Kiwi brewers dominate at New World Beer & Cider Awards

It wasn’t all that long ago when the words ‘great beer’ and ‘New Zealand’ were rarely heard side by side. That’s all changed in the past few years, with some fantastic brewers and cider-makers coming through the ranks. And in a coup for our little country, the Kiwis have set the gold standard at the 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards, taking all but one of the 12 Champion trophies available to hundreds of local and international entries.

The 2018 New World Beer & Cider Champions are:

Class: Product: Origin:
Lager Hop Federation Lager Nelson
Pilsner Parrotdog Pandemonium Wellington
Pale Ale Sawmill eXtra Pale Ale Auckland
IPA Parrotdog Forget-Me-Not Wellington
British-style Ale Hertog Jan Grand Prestige Netherlands
European-style Ale Deep Creek Steam Funk Gose Auckland
American-style Ale Fortune Favours

The Oregonian All American Amber

Wellington
Stout, Porter & Black Beer Wigram Ace Smokey Porter Christchurch
Wheat & Other Grain Beer Altitude Persistent High Hefe Queenstown
Speciality, Experimental 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Auckland
Apple & Pear Cider Zeffer Crisp Apple Cider Hawke’s Bay
Fruit & Flavoured Cider Zeffer Two Point Five Cider Hawke’s Bay

In an impressive double-header result, New Zealand craft companies Parrotdog and Zeffer won a third of the Champion titles between them, taking home two trophies each.

“Parrotdog now wears the coveted IPA crown, retains their Pilsner trophy from 2017 and added a third Gold medal to boot, while Zeffer won Champion in both cider categories – a competition first,” explains Chair of the independent judges Michael Donaldson.

Other Champions in the golden dozen include well-known names in the Kiwi craft beer scene as well as newcomer Fortune Favours. A further nine New Zealand beers and ciders were awarded Gold medals. All the Champion and Gold medal winners will be on sale in New World stores nationwide for a four-week period starting 28th May.

“It was the biggest year ever for the New World Beer & Cider Awards with nearly 600 entries and these winners held their own through an exacting judging process,” says Donaldson.

“These are truly world-class beers and ciders, and every one delivers to the promise of the Gold medal sticker attached to them.”

From beers described as “sunshine in a glass” to ciders praised for “brilliant execution”, he says this year’s winners offer a great range to explore.

“There are perfect examples of the classics, like Hop Federation’s Lager, or you can test your palate on something a bit different, such as 8 Wired’s Cucumber Hippy.

“The rise of more exotic beer styles, like Deep Creek’s Steam Funk Gose– a salted, sour beer that was nearly lost to the world behind the Berlin Wall, and an increasing number of traditional-style dry ciders is also great news for consumers.”

“And I was delighted to see two quite contrasting IPAs come to the fore with Parrotdog’s classic West Coast US-style taking the trophy and Behemoth’s hazy, juicy East Coast-style, complete with rip-top lid, also winning a Gold.

“Across the board, the diversity of styles means there’s something for everyone among the Gold medal winners.”

With winners hailing from Kerikeri in the Far North to Queenstown in the deep south and regions in between, he says the results are a sign of New Zealand’s maturing beer and cider industry.

“The fact that Kainui, a relatively unknown, small farmhouse brewery in Northland, can deliver beers of international standard is a testament to the health of the local industry and our homegrown brewing talents.”

Another fact, Donaldson noted, was that brewers and cider-makers are becoming increasingly skilful at packing flavour into lower alcohol products, with 12 of the 21 Gold medal beers and ciders being under 5 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume).

Steve Anderson, Managing Director, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, says New World is delighted to support brewers and cider-makers through the only New Zealand awards programme to offer an instant boost in sales and brand visibility.

“With distribution and support through 135 New World stores nationwide, the New World Beer & Cider Awards puts the Gold medal brews front and centre with a national audience of thirsty beer and cider enthusiasts.

“With winning breweries spread across the North and South Islands, this is a lucrative opportunity to get their name on the map and their product to the top of shopping lists across the country.

“We know from experience that demand will be high and we encourage people to get in quick to try the best of the best while they are on shelf for a limited time.”

More than 90 beer and cider makers from New Zealand and overseas entered 584 products into the 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards. The entries were blind-judged by a panel of 16 independent expert judges using a collaborative method based on technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel, and most importantly, drinkability.

In addition to the class Champions, Gold medals were also awarded to the following:

Class: Product: Origin:
Pale Ale Parrotdog Falcon Wellington
IPA Behemoth Lid Ripper Hazy IPA Auckland
Stout, Porter & Black Beer Kainui Brew Co Rank & File Porter Kerikeri
Speciality, Experimental Garage Project White Mischief Wellington
Apple & Pear Cider Good George Extra Dry Apple Cider Hamilton
  Harvest Crisp Apple Cider Gisborne
  Peckham’s Reserve Dry Cider Nelson
Fruit & Flavoured Cider Good George Scarlett Peach Cider Hamilton
  Orchard Thieves Red Berries Cider Nelson