Wandering around Wellington Central, you will notice the presence of a few familiar fragrances, one of those being the smell of freshly-brewed malt and barley.
Last week, Lonely Planet named Wellington the best beer destination in New Zealand – and as a local, it's not hard to see why. To reaffirm this grand proclamation, I followed my nose around the capital and explored some of the best places to enjoy an ale or two.
Here are my favourite places in Wellington to enjoy a cold one.
1. Garage Project
If you want to gain a full appreciation of the beer-brewing process, look no further than Garage Project in Aro Valley. This craft beer brewery is now well-known around the country, but only in Wellington will you get the full immersion, with their tap house and cellar door located within the same 100 metre strip. I recommend heading to the tap house to sample all their fine ales before making your way back across the road to get yourself a flagon to take home.
2. Slim Davey’s
When you’ve had a few after-work drinks and you feel like carrying on into the night with a tasty meal and a few more beers, get your chaps on and visit the "friendly neighbourhood saloon” – Slim Davey’s. You'll find this fine establishment on Marjory Banks Street, in the suburb of Mt Victoria. Open the red door and be greeted by a full-sized stuffed buffalo name Frank, who really sets the tone for an environment that is clearly about eating, drinking and having a good time.
My favourite place to sit is upstairs at the bar. Slim Davey's have a huge selection of craft beers to choose from and if you can hold back the munchies until after 10pm, their burgers are half price. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
3. The Rogue & Vagabond
For those unmatched sunny days in Wellington when “you just cant beat a beer” head up Cuba Street and take a left on to Ghuznee. Here, you will find The Rogue & Vagabond – conveniently located next to Glover Park.
This bar has set up a park-drinking experience, where you can float away on a been bag cloud while resting your beer on the spare tire table, creating a great chill zone for those beautiful sunny days, I recommend choosing from the variety of craft beers on tap. The Rogue is also a fantastic place to listen to live local music, with gigs scheduled most weekends. Take a look at their ever-changing beer screen above the bar, and match your favourite brew with their special Curly Fries – the added option of topping your fries with chilli beef or pulled pork is a tasty bonus.
One for the road...
Sometimes, a beer is best enjoyed at home with family and friends. Here are my picks for the best places to stop and pick up your craft beer on the go.
4. Parrot Dog, 60/66 Kingsford Smith St, Lyall Bay.
5. Garage Project, 68 Aro St, Aro Valley.
6. Black Dog, 19 Blair St, Te Aro.
7. Regional Wines, 15 Ellice St, Mount Victoria.