Best Beers in New Zealand

Nelson-based Townshend Brewery has been named New Zealand's Champion Brewery for 2014.

Townshend beat stiff competition at the 2014 Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, with a record 670 beers from 84 breweries entered across 15 different categories.

In total, 74 New Zealand breweries entered the awards.

Founded in 2005, Townshend Brewery remains a one-person operation, producing approximately 50,000 litres of beer per year. The 650 litre brewery is still located at the Townshend family home in Rosedale, near Nelson.

In addition to being named Champion Brewery, Townshend was also awarded the Champion New Zealand Manufacturer trophy and won the New Zealand Specific Style category for their Oldhams Tap Riwaka Pilsner. Twelve more Townshend brews also earned medals.

Competition Manager, Craig Bowen, said the Awards capped another vintage year for New Zealand brewing.

"Each year, more New Zealanders are getting into beer and cider brewing. And each year, the task of judging at these Awards becomes much harder.

"Whether it's a one man band or the larger more established breweries, New Zealand is enjoying a golden period in terms of the variety and quality of beers produced. That's what the Awards are about - recognising and celebrating excellence in our profession," he said.

Now in its eighth year, the Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards is an international competition, with entries from throughout New Zealand and the world. All beer entries were rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation. A beer's overall balance of characteristics was judged by a panel comprising 25 national and internationally qualified judges.

A total of 61 gold, 121 silver and 169 bronze medals were awarded.

The fifteen beer category winners were:

European Lager Styles
Gladiator Bock (Emersons Brewery, Dunedin)

International Lager Styles
Monteith's Black (DB Draught Brewery, Timaru)

British Ale Styles
Tornado Strong Ale (Wigram Brewing Company, Christchurch)

Other European Ale Styles
JP 2014 (Emersons Brewery, Dunedin)

US Ale Styles
Bloody Dingo (ParrotDog, Wellington)

International Ale Styles
Boss Hog (Panhead Custom Ales, Upper Hutt)

Stout and Porter Styles
Three Boys Oyster Stout (Three Boys Brewery, Christchurch)

Wheat and Other Grain Styles
Black the RIPA (Renaissance Brewing Ltd, Marlborough)

Flavoured & Aged Styles (incl. Fruit/Spice/Herb/ Honey/Smoke)
Captain Cook Spruce Beer (Wigram Brewing Company, Christchurch)

New Zealand Specific Styles
Oldhams Tap Riwaka Pilsner (Townshend Brewery, Nelson)

Specialty, Experimental, Aged, Barrel, Wood-Aged Styles
Black Sabbath (Panhead Custom Ales, Upper Hutt)

Cider and Perry Styles
Slack ma Girdle Cider (Zeffer Cider Co.,Auckland)

Cask Conditioned
Moa Five Hop Handpull (Moa Brewery, Marlborough)

Packaging
Delicious Neck (Tuatara Brewing, Kapiti)

Festive Brew
Brave Bikkie Brown Ale (Behemoth Brewing Company, Auckland)

 

Best New Zealand Beers 2013

New Zealand's best beers in 2013 hail from the region best known for producing award-winning white wines.

Marlborough-based craft brewers Renaissance Brewing were named Champion Brewery at the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards after winning trophies for their beers known as Enlightenment Black the RIPA and Tribute Barley Wine.

Renaissance also won two trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards and were named Champon International Small Brewery.

Winners at the 2013 New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards

NZ Champion Brewery
Renaissance Brewing

Champion International Brewery
Boston Beer Company

European Lager Styles
Dunkel (Cassells & Sons)

International Lager Styles
Oldhams Tap Riwaka Pilsner (Townshend Brewery)

British Ale Styles
Tribute Barley Wine (Renaissance Brewing)

Other European Ale Styles
Dinner Bell (Emerson's Brewery)

US Ale Styles
Tuatara American Pale Ale (Tuatara Brewing)

International Ale Styles
The Pride for Mac's Shady Pale (Lion)

Stout & Porter Styles
The Czar (Wigram Brewing Company)

Wheat & Other Grain Styles
Enlightenment Black the RIPA (Renaissance Brewing)

Flavoured & Aged Styles (incl. Fruit / Spice/Herb/Honey/Smoke
Three Boys Coconut Milk-Stout (Three Boys Brewery)

New Zealand Specific Styles
Haagen Lager (Boundary Road Brewery)

Speciality, Experimental, Aged, Barrel, Wood-Aged Styles
Cockswain's Courage Double-Barrelled Edition (Garage Project)

Cider & Perry Styles
Drop Hop Cider (Good George Brewing)

Cask Conditioned Styles
Old House ESB (Townshend Brewery)

Packaging
Tuatara Range (Tuatara Brewing)

Festive Brew
Cheery (The Twisted Hop)

Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation
Doug Banks and Jim Banks

Beer Writer of the Year
Michael Donaldson Brewers Guild

 

Best New Zealand Beers 2012

New Zealand's best beers have been named after judging of 460 entries at the 2012 national awards. 

Champion brewery for 2012 was Harrington's Breweries (Christchurch), beating a field of brewers that had increased by 20% since 2011. 

The Sutton Group Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards began in 2001. 

Trophy winners 

New Zealand Champion Brewery
Harrington's Breweries  

Champion International Brewery
Boston Beer Co 

European Lager Styles
Wigram Brewing Company, Munchner Dunkel  

International Lager Styles
Tuatara Brewing Company, Tuatara Pilsner 

British Ale Styles
Emerson's Brewery, Regional Best Bitter 

Other European Ale Styles
Golden Bear Brewing, Pirate Peach Saison 

US Ale Styles
Liberty Brewing Co, Yakima Monster 

International Ale Styles
ParrotDog, BitterBitch 

Stout & Porter Styles
Wigram Brewing Company, The Czar 

Wheat & Other Grain Styles
Tuatara Brewing Co Ltd, Tuatara Hefe 

Flavoured & Aged Styles (incl. Fruit/Spice/Herb/ Honey/Smoke)
Garage Project, Dark Arts 

New Zealand Specific Styles
Boundary Road Brewery, NZ Pure 

Specialty, Experimental, Aged, Barrel & Wood-Aged Styles
8 Wired Brewing, Grand Cru 2011 

Cider & Perry Styles
Bulmer Harvest, Harvest Pear Cider 

Cask Conditioned
Townshend Brewery, HM's Black Strap Porter 

Packaging
Tuatara Brewing Company, Tuatara Range 

Festive Brew
Garage Project, Ziggy's Carrot Cake 

Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation
James (Jim) Pollitt 

Brewers Guild New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year 2012
Phil Cook

 

Best New Zealand Beers 2011

New Zealand's burgeoning craft beer industry was evident when independent breweries dominated the 2011 brewery awards.

Brewer 8 Wired Brewing took out the top honours to become The Champion Brewery at The Sutton Group Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards.

With 465 entries in 2011, the Awards drew the biggest entry tally since their inception in 2001, up from 446 the previous year and 348 in 2009.

Trophy winners


New Zealand Champion Brewery
8 Wired Brewing

Champion International Brewery
Boston Beer Co.

European Lager Styles
Steam Brewing Company, Cock & Bull German Pilsner

International Lager Styles
McCashins Brewery, Stoke Amber

British Ale Styles
Harrington's Brewery, Pig & Whistle

Other European Ale Styles
Tuatara Brewing Co Ltd, Tuatara Ardennes

US Ale Styles
Epic Brewing Company, Epic Armageddon IPA

New Zealand & International Ale Styles
Emerson's Brewery, Emerson's Oreti Red

Stout & Porter Styles
Three Boys Brewery, Three Boys Oyster Stout

Wheat & Other Grain Styles
Tuatara Brewing Co Ltd, Tuatara Hefe

Flavoured & Aged Styles
(incl. Fruit/Spice/Herb/ Honey/Smoke)
8 Wired Brewing, The Big Smoke

New Zealand Draught
DB Breweries Ltd, Tui East India Pale Ale

New Zealand Lager & Premium Lager Styles
Lion Breweries, Speights Summit Lager

Specialty, Experimental, Aged,
Barrel & Wood-Aged, Reduced Alc./Carbohydrate & Gluten-Free Style
8 Wired Brewing, Barrel Aged Big Smoke

Cider & Perry Styles
Camla Farm, Camla Farm Cider

Cask Conditioned
Cassels & Sons Brewing Co. Ltd, Milk Stout

Packaging
Moa Brewing Company, Moa St Josephs Magnums

Festive Brew
Emerson's Brewery, Emerson's Black Op

Morton Coutts Trophy For Innovation
The Yeastie Boys

 

Best New Zealand Beers 2010

DB Breweries were judged to be New Zealand's top brewer in 2010, picking up the supreme award at the BrewNZ Beer of the Year Awards.

Best beer in New Zealand winners were:


New Zealand Champion Brewery
DB Breweries

Champion International Brewery
Boston Beer Company

European Lager Styles
DB Breweries - Monteith's Black

International Lager Styles
The Croucher Brewing Company - Pilsner

European Ale Styles
Steam Brewing Company - Cock & Bull Fuggles

New Zealand, US & International Ale Styles
Steam Brewing Company - Cock & Bull Monks Habit

Stout and Porter Styles
Three Boys Brewery - Three Boys Oyster Stout

Wheat and Other Grain Styles
Emerson's Brewery - Emerson's Dunkelweiss

Flavoured & Aged Styles (incl. Fruit/Spice/Herb/ Honey/Smoke)
8 Wired Brewing - The Big Smoke

New Zealand Draught
DB Breweries - Tui

New Zealand Lager & Premium Lager Styles
DB Breweries - Tui Blonde

Reduced Alcohol, Reduced Carbohydrate & Gluten-free Styles
DB Breweries - Export 33

Specialty, Experimental, Aged, Barrel & Wood-Aged Styles
Epic Brewing Company - NZ - Epic Barrel Aged IPA

Cider and Perry Styles
Bulmer Harvest Cidery (Foster's NZ Ltd) - Bulmers Original Pear Cider (Perry)

Packaging
Aotearoa Breweries NZ Ltd - Mata

Festive Brew
Three Boys Brewery - Three Boys Pineapple Lump Porter

Cask Conditioned
The Twisted Hop - Nokabollokov

Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation
Independent Liquor NZ Ltd

 

Best New Zealand Beers 2009

Emerson's Brewery from Dunedin was the country's best brewery, according to the national beer awards.

Emerson's won the New Zealand Champion Brewery in the 2009 BrewNZ Beer Awards.

Winners in each category were:

NZ Champion Brewery (Supreme Winner)
Emerson's Brewery (Dunedin)

Champion International Brewery
Deschutes Brewery (USA)

European lager styles
Brewery: Baltika Breweries
Beer: Baltika N7 Export

International lager styles
Brewery:Lion Nathan
Beer: Speight's Distinction Ale

European ale styles
Brewery:Harrington's Brewery
Beer: Pig and Whistle

NZ, US & International ale styles
Brewery: Epic Brewing Company
Beer: Epic Armageddon IPA

Stouts and Porters
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery
Beer: Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black

Wheat and other grain styles
Brewery: Tuatara Brewing
Beer: Tuatara Hefe

Flavoured and aged styles (incl. Fruit/Spice/Herb/Honey/Smoke)
Brewery: Emerson's Brewery
Beer: Emerson's JP 2009

New Zealand Draught
Brewery: DB Breweries
Beer: Tui

New Zealand Lager and Premium Lager
Brewery: Emerson's Brewery
Beer: Emerson's Pilsner

Reduced alcohol, reduced carbohydrate and gluten-free beers
Brewery: DB Breweries
Beer: Export 33

Specialty, experimental, aged, barrel- and wood-aged styles
Brewery: The Moa Brewing Company
Beer: Moa Dark Reserve

Ciders & Perries
Brewery: Bulmer Harvest
Cider: Scrumpy

Packaging
Brewery: Mike's Organic Brewery

Festive Brew
Brewery: Emerson's Brewery
Beer: beWITched

Morton Coutts Trophy For Innovation
Brewery: Scott's Brewing Company