As I said in my previous post, Auckland has suddenly awoken to the possibilities of a real market for good beer. This past weekend, I visited two of these new establishments: Lumsden Freehouse in Newmarket, and Three Lamps in Ponsonby.
The Lumsden recently untied from one of the big breweries. Now, they offer 12 taps of beers including Hallertau, Epic, and Leigh Sawmill plus one cider. Oh, and there’s a huge separate tap for Guinness if you are inclined that way. They have a very good bottle selection as well.
The staff seemed knowledgeable and pleasant plus there was lots of seating both indoors and out. Unfortunately, on the day we visited, it was pouring rain and despite having umbrellas over the tables outside, they were still really wet. The food was reasonably priced (I had the buffalo wings, which were good). I wish I had remembered that SOBA members get pizzas at half price, as they looked delicious.
I think this cozy pub is an excellent alternative in the Newmarket area, especially since Cock & bull is no longer worth visiting.
Rating 19Apr2013 = 4/5 beers
The other brand-new entry into the market is Three Lamps. This new destination has taken over the former Belgian Beer Café on the corner of College hill and Ponsonby. They have an extensive (250!) list of bottled beers plus four of 11 taps dedicated to craft beers. They also have strong ties to Lion Breweries who supply the four house beers. The pub is small but has a light and cheerful interior.
They have an excellent chalk board on their wall briefly describing the different styles of beer. I only wish the staff had read it more thoroughly. The server brought a tray containing London Porter and Yeastie Boy’s Hud’a Wa, asking if the porter was “the dark one, right?” To be fair, they did just open, but seems to me that if you have dedicated a huge wall to descriptions of all the beer styles, and if you want to sell some of those 250 different bottled beers, then staff training is critical to your business model.
Now, I hate to be a hater, but if I don’t mention these things, I would not be doing my job. The beer fridge temperature was set at 3 degrees, which is too cold. Also the bottle beer prices were steep – $16 for Liberty Brewing Yakima Scarlet (compared to $14 at Lumsden FH). Now, maybe that’s Ponsonby rent talking, and these prices are similar to Brew on Quay, but it won’t put them at the top of my destination list when I am looking for a beer in town. But if you need a destination in Ponsonby which will satisfy your need for awesome beer, as well as your odd friend who will only drink Becks, then this will do.
Rating 19Apr2013 = 2.5/5 beers