The second annual Smith’s NZ IPA Competition will be held in Queenstown this Saturday.
While beer raconteur Neil McInnes recently asked for a formal NZIPA style definition, the Smiths Craft Beer House competition takes a broad interpretation.
“When we briefed the brewers, the only rule was that it needs to be all-New Zealand hops,” says competition organiser Chris Dickson.
“It could be any ABV, it could be any colour, it’s up to the brewers to create their own interpretation. Last year we had white, we had red, we had black, we had double and triple. I know this year it will expand, with Ground Up doing a nitro version. Altitude and Three Boys have teamed up once again and this year I understand they will do a kettle sour. I know Garage Project is using a brand new hop variety that’s never been brewed before.”
The competition will feature NZIPA interpretations from 22 breweries. Chris says interest was strong and numbers are only limited by the number of taps available at Smiths. Organisers are considering running a relegation system, where the five lowest-rated entrants are dropped next year, to free taps for new entrants. : “I felt like a dick having to say no to people. We want to keep it super competitive.”
“We’ve got Geoff Griggs coming back this year to lead the judging. We put all the beers on from Thursday, Friday we have the brewers’ dinner, Saturday afternoon Geoff and his panel of brewers will start the judging. We’ll have a representative from each of the breweries here on Saturday night, then around nine o’clock we announce the overall winner and the people’s choice.”
Competition NZIPAs will also be available on tap at Arrowtown’s Fork & Tap while stocks last.
Some brewers have already been promoting their entries, but others are playing it closer to their chest.
“Some of the brewers did comment that it was quite tricky using just New Zealand hops because you’re not using anything else to round out the beer. I’m in the dark almost as much as anyone else, because I want it to be a surprise for me as much as anybody. I want people to come along and see what’s arrived.”