A pioneering craft brewery based in Warkworth has taken the prestigious Overall Champion New Zealand Brewing Company award at the annual Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards - and also claimed the coveted Champion Beer title for their Wild Feijoa, a sour pale ale barrel-aged beer, in its 10th vintage.
This year marks the first time in the awards' history that a brewery has claimed both the Champion Brewery and Champion Beer accolades simultaneously.
The Overall Champion Brewery title showcases the consistent excellence of 8 Wired's brews through securing two golds for their latest Wild Feijoa '22 vin t a g e (barrel-aged sour pale ale ) and Oude Imperial (spontaneously fermented sour ale ), two silver medals for Baltic Smoke (smoked baltic porter) and iStout (imperial stout ), and a bronze for Brave Old World - Scotch Ale.
Founder and Head Brewer of 8 Wired Brewing, Søren Eriksen, expressed his gratitude and pride in the team's achievements.
"To be recognised as the Overall Champion is a testament to the passion, dedication and innovation that our team puts into every brew. It's truly a team effort with everyone playing a vital role, from the suppliers of the freshest ingredient to those chopping up the fruit, carefully tending the barrels during the aging process, and making everything happen," said Eriksen.
Love feijoas or hate them, Wild feijoa is a unique brew to 8 Wired being well received both at home and internationally, so it's one they're incredibly proud to see named as New Zealand's Champion Beer.
It's the only barrel-aged beer the brewery releases yearly and takes a good few years to make. After brewing, the beer would have fermented and aged for up to two years in wine barrels, and then it gets another year on fresh, organic feijoas supplied locally by Quinta Feijoas. A metric tonne of feijoas is cut in half and popped into the barrels. The quality of the fruit is what makes for an excellent result. It's the blending part of the process that Eriksen enjoys the most.
"It sets it apart from our other beers and comes around as a natural tradition each autumn."
This year marks the second time 8 Wired has earned the Champion Brewery title, the first being in 2011 when the company was in its infancy in the craft beer revolution based in Blenheim.
"we're always looking to push the boundaries of brewing creativity, and the landscape of the craft beer industry has changed greatly in that time, so we are humbled to be able to bring these trophies back to our Warkworth brewery as another chapter in the 8 Wired story."
Garage Project took home the Champion Large Brewery title for the third consecutive year, another impressive accomplishment never before achieved at these prestigious awards.