Combining the passions of beer and biking

BACK HOME: Carrie McLachlan, newly appointed as 'second in charge' at Garage Project, sees Wellington as the perfect ...
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

BACK HOME: Carrie McLachlan, newly appointed as 'second in charge' at Garage Project, sees Wellington as the perfect place to enjoy her two passions, craft beer and mountain biking.

When it comes to her twin passions of craft beer and biking, Carrie McLachlan couldn't think of a better city to live in than Wellington.

The 27-year-old downhill champion and craft beer brewer has left Melbourne to return to her childhood home after securing a position as second in charge of brewing at Garage Project in Aro Valley.

"It's a huge learning opportunity, " she says.

"Garage Project is doing new and different things all the time. Crazy stuff that no-one else is doing, and I really want to be a part of it."

McLachlan, who left Wellington while still a schoolgirl, became a brewer after seeing an ad for Little Creatures brewery in Perth.

Having no brewing experience, she applied anyway, and eventually helped the brewery to commission a second branch near Melbourne.

McLachlan is juggling starting her new job with training for upcoming biking events such as the Enduro World Series in Rotorua later this year.

She came third in the Australian National Mountain Bike Series and is a former female downhill state champion in both Perth and Victoria. She says biking in Wellington is a good way to make friends very quickly.

"I'm so happy to be home. I can mountain bike as much as I want, I couldn't do that where I was living before. There are great trails just two minutes up the road."

In Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown's opinion, McLachlan has made a good choice.

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"Mountain biking in Wellington is awesome, we've got a huge range of trails from the terrifying to the relaxing.

"Wellington is also the craft beer capital so Carrie will have a lot of fun here, " Wade-Brown says.

McLachlan is not alone with her two interests in life. Local mountain biker Anthony Edmonds is part of a group exploring the benefits of marketing Wellington better as a mountain biking and craft beer capital. "Wellington as a mountain biking town is seriously cool. It has this great trail network hard up against the city. You can go to a brewery and the trails are just up the road, " he says.

Wellington City Council has funded a proposal to investigate the benefits of developing the bike trails, expected to be completed later this year.

 - Dominion Post

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