Two days ago, we arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand on a rain-soaked evening. I was feeling pretty knackered, but we still made an effort to go out in this great town. I’d spent the best part of the previous four days trying a number of different beers. Some packed a punch, some were average, but none left me feeling that it was their time to shine.
After awaking to a beautiful blue sky and nothing but sun, we took a day trip to lovely Arrowtown. Sitting in a valley with the hills above, the small town centre is preserved in the ‘ye olde’ style of a gold rush town. I even saw people panning for gold in the river. It’s very nice and we walked around for awhile, even hearing ‘air raid’ sirens that were quickly followed by a fire engine and ambulance rushing to the scene of a car accident.
But it was hot in those hills, so we (I actually) ate some chocolate and then asked for directions to the Arrow Brewing Company. We knew it existed and were eager to try the unique brews on offer. Director and brewer, Greg greeted us and we decided to share a sample tray (with generous pours). Six varieties washed down our throats, each one mesmerising the senses. Co-brewer, John arrived during our tastings and after saying hello, entered the brewhouse to attend to the nectar of the gods.
I could barely split two beers, each so full of flavour that I wish I was an alcoholic so I could drink them for breakfast instead of my daily long black. But the first beer off the rank left its taste that neither me nor Andrea could forget: the Tobin’s Cask Ale. A gorgeous amber colour with a powerful bite and hoppy boldness that leaves you happy as Larry (or even Barry). The tasting notes say late hop additions and I say it hits the spot!
The Wee Heavy Scotch Ale was the closest second possible, equally great in a completely different way. It was a much higher 7.8%, strong and very tasty with a terrific finish. Greg and John are also developing a Cherry Ale that we tried. It went down nice and smooth, but they told me it would be bigger in flavour (and alcohol) in the near future. So the next time you’re in Queenstown, do NOT miss the short trip to Arrowtown to visit the brewery.
Honourable mention: John also insisted that we try the Christmas Ale, which was delicious in its cinnamon-fruity glory. And at 9.8%, right up my alley!
Name: Tobin’s Cask Ale
Brewery: Arrow Brewing Company
Location: Arrowtown, New Zealand