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September 29, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Where to drink Beer in Wellington

One of the best aspects of being a beer writer – apart from the master key to every brewery in the country and being called a “hero” in a letter to the editor – is all the research.

Now, the extensive research required for beer writing is not like legal research (“find the case of the person who first got shafted by this particular law”), chemistry research (“record precisely what time you caught fire”), political research (“rephrase Nicky Hager in your own words for extra credit”) or even sociology research (“Wikipedia does so count as an academic source”).

Unlike virtually all academic pursuits, beer research is actually fun and the longer you spend you doing it, the better it becomes. In this discipline, doing an all-nighter can actually be a very good thing. So, in this context and after extensive research, I can present the definitive list of the five best places to drink beer in Wellington. To confirm my oft-commented on devotion to beer research, I’m also providing a beer and food recommendation for all the venues selected.

1. The Malthouse – With more than 140 beers available at any one time, this place literally has a beer for everyone. The menu even includes one of the best pictures of this humble beer scribe. Have one or all of the champion Tuatara range and an ugly bread.

2 .Southern Cross – This is a 1990s student bar now fit for human inhabitation and boasts the best beer garden in the city. Sitting out the back of the Cross is the closest I get to nature walks. Try an Emerson’s Pilsner and the Cross Burger. If you want to pay extra to do the chef’s job for them you can always cook your own meal on volcanic hot rocks.

3 .D4 – New and up the carpeted stairs, D4 is a real gem with a growing beer list and service to make even Exec members feel wanted. Sample several Epic Pale Ales while working your way through the magnificent D4 Platter.

4. Mac’s Brewery Bar – It is said that beer is best drunk in the shadow of the brewery and this is about the only place you can do it round here. Savour a Sassy Red accompanied by the little sausages.

5. The Featherston – Newly refurbished, this bar has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. I obviously mean the good phoenix of legend rather than the shabby Phoenix of Wellington. My recommendation is a Tuatara Pilsner and one of their old school classic dishes.


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  1. tyrrell says:

    I’d add an extra 2.

    Bar Edwards, Newtown – Yeastie Boys on tap too !

    Lueven – mind you for a Belgian Ale nut like me … what more could you want (if you feel like a hop escape for a change)

  2. Neil says:

    Bar Edward – agreed – I was just worried it was too far aware for carbon mile aware students.

    Leuven – agreed – I was just worried it was too expensive for dollare aware students.

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