On trap: Craft beer and whisky specialist Back Room Bar, Thornbury. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
From High Street, Carwyn Cellars looks like an old-school bottle-o. But since 2012 owner Ben Carwyn has been quietly building a reputation as a craft beer specialist, with more than 200 on the shelves. Now he's transformed the storeroom into the Back Room Bar, with 16 beer and cider taps under constant rotation and a short but ever-changing wine list.
Behind the bar is a display of 150 whiskies from Scotland, Japan and Australia, along with a range of mezcals that is expanding as customers discover there's more to the Mexican spirit than a worm in a bottle, says manager Ben Duval, who, like Carwyn, comes from a family of winemakers.
Inside, there's room for 50, and another 34 can take a seat at one of the four communal tables under the trees outside. The bar serves cheese and charcuterie boards, along with "inauthentic pizza" from the Moor's Head across the road.
On October 4 and 5, six Danish breweries will stage a tap takeover to show off their wares. Will they ever host a Kiwi tap takeover? "Not until they give up the Bledisloe Cup," says Carwyn.
Back Room Bar, Carwyn Cellars, 877 High Street, Thornbury, 03 9484 1820.