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Raise a glass to Nelson’s top craft breweries
Nelson is the home of micro-brewing in New Zealand. Hop along to one of these breweries to raise a glass on your next self-drive holiday
Nelson, on the South Island, is a buzzing town and the perfect spot from which to launch a self-drive holiday around the stunning Marlborough Sounds. It is also the self-anointed craft brewing capital of New Zealand (Wellingtonians might not agree, but we're not taking sides in this debate). It's full to the brim with micro-breweries producing some of the finest beers and ales you'll ever have the pleasure of enjoying.
If you're partial to a beer or two then 'hop' along to one of these fine establishments and sample some of their delights.
The Duncan family, owners of the Founders brewery, have a long tradition of brewing in Nelson that stretches back several generations to 1854. At their brewery, cafe and restaurant on Atawhai Drive you can sample their range of six beers, including porter, red ale, Pilsner, I.P.A., pale ale and stout, and watch the brewing process through the brewery's viewing window as you sip your beer.
The cafe serves a great range of food and the indoor and outdoor seating areas make it a great place to visit any time of year. Once you're finished your beer take a stroll through the aromatic hop garden while the kids play in the playground.
The Hop Federation, located in the village of Riwaka, claim that their brews 'capture the spirit and lifestyle of this special region.' They primarily use New Zealand hops and malts from Canterbury, so it's about as authentic Kiwi as it gets.
Having only opened in 2013, Hop Federation is one of the region's smaller breweries and really embodies the 'micro' in micro-brewery. But their beers are seriously tasty and their brewery tours, which you need to arrange in advance, have a very personalised feel – Simon Nicholas, the chief brewer, conducts all the tours himself.
If you want to sample all of Nelson's finest beers in one go, head along in March for the annual Marchfest, described as Nelson's coolest beer festival, to gorge yourself on quality beer, great food and cracking live music.