Chilli on the menu this weekend in Numurkah

By Morgan Dyer

Numurkah's Bernie Alston used to love cracking open a cold one, sitting back and relaxing at the weekend.

The smell, sound and of course taste of beer tantalised him so much he decided to take on the challenge and craft his very own home brew to share with family and friends.

But Mr Alston's love for beer came to an abrupt end eight years ago when his doctor told him he had to stop drinking.

You can only imagine Mr Alston's disappointment. He couldn’t fathom that his beloved home brew would sit in the cupboard untouched, or — worse — be poured down the sink or tossed in the trash.

So Mr Alston decided to get a group of friends together to get the beer out of sight and out of mind.

“So as I was supplying the beer a few people bought food along, including a bowl of chilli con carne,” Mr Alston said.

“It was lots of fun.”

After having such a great party the group decided to host a get-together every year — and so what would become one of the biggest events on the Numurkah community calendar was born.

Now, eight years on, the once casual party has been transformed into Numurkah's annual Rhythm and Brews Chilli Fiesta — which includes a competitive chilli dish cook-off with visitors given the opportunity to taste and vote for the dish they liked best, plus an entertaining chilli-eating contest.

Mr Alston said people had started to get very imaginative with their cooking.

“It can get quite competitive. Last year we had chilli-flavoured profiteroles and chilli-flavoured macarons.

“This year we have had to create a separate category for people to enter chilli-flavoured desserts.”

Chilli enthusiasts from across Australia converge on the event, which raises much-needed funds for local charities.

This Saturday's event will include three live music acts, raffles, giveaways, food, brews and of course the man versus chilli eating contest.

Tickets to the Numurkah Rhythm and Brews Chilli Fiesta cost $25 for adults; tables of 10 cost $230. The fiesta will be held on Saturday, March 7 at Numurkah Recreation Reserve from 5 pm, with all funds raised going directly towards local charities. For more information or to book, phone Bernie Alston on 0413 914 004.

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