The Auckland Beer Mile is fast becoming a reference point for craft beer lovers to explore what’s been brewing in the Supercity and beyond. Here’s what you need to know.
The Auckland Beer Mile is a 3.2km-stretch from Mt Eden to Morningside, featuring some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best craft beer makers and pourers: Brothers Brewery, Galbraith’s Alehouse, The Fridge & Flagon, Churly’s, Garage Project and Urbanaut taprooms, and 605 Morningside Drinkery.
The brainchild of Luke White and Matt Eats, who head up Beer Jerk, the online craft beer shop and subscription service, and Small Gods brewing, the Mile’s been a “thing” since mid-2019: a destination where tourists can soak up Auckland’s craft beer culture and locals can meet their mates for some wholesome bar-hopping. It is not advised to tick off the whole thing in a day. That is not to say it is not possible.
The Mile’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are updated regularly with details of individual venues’ events and promotions, as well as collaborations such as The Big Beer Mile Day Out, scheduled for February 5 from 12-8pm.
Kids and pups are welcome at Brothers Brewery in Mt Eden; once home to a leatherworking factory, the premises these days produce most of the brand’s beer. There’s plenty of space in and outdoors for larger groups to enjoy whatever’s pouring from the 12 taps, and there’s a decent range of low-and-no booze beverages if any of your party is that way inclined. Juke Joint BBQ, a feature of every Brothers’ site, offers Southern US-style slow-and-low roasted meat and veggie options, and there’s a kids’ menu with puzzles and colouring in.
The greatest real ales outside the UK await you up the road Galbraith’s Alehouse, Auckland’s answer to an English pub. Make the most of the summer weather in the revamped beer garden where bees buzz beneath colourful umbrellas and thoughts of the concrete jungle beyond fizzle into insignificance. There’s always cask ale on tap with seasonal IPAs, often of an English-leaning. But these days you’ll also find a hazy and there’s a great range of guest taps too. Start with a signature Hudson’s Golden Ale; stay for the Sunday roast.
Beer geek hangout
The Fridge & Flagon is Beer Jerk’s warehouse bar, harbouring more than 300 pre-packaged brews and 12 taps of fresh stuff you might not find anywhere else. Naturally, these include the Beer Jerk helmsmen’s own creations. Often collaborating with other brewers, Small Gods resurrects age-old styles for the modern drinker, doing things the hard way by using actual ingredients found in the tasting notes and, in the case of their Satan trilogy, dipping the cans in hot wax. These beers are definite conversation starters.
Dominion Road oasis
It’s rather a long time between drinks from The Fridge & Flagon to Churly’s Brew Pub, the spiritual home of Behemoth Beer. The walk is the longest on the “mile” at just over a kilometre. Your tasting paddle, which you’ll need after that walk, is bound to contain a hazy — they account for about 40 per cent of Behemoth’s range — and probably a sour, but the tap list offers plenty of opportunities to mix things up and expansive bar seating gives you the chance to get to know your bartender or neighbour. Churly’s’ menu is something special, featuring charcuterie products from the on-site nose-to-tail butchery.
Cellar door experience
Garage Project’s Kingsland taproom showcases a revolving cast of brews fresh from the capital — both their OG Aro Valley premises as well as whatever their Marion St Wild Workshop’s dreamed up lately. It’s an off-licence, offering tasters rather than pints, served at leaners by bar staff who provide thorough back-stories for each. If you’re in a rush, there are plenty of takeaway options. Garage Project fangirls and boys will revel in the abundance of colourful merch.
New kid on the block
Urbanaut’s taproom has expanded into a breezy bar serving burgers, opening to the public when the traffic light system kicked in late last year. In five years of operation, the Morningside brewery has made a name for itself with innovative special releases (the weirdest when we called in was a hokey pokey hazy), and cool cans — 250ml minis brimming with big ABV beers, and the double-ended beer blenders. Their halloumi fries will probably develop a cult following soon enough, too — battered in Urbanaut’s Kingsland Pilsner, they are a must-order side.
Around the corner, 605 Morningside Drinkery is a welcoming spot to wind up (or begin) your Beer Mile journey. Owned by Six60 bass guitarist Chris Mac and his wife Mel, the bar hosts live music and stays open late. Taps celebrate Aotearoa’s best craft beer and the menu is short and sweet: world-famous-in-NZ wings, hot chips, and complimentary popcorn. Hosting live music sets and open till late, 605 considers its punters part of the whānau.