Our trip back to New Zealand at the start of this year was a revelation - although not at all a surprise - at just how incredible the beer scene there has become. It’s long been known for its quality and creativity, but we believe 2016 is the year the Kiwi craft beer scene goes stratospheric on a global scale.
We’ve a natural inclination to all things Antipodean, and as such we’ve prided ourselves on having the UK’s best and widest range of New Zealand craft beers since we opened our doors in 2014. The chance to give Kiwi beers (and ciders) even more shelf space was irresistible.
Arriving early June are a range of amazing beers and ciders never before seen in the UK, many of which will be exclusive to Hop Burns & Black, with some also destined for our good friends at East London’s finest taproom and bottle shop empire Mother Kelly’s. It’s not a huge shipment, but oh my word, it’s a good shipment, containing the best beverages we tasted during our travels.
The names Panhead and Parrotdog will be familiar to craft aficionados as two of the seven incredible NZ breweries who’ll be participating in this year’s Rainbow Project. Their hop-forward beers showcase the very best of New Zealand hops and they’ve rightly won stacks of awards, not least Parrotdog winning Champion International Small Brewery at the Australian Beer Awards 2015 and Panhead taking home the SOBA Award for Best New Zealand Beer 2015 for their glorious Supercharger APA. (That's us celebrating the news with Panhead head brewer Mike Neilson above.)
Kereru Brewing you may not be so familiar with, but it’s a name you’ll want to remember. Brewing next door to Panhead in Upper Hutt, we fell head over heels in love with Kereru’s Imperial Nibs porter made with cacao nibs, vanilla and coconut - and we weren’t alone. This beer won Best In Class at the New World Beer & Wine Awards 2016, so now the secret is most definitely out.
Martin Townshend is a mad magician of beer and beat the big boys when his brewery, Townshend Brewing - which he still runs out of a shed in his backyard - was named Champion New Zealand Brewery at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards 2014. His remarkable Flemish Stout is as good, if not better, than anything coming out of Belgium, as is his Belgian Tripel.
Hop Federation, based in Riwaka, makes the most of its location to celebrate the hops on its doorstep, with clean, fresh beers that are bursting with flavour. We’ve chosen to bring over three of their beers we feel showcase those glorious Nelson hops best - IIPA, Red IPA and Weewaka.
Last but not least, Peckham’s Cider was set up by two English ex-pats, Alex and Caroline Peckham, in an idyllic Nelson setting. They grow 30 different types of cider apples and make proper English-style cider on their orchard, winning Champion Cider at the 2015 Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Association awards. We loved their cider so much that we’re bringing over no fewer than five different varieties. We have a feeling the name will go down well round our way too…
We’re just so excited about the bounty of beautiful beer about to land on these shores. We had such a great time meeting these brewers and tasting their wares, and are stoked we can now share the experience. You’ll be able to buy all of the new New Zealand beers in store or via our online shop, shop.hopburnsblack.co.uk, while stocks last. We’ll sound the great big Kiwi Klaxon when it’s arrived.