Monday1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Tuesday1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Wednesday1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Thursday1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Friday1:00 – 8:00 pm.
Saturday1:00 – 8:00 pm.
Sunday1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Harbour Street, South Hill, Oamaru
Ōamaru’s Heritage Precinct is an ode to tradition. In this way it only makes sense that it’s home to Craftwork - an award winning, small scale, Belgian brewery run by brewing couple, Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien.
On select days you can find Lee-Ann and Michael minding the taps at Craftwork, their tasting room. The hours are very limited so plan ahead - beer nerds and non-nerds alike will be gutted to miss this spot and its proprietors. When the pair aren’t running the tasting room they’re brewing off site (under Lee-Ann’s house actually!) Here, they slowly churn out their award-winning Belgian style beers.
The beer they are most proud of, O’ambic, has made a splash at beer festivals in New Zealand and abroad. Sour, smooth and full of probiotics it’s a must try - the perfect showcase for brewing “as it used to be done.” O’ambic is spontaneously fermented wheat beer meaning Lee-Ann and Michael expose it to the air after a long boil in the cooler months to allow the microorganisms to produce the tart, refreshing flavours they’re so well known for.
Lee-Ann and Michael brew in a way that is labour and time intensive but the beers (and their many accolades) speak for themselves. As Lee-Ann put it, “Brewing this way appeals to us because when you put the work out you don’t know what you’re going to get. You have to work with that randomness. Other breweries tend to be product focused, but we are process focused. We live with the end product and don’t manipulate it.”
At the tasting room you can try O’ambic and many other Craftwork beers both on tap and in bottles and because Lee-Ann and Michael have a great appreciation for things that are made slowly, they do a mean cheese board. The slices change with the seasons - “You can’t always get our beer and you can’t always get these things either so it all fits in.”
Beer nerds have flown in from the North Island, Australia and beyond just for these pours so plan ahead and get to Craftwork while you’re in Ōamaru. If you can’t make their hours though, you can get their beers at a number of other Neat Places like The Criterion Hotel and Cucina.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou
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Harbour Street, South Hill, Oamaru
A general store since the 1800s, this cosy Ōamaru corner shop is now home to hip baby wear, cool gifts and New Zealand outerwear brand, Moké. Lush fabrics and excellent craftsmanship tie the whole concept together.
A quick jaunt up the hill from Ōamaru’s town centre will lead you to Inc. Design Store. Not just a shop, gallery or studio but some combination of all three, Inc. is an experience in and of itself.
Cucina’s day time counterpart with colourful, tasty brunch plates. The huevos rancheros have been winning ‘big brekkie’ traditionalists over since 2016 and the bombolino doughnuts are the mid-day treat you deserve.
It’s hard not to be inspired by Ōamaru’s rugged coastline and fabled history. The town is home to many talented makers and artists, and at the collective gallery you can explore their work at your own pace.
Wild Sage Café
Touted as an eclectic, cosy nook in the heart of beautiful Kurow, Wild Sage specialises in home-style kai and proudly serves delicious Common Ground coffee.
Whitestone Cheese Co.
After 35 years and counting, Whitestone Cheese are still seriously good cheese people and their cheeses are still handmade with what they believe to be the best raw material on earth, North Otago milk. A tour of the artisanal factory, a few samples in the café, and you’ll definitely agree.
Owned by a fourth-generation Moeraki fisherman, this dockside restaurant is the real deal. Snag a crayfish with chips for a meal that’s simple but supremely delicious, or go for the pāua patty which will have you renouncing beef burgers altogether. Whatever you go for, it’s all caught right here.
The Vintners Drop
Nestled on the main street of Kurow in what was once the local post office building, Vintners Drop is the cellar door of boutique winery Ostler Vineyards.