Beer festival pulls in brewers
The brains behind Queenstown's inaugural Heartland Beer Festival are thrilled with nationwide boutique brewers' enthusiasm for the new festival.
Twenty-seven brewers - from well established to relatively small players in the buoyant craft beer scene - have signed up to be part of the February 8 event.
Co-producer Simon Green said:''The response from the brewers has been absolutely amazing.''
''We had initially hoped for around 20 brewers but to have almost 30 and from all over New Zealand - it makes this one of the biggest selections of New Zealand craft beers ever assembled in one place.''
There will be more than 150 different beers and ciders to choose from and patrons can choose either a 100ml sample pour or a full 300ml pour.
The groundswell of craft brewers to hit the market in the past few years was a sure sign of beer drinkers' ever-developing palette and sophistication.
That craft brewers had been able to prosper in challenging economic times was proof that a market outside the traditional corporate brewers had firmly been carved, Mr Green said.
The day included stalls, the opportunity to talk to brewers and master brewer classesntsG throughout the day.
A hot dog eating competition will be judged by television personality and comedian Leigh Hart, who runs the Wakachangi brewery.
Organisers are also calling for entries from home brewers, whose beers will be judged by visiting master brewers before the top brew is awarded.
The top prize includes a stall at next year's festival.