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a walking tour at R&V 1I’ve been tri­al­ling this word for a while now: brewur­ism. It’s a clev­er port­manteau of ‘brew­ing’ and ‘tour­ism’.

For too long Wel­ling­ton has been the poor cous­in of the Wair­ar­apa when it comes to alco­hol-based tour­ism. But now our new crop of inner-city brew­er­ies and cel­lar doors are pulling in vis­it­ors who have been drink­ing Wel­ling­ton beers around the coun­try, and in some cases around the world, and want to see the source.

There is some­thing to be said for vis­it­ing a cel­lar door. You chat to the brew­ery work­ers and get glimpses behind the scenes. At brew­er­ies this is more excit­ing than at winer­ies. The sheer num­ber of beers each brew­ery makes means that you are more likely to stumble upon a brew­ery in full beer-mak­ing mode.

Even when there’s not steam and the waft­ing smell of boil­ing wort, brew­ing equip­ment fills the space as brew­ers tend to need loads of smal­ler tanks along­side their kettles, mash tuns and bot­tling (or can­ning) lines, leav­ing them look­ing like a steampunk’s dream!

Craft Beer Col­lege have been run­ning their beer sem­inars and tast­ings for a few years now, edu­cat­ing the loc­als and rais­ing their beer IQ. Recently, Stephanie Coutts has expan­ded their enter­prise bey­ond the tast­ing rooms at Hashigo Zake, and now Craft Beer Col­lege offers Wel­ling­ton beer tours.

There are cur­rently two walk­ing tours on offer: Cuba and Cour­tenay. These tours offer punters a chance to see brew­er­ies as well as doing flights of tasters at vari­ous bars. Moreover, by adding bars to the tour, the cel­lar doors aren’t pres­sured to provide food (as they do at many wineries).

The “Cuba” tour takes in Gar­age Pro­ject, Rogue and Vag­a­bond, Little Beer Quarter (for lunch), Fork & Brew­er and, finally, Golding’s Free Dive; while “Cour­tenay” takes in Par­rot­Dog, Black Dog, Basque (for lunch), Malt­house and Hashigo Zake. The first tour took place earli­er this year but CBC will be hold­ing a Cour­tenay tour in April (see for more info).

Ven­ue bars are a big new thing too. Not the awful branded Bound­ary Road bars that seem to cov­er down­town Wel­ling­ton like a rash, but bars like Tuatara’s new Third Eye. This her­it­age build­ing on Karo Drive has now been con­ver­ted into a bar and micro-brew­ery. While Tuatara beers are avail­able all over, The Third Eye offers some­thing dif­fer­ent, with beers brewed on site that aren’t avail­able else­where. Along with their brew­ery tours up the coast in Par­a­pa­raumu, Tuatara is at the fore­front of brewurism.

These new attrac­tions — along­side won­der­ful fest­ivals like the Great­er Wel­ling­ton Brewday (held in late Feb­ru­ary-early March) and Hop­stock (on dur­ing April) — are bring­ing more and more beer tour­ists, and tour­ists who are simply inter­ested in drink­ing good beer, to our beer capital.