There’s big changes on the horizon for Wellington’s Mean Doses brewery and taproom.

From June 1, Mean Doses fillery will revert to being a home brew shop, with The Brew House moving from Newtown to Tory Street.

“The Mean Doses shop used to be a brew shop. And as the prophecy has commanded, it shall rise again as a brew shop – specifically as The Brew House, which is currently in Newtown, run by Cory,” the brewery posted on Facebook.
“Yes that’s right – the Mean Doses fillery will, as of 1 June, become The Brew House. But out back it will still be same old Mean Doses making that yummy beer you just can’t resist.”

Before the change was announced, Pursuit of Hoppiness contributor Neil McInnes visited Dean Moses to get some background on the cleverly named Mean Doses.

Located in upper Tory Street in Wellington’s CBD, Mean Doses has been selling beer in and around Wellington for over four years and can regularly be found on tap and in cans in the capital’s trendiest craft beer venues.

In the current Covid climate, Moses said the past two years have been ‘’very challenging”, especially as Mean Doses had focused on keg distribution as their primary channel to market. But they’ve recently moved into cans with the mobile canning service Crafty Canners and, as a result, Moses is more focused on brew scheduling and forward planning.

Filling riggers remains a core part of the business and Moses still does local deliveries in the van. Dean and his wife, Kerry, have also refocused the online shop on the Mean Doses website and it is now adding more value to the enterprise. They are also not too far from opening their own taproom above Mabel’s Burmese restaurant on the corner of Tory Street and Holland Street. This off-Courtenay Place bar is a bit of a gamble in the current Covid climate but Moses is optimistic that people will soon be keen to get out and about.

Asked what’s resonating with his punters — are we still in the middle of the haze craze? — Moses said “yes, Hazy IPA is still where it’s at”, but the trend seems to be moving away from the extreme, full-bodied, fruity and high-alcohol versions of the style, to the more accessible lighter style of hazy. A case in point being his recent hazy IPA, Galaga, named after the 80s arcade game. While strong at 7.5 per cent, it was light on the fruit. I had couple of them at Goldings Free Dive a few weeks back and enjoyed the noticeable hop dryness.

The desire for novelty remains strong though, and Moses says most punters coming into the Mean Doses rigger room  want to taste the “new thing”. Moses is a bit of a sucker for this too; from a home brewing background he wants to make new and interesting brews. Their Miami Wine Cooler is a case in point – a fruity, grape juice lager ferment with fresh citrus.

Moses likes making saison and wheat beers, but admits they are not always marketable. He’s currently selling his Banana Boss Hefeweizen, a 5.7 per cent refreshing German wheat beer that tastes of bananas and clove. Noting wheat beers aren’t always a money maker, he was pleased to see that Emerson’s recently re-released their cloudy German Weissbier. He also mentioned Hefe Metal from Badass Brewing, but I suspect that was only out of pun envy.

While novelty may get the punters’ dopamine surging, Moses has noticed a strong desire from customers to buy beers they know and want to drink again. That then is a key element for the viability of craft brewing, as repeat custom is the cornerstone of commercial success. For his part of the deal, Moses has that brewer’s drive for perfection — to continually make one or two brews better each time they’re made.

Craft brewing is a hard ask in today’s uncertain hospitality market. Mean Doses held it together during the Covid storm and is now looking to progress to the next stage.