The craft beer scene in Auckland is vibrant and growing rapidly; so much so that it’s become quite the reason to visit the inner city.
If you’re keen to learn more about craft beer in Auckland, this will fill you in on New Zealand’s brewing history and the best places in the City of Sails to enjoy a pint. Join Lee, a self-confessed craft-beer connoisseur, as she shares with you her favourite craft beer haunts.
Visiting Auckland is at the top of the list for many – even for New Zealanders. The city is the biggest in New Zealand with an incredible range of activities and places to explore. With activities for almost any taste, it is a diverse place to discover whatever you please.
Amazing craft beer included!
In recent years, Auckland really has become an awesome place to find a delicious drop, amazing atmosphere and bite to eat.
If you’ve spent a significant amount of time in New Zealand, you’ll know that Kiwi love beer.
Perhaps you have visited this post because you know exactly what you are looking for and that is, the best craft beers in Auckland. Or perhaps you have never heard of craft beer in Auckland and want to know about the scene.
Whatever reason you have ended up here, I am sure you will learn a thing or two about craft beer and discover something unique to do in Auckland.
Most importantly, you will also know exactly where to head for the best craft beer in Auckland!
Before learning about the best places to indulge it is important to understand the place of craft beer in New Zealand and why Auckland is now one of the leading places to brew and find craft beer in the country!
Craft Beer Auckland: The Ultimate Guide
What’s the Deal with New Zealanders and Beer?
Beer is a staple beverage in New Zealand with a special place in the hearts of many. No doubt many of you reading know this fact.
Having a beer is the perfect way to unwind and to refresh. Let’s face it, in New Zealand, there is almost no occasion where a beer is not welcome.
Family BBQs, social drinks, after-work refreshers, birthdays, funerals, even after a workout; almost any and every occasion, a beer is welcomed.
Beer has had its place in New Zealand for over 100 years.
From humble roots, beer was first introduced in 1835 in Russell (the old capital of NZ) and for years New Zealand was happy with a basic beer.
In 1980, craft beer was born here, and everything changed.
It is now a craft, much like coffee. There are many different types and many different ways to blend them. These different flavour profiles make beer tasting a much more exciting experience than it once was.
And good beer is everywhere in New Zealand now!
Where did the Term ‘Craft Beer’ Come From?
Born in Europe centuries ago, craft beer soon spread across the globe. Craft beer, which is sometimes known as microbrewing, is the act of brewing up a special potion that is not on a mass-produced scale. It has special elements, sometimes special ingredients and is very particular, pushing the boundary on flavour well beyond that of normal beer.
Simply put, it’s a beer that is not mainstream or ‘industrial’; instead, it could well be described as being ‘artisanal’.
The New Zealand craft beer scene has been booming since 2008. And now, our supermarkets and bars are stacked with these little beauties.
Instead of just your typical lager on tap, you can now find a mix of stouts, ales, porters, sours; whatever your taste buds fancy, it is likely you will find a craft beer for you.
The term craft beer is open to interpretation though and does seem to be evolving.
While the act of making craft beer has not changed, it is starting to be produced on a mass scale with large brewery companies buying out so-called craft beer brands. This doesn’t necessarily mean the flavours are worse, it means the beer is in demand!
The term ‘craft’ has certainly changed in recent years. Officially, craft beer, unless produced in a microbrewery, is actually just a unique beer.
With that said, any beer that isn’t considered “mainstream” is now often referred to as being ‘craft beer’, regardless of how it is now produced.
What’s Special about New Zealand’s Craft Beer?
New Zealand has a way of pushing boundaries and when it comes to beer, this is no different.
We are world leaders when it comes to producing top-quality craft beer. We now have approximately 200 craft beer brands in New Zealand. Some of these incredible breweries are pushing the limits, developing world-class beer for your taste buds to enjoy.
Craft beer in New Zealand is always changing and evolving. This means that you are likely to find something to suit your taste buds.
Most of the bars and pubs that we’re about to introduce you to will let you do a taster so you know what you’re getting yourself into. This is a great way to get a feel for what you like and to try some unique flavours without committing to a whole glass.
With so many amazing kiwi beers on offer, there is nothing better than hitting up a microbrewery or one of these award-winning top-quality Auckland bars.
Craft Beer Auckland: How it Came to Be
A little slower than the rest of the country with the uptake of craft beer, Auckland now has a booming craft beer scene with epic bars and pubs offering delicious drops. These microbrewed beers are often then paired them with random, unique and tasty food.
Some of the bars and pubs mentioned below focus solely on craft beer, whilst others (my favourites), pair their delicious craft beers with food. Many of them also offer drinks outside of the ‘craft beer’ realm, so you can easily take non-beer-drinking friends and family members along for the ride.
Now you understand a bit more about the craft beer scene in Auckland, there’s one great big question left unanswered… Where can you find the best craft beer in Auckland?
Fortunately for you, the City of Sails has just recently gone mad for craft beer and we’re here to direct you to the best bars and pubs around!
In no particular order, the following are 9 awesome craft beer Auckland bars you must try…
Craft Beer in Auckland: The 9 Best Bars and Pubs to Explore in Central Auckland!
1. Vultures Lane
Vultures Lane is the most down-to-earth place to grab a beer and a bite to eat in Auckland and as an added bonus, it’s not too far from the waterfront. There are lots of viaduct bars, but Vultures Lane is a little different. It has a really nice atmosphere with authentic pub chairs and an option to sit outside on the laneway itself.
There, you are bound to find a delicious drop to enjoy – they have 22 rotating taps and over 75 bottled beers in the fridge! The barmen are really knowledgeable so if you are unsure what you are looking for they will help you out.
If beer isn’t for you though, no worries. They have ciders on tap, as well as spirits and other beverages to choose from. So there really is something for everyone!
Assuming you are keen to dig into their craft beers, a tasting try is a great way to get to know the different types they have on offer, so that would be my first port of call at Vultures.
I definitely recommend this place to try some delicious craft beer. Auckland is also a foodies paradise and apart from their fantastic beer, what I loved most about Vultures Lane was the menu. They have some classic favourites on the menu, such as mac and cheese and potato skins, along with some more unique offerings. Something to satisfy every taste bud, from bevvies through to meals.
Auckland CBD is an awesome place to explore and Vultures Lane provided me with a good refresher after my op-shopping expedition. It’s centrally located and upon reflection, this was my favourite craft beer bar in Auckland.
Find them at 10 Vulcan Lane, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010.
2. Good George North Wharf
Good George North Wharf is a relatively new brewpub located in the Wynyard Quarter, which is also home to some of the best restaurants and bars. With over 22 taps to choose from, you will be in absolute craft beer heaven.
This expansive Auckland restaurant has a range of indoor and outdoor seating options with stunning views of its 8 large 500-litre beer tanks.
The beer tanks hold fresh, unpasteurised Good George beer and cider that has been piped in from their Hamilton brewery and delivered in a modified fire truck. How cool is that!
If staring longingly at beer tanks isn’t your thing, Good George also has a spectacular view of Auckland’s harbour and the North Wharf.
There are also plenty of TVs to watch the All Blacks smash the Aussies at the next Bledisloe Cup while you enjoy a tasty pint.
The friendly staff at Good George can help you find the perfect ale with a tasting rack of their expansive range of beers and ciders.
Their impressive menu also showcases a range of locally sourced produce. Come at me charcuterie board and fresh oysters!
If you’re after something a bit spesh, you could even give one of their Good George gin cocktails a crack.
Visit them at 1 Jellicoe Street, North Wharf, Auckland 1010.
3. 16 Tun
16 Tun is a popular choice along Auckland’s waterfront, thanks to its slick atmosphere and artisan food. It also happens to be one of my favourite craft beer bars in Auckland.
I’m not the only one that feels that way though; it is one of the most popular bars in Auckland to get quality craft beer.
16 Tun sources local craft beer from around the country and stocks over 80 different beers! They are a free house with ever-changing craft beers, so if you are visiting Auckland and think you have been there and done that with 16 Tun, you will be proved wrong. Next minute they might just have a completely different tasting array for you.
What I love most is that they work hard to pair their beers with delectable food. Who doesn’t love a beer and a bite to eat?
Additionally, the staff at 16 Tun are friendly and knowledgeable, and the entire atmosphere is open and relaxing.
It’s highly regarded with their punters for good reason.
Visit them at 10/26 Jellicoe Street, Auckland CBD.
Urbanaut is an awesome craft beer company providing some of the most unique, funky drops around. Their motto is “drink fresh, stay rad” and that pretty much sums up how you feel after enjoying one of their beers.
They’re open for tastings and takeaways and most importantly a dine-in experience where you can grab a seat on one of their comfy sofas or bar leaners and enjoy what they have on offer.
Or even better, I suggest you jump on a brewery tour and see behind the scenes!
Visit them at 597 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland 1021
5. Brothers Brewery and Juke Joint
Brothers Juke Joint comes highly recommended as an authentic place to enjoy a Brothers craft beer. It’s also one of the best places to try a beer tour in Auckland – and who doesn’t like free?
The whole place has a laid-back, retro feel, and their sunny courtyard is a great spot to enjoy one of their delicious drops.
If you need any more convincing, the locals, love Brothers Brewery!
This brand has been around for a while, originally in the city before expanding into the suburbs. They are known for serving awesome beer and delicious meat – amazing slow-cooked BBQ food, to be exact
If you feel like visiting an authentic Auckland brewery with good vibes and delicious food Brothers Juke Joint is for you!
Visit them at 5 Akiraho Street, Mount Eden… or one of their other venues:
Orākei Bay Village, 228 Orākei Road, Remuera
Shed 3D, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley Street West, Auckland CBD
120 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga
6. Brew on Quay
Located near the Spark Arena Brew on Quay is a popular option to enjoy a craft beer in Auckland (or five before) or after a gig. Sometimes, they’ll also provide entertainment in the form of live music.
Most importantly though, for our beer-loving friends, they stock an awesome selection of over 102 craft beers from around New Zealand and the world.
Get your craft beer fix in an earthy, modern environment supported by friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Visit them at 102 Quay Street, Auckland CBD.
7. 605 Morningside Drinkery
If you’re keen to enjoy a beer in a homely environment (without actually being at home) then 605 Morningside Drinkery is for you. Other than the amazing range of craft beer on offer, they also offer free popcorn! It’s like being in America.
An awesome location for a relaxed after-work beer, or a casual drink with friends, I recommend checking out 605 Morningside Drinkery.
Or, if you’re travelling in New Zealand, it’s a great place to get your homely fix whilst still on the road.
Visit them at 1021/605 New North Road, Kingsland.
The following two bars aren’t exclusively recognised as craft beer pubs, but I wanted to be sure to include a couple of great options to backpackers to let their hair down.
And yes, of course, you will still be able to find plenty of craft beer on offer – you wouldn’t expect anything else from this list.
A little different from the other bars and pubs on this list, Provedor is an Auckland institution. It appeals to travellers and locals who want to experience the nightlife in Auckland, make some friends and go out for a good time. And of course, they stock craft beer!
If you feel like letting your hair down, with a beer in hand, then Provedor is one of the best Auckland bars to do it.
If you’re really looking to blow off steam, then I recommend popping along on a Wednesday night when they hold student nights. It really is a dirty, sweaty ‘pop it like it’s hot’ kind of place. You can expect it to be packed and anything but classy, and there’s no need to wear fancy clothes; go as you are!
The beers are cheap and the dance floor is packed.
Cheap beer in Auckland? Yes, it’s possible!
Grab one here and enjoy a great inviting, non-judgemental crowd. It’s the place to go for a boogie if you don’t know anyone in the city as you will soon make friends!
We just can’t promise that you won’t feel a little sorry for yourself the next morning…
Visit them at 131 Quay Street, Auckland CBD.
9. The Lula Inn
The Lula Inn is a South Pacific eatery and drinkery and is one of the best bars in Auckland. It is located along the viaduct harbour, right by the water.
They stock some delectable craft beers (and more traditional beers), wine and gins too! If you’re keen for a drink and a boogie, Saturday nights are the best night to go and enjoy their live band that starts around 10 or 11 pm.
The dress code is nice and casual which is a relief on the Auckland scene, however, you can wear fancy clothes as well and you won’t feel out of place!
It’s a really nice place to enjoy a drink, some incredible food and a party scene.
Visit them at 149 Quay Street, Auckland CBD.
Always growing and pushing boundaries, the craft beer scene in Auckland is exciting and fresh.
Now that you’re armed with insight into the amazing array of craft beer available in Auckland City, you’ll be able to plan your own personalised tastings.