Society of Beer Advocates - Beer for all the right reasons

National Homebrew Competition 2019

2018 SOBA National Homebrew update

Posted on January 30, 2019 by David Moynagh

Happy new year. I hope this summer weather is giving you a great excuse to drink some great homebrew – not that we need a reason. Thanks to everyone who entered he 2018 SOBA NHC, you helped make it a great competition Certificates are being produced and barring any hiccups should be sent out in a couple of weeks Homebrewing is going from strength to strength if the quality of entries in the 2018 competition are an indicator. 685 entries, up from 545 last year, were judged over two days at the end of October and resulted in 32 gold, 70 silver and 133 bronze medals being awarded.

Winners and awards

Champion Brewer
The very talented Karl Safi is Champion Brewer for the second time, the first in 2014. Producing a great beer is a one milestone, doing it repeatedly at a championship level is a true demonstration of brewing expertise. Well done.

Champion Beer
Jimmy Henderson and Brett Houliston won Champion Beer with a sour cherry brett saison that scored a nearly perfect 49.

Later this year you will get a chance to try two great beers from the competition. The Champion Beer will be brewed and released by Hallertau and one of Champion Brewer Karl’s winning beers by Hamilton’s Brewaucracy. We will post details on facebook when these beers will be released and where you can try them

Grainfather Champion Club
Champion Club, a new award, was very popular with 15 clubs registered. The winner by a clear margin was the Brutopians from Wellington who will receive a Grainfather.

Grainfather Best New Brewer (highest scoring beer from a brewer who has not entered before)
Justin Wilson will receive a Grainfather Stainless Fermenter ($235)

WilliamsWarn Brewing Excellence Prize winners
WilliamsWarn wanted to acknowledge brewing excellence in the SOBA NHC. They provided 2 of their awesome 25L stainless conical pressure fermenters - the BrewKeg25 – and the winners were drawn from gold medal entries First winner is Aidan Jones and his gold for Red IPA The second is an entry with multiple brewers so Daryl Bryant, Graeme Cairns, Wayne Humphries for their gold medal Wild Specialty Beer - you might have to take turns to use it.

Medalists prize draw
Thanks to sponsors iKegger and ChinChiller 6 lucky medalists won prizes in our medal winners prize draw.

Matt Barnes - BRONZE MEDAL - 16A - Sweet Stout iKegger 4L - “The Johnson” Mini Keg Brewers kit w/ tapping system, reg and gas ($265)

Karl Safi - GOLD MEDAL - 28C - Wild Specialty Beer iKegger 10L mini keg Transfer kit w/ keg, ball lock top & transfer line. ($239)

Jared Reeves - SILVER MEDAL - 29A - Fruit Beer iKegger 4L Insulated Growler ($120)

Martin Bulmer- BRONZE MEDAL - 19A - American Amber Ale ChinChiller – Tilt v2 wireless hydrometer, Tilt T - shirt & Tilt phone stand ($320)

Matthew Van Kerkhof - BRONZE MEDAL - 30A - Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer ChinChiller - The Malt Kracker II - twin stainless-steel roller grain mill & ChinChiller T-Shirt ($220.00)

Craig Shilliday - SILVER MEDAL - 20C - Imperial Stout ChinChiller - Clear Beer Draft System & Pouring Set – with Mini CO2 Regulator, Brumby tap & Ball lock fittings and a 5 pack of 16g CO2 Cartridges ($270.00)

Check the website or Facebook page @sobanhc for more information.

Our Partners
I would like to thank our partners – The Grainfather, Cryer Malt, New Zealand Hops, Brewaucracy, Hallertau, Gladfield, Brewshop, WilliamsWarn, Pacific Flavours and Ingredients, and Brewers Coop. Please support our sponsors as we could not run the competition without them

Judges and Volunteers
This year we had one of the strongest judging line ups ever. I would like to thank the judges, the small army of stewards and volunteers that make it all happen on the day and especially the organising team of Peter Smith, Julian Melville, Tom Middleton and Kelly Ockwell for all their hard work.

We need you
The SOBA NHC is a great competition and a unique event in NZ’s homebrew calendar. As you can see it takes a small army of volunteers to make it happen.

Getting volunteers is one of the key challenges in each competition. We need people to steward (organise and pour the entries) and help with a range of tasks on the day. If you value this event and would like to be help with the next one, then I would like to hear from you - email It’s great fun and a chance to improve your brewing and beer knowledge plus meet and learn from some of the best in the industry. We can’t run the competition without your support

Dave Moynagh
SOBA NHC Organiser

PS I would like to leave you with the thoughts below from one of our stewards.

I was blown away by how well the army of volunteers came together to get through such a massive undertaking, and have it run so smooth.

This is a testament to the great work behind the scenes leading up to the event, led by the team of organizers this year (Dave, Peter, Julian, Tom and Kelly). As well as the systems, procedures, etc from the teams behind previous years. NHC has evolved over the years into a very slick machine.

One of the memorable and warming traditions is the clinking of glasses when a beer scores a gold medal, and the chorus of cheers from all the other tables of judges. These judges have a tough job to taste and evaluate all these beers, but those moments illustrated their desire to unearth great beers, and their joy when they did so.

About 30 beers per day, across 12 tables. An average of 12 minutes per beer to leave enough time to get through them all, makes for quite hard work really.

I felt very privileged to be a table steward, sitting alongside such great judges from around the country, a veritable who's who of the great craft beer community we have. I even had the great fortune of being on the table that judged and enjoyed the supreme beer.

And I feel honoured to be part of this society when we have fantastic events like this with our name on it.

Gareth Guitry

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