NZ’s top 30 beers and ciders

NZ’s top 30 beers and ciders

From Pilsner to Pickle Beer, beer and cider fans are in for a treat with the announcement of the 2024 New World Beer & Cider Awards Top 30 winners.

“This year’s Top 30 list delivers variety and flavour explosions like never before in this competition’s ten-year history,” says Chair of Judges Michael Donaldson, who led the independent panel of experts tasked with judging more than 600 entries to find the very best for New World shoppers.

The final list features fridge classics and craft beer favourites from all around the country as well as a host of quirky brews, including some infused with the flavours of wild yeast, berries, chocolate, chili, and even pickles.

“From golden lagers, to trendy hazies, to the most unique ales, sours and ciders – this all-NZ line up really showcases what our local brewers and cidermakers can do.

“Every beer on the list took top marks in a blind tasting for technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel and drinkability, but also had an extra x-factor that really wowed the judges.”

The Top 30 beers and ciders are available in New World stores nationwide from today, where they will be celebrated for the next four weeks.

Crowning Glory

The Supreme Winner title – being the top ranked overall winner, went to Desperate Glory – Oud Bruin from 8 Wired in Warkworth. The Belgian Amber Ale took nearly three years to make from brew day to podium and sets the flavour bar high.

Monique and Soren Eriksen toast their Supreme win and Top 30 result outside 8 Wired Barrelworks in Matakana.

“This is a traditional ale – think dates, brown sugar and sweet spice, that was aged in bourbon barrels and then blended with Chinese Keemun tea, adding vanilla, cherry, light floral and cocoa characters in as well,” says Donaldson of the “complex and sublime” winning beer.

Champion Cider went to Peckham’s Cider of Nelson for their Hazy Apple Cider. Made with 100% heritage apples, unfiltered, and wild fermented, it has a “divine” aroma and taste that the judges compared it to spiced apple cake.

Table toppers

Dunedin’s Emerson’s Brewery earned four Top 30 spots for their London Porter, Reverb NZ IPA, Super Quench Lower Carb Pacific Pilsner, and Mexicoco Chocolate Chili Porter – a seasonal brew that will get a reprise in New World stores nationwide as a result of the win.

Last year’s Supreme Winner, Taupo’s Lakeman, is also back in 2024, this time with a trifecta of wins for their Big Hairy APA, Taupo Thunder NZ Pale Ale and Primate Pilsner.

Pickle-lovers rejoice

In one out of the box, or perhaps the jar, pickle-lovers will be well-pleased with a win by Pickle Beer from Garage Project. The lightly sour beer is brewed with cucumbers and pickle spices, including dill, mustard seeds and a touch of habanero chilli.

Donaldson says the aroma “is unmistakably the same as you get when you open a pickle jar,” and the judges noted how the “spices shine through, giving the impression of pickle juice.”

Favourites from around the motu

There is plenty for the classic and craft fans too. “The 2024 Top 30 features many of Aotearoa’s most established brands, including much-loved lagers, pilsners, ales and dark beers from breweries like Lion, McLeod’s, Panhead, Parrotdog, and Sprig + Fern.

Craft hero Epic is also back with Super Zero IPA, a zero percent take on the full-flavoured IPAs that made them famous, alongside leaders in the lifestyle category, Bach Brewing with their All Day Original Non Alc IPA and Zeffer with their 0% Passionfruit Cider.

“And right alongside them are fast-moving up-and-comers like Christchurch’s Beer Baroness, Hastings’ Brave Brewing Co, Auckland’s Morningcider, Bay of Plenty’s Mount Brewing Co, and Taranaki’s Three Sisters, who are all becoming regulars at the top table,” says Donaldson.

“Plus, we’ve got stone cold craft legends — West Auckland’s Hallertau and Christchurch’s Brew Moon — who have been around for decades but are stepping up to the Top 30 for the first time, both with impeccably made hazies that round out a great selection of eight IPAs.

“Most years we also see a small and first-time winner showcase the depth of quality around Aotearoa, and this year it’s Wanaka’s b.effect with their Social Experiment West Coast IPA. Even better, this previously one-off brew will now be available again for beer fans to try.”

All winners, including the 20 Highly Commended brews, can be found on the New World website at

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