I was lucky enough to join the judging panel for the 2019 edition of The Malthouse WCIPA challenge so I know first-hand how revered a win is at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious beer events.  Epic and Parrotdog have dominated top spot for many years so I was excited to see a new name being etched into the Golden Gumboots for 2021. Based in Petone, Baylands Brewery took top honours this year with their smashing entry The Hops Awaken.  Like many, Aiden Styles started his fledgling brewery in a garage under the house and flourished from there.  Wellington craft beer ambassador Sunil Balu joined the team a few years ago and this relationship has seen the brewery go from strength to strength. The Hops Awaken is everything you’d ask for in a West Coast IPA.  The competition guide is narrow and specific: brew the best West Coast IPA possible, stay true to style and make the hops shine! Baylands loaded this beer with US hops plus the addition of the New Zealand experimental hop NZH102.  Upon opening, the room soon with all those lovely citrus, pine needle, grassy aromas that you expect.  The flavours follow along beautifully. The beer is super-dank with a lovely resinous oil that adds both complexity and a velvet smoothness.  Tons of bitterness that lingers on your tongue long after your last mouthful. At 6 per cent, The Hops Awaken isn’t the biggest West Coast IPA I have ever sampled, however every piece of this beer has been pulled together perfectly.  There’s a strong malt backbone that holds the beer up throughout the drinking experience which has aided the Baylands team to find that magic sweet spot, some might say the perfect balance?! I’m so pleased to see a new brewery break through this year.  Competitions like these drive our brewers to be better which ensures the bar is pushed higher and the beer gets even better! Surprisingly this beer is still available online at Baylands store so support independent beer and grab yourself a slab today: https://baylands.beer/collections/cans/products/the-hops-awaken-440ml

What’s on offer at Beervana

I’m already licking my lips at what’s on offer at next week’s Beervana festival in Wellington next week.

Boneface The Wolf Bites Back Triple Cold IPA

Boneface The Wolf Bites Back Triple Cold IPA is a complex mix of sharp citrus and softer tropicals, with pungent rosewater and light malt sweetness.

Best in Black: Stout Challenge

Tim Newman brings an insider’s view on the increasingly popular NZ Stout Challenge in Christchurch

Hop Federation Glory Glory West Coast IPA

I love the team at Hop Federation and I think they love me because they are always looking after me with beermail and in today we have their latest westie, Glory Glory, their entry to the annual Malthouse West Coast IPA challenge and if my palate were the judge, this...

Parrotdog Boring Beer Oat Milk Hazy IPA

Parrotdog and Boring Oat Milk have joined forces to make Boring Beer, an oak milk hazy IPA that is anything but boring.

Kainui back to the big time

Far North cult favourites Kainui Brew Co have returned to the big time with an outstanding performance at the NZ Beer Awards.