WellingtonEat & Drink
The bar staff at Parrotdog pouring a drink while laughing with a customer.

Crafting your beer experience in Wellington

It’s regularly said that Wellington has a thriving craft beer industry — many even call it the craft brewing capital of the country. Whatever your view, there’s no denying the city is full of fantastic breweries. Here’s the lowdown on some of the great craft breweries you can visit in Wellington. Say cheers for the beers when you discover local pilsners, IPAs, lagers and everything in between.  

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Brewpubs are a thing in Wellington — a big thing. You get to sit down in a comfortable space, order food, chew the fat, and glance over your shoulder at a giant collection of pipes, vats, and barrels. It adds a level of authenticity to your beverage when you can smell the hops and see bags of malt through a window. There are a few brewpubs within walking distance of each other in the central city. Fortune Favours, on Leeds Street, opened in 2017. Since then, it’s brewed over 300 beer varieties, many of which are award-winning. The ground level has a small bar that looks into the brewery, while upstairs there’s a large area that opens out onto two decks. Hanging above the entrance outside is a huge wooden hand so it’s easy to find. 

A couple of blocks away on Cuba Street, Heyday Beer Co. has set up shop in a former car-battery garage. The pastel green exterior acts as a beacon to passers-by. No stuffy dark wooden bar decor here. It’s bright and light with a strong focus on catering for everyone, including your kids and your pooch. You can sit outside in the sun and play games or hunker down inside near the shining silos. Bond Street is home to one of the oldest inner-city breweries. Fork & Brewer set up shop in 2012. Being upstairs, the heavy brewing equipment necessitated some impressive earthquake strengthening. The engineering feat has ensured a very safe space to sample some of the 40-plus beers on tap. It also inspired the name of one of the first brews: the Base Isolator APA. 

Mean Doses Brewery and Fillery began in a basement in 2013. Several awards and sell out brews later, they opened a bar and taproom upstairs on Tory Street. Food is supplied by Mabel’s restaurant downstairs and washed down with one of the brewery’s exclusive house beers. The bar has pinball, pool, shuffleboard, and classic arcade games so you and your friends are in for a long (and fun) evening. Completing the group of city breweries is Garage Project on Aro Street. Established in a former petrol station garage, the brewery is a creative powerhouse. Its collaborations with other Wellington businesses and ongoing experimentation have produced some wildly innovative beers. The cellar door onsite usually has about eight rotating beer taps available. You can taste, chat with the brewers, and take it home with you. 

The suburbs heading southeast host some tasty gems as well. Waitoa, in Waitoa Road Hātaitai, is a micro-brewery by day and a bar by night. Bring your own flagon to fill up and takeaway or stop in for a while for a drink. The bar menu offers the classics, but patrons are also welcome to bring in food from the surrounding Hataitai eateries. Parrotdog Brewery in Kingsford Smith Street, Rongotai is inspired by traditional pubs. Antiques, taxidermy, and a pool table all feed into the retro vibe. After you’ve selected from one of the bar’s 17 revolving tap beers you can sit down and watch the hops ferment through large windows. When it’s sunny you can sit outside, sip, and smell the sea air. Lyall Bay Beach is a couple of hundred metres away. 

Inside Fortune Favours, a bar located in Te Aro, Wellington. Two people are standing at the bar, waiting while a smiling bartender pours them a pint.

The last stop on your craft beer journey will have you seeing double. Double Vision Brewery in Park Road, Miramar has a classic craft beer genesis story. Four mates had a hobby and turned it into a career. From small beginnings, the brewery has grown to need 17,700L of tank space in an industrial warehouse in the middle of the film industry territory. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, a restaurant on site, and seating inside and out. 

Cheers to the beers.