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Land Of Hop And Glory As Craft Beer Enters A New Dimension At Pioneering Ponsonby Bar

The Brewers Room bar manager Charlie Clayton serves up one of the bar’s great Kiwi craft beers

Ponsonby’s craft beer scene is about to enter a whole new dimension – with the opening of a ground-breaking bar featuring the biggest selection of Kiwi-made craft beers in the area.

The Brewers Room opens in mid-July in Ponsonby Central and will bring with it some 24 taps pouring fresh New Zealand brewed craft beers from breweries such as Epic, Garage Project, Behemoth, Liberty, Sawmill, Double Vision, McLeod’s, and HeyDay.

The Brewers Room is the creation of long-standing Auckland hospitality operator Rolly Doyle who has established and run such well-known entities as The Brewer’s Co-operative and The Bluestone Room in the CBD.

“There are a smattering of bars in Ponsonby which stock the occasional token Kiwi craft beer on their beverage list, but none which are totally devoted to pouring the extensive range of fresh craft beers on tap which The Brewers Room will have,” said Rolly Doyle.

“Our commitment to ‘Kiwi-made’ has become even more important as we enter the new mindset of ‘buy local’ as a result of Covid-19 where we have all been encouraged to buy New Zealand products made by New Zealand-owned companies. And things don’t come much more Kiwi than our own craft beers.

“The emphasis will be on pouring fresh craft beer. There will also be a constantly changing range of beers. For example, our sister venue The Brewer’s Co-operative has poured 1000 different varieties of beer over the past four years…. and we’re confident The Brewers Room will exceed that tally in an even shorter time frame.

“What that all means is that The Brewers Room may be one of the few privileged bars in Auckland to receive a keg of an experimental or limited release beer. But our allocation may be limited to one or two kegs… so when that beer is gone, that’s it.

“That’s the attraction of a craft beer bar. The tap selection is constantly changing on an almost weekly basis… and as a result the beer is always fresh. It’s like Forrest Gump said in the movie… ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ in that you are always presented with a surprise when you come in for a pint.

“We could be called ‘Ponsonby’s candy shop for beer’ where everyone from craft beer novices through to hard-core hop heads come in and look at the selection board to see what’s on offer.”

With no allegiance to any of New Zealand’s ‘big commercial breweries’, The Brewers Room is what is known in the hospitality industry as a ‘freehouse’.

“A ‘freehouse’ is a pub or bar devoid of any commitment to the corporate brands of New Zealand- labelled beer brands which are now owned by foreign breweries. Again, it’s all about buying local and supporting New Zealand companies,” said Rolly Doyle.

Packed with flavours and tastes created by generous use of malts and hops, modern New Zealand craft beers such as those being served at The Brewers Room are typically higher in alcohol levels than the bland mass-produced mainstream lagers which have prevailed in New Zealand’s hospitality scene for a generation.

“As part of the whole craft beer experience, The Brewers Room will be serving beers in tasting paddles – a row of small glasses which will allow customers the chance to sample taste five individual different pours. That way they can trial a variety of brands they may be unsure of – if they like a particular pour, they can then go on and buy a pint, if not, then they haven’t wasted their time and money on buying an full serving,” said Rolly Doyle.

Dining at The Brewers Room will be very much along the lines of a ‘Kiwi fish and chip menu with a difference’– with the venue partnering up with leading Kiwi sauce-maker Culley’s to flavour a range of slow-smoked or bbq meats, and a selection of chips and fries to soak up the accompanying ales, along with the New Zealand’s classic fare of fish and chips served in newsprint paper… all of which have helped make sister venue The Brewer’s Co-operative a legendary hospitality location.

The Brewers Room’s decor features tiled and wood-panelled walls, a rustic tin ceiling, classic Kiwiana and beer-themed artworks and memorabilia, and substantial cedar bi-fold doors opening up onto one of Ponsonby Central’s internal alley ways. With plenty of leather booth seating around the perimeter and bar leaners and stools on the main bar floor area, The Brewers Room’s fi-out is designed to create a convivial and warm drinking and dining environment.

“Craft beer is all about the art of good conversation, and we wanted to create an ambience at The Brewers Room which wholeheartedly engendered that social interaction. So there’s no pokie machines and no dance floor. It’s all about the pints, the food, and the banter.”

In further support of New Zealand’s craft brewing industry, The Brewers Room is already signed up to participate in Auckland Brewers Week next month – hosting a scintillating Culley’s sauces meets Epic Brewing food and beer matching night on August 4 to challenge the taste buds.

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