A fine example of kiwi microbrewery culture
Brew Moon Cafe and Brewery (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Member Name: larsbaby
Brew Moon Cafe and Brewery (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Advantages: Excellent food and drink, good family facilities
Disadvantages: A bit out of town
It was our fortune on our New Zealand holiday that friends lived near to Christchurch, and so staying with them gave us the chance to see areas off the usual tourist trail. With their local expertise at hand, we were taken to one of their favourite drinking spots out of the city.
Located on the South Island, in the North Canterbury countryside in Amberley, 25 minutes north of Canterbury, Brew Moon has a pleasant location and you feel like you're far away from the city. As you arrive, you can see a big red and blue sign above the building, with their tree and moon logo right in the middle. The gravel car park is to the front of the building, and you can see some painted blue wooden benches outside, as well as an ancient car chassis, there presumably for decoration. As you enter the main door, right in front of you is the food counter, which has a large display case of savouries and cakes, all looking delicious. To the right is a rack of 8 or 10 magazines. On top of the counters are some menus and a jar of amaretto biscuits. Behind the counter is a large coffee machine.
To the left of the entrance is a wooden floored seating area of 4 or 4 tables which is quite spacious. In the right hand corner of this area is the bar, which has several brews on tap as well as bottled beers in a fridge behind. You could also buy beers and beer glasses from here to take away. To the right is the doorway leading to the large beer garden, which is where we sat in the sunshine at our table reserved by phone earlier. Immediately behind the door though is still inside, with a brick floored area with smallish round light wooden tables and chairs, with the occasional signature blue painted chair. Go straight through and finally you will reach the beer garden. This has quite a lot of greenery, with the painted blue wooden tables, chairs and benches mingling with trees and bushes on the gravel floor. The area is quite shaded in parts, though you have to dodge the sun in some areas when it gets quite hot.
As well as beer, the café offered a decent range of dishes. Breakfast included the Brew Moon Bene, which was eggs Benedict with the options for bacon, salmon or spinach, as well as a big meaty breakfast of sausages, bacon mushrooms potato and roast tomato with toast and free range eggs. Light dishes included chickpea curry, corn fritters open chicken sandwich and steak sandwich. Gourmet Pizzas (with a gluten free base option) included vegetarian, chicken cranberry and brie and summer lamb. I assume this menu is seasonal. Side orders included, chips, wedges, green salad and various sauces such as chilli and BBQ. Gluten free options were also advertised as available, which is very useful to know and impressive that this was clearly indicated on the menu.
As this was a brewery café we felt we had to sample the local wares and so myself & Ms Larsbaby went for a Brew Moon Tasting Platter each, which was small glasses of all 4 of their beers served in a wooden paddle. Amberley Pale Ale, described as "clean nutty malt flavour" was quite light and refreshing. Broomfield Brown Ale "malty, nutty brown ale" tasty and full of body. Dark Side of the Moon Stout "a strong, dark and full flavoured beer" heavy and nice and Hophead Organic IPA "rich malt flavour" another light and refreshing drink. An all round winner then for the microbrewery.
I ordered the lamb pizza which was marinated lamb with red pepper, onion, cheese and jalapeño chilli. This was served on a round wooden plate with a handle, with a metal slice wedged underneath one of the slices of pizza. The lamb was excellent; really lean and tasty. On the thin crispy base, there was a nice sweetness with the pepper and heat from the jalapeño. I've not seen lamb often on pizzas and it seemed somehow to suit the setting; ironically, I hadn't tried much New Zealand lamb on the trip and this was a good opportunity to do so.
Other dishes ordered by our party were the chicken and cranberry pizza, which was apparently a nice combination of sweetness from the cranberry and the savoury chicken and cheese. Moon Meat Treat had pepperoni, chorizo, ham and cheese with BBQ sauce and looked loaded with meat, and was apparently very nice. The Philly Steak Sandwich came with a large portion of chips and was a open sandwich with a large serving of lettuce and some chopped onion and salad on top of the large slab of sirloin steak perched on a think wodge of focaccia bread, spread with cream cheese. This was also apparently good.
This was very good; courteous and friendly, it was notable that, with my friend's toddler in tow, it was a very child friendly place, with high chairs available. It seemed to me they were used to dealing with young families and took everything in their stride, as well as being knowledgeable about the menu.
I really enjoyed coming here on what was one of out last days on our New Zealand holiday. It's certainly a nice place to escape the city, and if you're lucky enough to be in this area I'd highly recommend it for a sunny afternoon of company, beer tasting and food.
Brew Moon Cafe & Brewery,
150 Ashworths Road,
Tel: 03 314 8030
Summary: An excellent rural micro brewery