Stephanie is a senior reporter for the Rotorua Daily Post.

Inaugural beerfest enjoyed by crowd

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FESTIVE: Patrons enjoying the inaugural winter beer festival at Okere Falls Store. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
FESTIVE: Patrons enjoying the inaugural winter beer festival at Okere Falls Store. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Hundreds of beer enthusiasts braced the cold for a three-day festival showcasing top notch brews, hearty food and entertainment to suit everybody's tastes.

The Okere Falls Beerfest came to a close on Sunday and had people turning up in droves to soak up the sun and enjoy the mix of New Zealand and craft beers on offer.

The inaugural festival, complimentary to the store's 10-year tradition of holding a German Beerfest in October, was born from the idea of 17th century monks who started producing strong, malty beer to maintain their energy and spirits during the 40-day fasting of Lent.

The three-day event started on Friday with local songstress Stella Maris kicking off the entertainment. On Saturday around 300 patrons came together to drink darker beer and cheer themselves up for the oncoming winter.

Other entertainment included Andre Manella from Sonic Delusion, Joe's Van, Sal Valentine & The Babyshakes, Superhero Second Line, members of the Waiheke Soul Orchestra, The Solomon Cole Band and These Automatic Changers.

Okere Falls Store promotions co-ordinator Kimi Chater said the festival was an all-round success. "We will definitely be doing it again next year. We had a great crowd each night with the entertainment getting people up dancing and singing in between sampling the beers."

To ensure people went away knowing what they had sampled, everyone entering was be given a beer passport where they could make tasting notes.

Ms Chater said people were quick to warm to the passport idea and it was common to see a group get different beers, tasting each one so they could try as many flavours as possible.

"It was an intimate gathering on Friday night and again on Sunday but the entertainment never failed to get people in the festive mood. The Waiheke Soul Orchestra were particularly popular with people calling for encores.

"For our first year we were really pleased with how the festival went and look forward to doing it again next year."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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