Friday, 2 June 2017

Taupo - Crafty Trout Brewing Co

On 23 March 2017, after passing lush farmland and a geothermal power station, my bus from Rotorua gave a glimpse of Great Lake Taupo before arriving in Taupo. Pronounced toe-paw, the lake is in the caldera of the Taupo volcano and is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand.
Lake Taupo is drained by the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest, which starts at Taupo and a few miles downstream is channelled into a canyon to form the Huka falls. A riverside walk to the falls passes a cliff top bungee jumping point and a natural bathing pool where hot water runs into the river.
It is easy to find the Crafty Trout Brewing Co establishment, at 135 Tongariro Street, as it is on the same street and about 200 metres further from the lake than the main bus stop and i-SITE visitor information centre.
A brown 'Brewery' street sign points at the white-painted building across the dual carriageway and provides an excuse for a selfie!
My first visit to the Bier Kafe was in the evening after an afternoon walk on the Great Lake Walkway from Wharewaka Point back to Taupo. A NZ$ 15 tasting rack with four glasses is offered but I ordered a tall glass of Line / Taupo Pale Ale from the upstairs bar and found a seat on the balcony looking towards the park where the sun was setting.
The 4% ABV session ale is lightly hopped with a point of difference - it's seasoned with a hint of lemon and thyme. 'Ooompah' music on the sound system reinforces the Austrian feel of the Bier Kafe and cannot be avoided by sitting out on the balcony! The menu includes Austrian Pretzels (NZ$ 9), fresh fish with fries and salad (NZ$ 23) and beer garden pizza (NZ$ 17).
The balcony, with its vine covered front railings was a pleasant place to watch the evening sky turn pink as time passed and my glass emptied.
Inside, the Bier Kafe has whitewashed walls, some comfortable seating as well as rustic wooden furniture. A collection of decorative clocks adorn the walls.
There was a second chance to visit the Crafty Trout Brewing Co, before the departure of my bus to Auckland, two days later. (Booking in advance with NakedBus to get a seat for NZ$ 1 was a good idea even though the bus was delayed).
The ground floor shop area with beer and merchandise is at the front with the brewery at the back.
Brewmaster Anton Romirer was on hand so a photo opportunity with Ullage, the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine, was not to be missed! Anton was grateful to keep this copy and asked for CAMRA to send more materials his way. Hopefully, CAMRA members visiting from the UK will bring him a copy of their local branch magazine in future.
Anton mentioned that Michael Hardman, one of CAMRA's founders, is a regular visitor to the Crafty Trout.
Anton was born in New Zealand but with an Austrian father and a mother from London, there is an explanation for his Austrian style brewery and bar which he runs with Rebecca 'chef and boss'.
The brewery incorporates some advanced New Zealand technology in brewing equipment supplied by SmartBrew based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Anton is confident with the brewing system which was capable of doing three brews in his absence.
When I mentioned that I was catching a bus to Auckland, Anton said 'Watch out, you're leaving New Zealand  and entering Auckland!'. 
Before departing, I was able to buy a bottle of Hook / Vienna Amber to take away. I shared this bottle with Cathy, my Auckland airbnb hostess, on my last night in New Zealand. The 5.5% ABV is smooth and malty. Crafty Trout Brewing Co notes on the beer - A complex mix of malt and hops using the traditional lagering method of the early 1800s. This style of beer traces its roots back to roughly the same time and location as the Romirer Family's brewpub in Kobenz, Steiermark, Austria.

Crafty Trout Brewing Co, 135 Tongariro Street, Taupo, NZ
10am to late (Closed Tuesday)
Brewery tours daily 11am & 1pm
Ph. 07 929 8570

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Taupo - Crafty Trout Brewing Co

On 23 March 2017, after passing lush farmland and a geothermal power station, my bus from Rotorua gave a glimpse of Great Lake Taupo be...