By James Atkinson in Nelson

New Zealand craft brewers presented a diverse range of innovative and sometimes bizarre beers at the weekend's Marchfest event on the South Island.

Started five years ago by local publicans and creators of the Dead Good Beer company, Eelco Boswijk and Mic Dover (pictured), Marchfest is held annually in Founders Heritage Park, Nelson, a region which claims to have more craft breweries per head of the population than anywhere else in the country, and is close to NZ’s only hop-growing area.

This year 13 local craft breweries and cider makers took part, ranging from the more sizeable craft players like Moa Beer and McCashins to some much smaller operations.

These participating producers took up the challenge to create a brew containing a secret added ingredient (other than water, hops, yeast or barley).

There were beers allegedly containing ingredients as wide-ranging as green tea, vanilla, raspberry, aniseed, mugwort, habanero chilli, bourbon and even green-lipped mussels.

Organiser Eelco Boswijk told TheShout that the special ingredient theme had proven to be an excellent platform for the region's brewers to demonstrate their talents.

He said that while participating brewers had clearly pushed the envelope with their choices of ingredients, all of the beers were drinkable and had been well-received by attendees.

Despite a rain-soaked day, the event attracted 2,300 people, which Boswijk said was not far off the targeted attendance of 2,500.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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