It’s our golden new grog

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The winner of the men-only Lake Hayes A&P Show home brew competition has launched his own Queenstown beer company. 

Winemaker John Wallace, 46, who won the controversial contest back in January, brings Queenstown Brewers’ first commercial brew to local pubs today. 

Wallace says: “Queenstown needs its own beer – it’s doesn’t really have one at the moment. 

“It’s a resort town with lots of people moving through and you always hear them asking what the local brew is.” 

Steam Brew – inspired by the Otago gold rush – will be launched by Athol Street bar Brazz. 

It is a Californian-style beer – a brown ale with the smooth richness of a lager and the fruity bitterness of an ale, Wallace says. 

“I’ve been brewing for five years at home and have developed my recipes – it’s trial and error, like cooking.” 

Wallace says gold miners in the 1860s brought with them a thirst for a beer that originated in the Californian goldfields – called ‘Steam’ because it was a highly-charged beer that let off a good head of steam when the barrels were tapped. 

The new beer, perfected through feedback from enthusiastic friends, is brewed and bottled at a Queenstown brewery. 

Wallace hopes a range of his beers will be available in several bars around town in the near future. 

In the New Year, Queenstown Brewers will release the pale ale Pilsner that won the 2012 A&P Show Home Brew Award – which saw local brewer Rachel Beer banned from entering because she is a woman.