THE PRIDE OF THE SOUTH
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Continuing on our Magic Bus Tour, we arrived in Dunedin, on
the southern island of New Zealand. The drizzly afternoon made perfect
weather for a brewery tour. We took the seven minute walk from our hostel
to Speight's Brewery, still on the original site it occupied in 1876.
Unique as a gravity fed brewery with lots of local history, we looked
forward to the one hour fully-guided tour, complete with a visit to the
Heritage Brewery Bar.
SPEIGHT'S PRIZE WINNING ALE
The tour began, featuring the beginnings of beer from Babylon in 6,000
BC where beer was made from a liquid called "bouza". In the mid
1700's, Captain Cook made a brew from rimu foliage, molasses and yeast
preventing his crew from contracting scurvy. A good idea, no?
Next we met a life-size replica of James Speight, a Yorkshire
businessman, his partners Charles Greenslade ( a maltster) and William
Dawson (a brewer) who seized the moment of the nearby Central Otago gold
rush to create a business enterprise. The company struggled at first,
but after their ales won gold medals at international exhibitions, sales
increased at a phenomenal rate.
By the early 1890's Speight's had become the biggest
brewery in New Zealand, and become known as the "Pride of the
South", Speight's Brewery. This enlightening historical perspective
complete with audiovisual and interactive displays, led to the eighth
floor of the gravity fed brewery to view the actual making of the beer.
SPEIGHT'S BREWERY AND ALE HOUSE RESTAURANT
As the term suggests, the raw materials are taken to the top
of the brewery and the finished beer is ready at the ground floor level.
The tour included lively and detailed explanations of the brewing process
Starting to work up a thirst by this time, we were ushered into a small
theater to witness one last passionate and patriotic presentation of the
culture of the Southern Man, and his "Pride of the South" beverage.
Goosebumps on our arms and wiping a tear
from our eyes as a response to the cinema, we sauntered into the Heritage
Bar for the promised tasting. Our minds had been prepared for these
samplings as we learned of the four places on our tongue where we taste
beer, and how 85% of this taste comes through the nose and the appreciation
of the beer's bouquet.
AKAISHA DRAWING BEER...TOUR GUIDE LOOKING ON
However, we were unready for the excellence and
distingushing flavors of Speight's Gold Medal Ale, Old Dark, the
Distinction Ale, or the Pale Ale. This first class informative and
entertaining tour was over, but not our plans for the evening. With big
smiles of satisfaction on our faces, we meandered next door to Speight's
Alehouse and ordered a pint of Distinction Ale, and one of Pale Ale.
Perusing the menu, again we were impressed at the variety and quality
of entrees and salads. We ordered one grilled lamb
salad, and one roasted lamb with fresh
vegetables. Undoubtedly the most tender lamb we have ever eaten, it was
exquisitely seasoned and presented.
DINING AT SPEIGHT'S ALEHOUSE
This could well be described as a New Zealand version of
heaven; locally raised lamb, freshly grown vegetables, and a famous and
historical brew to accompany the meal. The restaurant was full of patrons,
and their cordial conversations warmed us on this still cool, drippy
evening. Meal concluded, and completely content, we waddled back to our
hostel for the night.
While visiting Dunedin, the Speights Brewery Tour is a highly