Beer says cheers

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A Queenstowner miffed she couldn’t enter a blokes-only home-brew competition is delighted with a public apology by the organisers. 

National and international media followed up a Mountain Scene story last week, in which home brewer Rachel Beer (right) urged Lake Hayes A&P Show organisers to change their rules “to meet modern times”. 

A hand-scrawled note next to the winning home brews at last Saturday’s show read: “Apologies … We are very sorry to those we may have offended with our ‘blokes only’ section. 

“We started this section last year for a bit of fun and with the sole intention of getting some men into the main pavilion.” 

The apology went on: “Sadly our suggestion to enter a ‘Sheila Challenge’ was not taken up by Rachel.” 

Reflecting on the public apology, Beer says: “I thought ‘Holy cow, that’s fantastic’.” 

Beer says she only learned of her last-minute invite to enter her Beer’s Beer tipple early this week. 

In an email to the show secretary, she says: “Had I known of your very kind offer prior to late Friday night I still would not have submitted my entry out of respect [for] the entry rules for 2011; rather I would happily have waited until next year’s show if there was a slot for Sheilas to enter. 

“Having said that, if there is not a slot for females to enter beer in the upcoming shows, ‘such is life’.” 

Beer adds she apologises if organisers have taken offence at her stand. 

The brouhaha has opened some doors. 

Speight’s invited her to tour its Dunedin brewery and DB Breweries boss Brian Blake is inviting her to work alongside one of his brewers at its Timaru or Auckland brewery. 

Beer: “I’m definitely going to do a couple of tours over the next couple of months.” 

The amateur brewer has declined an invite to the Brewers and Liars Festival in Ngongotaha, near Rotorua, in March, as she’s otherwise engaged. 

Beer’s “absolutely surprised” at how the story took off: “Apparently even in India, I’m an Australian. 

“It’s bloody comical, really.”