I’ve been meaning to write about the eats and drinks I experienced while in New Zealand for quite some time now (sheesh, it’s been 13 months since I returned!), and now have a reason to get it done:
That’s right, I’m blogging for New Zealand. I know I tend to mention it a lot, but this time it’s for a good cause and not just my obsession. :) The concept of Blog4NZ was thought up by a group of NZ travel bloggers who want the world to know that their country is still open to travelers despite the recent quake in Christchurch. They’re rallying other bloggers to write about their experiences in New Zealand to encourage people to visit. I’m hoping to write a few food-related posts here and a few everything else-related posts here.
So about halfway through my trip, I reached the South Island. After spending one more day in Nelson than planned due to overbooked accommodation, I started heading south on a very gloomy day. Our bus stopped so we could roam around Punakaiki to see the infamous Pancake Rocks before continuing onto Greymouth.
While New Zealand is gorgeous everywhere you turn, there are some places that some travelers may feel like they’re passing through simply because they have to. One of those places is Greymouth. Located on the notoriously beautiful west coast of the South Island, it’s mainly a mining town. Chances are, you’ll end up spending a night there since it’s situated between Nelson and Franz Josef, plus it’s the destination of the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch.
Like many of my fellow backpackers, I wasn’t really looking forward to a night in Greymouth, but we ended up having a great time! If you like beer, you’ll want to take the tour at Monteith’s Brewery. Trust me. Since it’s a fairly small place, the tour is short (yet informative and entertaining), which means you get to the tasting pretty quickly.
Oh, and what a great tasting it is! We were each poured about six samples of brews, from cider to black. At the very end, we each could pour our own full (yet small) glass of our favorite, which was fun…and tricky! The beer pours fast, which can lead to a glass of foam if you’re not quick enough. I went with the Summer Ale (it was indeed summer, despite my fleece), which is bright and brewed with rata honey. My other favorite was the Crushed Apple Cider made from apples grown in Nelson. It’s still the best and freshest cider I’ve ever tasted, and now they make a Crushed Pear Cider, too!
You’ll notice a jug of juice in the background. They provided that so that the folks who didn’t like beer could have something to drink. Awww. :)
When purchasing your brewery tour ticket, you’re given the option to add dinner for (I think) $10NZD extra. We were told it was a good deal for the amount of food, and as a hungry backpacker, that’s all I needed to know. They did have a vegetarian option (hooray!) which featured a homemade veggie burger as the entree, and it was quite good! Lisa from Canada (below) and I ended up ordering a couple pitchers of the Radler Bier and playing pool with a couple other backpackers, so it was a fun night.
Did I mention that I may or may not have gotten a little tipsy from the beer samples? You might want to have a snack beforehand…or not! ;)
And if you don’t like beer? Don’t despair…for most people, wine comes to mind when they think of New Zealand booze! I’ll address that next post. :)