Recently I ventured out to meet Oliver Smith and Dale Gould, who have been hard at work since April this year building something special and something for the future.
The Beer Engine, the name of their brewery and taphouse, is nearing completion in a humble and cosy setting at the Titahi Bay shops on Whitehouse Road.
With the closure of Tinker Tailor in Plimmerton in 2020, and the current hiatus status of Ranger Beers from Porirua, the area is prime real estate for such a place to bless the local community with.
“We’ve been told it used to be a tattoo parlour, a butcher shop, a fishmongers and a green grocer – every time someone walks past, it feels like they tell us about another place it used to be” explained Gould.
Gould has brewed commercially in Australia and New Zealand for over a decade, while Smith has been in and around the beer scene for a similar time. Both have been wanting to open a place to call their own for a while, and after a couple of setbacks along the way, they stumbled on to this spot. Once open, it’ll be a very economical use of space!
“There’s a misconception that when you go to a brewery, there’s lots to see – when in truth most of the fun stuff is done before sunrise. We’re seeking to create a space that’s more interactive and more theatrical than any other brewery you have ever seen.”
Intrigued by this, Smith then set out to tell me more about the theme of The Beer Engine.
“We have a pretty rad sci-fi theme that we have been working on and will be revealing at Beervana!”
As well as keeping it quirky and cool, the lads have a keen eye on sustainability.
“Both Dale and I are sustainably-focussed, and we wanted to bring that to our brew space. We’ve sought to use recycled products as much as we can within the brewery – especially in the sci-fi decor. Recycled polystyrene, disassembled gauges, vacuum cleaner hoses, power pylon insulators and so much more stuff!”
What impressed me the most is the brewery floor is built from recycled soft plastic posts, and they’ve sourced some vintage and second-hand stuff online.
Operationally, The Beer Engine is a contract brewer. Offering a production and maker space for breweries who don’t have a place to call their own, as well as an intimate taproom that will be showcasing the beers brewed here as if they were their own. Think of it as a gap-filler that’s a step above The Occasional Brewer and brewing at home. It’s a chance where you could brew that recipe you’ve been tinkering on for a while.
“Similarly, it allows breweries, such as our anchor client Juicehead, to produce more experimental and festival beers without the financial risk of an enormous yield.”
Make sure you say hello to The Beer Engine team at Beervana. This will be your first chance to taste what they have been up to.
After you’ve told all your friends about their set up at Beervana, make sure you keep an eye on their social media for when The Beer Engine doors will open.