Beer Awards and Beer Tasting

The biggest week on the New Zealand beer calendar is over. The BrewNZ Beer Awards attracted a record number of entries while Beervana attracted a record number of attendees. The winners were honoured at the awards dinner last Thursday and the full results are now up on the Brewer’s Guild website. The highlight of the evening was Emerson’s Brewing Company being crowned Champion Brewery 2009.

Pre-Beervana, I had the pleasure of running a beer tasting for the diplomatic folks at MFAT:

The role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been occasionally described by outsiders as ‘drinking for one’s country.’ It was therefore slightly surprising that it had been a couple of years since I had last run a beer tasting session for the MFAT social club. The organiser of the previous event is, rather ironically, now posted to a completely dry country though I’m sure there is no causal relationship.

Finally, to the hundreds of correspondents who almost over-loaded the Real Beer server with emails wanting to know what happened to Beer Haiku Friday, you will be pleased to learn that normal service will resume this week.

Record number of entries at 2009 BrewNZ Beer Awards

More than 340 beers from New Zealand and overseas breweries are entered in this year’s BrewNZ Beer Awards, New Zealand’s premier beer competition, up from 205 entries last year. The Awards, which have also attracted about 150 international entries from Australia, United States, Pacific Islands and Russia, have brewers striving to brew the perfect beer.

Led by US-based judge Dave Logsdon, a panel of judges will convene in Wellington to assess entries over three days from Sunday 22 August, with the BrewNZ Beer Awards Dinner to be held on Thursday 27 August.

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Brewers Guild to honour classic Kiwi beer styles

New Zealand’s indigenous beer styles will be honoured with two new trophies at this year’s BrewNZ Beer Awards to be held in Wellington in August. Best in class trophies will be awarded to the highest rated entries in both the classic New Zealand Draught and the Golden Lager style categories.

Brewed using a combination of ale and lager brewing techniques, New Zealand Draughts and Lagers are hybrid styles that are unique to this country.

In announcing the new awards, the Brewers Guild of New Zealand (BGNZ) has recognised the importance of this country’s classic beer styles. BGNZ Chairman David Cryer says, “These new awards emphasise the significance of this country’s classic beer styles on the world stage and highlight New Zealand’s status as a strong brewing nation.”

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Curry in a hurry by Martin Bosley

When you’re looking for a simple dish to accompany pale ale, it’s hard to go past curry.

I am not much of a beer drinker, preferring a glass of wine to accompany my food. So it was with some amusement and a degree of scepticism that I accepted an invitation from the organisers of BrewNZ, New Zealand’s international beer awards, to demonstrate the art of beer and food matching.

Previously, my experience with beer had been limited to the standard brands. So, starting my research with them, I discovered they had one thing in common: they were all wet. It was with pleasure, then, that I moved on to the handsome, locally produced, handcrafted regional beers, and made some interesting discoveries. Committed boutique beer drinkers are just as passionate and know-ledgeable about their subject as any wine connoisseur, and they’re happy to share that passion with you.

Beer, like wine, can either complement or contrast food. But beer has carbonation that cleans the palate between mouthfuls of food, rinsing away traces of fat and richness and leaving the tastebuds refreshed and ready to experience textures and flavours.

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REVIEW: Beer to knock your socks off

Beer reviewer Ric Oram reviews the latest creation from local brewer Green Man, fermented with champage yeast to pack a wallop.

Dunedin brewer Green Man has produced, at 14.5%, what is probably the strongest commercial beer made in New Zealand.

It is Enrico’s Cure (named after its maker Enrico Gritzner) which won a silver medal and was judged the best experimental beer at this month’s BrewNZ beer competition.

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Life-changing stuff as Kiwi beer comes of age at BrewNZ

But for me the most successful part of BrewNZ wasn’t the beers themselves, but the public’s response to them. Beervana, a two-day tasting event featuring 80 or so of the country’s finest brews as well as beer and food matching seminars with top chef Martin Bosley, was a huge success.

Around 2500 people braved some of the capital’s most inclement weather to attend the three sessions at the Overseas Terminal and everyone I have spoken to since has been fulsome in their praise.

Having flown down to Wellington specifically for the event, the Auckland-based editor of a well known trade magazine later told me the quality and diversity of beers available at Beervana had fundamentally changed his understanding and perception of beer. Praise indeed!

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Kate’s Blog – Beervana

(note below there are actually three different links to three very comprehensive blog posts)

All of this and more was at this weekend’s Brew NZ event, Beervana, in Wellington. Over 20 brewers from around the country and many more discerning drinkers gathered in the Overseas Terminal on the waterfront. Stalls flanked the walls and in the middle the conversation and the tasting notes hummed.

A very good and unobtrusive band played throughout the evening, and the food (which could be purchased with beer tokens) looked excellent and abundant – I saw venison sausages, mashed potatoes and mushy peas, turkey and ham rolls, and a mound of tasty cheeses. I have to admit I didn’t eat any because I was too busy tasting the beer – more of which in the next blog.

Full Blog Post
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Kate’s Beervana: Tasting notes (Part 1)
Well, my head has almost recovered after a night of hedonistic beery pleasure, and this morning’s run along the Eastern walkway with occasional glimpses of the inland Kaikouras (they were just there!) has cleared the mental decks so that I can write up some rather illegible tasting notes from this weekend’s Beervana.

Full Blog Post (Part 1)

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Beervana: Tasting notes (Part 2)
So, to sum up, I drank lots of beer, I like hops and I had a great night. My top three, entirely unscientifically based upon the way I was feeling at the time are Epic Pale Ale, Yeastie Boys’ Pot Kettle Black, and Croucher Brewing Company Pale Ale. Anyone else?

Full Blog Post (Part 2)

And the winners are…

The 2008 BrewNZ Beer Awards were announced last night in Wellington. The Best in Class winners in the following categories were:

Classic NZ Styled Beers: Biman, Invercargill Brewery, Invercargill.

Amber and Dark lagers: Hereford Bitter, Dux Brew Co, Christchurch.

International Golden Lager: James Squire Pilsener, Malt Shovel Brewery, Australia.

French & Belgian style ales: Tuatara Ardennes, Tuatara Brewing, Wellington.

New world/American style ales: Epic Pale Ale, Epic Brewing Company, Auckland. UK and other European style ales: Tuatara IPA, Tuatara Brewing, Wellington.

Stouts and Porters: Clydesdale Stout, Harringtons Brewery, Christchurch.

Strong ales and lagers: Monteith’s Winter Ale Doppelbock, DB Mainland Brewery, Auckland.

Wheat and other grain beers: Emerson’s Weizenbock, The Emerson Brewing Company, Dunedin.

Fruit, spiced, herb flavoured beers: Boysenbeery, Invercargill Brewery, Invercargill.

Packaging award: Monteith’s New Zealand Lager, Monteith’s Brewing Company.

Experimental and non or low alcoholic beers: Enrico’s Cure, Green Man Brewery, Dunedin.

Champion Brewery: Tuatara Brewery