Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson’s surprise as Epic Armageddon clinches coveted IPA trophy again


Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson chaired the judging of this year’s New World Beer & Cider Awards. The author of two books on New Zealand beer was surprised when Epic Armageddon won the coveted IPA trophy for the second year in a row.

Were you surprised when Epic Armageddon won Best IPA for the second year in a row?

I couldn’t believe it because the IPA class is so competitive. It’s a blind tasting so we don’t know who has won until afterwards. It’s also won the Brewers Guild awards twice in a row. It’s won in Sweden and Australia. It just keeps coming out on top.

Epic owner Luke Nicholas gets his hops from America. Is that unusual for a New Zealand brewer?

Yes. The majority of our brewers use local hops. There’s enough for everybody despite high demand. Luke uses US hops because he started out brewing American-style beers. They just have the flavour profile he’s after. Parrot Dog Pandemonium won Best Pilsner with Australian hops even though New Zealand pilsners are the thing at the moment for their tropical passionfruit aromas. (full story)

Auckland brewers rule at Beer and Cider Awards


The hoppy notes of India Pale Ale were one of the big winners at the Beer and Cider Awards this year. The other was Auckland.

The city is proving itself a beer powerhouse, with Auckland breweries taking out 10 of the 12 Champion awards for beers and ciders.

Judges blind-tested more than 500 beers and ciders to pick the winners of the awards, which are run by New World. Criteria for the winning tipples include drinkability, mouthfeel, balance and technical excellence.

Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is a favourite of craft brewers and the class was hotly contested this year. Judges sipped their way through more than 70 entries from 45 breweries from around the country, with Onehunga-based brewery Epic’s Armageddon IPA winning for the second year in a row. (full story)