Posts Tagged ‘Mike’s’

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A holiday is as good as a change

November 2, 2010

I’ve had a bit of a holiday from blogging with not much going on in my beer world lately…but then when I look back I think I have enough to scape together a post, including a nice trip away on a real holiday. Getting ready for holiday is always a busy time, especially with a 1 year old. There was the job interview the day before, getting everything ready at work and home and then making sure that you get your bottles of beer sent away for the SOBA National Homebrew Competition. This was judged over the weekend and Grieg, the 2010 organiser (and judge) has a nice write-up here at his blog. I entered my Wrecking Ball Pale Ale – I have to wait till the 13th for the results but am a little nervous. It was a little different to the previous batch and sometimes I liked it, sometimes I wasn’t so sure + the judges probably hated the dark Crystal malt which started to come through more strongly as it aged.

Anyway, though preparing for holidays can be lots of work – once they’re under way, you realise what it’s all for. We arrived late afternoon in Rangiora for a nice catch up (and home brew) with my Grandparents. We conveniently missed an aftershock before heading to Kaiapoi and then Christchurch city. While there’s lots of evidence of the quake, much of the city seems generally OK and back up and running again (taking into account the clean-up so far and hidden damage) – it was quite different from the news which only shows the wreckage. Of course, you also start looking at everything and wondering if it was due to the quake or just general wear and tear and the ‘spot the collapsed chimney’ game gets old pretty quick.

Next morning we headed to Lyttleton and after a few tense moments in the tunnel, enjoyed a great antidote to the generic shopping experience of the city malls. I bought some Spelt grain from Piko Wholefoods for a brewing experiment and then a Mike’s IPA from a deli where we also had a nice coffee. From there it was into town and avoiding the CBD road works that have been in progress for the last few years as much at the quake damage, we did our bit of aid for the inner-city retailers. It looks like it was also ‘move your fermenter day’ as these vessels were being relocated at both the Dux de Lux and the Twisted Hop.

Next it was off to Banks Peninsula and after some stops at Little River, Barry’s Bay (for some delicious Peppered Havati and Maasdam cheeses) and Akaroa, we reached our ultimate destination – one of my favourite spots in the whole World – Le Bons Bay. After settling in at my Auntie and Uncle’s home, we enjoyed some home brew and home cooked food before retiring for the evening, when I experienced my only aftershock of the trip.

Saturday saw us back in Akaroa and then later fishing down at the beach, followed by a BBQ of our modest catch (1 Flounder and 1 Sole), amongst other goodies and some more home brew. On Sunday I whipped up a Spanish Tortilla for lunch using delicious and colourful free-range eggs and Purple Heart Potatoes and then it was off for a walk at a conservation project my Uncle is involved with. The trust has purchased a beautiful block of land incorporating re-generating native bush, a distinctive rocky peak and trampers’ hut. The perfect Sunday afternoon.

Catching tea

Dad and Bub enjoying a Sunday walk

On Monday we reluctantly headed back to the big smoke, but not before stopping again at the great cafe / gallery at Little River where I had an Epic Pale Ale with lunch – I noticed that a great range of craft beer is increasing available and high profile in Canterbury (far more so than when I lived there). That night we went to our old haunt, the Dux de Lux where I had to have Ginger Tom after smelling them brewing it earlier in the week. Unfortunately, my palate has been hoppified since I left Christchurch and I didn’t enjoy it like the good old days. Luckily, I was able to wash it down with a Nor’Wester Pale Ale.

After a few difficult days back at work, it was the long weekend where I brewed a Summer Ale using the Spelt. This went well, even though pre-mashing the unmodified grain was a bit of a chore. This was followed by a great day off on Monday where we checked out the finale of the Arts festival at Founder’s Park, including two great festival beers from the brewery.

Bring on Christmas!

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