I have a Sunday routine. I wake reasonably early, do a bit of housework, then walk the five or so kilometres into town to the Harbourside Market, down by Waitangi Park.
En route I’ll stop by either one or other of the supermarkets to see what good, inexpensive protein is available. Once at the markets I’ll then grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls – I particularly like the venison hot pot eaten with a bread roll from the bakery stall nearby. Then, a quick visit to the Waikanae Butcher’s truck (I strongly recommend both their haggis and their Cajun sausage), before the market proper to load up on fresh vegetables and fruit.
And then, home to cook!
But once finished the market it becomes very easy to stop by one of the many good craft beer bars that can be found when you walk from market end of town to where my bus passes, on Willis or Victoria St. So many bars, but some choose not to be open Sunday lunchtime, but more do. And if the sun is shining and the air is warm, almost inevitably by the time I’ve carried a load of produce from one side of town to the other I’ll be feeling the need for a sit-down and a drink.
And, hey, they buses only go every half-hour on Sundays, so there’s always a bit of a wait.
So it was the other weekend. I’d scored an inexpensive kilo of beef cheeks and picked up a big load of onions, leeks, celery, garlic, carrots and potato to cook them with, and after reaching my bus stop, the sun was shining, I was sweating a bit, and my bus was another fifteen minutes away. And right next to this particular bus stop is The Taphaus. Which has tables perfectly positioned to sit outside and keep an eye out for the bus.
And on tap that particular Sunday, The Taphaus had Garage Project’s ‘Hāpi Daze’. At the sight of the tap badge I’m pretty sure I broke into a grin. Because this hoppy golden ale is perfect for a refreshing beer in the sunshine.
Hāpi Daze is bright, light, and fruity, and at 4.2% abv it won’t derail any plans you may have for the rest of the day. A hop aroma sparkles deliciously off the top of the glass, while the light, sweet body rolls around nicely on the tongue before the refreshingly bitter finish trails away.
Hāpi Daze (Hāpi being the Maori word for ‘hops’) showcases off a range of New Zealand hop flavours – I can pick out the familiar flavours of passionfruit, grapefruit and the leaves of a lemon tree. But it’s all in moderation, all in balance. It’s not a hop bomb but a lovely gentle golden ale, with the sweet golden malty base solidifying the more fruity, expressive notes to create something quite special.
Now, that’s my idea of a bus stop beer. A pause to catch the breath, to plan out the afternoon’s cookery, and to consider that The Taphaus – which has had some problems over the years it has been open – seems to be turning a corner towards putting the quality of the beer first. Admittedly, I tend to only pop by there when waiting for a bus at that particular stop, but over winter I’ve found my infrequent visits have seen the bar and the service – and the knowledge of the staff – improve each and every time.
It’s a competitive market, selling craft beer in Wellington. And, and beyond the delight of being able to sit in the sun having a quiet beer a metre from a bus stop, what I’m seeing at The Taphaus is bringing me back to stopping by there for the beer rather than just the convenience. And being open on a sunny Sunday lunchtime with a refreshing, easy-drinking, tasty beer like the Hāpi Daze; that’s worth a second or third visit.
Or even, a second or third pint, but not that day – because the bus had arrived, and these beef cheeks won’t braise themselves…