Four Of A Kind – Epic Armageddon’s Winning Hand

P1060745The trophies keep piling up for Epic Beer’s Armageddon IPA, which has claimed its fourth major crown in less than a year after it was named best in class at the New World Beer and Cider Awards.

And to seal Epic’s position as this country’s leading producer of hop-driven beers, Epic Pale Ale also brought home a trophy for the best pale ale, defending the title it won in last year’s inaugural awards.

Epic owner-brewer Nicholas is blown away by Armageddon’s success over the past year. It has previously taken out trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards, The New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and the Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival.

“When it won its third trophy, in Stockholm, it was described as `the stuff of fantasy’ – well I think we’ve exhausted the adjectives now, it’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Nicholas said.

P1060659“The IPA category is one of the most fiercely contested in any beer competition and to come out on top in four consecutive competitions is mind-boggling.”

Nicholas was equally delighted Epic Pale Ale retained the title it won last year against stiff competition. It was the only beer or cider to retain a title from the inaugural awards and this trophy comes almost 10 years to the day after it burst to prominence when named supreme champion at the New Zealand International Beer Awards in 2006.

“It just shows what a remarkable beer Epic Pale Ale has been over the course of a decade. When it was released it was revolutionary – a big hoppy pale ale of the sort New Zealand hadn’t seen before. And despite the huge growth in the pale ale category, 10 years later it still stands above the rest.”

Epic was the only brewery to win two trophies at the awards and also picked up four silver medals for Hop Zombie, Awakening Pils, Lager and IMP session IPA. The Observer Timeless Ale was awarded a bronze medal, meaning every Epic beer entered won a medal of some colour.

A total of 464 beers were entered in the awards, with 40 winning gold medals.

All trophy winners will be available at New World stores around the country.

 

 

Tasting notes from Michael Donaldson – head judge for the New World Beer and Cider Awards.

Epic Pale Ale 330mlPale Ale – Epic Pale Ale

This has been a benchmark pale ale for a decade and its quality is reflected in the fact it’s now the only two-time trophy winner in the New World awards. At 5.4 per cent alcohol and packed with flavour, Epic Pale Ale was sessionable before `session’ became a buzzword. It’s vibrant, clean, with nice mouth weight, flavours of lychee and rosewater push through a curtain of citrus and pine aromas to dance on a stage of subtle caramel malt. A sneaky bitterness then comes in to cleanse the palate and start the show all over again. Loves to be consumed alongside anything with chilli.

 

 

 

Epic Armageddon 330ml

IPA – Epic Armageddon IPA

Fast becoming New Zealand’s most awarded beer and it was no surprise to see it add the New World title to gongs won at the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and in Australia and Sweden. Brewer Luke Nicholas’ annual pilgrimage to the US hop fields to hand-pick his produce has paid off handsomely. This is the ultimate American-style IPA which surfs waves of flavour, starting with orange and grape notes on the nose, a salty lick like a sea breeze through Norfolk Pines, a caramel caress before the oily resin of the hops is brushed away with a cleansing minerality and a long, clean bitterness. Bold enough to handle rich and spicy food, such as Moroccan lamb.

Day 1 – Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014

Beer Advent CalIt’s that time of year and the countdown is on for Christmas. I had a thought about Beer Advent Calendars, which then led me to thinking about maybe reviewing a beer a day till Christmas. I needed a theme, so I have come up with the “Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014”. I am planning on tasting at least one beer from each Auckland based craft brewery. Brewed in Auckland, Drink in Auckland.

New Zealand’s biggest city has been slow to the game when it comes to craft beer, but things are moving in the right direction, and at an ever-increasing pace.

DAY 1 – BEACHSTONE by Bach Brewing Company

Bach Brewing BeachstoneTAP: Sky Sports Grill
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 30+ (perceived closer to 40 IBU, but could be from the dry finish)
HOPS: Pacific Jade, Pacifica, Riwaka, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin

The use of these hops is obvious when you smell and taste the beer. It has a real NZ hop, tropical fruit and citrus aroma and upfront flavour. In the finish the hops evolve into a herbal grassyness which only NZ hops can do. The bitterness is for grown ups, and might make regular “green bottled lager” drinkers cry a little, and cower in the corner.

With the punchy hops, there is a solid and juicy malt base (from the Bohemian Pilsner and Vienna malt) that carries the bitterness to the end.

When drinking this I thought of Emerson’s and Tuatara Pilsners, both which have historically had the serious NZ hops driving their flavours. As of recently though both have left me less than satisfied and not meeting expectations. Beachstone looks as though it has the ability to pick up the baton. Great example of a New Zealand Pilsner.

OTHER STUFF:

Today I also tasted the Sawmill Brewery (sorry not counting them as from Auckland) Hefeweizen, tasting amazing (at Sky Sports Grill) and the best I have ever had it. Perfect banana and clove character. The yeast load was a bit high, but probably worth drinking through it if you love Hefewezien’s

New BAC level of 0.05 came into law today. If the message is don’t drive if you have had a drink, then maybe the change should have been to have a zero tolerance for alcohol. It seems like a great opportunity for the media to add value and share some facts, backed with science about the effects of alcohol, and understanding how to work out your limits. Is going to dinner and having a couple of glasses of wine OK with your meal? Is scare-mongering more effective over the long-term vs education using facts and science?

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland