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Having their #Fakenews Hazy IPA in the New World Beer& Cider Awards Top 30 confirms what Burkes Brewing Co. already thought.
‘‘It’s pretty good verification,’’ founder Seb Burke says. ‘‘We’ve been happy with our beer for a long time, so it was good to get some third-party recognition.’’
Part of Burke’s operation is at the Blue Lake Eatery and Bar at Lake Tekapo; it’s the only brewery in the Mackenzie Basin.
Burkes Brewing Co. were relative pioneers of Hazy IPAs in New Zealand, with #Fakenews being developed for the Hops and Hooves beer festival in Twizel five years ago. Since then the ‘‘haze craze’’ has hit the country, with the cloudy, tropical, East Coast IPA
style becoming hugely popular. Five of the Top 30 in this year’s New World Beer & Cider Awards are hazies.
‘‘When we created that beer, hazies weren’t much of a thing,’’ Burke says. ‘‘We were really happy with that style and how it was tasting, and so we tried to scale it up a wee bit. But we found that we couldn’t quite get the yeast we were using initially to work, so
eventually found another yeast that gave us the same profile without the issues of the haze disappearing.’’
The #Fakenews name is a nod to the widely held but false belief that hazy IPAs are unfiltered. Burke, who has an engineering background, explains that they are all filtered using one method or another.
As the only craft brewery in the Mackenzie area, Burkes Brewing Co. tailor their beer for the local market, as it is predominantly sold at the Blue Lake Eatery and Bar, and other outlets in the region. Now they’re brewing at Christchurch’s Beer Baroness so are
making inroads into that city - along with Burkes #Fakenews IPA being available on New World shelves nationwide alongside other Top 30 award winners throughout May.
The 2021 New World Beer & Cider Awards were judged by an independent panel of 28 New Zealand beer industry experts. They assessed over 650 beverages from more than 100 breweries and cidermakers over two days in March, taking in a range of beer styles
- from hazies to IPA, through pale ales and stouts, lagers, ciders, and beyond.
‘‘It’s pretty huge brand awareness for us,’’ Burke says of the Top 30 award. ‘‘I feel like we’ve flown under the radar for a long time, but that’s partly our way of doing things. We’re happy to let the beer do the talking. We want to make sure we’re putting out the
best product that we can.’’
Launched by Burke in June 2015, the brewery was initially using a 50L kit to produce about 200L a month. The operation has grown gradually since, but there is no ambition to mass produce their beer.
Burke was made redundant from his fulltime helicopter engineering job as a consequence of Covid-19 last year, and so has refocused his energy on both the eatery and brewery businesses.
‘‘Part of our plan initially was to put in a new brewhouse and full brewpub set-up in the Mackenzie,’’ he says. ‘‘A lack of sites for that is why we ended up buying the restaurant originally, and our plan was a second venue at some point. That plan has reversed a
wee bit, but it has worked out better that way. It has given us a lot of learnings and things we can use in the design and build of the venue when we do get to do it.’’
Discover the New World Beer & Cider Awards Top 30 in store and at newworld.co.nz/Top30