Good beer and wine was just not something I equated to New Zealand.
I don’t know why.
I think it goes back to living in London, and our Kiwi friends could be spotted drinking Steinlager, a watered down excuse for a beer. I guess that is like saying that Fosters is an indicaiton of the beer in Australia, or Budweiser in the US.
Well that just comes down to me being a wine snob and thinking that only Australia can produce high quality wines.
Yeah.. well now I have called bullshit on myself for that one.
When visiting Auckland, we highly recommend that you skip out for the day to the outskirts of the city and visit a couple of wineries and breweries to sample some of the good Kiwi drop.
Hallertau Brewery, Auckland
We were pretty excited to have lunch at the Hallertau Brewery. We became major fans of micro-breweries whilst living in the US as they have so many great ones. You are usually guaranteed a flavourful beer.
The Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant, a New Zealand first, is the brainchild of beer maker Steve Plowman. Nestled in the greenery of Riverhead, only a twenty minute drive from the city, Hallertau did not let us down with its combination of brewing and epicurean lifestyle we were able to sit back and enjoy for a couple of hours.
It was worth the drive just for the fresh and bright decor of the brewery itself, the orange and golden hues a perfect complement to the ales and lagers we sampled.
We started with a beer sampling tray before our meal, before choosing our favourites to enjoy a pint of with a delicious lunch.
Hallertau prides themselves on the fact that they make their beer with their hands and only use yeast, rainwater and fistfuls of hops. There’s nothing we like more than beer that is pure of full of natural goodness.
They were all very good and it was difficult to choose just one. I went for the Hallertau Copper Tart- I love me a red ale – while craig enjoyed the Scwarzbier (black beer)
The food at Hallertau is fresh and full of natural flavours. They often use fruit and veg from their own kitchen garden as much as they can. They bake their own bread and make their own sauces. Eggs are laid by their own free roaming brewery chickens.
For lunch Craig enjoyed a roast pumpkin risotto…
and I chose grilled salmon with mozerella, caramelized onions, and tomatoes…
and Kalyra thought her fish and chips rocked the house…
And Savannah, well she was content to just chill in her car seat.
West Brook Winery, Auckland
After filling up on some good tucker, we jumped in the car and drove through the valleys to check out Westbrook Winery, a boutique family-owned winery, established in 1935.
West Brook have won multiple awards for their wines.
We met with Susan Ivicevich, the warm and friendly co-owner and chatted to her about the winery and how it was started by her husband’s Croatian family. The winery was called West Brook due to its location beside a brook, where the original vineyard once stood.
They, of course, felt no need to change the name once they moved.
The West Brook cellar door looks across an idyllic duck pond and terraced picnic area to row after row of our Waimauku vines. It is a picturesque setting to sit and get to know one of West Brook’s award winning bottles of wine and a picnic lunch
Susan took us through the selection of wines, teaching us a little about how the wines are crafted and sharing stories of her family and grandchildren, over the sampling of some fine reds and whites.
It was hard to choose one to take home with, but we settled on a bottle of 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir, which sits on our shelf here at home waiting for that special occasion where Mummy and Daddy can just sit and unwind over a nice diner together, just the two of us.
HALLERTAU BREWBAR & RESTAURANT:
Open: 7 Days, 11am – Midnight
Lunch, Dinner and All Day Grazing
Just 20 minutes drive from the city along State Highway 16.
1171 CoatesvilleRiverhead Hwy, Riverhead, Auckland
Ph: 09 412 5555
Fax: 09 412 7755
West Brook Winery
215 Ararimu Valley Road
From Auckland: Go to the end of the North Western Motorway. Turn left and then right at the roundabout. Follow out for about 5 km then turn right onto Old North Rd (opposite Soljans Winery). Drive for about 7km through the forestry and turn right into Ararimu Valley Rd. West Brook is 2 km on the left.
Our trip to Auckland was courtesy of Tourism New Zealand