The Society of Beer Advocates Inc. is pleased to announce the results of the annual SOBA Awards. These awards are the result of the votes of individual members of SOBA, by region. The SOBA awards represent the true “voice of the consumer”, as SOBA is a consumer-based organisation with a mission to educate, promote, and advocate for the appreciation of, and access to, a diverse range of quality beer.
2018 SOBA Awards Summary
Behemoth Named Best Brewery By Beer Fans
Chur! Behemoth Brewing has achieved the almost unthinkable and dethroned Garage Project as New Zealand’s favourite brewery, according to the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA).
Garage Project had ruled the annual awards for the four previous years – crowned New Zealand’s best brewery in 2014-15-16 and 17 – but the increasingly popular Behemoth has turned the tables on the Wellington giants after finishing runner-up last year.
Liberty Brewing’s 2018 Prohibition Porter – a 12.6 per cent Porter aged in Jack Daniels barrels – was named beer of the year, pipping last year’s winner, McLeod’s Paradise Pale Ale.
Behemoth – with their iconic Churly character, a fast-moving range of new beers and irreverent marketing, has become one of the most talked-about breweries in New Zealand.
Last year the brand got global attention thanks to the infamous Dump the Trump IPA. The beer propelled Behemoth into national consciousness midway through the year, when the company’s Facebook page was inundated with negative reviews and comments from supporters of the US President, Donald Trump. A campaign to hit back at the one-star reviews left by Trump supporters drew mainstream media attention and brought Behemoth to a wider audience.
Behemoth produced 40 different beers in 2018, including 34 new products – with an intense focus on hoppy (often hazy) IPAs, including the multiple gold medal-winning Lid Ripper. Their range of hoppy beers rate highly across the board – even if everyone has a different favourite!
Liberty Brewing’s award for their Prohibition Porter is an historic result – for the first time, the champion beer as judged by SOBA members is not hop-driven. Previous winners have been Liberty’s C!tra (2013), Panhead The Vandal (2014), Panhead Supercharger (2015, 2016) and McLeod’s Paradise Pale Ale (2017).
It’s hard to argue with the taste buds of SOBA members, however, with Prohibition Porter dominating festivals and rating sites. It won the People’s Choice award at Beervana 2018, took over as New Zealand’s highest-rated beer on the social media platform Untappd and won a gold medal at the New Zealand Beer Awards.
The beer was a real labour of love says brewer Joe Wood – with a long, complicated brew day producing a beer of such high gravity (sugar levels), it was almost undrinkably sweet prior to going into the barrels, where the tannins and vanillin from the oak tempered the sweetness over a nine-month aging process.
This vintage was then packaged into black glass bottles, designed to give an extended shelf – with Wood saying it will age handsomely for a quarter-century.
SOBA members also voted on their favourite breweries, beers, bottle shops, pubs and restaurants across a number of regions.
2018 SOBA Awards Winners
Honoured Members for Services to SOBA & Craft Beer Community
- Maree Shaw, For service to SOBA
- Mike Stringer, For service to beer education and home brewing
- Ed Briem, For service to beer education and home brewing
- Karl Summerfield, For service to beer education and home brewing
- Tom Coleman, For service to SOBA and home brewing
- Phil Murray, For service to SOBA and home brewing
National Award Winners
Beer of the Year
Winner: Liberty – Prohibition Porter
Runner up: McLeod’s – Paradise Pale Ale
Brewery of the Year
Winner: Behemoth Brewing Co.
Runner up: Garage Project
Regional Award Winners
|2018 Regional SOBA Award Winners||Brewery of the Year||Bar of the Year||Restaurant of the Year||Off-License of the Year||Event of the Year||Homebrew Shop of the Year|
|Northland||Winner||McLeod's||McLeod's Pizza Barn||McLeod's Pizza Barn||Liquorland Kensington||-||-|
|Auckland||Winner||Liberty Brewing||The Beer Spot, Northcote||Hallertau Brewery||Liquorland Newmarket||GABS||Brewers Coop|
|Runner up||-||Vulture's Lane||Satya Chai Lounge, K Road||Fine Wine Delivery Co, North Shore||Auckland Beer Week||-|
|Waikato||Winner||Brewaucracy||Craft Hamilton||Gothenburg||Hamilton Beer & Wine Co||-||Brewshop|
|Runner up||-||Brewaucracy Brewery & Taproom||-||Brewaucracy Brewery & Taproom||-||-|
|Bay of Plenty||Winner||Funk Estate||The Barrel Room||-||Liquorland Mt. Maunganui||-||Brewshop|
|Runner up||-||The Rising Tide||-||-||-||-|
|Hawkes Bay||Winner||Brave Brewing Co||Westshore Beach Inn||Westshore Beach Inn||Westshore Beach Inn||Beer Appreciation Day (B.A.D.) and Hop Con (tied)||HB Malt Station|
|Runner up||Brave Brewing Co||-||-|
|Taranaki||Winner||Mike's||Ms White||The Hour Glass||Liquorland Fitzroy||Mountain Ales Festival||Grain to Glass, Waitara|
|Runner up||-||The Hour Glass||-||-||-||-|
|Wanganui||Winner||-||Rutland Arms||Rutland Arms||Four Square Riverview and Liquorland Whanganui (tied)||-||Whanganui Homemade & Brewer's World|
|Runner up||-||-||-||Liquorland Wanganui||-||-|
|Manawatu||Winner||Brew Union||Brew Union||Brew Union||Liquorland Albert Street||-||-|
|Wellington||Winner||Garage Project||Little Beer Quarter||Shepherd||Regional Wines & Spirits||Winter Ales Festival||The Brew House|
|Runner up||-||Hashigo Zake||Grill Meats Beer||Thorndon New World||Beervana||-|
|Nelson/Tasman||Winner||Townshend Brewing Company||The Free House||Urban Oyster Bar & Eatery||Fresh Choice Richmond||Marchfest||League of Brewers|
|Runner up||-||The Workshop||Hopgoods, Nelson||Fresh Choice, Nelson||-||-|
|Canterbury||Winner||Three Boys||Moon Under Water||Pomeroy's||The Beer Library||South Island Beer Festival||Homebrew HQ|
|Runner up||-||The Laboratory, Lincoln||-||Punky Brewster||Great Kiwi Beer Festival||-|
|Otago & Southland||Winner||Emerson's||The Portsider & Eureka & Obrellos (tied)||Ombrellos||Henry's Centre City||Dunedin Winter Beer Festival||Dunedin Malt House|
|Runner up||-||-||The Portsider||Emerson's||-||-|
Big thanks to all of the SOBA members who voted – we really appreciate it.
Previous SOBA Awards Results
- SOBA Award Winners 2013
- SOBA Award Winners 2014
- SOBA Award Winners 2015
- SOBA Award Winners 2016
- SOBA Award Winners 2017
For more information, press only:
Gareth Guitry [email protected]