Sunday, March 29, 2009

Steve's trip to New Zealand's South Island

A couple of weeks ago, after we finally opened Darlinghurst, I headed to New Zealand's South Island for a bit of R&R. I'd visited once before but was again reminded of how stunningly beautiful the country is. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that, in some parts, every corner of the road brings a staggering view. And the roads are largely empty! I HAVE to go back there and do a motorcycle tour one day...

Ostensibly I was there for a family reunion and a quick break but I did get the opportunity to sample some of NZ's better microbrews. Pound for pound (and per capita), NZ certainly appears to be fighting above it's weight when compared to Australia. We already had looked into getting some of the better beers on tap at the Taphouse and this just encouraged me even more.

Lake Wanaka

I picked up interesting (and some exceptional) beers in better bottle shops along the way and imbibed in the most picturesque spots. Lake Wanaka is one that springs to mind. I had done all the requisite wandering around this little town (including finding another Local!). My wife and mother, however, were keen to do more shopping but, having spotted what looked like an above average bottle shop (Wanaka Fine Wines), I arranged to meet up with them later on. I bought bottles of Epic Ale, Renaissance Porter and several others I can't remember. I also bought a wine glass and a bottle opener (fashioned as a Kiwi and found in a tourist shop) and found a spot right on the lake. It was a beautiful day and for 1 hour I completely blissed out.

Another Local - this time in Wanaka!

I also visited a couple of beer focussed venues the day before I flew home. I'd been to the Dux last time I was in Christchurch so was keen to check out The Twisted Hop which turned out to be a great spot. Well designed venue with a nice outdoor space (helped on the day I was there by glorious sunshine) and a few interesting beers, some of which are pumped from an engine.

The Twisted Hop (Christchurch)

Self sampling the Twisted Hop Sampling Paddle.

Hours before I flew home, I also dropped in to the Thirsty Weta. While it was closed I got to meet one of the owners (I think his name was John) and I loved his passion for showcasing NZ beers. They had a pretty impressive range both in bottle and on tap. He also gave me a business card which hopefully will come in handy (watch this space).

Finally, I picked up the following beers at The Thirsty Bloke Bottle to take home with me: Three Boys wild plum ale, Wigram Dakota Dark, Renaissance Porter, Green Man Whisky Bock, Epic Mayhem, Pink Elephant Imperious Rushin Stowt, Green Man Strong. Next week I'll sit down and start sampling!

All in all, a bloody fun trip. With flights so cheap at the moment, get yourself over there. Maybe next year we could arrange an Ale Stars Road Trip to New Zealand????????


  1. The South Island has it going on with 3 Boys Brewery and Emersons- if you you can source some of their brews for The Local that would be great!

  2. i agree on the Emersons tip, I just got my dad to bring over a couple of bottles for me - Oatmea Stout (organic and chocolatey),Taieri George (strong smooth spicy ale) and Bookbinder(new world ale). The Epics are a must get as well. I'm going to get into the Local this weekend, can't wait to check it out.

  3. Epic is coming v soon in bottle and, of course, we've announced the Anzac Day beerfest which will see 8 NZ beers on tap!

    Emersons IPA and Pilsner are bottles we normally have (subject to supply)..

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Heard about this via the Sydney FC Unofficial site.
    Just returned myself from 4 weeks in South Isle's deep south. Sampling Invercargill Brewery's Pitch Black,Wasp & Stanley Green. Also tried for the first time Harrington's (Weiss Bier),yum!
    Will see you on ANZAC Day if not before.


  6. Olivia Sinclair-ThomsonJune 2, 2009 at 9:31 PM

    Hey Steve,

    Funnily enough my husband and I were also tasting great beer at venues such as the Twisted Hop and Thirsty Weta ( open and big range - empty but ) March and we had a great time, I liked the 3 Boys stuff a lot.

    But ...the real reason I was in NZ is that I had a reunion, snap, same as yours. I never got to meet you, but then my Dad was saying we had family in Melbourne ...blah blah ....what's their name search husband had seen someone at the reunion wearing a Mountain Goat all fits together.

    So yeah ...I live in Melbourne, my dad's granny was an Elworthy ...and maybe one time we could get together and have a beer. I used to go to the local, when it was the local ...but times have changed, we live in Bacchus Marsh, with two little boys and St Kilda is like distant memory ...for now anyway.

    Anyway ...hi.