Nelson is a nice, quiet town with loads of confusing roundabouts, wearable art, and most importantly, breweries. When we stopped through, we only had time (and as this was the same day as our Marlborough winery tours, stamina) to go to Founders Brewery, which is nestled in Founders Heritage Park.
The LP guide said that admission into the park was free if you were only going to the brewery. However, when we stepped up to the plate, we ended up having a lengthy “discussion” with the women working the counter about how incorrect that was. It actually costs $7 to get into the park and an additional $5 to try three out of their five beers. As Laurel and I were only in Nelson because we wanted that beer, we decided to pay for entrance into the park (at a discounted rate because we were students – that is to say, we had student IDs without expiry dates…), and perhaps just have a pint a piece when we got to the brewery.
The park itself is…strange. Desperately clinging to the olden days, it is filled with loads of buildings containing mannequins and old paraphernalia. I don’t want to sound smarmy here, but we did find it extremely weird and slightly bemusing. Once we reached the Founders Brewery and Cafe (a short walk from the entrance), we hopped inside and considered our options. Instead of each having a $5 tasting, or each drinking a pint, we settled on sharing the $10 tasting, which included five of the beers on the roster: Blonde, Golden Ale, Red Head, Long Black and Generation Ale.
Founder’s Brewery is run by a father and his two sons, and was the first organic beer in New Zealand. We were big fans of the Generation Ale, which is spicy with a hint of hops, and the Long Black, which basically tasted like coffee. We were really disappointed in the pale ales, the Blonde and Golden. Although I’m not particularly a fan of pale ales to begin with, these two choices really lacked in taste. As for the Red Head, it is a good, creamy amber beer – if it’s something you prefer, you’ll love theirs.
The Cafe also offers a wide variety of delicious looking food, and if we hadn’t been on a budget, we would have definitely partaken in our share of goodies.
So, is the brewery worth the extra $7 to enter the park? I would say yes, but I love drinking beer from the source. I honestly wish we had made our entrance fee stretch further, but we were on a tight schedule. But you might be better off trying the beers on tap at Free House. – Jennifer