Monty's making home brew at 89

Cheers: William Montgomery, 89, is chuffed to be second in the Home Brewers of Marlborough contest.
Cheers: William Montgomery, 89, is chuffed to be second in the Home Brewers of Marlborough contest.

Blenheim man William "Monty" Montgomery has just the brew to enjoy on his 90th birthday on Thursday: his own award-winning beer.

Mr Montgomery came second in the Home Brewers of Marlborough competition at the Blues, Brews and BBQs festival in Blenheim on Saturday.

He didn't even know his beer was in the running until his daughter told him last week that she had entered it in the competition.

"She said, ‘sorry dad, I hope you won't be annoyed, but I've entered your beer in'," Mr Montgomery said yesterday. "I had no idea in the world."

The judges said his home brew had a clean fermentation and was a hazel, golden colour. The brew came second out of 20 entries. The overall winner in the category was Craig Bull.

A Roundtable member delivered the good news and a $400 prize pack to Mr Montgomery's son's house on Sunday while the family were having dinner.

"I don't know why I won; mine is very, very simple," he said. "I was quite chuffed about it."

The prize included cash, boutique beer and a Black Rose Tattoo Emporium tattoo voucher.

Mr Montgomery was yesterday considering giving the tattoo voucher back to the organisers in case it could be used as prize again next year.

He took up home brewing as a hobby after retiring about 25 years ago from The Marlborough Express where he worked on the linotype machines.

He and his wife Joan, who died about a year ago, used to enjoy a small bottle of beer each night.

"I'm only a light beer drinker, but I like doing it, and my family like it," he said. "It keeps them well supplied."

Every six weeks or so he will make a fresh 20-litre brew which he puts into beer bottles he gets from the Blenheim Bowling Club.

He has been using the same recipe for about 20 years. He dissolves 1 kilogram of sugar in a pot of water, and puts that into a barrel along with Brewtec Bulk Malt and tops the barrel up with water. A sachet of yeast is added and the lid is screwed shut. It begins to bubble after a day, and a week later Mr Montgomery pours the beer into bottles. It is ready to drink about six weeks later.

"It's the simplest thing in the world," he said. "I quite like it and it works well."

His family are throwing a party on Saturday night to celebrate his 90th.

And Mr Montgomery will bring along some of his award-winning beer.

The Marlborough Express