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The craft brewery scene in Wellington is made up of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. They're part of a movement that has seen craft beer sales grow at an enormous rate, along with the range of flavours on offer and bars catering to the ever growing appetite for creative brews.
Garage Project has been described in the media as the 'darling of the craft beer scene' and by punters as 'rock stars'. Hitting the scene in 2011 they got people's attention quickly by brewing and releasing 24 different beers in 24 weeks - a spectacular display of creativity, technique and fearlessness. The charm of Garage Project is their bravery in and love for the alchemical process of beermaking.
They're not afraid to experiment with unorthodox ingredients, and past brews have included the likes of yuzu, cornflakes, seawater, cardamom and super-heated volcanic rocks... though not all at once. In 2013 they opened their cellar door, followed by their taproom across the road from the brewery in 2015.
Anything is possible in Wellington, just ask the 'three Matts' from ParrotDog Brewery. What began as a student home-brew passion has grown into an award-winning craft beer enterprise. ParrotDog landed on the beer scene with their first commercial brew, BitterBitch. After launching at Beervana, it then went on to feature at #1 on prominent beer writer Neil Miller's top 10 for that year, before taking out Best in Class at the Brewer's Guild Awards 2012. In June 2012 ParrotDog took the plunge and opened their own brewery and shop in the heart of Wellington, soon picking up an Australian distributor, then raised $2 million in two days by selling shares via equity crowdfunding platform PledgeMe. ParrotDog is now based in Lyall Bay, with a brand new cellar door and brewery.
Inner city brewpub Fork & Brewer boasts 40 taps of delicious beer crafted onsite. Head brewer Kelly Ryan is a bit of a local legend, having studied microbiology before brewing around the world. He now leads the Fork Brewing team in creating their array of mouthwatering beers - all paired with beautiful artwork and tap badges - with his sours and IPAs receiving a lot of attention.
Officially a heavyweight on the scene, Tuatara began with one man: Carl Vasta. Carl, described as "an engineer with the tastebuds of a wine critic", started brewing in the hills above Waikanae. Using converted dairy tanks he began supplying friends, family and good mate Sean Murrie, who ran beer specialty bar The Malthouse and was on the hunt for good local product. The two decided to go into business together and the rest, as they say, is history. Tuatara's approach to brewing is simple: they brew true-to-style with authentic, quality ingredients.
Choice Bros head brewer Kerry Gray is known for his tie-dye overalls and his clever Bowie-inspired beers. In 2016, Kerry partnered with Karamu Coffee and opened Husk, a brew bar, cafe and casual eatery tucked away down a laneway in central Wellington combining two of Wellington's most loved products - beer and coffee. With an excellent array of food, knockout coffee, plenty of Choice Bros beer on tap and regular tap takeovers from NZ and international breweries, Husk is a must-visit destination for any beer fan.