Cheers to the Coast - Air Chathams

Cheers to the Coast

The bright lights and big cities like Wellington and Auckland have always taken the limelight when it comes to hospitality hot spots, but a host of cool young and old watering holes are now putting the Kāpiti Coast on the map! So here are four great reasons to hit the Coast for your next getaway.



Duncan’s Brewing Co.

Owned by George Duncan and Waimatao Familton, Duncan’s Brewing Co., was born in 2014 after an epic 22,000 km road trip circumnavigating the United States, where they drank their way through a multitude of sessionable - and sometimes questionable - beer offerings. For ten years they’ve been putting the fun back into craft brewing and their off-license cellar door has been open and quenching thirsts for the last six.

“We specialise in dessert-style and big fruited beers,” George says. “Sorbet Sours, Ice Cream Sours, Pastry Sours and some classic styles like Lagers, Pilsners and a banging Juniper IPA. We add a lot of fruit to our brews and import our yuzu directly from Honshu in Japan for a really authentic flavour. We’re really just about having fun with beer!”

Just one look at Duncan’s wonderfully wacky label designs confirms that; the work of Dr D Foothead, described as an illustrator, dreamer and hypnotic artist. Duncan’s labels are riots of colour and quirky characters, as much works of art as the tasty brews found within.

“We also have regular popup events at our brewery, with music and food trucks and we hope to open a Tasting Room with an onlicense this year. Speaking of 2024, one of the trends we’re seeing is for beers that are lower in alcohol by volume, and I think that movement has been helped along by the craft beer movement. Initially people wanted big boozy beers, but as more and more have come on board with craft, it has adapted to a different audience. And we’re cool with being a part of that!”




Having been in business for 24 years, Tuatara is one of the elder statesman of craft brewing in NZ - and that kind of longevity is proof that they must be doing something right! Like so many great Kiwi stories Tuatara was started in a shed, in this case in the hills above Waikanae, by Carl Vasta, an engineer with a typical can-do attitude that he applied to brewing his own beer and also building his own equipment. Tuatara has grown steadily since then, packing up the trophy cabinet and moving to a new brewery complete with tap room in Paraparaumu in 2012, before being bought by DB Breweries in 2017.

“We’re one of the founding craft brewers in the country,” says brewery manager Tupu Gregory, “and the company has seen a lot of changes in the industry. For us opening up the tap room in Paraparaumu and being able to serve food and host events, and interact with our customers was a big shift, and it has helped us stay on top of trends. We obviously want to be leading from the front and we’ve had some good success there, particularly with our Tuatara hazy pale ale which has been a real winner for us. We’re still seeing a lot of support for the hazy, but also our Pilsner and IPAs. We also like to keep an eye on things locally and overseas and be willing to experiment - there’s no single secret to success, you just have to give it a go!”

And if you are in Paraparaumu then you really have to give Tuatara’s tap room a go (brewery tours are available if you book in advance). Good honest Kiwi pizzas, a pretty casual atmosphere and a real focus on beer. Which is just as it should be.

North End Brewing Co.

North End Brewing are something a bit different, and really a bit special. Part of a group that came to life in 2013, North End is the brewing arm of a unique initiative that includes the Olde Beach Bakery, who use the brewery’s spent grain to make bread, the Long Beach Tavern at Waikanae Beach, and the Salt and Wood BBQ, adjoined to the brewery and open all day serving American style BBQ to dine in or take away. And as if all that isn’t enough, there is also Salty’s Diner in Paraparaumu and a dedicated gardening team working to ensure that there is as much local produce used as possible. But let’s get back to the beer.

“We specialise in more European style beers than a lot of other craft breweries do,” says head brewer Kieran Haslett-Moore, “a lot of Belgian-style beers, German-style beers and English-style beers, so not as flavoured and wacky as other breweries. And because we have the taverns and eateries we try to make beers that go well at the dining table.”

North End has a really extensive range, and the various facets of the business make for perfect settings to enjoy them! From the Tavern garden bar to the Collective’s BBQ goodness, this is one group effort that is going places.



Kereru Brewing

While not strictly speaking a part of the Kāpiti Coast, Kereru Brewing is just over the hill in Upper Hutt and we’re bending the rules here for a very special reason: Kereru are one of the very, very few brewers who make gluten free beer, which is manna from heaven for the many gluten intolerant or celiac beer drinkers out there. And this is no mere tokenism - they have a great range of delightful tasting gluten free options, including a hazy ale, a dark ale, and a rice lager, in addition to a giddying array of traditional and not-so-traditional tipples like coconut porter, barrel-aged stout, and birch beer soda.



If you want to take your tastebuds for a walk on the wild side, Kereru is the place to be - they have a cellar door at 415A Maidstone Terrace in Upper Hutt that is open Wednesdays to Friday from 2pm to 4pm and Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

Head brewer and founder Chris Milne came to New Zealand with his wife to work in the film industry - and then stayed on for the food! “What I’ve discovered is that in good times or bad, people like good beer, and I think beer is food. I want to make beer for everybody, which includes the gluten free celiac community, and that has always been an important focus since we started.” It’s a noble calling, and we’ll drink to that.