The trophies keep piling up for Epic Beer’s Armageddon IPA, which has claimed its fourth major crown in less than a year after it was named best in class at the New World Beer and Cider Awards. And to seal Epic’s position as this country’s leading producer of hop-driven beers, Epic Pale Ale also brought home a trophy for the best pale ale, defending the title it won in last year’s inaugural awards. Epic owner-brewer Nicholas is blown away by Armageddon’s success over the past year. It has previously taken out trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards, The New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and the Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival. “When it won its third trophy, in Stockholm, it was described as `the stuff of fantasy’ – well I think we’ve exhausted the adjectives now, it’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Nicholas said.“The IPA category is one of the most fiercely contested in any beer competition and to come out on top in four consecutive competitions is mind-boggling.” Nicholas was equally delighted Epic Pale Ale retained the title it won last year against stiff competition. It was the only beer or cider to retain a title from the inaugural awards and this trophy comes almost 10 years to the day after it burst to prominence when named supreme champion at the New Zealand International Beer Awards in 2006. “It just shows what a remarkable beer Epic Pale Ale has been over the course of a decade. When it was released it was revolutionary – a big hoppy pale ale of the sort New Zealand hadn’t seen before. And despite the huge growth in the pale ale category, 10 years later it still stands above the rest.” Epic was the only brewery to win two trophies at the awards and also picked up four silver medals for Hop Zombie, Awakening Pils, Lager and IMP session IPA. The Observer Timeless Ale was awarded a bronze medal, meaning every Epic beer entered won a medal of some colour. A total of 464 beers were entered in the awards, with 40 winning gold medals. All trophy winners will be available at New World stores around the country. Tasting notes from Michael Donaldson – head judge for the New World Beer and Cider Awards. Pale Ale – Epic Pale Ale This has been a benchmark pale ale for a decade and its quality is reflected in the fact it’s now the only two-time trophy winner in the New World awards. At 5.4 per cent alcohol and packed with flavour, Epic Pale Ale was sessionable before `session’ became a buzzword. It’s vibrant, clean, with nice mouth weight, flavours of lychee and rosewater push through a curtain of citrus and pine aromas to dance on a stage of subtle caramel malt. A sneaky bitterness then comes in to cleanse the palate and start the show all over again. Loves to be consumed alongside anything with chilli. IPA – Epic Armageddon IPA Fast becoming New Zealand’s most awarded beer and it was no surprise to see it add the New World title to gongs won at the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and in Australia and Sweden. Brewer Luke Nicholas’ annual pilgrimage to the US hop fields to hand-pick his produce has paid off handsomely. This is the ultimate American-style IPA which surfs waves of flavour, starting with orange and grape notes on the nose, a salty lick like a sea breeze through Norfolk Pines, a caramel caress before the oily resin of the hops is brushed away with a cleansing minerality and a long, clean bitterness. Bold enough to handle rich and spicy food, such as Moroccan lamb.