Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CT Column 17/11/2010 :Weekend warriors

AT THE end of last month I travelled to Hamilton to judge the 2010 SOBA National Homebrew Competition. Organised and run by beer consumer group the Society Of Beer Advocates, the NHC is run each year to celebrate and improve the New Zealand home brewing community.
Home brewing in New Zealand is currently in vibrant good health with many home brewed beers rivalling the quality of those commercially produced. Gone are the ‘bad old days’ when most home brewing revolved around saving money by producing cheap beer from malt extract - many home brewers now brew to create striking characterful beers full of aroma and flavour. Home brewers now have access to all the raw ingredients that our professional brewers do. As a result, the division between home and pro brewing is increasingly blurring with brewers like the Yeastie Boys and 8 Wired scaling up home brew recipes and producing them commercially.
This year’s competition received 294 entries with beers entered in 68 of the 77 different style categories with 84 of them earning medals. For the second year in a row Dunedin’s Richard Pettinger took out the Champion Brewer Trophy as well as the Best Lager ward, Nelson’s Dale Holland took out Champion Beer with a Belgian Pale Ale while the Best Ale Award went to Richard Sherrit. Every year the prize for the Champion beer is that the recipe is brewed commercially at the Hallertau Brewbar in Auckland’s rural hinterland. Look out for an incredibly complex and well balanced Belgian Pale Ale under the name of Dale’s BPA that should briefly feature on the taps next year sometime.
Many medals headed back to the capital. Of particular interest was Hashigo Zake barman David Wood who took three bronze, three silver medals, and a best in class trophy for some very idiosyncratic beers that included a beetroot infused IPA and a fantastic intense chipotle chilli infused porter. Check out www.soba.org.nz for the full results. Cheers!

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