Along with half of Auckland, I recently escaped the hustle and bustle and made my way down to picturesque Queenstown.
People usually associate Queenstown with snow-capped mountains, Instagrammable hot tubs and burgers, but I was determined to uncover another layer of Queenstown.

It was a Friday afternoon and I had run out of Speight’s, so I decided to find something that tastes more like beer. After a quick five-minute drive out of town, I arrived in an industrial area where, tucked behind a workshop, I discovered Queenstown’s hidden gem – Searchlight Brewery.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by an empty outdoor seating area which would be perfect in summer but I happened to be there on a cold winter’s day, so I opted for the heated indoor area. There, you are immersed within the stainless steel tanks full of beer that’s almost ready for consumption. Tucked into the corner was a lonesome retro arcade machine, which is a perfect excuse to offload some coins in exchange for a few minutes of nostalgia.

Now to the beer! On the menu there are jugs, pints and flights which were all reasonably priced – a rarity in this neck of the woods.

Naturally, I opted for the tasting flight which included a ginger beer, lager, sour and a hazy IPA. All were surprisingly top-notch brews but the hazy was a standout and I would rate it in my top 10 hazys – which is saying something! Though if you want to know my thoughts on the hazy IPA, you are going to have to check out my review on Instagram.

I couldn’t write about Searchlight without mentioning the food. They serve no-frills bar snacks – but on another level, with my favourite being the kumara fries with beer queso dip; it was so good I had to lick the bowl clean when nobody was looking!

So next time you find yourself in Queenstown, don’t bother lining up for your third Ferg Burger of the weekend or spending a small fortune to get a pic for the ’gram in a hot tub – instead, make your way to Searchlight Brewery for a cold one and tell them hazzy sent ya!

Follow Joshua on Instagram: @hazzy_hunter