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An Aussie Judging The Kiwis?

4 September 2006

An Aussie Judging The Kiwis?

Judges from around the globe will converge on the capital this week as part of the 5th annual Brew NZ Week.

Commencing Monday 4 September and running until Saturday, Brew NZ Week gains momentum every year and celebrates all things ‘ale’. It includes BrewHQs, where bars and restaurants partner with brewers to showcase beer and food; a Bavarian Beer Feast; a Beer Show where punters can sample the brews; and the week culminates in the NZ Beer Awards in Wellington on Friday night.

Along with many local entries are a number of beers from Matilda Bay Brewing Company, Australia. Although celebrating 22 years as Australia’s original craft brewery, Matilda Bay beers are relative newcomers to the beer market in NZ with Redback Original, Bohemian Pilsner and Beez Neez now available nationally.

Here as part of Brew NZ Week is Brad Rogers, the “Malt, Hops and Water Guy” for Matilda Bay, a qualified winemaker and an experienced beer judge who’ll be co-judging the best beers available in New Zealand.

“An Australian judging for the kiwis?” - you might well ask, but Brad is very passionate about beer – has been for years, he says (funny that!) - and tastes and judges brews all around the world. His most recent beer judging stints have included the 2005 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the 2006 International Beer Awards in Nelson and the 2006 World Beer Cup in Seattle.

But judging a beer competition is tough work. Brad says the perfect beer has got to have the right aroma, taste and balance, and believe it or not, it’s a visual thing – the beer has got to look “just right” in the glass.

What makes a good beer? Brad says it’s a case of getting the best possible ingredients you can find. Beer is primarily made up of water, malt, hops and yeast so having top quality in those, makes for a winning beer.

Matilda Bay Brewing Company has continued its recent run of good form in beer competitions internationally by picking up three medals and one Best In Class trophy for Bohemian Pilsner at the New Zealand International Beer Awards. The brewery has also had success across the ditch with Redback winning gold at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.

Bohemian Pilsner is brewed with premium Australian pale malt and authentic Czech Saaz hops, to provide a beer that has a spicy, floral aroma and a clean, rounded palate with a bitter finish. Awarded Champion Lager at the 2005 Australian International Beer Awards, Bohemian is excellent with roast pork.

Redback, Australia’s original wheat beer (and turning 20 this year) is styled on the traditional German wheat beers. The beer is brewed from both malted wheat and malted barley, a blend of Saaz and Pride of Ringwood hops, and fermented using a special strain of yeast. Delicious with prawns.

Ask Aussie Beer Boy Brad if New Zealand beers stack up on the international stage and he says, “Absolutely! New Zealanders are making some great craft and specialty beers and I can’t wait to get there and try them.”


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