Kairoa Brewing Co. opens today on Park Boulevard, bringing a slice of New Zealand to University Heights and giving the neighborhood a brewpub to call its own. Named for the small kiwi towns of Kaikoura and Akaroa, the hometowns of the brewpub’s founders, Kairoa incorporates elements inspired by the New Zealand coastline and countryside, as well as Maori art, into a design from architect Jason Maune. The thoroughly remodeled 1920s building at the corner of Park and Madison, which can hold up to 500 guests, has a new rooftop bar and lounge that looks onto the University Heights sign.
Co-founder Shanan Spearing, who also owns next door’s Red House Pizza, says Kairoa will feature traditional dishes that are rarely seen outside of New Zealand. Combining comfort food with lighter, seafood-based fare, the brunch and dinner menus are spearheaded by executive chef Rocio Fleckenstein, an alum of Ballast Point Brewing, The Joint, and True Food Kitchen. There will be seasonal savory pies, including a bacon and egg pie, as well New Zealand mussels, sausage rolls, and a hearty shepherd’s pie made with stewed lamb and Marmite. Vegan versions of many of the dishes will also be available.
Its house beers, brewed by co-founder Joe Peach, will run the gamut of styles. With almost 20 years of local brewing experience, Peach is a vet of Lightning and Bitter Brothers and will produce everything from a San Diego pale ale to German lagers and English-style ales. He also has access to hard-to-get hop varieties from his native New Zealand, so expect true-to-style New Zealand beers as well as IPA variations made with the imported hops.
Kairoa Menu by on Scribd