Inside an exterior shell steeped in history, Tuatara Brewing is experimenting and creating new brews for the tasting pleasure of the Wellington public.
Let me set the scene by, well, setting the scene. The Third Eye is housed in the original Boys Institute Building. It was established to nurture the spiritual, mental and physical improvement of the under-privileged boys of Wellington. Over a hundred years later, the building is now nurturing the young of a different variety: the new brewery now providing a safe environment for baby beers to flourish.
Exposed brick walls are not only a fashion statement, but a reminder of the building's history. Original native Matai wood floors have been refurbished, and an original light ceiling rose was recovered, restored, and returned to its original position. To top it off, the building is light and airy, and has a second floor which is perfect for hosting a range of functions.
Of course, not everyone is an interior decor nut, so let's get down to business and talk beer. The Tuatara Temple of Taste, The Third Eye, serves the latest from their on-site microbrewery, as well as the more established Tuatara favourites. Since they are a hospitable lot, they also have a few guests on tap.
For even the unseasoned beer drinker, The Third Eye has something to offer. I was gently steered away from my reliable cider to a new brew, a sour beer. Unfortunately, I don't speak beer, but the sour beer had a sharp taste sort of like cider, but with beer-y undertones. Like I said, I don't speak beer. Not to everyone's taste, but definitely to mine. Luckily, if you're feeling unsure about a choice, the staff are extremely accommodating and happy to provide samples before you commit to a pint or two.
The outdoor courtyard, filled with recycled pallet furniture knocked together by some industrial design students, is not only a great place for sipping a brew as the sun sets, but also home to the Goose Shack food truck. The food truck serves sammies with fillings cooked in a charcoal oven right before your very eyes, plus a range of irresistible charcoal treats. The food truck is there from 4:30pm Tuesday through Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
When the truck's not in residence, The Third Eye's in-house kitchen has you covered with toasted sandwiches ($9) and an intriguing bar menu including the likes of pickled pigs feet in a jar ($6). The lounge-style setting inside will be popular in winter.
The real drawcard of The Third Eye is the opportunity to sample the latest brainwaves of Tuatara brewers. These beers are the new tasters which may or may not later on become mass produced. While up the coast in Kapiti, Tuatara continues to brew the beer we know and love, The Third Eye is a beer playground, of sorts. There's something pretty cool about tasting a beer that may never be made again, or tried anywhere else in Wellington, let alone the rest of the world.