Eight of New Zealand’s top breweries will have beers made with freshly picked Kiwi hops stocked in a major national supermarket chain from next week.
The independently owned New World supermarkets have been offering a line-up of post-harvest New Zealand fresh hop beers for the last few years and the contingent of breweries featuring in 2021 are: Baylands, Behemoth, Epic, Garage Project, Liberty, Parrotdog, Sawmill and Urbanaut. Behemoth’s and Baylands’ releases will only be available in North Island New World supermarkets while the rest will be distributed nationwide.
As the popularity of New Zealand hops continues to grow across the brewing world as consumer excitement around fresh hop beers similarly expands, Epic’s founder Luke Nicholas said it makes for an exciting time to be in the Kiwi beer industry. So much so the Auckland brewery have made their first fresh hop beer in five years – the Green Machine Fresh Hop IPA that uses fresh Nectaron hops from Hinetai Hops in Tapawera near Nelson in the upper reaches of the South Island.
“It’s no secret I’m a fan of brewing for big hop flavours,” Luke said. “At Epic, we typically source our hops from the United States, but our local farmers are doing a phenomenal job developing the New Zealand hop industry with some amazingly unique and aromatic varietals available right in our own backyard.
“We only get one chance a year to harvest, so it’s a huge exercise to fly the hops up fresh from Nelson, and keep them consistently chilled the whole way to the brewery, ready to use within 24 hours of picking. It’s easily a favourite time of year for many of our team.”
Once the fresh hop beers are canned and ready New World’s cold-chain process takes over as they utilise a temperature-controlled warehousing and transport network until they are kept chilled in store.
Meanwhile, the results of the New Zealand Beer and Cider Awards, that are sponsored by New World and recognise the top 100 beers in the country each year, are expected to be announced next month.