Malthouse - they use a ladder to get to the top of their fridge
Hop Garden - No ladder but barrels and plants
This week I will be joining the steady stream of craft beer fans jetting to Wellington for Beervana. The festival itself is promising to be huge with more breweries, more food and the biggest venue they could find. There will be a wide variety of craft beers to try and no doubt heaps of custom t-shirts and other merchandise on sale.
However a lot of the good action will be found on the street, in Wellington's collection of Craft Beer focused bars. These bars really make Wellington stand out, particularly compared to Auckland which seems committed to sticking with 80s style beer in bars.
I’ve always loved the bars in our self proclaimed Craft Beer Capital but I’ve noticed that the best ones are always hidden away. I used to go out drinking in Wellington with a bartender, who gave me access to the best hidden spots. Most bartenders know the scene and can get you into most places but hot-girl-bartenders are a golden fun ticket, opening portals into mythical worlds of entertainment.
So I would follow my infinitely better looking friend into some cold silent area of town, the street lights illuminating my breath. We would go up a dark alley, around the back of a rubbish skip, between some old bikes and pull open a door in a concrete wall.
Like opening a closet to Narnia, I was amazed to step into new worlds. A Cuban bar would appear behind the first door, packed and replete with a live band. Then lounge bars filled with Wellingtons A-listers bathed in soft blue mood lighting. Then craft beer bars, Irish bars, dance clubs and stunning restaurants. All hidden from trespassing out-of-towners.
Unfortunately when my Wellington bar sherpa left town with a handsome Brazilian scientist the good times ended, leaving me at the mercy of my iPhone and Google Maps.
Now I don't get down to Wellington as much as I used to and new bars seem to open up every few months. So I end up wandering the streets, head down, praying to my iPhone for directions to some bar I've heard about. I've followed my glowing companion to any number of bars, including Hashigo Zake which I walked past half a dozen times before spotting.
If you’re showing up fresh for Beervana and want to hit the right spots here is my list and a map for reference.
The Hop Garden
Little Beer Quarter
View Wellington Craft Beer Bars in a larger map