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20 Highly Commended Beer & Ciders

These beers & ciders were awarded Highly Commended at the New World Beer & Cider Awards. They have varied availability - some are widely available, some are only available in selected New World stores and some are seasonal releases. These are all fantastic brews so if you see them, snap them up! Tap the tile to see the tasting notes. 
Garage Project White Mischief

Garage Project's White Mischief is one of the best low alcohol beers on the market in NZ. Based on the salty Gose style from Germany this features the addition of peach for a flavour punch that delivers more than you'd expect on a 2.9% base.

Hop Federation Fields of Green

Motueka-based Hop Federation make the most of being in the middle of our hop-growing region. Driven by three great hops, Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka, this offers complex depth with ripe fruit, cedarwood and citrus. The judges loved the creaminess and lingering bitterness: "Lovely beer."

Emerson's NZ Pilsner

Emerson's Pilsner defined the NZ-style 30 years ago and it still punches out flavour. "Fresh aromas of blossoms, passionfruit, with a crackery malt. Medium dry body, light floral hop flavours, well balanced, dry finish. Great Beer." the judges said.

Emerson's German Pilsner

In contrast to the fruity, floral nature of their normal NZ Pilsner, this German-style Pilsner from Emerson's explores European hop flavours. The judges loved the "earthy herbal hops with a hint of lemon zest". It finishes dry and refreshing.

Canyon Tussock basher tiny pale ale

For Canyon Brewing in Queenstown to get a Top 50 with a 2.5% pale ale is nothing short of remarkable. With six different malts for complexity, an English-style yeast for fruity esters and some punchy hops for character, the brew team have jammed in plenty of flavour.

McLeod's Paradise Pale Ale

Paradise Pale Ale is one of the most-loved craft beers in the country. A sweet, juicy hop aroma bursts out of the glass and blends seamlessly with the light caramel malt to produce a resinous and smooth drinking experience with a dry, just-bitter, moreish finish.

Epic Crush

Epic were one of the first craft breweries to crack the low carb formula and that skill is showcased here with juicy hop aroma and full body for the low ABV. "Finishes full-on and drinkable, and extra satisfying from the full body." said the judges.

Epic Armageddon IPA

A legend of the Kiwi beer scene, Armageddon is the original West Coast-style IPA and is as good now as 16 years ago when it hit the shelves. Thankfully, Epic's new ownership means this beer will continue to deliver its guava, pine and a light minerality.

Liberty Knife Party

Liberty Brewing, from Helensville in Auckland's northwest corner are one of the best hoppy beer producers in the country and this one of New Zealand's all-time favourite West Coast-style IPAs. Big, bold, beautifully put together with juicy-bitter hops in abundance.

Pacific Coast - Beach Break - Pilsner

Pacific Coast Beverages are based in Mangawhai, north of Auckland, and have been going for just over a year. This is an incredible Pilsner, at just 4% ABV and it's so light coloured it looks like Chardonnay wine, but it delivers bagfuls of great flavour.

Kereru Red Admiral NZ Whisky Barrel-Aged Dopplebock Beer

Upper Hutt-based Kereru are one of the country's finest creators of big, barrel-aged beers. This whisky barrel-aged Doppelbock has whisky on the nose, followed by vanilla, dried fruit and sherry on the palate. The judges declared: "This beer would be the best nightcap ever!! Great beer!"

Waitoa Brightside 0% Hazy IPA

Waitoa started out as a small brewpub in the Wellington suburb of Hataitai but they are now a full-blown force on the supermarket shelves and this is a testament to their focus: a super-tasty, cleanly fermented non-alcoholic beer that delivers bright citrus.

Two Thumb Mr Brightcider

Christchurch-based Two Thumb are better known for beer as well as an array of bars around Christchurch and Nelson, but they have delivered what the judges called an "excellent and complex cider. Some nutty tannins on the finish. Easy to drink."

Otago Brew School Klassenbester Dunkelweizen Otago Brew School

A Top 30 beer last year from the Otago Brew School programme in Cromwell, Klassenbester Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer which marries toffee biscuit malt characters to the traditional banana and clove yeast. Tastes like banana cake with a toffee sauce.

sunshineMexican Lager

A Mexican lager is generally brewed with corn or maize, reflecting the crops grown in Mexico. That helps creates a lighter body than usual in a lager. This is a hoppy version, and the judges loved the citrus, floral and peach hop character.

8 Wired Cloudtripper

8 Wired have thrown the literal kitchen sink at this beer when it comes to modern NZ hops. It's got Superdelic, Nectaron, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka for a tropical fruit cocktail of pillowy flavours: mango, pineapple, orange juice and zest.

8 Wired iStout

8 Wired's massive imperial stout is always on or around the podium in this event and it's no different in 2024 for this huge flavour bomb of chocolate, dates, leather, licorice and sweet coffee. Smooth, rich and creamy like a coffee liqueur.

8 Wired Citrus Maxima

American-style wheat beers are lighter and less spicy than their European cousins from Germany and Belgium, and lend themselves to fruit additions, such as the grapefruit-lemon ping in this one. An added dry hop accentuates the citrus. Super-refreshing.

Laughing Bones Bone Dry

Laughing Bones are based in Silverdale on Auckland's North Shore. This is described as a Brut XPA, which is a signal it's going to be super-dry, with a very light malt base. But the Nectaron hop oils bring great texture and tremendous flavour.

Bootleg Trappist Seeing Dubbel

Bootleg Brewery in Matangi, south of Hamilton, produce excellent Belgian style beers. This malty Dubbel is warm and spicy with cherry and light coffee aromas. Sweet dried fruit and leather follows on the palate with some sherry notes. Finishes dry.