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While Auckland might not quite have the craft beer scene that Wellington does (though I imagine they’d like to make an argument about it as the two cities often do), that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great craft beer bars & breweries. Since I arrived in Auckland on New Year’s Eve, a lot of the bars were closed while I was there, but I was still able to visit a few. Here are some of my favorite places to drink craft beer in Auckland.
The best craft beer bars in Auckland, New Zealand
16 Tun became my second home on my last couple of nights drinking craft beer in Auckland. This was partially because most of the other beer bars were closed, but it was still a great beer bar beyond that. Located on the waterfront in the trendy Wynyard Quarter just northwest of downtown, 16 Tun is a free house with a huge selection of beer. Don’t let the modern hipster building fool you, this isn’t a pretentious spot. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. There is live music as well, but when I was there it was non-intrusive acoustic, which was just fine.
With 20 taps, plus another 120+ bottles, you’ll find something interesting here. You can do flights of their draft beers, or splurge and go with a hard to find bottle. I did both during my visits. They had an especially nice collection of 8 Wired beers.
The food is also excellent. I enjoyed the kumara fries, which were like sweet potato fries, as well as the horopito chicken morsels.
Lumsden Free House
Lumsden Free House is southeast of the Auckland CBD, not far from the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The bar features late hours until 3am, which lets you work your way through their 15 taps. Their outside patio looks like a lovely place to spend a warm day drinking beer.
Brew On Quay
Brew On Quay is also near the waterfront. They have a large outside patio, along with a selection of over 100 beers.
The Brewers Co-Operative
The Brewers Co-Operative has only been open for a short time, and it was closed for the New Year when I visited, but based on their Facebook page it looks terrific. They hosted a Fresh Hop Festival with some of the other bars on this list, so they seem like good people.
I was disappointed to not be able to make it into Vulture’s Lane, since it was the beer bar closest to my hotel, but schedules didn’t align. It looks like a great hole-in-the-wall bar, featuring 22 rotating taps plus 75 bottles.
The best breweries in Auckland, New Zealand
I spent New Year’s Eve at Brothers Beer in central Auckland, not far from the Skytower. As I wrote in my post about the night, it was the perfect spot to watch the fireworks at midnight. Not only was it great for New Year’s, it was a great craft beer bar period. The bar has 18 taps plus about 200 bottles of beer from around the world. They brew their own beer, but they’re also not afraid to have other great beer from around New Zealand as well.
Their homemade pizza was also excellent. I recommend the carnivore, which was aptly named.
At first glance from afar, the place looks like it’s in a strip mall, but it’s actually a cool little area called the City Works Depot that showcases small businesses doing quality, creative work. There’s a food truck garage in the same parking lot as well as some other small shops, making it more like the railway archways of Bermondsey in London rather than the strip mall I initially thought it was.
Inside & out, Brothers Beer is a cool spot, with the inside including their brewery area, lots of tables, plus a vintage living room vibe with comfortable chairs. It’s friendly both to families and beer geeks alike. I was only able to visit once because they were closed for a couple of days, but I could have easily spent several nights working my way through their beer selection.
Additionally, Brothers Beer now has a larger main production brewery in Mt. Eden, along with an 18 tap barrel room in Orakei Bay Village.
Hallertau Brewery & Liberty Brewing Co.
The Auckland area is home to several breweries, but there were two in particular that stood out during my time in New Zealand, Hallertau & Liberty. While I wasn’t able to visit either one, I had their beers in several bars around the country. C!tra by Liberty was one of my favorite beers of the trip.
Epic Brewing Company
While Epic doesn’t have a public taproom, you can find their beers all around Auckland, and they’re also one of the few New Zealand craft breweries that exports elsewhere on a regular basis.
Galbraith’s Alehouse is south of the Auckland CBD. In addition to their own beer, they also have 5 rotating guest taps, as well as over 100 bottles to choose from.
Do you love craft beer? Check out more of my recommendations for the best craft beer around the world!
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Last updated on December 26, 2019