Top 6 Beer Towns in New Zealand

Luke Nicholas

Luke Nicholas is a New Zealand based beer expert. Creator of the website RealBeer, previously head brewer of the Cock & Bull's beers, owner of Epic Brewing Company and Epic Pale Ale, international beer judge, industry commentator, founding president of SOBA, and vice president of the Brewers Guild of New Zealand.

I have done this poll a number of times over the years and thought this would be a good opportunity to expand on just the city name. Here are the some of the best beer outlets that make these towns the best.

1. Wellington - what a great selection of beers all within walking distance. The Malthouse with its massive selection of bottled beers and tap beers. Also doing a great selections of craft beer are Bar Edward, D4 (new), Matterhorn, the list goes on, (actually I can't think of all the others right now) There is the bottle shop Regional Wines & Spirits with the largest selection of craft and imported beers in the country, including an ever changing selection of the best craft beer on Fill Your Own flagon. And Wellingtons only brewery (Lion Brown / Wellington Brewing / Shed 22 / Mac's Brewery, what every it's name is today) Mac's Brewery always with something new and innovative on tap. Special mention to Tuatara Brewery ,which is really a Wellington beer brand at heart but is based up the road in Waikanae, but is found all over Wellington and is great beer.

2. Auckland - three good brewpubs Galbraith's Alehouse, Hallertau & the Shakespeare Tavern. A number of beer themed pub chains Belgian Beer Cafe, Cock & Bull, Speight's Alehouse, Mac's BrewBars, and the Monteith's bars. Plus a number of independent bars slowly pushing the craft beer barrow, such as Suite. And home of Epic Brewing Company, with its award winning Epic Pale Ale

3. Christchurch - a couple of great brewpubs Dux de Lux (best beer garden in NZ), The Twisted Hop, also just out of Christchurch is Brew Moon. Also in town Three Boys, Wigram, and Harringtons. Some good beer bars include Zymergy, Pomeroy's and Cook n with Gas.

4. Hamilton - as much as the locals complain about not having enough in the way of good beer, they do have Hamilton Wine Company, a Belgian Beer Cafe and a Cock & Bull. Plus the secret Ruakura Campus Club, with great beers on tap at club prices.

5. Nelson - the hop growing region of New Zealand has a growing number of small breweries, Founders, Lighthouse, Tasman, Bays, Townsend and special mention to The Mussel Inn, not quite Nelson but worth the effort. The greatest thing about the Nelson region are the guys that run Dead Good Beer Events and regularly put on beer festivals.

6. Dunedin - well I needed a number six and the rest of New Zealand is a bit lean apart from one offs in towns with a brewery. Dunedin does have the old Speight's brewery which offers a great tour into a historical New Zealand brewery. And there is the Emerson Brewery as well. Eureka Cafe also offers a selection of craft beer.

What is your favourite New Zealand beer town?

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  • Dan says
    Hokitika, wildfood festival - this beach lit up with fires hands down

  • Sam Wiser says
    When i went to whangamata last, i could have sworn i didn't see Pinky's there anymore.

    could. not. believe. it.

    my favourite karaoke bar
  • Although not beer (cider actually), the Filter Room in Hawke's Bay is a sweet little place. I try to go there every time I'm down in the bay (usually once a year for the Kelt Capital Races!)
  • Simon says
    another vote for the malthouse, grand cru and ugly bread ftw
  • Ian Ashley says
    Can't say I've ever been to Galbraiths. The beer's good in the Belgium Beer Cafe's but the rest of the service is pretty poor.
  • Johnny B says
    Good to see Auckland in 2nd place at least! Took a bit of a tour recently of the citys pubs, overall was impressed. Hallertau will always have a special place in my stomach though!
  • Sam says
    Unfortunately Pinkys of Whangamata is no longer...... Neither is the Whangamata Hotel - flattened! You're now restricted to the Palms or Bucks for dodgy sports bars, or get someone to smuggle you into the boat club for a pint. At least the view is great there.
    I meant the ocean view, Whangamata appears to have banned attractive women from its town boundaries.

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