Green coffee beans, breakfast beers and ten year beers in The Capital

Two days in and three craft beer bars visited meant the lion’s share was still ahead. Another eight hours at Adobe Creative Camp was a worthwhile obstacle and by 5pm I was more than ready for a beer.

Tonight’s plans included dinner at Brooke and I’s favourite restaurant, Zibibbo (a trip to Wellington is incomplete without a visit here) and that meant the obvious choice was Hashigo Zake. Hashigo Zake is located directly beneath Zibibbo on Taranaki St and describes itself as a cult beer bar. As well as stocking NZ craft beer on tap and by the bottle Hashigo Zake also import a huge range of international beers for the bar and their webstore. They are also avid supporters of their local craft beer scene and were the only place you could get hold of Garage Project‘s offerings for some time there.

Which brings me to my first beer of the day; Garage Project’s People’s Project No.2. To say this beer was different, would be an understatement and it’s probably pretty safe to say they are the first brewer to infuse a beer with green coffee beans (correct me if I’m wrong). Garage Project themselves describe it as a beer that would polarise punters. When I ordered mine, a staff member mentioned it would be a great beer to capture people’s reactions to. So with that in mind, that’s exactly what we did.

A disturbing look provoked by the first taste of Peoples Project no.2
My first taste of Garage Project People's Project No.2

As you can probably tell from the photo, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. People’s Project No.2 was definitely worth a try and I’m pretty happy to say that I got to try one of the Garage Project’s first 24 experimental beers, but I would have preferred having somebody there to halve it with.

I made my way through the People’s Project beer and then rushed back to the bar to squeeze in another before dinner. This time I honed in on another new kid on the beer making block, Raindogs Brewing Co. Hashigo Zake had their Apothecary Amber and it seemed a sufficient drop to get the taste of green coffee beans out of my mouth. With it sitting on the bar I marvelled at the head on it, my notes read “the head is so creamy and delicious you just wanna dive right in”, which makes me think of Scrooge McDuck, I wonder if they do that at Lion?

The remainder of this evening was spent consuming beverages of another persuasion, so we’ll move on to the fourth and final day in our nation’s capital.

With Creative Camp all done, it seemed appropriate to indulge in breakfast beers with our bacon and eggs on this day, so we had planned to go to the Belgian Beer Café. But as we traipsed the length of town we ran across D4 on Featherston, I recognised the name as having a selection of craft beer and on top of that, they had breakfast from $7.00! We made our way upstairs and were pretty pleased with what we saw on the menu, so we found ourselves a seat. I made my way to the bar to hum and hah over what my breakfast beer was going to be and the bartender generously offered a taste of Tuatara’s XI; one of the beers I was considering. It seemed a little too heavy to start my day so I settled on the Mike’s and Liberty collaboration TPA. The Taranaki Pale Ale matched my breakfast burrito quite well I thought.

Bill enjoying a West Coast Pale Ale under the hop vines at Hop Garden, Wgtn
West Coast Pale Ale at Hop Garden

A few shopping stops around town killed the time between breakfast and lunch and by 1pm we were more than ready to make our way to The Hop Garden for a couple of well earned beers. Still a bit full from our indulgent weekend, we decided on a few dishes from the small plates menu to share and I ordered a International Pale Ale by West Coast Brewing. Hop Garden is a great spot with awesome looking decor and vines growing over head, however I couldn’t imagine having to work the day shift there on a hot Summer’s day, it would be like a glass house. Lucky they have so many good craft beers to quench the thirst.

The first beer went down pretty quickly and I followed it up with another West Coast Brewing beer; the Amber Ale. Both were good beers, but before long the heat and beers were putting me to sleep so we thought we had better move on.

Bill picking beers from the fridge at Regional Wines and Spirits
Deciding on beers at Regional Wines and Spirits

The next appointment on our To-do list was one I was quite excited about. The next stop was Regional Wines and Spirits, I had heard many good things about the place and I was intent on getting my hands on Moa’s Ten Year Beer which I knew Regional Wines and Spirits had in stock. The range there was awesome, I found plenty of beers that were very hard or impossible to find in Auckland and spent a good half hour trying to decide which ones to take home with me without exceeding my baggage allowance.

We spent the rest of that afternoon sitting in Waitangi Park, absorbing sunshine, eating passionfruit sorbet (yum) and watching others do the same before we had to make our way to the airport.

We were lucky enough to get to the Mojo Café at the airport before they closed the bar and I finally got my hands on Tuatara’s new APA (lucky, because Cooked Strait in the middle of Wellington Airport has a pretty disappointing range). With the US hop shortage, Tuatara have had to change their recipe to brew the APA and have sourced hops locally for it. The last APA was a great drop and this one is no slouch either, so I didn’t hesitate to line another one up while we waited for departure.

So another three craft beer bars ticked off in two days, I’m sure with a concerted effort we would’ve made it through them all, but then what would we have to look forward to next time?

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