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1171 Coatesville Riverhead Highway,

(09) 412 5555

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byGuy Ralls15/12/2005

3 out of 5

It's ironic that with so much wine production going on around Kumeu, there aren't many places to relax and enjoy a drink.

You're either tasting free wines at the cellar doors of the wineries (and under a little pressure to buy), having lunch in a winery restaurant (though admittedly probably a good one) or gallivanting around on a wine tour.

There's nowhere of note, really, where you can just prop up a bar. Except, that is, in nearby Riverhead—at a new opening called Hallertau.

Hallertau is not a winery in conventional terms. But it is a brewery, knocking out boutique beers (it takes its name from a German hop), and it makes fruit wines too.

It also serves up wines from most of the surrounding wineries in a way that the wineries do not—combining a slick lounge-bar area with a slick bar and deck, plus a large cafe-restaurant strung between.

The lounge-bar area is all black leather seats, cool mood paintings, glass tables and log-sided fireplace—a good function area.

The cafe-restaurant (tapas $4 to $8, mains $17 to $30) doubles as the reception point and is bright and vault-ceilinged.

Finally there's the bar itself, which is wood, stone and welcoming. A nice touch is a wall decorated with yellow, orange, rust and brown beer mats, which denote Hallertau's beers through one to four.

Customers are split between passing trade, functionaries and locals.

And so, to the beers themselves. You can buy a 'paddle' of them here, with a solid taster of each of the four main offerings.

First up is a crisp and light Kolsch-style beer; next is a hoppy, citrusy American pale ale; a malty Irish red is third; and a surprisingly light-tasting dark Bavarian Schwarzbier rounds things off. In addition, there is a popular honey beer.

Once you've tried a paddle, you'll probably opt for a pint of your choice—which, when it comes, will be served in an oversized pint glass to allow for a decent head, essential for eking out the full flavour.

As you might expect, the wine list is pretty heavyweight, but also very Antipodean. All the whites, bar one bubbly, are Kiwi, and there is a 50/50 Aussie/Kiwi split in the reds. Almost everything is sold by the glass ($7 to $9 average).

The fruit wines include kiwifruit, feijoa and boysenberry, and are available both sparkling and still.

It's too early to tell how things will pan out for Hallertau, but if its beers are anything to go by it may well stand the test of time.

Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant has been reviewed by 14 users

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