The rise of the North, The Northmen have been south and conquered. Familiar terms for Vikings and Game of Thrones fans but terms not often linked to the New Zealand Brewing scene…until now!
The New Zealand Brewers Guild (NZBG) held their annual awards recently in Christchurch and our northern brewers did exceptionally well.
The Brewers Guild judges gathered for three days prior to the festival to sip and sample the 964 beers and ciders that were entered into this year’s competition. Judging is done in a way that the beers are unidentifiable by anything other than taste, aroma and colour. The judging criteria is set down under firm guidelines based on aroma, appearance, flavour, mouthfeel, overall impression and then given scores out of 50 that see the recipients receive Gold, Silver, Bronze or nothing at all. Any medal is considered a major achievement in the industry and can open doors for future sales.
The highest scoring beer in each class gains the coveted trophy for Best in Class. Right then, now you know how it works!
Enter the northern breweries! Warkworth’s 8 Wired claimed a massive 19 medals including two Golds for their Barley Wine, Lord of the Atlas and Stout Unchained. They also earned eight Silvers and nine Bronzes with several of their superb barrel aged beers amongst the medal winners.
“It’s always disappointing not to win a trophy but it was a pretty good haul,” claimed 8 Wired’s Soren Eriksen.
McLeod’s Brewery in Waipu returned home with the trophy for Best International Lager for their Longboarder Lager and the only Gold medal achieved in the category. The gold was dripping that night as they also collected bling for their Paradise Pale Ale, Chili Pilsner and Traders Scotch Ale. Add the four bronzes and the little Waipu brewery returned with eight medals from ten beers. Not bad at all!
Matakana’s Sawmill Brewery collected five Gold medals for their Sawmill IPA, Session IPA, Weizenbock Colab, Baltic Porter and a packaging Gold. The Baltic Porter and The Weizenbock were judged Best in Class. It was a truly magnificent result that had The Sawmill finish in the top three breweries in the land.
So, the north has risen and it is no longer the brewing wilderness that is has been in the past. It is producing award-winning breweries and superbly crafted beers that you need to get out and enjoy. Don’t trust the medals alone, taste and form your own opinion and maybe you’ll discover next year’s winners along the way.