I don’t travel as much on business as I used to, and so rarely get to visit new or exciting places.  But I found myself in Invercargill recently. Famous for being close to Bluff and of course where the pop-culture classic Goodbye Pork Pie finished (there’s even a Pork Pie Lane). Oh, and of course, home to Bert Munroe. 

Invercargill is undergoing something of a renaissance with what seemed like a lot of new fancy multi-storey buildings and a rather posh hotel — a full 4-½ stars.

So it was with a lot of joy that the trip organiser had arranged a whole evening of food and beer at The Taproom Eatery & Craft Bar — aka the home of 4 Mates Brewing.

The taproom beer list was mostly 4 Mates brewing, but when we visited there beers from Garage Project, Boneface, and Fortune Favours as well. It really is a very pleasing and pleasant venue with ample space and lovely acoustics so that you’re not drowned in conversational shouting.

The trip organisers had talked up my being there, because it seems they think I’m a celebrity, where I think I am more a guy with an Instagram page that’s just pictures of beer. But what this meant was that with the brewer Scott Whitaker, and his partners, and I did get a short but exclusive peek at the brewery during the evening.

4 Mates
Scott Whitaker of 4 Mates

And the brewery is nano-finery! I’m not an expert and I might not have been listening correctly but it seemed a lot larger than 600 litres capacity, well-organised clean and functional. It seemed the ideal size for the current situation.

Whilst I didn’t get to try the Elusive Moose Hazy IPA (it wasn’t quite ready to pour), I did get to try some of their beers that were on tap, notably: Stroppy Haze (Hazy Pale 3.7%), Hoppy Ending (Pale Ale 4.5%) and Stroke of Genius  (IPA 6.3%)

The Stroppy Hazy was particularly memorable as a hop-bomb of a low ABV beer, really good beer that I really was blown away by with just how much hoppiness they’d brought to the glass. It really should be available to a wider audience.

Being community aware they’ve made local beer (I mentioned the Elusive Moose) and they recently made a beer called In Loving Memory that donated significantly to the local hospice with each sale.

4 Mates use local festivals to showcase their beers to a wider audience and do have the odd keg in other bars locally and in Queenstown.

4 Mates has come a long way from being what Scott describes as a hobby started during Covid, with what I thought were some properly crafted and well put together beers, with a great venue, lovely food that is well presented and tasty. And if that isn’t enough — and if the craft beer isn’t your thing — they’ve got more than a few good gins behind the bar.

It’s well worth visit if you ever find yourself in that part of the world.