In the heart of New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps, Wānaka, a town renowned for its stunning landscapes and adventurous spirit, plays host to an event that’s become a cherished annual tradition – the Wanaka Beer Festival.
Scheduled for the first weekend in December at the picturesque Wānaka A&P Showgrounds, this festival is more than just a gathering; it’s a celebration of local craftsmanship, community, and of course, exceptional beer.
As you wander through the festival, you’re greeted by an array of local breweries that are the heart and soul of this event. From the innovative brews of b.effect and Rhyme X Reason to the distinctive flavors of Ground Up and Wanaka Beer Works, each brewery offers a unique taste of the region. Not to be missed are Canyon Food & Brew Co, Altitude Brewing, Otago Brew School, and the intriguingly named Crimson Badger, adding their own distinctive notes to this symphony of flavours.
But the Wanaka Beer Festival isn’t just about local brews. This year, it extends its reach across the South Island, featuring gems like House of Hop from Geraldine, Christchurch’s Two Thumb Brewing, and Brew Moon from North Canterbury. Adding to this rich tapestry is the Wellington Beer Stand, showcasing some of the finest beers from New Zealand’s capital & the surrounding areas, including offerings from Wellington’s Heyday, Choice Bros, Boneface, Mean Doses, Beer Engine and Hawke’s Bay’s Zeelandt & Brave Brewing.
For the beer enthusiasts in the crowd, we’ve lined up something special. We’re hosting chat sessions with brewers who are doing it differently.. One of the highlights is the unveiling of ‘Swifty’ by Royalburn Station, a collab with Garage Project. This isn’t just any beer; it’s a land-to-lager experience with ingredients sourced straight from their farm. Then there’s Steve from Glenorchy Brew Company, sharing his journey from a backyard brewer to a craft beer name. And don’t miss our mystery guest brewer – it’s a secret worth waiting for.
But let’s be honest, it’s not just about the beer (okay, it’s a lot about the beer). We’ve got a comedy lineup that’ll have you in stitches. Darren A Hill, Harsh Vengurlekar, Meghan McGill, Sean Tinker, and Shane Mulvey are all set to take the stage. These guys are the real deal, dishing out the kind of laughs that make you forget your drink… temporarily, of course. Local DJs and bands set the soundtrack for the day, creating an ambiance that’s both vibrant and laid-back. While activities like disc golf and laser rifles offer a playful diversion.
What truly sets the Wanaka Beer Festival apart is its commitment to local talent and products. Food trucks serving delicious bites, local entertainers, and a focus on South Island breweries and vendors create an atmosphere that’s undeniably Kiwi in spirit. It’s a day to relax, engage, and enjoy the simple pleasure of good company and great beer.
James Julian, the man behind the festival, sums it up perfectly: “The whole point of Wanaka Beer Fest is to get together and chat, have a bit of craic, and that’s really the idea. It’s a non-commercial, independent, locally-focused, relaxed and enjoyable day that very few people will dislike.”
As the festival approaches, excitement builds in the air. The Wanaka Beer Festival, set for December 2nd, promises to be an unforgettable experience.
For more information and to secure your tickets, visit wanakabeerfest.co.nz. Join us in this unique celebration where the love for beer and the beauty of Wanaka converge, creating memories that linger long after the last pint is poured.