There was beer flavoured by mushrooms, by coconut and by kawakawa and watercress at the first River City Craft Beer Festival.

The city's inaugural craft beer festival held on Saturday showcased five breweries, with 20 beers, one cider and one non-alcoholic sparkling Monty's Surprise apple juice to try. The event was organised by Andy Henshaw, owner of Whanganui's Roots Brewing Co.

The 250 tickets sold out more than a week beforehand. Whanganui people were "so excited" to have a beer tasting here and brewers were impressed at how open they were to trying different beers, Henshaw said.

Brewers were set out in one hall at the Whanganui Musicians Club complex in Drews Ave.

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People attending were given a printed list with a brief description of each beer.

One hall at the Whanganui Musicians Club was devoted to the beer from five breweries. Photo / Lewis Gardner
One hall at the Whanganui Musicians Club was devoted to the beer from five breweries. Photo / Lewis Gardner

Festival-goers could also move through to another hall, where there were tables and a line-up of three bands. First, Whanganui band The Conrays, then Palmerston North's Heavy Blarney, with swampy Celtic rock, followed by Nicole Son's French/Brazilian fusion.

Whanganui band The Conrays were the first to take the stage. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Whanganui band The Conrays were the first to take the stage. Photo / Lewis Gardner

The music was a varied as the beers, Henshaw said, and people got up and danced.

Food was provided - pizza from Flaming Dragon pizzas and South African meaty dishes from Papa Charlie.

"Everybody just had a fantastic time. Everywhere you looked people were just smiling and enjoying themselves," Henshaw said.

He's planning more - perhaps another adult fest at the same venue, and a family-friendly outdoor picnic with beer and soft drinks in the height of summer.