It is a wet afternoon on Wellington's waterfront, but once we sit down with Neil Miller to talk, sniff, taste and drink beer it suddenly feels brighter.
As part of our special weekend in the capital we are treated to a Wild About Wellington boutique beer tasting tour.
Miller - a beer writer and expert who knows everything you could about beer as well as anyone who matters in the Wellington bar scene - is great company.
He must be the only person I've met who carries around hops and barley in his bag.
We sit down at St Johns bar on Cable St and within minutes had our first beer for the day - an Erdinger.
Miller has also arranged for the staff at the bar to bring us a small amount of food that matched our beer - and so we set about learning what we were drinking and why the food matched it.
After three sets of beer and food matches we have a new understanding of the process of making a good beer.
The tours typically take in a series of three or four of Wellingtons central bars, potentially taking up to three hours. It's a tour overseas visitors could enjoy but it's likely to also appeal to locals who want an afternoon or evening that's fun and a little different.
Later in the evening we step out of the rain once again, this time into the warm Floriditas restaurant on Cuba St.
It's a good spot for a cosy dinner or a lazy weekend brunch, and this Saturday evening it is full and vibrant.
Right from the opening martini we feel comfortable in unpretentious surroundings with staff that were efficient but still expert at making diners feel special.
They're also not afraid to talk to you about recommendations.
I have chicken liver pate and crunchy bread, and it is great - also quite large.
My special guest has smoked blue warehou, and that is pretty good too.
Our main courses are pan-roasted chicken breast with roasted peppers, pine nuts and dill, and char-grilled herbed lamb and lemon with thyme risotto. Everything comes at a relaxed pace and while the menu selection is not huge, it is to our liking.
The real winner is not the great wine list or even the service. Without doubt it is the dessert I didn't order but that my guest did - a delicious chocolate dish that I wish I ordered.
Not to say I'm not happy with my famous Floridita's baby Neenish tart - I can't fit anything larger in.
We stay well over two hours as we enjoy our food and wine and the friendly atmosphere.
A few days later I return for brunch and I can thoroughly recommend Floriditas for this as well - although you might find it full as Wellingtonians are also discovering this establishment.