With the whole country looking inward and supporting ‘local’ now more than ever, we decided to pay a visit to a local tavern at Coast Plaza in Whangaparaoa who has had this approach in their heart from the start. They are the latest addition to The Beer Spot family, a group of taverns that are handing the mic over to the small independent breweries and wineries of New Zealand. With the big breweries commanding the taps of restaurants and bars nationwide, it’s hard for the smaller guys to get into the tap real estate, but The Beer Spot and its locals are here to look after them.
Before both feet were through the door, I was welcomed into the home of the owners, three ex school principals, Craig, Ben and Tracey. I say ‘home’ because that’s what it felt like. A comfortable, friendly, neighbourly space, with chummy hosts eager to have a banter and share their story. They are proud and passionate. Proud to be the owners of an impressive modern tavern with an expansive view overlooking Whangaparaoa and passionate about sharing the stories and talent behind some of our best small batch breweries and wineries with their guests.
Craig walked me down the Tap 40 wall that showcased the beers, each categorised under quirky headings such as Designated Driver, Call an Uber, Hour of Sour, Tall Dark and Handsome and Happy Pils. Most are small batch breweries. The idea was to keep the beers on rotation so that each time a customer came in, there wouldn’t be the same offering.
Now to their significant range of wine. Wine should only last a few days once opened, before it starts to turn, which means bars and restaurants are limited to the number they can range. The Beer Spot have however, about 40 wines hooked up to dispensers, allowing nitrogen to back-fill into the bottle and settle on top of the wine, meaning oxygen doesn’t touch the wine and it can last months!
A tasting is held each Tuesday where The Beer Spot team get together and taste potential beer and wine, and if they like them they go on tap! Each month there is a Brew Buddy and a Wine Buddy who remain on the taps for the month. I was proud to see McLeods was this month’s pick – that’s the local brewery near our beach house where I grew up, so I felt a little sense of pride with that one. The Brew/Wine Buddies host a tasting night for the locals each month. The beer and wine nights are held separately and are open to the public who come to taste the range of beer and wine and to learn a bit about the process. What a great way to bring together a group of locals with a shared passion.
The Beer Spot ‘takes the fear out of beer’ and encourages guests to taste before they buy. They would rather someone try a few samples and find something they like rather than taking a punt and only getting half way through the glass. They also have their tasting paddle and pours, for those who have come specifically for a beer and wine tasting.
It’s not just their beer and wine that are on rotation. Each week a new food truck rolls up to the patio outside their front door. One week it might be Jo Bros Burgers and the next week it might be Miso Ra with their ramen and yakisoba. So other than the familiar tavern setting and a bit of Craig’s friendly banter, you never quite know what’s going to be on offer at The Beer Spot Whangaparaoa, I guess that’s what keeps these locals coming back.
Address: Coast Plaza, Whangaparāoa
Hours: 12 – 8pm Sunday to Tuesday, 12 – 10pm Wednesday to Saturday