The results of the second GABS Hottest 100 Kiwi Beers poll are in and Panhead has made it two for two with Supercharger APA holding onto top spot. There was movement elsewhere on the podium, however, with Garage Project's now retired Death From Above taking a posthumous bow in second, joined by stablemate Pernicious Weed in third as Epic's Hop Zombie slipped two places to four.
As at last year's NZ Brewers Guild awards, Garage Project again dominated in terms of sheer weight of numbers, registering almost one in five beers in the top 100 for a second year running, while Behemoth (known as Chur in Australia) was the next in terms of promiscuity, clocking an impressive 13 beers in the list, with its New England style IPA Lid Ripper the highest placed of those in 13th.
The list is once again dominated by hoppy pales and IPAs, but Cucumber Hippy Berliner from 8 Wired in ninth led the way for sour and wild beer styles – one of ten that can be slotted into the increasingly broad church of "sour" beers in the top 100.
We've got more analysis of this year's results here and you can also check out interviews with some of the brewers and personalities behind the stories from this year's Hottest 100, including comedian Leigh Hart whose Wakachangi Lager, now brewed at McCashin's, was the second highest new entry at 11, five spots behind the highest new entry overall, Liberty's The Kush IPA.
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The Hottest 100 Craft Beers poll started out in 2008 at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda as a bit of fun for staff and regulars at one of the first Melbourne venues to embrace craft beer. Over time, it has grown into an annual highlight for many Aussie beer lovers, attracting widespread coverage and much debate when the results are announced each January.
Now run under the GABS Festival banner, it was introduced in New Zealand last year, following GABS' debut in Auckland in 2016. The 2017 NZ poll attracted thousands of votes for more than 650 beers registered by the country's brewers and delivered a more diverse countdown than last weekend's Aussie counterpart.
This year's top 100 featured 44 new entries, of which 28 were beers released for the first time in 2017. Among those new entries were four from Deep Creek, the Auckland brewery that took out Champion Small International Brewery at last year's Australian International Beer Awards.
Local Taphouse and GABS founder Steve Jeffares said of this year's results: "It’s fantastic to see so many new beers making the list. For us, this illustrates the incredible vibrancy of the Kiwi beer scene."
He also pointed at the greater diversity in beer styles compared to the Australian list: well over half are pales or IPAs of one sort or another, but you'll also find barrel aged beers, gose, Berliner weisse, some English style ales and big stouts. That said, there was one distinct similarity: the rise of NEIPAs. There were seven in the list in Australia and six in New Zealand, up from one in 2016.
And, while the breadth of the audience voting in the Aussie version these can make it harder for more niche and less distributed beers to make the upper reaches, its Kiwi counterpart is sure to have beer geeks salivating.
“In this year’s Aussie list, we saw hoppy styles such as pale ales and IPAs dominate, with 75 percent of beers being hop-driven," said Steve. "While that trend is still strong in New Zealand, it’s very rewarding to see Kiwi beer lovers also voting in numbers for sours, stouts, goses and other more experimental beers. There are some hugely creative beers being made all across New Zealand and it’s obvious they’re striking the right chord."
Thanks to Jono Galuszka for the podium shot, particularly as he had to knock back 1100ml of beer in a hurry while handling three tins of spray paint to meet deadline...