With a full two weeks in Aotearoa over the festive period, this correspondent took the opportunity to go on a short North Island road trip with the Mrs – “a holiday within a holiday” to use the popular cliché.
From Wellington, the first stop was the annual New Year’s Tauherenikau races. This is about 1.5 hours north of Wellington, close to the wine country of Martinborough.
The Tauherenikau races is like stepping back in time. Being in a regional area, there’s nothing fancy or modern about this place. There’s no gates to buy tickets from, instead, you buy your tickets from the attendants who stop your car and get you to wind down your window to exchange cash for tickets (as you try to manoeuvre the long grass).
The booths to place your bets, toilet facilities, eateries, and other parts of the race course haven’t been upgraded since the place opened I reckon. I hope this never gets upgraded to be a fancy place – walking around in shorts, t-shirts and jandals was brilliant!
This is a real down to earth regional NZ day out. The jumping castles and kids train rides ensure this is a great family day out. Leave your high heels, fancy hats and suits at home for these races, this is Kiwi bro styles!
The next morning we set out for a six hour drive from Martinborough to The Tron. Haven’t heard of the Tron before? It’s the nick name for Hamilton. I’ll get to the reason why its call the Tron shortly.
Circa 20 years ago I went to Massey University in the small town of Palmerston North. Massey is only a 45 minute drive from the Tui brewery in Mangatainoka. Tui is the drop of choice for most locals, and of course as a student I took the opportunity to go on a brewery tour. As you can imagine, the memories came flooding back as the road trip drove past the Tui brewery. The mrs gave me strange looks as I reminisced (and stopped the car to take these pictures).
Anyway, back to more modern times and the subject of Hamilton’s nickname. A Hamilton radio DJ once famously proclaimed that Hamilton is the City of the Future, hence the name The Tron after the movie.
Hamilton is a city in the Waikato region and is 130km south of Auckland. It has an inglorious reputation of being boring. It’s often picked on, teased and ridiculed as not offering anything. However, I’m sure the people of Hamilton don’t give a toss as they hold the Super Rugby title after the Waikato Chiefs won their maiden title in 2012. SBW resided here in 2012.
So why has this correspondent bought mrs kiwisinoz to this place? Well, my brother lives here. During our visit, we saw for ourselves that The Tron does in fact have much to offer. One is the great weather, one of the others is the cluster of bars in the city centre. There is other stuff, but this is beer blog so I’ll keep it simple.
We decided to lunch at one of these bars called House on Hood. I reckon we chose the pick of the bunch. My bro informs us that it’s often the venue for after work drinks and is well known in the Waikato for its range of craft beers – perfect!
Hats off to House on Hood, it’s got something for everyone. One section has a bohemian theme, there’s a great range of craft beer, and the outdoor area caters for a band and has plenty of tables for al fresco dining. Our lunch hit the spot perfectly – the fantastic friendly service made the food taste even better.
The drop of choice on this occasion was an Invercargill Pitch Black by Invercargill Brewery – a beer from the giggle! (Invercargill is better known to NZers as “the giggle”). Apart from Speights, this correspondent had not previously tasted anything else from NZ’s deep south.
Watching it being poured from the tap, this stout appeared much like a Guinness. It has a very strong chocolate and coffee like taste. Surprisingly as I got towards the end of the glass, I wanted more…..normally these types of beers are more suited to accompanying food, however I reckon I could put a few of these down in a session.
But the road trip had to continue……so, after “internalising a very complicated situation in my head” I had no choice but to cool my heels – (didn’t want to try and grab any “ghost chups”). See the YouTube clip for more insight.
But I will be back to visit my little bro in The Tron so we can go back to the House on Hood and try their latest in NZ craft beer.
Quick game of word association…….how would you associate an ambulance and a bar?
I bet you were thinking: drunken youths drinking way too much to the point of requiring medical attention in the form of an ambulance.
However, this is not the case with St. Johns bar in Wellington, NZ. St Johns bar used to be the Wellington free ambulance building in the 1930′s, it was the first purpose built ambulance building in New Zealand.
Upon receiving an emergency call, the doors of this now iconic Wellington bar, once flung open and out sped one of the St. Johns ambulances.
These days the only things speeding out the door are patrons with their drinks as they head for the bean bags on the grass patch out the front. On those cracking Wellington days, the grass area is always packed without fail.
This correspondent was fortunate enough to see in the 2013 New Year here. The afternoon of 31/12/12 happened to be one of those cracking days. After ticking off family duties, this correspondent and Mrs kiwisinoz responded in the affirmative to the many texts from friends, siblings et al that simply read “St. Johns now!”
The popular saying “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day” was to the fore. The grass area at St. Johns was the perfect place to enjoy an early new year’s eve with the rug rats that belong to kiwisinoz’s family and friends. We even made an appearance on live TV. TV3 National News did an item on how each major city was preparing for NYE, for Wellington they filmed right in front of us at St Johns.
As the darkness descended, the rug rats were shipped off to their homes (each set of parents drew straws to determine who would be able to come back to see in the new year proper).
We all moved indoors. St Johns is one classy venue inside, let me tell you! The stylish interior fit out matches the old art deco building perfectly. It’s not really a venue for those who have just reached legal drinking age, rather it’s for those who appreciate the stylish surrounds rather than those requiring an ambulance after a trashy night on the turps.
St Johns has the name “Heineken” in its title. Despite this there are a variety of ales available, including NZ craft beer. However this correspondent stuck with Henies on this occasion (it was far easier to order…..“5 henies please”).
If you happen to be in Wellington on one of those sensational days, St Johns bar is a must!
Singapore is often visited as a 2-3 day stopover on the way to a destination further afield and/or on the way home. This correspondent bucked the trend and visited the Lion City for a week, without going further afield.
The heat and humidity from which there was no escape whilst outdoors was a welcome change from a cold Sydney winter. But the stifling heat did get the better of me a few times such that I had to seek refuge in the ridiculously large shopping malls.
Several sensational meals at the famous hawker centres saw the Mrs and I mixing with the locals while enjoying truly authentic meals for $3!
However, as the trip led to a grand finale, we decided to go high class at a roof top restaurant with our ex-pats friends. The restaurant was LeVel33 (yes, that’s a capital V, not a typo). I did a quick internet search prior to setting off – I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that LeVel33 doubles as a high end restaurant and…….a craft beer brewery! I had previously read about the growing craft beer scene in Singapore, but had failed to see any up until dining at LeVel33.
Upon entry, patrons walk past the massive brewing infrastructure that lines the corridor – I was in heaven!
At LeVel33, seasonal beers are crafted quarterly and available until the tap runs dry. There were 4 such seasonal beers on offer during our visit. A new one was in the process of being brewed that will be available next week – The Pumpkin Ale.
I tried the 33.2 Pale Ale, which is described as:
Medium bodied with a dry aftertaste; it possesses classic hoppy characteristics of the traditional IPA – originally crafted to last the arduous journey across the Indian Ocean.
This drop was outstanding – a smooth and easy drink that was perfect for the view from the LeVel33 balcony. I’ll struggle to top the beer porn for this drop, the Marina Bay Sands complex in the background has become a Singapore icon.
Next cab off the rank was the 33.3 Stout, which is described as:
A re-discovery of the original Irish stout crafted using the authentic brewing principles from Ireland, the full-bodied 33.3 Stout is flavourful and silky with a sweet roasty aftertaste.
This was also a very smooth and easy to drink beer – probably a little too easy to drink as I was expecting a full bodied meal in a cup. But instead it was not as dense as expected.
The sensational food at LeVel33 matched the great view and the fascinating craft beer equipment. A great end to a top week in Singapore – a destination that no longer has to be prefaced with a “via” somewhere else.
The melting pot of cultures that makes up the Singapore population was a great experience, from local Singaporeans, Chinese, Malaysians, Indians, and Westerner ex-pats – the mix of people was all around.
The first postcode I resided in when I obtained the “inoz” suffix was NSW 2041. That was some 13 years ago when the Wallabies held the Bledisloe and the RWC, and my only exposure to Aussie beer was VB and Tooheys.
Fast forward to 2012 and the only thing on the above list that still holds true is that I’m back in NSW 2041 (with a number of different postcodes in between including a couple of other countries). For those who aren’t in the know, 2041 is the Balmain/Rozelle postcode – the glorious inner west!
2041 is well known for its old style pubs such as The London, the Dry Dock, the Riverview and many more.
The latest entrant into the popular Balmain pub scene is East Village Balmain. They aptly describe themselves on twitter:
“Balmain’s only true craft beer venue dedicated to serving real beer and real pub food to real people every day and night of the week”.
East Village Balmain is a fantastic bar and restaurant that this correspondent can now stumble home from after working through the latest in craft beer without needing a cab fare. This is well worth the trip for those looking for somewhere new. It’s only a stone’s throw from Balmain East Wharf. It’s the old Belgian Beer Café.
The early sitting showed that this is a family friendly pub, with plenty of rug rats and older kids enjoying pizza while their folks enjoyed their end of the week beverage in the dining area at the rear of the pub.
The front area is rug rag free, in fact we enjoyed our food and drinks while almost forgetting the other area. East Village Balmain is a place for all.
Mrs kiwisinoz and I had a fantastic meal consisting of chicken wings, croquets, and pizza a couple of Fridays ago. You really know you’re in 2041 in this place. The walls are lined with photos and pictures of the area dating back to the early 1900’s. There’s also memorabilia from the area scattered throughout.
Onto the beer review. It’s Stone & Wood’s ’The Mash Collective’ Amasia Rumweizen. It’s actually already been reviewed on this blog, however, this correspondent has a different view to the one already documented. This drop is described by Stone & Wood:
The first brew from our side project The Mash Collective is a rumweizen called Amasia. For this single batch, we’ve taken a classic German dunkleweizen and mashed it together with molasses, the core ingredient of a popular local spirit. Blended with some brew house magic, we finished it off with a splash of rum. Think fresh local bananas, loaded with rum and raisin ice cream and dark chocolate with the lingering warmth of a fine spirit.
For me, it was too exotic. The rum flavour was over powering. It certainly didn’t taste like just a ‘splash’. It was not enough of a beer for mine. However, credit to Stone & Wood for having a crack at this. As mentioned, others have viewed it more favourable so it must be doing ok.
I’ll certainly be back to East Village Balmain to experience the magnificent food, service and variety of craft beers in the fridge….and then stumble home afterwards.
This correspondent has had the privilege of lapping up some amazing weather in tropical QLD over the past week – namely on Hamilton Island. With temperatures in the low 20’s and glorious sunshine, it’s an ideal place to escape the Sydney winter without needing a passport. The facilities and level of customer service on the island have been unbelievable.
I have learnt a valuable lesson for future island trips though: BYO craft and/or unique beers. The only options on the island are the standard commercial beers, which is fair enough for a tourist destination I guess.
The highlight of the week without a doubt was the full day sailing trip around the Whitsundays which included snorkeling off Chalkies Beach, chill out time at the sensational Whitehaven Beach, and cocktails on the return leg to the Hamilton Island marina. Not a bad way to spend a day.
Our sail was probably not quite the same as the original discovery of the Whitsunday Islands by Captain Cook on HMS Endeavour some 250 years ago. To put Cook’s discovery into perspective, archaeologists have found evidence that Aborigines of the Ngaro tribe settled in the region around 8,000 years ago…..Wow!
The tour was operated by Cruise Indigo and the boat called On The Edge. In fact, I have granted exclusive kiwisinoz.com.au membership to On The Edge – the skipper explained that the boat operated in NZ’s Bay of Islands for 17 years before coming across the Tasman. It has joined the throngs of Kiwis now calling Australia home (and the Aussies have claimed it…..sorry – I couldn’t resist!).
The only dark moment was when the skipper announced the drinks list on board. The only beers were VB and XXXX Gold. At that point I was close to jumping over board and swimming back to shore to pick up a six pack of anything else. However I stayed on board and scratched down a couple of XXXX Gold – I can now claim to have done my bit for the QLD economy.
A huge thanks to the brilliant crew aboard On The Edge, Josh, Stewie and Rochelle. A great day out and highly recommended!
9 June 2012 marked the start of 2 things, 1) the southern hemisphere international rugby season, and 2) the All Blacks 2nd reign as world cup champs. In the modern rugby era, world champs have notoriously suffered a hangover from their victory and hence have not started the following season well. The ABs have never suffered this hangover – because they hadn’t won the damn thing for so long (sorry for the soft expletive, that’s 24 years of frustration finally over)!
Their first game of 2012 v Ireland was much anticipated – were they going to suffer the famous world cup hangover and in doing so hand the Irish there first ever victory over the ABs in their 107 year ding dong battles?
I copped a heap of confident and jovial jibes from Irish friends in the week leading up to the first test – they were talking of breaking the 107 year drought. The Paddys were talking of “old man McCaw” and so on. I’ve always loved a good verbal battle with the Irish, mainly because it always ends in a good laugh and a beer.
I was confident to the extent that I donned my AB replica jersey, put my drinking boots on and headed to an Irish pub in Surry Hills called the Porterhouse. After copping a few abusive yet good natured comments from the Paddy patrons (what else did I expect wearing an AB top that particular night in a Paddy pub!?!?), I settle into some top quality Guinness. The Porterhouse is one of those great old style Irish pubs that had me reminiscing about the 2001 ABs game in Dublin that I was fortunate to attend.
The service from the cool, calm and collected bar staff was sensational. Not once were they frazzled despite the bar often being 5 or 6 deep. The quality of the Guinness was also a credit to this place.
As it turned out the ABs had a resounding 42-10 win, the only hangover here was going to be mine from the many Guinness and the whiskey that an Englishman in our group owed me after he foolishly bet me that Ireland would win.
For the second test I decided to stay in and earn a few credits at home. A visit to Dan Murphy’s at Top Ryde had me salivating at the variety of craft beers from around the globe. I chose Hook Norton Twelve Days from the UK which I had never heard of.
The first 2 credits for this drop is that it comes in a 500ml bottle and is 5.5%. The Hook Norton Brewery has been going since 1849. Some interesting info is that their brewery, deep in the Oxfordshire country side is still powered by a steam engine. JW Clarke, the great great grandson of John Harris, the founder of Hook Norton Brewery has his autograph on the bottle. It warms the cockles of my heart knowing that this drop is steeped in tradition, history and family.
On pouring it into a glass the sight of it had me thinking that it is going to be like a Guinness with its very dark appearance. Very appropriate I thought as the 2nd test was about to kick off. However, looks are deceiving. This drop was not like a Guinness. It’s loaded with the tastes of strong malts and a very nutty taste that lingers and lingers…and lingers…and then a very subtle sweet taste appears. This is a stroke of genius!! I wouldn’t say this is a sessionable beer, instead one to be appreciated in a more civilised manner.
I was feeling far from civilised watching the 2nd test as the Irish almost broke their drought. The ABs stumbled their way to a last gasp 22-19 win over a very fired up and focused Irish. Full credit to BOD and his men for nearly pulling it off. A sigh of relief from all NZers as DC slotted the winning droppie in the 80th minute.
For our Irish readership, it’s best not to mention the 3rd test.
This correspondent has just arrived on Hamilton Island for a winter escape so will report on the beers, activities, restaurants etc and is open to recommendations from readers.
It’s a Sunday morning and the alarm goes off at 5.20am – absolute craziness is what most people would say, and they’d be right. However Sunday 20th May 2012 was the third Sunday in May which means only 1 thing - the running of the annual SMH Sydney Half Marathon (all you beer lovers knew that already of course). This year it turned 21. Happy 21st!
You’re probably wondering why, on a beer blog there is talk of early Sunday mornings and half marathons. Let me enlighten you – this correspondent has taken part in this annual event since 2004 (I think, or maybe it was 2005). It’s the annual body cleansing period in which beer is not entered into the system for a period of time (again…..crazy talk on a beer blog I hear you scream). But before you click to another website, there is beer involved – an absolute cracking one at that!
The day prior to the run, I needed to ensure I had an adequate supply of the amber liquid as a reward for the hard slog of training in the weeks prior. The Beer Cartel in Sydney is a craft beer lover‘s heaven. The boys there help me in my quest to find a rewarding and untried drop after crossing the finish line. I was so entrenched in the beer purchasing process that I almost tried a free sample on offer – luckily I remembered that I had 21.1km to run first!
The great thing about the Sydney half marathon is that the course is within the city, which means the runners get to see some spectacular Sydney icons just as the sun is coming up and are free of the usual masses of people, cars and noise.
The most entertaining part of the run is through Pyrmont – all the runners are given a massive cheer and round of applause at 7am from the patrons of the Casino night clubs who have just finished their “night” out and are heading home.
The vast diversity of running styles, running outfits and people is a real opener. There’s always a guy who runs 21.1km with a heap of coins and keys in his pocket – I see this every year and still wonder – why?!? It must be bloody annoying.
This correspondent finished the run in a respectful time of 1 hour 47 minutes.
Enough about running already!
After almost 2 weeks without a beer, it was time to get stuck in. Of the recommendations from the lads at the Beer Cartel, the first bottle I opened was a Yeastie Boys Digital IPA. You guessed it – Yeastie Boys is a NZ crafter brewer. The Digital IPA is a limited release Indian Pale Ale.
If you’re after a subtle taste of malts and hops, stay away from this little puppy! Wow! This drop is extreme. As it rightly says on the bottle its “an aggressive wee beast”. Every single swig was an explosion of top quality malts and hops in my mouth, and it lasted forever. The beauty of this beer is that this explosion did not disappear as the end of the bottle approached – it was evident right down to the last drop. A highly recommended beer that this correspondent will be purchasing again and again – however, it is a limited release so I’m not sure if that’s going to be possible.
Another quick fire trip home to Wellington for some official business and a catch-up with the whanau just happened to coincide with a Canes v Crusaders Super Rugby match up at the cake tin – you little beauty!
It was also a perfect opportunity to make a debut visit to another one of Wellington’s relatively new boutique beer venues – The Little Beer Quarter. I’d read about this place and also follow it on social media without having set foot in the place – there you go folks, social media’s pulling power is real, believe the hype!
Wellington’s thirst for small boutique venues as opposed to big commercial “gotta be seen at” bars and clubs has seen some award winning classy watering holes pop up. The Little Beer Quarter falls into this category. Situated in a city laneway (ala Melbourne) the LBQ is an absolute gem. There’s no screaming signage begging you to come in.
LBQ’s beer menu will have lovers of craft beer salivating!
The drop of choice this time was a Perfection Pale Ale from kiwi craft brewery Renaissance (I think this is a unique beer review for Botf – has Renaissance appeared before?). The brewery is situated in the heart of Marlborough wine country. Their website proclaims:
“We produce top end, ultra premium ales that enlighten the palate and thrill the senses. Our beers are made from the pure waters that flow from the southern alps”
This goes some way to explain the classy looking bottle that at first glance could be mistaken for a port. The other beauty of the bottle is that its 500ml!
The Renaissance Perfection Pale Ale is packed to the rafters with taste. It’s a classic English style pale ale with a very strong nutty and toffey taste. Its appearance is very creamy like – I can see this drop going down a treat in an old English pub in the middle of winter. I loved the fruity and nutty taste. It went down a treaty with a selection of LQB’s tasting plates. The beef skewers I could come back for anytime!
Piri Weepu, Andrew Hore, Hosea Gear, Aaron Cruden, Ma’a Nonu – not a bad bunch of rugby players you would have thought. Not so according to the new Canes coach Mark Hammett. There was public outrage in Wellington when the Hammer axed all these star players and opted for a young inexperienced side. I’ll put my hand up to confess I was one of those Wellingtonians voicing outrage.
“It’s gonna be a tough year for us Canes fans aye”
“If we have a bad year, they’ll get rid of Hammett and then Ma’a and Piri will come back”
These were just some of the lines I was blurting out when all the news broke on the Canes fiasco late last year.
Wow! The Canes and the Hammer defied all predications of being S15 cellar dwellers by putting on a decent showing so far. TJ Peranara, Beauden Barrett, Tm Bateman – some of the no names who have restored public faith in the Canes franchise and have allowed the Hammer to walk the streets of Wellington safely (although, they have dropped off after back to back losses).
This correspondent jumped at the chance of seeing his beloved Canes take on the Crusaders who can field names such as Carter, Read, Franks x2, Whitelock and Dagg. An added bonus for being in attendance was to applaud Dan Carter as he jogged out alone for his 100th game for the Crusaders.
A good old NZ rugby derby can’t be beaten (although visiting the cake tin in the evening for a professional game is a far cry from sitting in the Millard Stand at Athletic Park in a howling southerly and driving rain at 2.30pm).
Anyway, despite the 42-14 flogging the Crusaders dished out, it was a pleasure to visit the tin with devoted Canes fans.
Thanks Wellington for another great few days, each time I am blown away by your character and ever changing face. One of these trips I probably won’t leave…….
I came back to Oz declaring “this is the most amazing craft beer I have ever had”. Much to my disappointment, there are very few places in Oz that stock Moa. How are these guys going to allow my Aussie friends to indulge in their amazing beers?
This is no longer an unanswered question. Just like the 30,000 NZers who arrive to live in Australia every year, Moa has arrived on these shores. Kiwisinoz was fortunate enough to attend the Moa – Sip and Sample tasting afternoon run by Beer Cartel on Feb 11th. This was an unforgettable afternoon let me tell you folks!
Devon Tong from Moa was in attendance to explain the intricate details of each variety to the fortunate group of 20 people who were lucky enough to secure a ticket.
Five Moa varieties were tasted as we learnt about the journey of Moa in its short life to date. Interestingly the founder is Josh Scott, son of the very famous (in NZ!) Allan Scott. Allan Scott is a very popular Marlborough winery. You can imagine the tension between father and son when son declared his intention to open a brewery in NZ’s most famous wine growing region………
The five varieties tasted were:
- Moa Original
- Moa Pale Ale
- Moa Methode
- Moa Blanc
- Moa Noir
This correspondent had a huge session the night before so decided to drive to the tasting – SHOCKING ERROR OF JUDGEMENT!
I could only sample each one with a quarter of a glass. Each and every one of the five were sensational. They were each accompanied by the most appropriate food to complement the drop. Personal favourite was the dark beer – Moa Noir. The strong chocolate taste and aroma made this a sensational teaser. It went down a treat with the chocolate brownie. This would be a great finisher after a big meal.
It would not be appropriate to review each and every one of the five Moa beers here, I need to have more than a couple of sips to fully embrace these beers. So I purchased a mixed 6 pack to enjoy.
At the end of the tasting, a raffle was drawn with the winner taking home a 1500ml bottle of Moa Methode. And the lucky winner is……..kiwisinoz. Yes, I am now the proud owner of this monstrous bottle. I’d need a rather large brown paper bag to sneak this one past the officials on the ferry – could look dodgy.
Moa has been fortunate to secure the latest Local Taphouse “Tap Takeover”. This will be held in Sydney on 21 March and Melbourne on the 20th March. Be sure to get your Moa fix at these sessions.
Moa, the giant bird has been extinct for hundreds of year, but the beer has just begun its life, and now it’s available in Oz.
By pure chance kiwisinoz is visiting all of the capital cities that NZ has had since 1840. Russell, a small town located in the Bay of Islands was NZ’s capital in 1840. The European population comprised of deserting seamen, runaway convicts from Australia, and grog sellers. The town became lawless and was dubbed the “Hell Hole off the Pacific”.
Eventually Maori warriors felled Russell which resulted in the many fleeing the town, allowing it to be rebuilt in a more respectable manner.
Our 10 minute ferry ride from Paihia to Russell led us to a very historical location in Russell. This correspondent can confirm that the Paihia to Russell ferry doesn’t cater for anyone to drink a bottle of amber liquid and photograph it.
There are many aspects of Russell that are steeped in history. One of the most significant is that it is home to the watering hole that can proudly claim the status as NZ’s first licensed hotel in NZ (this was granted in 1827). This is The Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Today there are no Maori warriors or lawless European settlers, instead a very quaint setting with a live (chilled out) band on the foreshore directly opposite, entertaining the many tourists.
The Duke of Marlborough’s interior is a step into the back into the early 20th century – quite exquisite. More importantly, it has a respectable Kiwi Craft Beer menu. The chosen drop on this occasion was Moa. We’ll get to the beer shortly……more about the area first.
Paihia is the jewel in the crown of the Bay of Islands – a glorious beach and countless adventure activities and more. The Swedish, German, English, Aussie, Russian and other accents is testimony to the pulling power of this little gem. Given NZ’s summer weather tendencies, we were fortunate to a hit a good spell of sunshine.
Kiwisinoz spent half a day on a fishing boat and successfully landed several snappers. Surely all this talk about old pubs, European settlers, and sensational fishing has pommy_ch tempted to visit one of his colonies.
A Bay of Islands description might as well be deleted if Waitangi is not mentioned. Just 1.5km from Paihia, Waitangi is the where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6th 1840 between the Maori chefs and the European settlers. It set out how the two peoples are to live together. Feb 6th is NZ’s national day. Although almost 172 years has passed, the treaty is still clouded in controversy.
Following this, kiwisinoz jumped on a day tour to visit the northern most point in NZ. I had to remind myself that I’m in NZ while on this day tour, the foreign accents on the trip could have fooled anyone into thinking they were somewhere in Europe!
Highlights were 90 mile beach (that’s the stretch of coast right at the top of the north island). European settlers named it 90 mile beach – it’s actual 64 miles – a slight rounding error perhaps, or a measuring instrument slightly out. What is amazing is that 90 mile beach is a state highway! When the roads are closed, traffic is diverted to the beach (provided the tide is not in!).
Cape Reinga is the most northern point in NZ. It is a very sacred place for the Maori. It’s where spirits enter the underworld. As the picture below shows, I was exactly 1,975km from work in Sydney, 6,211 km to the South Pole, and 3,827km to the equator (in case you were wondering).
Ok, so the scene has been set, now to the all important beer review. As mentioned earlier, The Duke of Marlborough has an impressive beer menu. One particular beer stood out for me as I had never heard of it – the Moa Original. On closer inspection of the bottle, I learned that it has won silver at the Australian International Beer Awards, gold at the NZ Brew Awards, bronze at the Asia Beer Awards. An admirable haul of medals that Mark Todd on Charisma would be proud of. The name Mao is taken from the giant flightless bird that once roamed the NZ landscape. It reached an impressive 3.7m in height and weighed about 230kg. They became extinct several hundred years ago.
The Moa Original is a relatively undiscovered gem for mine. It’s smooth on the way down, with the taste being a perfect blend of malt and hops. It’s easy to drink with a refreshing after taste right down to the last drop. A natural artesian water spring flowing directly beneath the Moa Brewery adds to the distinct flavour. Unlike the giant bird, this beer is not big and bold, but it’s equilibrium of ingredients had this correspondent nodding furiously in approval. My curiosity of the Moa – the giant extinct bird and the beer are now equals.
On perusal of the Moa website, I discovered there are in fact 10 varieties of beer and 2 ciders and is currently one of the largest New Zealand beer exporters to the United States. The Moa Brewery is nestled amongst the vines of the world famous winemaking region of Marlborough, New Zealand.
We’re off to NZ’s next capital city tomorrow – Auckland.