FRESHLY OPENED and with a spunky refurbishment, the iconic Brewer’s Bar on Newton Street street is not how we remember it. Gone are the days assuming front-left speaker at heavy metal concerts, the focus is now on BEER. REALLY. GOOD. BEER.

LOCAL craft beer, MADE BETTER. We have a look at what all the fizz is about down at The Rising Tide.

WORDS TALIA WALDEGRAVE PHOTOS TRACIE HEASMAN / BRYDIE THOMPSON

UNO. Wow. There sure are a lot of taps!

G. The key to a good craft bar is: the bigger the range the better. We’ve got 32 taps in total – two local wines, two local ciders and the rest is all beer.

V. We got a bit excited when we were putting the taps in because we initially started with 20, then it was 25, then it was 30. We were quickly running out of wall space and I was starting to wonder how many more subways tiles we were going to need!

TASTING PADDLES are great because you can try something new, and if you’re not a huge beer drinker, the little tastes are quite manageable. We also offer the ciders and honey beer as tasting alternatives. It’s the ultimate in beer degustation.
TASTING PADDLES are great because you can try something new, and if you’re not a huge beer drinker, the little tastes are quite manageable. We also offer the ciders and honey beer as tasting alternatives. It’s the ultimate in beer degustation.

UNO. Is it just Mount Brewing Co beer coursing through those taps?

G. Nine taps are our own beers, and the others are from different New Zealand breweries which we rotate regularly. We might have five or six staying on for a while and then we’ll change it up. That’s the great thing – the guys who came in last week will come in again this week and there’ll be a whole bunch of new beers to try. A lot of breweries will only sell their own beer and that’s where we’re different. Having this space allows us to offer beer from other companies.

BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS

Encompassing this ale adventure is the brand new fit-out, cleverly designed to help heighten this sensory escapade. Patrons can now watch the brewers at work and the large steaming vats and full-scale equipment that were once concealed have been brought out of hiding.

G. We’d been thinking about this concept for years, but we needed a bit of guidance about which step to take next. It couldn’t just be small, it had to be a complete turn around. That’s where Chris and Rachelle stepped in and they’ve been a huge part of our rebrand. They know what they’re doing and that’s great for us because we’re a bit rough around the edges. They’ve just sharpened us up a bit.

The large, steaming vats and full-scale equipment that were once concealed have been brought out of hiding.
The large, steaming vats and full-scale equipment that were once concealed have been brought out of hiding.

It all came together so quickly. We still had builders putting the deck together at 6 pm and we were due to open an hour later. There’s still a bit to be done, but really just a few cosmetic fixtures. We had to pull in extra tables because we didn’t realise how busy we were going to be.

UNO. Chris and Rachelle Duffy hail from Little Big Markets fame, having collaborated with Glenn and Virginia on regular events.

R. When Glenn told us what he wanted to do, we said, “that’s easy.” He already had great beer, but he simply needed something that complimented the beer. We’ve been running the social media from home and we can see it’s been going crazy. Chris and I have even been getting FOMO! Especially when we know just how good the dumplings are.

Oh yes. Those dumplings. What better way to accompany a variety of cold beverages, than with a selection of umami pillowcases?

JOHNEY'S DUMPLINGS are the stuff of local legend. Freshly made every day, the perfect accompaniment to beer.
JOHNEY’S DUMPLINGS are the stuff of local legend. Freshly made every day, the perfect accompaniment to beer.

TICKING ALL THE BOXES

G. When we were planning the change to Rising Tide, I knew I wanted to offer food, but I didn’t want to be the one doing it. That’s when Rachelle suggested Johney.

Johney’s Dumpling House has been a regular fixture at the Little Big Markets for years and Rachelle felt the relationship between Glenn and Johney would be a natural fit.

R. I knew that Johney would be perfect because there really isn’t any other dumpling house in Tauranga, plus beer and dumplings go so well together.Trying to pitch the space to him was funny because it was in the old Brewer’s Bar. It was dark and a bit dingy, very industrial and we had to really sell it to him and he had to really trust us.

UNO. And trust them he did. Johney’s a big fan.

J. I love the atmosphere, and we’re really in amongst it. It’s great for diners because there’s so much to look at and there’s a whole new energy. So many people have said to us that it’s a great place to meet as it’s a bit of a halfway point between Tauranga and the Mount.

UNO. As for those dumplings, well if you’ve ever tried to make them at home, you’ll know there’s a knack to it.

J. There’s an art to it for sure. I grew up eating them and watching my Mum make them. The ones we make here are quite traditional, but I’ve just tweaked the recipe to suit the Kiwi palate. There are endless combinations you can try and we even use some of the beers in our cooking, like our beef brisket. If you’re not a big dumpling fan, we have a slightly more pub- focused menu as well, and we can offer both to take away.

UNO. Thanks to the pocket-friendly price tag, you can bring the whole family, and that’s just what Glenn and Virginia want.

G. We’ve been in this industry for twenty years and we understand the importance of being with family, and that’s where the Rising Tide is great. How many pubs do you know that have a great patch of grass outside like this one, where kids can go nuts?

On Sundays we block off the driveway and there are kids running around on the field outside, Mum and Dad are meeting friends, ordering dumplings and it’s great because the whole family can enjoy it. Food Truck Fridays, renamed Street Food Union, is now held here on Friday nights and that’s another great place for families – there’s something for everyone. And it’s still cosy thanks to our big outdoor fireplace.

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It’s hard to believe Glenn and Virginia have been doing this for as long as they have. Not only do they seem far too young, but they have a palpable va va voom for what they do.

V. The brewery is our baby and as Brewer’s it was great, but it had served its purpose. Now we are focused on new and exciting things: fresh beer, fresh labels and fresh styles, so we don’t get stale and we don’t get boring.

G. It’s pretty exciting – it’s like Christmas.