Finding the best beers and ciders among almost 600 entries is no easy job, but a group of expert judges are stepping forward to put their palates to this very challenge for the 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards.
The 16-strong panel of brewers and beer and cider experts will gather for two full days of judging at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 21 and 22 March. They will swirl, sniff and sip their way through the vast array of different brews, as they debate and rate each one on technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel and most importantly, drinkability.
In the biggest year yet for the competition, entries are up by more than 70, including beers and ciders from over 20 breweries entering the awards for the very first time.
The awards will then culminate in New World stores across the country later this year, with all the Gold medal winners earning a space on the shelves and a spot in the handy booklet of judges’ tasting notes.
Chair of independent judges, beer writer and author Michael Donaldson said the integrity of the New World Beer & Cider Awards is evident through the judging talent involved.
“The awards continue to attract some of the best names in the business, as well as up and coming New Zealand talent. As Chair of Judges, it’s rewarding to see such a cross-section of this growing and evolving industry represented on the judging panel.
“Together they bring a great mix of experience and enthusiasm to each table. Their well-honed tasting abilities, coupled with a carefully managed judging process, means New World customers can choose a Gold medal-winning beer or cider with confidence, knowing it meets the highest standards of its class.”
The blind-tasting and judging process is held to international standards under the watchful eye of Chief Steward Craig Bowen. He ensures entries are classed and judged appropriately, served in prime condition and that no judge tastes their own product.
Donaldson said that while judges will mark and debate each beverage on its technical merits, great taste remains the defining factor for a medal.
“There will be lots of sipping and discussion, but the ultimate brief is clear – medal winning beers have to have great flavour and balance.”
New World beer & Ciders Awards 2018 Judging Panel
- Michael Donaldson, beer writer and author (Chair of Independent Judges)
- Geoff Griggs, beer writer and author
- Justin Oliver, Free Range Wines
- Kieran Haslett-Moore, North End Brewing
- Sam Williamson, Sawmill Brewing
- Shane Morley, Steam Brewing Company
- Tracy Banner, Sprig and Fern Brewery
- Wendy Roigard, Valkyrie Brewing Co
- Gabe Cook, ‘The Ciderologist’
- Brian Watson, Good George Brewing
- Jono Galuszka, beer writer
- Mason Pratt, Emerson’s Brewery
- Jason Bathgate, McLeod’s Brewery
- Soren Eriksen, 8 Wired Brewing
- Merophy Hyslop, cidermaker
- Stephen Wood, Hallertau Brewery