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OmbraNot every­one drinks wine.

When hav­ing a glor­i­ously pre­pared meal, one likes to com­pli­ment it with a sim­il­arly beau­ti­ful drink, but there are still places that con­sider bland lagers to be the per­fect accom­pani­ment to every dish on their menu. I have gone through the menus of vari­ous fine din­ing estab­lish­ments in Wel­ling­ton and had a look at their beer lists. There are a couple of flaws to this tech­nique. First, I don’t get to eat at these places. Second, if the cre­at­ors of the res­taur­ant web­sites don’t add the beer list to the pub­licly avail­able menus, then they look like beer-free zones. With this in mind — and after run­ning my ‘snob­bish’ eye over them — here are my thoughts.

Logan Brown Let’s start with a good one. Logan Brown has had a great beer list for a while now, fea­tur­ing beers from Yeast­ie Boys, Wigram, 8 Wired, Par­rot­Dog and many more. They also serve Tui, which is an oddity (appar­ently cruise-ship tour­ists love it). Chef Shaun Clou­s­ton is a beer nerd and isn’t scared of put­ting big, bold beers on the menu.

Ortega Fish Shack & Bar Bat­tling Logan Brown for ‘best beer list’ is Ortega. They mix in quite a few ‘premi­um’ beers like Heinek­en, Asahi, Hoegaarden and Mon­teiths with a very wide range of more ‘crafty’ beers. Again, the design­er of this list isn’t scared to include big port­ers, and while I’m not sure what kind of fish they would go with, good for them!

Cap­it­ol It’s bad sign that Cap­it­ol doesn’t have their beer list online, only their wines. A bit of dig­ging found that they served Tuatara APA dur­ing last year’s Wel­ling­ton on a Plate, so maybe they still have that?

Ombra The Vene­tian bacaro doesn’t even have its menu on its web­site (Face­book is not where a good eat­ery should put its menu), let alone its beer list. Hav­ing eaten there recently, though, I can report that they have Gar­age Pro­ject beers on tap at least. This means it’s a crap-shoot over which beer is avail­able, but at least they have something.

Hip­po­pot­amus Loc­ated in the Museum Hotel, Hip­po­pot­amus cer­tainly gets the award for longest name. Their wine list is longer. Their beer list? Dunno. I should note that I also checked last year’s Wel­ling­ton on a Plate to see what Hip­po­pot­amus served then. While the WoaP offer said there was the choice of “Wel­ling­ton region­al wine, beer, or non-alco­hol­ic bever­age”, the avail­able lis­ted drinks were two wines and a mocktail.

The White House While it has been around 20 years serving great food, The White House’s beer list is a single page at the end of the menu. Still, it’s bet­ter than most, skew­ing to the light­er end of the beer spec­trum (two ales, a Scotch ale and a port­er) but with nice choices. A good pils­ner is a still a good pilsner.


April recom­mend­a­tion

We’re edging slowly into winter after a long and dec­ad­ently hot sum­mer… sigh, I can’t even lie to myself. By this stage of the year you may already be crack­ing open port­ers and stouts, so let me sug­gest one of my favour­ite dark beer types: oat­meal stout. The style tends to cre­ate lovely smooth beers that don’t have the heav­i­ness most people asso­ci­ate with stouts in gen­er­al. Renais­sance Brew­ing make a great one called Crafts­man, which I can attest is fant­ast­ic served at room tem­per­at­ure with a black cof­fee to sip alongside.[/info]

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