While living in the craft beer capital of New Zealand, I don’t have to go far to get a healthy beer experience.

From my place of work in Wellington, there’s Garage Project, Whistling Sisters, Choice Bros, Heyday, Fork & Brewer, Mean Doses, and Fortune Favours all less than a 10 minute walk.

That’s why when my wife and I get the chance to go away and try some beers elsewhere, we do!

Road trippin’ to Taranaki for the L.A.B. concert at the TSB Bowl Of Brooklands was a great excuse to get some local beers in us, straight from the source.

The weather turned on and the temperature turned up, and that made the experience of the weekend even better.

We rocked up to Shining Peak Brewery for a beer and were not disappointed.

Located on Gill Street, just around the block from the main street in New Plymouth is their wonderful brewpub.

The aesthetic inside is pleasing to the eye. It’s crisp, clean, and nice use of natural wood and colours with plenty of space to enjoy a beer.

My wife, fond of sours, tried the brand new Free Radical Blueberry, while I purchased The Twins, a double dry-hopped IPA.

While the sun shined through the windows, we cheersed, and took our time enjoying these brews while soaking up the warm atmosphere inside. The staff were friendly and accommodating which made the beers taste even better.

The Twins, which was placed third in the famous WCIPA challenge at Malthouse in 2020, was easy to drink. Sporting a gorgeous yellow colour, and a smooth finish. Tell ya what, the use of Nectaron hops (as well as Citra) in this went down a treat.

The Free Radical Blueberry made me pucker up my lips in a tarty delight, with a great deep red colour in the glass.

Shining Peak Blueberry Sour

Shiny Peak’s Free Radical Blueberry Sour. Photo: @___Dusty___ via Instagram

This had only been put on tap that day and is a great addition to their current line-up.

Once we were able to see the bottom of our glasses, we took a walk around the corner to Devon Street East to see the new incarnation of New Zealand’s longest running craft brewery: Mike’s.

I loved the look of this place, a big space with some great decor and a homely feel to it, I said g’day to the one and only Ron Trigg, and we ordered a Mike’s Taranaki Hefeweizen Cloudy and the Chrysanthemum Lager from ‘Naki locals Theoretical Brewery.

That initial taste of Mike’s THC beer was giving me some serious banana notes, and a slight spice on the tongue after every sip. This concoction was a real treat.

The Chrysanthemum Lager from Theoretical Brewery was just as a lager should be. It’s got the crisp, refreshing feel on lock, with a flight floral note. Beautiful.

Sadly on this trip, I didn’t get a chance to visit Ms White, or Three Sisters Brewery in the limited time we had there, but I was able to pick up a Rocky Point XPA from Coast Brew Co at the Oakura Four Square to have when I got back to Wellington, and it didn’t disappoint.

Very affordable 330ml bottle, it has a light tropical hint, with some stonefruit paving way to a well-rounded beer.

New Plymouth is a very good spot for the weekend, with food places like Monica’s, Gamma Rays, Deluxe Diner, and Public, you’ll be spoiled for food and drink wherever you go.

Now, next time I visit, I’ll make sure I get to try some more local goodness from the west coast.