In the heart of Auckland city, more and more craft breweries are popping up and hopping up, many with adjoining bars or taprooms to taste, fill and go.

We take a look at four of the best to check out next time you’re in town.

Downtown gem

Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co is a revolution in brewing – an impressive 1000L on-site brewery in the heart of a bustling bar and eatery on the rooftop of a building with enviable views over downtown’s sparkling Viaduct marina. The menu spans pizza, snacks, shared plates and fresh seafood. They’ve got another nifty trick up their sleeve — two ten-pin bowling lanes tucked at the side of the dance floor. Beer and bowling — beauty! In charge of making sure this brewery pumps out only the best of brews is braumeister Alex Biedermann. German-born Alex excels in lagers and you’ll definitely want to try the Bier Fest Lager, one of the first brewed on-site. That said, there’s possibly nothing better than their crisp Bright Light German Pale Ale with a side of rooftop seafood feasting. 

Fringe benefits
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Beers at Dr Rudis

It’s a 10-minute train journey from downtown Auckland to the city fringe suburb of Kingsland, home of Urbanaut Brewing Co. This is the beer baby of three friends: Bruce Turner, Simon Watson and Thomas Rowe. Their collective decades of world travel and travail are reflected in the adventure-conjuring name Urbanaut and in their naming each beer for international suburbs with the same groove as Kingsland — Brixton Pale Ale, Gastown Red IPA, Kingsland Pilsner, Williamsburg IPA, Shimokita Lager and El Segundo West Coast IPA are current examples. Book a 90-minute tour of the brewery to learn about the whole process, get hands-on with the ingredients and sample a few seasonal brews as you go. Urbanaut is also handy to Auckland’s rugby shrine of Eden Park, meaning you can pay a visit before or after a big game. The cellar door is open every day with tasting trays available. 

Oh, brother!

None of the three Brothers sites round town are more than five years old, but they all possess a cozy lived-in atmosphere, with comfy old sofas and the luxury of 15-18 brews on tap making it easy to settle in for a while. We especially love that you can sink a good few of their tasty Tropicals at 3.8% and feel not the slightest bit woozy. A wee bit stronger, but still mighty refreshing is their toasty, nutty Amber Ale. The Mt Eden site is home to Juke Joint BBQ, while Orakei does burgers and CityWorks Depot serves pizza.

Tried and true

Big Daddy on the block, Galbraith’s Alehouse nestles in the heritage former Grafton Library in Uptown and is where Galbraith’s Brewing Co has been brewing “good honest beer” for more than 20 years. Refreshingly unfazed by hipster trends, Galbraith’s remains a good old pub, but one with world-class beer and boasting a delicious and varied food menu. In summer, the small courtyard is buzzing, and in winter, the roaring fire is where it’s at. For a taste of something unique, try the Rurik Russian Imperial Stout. Recently judged the single best beer over 6%ABV in the world, it is velvety with rich flavours of espresso, dark chocolate and liquorice. And because this is a pub, order the bangers and mash — it’s the stuff of legend!