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Flavour of the nation decided in brewing battle

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

After weeks of robust discussion, idea sharing, community engagement and town hall meetings, the symbol of our nation has been decided, albeit in a liquid, hoppy form.

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand.

The judging panel, which included head judge and beer writer Geoff Griggs, Beervana manager Beth Brash, ParrotDog brewer Matt Warner and Brewers Guild Chair Jenny Cameron, ironically described the winning beer, Rusty Crowes Pavlova, as perfectly capturing the taste of New Zealand.

"It’s an iconically New Zealand beer in terms of flavour and a beautifully balanced example of the style, reeking of Riwaka hops. It was faultless. Australia can have Russell Crowe but we’ll keep our hops thanks," says Griggs.

Mark Howes of Newstead Brewing said it’s a little know fact that all of New Zealand’s most distinctive ingredients originate in Australia.

"Something something, God defend New Zealand. It’s little known that kiwifruit originated in Wagga Wagga, pavlova was first baked in Adelaide, Phar Lap was born in Perth and Russell Crowe comes from Cairns. Crowded House called Melbourne home. Dairies are for dickheads, rugby is for rapscallions. We figured the only way to make a beer for our cuz was to use all Australian ingredients.

"A riwaka, kiwifruit, pavlova beer. Kiwifruit, passionfruit and strawberry give this all Aussie Pale Ale loads of tropical fruit character and a bold but smooth bitterness to cut through the sweetness."

The beer that best captured the Flag Brew theme went to Liberty Brewing and food blogger Delaney Mes, who created ‘Old Sanitarium’, a toasty barley beer infused with toasted Vogels and Marmite. The duo also nabbed second place in the overall competition, with third place going to Kelly Ryan of Fork Brewing and 3 News’ Patrick Gower, who created the Jelly AnTIPodean, a raspberry, vanilla and chocolate milk stout.

Brash said with the coming of age of New Zealand’s craft beer industry, it was time to can the flag debate.

"For years and years we’ve been sipping away on the exotic spice of Belgium, the malty richness of England and the hoppy punch of the US. It’s high time we decided what New Zealand really tastes like."

Beervana punters can also vote on their favourites. The more democratic people’s choice award will be announced Sunday after the final Beervana session on Saturday evening wraps up.

Nineteen teams entered the Flag Brew competition. For a full list of entrants see here:

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