Our Waikato Regional Coordinator Gareth Guitry gives the low down on Hamilton’s new beer bar, CRAFT.
The first of August 2015 was an auspicious day for craft beer enthusiasts in Hamilton, with the official opening of a brand new craft beer bar, appropriately and succinctly named “Craft”.
Craft is found on Hood Street in Hamilton’s CBD, in the original Gothenburg venue. Past fans of Gothenburg shouldn’t fear – Gothenburg moved to a brand new venue on Grantham Street last summer. The new bar is owned and managed by Carl Bloxam & Susanna Rislund Fullana, who have proven to have a flair for combining great beer with great food at their Gothenburg restaurant, which was recently awarded ‘Best Restaurant’ by local SOBA members.
“We want to become known as one of the best beer destinations in New Zealand. We will do this through serving the best food along with the best beer from around NZ and the world” Bloxam said when asked what their mission is for Craft, and emphasised that “we are all about flavour.”
The fit-out is top notch with plenty of warm timber, a polished plaster feature wall, and a striking stainless steel tap wall. The feature bar leaner is made from a log of Lawson Cypress that Carl fashioned himself together with master carpenter Andy Freeman.
The team have carried on with their excellent food at Craft, offering gourmet thin base pizzas (gluten free bases available too), and delectable sliders (snack size burgers), all from the creative mind of chef Tim Karam. Specials to date have included slipper lobster sliders and smoked oyster pizzas.
At Craft however, beer is definitely the star, and they have 15 rotating craft beer taps. During renovations two keg chillers were installed, with one at 8°C dedicated to three taps of darker beer. So there’s no need to wait while your porter or stout warms up, it’s ready to drink. By the time you read this their newly installed hand pump will be commissioned, giving us 16 great beers to choose from.
Stephen Williams is their enthusiastic bar manager and purchaser, and aims to keep a wide variety of styles on tap at all times, including a sour tap most of the time.
The tap list is ever changing and includes international stars, New Zealand favourites, and craft beer from local heroes. Opening night saw the tapping of a fresh keg of Ballast Point’s Sculpin, along with Karl Strauss’ Mosaic, Gulden Draak, and beer from Croucher, Epic, 8 Wired, Funk Estate, Liberty, Tuatara, Shunter’s Yard, and Brewaucracy.
In the weeks that they’ve been open, Craft has already proven a worthy addition to the craft beer scene not only locally, but nationally. I’m looking forward to what treats they’ll have in store for us in the future.
Gareth R. Guitry
CRAFT can be found at 15 Hood Street, Hamilton and offers SOBA members various benefits.