Record number of entries in beer awards

JUDGMENT TIME: Canterbury breweries like Three Boys Brewery are competing.
JUDGMENT TIME: Canterbury breweries like Three Boys Brewery are competing.

If there was any doubt about the strength of the brewing industry, news of a record number of breweries entering the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards should help.

Judges gathered in Christchurch at the weekend to taste and judge more than 650 beers from around New Zealand and the world.

Both Kiwi and foreign breweries were nominated for the awards, which will be announced later in the month in Wellington, the night before the annual Beervana festival.

Each beer was judged by 25 judges.

Fourteen Canterbury breweries entered - just two behind Auckland, which had the most nominations.

Brewers Guild chairman Craig Bowen said the Kiwi beer industry was worth $2.2 billion and going through a "golden age" at the moment. "Beer brewing has exploded in recent times - amongst hobbyists and professional brewers alike," he said.

"In the last two years, the number of professional brewing operations in New Zealand has increased by more than a third."

Last year, Marlborough's Renaissance Brewing took home the top award for champion brewery.

Nominated for awards this year were some very familiar names in the Canterbury brewing industry - Cassels and Sons, Three Boys Brewery and Two Thumb Brewing Co, to name a few.

All beer entries were rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation.

The beer's overall balance of characteristics, with all those factors taken into account, was then rated and judges decided whether it was worthy of a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Categories judged included stouts, ciders, wheat beers, ales, lagers and everything between.

Last year, 541 beers were entered, which was considered a record number of entries at the time.

The Press