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By Georgia• 22 Dec 2016 • 3 Comments
I’ve celebrated a few pretty choice 2016 moments over Choice Bros beers – I boogied into the night with a few I'm Afraid of Americans to warm my new flat, silent disco-ed with a refreshing little Strung Out on Lasers at Beervana, was offered a dreamy new job over a crisp pint of Reet Petite in the sun, and celebrated my last day of my old role at brand new Husk. What a year, and what a beer(s).
Husk is a labour of love from former Te Aro Brewing brewer and now Choice Bros ‘head bro’ Kerry Gray – who may well be the nicest fella in Wellington – and Mike Pullin of Karamu Coffee. The idea of combining two of Wellington’s most adored pastimes, roasting and brewing, in one convenient spot is so genius that I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before, but Husk is the first of its kind in the capital.
You probably wouldn’t stumble across Husk accidentally. It’s tucked away down an alleyway that was formerly renowned for nothing, but is now decked out with a corridor of fairy lights to guide the way. The space that is now Husk used to be a boxing gym and touch of that grungy aesthetic remains now, with a slightly Scandi blend of raw materials, a lot of wood and some very cool cardboard lampshades. It’s also dripping with foliage, adorned with a few beaut pieces of taxidermy, and feels rather cosy.
Husk is, impressively, a dawn-til-late operation, open from 7am every day of the week. The morning menu is refreshing, each plate with small touches that take it beyond your classic cafe brekky. The scram with polenta bread ($14) is spiced up with my personal no. 1 favourite condiment, tomato kasundi, and blanketed in shavings of tangy manchego. I looked with envy at tables around us laden with house-made crumpets with bourbon butter and cute edible flowers ($13), and stole bites of my bloke’s classic but flawless big breakfast ($19). I'm not much of a coffee gal, but my flatmates declared their Karamu long blacks brilliant.
The midday-til-late menu consists of simple, fresh small plates that look ideal for sharing, with a strong Mediterranean influence and a few Indian flavours in there too. Prices range from $7 for handcut chips to $19 for cured salmon, fennel and radish salad. There are several vegetarian options - always a welcome sight - and the food is ripe for matching with the array of tap beers.
Husk’s rotating beer menu – charmingly listed like a songsheet – has been exclusively local when I've visited, with breweries from Mount Cook to Upper Hutt to Waikanae. I made my third visit during a California + Oregon tap takeover, opting for Breakside's Passionfruit Sour and Rogue's toasty, sweet Hazelnut Brown Nectar. They've also got a lovely little menu of non-alcoholic options, including a pastel-packaged rose lemonade that looks great on Instagram.
Head bro Kerry reports that the Choice Bros brew house, dubbed 'Ground Control' in keeping with the theme of his beer names, is set to arrive in late January, with the first beers brewed on it to be on tap in February - just in time to be enjoyed in that that perfect late summer sun in the garden bar out front.
Kerry says he was keen to create a space that “blurs the line between a production facility and a beautifully designed social hub”, and it really shows. The brewery-roastery-bar-eatery-cafe combination helps to create a more transparent supply chain, and opens up exciting avenues for collaboration and cross-pollination - I've heard rumours of coffee aged in whiskey barrels. Beer always tastes better when you're drinking it just metres away from where it was brewed, and it tastes the best when know you're supporting such a choice local business.
You can find Husk Bar & Eatery at 62 Ghuznee Street, open from 7am everyday.