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    Hops and Glory: One Man's Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire
    by Pete Brown
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NZ Beer & Brewer of the Year 2012

Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing Company has just been announced as Brewer of the Year (NZ) at the Beer & Brewer Awards 2012. His beer Armageddon IPA has also just been named as Best Beer (NZ) at the Beer & Brewer Magazine Awards in Sydney.

The awards were held last week during the 2nd Annual Sydney Craft Beer Week.  Nicholas was in attendance for the week doing a series of tastings and beer dinners.

When asked what he thought about winning, Nicholas says “You never think about awards like this because you are just focused on brewing great beer, and people buying and enjoying the beer is satisfaction enough. This award was a surprise, but it is nice to get the recognition, for a lot of hard work.”

Nicholas isn’t new to these types of accolades with him being the only brewer in NZ to have his beer be awarded Supreme Champion Beer of New Zealand three times -1999, 2001, 2006.  The only brewer in NZ to have won multiple times.

His reputation has also been recognised internationally by being the first New Zealand brewer to be invited and brew a batch of his Pale Ale in the UK, for the JD Wetherspoons International Real Ale Festival in 2009. Nicholas was also the first New Zealander to be invited to be a judge at the World Beer Cup in 2006, and has judged every event since.

Asked what his winning formula is, he said “using the best ingredients I can find from around the planet, without compromising on cost & making great beer, that firstly, I want to drink”.  

This award just reinforces the quality and success that Mr Nicholas strives for in the brewery with his beers.

With many people these days looking for a reason to try craft beer, this now gives craft beer drinkers the best reason to buy an Epic Beer!

For full results from the Beer & Brewer Awards 2012

Armageddon has previously won at the NZ Beer Awards
Champion IPA - 2011
Champion Barrel Aged IPA - 2010
Champion IPA - 2009



Beervana is undoubtedly the biggest event on the New Zealand craft beer calendar.  The organisers have announced that tickets for will go on sale from 1 June 2012.  Now in its 11th year, Beervana will be held at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 17 and 18 August 2012, with two sessions running each day.  There will be more than 200 beers available, food from top restaurants and cafes, and twenty beer appreciation seminars. 

General admission tickets will cost $40 and include $8 worth of Beervana tokens, an event programme and branded tasting glass.  For the first time, there will be three new premium ticket packages:

Food & Beer - $64 - General admission ticket plus a seat in the exclusive one-hour food and beer matching seminar hosted by me (who the organisers graciously call a ‘leading beer writer’) and featuring the culinary skills of one of Wellington’s top chefs.  Celebrated chef and noted oyster eater Martin Bosley is again the festival’s culinary director and he will be appearing in several of these sessions.

Ultimate Experience - $75 per person, minimum group of five at $375 – enjoy a behind-the-scenes brewer-led tour prior to gates opening: all the benefits of general admission plus a one-hour private seminar including a tutored tasting with a leading New Zealand brewer, food and beer matching with a Beervana chef, and tips on how to get more from your beer drinking experience.

Home Brewing Masterclass (Saturday 18th, 10.30am – 2.30pm) - $75 – this interactive Masterclass, led by the always colourfully trousered Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys, is an opportunity to learn from one of New Zealand’s most innovative brewers about the secret to making captivating, flavourful, new world beers.  It also includes admission to the early session on 18 August (session 3).

Festival director David Cryer said “as New Zealanders have become increasingly passionate about craft beer we’ve found Beervana attracting a very diverse audience.  We want to make sure the event gives every visitor an experience they value, and that they can’t get anywhere else.  Whether you want to sample as many rare and special brews as possible, discover the secrets of beer and food matching, or learn about the art of brewing, Beervana 2012 will deliver.”

Tickets are available from starting 1 June.  The Beervana website ( will be continually updated as more details become available.

Neil Miller 


Celebrity Brewer Lookalikes #1 - Richard Emerson

Award Winning Brewer Richard Emerson:

Award Winning Actor Chuck Norris:



Neil Miller


NZ Craft Beer TV - Mash Up - Episode 6 - West Coast Brewery

Episode 6 - Continuing north through the amazing scenery of the South Island's West Coast, we arrive in Westport, and visit the West Coast Brewery. Brewer Dave Kurth shows us around the brewery, and gives us a taste of his great beers. Including the hoppy Pale Ale.


Beerly Blogging: Fury at Radler ruling

My latest blog from Beer and Brewer chronicles the heated reaction to yesterday's ruling that DB have a copyright on Radler in New Zealand:

Now New Zealand is the only country in the world where only one company can market radlers and the public is not able to buy and enjoy a genuine imported radler.  I was happy to work on this for nothing, because I think the 'radler' trade mark is morally and commercially repugnant.  In New Zealand, only DB can use the word 'radler' to describe a radler drink.  This has not been allowed in other countries.  Using its trade mark, DB was able to stop Dunedin's Green Man Brewery from marketing an authentic low-alcohol radler, and stop supermarkets stocking imported radler-style beers.

Glass Tip - Beer and Brewer 


Wellington's beer scene keeps improving

My latest column from The Wellingtonian reviews The Hop Garden and The Bruhaus - two new bars in the Capital.  The column is titled "Wellington's beer scene keeps improving":

The service is attentive and efficient, with former Malthouse stalwart Scott Boswell a star behind the bar.  There is an ever-changing selection of 11 tap beers, plenty of interesting bottles and a menu that just keeps improving.  Tuatara, Renaissance, Three Boys and Emerson's beers are usually available.  The food selection ranges from pub staples to gourmet meals.  Try the sardines for brunch, the salt and pepper squid as a snack or the braised goat tagine for dinner.

Glass Tip: The Wellingtonian



Beer Haiku Friday: Not Radler related...

Today's 'regular' Beer Haiku weekly is titled "Why" and is not related to any beer-related controversies in New Zealand right about now:
Why do people think
that their choices should be forced
on everyone?
Glass Tip - Beer Haiku Daily (well, it used to be...)