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DWTS Judge Returns To NZ For Love of Beer

Popular Dancing with the Stars judge returns to NZ for the love of beer

The Brewers Guild of New Zealand today announced popular Dancing with the Stars judge, actor, dancer and out-of-the-closet beer lover, Paul Mercurio, as the MC of New Zealand's official beer & brewing awards, BrewNZ.

The 7th annual BrewNZ Awards, which honour excellence in beer and brewing, will be announced at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington on Thursday, 4 September. Over 200 beers from New Zealand and around the world will be judged in categories spanning amber and dark lagers, to French & Belgian ales, to stouts and porters.

Mercurio has been home brewing for 20 years, and for the last 4 been doing full mashing, which is the 'real deal' according to experienced brewers. His passion for beer and brewing has prompted his return visit to New Zealand in September.

"From one's love of craft brewing you then want to support it. I do my own food show over here called Mercurio's Menu and I try to cook with beer as much as I can. It's an industry I like to be a part of and I'm here as a champion for quality lagers and ales."

The beer & food matching that Mercurio incorporates into his show, is also something he incorporates into his home-cooking routine.

"I've had several dinners where I've cooked 4 courses that are each cooked & matched with a beer."

Mercurio believes that to really combine the flavours of food and beer, it is critical to cook the food with the beer.

"I like to take the food and beer matching a step further by actually cooking with the beer. The dish that I serve isn't only matched with a beer - like mussels with dark ale like tuatara porter - I cook the mussels in the beer."

Mercurio has high praise for Kiwi beer and brewing, and says New Zealand is respected as a trailblazer in the premium brewing arena on the other side of the Tasman.

"New Zealand is considered to be leading the way internationally in some of the beer they're making. They are highly regarded, and historically have always been a few years ahead of Australia, though I believe Aussie has caught up now!"

Some of Mercurio's favourite New Zealand beers are historical winners at the BrewNZ Awards, and are entered again this year, including Epic Ale, Tuatara Porter and Monk's Habit.

"Epic Ale is a world class award winning beer. It's just fantastic. I also like Tuatara Porter, and Monk's Habit is a lovely big, hoppy ale."

Mercurio is looking forward to his return visit to Wellington, where he plans to visit some favourite beer haunts when he's not performing his BrewNZ Awards duties.

"I'll always stop in to Shed 22 when I'm in town I'll see what they're brewing up. I also look to get down to The Malthouse and see what's happening with the smaller New Zealand microbrews – there are some really interesting beers from some of the smaller New Zealand brewers."

Mercurio has dabbled in commercial brewing himself, releasing his own beer on the market in Victoria a couple of years ago.

"I contracted a professional brewery and had it on the market for about 6 months which was a terrific experience. I learned a lot about the commercial aspects of brewing. I would love to do it again!"

Mercurio says his passion for beer was not unique in the dance world, which many would assume is the champagne & wine set.

"I danced around the world in a contemporary ballet company and we drank beer. Beer is the people's choice!"

To join Paul at the BrewNZ Awards and sample some of New Zealand and international brewers' finest, visit or contact Clockwork on 04 473 9911.

- ends -

About BrewNZ Awards The BrewNZ Awards honour excellence in beer and brewing in New Zealand and internationally. Beers win medals based on their individual merits and are judged only within class guidelines. Gold is defined as a world class beer that exemplifies its style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance. Tickets: $120 until 30 July, $150 from 1 August.

About BrewNZ Beervana BrewNZ Beervana is a 2-day beer-tasting and education event where guests can sample award-winning beers, and get advice from high profile brewers and chefs on beer styles and the art of beer and food matching.

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