Best buys | The Garage Project's Chateau Aro

Best buys

The Garage Project's Chateau Aro

How on earth can I pick a single wine of the week from my two week trip to New Zealand? The answer is I can’t so I’m chickening out and going for a beer

That’s not such as cop-out as it might sound as a) New Zealand has an incredible craft beer scene and b) the beer - Wellington-based Garage Project’s Chateau Aro - also has a wine connection.

It’s a lager brewed with the juice and skins from Larry McKenna’s 2014 Escarpment pinot noir so not surprisingly it’s deeply vinous but there’s also a rich dark lager character. If you come across it (and I suspect that’s only likely to be in New Zealand*) watch out - it’s strong at 8.5% ABV - a bit reminiscent of a barley wine only drier (think a pumped up Rodenbach).

It was very good on its own when I drank it with Larry and his winemaker Huw at the end of our tasting but I reckon I’d enjoy it with venison or pigeon - or a cheeseboard. It would be spot on with Stilton.

(Incidentally if you find yourself in Wellington check out Hashigo Sake, an amazing underground beer bar with over 300 beers. Perversely I ended up drinking a beer from San Francisco - the Almanac Dolores Saison.)

* If you fancy a similar beer closer to home try the Wild Beer Co’s Modus Operandi though it’s not quite as winey.

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