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It is over 150 years since hops were first planted in Nelson and those early German and European immigrants started something good. Nelson hops are now eagerly sought-after by brewers world-wide and hop gardens are a unique feature of the landscape of this region. More recently, the Great Taste Cycle trail was developed here, becoming a popular means for beer-loving cyclists to explore this memorable region.
There are 5 breweries located on or virtually on, the Great Taste Cycle Trail. All are easy to visit when cycling the Coastal Route from Nelson city to Kaiteriteri, a distance of around 75km. Nelson's craft breweries range from small microbreweries, to the larger scaled operations. Some breweries welcome visitors for tours, tastings and takeaway sales and some have cafes attached.
For those wanting to see some action in the hop gardens, harvest is in late summer, when the towering vines are cut, the flowers removed and then dried in hop kilns. Many historic hop kilns, with their distinctive vented roofs, are still visible in the area and with some careful route planning, visitors can expect to pass hop gardens whilst cycling. The area around Motueka, a rural town located on the Great Taste Trail, is one area where hops are prevalent. Keen cyclists are also encouraged to take a detour off the trail from the coastal village of Mapua, to the area around Upper Moutere. This village is the location of the Moutere Inn, reputedly the oldest pub in NZ, which serves a great range of local craft beer and has views to a hop garden from it's veranda.
More information on Nelson Craft Breweries is available at craftbrewingcapital.co.nz
For more information about cycling on the Great Taste Trail visit our website, www.gentlecycling.co.nz