27 Apr 2024

Wellington's Garage Project wins silver at 2024 World Beer Cup

10:14 am on 27 April 2024
Garage Project's Belgian-style sour ale Chance, Luck & Magic won silver at the 2024 Beer World Cup.

Garage Project's Belgian-style sour ale Chance, Luck & Magic won silver at the 2024 Beer World Cup. Photo: Denise Garland

Wellington brewery Garage Project has won two medals at the prestigious 2024 World Beer Cup held in Las Vegas.

Judges evaluated 9300 beers across 172 different categories at the event, which was widely considered to be the beer industry's premiere beer competition.

Garage Project won two medals at the awards announced on Thursday (NZT); a silver for its 2020 vintage of its Belgian-style sour ale Chance, Luck & Magic, and a bronze medal for its Belgian-Style strong speciality ale Engeltjes Pis.

It was not the first time the brewery has impressed at the awards.

Last year, it won a silver medal for the same 2020 vintage of Chance, Luck & Magic, and in 2014 its Cockswain's Courage double-barrel edition porter scored second place in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category.

Garage Project co-founder Pete Gillespie said his team was thrilled.

"It's absolutely fantastic news. The World Beer Cup is like the Olympics in the brewing world, so to be able to come home with a silver... and then picking up a bronze as well is very cool, very exciting," he said.

"We had a silver last year for Chance, Luck & Magic, so it's the second year in a row [for that beer], which is awesome."

Pete Gillespie at Garage Project's wild workshop in central Wellington

Pete Gillespie at the Garage Project brewery. (File photo) Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

Just one gold, silver and bronze medal was awarded in each category - unlike in most beer competitions where multiple medals are awarded to any beer that meets a certain standard.

Gillespie said this made the wins even more special.

"If you walk away from the World Beer Cup with any colour of medal, then it's a huge pat on the back ... it's a huge accolade.

"We're up against some absolutely amazing breweries from all around the world as well, so it feels like an enormous honour to be awarded medals in two different categories."

Both beers were brewed by Dave Bell at Garage Project's Wild Workshop on Marion Street in central Wellington, which specialised in wild and barrel-aged beers.

Gillespie said his team sent only a select few of its beers to be judged at the World Beer Cup, because the competition was so fierce.

"We don't send any of our hoppy beers. Anything that goes into these beer awards has to be at its absolute prime.

"The American breweries have a huge advantage, in that their beers can be incredibly fresh; people literally take their beers off the packing line and deliver them to the awards to make sure there is absolutely no age on those beers, and that's just not something we can achieve.

"But the beauty of these Belgian-style beers is that they are like wine, in that they develop and actually improve with age, so we feel far more confident sending those."

The most hotly contested category at the World Beer Cup this year was the juicy or hazy India pale ale beer style, of which there were 326 entries.

The competition also included a category for New Zealand-style India pale ale, of which there were 65 entries. The gold for that category was won by the Californian-based brewery Riip Beer Co., for its Wannabe Wallaby, which uses American hops to emulate Southern Hemisphere hop aromas and flavours.

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