Two quality beer venues have opened this year, joining the likes of Malthouse, Hashigo Zake, Bar Edward and D4 in showcasing the best of craft beer.
OPINION: They are valuable additions to the Wellington bar scene.
The Hop Garden opened just before the Sevens, in the old Greek Taverna building in Pirie St.
Run by James Henderson of Bar Edward fame, the Hop Garden combines quality craft beers, local and imported, with some of the best pub food in the country.
Half the venue is under a clear plastic roof, which gives the place an airy feel. It also lets in the sun on fine days, but it's even cooler watching the rain bounce off the roof.
The service is attentive and efficient, with former Malthouse stalwart Scott Boswell a star behind the bar.
There is an ever-changing selection of 11 tap beers, plenty of interesting bottles and a menu that just keeps improving.
Tuatara, Renaissance, Three Boys and Emerson's beers are usually available.
The food selection ranges from pub staples to gourmet meals.
Try the sardines for brunch, the salt and pepper squid as a snack or the braised goat tagine for dinner.
Following a soft opening just before Christmas, The Bruhaus in Willeston St has steadily built up its beer range and clientele.
They took over a site which had sat empty for several years after the failure of a Stanley Rd cafe.
The refit is nicely done with tables, leaners and booths in dark wood.
Ignore the Stella badge on the sign. The Bruhaus has a serious beer selection, with 25 taps and more than 100 bottled beers on their list. The only thing stopping them breaking the 150 mark is a lack of fridge space.
On the taps, Wellington favourites Tuatara, Three Boys, Yeastie Boys and Renaissance are prominent, and there are several draught British beers. The fridge contains several Belgian beers, some of which have been scarce for a while.
The food is uncomplicated pub grub with an emphasis on hearty breakfasts and $10 lunches.
My pick is the ploughman's lunch with a pint, but on most of my visits fish and chips has been popular.
I'm told they make decent coffee, but with two dozen beers on tap, I have not yet tested it.Real Beer, realbeer.co.nz.
- The Wellingtonian