Marlborough beers take out top awards

Two Marlborough breweries have won awards in the 2014 Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, announced in Wellington last night.

Renaissance Brewing Ltd won the award for wheat and other grain style beers with its Black the RIPA, while Moa Brewer won the section for cask conditions beers with its Moa Five Hop Handpull.

The awards are held in conjunction with the annual Beervana beer festival, being held this weekend.

Renaissance was the champion brewer last year, a title handed over last night to Nelson brewery Townshend.

Martin Townshend was close to tears when told he had won the award. His one-man brewery has been going for eight years, after starting in a shed on the outskirts of Nelson.

Last year it was second in the awards. After going one better, Townshend said he was blown away to win and felt honoured.

He beat a record 670 beers from 84 breweries across 15 different categories, with 74 New Zealand breweries entered.

It was the "icing on the cake" in what's been an excellent couple of years for the brewery, he said.

Founded in 2005, Townshend Brewery is still a one-person operation, producing about 50,000 litres per year. And it is still located at the family home in Rosedale.

Townshend was also awarded the champion New Zealand manufacturer trophy and won the New Zealand specific style category for his Oldham's Tap Riwaka Pilsner. Twelve of his other brews earned medals.

Category winners were:

European lager styles: Emerson's Brewery (Dunedin), Gladiator Bock. International lager styles: DB Draught Brewery (Timaru), Monteith's Black British. Ale styles: Wigram Brewing Company (Christchurch), Tornado Strong Ale. Other European ale styles: Emerson's Brewery (Dunedin), JP 2014. US Ale styles: Parrotdog (Wellington), BloodyDingo. International ale styles: Panhead Custom Ales (Upper Hutt), Boss Hog. Stout and Porter styles: Three Boys Brewery (Christchurch), Three Boys Oyster Stout. Wheat and other grain styles: Renaissance Brewing Ltd (Marlborough), Black the RIPA. Flavoured and aged styles (including fruit/spice/herb/honey/smoke): Wigram Brewing Company (Christchurch), Captain Cook Spruce Beer. New Zealand specific styles: Townshend Brewery (Nelson), Oldham's Tap Riwaka Pilsner. Specialty, experimental, aged, barrel, wood-aged styles: Panhead Custom Ales (Upper Hutt), Black Sabbath. Cider and perry styles, Zeffer Cider Co (Auckland), Slack ma Girdle Cider. Cask conditioned: Moa Brewery (Marlborough), Moa Five Hop Handpull. Packaging: Tuatara Brewing (Kapiti), Delicious Neck. Festive Brew: Behemoth Brewing Company (Auckland), Brave Bikkie Brown Ale.

The Marlborough Express