Rotorua has another award-winning beer, with new beer-maker Two Fingers Beers picking up two bronze awards at the Society of Beer Advocates National Homebrew Competition last weekend.
Two Fingers Beers, owned and operated by Rotorua-based Englishman Lawrence Oldershaw, was officially launched at Brew bar on Wednesday night.
The business started out as a home brew operation as part of Mr Oldershaw's quest for a more sustainable lifestyle.
Three years later, he has just produced his first commercial brew of Two Fingers Alt Bier, with the flavours developed in Rotorua and the beer brewed at the Mata outfit in Kawerau.
"We started very modestly with a simple brew kit at home for our own enjoyment, but we soon progressed to brewing from scratch with the generous loan of some equipment from the team at Crouchers.
"Just like our beer, our operation has gone from strength to strength and it quickly became clear that this was more than a hobby. As a result, we decided to make the leap and start producing our unique flavours on a more commercial basis.
"It has been incredibly exciting to go from seeing people enjoying our beer at home, to the first kegs literally rolling out of the brewery and the first glasses being poured in pubs," said Mr Oldershaw.
He said his beers were traditionally styled, with a focus on blending the best of European flavours, with kiwi notes.
"In the past we have had the opportunity to travel around Europe and taste some of the finest beer the world has to offer. The inspiration for our flavours comes from the beer houses of the United Kingdom and Europe, and we have also chosen to produce beers that have a definite heritage and interesting story.
"Our beers are not designed to be copies of the originals and they have a clear Two Fingers stamp on them," Mr Oldershaw said.
He said the company name had an interesting story and heritage behind it.
"At the Battle of Agincourt, following England's invasion at Normandy in 1415, the French cut off the two drawing fingers of the Englishmen longbowmen to prevent them from using their bow and arrows.
"In return, legend has it, the two-fingered insult which is still prevalent today came from the English bowsmen flicking their fingers at the French to indicate they still had their lethal archers' fingers. In addition, the two-finger depth is the traditional amount of head on a beer.
" While having some real history behind it, the name is a bit cheeky and a bit of fun and that's important to us as well."
The first Two Fingers beer to be commercially produced is the Alt Bier, which is also the first Alt of its kind to be commercially produced in New Zealand.
"The Alt is a popular beer from the Nord Rhine Westfalen region of Germany. It is a dark amber ale, with a malty flavour that is balanced with hop bitterness.
"There is a hint of smoky chocolate and a slight fruitiness and it is well suited to be enjoyed on its own, matched with German-style pork dishes or any kiwi barbecue."
The Two Fingers Alt Bier picked up a bronze award at the competition along with the Two Fingers Summer Ale, which will be the next commercial beer produced.
Two Fingers Alt Bier is available on tap at the Crouchers Brew Bar in Rotorua and in increasing outlets around the North Island.