Ōtautahi – Judges are wading through hundreds of Kiwi beers this week to find the winner of the New World Beer & Cider Awards.
About 100 Aotearoa brewers and importers have put forward more than a record 700 beers, ciders and other fermented drinks for judging this year.
All are vying for a spot in the competition’s top 30 winners, which will be made available in New World stores nationwide.
Chair of the judges Michael Donaldson says it was great to have such a large number of entries pour in.
“It’s been a challenging time for many brew businesses, not least with the recent CO2 shortages and weather upheaval.
“To be celebrating a record-breaking year for entries really demonstrates the industry’s strength, persistence and belief in their products, and shows the value a win in the awards can offer.”
Over the next two days, Donaldson, deputy chair Kelly Ryan will lead and an independent panel of 27 other senior judges will determine the top ranked beers and ciders.
A further nine junior judges in training will work alongside them in support, expanding their skills and recording the scores and tasting notes.
They will work in small teams and blind-taste around 40 to 50 beers or ciders each, per day, over two days of intensive judging in Christchurch.
Only the beer or cider in the glass will be judged. The brands are kept confidential and a stringent stewarding process means no judge tastes a product they may have been involved with making.
Judges will debate each one on technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel and most importantly, drinkability.
While the Top 30 will earn a place in New World beer chillers nationwide, a further 70 highly commended brews will also be part of a top 100 list. Final results will be announced in May.
Photo: Judge Kelly Ryan