Beer tasting in Wellington: Breweries and Burgers

I over indulged. So much so that my body couldn’t digest it all and, well, the result wasn’t pleasant! Getting up in the middle of the night to walk to the campsite toilets, in my PJs and in the cold was not fun. But it was all in the name of research! I can’t do a post about Wellington, the craft beer capital of New Zealand, without drinking a lot of craft beer and eating a lot of food to go with it! Plus, I had my day drinking wine in Waiheke, so it was Pete’s turn to get a belly full of booze. So we ate an awful lot of food and drank an awful lot of beer. But we lived to tell the tale of our food and drink tour of Wellington.

Our food and drink tour of Wellington started at the Underground Market. Alongside arts and crafts, clothes and antiques, you will find a plethora of food choices. From pizzas to pies, hot chocolates to jam, there’s so much to choose from. I opted  for a Japanese dish, 4 dumplings and rice for $6 (choose from chicken, salmon, pork, lamb and vegetable). The dumplings were crispy and punchy in flavours and the sesame and soy sauce drizzled over the top was divine, so yummy. Pete had a Vietnamese Banh mi sandwich. He couldn’t get enough of these whilst we were in Vietnam. He claims this one was the best he has had since. The Underground Market is located under Frank Kitts Park and open every Saturday, 10am till 4pm.

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We stumbled across Fortune Favours Brewery situated on Leeds Street and toddled in. Here we bought a tasting platter of six beers, for $25. The platter housed a mix of pale ales and pilsners. Their tagline across the bar reads ‘Beer for the bold, the brave and the lucky.’ We had to be pretty brave to try one of these beers, the ‘Gatekeeper’ Porter. Like a liquorice, smokey flavoured Guiness, it was tough going. Pete’s description of this black ale was; ‘It tastes like an old British pub, before the smoking ban, where the ceiling has been scraped into a pint glass and then blended to a liquid.’ Nice! My preferred beer was the Pandemonium Pilsner, brewed by ParrotDog. I could almost describe it like a wine, crisp, fruity, and sparkly. The decor of Fortune Favours consists of reclaimed wood and old pipes, fairy lights and metal stools. As well as an outside seating area, it’s a pretty cool place to spend a couple of hours sipping some beers!

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Garage Project was our next brewery stop which is just out-of-town, about 20 minutes walk from the city centre. The brewery and cellar door is set in an old petrol station in a suburban area of Wellington, it doesn’t look like your typical brewery bar. Here you can try up to 8 different craft beers (on rotation), for free! Our favourites were the pale ale ‘Hapi-daze’ and the low-alcohol beer ‘Fugazi’ (only 2%). Both fresh, fruity and light. Once you have found your favourite at the cellar door, then head up the road to the Tap House, the actual bar of Garage Project. At Tap House you can choose from 20 beers on tap and have a full pint, or half if you want. As you may have guessed from my introduction, we went full pint every time! We also had some more food here and I would recommend the beetroot and garlic hummus with warm bread for $9. Also on the menu was fancy peanuts, cheese toasties and even seaweed! We could have easily spent the night here, but there were more breweries to try! So on our merry way we went.

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With a walkway entrance of fairy-lights lined by wooden barrels, who could resist the temptation to enter Husk, our final brewery stop. The beers here were all Choice Bros brewery, and at the bar you can try a tiny taster before ordering. We tried ‘On the Brain’ an English pale ale that was peanut butter and raspberry flavoured. Weird. Very sour, bitter, not pleasant. The funniest named beer we tried all day goes to ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’, a West Coast IPA. Punchy and bold but very strong at 7% alcohol, this one is not for session drinking. We chose to order the ‘Hazey Cosmic Jive’, a New England IPA. Fizzy, cloudy, light and fruity. Jivey some would say. Husk did have some delicious beers, but the decor inside let it down. It was more like a restaurant or even a Costa Coffee setting, with a brewery in the back. Dim lighting, cushioned chairs and sofas, low partitions and candles, it was romantic indeed, but not a brewery bar.

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After all that drinking, we needed some food, and what goes perfectly with beer? Burgers! Big ol’ juicy, dirty burgers. So we found the perfect venue, Burger Liquor. Of course we had another pint here alongside our huge mound of meat. I went for The Smokey burger. It was a juicy beef patty, still pink in the middle, with crispy onion rings, cheddar and smokey BBQ sauce. I held off on the streaky bacon as I don’t like pork (I know that may offend some of you, I’m sorry!) Pete chose the Chicano, pulled pork, jalapeños, avocado, corn chips and mustard. These were exactly what we needed after copious amounts of alcohol. Note. We both ordered a side of fries, they were huge portions, and you probably don’t need one each! However, after eating home-cooked meals in the campervan, I felt like I had been starved for days! I devoured more food than I think I ever have done.

One of the many things we love about New Zealand is the food and drink (along with the amazing scenery, awesome things to do and friendly people). Everything is of the highest quality and the freshest tastes, and this day reiterated that. The three breweries we visited were only a tiny taster of what Wellington has to offer. We knew in Wellington that we were going to have a blow-out day, spend the money, eat the food and drink the beer. And I really did blow-out! But as I said, this post wouldn’t exist if I didn’t. It was all in the aid of research! And as they say in Wellington, Eat, Drink and Be Welly! 😉

Peace x

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