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By Luke Owen Smith

Interview with Steve Plowman, Hallertau Brewery

This month's Brewery of the Month is Hallertau Brewery in West Auckland, so we caught up with founder and brewer Steve Plowman to find out what's been happening behind the scenes...

hallertau brewery

MF:  What was your background before beer and what inspired you to start Hallertau Brewery?

My background was actually Geology, but I’ve been a homebrewer since 1990. The inspiration for starting Hallertau was friendly pubs of Ireland where a few generations of family had pulled a pint, the beer gardens of English pubs or the Franconia brewpubs of southern Germany that made us feel at home, even though we were not. The the beers were exceptionally tasty, the laughter was loud and the music made people feel good.

MF:  What’s unique about the beers you brew?

There is a strong local feel to almost everything we do; all fruit we use for our sour beers is grown within a KM of the brewery. We champion NZ hop varieties and of course Gladfield Malt. We also don’t tend to follow “traditional” processes on the brewery side of things - we use modern techniques and ingredients to brew a beer that may be traditional to taste.

hallertau brewery

MF: What’s Hallertau's ethos with regards to sustainability?

We have always been very community focused and are fortunate enough to be able to help and support our locals in a wide amount of ways. The Keeper bottles have been a great way for us to really engage with our customers and encourage people to reuse our glass bottles in a whole heap of different ways. All spent grain goes to local farms and I get a cow each year for the freezer, which is a decent trade!

MF: It’s unusual to see a brewery also making wine, gin and whisky. What inspired you to branch out like this?

For the spirits I have always had a keen interest in distillation and then when Thomson whisky moved into our premises it was a great opportunity to work together.

We are really lucky to be located close to some fantastic wineries here in West Auckland so we work closely with them and then fill kegs to save on bottles and waste and proudly serve local wine on tap at all our venues. 

hallertau brewery

MF:  Which of your beers are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the #7 IPA. Super hoppy but still super drinky!!

MF: How does your location affect or inspire your business?

Traditionally a lot of growers were in the area and when we first started we were surrounded by orchards. Early on this enabled us to create some great wild fermented beers using yeast from the orchards next door, and the opportunity to use local fruit in fruit beers. 

Fast forward to the Auckland sprawl and we now have a great community of locals supporting us in many different ways – West Auckland as a whole is a pretty tight knit community and we love being part of it.

hallertau brewery

MF:  Any exciting new things we can expect to see from Hallertau in the next year or so?

Thomson Whisky Barrel Double Stout – an annual release we do with Thomson Whisky. This is our Double Stout aged in a Thomson Whisky cask.  Always great to enjoy this on wintery night. 

Then we really look forward to citrus being in season – so expect to see some Grapefruit IPA and hopefully some tangelo flavoured beer later this year.

MF: What’s the best beer you've tasted recently?

Bintang – after a long surf session in Northern Sumatra!

MF: Which breweries are you most inspired by?

Everything from traditional European breweries that inspire our lagers to the trail blazers in The States like Sierra Nevada and Ballast Point.

MF:  What's your favourite fish?


hallertau brewery

If you've never tasted any Hallertau beers, there's no time like the present! This month (July 2023) we're offering 5% off the full range, so get involved!

And if you're ever near Riverhead or Clevedon, make sure you visit the beautiful Hallertau taprooms! 


~ Photos courtesy of Hallertau Brewery ~