Tim Newman (TN) and Michael Donaldson (MD) review the Top-30 at the 2021 New World Awards. (Updated daily)

Garage Project White Mischief

Now here’s a beer with a lot of moving parts.  Kettle soured, peach infused and finally salted, this is a gose with a lot going on.  Soft peach ripeness leads on the nose, with tangy sourness and delicate citrus blossom.  This eclectic mix of flavours are tumultuous on the tongue, with an initial flash of fruit ripeness swept up immediately by the tart wheat sourness, which in turn fades to reveal that tiny sprinkle of savoury salt.  The effect is a flavour that ends on almost the total opposite side of the palate to where it began.  All this in a tiny 2.9% package too.  An incredible feat of beer micro-engineering. ^TN

garage Project White Mischief

Zeffer Alcoholic Ginger Beer

This year’s awards introduced a category for seltzer, alcoholic kombucha and alcoholic ginger beer – something of a first anywhere in the world. Finding the best of these new products was an interesting challenge for the judges and in the end it came down to flavour; and this beauty from cider specialists Zeffer was the clear front-runner. Lots of contained heat and spice from fermented ginger root is underpinned by the sweet apple cider and a delicate carbonation. Loads and loads of layered flavour on a 4.5% ABV make this a wonderful afternoon refreshment. Truth be told I shared a squealer of this with a couple of beer-minded people and they loved it. ^MD

Zeffer Ginger Beer

Liberty Oh Brother Pale Ale

Oh Brother is one of three — 3! — hoppy beers from Liberty in Top 30 – all of varying intensity and flavour. It suggests the Helensville brewery are at the top of their game when it comes to hoppy goodness. This is a classic quaffable delight that sparkles and dances across your palate bringing way more flavour than its 5.1% ABV might suggest. Bustling orange zest, ripe mango and passionfruit push back against a taut malt base that holds the line to create a nice sweet-bitter tug of war. ^MD

Liberty Oh Brother pale Ale

Sawmill The Doctor 

Something of a legendary beer for the Matakana-based Sawmill as it dates back to the original brewery when it was located in a shed next to the Leigh Sawmill Café. The brewery moved closer to Matakana in 2016 and is now a must-stop in that part of the world. Classed as a doppelbock, this is a smooth, dark lager, with beautifully integrated flavours. The silky texture on the palate delivers milk chocolate and delicate coffee notes before finishing just on the right side of dry, like a chocolate-coated coffee bean. ^MD

Sawmill The Doctor

Bach Brewing Duskrider Red IPA

Duskrider is a multi-award winning champion, coming out of retirement this year and punching straight back into the points. It’s blend of NZ and US hops along with expressive red malts create a complex, multi-faceted nose. Aromas of resinous pine, stone fruit and candied citrus peel, with roasted nuts and sumptuous malt richness further in. On the palate the initial bust of stone fruit and malt sweetness is rapidly swept up by the arresting bitterness, maintaining a firm grip on the finish. An IPA of great weight and density of flavour that satisfies with every sip. ^TN

Bach Duskrider Red IPA

Heart of Darkness Some Sorcerer Hazy IPA

Vietnam-based but produced under licence by Behemoth, Heart of Darkness also has New Zealander Duane Morton (ex Moa ex Panhead) as their head brewer. This hazy IPA packs way more grunt and flavour than the 6.5% ABV might indicate. Loads of ripe tropical fruit, like a banana smoothie made with a tin of fruit salad blitzed in, but there’s just enough citrus and grassy bitterness to hold all the sweetness in check. A creamy, lush mouthfeels creates a chewy, hefty mouthful of beer with a surprisingly dry finish. ^MD


Baylands Sky Surfer Pale Ale

 A second Top-30 for Baylands with this all American hopped pale ale. The aroma is cool and clean, pine driven with bright citrus and green grape. But it’s on the palate where the real quality of this beer emerges in a masterful balancing act of flavour. The malt backbone is expressive while unintrusive, the tropical and citrus hop notes are juicy but fresh, and the bitterness is precisely poised to carry those flavours into a cleansing, minimal finish. Drinkability defined. ^TN

Baylands Sky Surfer

Emporium Get To Da Choppa Witbier

Emporium from Kaikoura have made a traditionally brewed witbier, utilising whole ingredients like coriander and citrus rather than hops to drive flavour. The coriander seed and sweet orange peel lead on the nose, with a tart wheat tang further in. A cleansing wheat astringency starts off the palate before more gentle sweet citrus and warming spice rise into the finish. Think of this as a better, craftier Hoegaarden. ^TN

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale

This beauty from is one of the longest standing beers in this (or any) Beer & Cider Awards. Stonecutter, a Scotch Ale, has been brewed in Blenheim since the early days of craft beer in NZ. Toasted malt, dried apricot and roasted nuts, with an integral thread of beech smoke that ties this beautifully rich and complex aroma together. Sumptuous toffee malt and stewed fruit flavours are restrained by that smoke on the palate, intertwining with the firm bitterness to finish surprisingly dry. Forceful but restrained; complex but approachable. ^TN

Renaissance Stonecutter

Burkes Brewing #Fakenews Hazy IPA

One of the smallest and most isolated breweries to crop up in this year’s New World Top-30, Tekapo’s Burkes Brewing proves that you don’t need to be one of the rockstar producers to make an award winning hazy. Sharp lime citrus dominant aroma with lush tropics and cooling pine in support. A juicy malt base and more lime/tropical flavours drive the rapid palate, and a mild but balanced bitterness keeps the finish fresh and crisp. An impeccably balanced hazy IPA that’s way too easy to drink. ^TN

Burkes Brewing Fakenews

Liberty Citra Double IPA

There are only a handful of truly great double IPAs in New Zealand and Liberty Citra is one of the very best. A huge but drinkable beer. The hops deliver complicated layers of sweet and savoury – cedar, spice, mango and peach – with licks of citrus and a sappy resinous quality. The malt sweetness wraps up all those flavours in a soft blanket before the bitterness pushes through at the end and rides a wave of alcohol-heat for a total textural experience. Drinking this is like getting a hug from a gentle beat that hibernated in a hop farm. ^MD

Liberty Citra

Baylands Offshore Bandit

The joy in this beer – the second in the Top 30 for Petone-based Baylands – is the gorgeously silky body. If you can imagine running satin sheets across your tongue – this is what it delivers. It packs in way more flavour than the 5.5% ABV indicates. And everything about it is in the “Goldilocks” zone. Juicy but not super-sweet, a little grassy bite but not too bitter, super creamy mouthfeel but yet it finishes light and airy. It’s pleasure for your senses: presenting perfectly in the glass, delivering an uplifting aroma, rich texture and lots of tropical fruit flavour. ^MD

Baylands Offshore Bandit

Urbanaut Copacabana Brut IPA

Well anyone who knows me knows that I love Urbanaut’s Copacabana Brut IPA. So it’s always good when esteemed beer judges come around to my way of thinking!! Super dry and light, it technically falls into a low carb classification but yet it has as much flavour as the famed Rio beach it’s named for … lots of fruit salad hop character. The body is so light it’s like candy floss when it hits your palate. And the best news — it’s now out in six-packs. ^MD

Urbanaut Copacabana Brut IPA

McLeod’s Paradise Pale Ale

Based in Waipu’s iconic Pizza Barn, McLeod’s are regulars in the Top 30 and this year it’s their flagship pale ale that salutes. This is something of a cult beer in New Zealand, having been voted “beer of the year” by the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) in 2017 and is always in the conversation if you’re talking about New Zealand’s best pale ale. Bursting with New Zealand hops that deliver a gorgeous, lush sweetness of papaya and passionfruit undercut by lime juice and orange zest. There’s a little earthy diesel note threaded through to bring some complexity to the mix. ^MD

McLeod's Paradise Pale Ale

Garage Project Party & Bullshit Hazy IPA

Quite possibly Patient Zero for the haze craze in New Zealand, being one of the very first to gain traction.  Clearly it hasn’t lost any momentum over the past five years either, cropping up here in the New World Top-30.  Mango and grape aromas up front with some cooling mint and juniper further back.  The palate is exclusively fruit driven, with juicy hop notes bouncing off the neutral malt backbone.  The moderate bitterness keeps a measured hand the fruit flavours as they subside into the finish.  A IPA that grasped the hazy style years ago and still holds on strong today. ^TN

garage project party bullshit  

Deep Creek Aloha Guava Passionfruit Sour

Deep Creek have established themselves as leaders of the pack when it comes to fruited-sour beers in New Zealand. Aloha is the star turn in their Tiki series of fruit cocktail-inspired sours. Using a Berliner Weisse base, the beer is made with passionfruit and guava fruit pulp that delivers a nice burst of tropical fruit character without being overbearing. A soft, medium-weight body is packed full of flavour and the balance is nicely weighted, with the sweeter malt and fruit notes perfectly offset by the tart dryness. ^MD

deep creek aloha

Sawmill Baltic Porter

Big and warming at 8%, but full of subtle and engaging flavours too. The nose is rich and malt dominant. Toasted grains, freshly brewed black coffee, with more esoteric aromas of cherry ripe and dried cranberry sneaking around the edges. The palate is unmistakably rich and smooth, but lifted by those lighter cherry and berry fruit flavours to finish long and complex. Baltic Porter at it’s very best. ^TN

Sawmill baltic porter

Crooked Cider

The mum and daughters crew at Crooked Cider are on a tear at this year’s awards, with two ciders in the Top-30. The pure apple cider has crisp and tart nose, evoking green Granny Smith apple juice, while the hugely effervescent and racing acidic palate brings tangy apple lollies and sweet sherbert. A sweet, crisp cider in the modern style with a keen acidity that keeps it nimble on the tongue.  Their second winner is a apple cider spiked with blackcurrant to get the juices flowing. The nose is tangy green apples first, with a pungent streak of blackcurrant coiled within. Both the apples and blackcurrants represent well on the palate, with neither dominating the other and plenty of acid zing to keep the sweet flavours aloft. The 5.2 per cent ABV is absolutely undetectable, so watch out, a glass of this can disappear on you all too quickly … ^TN

Crooked Cider Apple Blackcurrant

Cassels APA

This mid strength APA leads with a delicate aromas of white grape and pasionfruit, subtle citrus and even softer tropicals further in. It really is one of the most enchantingly aromatic noses on an APA I’ve encountered in a while. The palate is immediately clean and crisp, with a quick flash of citrus zing before the strong bitterness comes in. Finishes long and bitter, with the aromatic notes from the nose floating over the top. An absolutely first class APA. ^TN

cassels APA

Liberty Knife Party IPA

When it first came out in 2013, Knife Party set the benchmark for what we might call “new age” IPAs – loads and loads of hops, but built onto a much leaner malt base than had been the norm for IPAs earlier in the century. The result is an incredibly easy-drinking IPA where flavour is stuffed in like down in a sleeping bag – there’s lots packed in but it doesn’t feel too heavy. The intensity of the hops concludes with a long and pleasing bitterness with just enough of that pared-back malt to play a good support role without getting in the way of the hop stars. ^MD

Liberty Knife Party IPA

Townshend Sutton Hoo American Amber Ale

We are rapt to see Townshend back in the spotlight with their iconic Sutton Hoo American Amber Ale, one of the few American Amber ales still standing as the style continues to diminish. Strongly malt driven on the nose, with chewy toffee before ripe stone fruit. The palate is drier than the rich aroma would let on, with crunchy grain, dried apricot and a firm bitterness that tightens around the medium finish. A very serious drop with incredible body and concentration of flavour for such a low 4.7 per cent ABV. ^TN
Townshend Sutton Hoo

Panhead Port Rd Pilsner

Representing in the New World awards yet again, this unassuming pilsner seems to be unassailable at any judging. Supremely clean lemon and lime nose, with a hint of sauvignon blanc drifting in the background. The palate is superbly crisp and refreshing, striking a perfect balance between malt structure, hop character and cleansing bittering. An absolutely classic pilsner that’s tasting better than ever this year. ^TN

panhead port rd pils

Boneface The Darkness India Stout

India Stout is not a style that’s all too common, but think of it as a beer with the malt base of a stout and the hops of an IPA. This has the dark chocolate and coffee you’d expect from a stout, but with some mint and citrus hiding further in. Assertively bitter dark malts take control of the palate initially, but a fresh hop streak begins to cut through. The flavour eventually lands on an intriguing note of black coffee and after dinner mints. Robust winter sipping. ^TN

Urbanaut Miami Brut Lager

Urbanaut, based in Auckland’s popular city-fringe suburb of Kingsland have made a real name for themselves for their creativity over the four-and-a-bit years they’ve been in operation. This brings together some of their more ambitious ideas. First, it comes in the cute 250ml can – a format they’ve made their own. Second, they’ve proved expert in Brut-style beers – brewed using the same techniques developed for low-carb beer so there’s no residual sugar. This creates a really dry beer with a light and airy mouthfeel. And in this case, they’ve layered lots of complex hops that deliver papaya, passionfruit and citrus to create a perceived sweetness. ^MD
urbanaut miami brut lager

8 Wired Wild Feijoa Sour Ale

Depending on what side of the feijoa fence you’re on, this barrel aged sour is the greatest thing to come from the annual feijoa harvest, or alternatively: the only thing of worth to come out of it! The nose perfectly captures the uniquely ripe pungency of the fruit, and amplifies it with a whack of sour wheat tartness. The palate has a whole lot more feijoa up front, but the drying sour wheat astringency rapidly moves in to burn it off before it overstays its welcome. A stellar example of a fruited barrel sour with no corners cut. ^TN
8 wired wild feijoa ale

Deep Creek Redwood APA

I love it when a core range six-pack pale ale that does the job of a perfect fridge filler comes through in a big competition. Day-in, day-out technical excellence married to great flavour at a good price is a hard combo to beat. This Redwood APA from is an assertive hop-forward beer that comes at you with an all-American flavour stamp of zesty grapefruit, grass and a hint of earthy dankness. Clean, vibrant and with a subtle sweetness, the malt plays a just-right support role for the hops that deliver a building bitterness that is assertive but pleasant. The New World judges said it’s a beer they’d “happily buy” – what other recommendation do you need? ^MD

Behemoth Be Hoppy #3 Hazy IPA

From a brewery that has specialised in hazy beers, you’d expect nothing less than a Top 30 appearance. After bringing us Lid Ripper in 2018 and Me Time Mosaic last year, they’re back with another hazy. This one’s a little different from those two classics of the genre with a real sweet lemon vibrancy to it. There’s lemon zest and sweet orange with a layer of floral citrus blossom. The hops deliver a nicely tangy note and offset the textural sweetness. The beer features a relatively new hop, the oddly-named Sultana, which doesn’t deliver sultana flavours at all! It’s more pine and pineapple – which work well with the other hops to create a nice woody undertone and a nicely pitched 5.7% ABV. ^MD

Behemoth Be Hoppy

Isthmus 3D IPA

A West Coast style IPA, hopped with American stalwarts Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Columbus. Bright and citrus forward on the nose, with softer tropical notes of mango, lychee and pine resin freshness. The pine takes control on the palate, restraining the juicy malt backbone with a taut bitterness that snaps close for the short clean finish. A big, bitter West Coast IPA with a clean drinkability that’s almost unmatched at this heavier end of the ABV spectrum. ^TN

isthmus 3d IPA

Steinlager Tokyo Dry

Remarkably, four variations of Steinlager are included across the Top 30 and Highly Commended at this years Awards. This has never happened before. It says something about Steinlager, that across all their forms, Classic, Pure, Pure Light and Tokuo Dry, they hold their heads high. Everyone will have their favourite in the range, but in blind-tasting, the judges awarded Tokyo Dry Top 30 status. Smooth, light malt base, the delicate hop character and the dry, clean mouthfeel. Best judge comment? “A very cleansing, wet lager.” ^MD
steinlager tokyo dry