New Zealand’s best home-crafted beer has been found – in an Auckland laundry.
After three months of sampling dozens of home-brewed beers crafted in sheds and basements across the country, Auckland photographer Niels Schipper has been announced as the inaugural winner of the Moa Beer Home Brew Challenge, held in association with George FM.
Niels’ beer – Schipper’s Bitter – beat out 20 competitors, many entering several different varieties, to be judged the winning brew by Moa founder Josh Scott.
Following his victory, Niels was whisked down to the Moa brewery in Marlborough to brew up a batch of his Schipper’s Bitter under the tutelage of Moa’s legendary Master Brewer David Nicholls. The result has been bottled and kegged, and debuts at a special event in Auckland on June 23.
Moa beer baron Gareth Hughes says Niels blew away the competition with his bitter.
“While Niels’ bitter took home the prize, all six of his entries were top-class brews with the right complexity and carbonation. It’s a real achievement given the guy’s brewery is a laundry!”
Home brew champion Niels describes his winning brew as a full-bodied, bitter style beer.
“Schipper’s Bitter is extremely well rounded with a decided bitterness, off-balanced with a moderate malt and low hop character. I’m keen to see how the larger-scale brewing and bottling at the Moa Brewery adds to the flavour.”
Niels puts his recent success down to a committed brewing style. He long ago abandoned the idea of using pre-prepared kit sets, sourcing only fresh ingredients and investing up to seven hours in preparation for each brew.
In typical Kiwi style, Niels isn’t above using an old chilly bin, an inorganic collection gem, for mashing ingredients or a 30 litre tea urn as his boiler.
His biggest tip for aspiring brewers – “there’s a big difference between home-brew and craft beer. Make an active decision to brew the best”.
Given the quality of brews on offer this year, Hughes hopes the Moa Beer Home Brew Challenge will become an annual event.
Moa Schipper’s Bitter is on tap at Page’s Grill and Bar in Kingsland, Auckland, on Thursday June 23 from 6pm.