home to a little film studio that made a movie about a famous ring and mythical people, but for the craft beer lover what these guys are producing is way more deserving of an Oscar”.

Location: 128A Unit E, Park Road, Miramar
Website: doublevisionbrewing.com

#9 Parrotdog Brewery

 

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“You can literally collect your luggage from the carousel at Wellington’s Airport, sling it over the runway and land it in Parrotdog’s funky lounge bar (disclaimer: I do not actually recommend this),” jokes Mike.

“Situated just off Wellington’s famous surf beach of Lyall Bay (stomping ground of Wellington’s famous funksters Fat Freddy’s Drop), these guys have taken inspiration from the great pubs and taverns of yesteryear”.

Location: 60/66 Kingsford Smith Street, Lyall Bay
Website: parrotdog.co.nz

#10 North End Brewery

 

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What’s better when you’re travelling than to get out of the city and explore a little. Try going to the north west coast of Wellington….to North End Brewery. Brought to life by a bunch of Kiwi’s passionate about food, drink and the coast. Apart from being massive supporters of the Wellington brewing community these guys not only serve great beer but also American style BBQ eats in their very own brew pub, “Salt and Wood Collective”.

Location: 11 Ngaio Road, Waikanae
Website: northendbrewing.co.nz


The author joined Craft Beer Tours NZ as a guest of Wellington Tourism. 

(Lead image: provided by the author)