Two Northland breweries will be going head-to-head against their counterparts across the world in a competition to find out who has the best beer.
Kainui Brew Co from Kerikeri and Waipu's McLeod's Brewery both have brews entered in the 2016 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, with the tasting being held over this weekend and the winners announced next Saturday.
The Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards is an international competition, with entries from throughout New Zealand and the world.
Given the recent explosion in craft beers a record number of New Zealand breweries are vying to be crowned champion at New Zealand's most prestigious beer awards. There are more than 950 beers from 98 breweries nominated across 14 beer categories, with 88 Kiwi breweries entered, joining 10 breweries from Australia, Germany and the United States.
Brewers Guild chairman Jonathan Alve said strong domestic and international sales of New Zealand beer was underpinned through more variety in the taste, quality and originality of brews produced. This made the task of separating the best from the best exceptionally difficult.
"We're expecting this year's beers to be among the best ever submitted. Being named Champion Brewery is the ultimate accolade for a brewer. They are the only awards in New Zealand that are internationally recognised and judged independently by some of the world's best beer brains," Mr Alve said.
"The honour roll of previous Champion Breweries includes large, established players through to small, and even one-man operations. All of them have demonstrated excellence in brewing skill to be crowned New Zealand's Champion Brewery."
All beer entries will be rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation. Top beers are honoured on the overall balance of all characteristics with gold, silver or bronze medals.
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 8 at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. Melissa Cole, an award-winning United Kingdom beer writer and beer adviser to Michelin-starred restaurants, will announce New Zealand's Champion Brewery for 2016.