City Works Depot's Brothers Beer has been a mecca for craft beer lovers since opening its doors in 2013, so news that a second Brothers Brewery has popped up in Mt. Eden – along with the brand new Jukes Joint BBQ – is very welcome indeed. After all, there's no happier marriage than that of a cold one with hot, smokey, slow-cooked barbecued meat.
The two outfits share an industrial warehouse space tucked away on Akiraho St that's perfect for sunny Sunday sessions: roomy and cool, with plenty of seating options (squashy old couches, scrubbed wooden tables, benches in the courtyard) and quirky touches.
Service is counter-style – which took us about fifteen minutes to figure out. Drinks are ordered at the bar, and food is ordered separately at Jukes (punters can find order sheets and pencils at their table).
While the process seems laborious, it does mean that chefs slice the meat to order. Combine this with a massive on-site smoker allowing them to barbecue the traditional way ("low and slow") and the complex flavours from spice rubs and woodsmoke, and you've got a remarkably tender result.
There are several meat options, ranging from pastrami to beef brisket to sausage, which can be ordered naked or with an impressive selection of sauces (kimchi BBQ and thin and spicy were personal favourites). If you want some bread and greens in the mix, sandwiches are also on offer. Americana side options include collard greens with smoked ham hock, tater tots, and mac n' cheese.
The food comes out pretty quick, served on a platter that's perfect for sharing. Everything was moreish and perfectly complemented our craft brews – but if we were being picky, we'd say the buns from our pulled pork sandwich tasted suspiciously supermarket bakery-esque, and the brisket was over-salted, which, as my companion succinctly put it, made it rather "cat food-y".
All in all, Brothers/Jukes is well worth a visit – it's cool to have a sweatshop-size bar in the suburbs, where you don't have to jostle for a parking spot or a place to sit with a hundred other yo-pros ranting about work. There was a nice mix of families and groups of friends on the weeknight we visited, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It will definitely become the neighbourhood's local come summertime.