While visiting Nelson Matt and I were lucky enough to get to visit The Sprig and Fern. This iconic Nelson brewery is really well known to locals in the Nelson/Tasman area, but has been gradually spreading its hoppy tentacles across the whole country.
Seatoun is one of Wellington's most lovely suburbs and has always had a lively local shopping scene. However, until recently it didn't have a perfect pub, where people could come together at the end of a hard days work over a pint to talk about the community and share a drink together. Fortunately, The Little Sprig popped up in the last month! This local is going down incredibly well.
Matt & I stopped by the week it first opened and The Little Sprig was almost full to bursting! The interior is quite sparse, but when it is full of people the vibe is fantastic. The clean interior matches the clean branding of Sprig & Fern. Personally, I liked it. If it were up to me I might hang a few more pictures on the wall but overall, nice work! Turns out the locals from Seatoun were really thirsty!
Here are three great reasons you should check out The Little Sprig when you next visit Seatoun:
1. Sprig & Fern Know Their Stuff
All Sprig & Fern beer is brewed under the watchful eye of Master Brewer, Tracy Banner, who has amassed more than 30 years’ experience in the brewing industry in the UK and New Zealand. Tracy played a signiﬁcant role in the birth and rise of craft beer in New Zealand and is highly sought after as a judge and speaker. At the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards in 2014, Tracy was presented with an Honorary Membership medal in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the brewing industry, which is pretty damn cool, eh? (*girl brewer power!!* *fist pump*)
At Sprig & Fern, “craft beer” means more than a quirky name or a funky bottle. For them, it's about combining malt, hops, innovation and precision in a way that sets apart everything how they brew. They inform me that there are simply no preservatives and no additives added to the beers that they make and don’t pasteurise they beer so don’t aﬀect the great ﬂavours. Choice!
2. Their Brew is Natural AF!
In brewing, as in many things in life, what you put in effects what comes out. Sprig & Fern beers and ciders are produced using all natural ingredients and are unpasteurised to retain their full flavour. "The Sprig & Fern brewing philosophy is simple - it uses quality ingredients and work very hard to ensure quality and consistency," says Lee Brown from S&F.
They source hops and cider apples locally, and their malts from suppliers in both the South and North Islands. The Sprig & Fern speciality malts that provide the colour and flavour for some of their different beer styles are sourced from South Canterbury, Germany and the United Kingdom. They use the local town supply water in Nelson, which is extremely good quality for their beer and cider production. It's basically 'Real Live Beer' which means that if you buy some of their beer to take home (which you can - super neat!), it is best kept well refrigerated to maintain quality and freshness. Chill - I mean literally - chill! *stop punning Lucy, for the love of all that is holy*.
3. The Food
The Little Sprig is perfect for an after-work snack if you live or work in Seatoun, or, if you want more, you can turn it into a tapas style meal. It is really fresh and well curated. While it isn't a full restaurant style affair, that isn't the point. You're meant to be able to try a few delicious treats that compliment the wonderfully brewed Sprig and Fern beers. Personally, I rated the squid rings and the lamb kofta was TO DIE FOR. The flatbreads were great tasting, really fresh, and they've thoughtfully decided not to do proper pizza because their neighbours across the road make it. Such is the community spirit of Seatoun. I like that these guys have kept it simple so that you can decide what you want. They know the local crowd isn't after some white dining table cloth type of thing, but instead a simple, honest feed alongside their pint.
4. The VERY GOOD Beer - Esp the Tasman Reserve
My favourite beer, having had the luxury of trying a few when we went to Nelson earlier this year, is totally the Tasman Reserve. There is no real specific history with the style but it is colloquially known as “Tassie” (6.5%). Like me, it's a bold & beautiful thing: Blending five carefully selected hops for a bigger, brazen and more balanced premium lager with a generous fruity aroma, a citrus & passionfruit flavour and a smooth, stunning hoppy finish. To me, it just taste delicious! Cheers to that!