Garage Project tops craft beer poll

Garage Project has topped a list of New Zealand’s craft beers with its Pernicious Weed, with the poll run as part of the upcoming GABS craft beer festival.

Now in its third year, the GABS Hottest 100 Kiwi Craft Beers poll saw thousands of beer lovers around the country vote for their five favourite craft beers of the year, choosing from more than 900 beers nominated by New Zealand’s leading breweries.

After placing third in both previous editions of the poll, Garage Project’s ‘Pernicious Weed’ has taken the title of New Zealand’s favourite craft beer. The win for their 8% Double IPA topped a remarkable showing from Garage Project, with the Wellington brewery also claiming second place with the recently rebranded ‘DFA’ (formerly known as ‘Death From Above’), as well as another 23 positions throughout the list with beers ranging from white peach sours to barrel aged porters.

Previous two-time winner ‘Supercharger’ from Upper Hutt’s Panhead Custom Ales retained a podium position with third place.

Breweries from the Auckland region were represented in force, led by Behemoth Brewing Co with 16 beers (including three in the top ten), 8 Wired (8 beers) and Epic Beer and Liberty Brewing with 6 beers each.

Deep Creek also featured prominently, with its highest placing at #8 with ‘Brewtiful Haze’, a New England IPA brewed in collaboration with leading craft beer retailer Liquorland. This was one of an impressive 36 beers made for the first time in 2018 to place in the Hottest 100, indicating the impact a popular release can have in a short time in the fast-moving craft beer industry.

As a beer style, the New England IPA (or ‘Hazy IPA’) has taken the beer world by storm over the last two years, and with 17 ‘NEIPA’S’ placing in the Hottest 100 list (up from 6 in 2017), it seems that New Zealand has also been swept up in the ‘haze craze’. While hop-driven beers were dominant with 66 percent of the list, the Kiwi poll showed greater diversity of beer styles than its Australian counterpart, with a healthy number of sours, stouts and lagers making the cut.

“Every year at our festivals, we invite the brewing industry to brew a unique beer to be released at the events,” said GABS co-founder Steve Jeffares. “Many of these ‘Festival Beers’ go on to become a core beer for those breweries, and it’s great to see eight of those beers voted into this year’s Hottest 100, including Garage Project’s standout ‘DFA’ (first made for GABS 2013), and the 2018 GABS People’s Choice winner ‘Mocha Madness’ from Behemoth.”