Brewers gear up for home-brew festival

The third Home-brew Festival kicks off on February 1 at Huinga, near Stratford. File Photo / NZ Herald
The third Home-brew Festival kicks off on February 1 at Huinga, near Stratford. File Photo / NZ Herald

About 30 home-brewers from as far afield as Wellington and Auckland will converge at Huinga, near Stratford, this weekend for the third Home-brew Festival featuring beer, lager, stout, cider, mead, limoncello, wine and home-made chutneys and sauces.

This year for the first time the brewers will compete for the chance to brew a batch for Mike's Brewery.

Vaughan Wood, chief brewer of the Eastern Taranaki Home Brewers Association, which organises the event, says each brewer has his or her own touch, and this is what makes home brews so exciting.

He and mate Peter Ardell set up a brewing station at his home at the old Huinga School. They grow hops on the property, and harvest manuka leaves and "anything from the garden" to flavour their brew.

"It is a bit trial and error. If we find something that works, we will replicate it.

"But a brewer's recipe is his secret."

Mr Wood grew up on the adjacent farm and attended Huinga School. He started brewing 20 years ago, but then gave up. Three years ago Mr Ardell convinced him to try again.

Mr Wood lives on a couple of acres at Douglas growing apples, plums, feijoas, peaches, pears and collecting anything retro. He has been brewing for about 30 years and likes his beer "natural and wholesome".

The festival is on from February 1-3, with tickets for the weekend costing $30 (children under 18 accompanied by an adult are free), or $10 for sampling at the hall. There is free camping, good tucker, a horseshoe pitching competition and music. More information from huingahomebrew.webs.com

- The Stratford Press

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