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Bock Beats Best Beers in Homebrew Championships

Bock Beats Best Beers in National Homebrew Championships

Press Release: Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA)

If tasting 145 beers in 2 days sounds like a dream job, think again. This was the arduous task of the judging team at the inaugural SOBA National Homebrew Championships recently held in Wellington. New Zealand beer writer Geoff Griggs, who has been invited to judge at the World Beer Cup in 2008, led an expert panel of five judges through 16 hours of evaluating the 145-strong entry list.

Judged in a very similar style to Nelson’s commercial beer equivalent – the New Zealand International Beer Awards – there is never more than one beer in front of the judges at any time. This allows the judging team to focus completely on that one given beer and its adherence to a particular style, rather than comparing beers against each other in an adversarial manner (as is done in many other beer competitions). In the final wash-up, 60 beers were evaluated to be of medal-winning standard with 6 gold, 15 silver and 39 bronze medals being awarded. Gold medals – an indication of an outstanding, world class example of a particular style - were awarded to a Traditional Bock, a Mild Ale, an Extra Strong Bitter, an English Barleywine, a Belgian Tripel and a NZ Lager.

The second day of judging culminated in a taste-off for 'Best in Show', where a beautiful Traditional Bock from Dan Boyce (Gore) beat out two other outstanding beers: a Mild Ale from Barry Hannah (Whangaparaoa) and an English Barleywine from John Golics (Auckland). All three beers had been unanimously judged gold, in the initial round of judging. While Mr Boyce’s Bock now goes on to be commercially brewed at Hallertau Brewbar, Mr Hannah will take some consolation in winning the coveted 'Brewer of the Year' award and Mr Golics will, no doubt, contemplate his near miss with a bottle of his splendid 1998-vintage Barleywine.

Chief Judge Mr Griggs, commenting later, stated that ‘the overall standard was remarkably high’ and that, in working their way through 55 different beer styles, the judges were ‘privileged to sample examples of wood-aged, smoked and spiced beers, the likes of which are currently not produced by any commercial Kiwi brewer.’

The homebrew fun didn’t end at the judging however, with SOBA’s Wellington homebrewers throwing a HomeBrewFest Awards Party at The Boatshed. Close to 1,000 half pints of generously donated home and commercially craft brewed beers were served - ranging in style from Pilsners, APAs and Bitters, through to various Belgian-styles, to Smoked Porters and American Stout.

2007 SOBA National Homebrew Championship results:

Trophy Awards –
Best in Show: Traditional Bock – Dan Boyce, Gore
Brewer of the Year: Barry Hannah, Whangaparaoa
Extract Brewer of the Year: Richard Pettinger, Dunedin

Best in Class Awards –
New Zealand and new world ales: NZ Pale Ale - Andrew Hough, Auckland
American ales: American Brown Ale - Barry Hannah, Whangaparaoa
English brown ales: Mild ale - Barry Hannah, Whangaparaoa
Porter: Robust Porter - G Dallinger, Tokoroa
Stout: Dry Stout - Dan Boyce, Gore
India pale ales: English IPA - Kieran Haslett-Moore, Wellington
German wheat and rye beer (3 tied): Weizen/Weissbier - Peter Niepel, Wellsford
Weizen/Weissbier - Albrecht von Wallmoden
Weizen/Weissbier - Andrew Hough, Auckland
French and Belgian ale (3 tied): Belgian Pale Ale - Martin Wolley, Auckland
Belgian Pale Ale - Paul Dunsmuir, Auckland
Belgian Specialty Ale - Albrecht von Wallmoden, Auckland
Belgian strong ale: Belgian Tripel - Brett McMillan, Auckland
Light lagers: New Zealand Lager - Stephen Goodwin, Hamilton
Strong ales and flavoured/specialty beers: English Barleywine - John Golics, Auckland
Pilsner (2 tied): German Pilsner (Pils) - Paul Dunsmuir, Auckland
New Zealand and New World Pilsner - Brendan Jarvie, Dunedin
European amber lagers and bock: Traditional Bock - Dan Boyce, Gore
Scottish and Irish ales and hybrid beers: No medals
English pale ales: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) - Darrell Hart, Napier

A full list of medal winners can be found at

More on SOBA, our goals and membership benefits, can be found at::

Neither event could have been staged without the hard work of SOBA members and the generous support of our sponsors: BrewCraft, Mac’s All Malt Brewing, Hallertau Brewbar, Brewers Coop and NZ Hops. The HomeBrewFest also enjoyed excellent support from our commercial craft beer friends at Emerson’s, Invercargill Brewery, Tuatara, The Twisted Hop, Wigram, Bar Edward, The Malthouse, BeerNZ and Regional Wines and Spirits. Many thanks to all involved.


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