Garston Hops went back to the future on Tuesday.

The hop operation, based on the McNamee family farm, about 18km south of Kingston, collaborated with Queenstown’s Altitude Brewing for this year’s Garston Hops Festival, where 80 beer enthusiasts followed the hops on an historic journey.

After harvesting on Tuesday morning, the hops were taken to Fairlight on Clydesdale-drawn carriages to the historic Kingston Flyer steam train.

Once the punters and hops were loaded on to the train, there was a scenic jaunt to Kingston, including a couple of ales, before the precious
cargo— and the people — were bussed back to Altitude’s Sugar Lane brewery, off Frankton Rd.

Altitude’s business development manager Jeremy Bahr-Worley – pictured second from left with, from left, Alitutde founder Eliott Menzies, Garston Hops founder James McNamee and Altitude MD Eddie Gapper – says the inspiration for the day came from the old DB Brewery ads on TV, where kegs were transported by Clydesdale horses.

It’s the first time Garston Hops has done something of that scale to mark its harvest — and the team there hope to continue to grow the event.

All going well, next year the TSS Earnslaw will also be involved, so the hops can make the full old-time journey to Queenstown.

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