Brewer’s come backKieran Haslett-Moore
Two years ago I had stood sadly watching the final brew at Mac’s Shed 22 Brewery. Lion Breweries had made an ill fated decision to move production to Christchurch leaving Wellington as a hotbed of craft beer consumption and appreciation, but lacking any craft breweries within the city limits.
The intervening two years have seen the capital’s craft beer market expand while the rest of the economy has contracted. More and more dedicated craft beer bars have opened and restaurants have started to treat their beer lists with the same attention and respect that they do their wine lists.
Over the past year three different brewing operations have been planned, The Fork and Brewer in Bond Street, Parrot Dog in Vivian and The Garage Project in Aro Valley. Setting up a brewery is a massive logistical and bureaucratic feat and each project has had its setbacks. Many in the beer world have been making bets as to who would cross the finish line first and put the first brew down.
Well the bookies paid out when The Garage Project brewed their first large batch of beer in the old Aro Street service station.
They brewed Trip Hop, a hoppy pale ale which up until now has been brewed under contract at Christchurch’s Three Boys Brewery. Now that the The Garage Project has a shiny American made 1200L brewery there will be all sorts of exciting beers coming from the valley. There is already a row of former bourbon barrels sitting waiting to be filled with beer! Ultimately The Garage Project will have a cellar door where the public can taste and buy take away beer however that part of the operation is still to come.
If finally achieving their goal wasn’t enough The Garage Project have also been buoyed by the news that their collaboration brew with Norwegian craft brewer Nogne took out a gold medal and trophy at the Australian International Beer Awards. Rotorua’s Croucher Brewing Co also took out a gold medal and trophy for their fantastic Pilsner. A great result for New Zealand craft brewing.