Finding Hoppiness at Wanaka Beerworks

One of the great things about Wanaka is the social side. A lot of people living here say there is a certain “vibe” here. Perhaps they mean the openness people have here to hang out? We have spent the whole week meeting up with different people, from catch-up dinners with people we’ve met through our travel, to going to the cinema, and today we’re meeting up with another. And, what’s a better social catalyst than beer? That’s why today we’re checking out Wanaka’s very own micro brewery.

Haircuts gone wrong

We’ll wait at least until midday before the drinking starts though, so until then, we are giving each other a haircut. You may have noticed from the photos recently but Robin does look like he has a dead animal on his head, especially when the wind blows. He hasn’t had a haircut since that cut that was far too fashionable for him to pull off back in Taranaki. He needs some serious work.

In true backpacker style, Laura whips out the scissors and shaver to save on the cents and gets to work on his head. To anyone out there who is thinking of travelling with someone else for a long period of time, whatever you do don’t cut each other’s hair. You will end up HATING each other forever! Well, Robin has kept Laura’s haircut consistently bad, but let’s just say Robin is NOT happy with his…

Driving in style around Wanaka Driving in style around Wanaka
The ingredients to hoppy goodness The ingredients to hoppy goodness
A closer look at the mechanisms A closer look at the mechanisms
The props to a good beer tour The props to a good beer tour

Arriving at the brewery in style

As the afternoon draws closer, Robin warms up to the fact that he looks like the dork he really is and we meet up with our drinking buddy, Mani from Germany, to arrive at the Wanaka Bakpaka. Ian, our host, has kindly allowed us to borrow the hostel’s VW Beetle to drive to the Wanaka Beerworks.

It’s a reunion with Mani then time to hop in a German car with our German friend to drink some… non-German beer. However, the Beetle is OLD – really old. The gear numbers have worn off the stick, the indicators only work via a hard-to-find switch, and the engine makes an alarming roar. This makes for a slow and hilarious ride out to Wanaka Beerworks.

Wanaka Beerworks

Once again, the our activity of the day takes us out to Wanaka Airport! Honestly, it’s all going on down here! Not only are there skydives, Oxbow off-roading and jet sprint boats that we did yesterday, and a whole bunch of museums, but it just happens to hold a microbrewery.

We discover the entrance of the microbrewery at the entrance of a toy museum (yes, we too would put the two together), where we are welcomed by David. He is going to be our Wanaka Beerworks tour guide today!

Inner workings of a New Zealand microbrewery

Beer is a big thing in New Zealand with more than 160 microbreweries dotted around the country. The Wanaka Beerworks is one of them serving beer to the masses of Wanaka, Queenstown and Arrowtown. Yet, there is a huge amount of work going into the brewing process as we are about to discover.

David takes us into a small room taken over by four large fermenting and conditioning tanks and a group of slightly smaller tanks.

Hops, malt, yeast and wheat, the key ingredients to beer-making are sat within jars as props for how the brewing process works averaging on about a month to make! David really goes into all the inner workings of the brewery, answering all our questions (even if he didn’t know, he would find out for us). From the tour itself, you can really tell that beer brewing on a small scale like this really comes out of passion.

Mmmm, tasters Mmmm, tasters
They are either laughing at Laura's jokes or laughing at how red her face is getting... They are either laughing at Laura's jokes or laughing at how red her face is getting...
Arriving back at the backpackers with the goods Arriving back at the backpackers with the goods

Brewery tour to beer tastings

We get a closer look at the machines used to the fill the bottles, where the kegs are stored, how beer is filtered, how the beer gets its bubbles, and even the bottle labelling, before moving to the cafe for some beer tastings.

A glass table with some sort of engine as its stand is our surface for beer drinking! David gives us a tray each of six beers. Not only do we have some written info to identify each beer, but David explains each and every one of them. We’re then left to chill out and enjoy an array of tastes!

Hoppiness is found!

There are the some safe favourites, like pilsner and the popular Cardrona Gold, while we taste some more eccentric flavours, such as a coffee stout! Wanaka Beerworks also produces a couple of beers under the name Jabberwocky, the original name of the microbrewing company, so we dabble in those too.

After good drink and good conversation, we head back to the Wanaka Bakpaka with some Wanaka Beerworks Brewski, Treble Cone, and cider. We’ll need it after the drive back into Wanaka in this death trap of a Beetle! (Don’t worry, Robin did not go over the drink driving limits during the making of this blog post. Laura and Mani made sure to finish his tasters).

The evening is finished off with a visit from Marika, who we met on the Wild Wire tour! (We told you Wanaka was a social little town).

Tomorrow, we’re leaving Wanaka with a bang! Hopefully, fingers crossed, the weather is good for jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! Find out tomorrow!

Laura and Robin

Boozing at the beerworks
Boozing at the beerworks Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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