Chair of Judges Michael Donaldson

Trending beer styles won big in the 2021 New World Beer & Cider Awards after the introduction of two new classes in the 2021 competition – hazy beers and alcoholic seltzers, ginger beer and kombucha.

“The haze craze has certainly hit New Zealand, and the huge number of entries in the new hazy class, well over 100, shows just how popular these cloudy beers are with consumers,” says beer writer, author and Chair of Judges for the awards, Michael Donaldson.

“The five hazy winners – from a mix of both established and new producers – are all surprisingly different, while still sticking to those-must have hazy qualities: lush tropical fruit, creamy body and a sweet finish,” he says.

In contrast, two “Brut” beers from Auckland brewery Urbanaut (made using the same techniques invented to create low-carb beers) offer a dryer option for those that find hazies too heavy.

The sours and barrel-aged class showcased evolving consumer tastes and brewers who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries with three Top 30 brews and a total of 12 across the Top 100.

Donaldson says this year’s Top 30 winners – which includes a 2.9% peachy-delight; a deeply tropical sour; and a vintaged feijoa ale – as “the tip of a very deep iceberg of flavour, with many more great examples from the sour, barrel-aged and fruited category also recognised in the award’s Highly Commended list.”

And finally, the new alcoholic seltzers, kombucha and ginger beer class – a first for a national competition anywhere in the world – uncovered an inaugural win for a ginger beer from Zeffer.

“This beauty from these Hawke’s Bay cider specialists was the clear front-runner and a welcome addition to the Top 30,” says Donaldson.

A full list of 2021 New World Beer & Cider Awards winners, as well as the 70 Highly Commended brews, can be found here.

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