A small craft brewery located in the heart of hops country has taken out the Champion Lager category in the 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards.
Hop Federation’s lager won both a Gold Medal and was named overall Champion Lager in the coveted awards. It was awarded the only Gold Medal in the category.
Located in Riwaka, near Motueka in the Top of the South island, Hop Federation uses local hops in its beers. Owner and head brewer Simon Nicholas says its an amazing opportunity for Hop Federation.
“We’re a relatively young brewery so I’m absolutely stoked we’ve won against some of the established brewers. We use local Motueka and Nelson Sauvin hops in our lager so the beer really does celebrate our region,” he says.
Simon and wife Nicki left their high-pressure Auckland life for rural Riwaka in 2013, opening Hop Federation with an initial four ales. Simon was previously head brewer at Hallertau in Auckland.
The 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards was the biggest yet with nearly 600 beers and ciders entered by more than 90 breweries from around New Zealand and the world. There were over 50 entries in the lager category. Champion and gold winning beers and ciders are guaranteed shelf space at 133 New World stores across the country.
“For a small brewery like Hop Federation its hard to get that sort of national distribution so this is a huge opportunity for us. It means we’ll be in every New World in New Zealand so beer drinkers all over the country will get a chance to try our beers,” says Simon.
Hop Federation brews approximately 150,000 litres of beer a year. Popular beers include IPA’s, ales, pilsner and stout. Their winning lager is described as refreshingly simple, with a soft malty sweetness, gentle bitterness and a clean finish. ABV – 4.5%
The winners were determined by a panel of 16 independent experts using a collaborative approach based on technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel, and most importantly, drinkability.