For Matakana locals Kirsty McKay and Mike Sutherland, craft beer more or less happened to them.
The couple never set out to acquire a brewery, however since taking the helm of Matakana's Sawmill Brewery, it's not hard to tell that these two are the perfect people for the job.
Upon arrival, you'll be struck with the history here. Overarching wooden panels enclose the space, as punters graze with ease around the lofty premises. On a crisp Saturday afternoon, the sky is blue and the sun is out, meaning that the Sawmill team are stationed behind the bar, serving hordes of craft beer-lovers an impressive range of home-brewed brilliance.
Sawmill is the perfect beer garden for a whole host of reasons but the drawcard, is without question, the beer. There's a refreshing "what you see is what you get" mentality up north. No sugar, preservatives or colour. Every beer on-site is unpasteurised, which means a shorter shelf life and more vibrant flavour. We're talking grass roots, pared-back Kiwi brewing.
Head up on a weekend, secure a spot in the sun, free up an afternoon and opt for the Tasting Tray – a selection of five different beers and a well-rounded Sawmill tasting experience. From sour beers with punchy, gingery notes, to stoic porters and stouts – wherever you fall on the craft beer connoisseur spectrum, you'll walk away with a soft spot for something entirely new.
The foodie offerings are equally as impressive, utilising the region's endless bounty in the way of seafood, meat and fresh, seasonal produce.
To celebrate Father's Day, this week, we're giving one lucky Dish reader the chance to win a $100 Sawmill Brewery experience for two, to be redeemed however you see fit.
This competition has now closed.