Beer is the original social medium, and getting together over a beer is a great communication tool.
So it’s no surprise brewers like to get together and discuss their art and science. And it’s no surprise they like to rate their beers against each other.
New Zealand’s biggest beer competitions and conferences are coming up, with opportunities for both professional and amateur brewers.
Pro Competition – The 10th New Zealand Beer Awards entries are open now. Last year’s Awards judged nearly 800 beers from 100 brewers, and the Champion Brewery went to Lion. Entries are open to commercial brewers in New Zealand and overseas, and close on 9 September. This year's competition, Guild Conference, and Awards Dinner are sponsored by Cryer Malt, which is celebrating 25 years in the business.
Judging takes place on 23 & 24 September with a panel of 25 judges. The results will be announced at the Guild’s Awards dinner in Auckland on 8 October.
It’s not just about the beer. The Morton Coutts Trophy recognises innovation and achievement in the brewing industry. Recent winners include Gladfield Malt, Steve Nally of Invercargill Brewery, and Doug & Jim Banks of DB Breweries. You can nominate yourself, or submit an entry nominating somebody you believe deserves the industry’s recognition. And the Beer Writer of the Year Award celebrate hte gud Beer riting and has been won in the past by Jono Galuszka and Michael Donaldson. Entries to both close 9 September.
Pro Conference – The Brewers Guild Conference & Tradeshow will be held in Auckland on 6-8 October. The Conference is the annual New Zealand craft brewing industry gathering and this year’s keynote speaker is UK beer blogger Melissa Cole. It closes with the Guild’s Awards Dinner on 8 October, where all the nation’s brewers dress smartly, behave impeccably and get home safely without falling over anything at all.
Am Competition – The 2016 SOBA National Homebrew Competition entries can be registered online now, and must be received by the organisers by 28 October. Judging happens in Auckland on 5 November, with results announced that evening.
This is easily the largest home brewing comp in the country – last year saw 539 entries. Apart from the objective feedback from the judges, there’s always a good bunch of prizes, and the winners get the opportunity to brew commercially. Last year’s Champion Ale was brewed by Christchurch’s Boy Wonder Oli Drake, and the overall winner was Auckland’s home brewing legend John Golics, with one (virtual) gold medal, two silvers and a bronze.
Am Conference – The New Zealand Home-Brewers Conference will be held in Nelson on 24-26 March.
Last time Beertown.NZ spoke to organiser Mike Stringer, the Conference team was debriefing the first event and deciding whether or not to repeat it. It attracted 180 home brewers and had excellent feedback, so it’s all on for a second Conference next year.
The NZHC is timed to coincide with Nelson’s annual Marchfest beer festival, and Conference events will include tours of local hop farms and brewers. Booking is open now.