The latest from Atlas

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas from us all at Atlas!

We hope you have a fantastic Christmas Day and would like to thank you all for your custom over the last year. We look forward to seeing you over the festive period. Have a good one!

Merry Christmas from us all at Atlas!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Wynyard Terrain Park Re-Named after Atlas!

Between our Pints for Wynyard Campaign and this year's Season of Shred party we've managed to raise a substantial $12,154.5 for QMTBCThe money will go towards maintaining the Wynyard track and also improving the Fernhill Loop.

We can also announce that QMTBC recently decided to re-name the Wynyard Freeride Terrain Park after Atlas! It's now the Atlas Wynyard Freeride Terrain Park in honour of our fundraising efforts over the past couple of years. We're all pretty chuffed but can honestly say we were, and are, more than happy to pitch in an contribute however we can. Mountain biking has been for long time a prominent past time in the Queenstown community and it feels like it's exploded in the past couple of years. We are just genuinely happy to support a cause that we feel can benefit the whole community. 

We'll be keeping you updated with how the fundraising money is being spent and our grateful thanks again to everyone who supported this year's Pints for Wynyard and Season of Shred party. 

Now let's get out there and shred!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Gorgeous Gibbston Valley Guest Wines on the Menu... along with Egg Nog?

Check out the tasting notes for the gorgeous Gibbston Valley guest wines have on the menu at Atlas, just for Christmas period.

First up, the Gold River Methode Traditionelle Brut, because what's more celebratory than bubbles? The Gold River Brut is a light, straw gold colour with a fine and delicate mousse. Taste-wise there are creamy toasty notes on the nose with some subtle brioche, straw and barrel aromatics. A full creamy palate follows with its savoury breadth complementing a hint of flintiness. The finish is long, dry and generous. Delicious.

Next our guest Rose is the Gibbston Valley 2014. Gibbston Valley have a vineyard designated specifically for Rose production. By picking specifically from this one site, certain aromatic and fresh fruit flavours are harnessed. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir and is full of berry characteristics. It is also dry and and refreshing and has a slightly lower alcohol content. The Rose is also very food friendly and can be enjoyed with a variety of different cuisines. We think it'll make for perfect lake-side drinking. 

Gibbston Valley Gold Valley Brut | Bottle $55

Gibbston Valley Rose 2014  | Glass $9.5 Bottle $40

Along with these two fantastic guest wines we may just have another guest drink on the menu. That most festive drink of all. . . Yes that's right, Egg Nog! Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated on the Egg Nog status. 

As always, please enjoy responsibly

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Cider and Super Powers - A chat with Zeffer Cider's Sam

Zeffer's Sam Townsend
With summer here it's hard not to think of cider. We've been pouring Zeffer cider at Atlas for a wee while now so we thought it was the perfect time to have a Q&A with them. Here's what Zeffer's Cidermaker-in-Chief, Sam Townsend, had to say when we caught up for a chat.

Hi Sam, how are you? What are you up to today?

Hi, currently taking a break from kegging a fresh batch of red apple cider on a hot arvo, Zeffer is based up on the Hibiscus coast in the sunny north of the North Island. My partner Hannah and I live 30 minutes north of here with our two children Maddie and Lottie.

So you decided to turn your wine-making skills to cider back in 2009. What was it about making cider that inspired you in particular?

Hannah and I were backpacking through Europe and trying a lot of unique ciders, we saw how popular the drink was over there and figured there was a clear opportunity to make a premium New Zealand cider with our abundance of great fruit. We wanted Zeffer to be unique, so we decided to make it all from freshly crushed fruit and not add any sugar or artificial flavourings. We started with our crisp apple (which is pouring at Atlas) which is my take on a classic New Zealand style of cider. Crisp, refreshing and clean flavours without too much sweetness. Letting the true apple flavours come through.

What’s a busy day like for you at the cidery? Also can you tell us a bit about the brewing process?

The busiest days for us are in winter when the apples are coming into season, this winter alone we crushed over over 200 tonne of apples. Our German crushing machine can crush up to 10 tonne a day with one person working hard operating it. Summer is pretty mad as well with a lot of kegging, keg cleaning and bottling!

From the apples arriving we turn them into cider in about 6 weeks, we chose a long, slow method of cold fermentation so the cider retains a full flavour. It’s then ideal to condition it over a few weeks until it’s ready to hit the kegs or bottles.

We’ve been known to get along to a few orchards to help with harvest but most of our fruit comes from Nelson and the Hawke's Bay. We are pretty specific with the varieties we choose and have spent a lot time refining our blend to ensure we get the balance we are after for all 6 of our ciders.

What was the inspiration behind your company name?

Zephyr is a sailing term meaning a light breeze. We started Zeffer on my family farm in Matakana which always has a light sea breeze sweeping in. So we decided to change the spelling to make it our own and called it a light breeze in a bottle.

Slack Ma Girdle and Hopped up Pippin sound like interesting ciders. What was the inspiration behind these? Also what does “Slack Ma Girdle” mean?

Slack Ma Girdle is one of the cider apples used to make it (along with 51 others). It was one of the many quirky names of old English styles of cider apples we used for Slack Ma Girdle, when we saw it we thought it would be a great name for our most complex cider. Slack is a big, bold, traditional style and can take Kiwi’s a bit of getting used to. We view it as our marquee cider and our take on a true English West Country style of cider.

We believe in being true to style but we also want to be creative with our ciders. It’s a product that is relatively new to most New Zealanders so it’s our mission to introduce people to new and exciting styles (without all the sugar and just using great New Zealand ingredients).

The inspiration for Hopped Up Pippin came from some great ciders in the United States. Apples and Hops always grow well in similar climates and so we combined a few of our favourite Nelson apple varieties with some of our favourite Nelson hops and turn it into Hopped up Pippin. We are pretty happy with how it turned out.

Are there any other special ciders on the horizon that you’ll be adding to the Zeffer range?

We have just released Zesty Citrus cider! This one uses some of our favourite green apple varieties which we soak for one month with fresh lemon and lime zest from Hawkes Bay. The result is a crisp, refreshing cider with a big citrus hit on the nose and a good citrus finish. It’s a great cider to match with seafood and one of the favourites going down at the cidery at the moment. Great for a hot, Central Otago summer's day.

We serve Zeffer Crisp Apple Cider at Atlas; looking at our menu, what would you food match it with? 

I think the best match would be the whole baked sole, the crisp apple has a great acid balance and cuts through seafood really well. In saying that the steak is always the meal of choice when the Zeffer team is in town.

If you were coming to Atlas for dinner this evening, who would be your ideal dinner companions? 

Dave Grohl, Kelly Slater, Lebron James and my beautiful partner Hannah.

When you’re not sipping on cider… Pilsner, Pale Ale, Porter or IPA? 

Pilsner. We work closely with a lot of great breweries (Tuatara, Liberty, 8-wired, Deep Creek) and so great beer is never far away. As we are moving in to summer it’s hard to go past a Pilsner other than a cider, of course!

What super power would you like to have?

The ability to fly.

If you were stuck on a dessert island and you can take three things what would they be?

My fishing kayak, unlimited supply of Zeffer, unlimited supply of biltong

Describe your ideal day in the North.

Out on a launch near Kawau Island with mates and family catching great snapper, frying up scallops and having a few Zeffers!

How do you have your Atlas steak cooked?

This is an easy one, medium rare. Hannah and I were at Atlas a few years ago (first year of Zeffer) and were told about the Atlas steak so went along and ordered it. It was outstanding. We said at the time it would be an awesome place to get Zeffer on tap and a few years later, we are!

Monday, 15 December 2014

A New Ginger Beer is Here!

Yummo check out this spicy little number that's now on the drinks menu at Atlas. We're stocking an alcoholic ginger beer from Dunedin's McDuff Brewery.

If you haven't heard fo McDuff's before their brewery HQ is located in the heart of Dunedin’s campus precinct at 695 Great King Street, Dunedin. They've been brewing there since the early days of boutique brewing in the 1980’s.

The ginger beer is traditional in style with a nice warm finish to the mouth.

It's 4% and $8 a bottle. Also nice poured over ice or with a squeeze of lemon.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Rose Back on the Menu for Summer

We have the Lindeman's Early Harvest Rose back on the menu at Atlas. We featured it last summer and have it back for a little while as a guest wine. It's crisp and refreshing with raspberries and cherry flavours, and would be a great match with salads and also Asian-inspired flavours.

Amy is also busy seeing if she can source some Rose from France. She had the rather envious task of sampling a few as she journeyed through the French Riviera during August of this year. So watch this space as we may be able to get a drop of the French stuff in at Atlas. If not we're pretty spoilt as far as wine goes in NZ so we'll have some of tasty Roses on the menu throughout the Summer for you to try.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Season of Shred 2014

Last Sunday went off with a bang at Atlas a great crowd gathered to celebrate the start of the mountain bike season at the Season of Shred party. The aim of the party was to raise some money for QMTBC's Long Live the Loop campaign which will see improves made to the Fernhill loop track.

This year saw the addition of a jump competition at the start of the evening, to kick off proceedings. A few local riders hucked themselves off a ramp set up on the wharf-side and into the lake, all competing for the best trick prize. 

The comp saw Nick Dethridge winning the DHaRCO gear for best trick. Biggest huck went to Sean McCoul. Bob Latchem won the Women's Best Trick accolade and Meagan Mee Wilken attempted a rad 360 so also deserves a shout out. Emmerson Wilken and Conor Macfarlane both landed double backies, and Jarrah Healy also put in a huge buck. And finally, to the delight of the crowd, Jono Head did a run in his undies!

The evening then commenced in earnest with the beer flowing (big ups to our friends at Coopers for donating some Special Reserve beer!) and with delicious food specials available from our neighbours at Farelli's Trattoria, who allowed us to expand into their premises for the evening. 

The raffle kicked off with a load of wicked prizes to giveaway. Heartfelt thanks to all the business who contributed to the raffle with such generosity, we were blown away. Top prizes were a $1000 voucher from H & J’s Outdoor World, won by Ryan Roach, and two full day trips with Queenstown Bike Taxis valued at $600 each won by Will Kemp and Ryan Roach (again - lucky Ryan!).

DJ Justin then continued to spin the tunes into the night. It was another epic fundraiser which saw us raise a total of $5360 for QMTBC! We are so stoked to have raised this much money and we know it will be put to great use.

Thanks again to all the businesses that contributed to the event and to the raffle. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with this event - Indri, Jo, Samantha, Amy and Rosie on ticket and T-shirt sales; Nikki, Helen and Robin on crowd control. Thanks to Emmerson and Meagan for building the awesome ramp; Jimmy for the bike lifting; Fraser for his ever solid MC skills and Callum Wood for the fantastic pictures of the event. Thanks to Steamer Wharf and Real Journeys for letting us use the wharf for the trick comp, thanks to the Atlas and Farelli's staff and last but not least, thanks to everyone who came out and supported the event! 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Season of Shred 2014 - Photos Preview

Sunday saw our annual knees up to celebrate the start of the MTB season go off with a bang! This year we also added a trick competition to our Season of Shred celebrations. This proved to be a big hit with lots of people coming to watch some hardy locals huck themselves off our Atlas ramp and into Lake Wakatipu; all competing for the best trick accolade. We'll have a full write up of the event on our news page soon, in the meantime here's a few snaps (big thanks to Callum Wood) of Season of Shred 2014. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Pints for Wynyard Grand Total

October saw our 2nd Pints for Wynyard campaign where we joined forces with our friends at Emerson's, Coopers, Zeffer, Altitude Brewing Studioes, Invercargill Breweries, Tuatara and Betty's to donate $1 from every pint sold to the Wynyard Freeride Terrain Park. We managed this year to raise a whopping $6794.50! Woo hoo! We've got no doubt that the money will be put to excellent use by the club once again. Thanks to our brewing friends for helping use make a great contribution to the Queenstown community that we know will most definitely be appreciated.

And don't forget if you want to support QMTBC club some more... become a member. You'll be helping the club continue with their stellar work and you also get a ton of very nifty discounts at with many businesses around town, it's a win, win, win, win situation!

Thanks again to everyone who supported 2014's Pints for Wynyard, we hope you'll be pulling up a bar stool and sedately sipping on a craft brew next year too.

With thanks,

The Atlas Team :-)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

SOS Party: Special Guest Beer: Coopers Artisan Reserve

We're going to be serving an awesome guest beer at the Season of Shred Party this Sunday. We expanding into neighbouring Farelli's Trattoria for the evening so we'll have some kegs on the lines in there. We'll be pouring Coopers Original Pale Ale and our special guest beer for the night is Coopers Artisan Reserve.

The Coopers Artisan Reserve is a reflection "of the ancient art of beer making" and is crafted to taste as fresh as possible. This Pilsner is made with Hallertau Tradition and Hallertau Hersbrucher hops both sourced from Bavaria. It's citrus-y upfront and has a balanced malt character.

For the wine lovers among you we'll also be serving the Farelli's house wines; the Bianco which is a Marlbourough Savignon Blanc and the Rosso which is a Central Otago Pinot Noir. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Season of Shred 2014 - Prize List!

Preparation for our 2014 Season of Shred Party is well under way here is the current prize list!

  • 2 x Nights in the "new flash-as one bedroom apartment” Pinewood Lodge - $550
  • 1 x Paragliding jump with G-Force x $190
  • 4 x Party passes on the Luanda - $140
  • Surprise gift from Bikeaholic
  • 1/2 half day DH bike rental from Vertigo with pass - $134

Big thanks also go to the good folks at Coopers for generously supporting the drinks specials and also to Farelli's Trattoria for allowing us to expand into their premises for the evening.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Season of Shred T-Shirts Now on Sale!

Long Live the Loop T-Shirts $25
Long Live the Loop T-Shirts are now on sale at Atlas!

The proceeds from this year's Season of Shred party will be donated to Queenstown Mountain Bike Club's Long Live the Loop campaign, which aims to raise funds a-plenty for the new Fernhill Loop extension. 

We're really excited to be backing this QMTBC campaign, more trails = more fun is what we think! If you want to show your support too, then why not get one of the T-shirts?

The stylish, charcoal grey Ts are $25 each (with proceeds going to QMTBC) and you also get two free tickets for the Season of Shred Party raffle. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

5 Things You Didn't Know About Beer: How Beer Was Flavoured Before Hops


If you thought that hops had been used to flavour beer since beer began, you'd be mistaken. This dose of beer facts is about how beer was flavoured before hops. Be thankful that twigs and mugwort aren't the only options anymore.

  • The 11th century is the first time hops are documented as being used to flavour beer.

  • Before this beer was flavoured using a variety of plants including dandelion, burdock, marigold, heather and the rather Harry Potter sounding, Mugwort.

  • Gruit (or grut) is an old herb mixture that was used to bitter beer before hops. Gruit varied in recipe with different producers having their own special blend. Some gruit ingredients are now know to have preservative qualities.

  • Gruit itself lost popularity with the onset of hops in brewing but some non-hopped beers still survive today such as Sahti. Sahti is a traditional Finnish beer that is flavoured with berries, twigs and juniper.

  • Gruit has had a bit of a revival though due to the craft brewing's recent renaissance. Many smaller breweries in the US and Europe have experimented with unhopped beers and found inspiration in the old herbs (and twigs) that were previously used to flavour beer.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Season of Shred 2014 - Sunday 16th Nov 2014

Season of Shred is back for 2014! We are super excited to announce that our party to celebrate the start of the MTB season will be held on Sunday 16th Nov and it's going to be a great night!

We'll be kicking off the proceedings this year with a trick competition in front of Atlas. You'll be able to watch some QT biking talent huck themselves of a ramp and into Lake Wakatipu, competing for the best trick prize.

There'll also be Atlas food and drink specials, a rad DJ, bike videos playing on the bid screen and, of course, an epic raffle. Our star prizes this year come from Queenstown Bike Taxis who have donated two full days of bike taxi hire and H&J Outdoor World who have donated $1,000 worth of bike gear. We've had raffle prizes galore donated by loads of other fabulous QT businesses who are supporting the event and will be posting the full prize list soon. 

The money raised from this year's SOS will be donated to QMTBC for their Long Live the Loop campaign. Roll on the 16th Nov!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Altitude Brewing Studios: Collarbone Cure

Not just for crook collarbones...
If you've tasted Altitude's Collarbone Cure you may find you already recognise the flavour . . . That's because it's the former Goldpanner's Profit Golden Ale, now in a new MTB-friendly guise. We regularly serve Altitude Brewing Studio beers at Atlas and you've not heard of them before, they are a locally-owned business who brew their beers with all New Zealand ingredients.

If you haven't tried it yet Collarbone Cure is a refreshing, session-able ale that's perfect for Summer drinking. We guarantee it will go to go down a treat after a day of dusty laps on the bike trails. Or perhaps the ideal choice for a few relaxing, lake-side quiets on a hot day.

You can expect a fruity nose thanks to the Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin hops, and a palate that delivers hints of caramel and biscuit due to the combined profile of pilsner, wheat, toffee, biscuit and chocolate malts. The finish is refreshing and lingeringly dry.

Now, who's for a pint of Collarbone Cure and a bowl of fries by the lake?

Altitude Brewing Studios Collarbone Cure | 4.4% | $9.5 pint

As always, please enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Pints for Wynyard is On!

Tomorrow sees the start of our October promotion. We’ve teamed up with Emerson’s, CoopersAltitude Brewing Studios, Zeffer, Invercargill Brewery and Beaver Liquor/Betty's to donate one dollar from every pint of draught sold at Atlas to the Wynyard Freeride Terrain Park. We raised a substantial amount of money for Wynyard last year so we are aiming to do the same this October. Last year’s dollars contributed towards various works at the terrain park including:

- Two new pro line jumps on the Dream Track
- A new safer walk-up track for Mini Dream
- Rebuilding the beginner lines for better progression
- Re-routing a section of the downhill track to stop an erosion problem
- Maintenance of the downhill track and jumps area.

Currently QMTBC, who maintain Wynyard with local contractor Phatlines, are in the process of getting many of the older wooden features inspected by an engineer. It’s likely that some will need replacing so we're sure any money raised at Atlas this October will yet again put to good use.

So, if you happen to be strolling into town for a quiet pint why not drop in and enjoy one at Atlas? Not only will you be sipping on a quality beer but you’ll be helping out with a great community cause - without even moving from your chair!

As always, please enjoy your pints responsibly

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Renaissance beers at Atlas

Currently, on the Atlas drinks list, we have a couple of guest beers from Marlborough's award-winning Renaissance Brewing. Renaissance, if you're not already familiar with them, make ultra premium ales that "enlighten the palate and thrill the senses". They produce beers in a range of British, American and European styles using New Zealand hops and malt.
Renaissance brews

Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout | 4.9% | $14 btl

A rich, intense stout enhanced with notes of dark chocolate that gradually gives way to a subtle hop finish. A portion of organic rolled oats are added to the mash which contributes to the smooth, silky mouthfeel.

Try it with our: Rump steak with chips, salad and demi-glace | $19.5 GF

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale | 
7% | $14 btl

Nine malts are blended to produce layers of caramel, toffee, liquoric and roasty flavours that gives way to a lingering dry finish. Pairs well with beef and lamb.

Try it with our: Rich lamb ragout with green olives, penne pasta and parmesan | $18.50

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

New drinks at Atlas

New drinks available at Atlas

Not a beer fan but still in the mood for a tipple? Here's some of the non-beer related beverages we've recently added to the drinks list at Atlas:

Fireball Cinnamon Flavoured Whisky | 33% | $8 30ml

All the way from Canada. Fireball is great on ice with a splash of apple juice or enjoy it straight up. 

Peckham's Apple Cider |
5.8% |$9.50 pint 

Deep amber colour with off-dry palate, this is a traditional, vintage cider. Made with 100% cider apples, blended to create a full-bodied, rounded cider. 

Try it with our: Whole roasted sole with garlic, capers, chips
and salad | $18.5 GF

Tyrell's Wines Moore's Creek Shiraz | 13% | $8 glass

From South Australia, this Shiraz has aromas of ripe plum fruits combined with elegant spicy characters. Medium bodied with balanced soft tannins on the finish. 

Try it with our: Rich lamb ragout with green olives, penne pasta and
parmesan | $18.50

Monday, 22 September 2014

Amy abroad: Sea, surf and cider in Cornwall

Britain, I’m learning, is a country full of history, beauty and good beer. Around every corner I find historic architecture, colourful gardens, picturesque countryside and pubs full of locals drinking tasty ales. What I did not expect to find is that some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and coves are also located here. Driving south west brings you to the county of Cornwall. With 300 miles of diverse coastline the Cornish people have the right to brag! Rich and I, along with some friends, decided to go camping for 8 days to explore and appreciate everything this gorgeous county has to offer. As I was heading to the South West again I had an inkling that some more cider tasting was going to be in on the cards…

Similar to the Alps, although not quite as hilly, the roads are extremely windy and narrow; sometimes we had to pull into a bush to let oncoming traffic get by! Cornwall was so much more than I ever imagined. We camped on 14 open acres of farmer’s field at the famous Bedruthan Steps with the Atlantic Ocean as our back drop. Day trips consisted of rock pools and cliff jumping at Treyarnon bay, crabbing and Cornish pasty eating in Padstow, surfing and sun tanning at Watergate Bay, and most importantly Rattler drinking during all daily activities.

Rattler, from Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm
was the first Cornish cider I was introduced to as it was on tap at the local pub and readily available at the bottle shop. Rattler is made from Cornish Rattler apples which are known for their cider making qualities. With three flavours to choose from I had my hands full for a few days. Rattler Original is crisp, cloudy and dry, whereas Rattler Pear sits somewhere between sweet and dry. Rattler Berry gives you the juicy bang every sweet cider should give. All three are thirst quenching and refreshing so I continued my daily cider purchase at the bottle shop.

Due to large amounts of rain, and badly designed tents, our team of 5 decided to move south and treat ourselves to a luxury caravan for the remaining 4 days. Our new base was a camp site in the small town of St Just and from here our daily explorations around the southern coastline continued. We ate fish and chips at Sennen Cove, walked around the old tin mines at Pendeen, strolled across the causeway at low tide to St Michael’s Mount and I scored some wicked surf at Gwenver Beach. We also ventured to Cornwall and England’s most westerly point, Land’s End, and wandered through caves at Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula. Amongst these epic daily activities I stumbled across the The Lizard Cider Barn.

This old white bungalow was a little hidden from the road; however as it was well sign posted I didn’t miss it. Inside was nicely renovated with shelves on every wall. There was a large selection of different traditional local cider, country wine, and Cornish-made liqueurs. You also couldn’t miss the exceptional local art and produce surrounding you, ranging from paintings and fused glass to chutneys and fudge. A small glass flagon reading Cornish Scrumpy caught my eye and it reminded me how parched I was.

Scrumpy is a type of cider found traditionally in the West Country. It’s thought that the name comes from an old West Country word, “scrimp”. This means a small or withered apple and it’s thought that it gave rise to the word “scrump” which means to steal fruit. Scrumpy tends to be cloudier in appearance and often still contains the pulp of the fruit. It is usually bit stronger than commercial ciders and can be dry or sweet in taste.

We enjoyed sampling the entire sweet to dry range of Jacks Ratt cider made in Lyme Bay. I should mention that whilst I was drinking it in a Cornish cider barn, this is actually Devonshire cider. Back on the Cornish cider I tried the flagon of traditional dry Cornish Scrumpy from Mounts Bay Cider Company 7%. This was a bit more rugged tasting and, as you would expect with scrumpy, not sparkling. Then similar in style to Rattler there was the award-winning Polgoon range of apple, pear, and berry ciders. Polgoon is a Penzance-based company who, as well as cider, produce Cornish wine that’s won a fair few accolades.

Noticing the difference between Somerset and Cornish Cider, I fancied you could almost taste the sea salt in cider made with apples from this area. I left the Lizard Cider Barn with my palate refreshed and my hands full and with 2.5 litres of cider on hand I had plenty to enjoy over my remaining days in Cornwall.

Exploring north to south in the rain and sunshine I found Cornwall to be a county that is full of beauty and rich with heritage. I would highly recommend a trip to the far south west to anyone that intends to travel the United Kingdom. It is completely worth it. Also don’t forget to sample all the tasty ciders this amazing area produces.

Kynance Cove

Lizard Cider Barn

Cider, cider, cider

Sipping on cider at Sennen

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Voucher giveaways and assassinations - there's a whole lot happening at Atlas.

We've got lots going on at Atlas at the moment. To coincide with our website refresh this week we're giving away $250 of Atlas vouchers along with some steak vouchers. Want to be in to win? We'll be posting some Atlas-related questions on our Facebook page over the course of the next week. All you have to do is:

1. make sure you like our giveaway posts and Facebook page
2. wait until you have all five answers to our Atlas questions
3. direct message us the answers and if they are all correct you're in the draw! 

The winners will be announced Friday 26th Sept. Check out our Facebook page for more details.

Wes, our general manager, is also running a game of Assassins with sign up ending on the 21st Sept. It's $5 to join the game and is open to anyone in Queenstown over 18 who wants to enter.  A member of the Atlas Alumni, Eoin, ran a game a few years ago and it was a total hit (no pun intended). Again, you can find out more on our Facebook page, so give it a like or pop into Atlas for more information. It'll be loads of fun, just watch your back! 

Next month see the start of our Wynyard promotion. For the month of October Atlas will donate $1 from every pint sold to the Wynyard bike park. We raised a stack of dollars last year for QMTBC, who mantain Wynyard, so hopefully we can do the same this year. This is also being supported by the good folks at Emerson's, Coopers and Altitude so big thanks to them.

And finally once November rolls around and the MTB season is in full flow, it'll be high time for an Atlas style knees-up to celebrate - dates and more details follow. We'll also be welcoming Amy back to the helm of Atlas after her enviable winter of global gallivanting. There's loads going on so call in and see us soon.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Amy Abroad: The British Motocross Champs and Sampling Some English Ales

I'm back in the UK now after a ton of fun in Europe. Upon my return I decided to ditch the downhill bike and start taking advantage of the motocross bike that is parked in our garage. This road legal 01 KX250 is pretty ancient and faded however it is far from washed up so I was keen to get it out and on the road. This decision turned out to be perfectly timed as it just so happened that a round of the British Motocross Championship was being held at Aylesbury, Wiltshire. I thought it would be the ideal place to get some tips and inspiration by watching the talented riders do their thing.

A bit about the British Motocross Championship…This domestic 8 round series has grown to become one of the most prominent championships in the world, attracting international riders to battle for an overall win. Even Queenstown local and the dirt bike legend, Scotty Columb, rode in this Championship back in 2009. Motocross has been a competitive sport in the UK since March 29, 1924 where the first recorded competition was held in Surrey.

It wasn’t going to be just a day of MX though. Inspired, whilst I was in France, by my chat with Monsieur Mouthom at Le Fer Rouge I was keen to try some more English ales. So before heading to the MX track, I took the KX for a spin to purchase a couple of beers that some friends had recommended. I got to the off licence (that’s UK for bottle shop) bought my brews and headed back (needless to say no drinking and riding involved, folks!) ready to hit the tracks! What better way to enjoy a day than watching some quality riding and sipping on a few quality ales. Nice. Below are my tasting notes.

Wychwood Hobgoblin 5.2% abv

This beer had by far the most visually interesting bottle, displaying a mischievous looking goblin waving a guitar on the label. Made in Oxfordshire at the Wychwood brewery this ruby coloured ale has a moderate, bittersweet taste. The chocolate malt and Fuggles hops produce a delicious, full-bodied, creamy toffee taste which is well balanced by the distinctive, fruity flavours. I particularly like the current motto for Hobgoblin: "What's the matter Lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?”. Perfect for drinking on a rainy day whilst watching motocross.

Well & Young Bombardier 4.7% abv

Known as a premium bitter, this iconic English beer was included with history in the making. Brewed at Charles Wells Ltd, founded in 1876 by Charles Wells, all beers including Bombardier brewed here are made with water which comes directly from a well Charles himself tapped in 1906. A legacy that will never die! I describe this bitter amber like I would describe its label; perfectly balanced, full-bodied, rich and very English.

Black Sheep Brewery, Black Sheep Ale 4.4% abv

The darkest of ales I chose, this premium bitter is a traditional Yorkshire beer. Superior quality Maris Otter malted barley is said to deliver consistent good tasting beer. A high amount of Crystal malt gives Black Sheep Ale its rich flavour and darker colouring and a touch of wheat used in the mashing process gives that lovely creamy head. I am not surprised Black Sheep Ale is one of the best-selling bottled beers across the country.

Morland’s Old Speckled Hen 4.5% abv

Presented as a ‘Strong fine ale’ this was definitely my favourite among the four I tasted. Very easy to drink, refreshing smooth flavour, fruity bitterness balanced perfectly and complimented with toffee rich malts finishing with a dry touch. Perhaps a perfect guest beer for Atlas this coming summer!

A cloudy, windy, rainy afternoon did not interrupt the speed of the racers nor did it disturb my excitement to be there watching. I was astonished and amazed with the overall performance of everything, from the size of the massive jumps, to the rumble of the loud engines, to the agility and pace of the riders. The day was a great success except that I was so engrossed I only drank one of the beers and still had three of the four beers left at the end of the final race. Instead of consuming them in the rain I decided to bring them home and enjoy them with dinner.

Next week another road trip is in order so we'll be heading down to Cornwall to check out the coves, do some surfing and search for some delicious ciders.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Alanna Columb on Tour

Howdy everybody!
Guest blogger: Alanna Columb

I'm going to be guest blogging on the Atlas news page over the next few weeks, keeping you update with my MTB races in North America and Europe.

Well, I have been abroad now for three weeks, I have raced my first two World Cup events and have just arrived in Whistler for the week of Crankworx.

So I’ll start with my first race in Monte Sainte Anne, Canada - a track well renowned for being one of the hardest on the World Cup circuit. On the Wednesday leading into it we did a track walk, it was everything I thought it would be and then some. Rough, fast and long! On the first day of practise I set out to find flow and learn the track as much as I could to bring me up to pace. As this track has been around since the early 90's many of the other competitors have had a lot of experience here. I got two flats in practise which made things a little more difficult. Qualifying day, I headed out for a practise needing to dial in a few lines and determined to hit the final jump that only one girl was hitting, the current World Cup leader.

First time I hit final jump was nice and smooth, the second time into it I squashed the first jump and had a better landing allow me to pedal into the final 45ft double. This however caused me to lose my flow; I didn't pop off the lip enough and cased the landing giving me a hell of a fright – I thought I had injured my ankle. I headed back to my room to check out the damage, put the ankle up and iced it. Luckily there wasn’t any instant bruising or severe swelling so I was just dealing with a tweaked ankle. 

Track at Monte Sainte Anne
I went out in the qualifying just wanting to put together a clean run and protect my ankle. My run was smooth, I caught with the girl in front of me which held me up a little but hit the final jump cleanly and qualified 8th. I was feeling good as I knew I had easy seconds up my sleeve. Back home I iced up my foot and got ready for race day. Because I had qualified in the top ten it meant I was on live stream coverage. This was awesome as it meant everyone at home could watch my run. Unfortunately though in my run I picked up a front flat in the fast open section. It was just 30 seconds before the TV picked up my run. I was devastated, to say the least, I was on form nailing my lines and riding fast. That was the end of my first world cup this season . . . DNF. I was gutted.

We left Canada and drove the seven hours into the New York state, and arrived in Windham for my second World Cup. Windham track was fast and one lined with big jumps, also running about half the distance of Monte Sainte Anne track. I had heaps of fun in practise going fast and jumping big. About half way down on one of the fastest parts of the track was a fifty foot road gap into a step down. Oh, it had you smiling all the way down! I went out into qualifying with the same game plan as Monte Sainte Anne - just to ride smooth and consistent to see where I was at. This didn’t pay off however on such a short fast track times were super close I had a far too cruisey run, qualifying me in 16th. I knew in my race run I had to let her get loose, ride fast and smooth. Feeling super good going into the final I knew I had the speed to be on the podium. But this didn’t prove in my race run. I was fast in sections but coming in too hot and losing speed and that proved to be too costly on this track. I had a disappointing run landing me 12th for the Windham world cup.
Ready for the Red Bull Berm Burner

After the race I was feeling frustrated and needing to blow off a bit of steam so I borrowed a bike, helmet and stole my friend Jarna's shoes off his feet and entered the Redbull Berm Burner (a pump track race). I thought I had entered the pro women’s class turned out to be the pro men! Still, I qualified for the finals but was bumped out by the former and current champ. After competing in the pro men class I went on to win women’s field.

I’m here now at Crankworx and I will be competing in three races, the dual slalom, pump track challenge and the Canadian Open DH. I will use this week to work on bike set-up, focus and prepare for the final World Cup in Meribel, France.

Thank you to everyone for your support so far and I’ll be updating you all with my next instalment soon.

Checking out the track at Monte Sainte Anne

Track walk at Monte Sainte Anne

Monday, 18 August 2014

Amy Abroad: French Craft Beer at La Fer Rouge

As an English speaking tourist in French speaking country my quest for some great French craft beer began with some dodgy vocabulary and grammar. “Bonjour, je suis looking por le tres bon French biere?”, which roughly translates to “Hello, I am looking for good French beer”. Luckily, most locals I conversed with spoke some English so once I’d made myself understood I was pointed in the same direction by every person I spoke to.|
Le Fer Rouge.

Le Fer Rouge is located in the town of La Chapelle d'Abondance about 7km down the road from
Châtel. We decided to head there for some dinner and as we pulled up outside, first impressions did not disappoint. Le Fer Rouge is a beautiful, traditional Alpine brasserie and once I saw a large sign reading Biere Mason/Microbrewery and saw the mountain bikes parked outside  I realised I'd hit the jack pot!

The interior was rustic with old beer signs mounted on the walls and the lounge area was filled with mismatched antiqued furniture and wooden tables. Our French bartender explained the range of beers available on tap and proceeded to serve us sample half pints of each. Between rounds I bombarded her with questions about the bar. She had some answers but informed me Monsieur Mouthom would know more. She disappeared leaving me confused about her whereabouts and then, all of a sudden, a man in a white coat was tapping me on my shoulder. He introduced himself as Benoit Mouthom, the owner, brewer and chef of Le Fer Rouge. What with my aforementioned bad French there was a bit of a language barrier, however Monsieur Mouthom could speak some English and asked me to slow down my sentences. We proceeded to have a great chat and he was happy to answer my many questions.

Born and raised in La Chapelle d'Abondance, Benoit Mouthom travelled to England many times as a young adult and developed a taste for English ales. The diversity of beers inspired him and made him think of brewing his own back home in France. Turning this dream into reality proved to be extremely difficult as there were no suppliers in France for the correct machinery, hops or malts. It was also quite difficult for him to convince the banks that he was serious about becoming a brewer and that it wasn’t a joke! In spite of these setbacks in 1994 Benoit purchased Le Fer Rouge and set about building his microbrewery business. 

By 1998 his product had been perfected and he was ready launch it. Le Fer Rouge, which means The Red Iron, was the first microbrewery in The Alps and the 35th brewery to open in France. At first, as well as bar sales, Monsieur Mouthom sold his beer to local grocery stores. Over the years demands grew so high and as the brewery itself is so small he decided to only brew for the bar and focus on Le Fer Rouge business alone. Monsieur Mouthom buys all his malts from England, but his hops and yeast come worldwide from countries such as USA, Australia and Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed the beers on tap at Le Fer Rouge and below are my tasting notes for the five beers that are brewed on site.

Ale Très Pale “La Gourgandine” 3.8%

Has a high fermentation and is influenced by North American styles, hoppy and floral.

Blanche “La Potion Magique” 3.8%

This spicy wheat beer has strong hints of a smoky sweetness. It has an aromatic, citrus nose and a fruity vanilla-banana mouth.

Bitter ou Real Ale “La Frasses” 3.8%

Expect to be hit with a hoppy, bitter ale, giving way to chocolate-caramel flavours and an interesting hint of liquorice at the end.

Stout “La Forgeronne” 3.8%

La Forgeronne or "The Blacksmith" is dark, creamy and smoky. This roasted stout was definitely my beer of choice!

Blonde au Chanvre “Flower Power” 3.8%

This blond beer is infused with hemp and was also one of my favourites.

After a lovely evening of chatting with Benoit Mouthom, drinking his tasty beer and eating his delicious food it was time to part ways. I shook his hand, wished him well on future business and said au revoir. Talking to Monsieur Mouthom made me look forward to trying some more English Ales again. So when I return to England I’ll be ditching the mountain bike and will be off on my motorbike again to search for some more!