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For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Archive for the tag “craft beer”

A beer tour at Whistling Sisters

Whistling Sisters is the new micro-brewery associated with The Fermentery eatery on the corner of Taranaki and Ghuznee Streets.

WS decor.jpg

Bede and Ange Roe, along with Russell and Elwyn Scott (of The Featherston, Avida and Leuven, to name a few) have significant beer and hospitality experience behind them, so have hit the ground running.

The brewery specialises in crafting balanced beers (as opposed to the big hoppy stuff), and currently have six varietals available. If you fancy the full inside gen, book yourself a tour at 4pm on a Saturday which includes a talk by Bede about the beer process, a wander through the brewery and a beer flight matched to tasty food from the kitchen downstairs. Great fun for $39.

WS Beer talk Bede Ange.jpg

Their brewery kit was designed and made in Nelson which allowed them to add extra features to give more control over their brewing process, like the malt grind and how/when they add their special ingredients (the fresh ginger and galangal to the Rooty Toot Toot).

WS brewery visit.jpg

They also don’t pasteurise or filter their beers, preferring instead to allow all flavours to come through untouched. And like to promote the idea of beer as great for food matching, again without the big hoppiness overpowering whatever you’re eating.

All of the beers we tasted were light, clean and very drinkable, with my favourite turning out to be the Rooty Toot Toot ginger sour beer. And I’m not a beer drinker!

WS tasting flight.jpg

These were the matches we enjoyed, all equally good:

  • A red pilsner with Kraut cheese balls (the eatery is after all a Fermentery)
  • The golden ale with garlic hummus and crisp pita shards
  • The chocolate oatmeal stout with smashed cod and soft pita bread (unexpected but I guess when you think about oyster stouts, seafood and stout have some history)
  • The Rooty Toot Toot ginger sour with pork terrine.

WS philosophy.jpg

In terms of the Fermentery side of the business, their philosophy is also to craft their own, and, create dishes that match nicely with the beers.

I have popped along recently for brunch and thoroughly enjoyed their kumara pancake with bacon (although it was a bit early for beersies that day!), and the chip fiend (yep you guessed it) ordered the burger and chips, which he proclaimed satisfying as well.

WS Kumara pancake.jpg

WS burger.jpg

I also really like purpose of Whistling Sisters too – the premature death of Karen Louisa from secondary breast cancer (one of Russell and Elwyn’s daughters) inspiring the family to create a research trust, with the profits of Whistling Sisters and the Fermentery supporting that.

So the ‘Sisters’ signifying the closeness of Russell’s two daughters and the ‘Whistling’ signifying the attempt to keep on whistling and looking on the bright side when life gets you down (the Life of Bryan anyone?).

WS Karen.jpg

A great outlook and I wish them well.

Cnr Taranaki and Ghuznee Streets

 

The new Black Dog

I recently popped along to the new Black Dog Brewery up Cuba Street to see how it compared to the previous iteration in Blair Street.

Quite favourably I have to say (as a non-beery girl).

Black dog HERO.jpg

Downstairs is the micro-brewery with lots of shiny tanks, and staff happy to talk to you all day long about their brews, and guide you through tastings.

And upstairs is a lounge bar with some very groovy art, where you can relax and try something new.

The brewery’s stated aim is to ‘create interesting alternatives to the range of beers already available. Some will work and some won’t but if we don’t try we’ll never know. Our mission is to always be interesting and intrepid, always act independently and stay in tune with what the drinkers want’.

In line with that, despite them being part of the DB family, Bar Manager Mat tells me the Cuba Street microbrewery is seen as the innovation hub for the brand where they create to their heart’s content and don’t have to worry about production runs or marketing. When they strike one that ticks all the boxes it then gets passed off to the mothership to deal with from there.

Black dog decor.jpg

So, as well as the core beers (like Chomp – their first ever brew – or The Dogfather), you’ll get new ones each season (like the Pug Life an extra pale ale, or Hop Boxer a fresh hop IPA). In fact, when we visited right in the middle of Hopstock, the Hop Boxer had been so popular they were eeking it out in tasting size glasses only until they could whip some more up!

One of the things the staff are very keen on is helping you try something new, starting with what type of flavours in general or densities you like and they’ll whip out various things that might be of interest (for example the Saisson has banana notes, who’d’ve known). If you go away saying you’ve had a great experience and tried something new, they’ll consider their job well done.

Black dog beers.jpg

They’re also keen on collaboration with other local businesses, including coffee and chocolate magic with Havana and WCF respectively, food from the Wellington Seamarket next door or Pandoro (beer and barley bread, and pizza bases), and I believe there are other collaborations with the likes of Grill Meats Beer coming soon.

You’ll also find exhibitions by different artists throughout the brewery and bar, acting like an informal Cuba Street Art Gallery (now that’s my kinda gallery!).

Tuesday to Sunday, noon until the wee smalls.

216 Cuba Street

 

 

Fortune Favours

It’s taken me a while to decide if Fortune Favours (the bold, the brave, the lucky etc…) ticks all my boxes after a couple of mediocre food experiences on first visits (although the ambience, decor and beers were all good). However I feel like they’ve found their groove now, and they definitely have oodles of Wellington character.

Fortune favours

Downstairs is a darker and cooler environment, while upstairs is light bright and full of brewing equipment, decks and leaners. I like that they’ve taken on an old furniture-makers building and retained the character and history of it, melding nicely into the Leeds Street laneway vibe.

I also like that one of their features is cheese and beer matching – a little different to the norm. With many cheese dishes on the menu, and a dedicated meat and cheese bar downstairs.

Having tried a few dishes, I find the share boards to be the way to go here, with the ability to choose your own meats and cheeses.

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With Shannon Thorpe (ex-Good George Brewing) partnered with the resources of the Wellington Hospitality Group (Munchen, Bethel Woods, Coene’s, Gaslight and loads of others), and local brewer Dale Cooper on board (ex-Black Dog), you won’t go thirsty here any time soon. And can probably expect some interesting brews over time.

I enjoyed a sip of all the beers on the paddle (yep worlds most useless drinker!), then settled on a dark beer, whose name totally escapes me at the moment, but was light while still having a rich flavour.

FF glass.jpg

Definitely worth a visit, and particularly fun in a group.

7 days from 11am til late.

7 Leeds Street

 

Counter Culture & Photonflux

There are a couple of groovy new eateries in Upper Victoria to go with the street widening and apartment building going on up there.

Counter Cult battleship

The first is a board game cafe, Counter Culture, with over 300 games available, and tasty food to boot. In the former Crafters premises, you will find many nooks and crannies to wile away as much time as you like playing old favourites or learning new games.

The second is a Sci Fi cafe, Photonflux, with memorabilia for Africa (if you’ll pardon the pun!), and tasty ‘fluxbun’ sandwiches the feature of the menu currently (South African fried dough filled with interesting ingredients – surprisingly, not unhealthy feeling at all!).

Both are definitely worth a visit, with Counter Culture also taking part in Wellington on a Plate.

Further details on both here.

Photon art

 

Husk on Ghuznee

Apologies for the hiatus folks, a family death, a property settlement and xmas interrupted the eating and drinking with gay abandon for a few weeks. But back in business now.

Husk Bar and Eatery has opened on Ghuznee Street opposite Glover Park, down a hallway marked by a barrel on the street.

This is the brainchild of the Choice Bros craft beer brewers (who do some interesting concoctions – including a bull semen beer for the Greenman pub a year or two ago!), and the Karamu Coffee folks. To bring you a micro-brewery (some parts yet to arrive and craft brewing to get under way soon after that), a coffee roastery (Karamu is currently in an industrial part of Seatoun), and quality eats (they’ve pinched two chefs with significant Wellington experience at places like Shed 5, Pravda, Shepherd and Ancestral).

The long-term vision is to have all their own beers on tap, both the coffee and beer matching the food, and some interesting amalgamations like barrel aged coffee. Ambitious.

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So the venture has just begun, and will develop more over the next three months. But my first visit today left me pretty impressed with the effort that’s gone into it so far. From the main decor down to the cutlery containers on the tables, the quality of the food, and the service.

We sampled the Choice Bros ‘Strung out on Lasers’ raspberry and lime sour (a little sweet and sour and quite quaffable), the coffee (well-made with subtle flavours), and the Bach Brewing ‘Duskrider’ Red IPA (reasonably hoppy). I particularly liked that one could get a 150ml tasting size ($4-$5), and try several if so inclined, and that the whole venue is smoke-free.

And although it was 1pm, the breakfast menu was still offered as well as the lunch, so I enjoyed the fried Jamaican Ginger cake with vanilla mascarpone and poached rhubarb, and the chip fiend enjoyed the house crumpets with bourbon butter and Husk preserves.

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You’ll see above that the presentation was very good, and the flavours and textures were well balanced and done with a light hand (no drowning of anything here). They also bake in-house, so easy to pop by for a coffee and scone.

Definitely a place to watch with interest.

7am to late, 7 days.

62 Ghuznee Street

 

 

 

 

 

The Garage Project Taproom

Just when we thought the Garage Project had it all covered, they’ve added a Taproom in Aro Valley. Small, cute, and quintessentially Aro, it’s definitely worth a visit.

The staff are very helpful and happy to talk you through all the different tipples (all GP of course), and even gave me a demo of how their new cask pull pourer works (check out the sprinkler head action below). It didn’t hurt that the sample I then had to drink was one of my favourites – a milk cereal stout made with cornflakes and additional milk proteins for that creamy finish.

The beers on tap are all helpfully displayed on the wall in sample bulbs so you can see what your tipple will look like, and the cans are displayed with their grains or hops above.

I tried a few, and being a warm sunny afternoon settled on the Bossa Nova five-fruits tropical brew, lightly fermented (so it must be a health food right?). The strongest fruit note to me was passionfruit, and it was easy drinking – a good session beer, if I could ever manage more than one!

Some of the more unusual beers currently are the Wiggly Stick (a trial of unique Australian hops), and the Cabbages and Kings oyster stout (120 oysters in each brew, with an oyster in the glass if you fancy), alongside favourites like Cherry Bomb, Angry Peaches, Aro Noir and Nerissimo.

The food is by Ti Kouka and the Leeds Street Bakery and the meats are from Ontrays at Petone, so all quality products.

We indulged in the Aro Noir braised beef brisket with BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar and pickled cabbage (tender and delicious in crispy bread wedges), while eyeing up the turducken with bacon and swiss cheese for next time.

The smoked potato chips weren’t available this time (something about the cooking process not meeting their standards just at the minute) so we indulged in the two cold cuts platter which included lamb prosciutto (unusual), chicken liver pate topped with Death From Above sweet jelly (moorish), and the Chicharron pork scratchings with bacon salt (yep both porky and bacony).

Hard not to enjoy a Sunday afternoon outing here.

Tuesday to Sunday (3pm weekdays, noon weekends) to 10pm.

91 Aro Street.

Taproom try some new

 

 

 

 

Goldings craft beer

Goldings is everything reported previously by Word on the Street.

The full name Goldings Free Dive is because they’re not affiliated to anyone in terms of product, and immediately put me in mind of New York and the local ‘dive’ bars over there my friend so loves.

Goldings decor

Hidden away down Leeds Street (between Dixon and Ghuznee through the Hannahs Apartment complex), Goldings is another successful launch into the Wellington craft beer scene.

There are lots of quirky decorations to keep one amused while watching the names being updated on the beer board as the taps change over (rubber duckies, coloured buckets for lights, an old cellphone taped up the wall by an exit sign…..), food is by Pizza Pomodoro (how can you go wrong with that?),and the service friendly and welcoming.

Goldings pizza

A variety of beers and wines were imbibed over a very pleasant catchup with both old and new friends. The Tuatara beers were probably reasonably well known, but the Liberty Citra was something different and interesting (considered a bit fruity for one bloke in the group, who shall remain nameless but has been seen in possession of a girly-looking cocktail a time or two in the past…), and we didn’t quite get to the Liberty Sauvignon Bomb.  Maybe next time.

Go check it out.

14 Leeds Street, Wellington

Rogue and Vagabond, more craft beer…

The bar on Garrett Street alongside Glover park (between Garrett and Ghuznee) has morphed again into the craft beer bar Rogue and Vagabond.

Rogue Vagabond decor

There’s a distinct rock’n’roll theme in the music, dress of the staff, and tap beer handles (records) here now. Along with some interesting art and a good selection of craft beers, both on tap and bottled.

All of which goes down quite nicely of an evening with the doors opened out to the park and a thin crust pizza on the way (pizza or toasties) to accompany a delicious beer (yay, they have real oatmeal stout!).

Rogue and Vagabond have live local music weekend evenings, and the most interestingly decorated toilet doors I’ve seen in a good long while (points if you can find the toilet entryway from the bar).

Rogue Vagabond pizza

The pizzas are interestingly named ‘Never mind the bollocks’, ‘A message to you Rudi’, etc, and good value at $15 – $20ish.

A really pleasant place to hang out and try another liquid creation from those who have the time and talent to create for the rest of us.

18 Garrett Street

Rogue Vagabond bar

 

Bebemos South American

On an unexpectedly free evening, we decided to tootle along to Bebemos at Newtown.

BebemosI had heard of this new South American Bar in connection with Little Beer Quarter (an owner in common I believe), and a bit of googling suggested an interesting range of craft beers, a few Argentinian wines, and a mix of South American foods (primarily Brazilian).

He had a couple of different tap craft beers, and I chose the one apple and elderflower cider they turned out not to have currently, so reverted to a simple ginger beer (having had a three-course wine matched lunch earlier in the day already!).

The tapas to share as a starter turned out to be more generous than expected (and tasty), so we were clearly not going to make it all the way through the menu this time (doh – the dulce de leche ice cream sundae will have to await another occasion).

The tapas shared were pao de queijo Bebemos tapas(baked Brazilian cheese puffs served with acai relish) and crispy Brazilian rice bolinhos with parmesan & chili mayo.

To follow was the Gaucho burger (beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato and chimichurri) served with rosemary and garlic fries for him, and steak and cheese empanadas for her.

I particularly liked that the empanadas were hand made and irregular, with a delicious pastry both firm and melt-in-the-mouth tender (not chewy). Nice.

Bebemos wallThe decor is welcoming, with both indoor and courtyard dining.  Staff were friendly and welcoming, although there was a tiny feel of still being new and not having hit a rhythm yet.

I will definitely pop into Bebemos for a beer and tapa again if in the neighbourhood.

Corner of Riddiford and Hall Streets, Newtown (at the first intersection just past the public hospital).

Hashigo Zake, pie and a pint…

As you do when catching up with friends, an excursion to the downstairs delights of Hashigo Zake on lower Taranaki Street was in order.  A well established Wellington institution for those serious about (originally) whiskey and sake, and (over time) craft beers.

Hashigo Zake sign

The beer menu is extensive and took a good 15 minutes to browse through before deciding, with interesting artistic cards throughout the menu folder (check out the list here on their website).

I ended up choosing a Rogue chocolate stout (nearly the Rogue double chocolate stout, but that was even bigger with even greater alcohol content and I couldn’t see me getting home in a sensible condition on that one!), which poured with a thick creamy head as promised, and went rather well with the gyoza pork dumplings to start and Moroccan veggie pie to follow.  And came with its own branded glass. Very piratey and funky.

Their pies are seriously good, light of crust, deep of  delicious fillings (boston pork, beef rendang, rustic salmon, pork and chorizo, vege chilli or Moroccan veggie), and worth a revisit for them alone.

Hashigo Zake pie

Of course the company is important, and a fine time was had by all without the late night lag the next day.

Highly recommended (although be early to get a space or be prepared to loiter around at leaners until a space becomes available).

Open 7 days from noon.

25 Taranaki Street

Hashigo Zake map

 

 

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