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By Luke Owen Smith


This month's Brewery of the Month is Canyon Brewing from Queenstown. We had a quick yarn with Head Brewer Kit Clinton-Baker, to find out what's been happening behind the scenes... 

nz brewery

MF: What inspired you to start Canyon Brewing?
There aren’t many places where you can do your dream job & live in the place you love!

MF: I visited your brewery last year and was blown away by the scenery. What's it like to work in such a beautiful location?
Incredible. I can literally finish work and either be at the lake, river or mountain bike tracks within 5 minutes.
canyon brewing queenstown

MF: How are you improving the sustainability of your beer?
Sometimes I forget that beer is a very agricultural process, and we as brewers rely on farmers to grow both our grain and hops. We are very lucky that one of our directors has a farming background, so we undertook the process of growing fantastic Central Otago barley. Last year's harvest yielded 21 tonnes of base malt giving us year-round malt consistency and reducing shipping costs, as we are receiving in bulk. This also goes full circle with our spent grain going back to the paddocks to be feed to the cattle - happy cows! We have also moved part of our hop contract to local hop farmers Garston Hops, where we contract Motueka & NZ Cascade. As a result of these two local products, we can now call our Canyon Gold a fully central Otago lager (not including yeast).
canyon brewing beer

MF: With such a big tourism trade in Queenstown, Covid must have impacted your business in a big way. Are things getting back to normal now?
Fortunately yes, it has been a slow increase since winter with all the Aussies coming for the snow, and since then there has been a steady increase in overseas tourists. We're seeing bigger numbers day-to-day at our tap room, as well as our on-premise costumers in Queenstown and Wanaka. Only up from here!

MF: Which of your beers are you most proud of?
That’s a tricky question, like choosing between your children. Since inception, I think my favourite beer I have done would be a beer called Zenkuro dry Japanese lager. This was a collab with a local sake brewery where we use their leftover sake lees and then “dry hopped” with dried yuzu powder. It was a super clean, citrusy lager with a herbaceous umami note that was really well balanced. The design of the can was also incredible. Current beers would be our Feijoa sour, one of my favourite fruits. I blended this which a touch of passionfruit puree & lactose. A perfect balance of sweet & sour!
sour beer canyon queenstown

MF: What can we expect to see from Canyon Brewing in 2023?
Lots of cool collabs, the beginning of a sour barrel aged project, and more beers in 440ml formats!

MF: What's the best beer you've tasted recently?
I had the Duncan’s Mr Whippy stout at the Great Kiwi Beerfest in Christchurch. SO much chocolate.

MF: What's your favourite fish?
A gurnard, looks amazing, tastes delicious.

Thanks so much to Kit for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to check out Canyon's beer in our online store.