Ovation, and a tear, for top brewer

03:30, Sep 03 2012
liberty stand
Liberty Brewing Company's Joseph Wood is celebrating winning a gold medal at the Brewer's Guild Beer Awards.

When New Plymouth brewer Joseph Wood picked up gold at the Brewers Guild Beer Awards last month he was given a standing ovation by his peers as his wife shed a tear.

Liberty Brewing Company's Yakima Monster strong pale ale won gold in the US Ale Style category at the 2012 Brewers Guild Beer Awards.

Wood, who runs Liberty Brewing Company with his wife Christina, said the win was the highlight of his brewing career.

"It was so rewarding to get some confirmation after all that hard work," Wood said.

"If I could have done somersaults I would have."

A free tasting of Yakima Monster would be on offer on Wednesday from 5.30pm at New Plymouth bar Frederics, which will now stock the gold medal ale.


Brewed at Liberty Brewing's Ngamotu Rd micro brewery, Yakima Monster was up against craft beer heavyweights such as Epic, Tuatara and Emmersons.

"Everybody knows all the exciting beers are in that class," Wood said.

Christina said she was crying when Liberty Brewing Company was called out the winner at the awards held in Wellington late last month.

Wood was given a standing ovation by his peers as he went up to accept his award. He dedicated the win to his late grandfather who taught him how to weld. Without that skill he would not have been able to build his brewery.

Winning gold meant a lot for the reputation of the brewery, he said.

"It just gives you a bit more credibility at the end of the day."

The judges commended the well- rounded beer on its balance between hops and malt, he said.

"It hits all the marks.

"It's really clean."

Wood has been brewing Yakima Monster for about four years as a home brew but it had only been for sale once before, in 2010.

From now on it should be available all year round as long as Wood can secure a steady supply of hops.

Available in 500ml bottles, Yakima has a 6 per cent alcohol content and sells at about $10 per unit.

It is sold throughout New Zealand but in New Plymouth can currently be found only at Fitzroy Liquorland and Frederics.

The name Yakima comes from the region in Washington State where the hops are grown.

Taranaki Daily News