Canterbury beer comes up trumps
Christchurch's strong craft beer roots have been recognised, with two local brewers picking up national awards.
The Wigram Brewing Company and Three Boys Brewery last night won three of the 15 category prizes at the 2014 Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards in Wellington, from a record 670 beers from 84 Kiwi and international breweries this year.
Nelson-based Townshend Brewery owner Martin Townshend, whose one-person operation produces 50,000 litres a year, was crowned champion. Wigram Brewing Company, founded by Paul McGurk, claimed the British ale styles top award with its Tornado Strong Ale along with the flavoured and aged styles class.
Competition manager Craig Bowen said the brewery ticked all the boxes for a strong British ale with its "balance between the weight of the beer and malt sweetness".
The flavoured and aged category, which Wigram won with its Captain Cook Spruce Beer, included unconventional entries containing coffee, chocolate or vegetables.
Three Boys Brewery, owned by Ralph Bungard, topped the stout and porter styles category with Three Boys Oyster Stout.
"It's a dark beer and you're looking for roast, character, depth and flavour. It's a beer that has got a lot of strength and body," Bowen said.
The Boston Beer Company claimed the champion international brewery award, while the Morton Coutts Trophy for innovation or achievement went to Steve Nally from Invercargill Brewery.
Bowen said Canterbury had a proud beer-brewing history, with the second most entries of any region at this year's competition.
"Christchurch has always had a pretty close and tight brewing heritage and has historically been a strong malt-growing region," he said. All entries were rated against a style guide for each category for aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation.
The overall balance of characteristics was judged by a panel of 25 national and internationally qualified beer judges.