Let’s say you’re in New Zealand later this year for the [Major Sporting Event], and you want a good beer. Where do you start?
Since one of the event’s sponsors is [Famous Dutch Beer], you won’t have much trouble finding that. But our colourful laws will actively prevent competing advertising, especially near venues and so a little local knowledge will help. Assuming you’re travelling around the country, and have a bit of time between games, you will be able to include a good variety of venues and beer styles into your visit.
Here’s a few places to start:
An online map/database showing most of the craft beer outlets and brewers around the country. Beer Tourist includes details of how to get there and what you’ll find when you arrive. This site is updated infrequently – click on the map for the latest version.
2. Nelson – the Craft Brewing Capital*
All of New Zealand’s wonderful hops come from the Tasman Bay region, northwest of Nelson City. This little harbour town led the birth of the New Zealand craft beer revolution back in 1980 when Terry McCashin took on the Dominion Breweries/Lion duopoly. Today it has almost 20 craft beer venues in and around Nelson, ranging from the rustic to the large McCashins Brewery where it all started.
3. Wellington – the other craft beer Capital*
While Nelson has more breweries per head, Wellington is the city where a lot of its product turns up. The Capital City has several craft beer specialist bars, and many others featuring one or two craft beers on tap or in the fridge. It’s also a great place to strike up a craft beer conversation with a stranger, if you’re sick of talking rugby. There a bit of a race on at the moment to get new craft beer bars open before the event and at least two brewpubs are scheduled to open soon.
OK, so no games, but Christchurch has a great craft beer scene and you may well get to feel a genuine aftershock. Christchurch rivals Nelson for craft breweries, and almost all of them are back in production. Best place to start is Pomeroy’s Inn, 292 Kilmore St, with a great (and constantly changing) range, good food, all set in an old brewery.
Ok, Aussies, you’ll be here for the final. Before the game, visit Galbraith’s Ale House brewpub at 2 Mt Eden Road. It has an English theme, and will probably have a few English customers too. And it’s about 20 minutes walk from Eden Park. For a trip out of the city, check out Hallertau brew pub in Riverhead. Craft beer is making inroads in Auckland recently. It isn’t as obvious as in the other centres mentioned, but it will turn up in some surprising places. Explore!
*Don’t get them started. It will end in beers.