A group of Kiwis are bringing a taste of their native New Zealand to University Heights, where they will open Kairoa Brewing, a brewery and restaurant that is currently scheduled to launch this fall. The name pays homage to two small towns on the South Island of New Zealand, where co-owner Shanan Spearing and his partners call home. A local restaurateur since 2011, Spearing also operates Red House Pizza which sits next door to the Kairoa Brewing site.
The project, which recently started construction, will open up and extend the Mueller Center building at the corner of Park Boulevard and Madison Avenue; local architect Jason Maune will add a rooftop level to the 1920s building, which used to house four businesses. The ground floor will span the main dining room, as well as a bar area and Kairoa’s 10-barrel brew system while the top floor will have its own, more seating, event space, and games.
Joseph Peach, a longtime brewer at Lightning, will oversee the draft handles; expect to see everything from New Zealand-inspired pilsners to traditional English and German-style beers, IPAs, barrel-aged stouts, and mixed fermentation beers. Kairoa is also connecting with hop growers in New Zealand for its lineup, which will include experimental beers brewed on a small pilot system. Some guest beers will also be poured.
Red House Pizza general manager Oliver Peach is handling the kitchen and a menu that mixes local ingredients with New Zealand-sourced lamb, mussels and more. The elevated bar food offerings will include classic kiwi dishes such as sausage rolls, fish and chips and meat pies balanced with vegan and vegetarian options.