And the 2015 winner is…
…announced 9pm tonight!
No, I won’t spoil the surprise. But the competition was tight.
Twenty four New Zealand brewers accepted the Challenge to interpret a US West Coast IPA in their own way. After the wide variety of styles entered into Hopstock this year, I was surprised and pleased to see the West Coast IPA theme has been taken literally. No sours, few darks – lots of pale, New World hop-driven ales with the other flavours and aromas in background supporting roles.
My impression of this year’s range was a high standard across the board. The judges agreed on the winner, but the top three are all very close, and almost every entry is worth trying.
The full list of entries is here. The judging panel was a combination of brewers and beer writers: Dave Nicholls (Moa), Kelly Ryan (Fork & Brewer), Joseph Wood (Liberty), Geoff Griggs, Neil Miller, Jono Galuszka, Shane Cowlishaw and Martin Craig (Beertown.NZ). The final judging round was decided by the beer writers alone so the brewer/entrants could not game the system.