Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Christchurch Goodness

Before flying to New Zealand's North Island, we had another 1/2 day to spent in Christchurch.  Which was fine by us, since it involved staying with the ever-helpful Matt S and his wife Kate, and drinking Kiwi beer.  Thanks, Matt and Kate!

We visited The Twisted Hop for a happy hour beer - great IPA there, among other choices.  One of my favourite NZ breweries.

Then we stopped by Harringtons for "flagon" fills - there is a filling station adjacent to most of their bars.  NZ doesn't usually do glass growler fills, instead they fill plastic PET (pop) bottles in the 1L-2L size range.

Lots of selection at Harringtons!

Then it was off to Matt and Kate's place for dinner and some beer in the warm February evening sun.

We assembled a lovely selection of Kiwi beers for the night, and Matt even dug into his cellar for some special bottles, which which I very much appreciated.

One special bottle was a collaboration beer led by Epic Brewing and made in conjunction with... well... practically every brewery in New Zealand.  Very tasty, and very, very Kiwi!

The possibly most interesting beer was also the last - a really wonderful barleywine intimately connected with the Christchurch quakes.  The Twisted Hop (where we had beer earlier that day) had a brewery in Christchurch's Central Business District.  They did some seismic upgrades, so their brewery was well-equipped to survive an earthquake.  When the second (big) earthquake hit, they had a barleywine in the fermenter, bubbling away.  Their brewery survived the quake, but the brewery itself was in a region so ravaged that it was designated a "red zone" that no one was allowed to enter (since a building might fall on you at any moment).  So Twisted Hop had to stand by while their brewery stood idle for 6 months - with a barley wine sitting untouched in a fermenter.  Once they were allowed back to the brewery, Twisted Hop bottled the extra-conditioned barley wine and sold it under the name "Red Zone," for obvious reasons.

And Matt shared one of these rare bottles with me.  I really can't thank him enough.  An amazing story, and an amazing beer.  It was wonderful.

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