The adventures in the great beer land that is  Nelson didn’t end with the wedding reception. Although I was sharing accommodation and a car with non-beer-geeks, I still managed to fir in a couple of stops.

The post-wedding event took place at the Moutere Inn, a half hour’s drive away from Nelson Central. A more welcoming place could not have been found. Picnic tables outside, couches and tables inside, it was busy for a pub on Sunday afternoon and with good reason. There was a magnificent range on tap and I’m very sad that I only got to sample two before my carload decided to leave. My first was the Golden Bear wheat beer. I’m not sure if the missed the mark (wheat beers can be tricky) or if it’s due to the American style, but to me it lacked that ripe avocado tang  I like so much in the Tuatara Hefe. I could be comparing apples with oranges though. The Spring and Fern porter was next, a nice simple porter with malty tones. I could happily have stayed on the rest of the afternoon.

The following day my carload of friends departed for the Interislander at lunch and deposited me at the Free House bar to wait for my evening flight. Unfortunately it wasn’t open and by the time I’d realised, the car had disappeared down the street. I texted my Dad with my dilemma and he suggested the Sprig and Fern Tavern, saying it wasn’t far. Or it wouldn’t have been had I not 1) been carrying luggage and 2) gone to Milton instead of Hardy Street.

Again, it just seemed like a really welcoming place – not so much the bar staff (although they were nice), just the ambience. A cute little converted villa, nestled amongst suburbia and the old folks home. I spent a happy afternoon there, trying different beers, writing blog posts and letters and listening to the regulars who drifted in and out.* I tried the porter again – still good; the IPA with a nice zing; and the summer ale that was light with champagne like bubbles and even a slight champagne taste. I also had the best pinwheel scone in the world – bacon, olive, sun-dried tomatoes and cottage cheese – freaking amazing. I’d go back for that alone.

My adventures in Nelson were far too short and I know I’ll be back for a longer trip. I just need some fellow beer-lovers to keep me company, which should be too hard to find. And in the meantime I’ve got two litres of Sprig and Fern dopplebock to keep the memories alive.

*Big thanks to the guys who told me not to catch a taxi, but to shuttle instead, saving me a great deal of money.

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