We­make it, we judge it, we drink it

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - KELLEY TANTAU

Good Ge­orge brewer Brian Wat­son knows what makes a good beer. The Hamil­ton man has more than 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try and was a judge at this year’s New World Beer and Cider Awards.

This month he joined a 19-strong judg­ing panel of com­mer­cial brew­ers, sensory an­a­lysts and hop ex­perts to de­ter­mine the win­ner of each of the 12 cat­e­gories.

‘‘It’s bloody hard work and no one be­lieves me,’’ he said.

Wat­son and the judges sniffed, swirled, sipped and de­bated more than 2,500 glasses of beer and cider over two days.

When Wat­son first started judg­ing beer, he said there were only around 2,000 brew­ers. Now, there are around 15,000. He said this was in­dica­tive of the way the in­dus­try’s been go­ing.

Af­ter open­ing brew­eries around the world and across New Zealand, Wat­son wanted to come back home to open a brew­ery in Hamil­ton. His busi­ness part­ners Ja­son Mack­low and Dar­relHadley had eyes on the fu­ture Good Ge­orge site in Frank­ton, al­though the for­mer St Ge­orge’s Church was in need of some TLC.

Five years later, there are around 30 brew­ery staff and a num­ber of awards un­der their belt.

At the Beer and Cider Awards, the panel blind-tasted each en­try to de­ter­mine which brews stand out from the crowd in tech­ni­cal ex­cel­lence, bal­ance, mouth­feel, and drink­a­bil­ity.

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