On Friday I headed to Wellington for a hen’s night. Hen’s night? you ask. Won’t that be all RTDs, bubbles and giggling? No, yes and yes. Fortunately the bride is a good friend of mine and wasn’t offended when I said I preferred not to partake in the cartoon of lovely wine she had brought along. She’s such a good friend in fact, she took me to Regional Wines to stock up for our weekend away in Castlepoint.

I haven’t been to Regional Wines before and I was throughly impressed. Not only is the selection absolutely huge, they have pour-your-owns with fresh NZ craft beer, they give SOBA members a discount and the lovely man on the front desk informed me that I could have a box of beers couriered to Auckland for less than ten dollars! I grabbed some Epic Thornbridge Stout, Dux Ginger Tom and a pet bottle of Moa Pale Ale, all of which I enjoyed immensely. The Epic Stout was delicious, malty without a lot of bitterness – seriously, is there anything Epic doesn’t do well? The Ginger Tom is an alcoholic ginger beer with enough spice to leave your tongue tingling. And the Moa Pale Ale was a delight, light and hoppy, but easy to drink (in fact I drank my pet bottle in one – long – sitting).

My only regret? I didn’t buy enough beer for two nights and made the mighty mistake of switching to gin when I ran out. The Rimutakas are not fun with a hangover. To cheer me up the bride took me back to Regional Wines to refill my pet bottle before putting my on the plane to Auckland – I told you she was a good friend, didn’t I?