8-Wired's haul of medals, including golds for Hippy Berliner and Hopwired IPA.
It's been hard to ignore the accolades coming out of this area this week, with both food and brewing awards happening - and Matakana locals grabbing up some of the action.
8-Wired Brewing in Warkworth scooped the pool with 12 awards out of 13 entered! Great news for them since the terrible accident at the brewery in the first week of September, when one of their giant kettles exploded, putting two of their team in hospital with serious burns. Latest news is that they are recovering well, but it'll be a slow and careful process...
The Sawmill's Chocolate Stout, mmm...
The Sawmill Brewing Co's new premises well underway.
Jessie and Maree, founders of I Love Pies, with their new award-winning snag rolls.
The Sawmill Brewing Company also had a large presence at the awards, with their Chocolate Stout winning gold, and other beers pulling in a host of silvers and bronzes too. Their packaging also won - that multi-coloured box of Pilsner cans is certainly a hit with us.
Incidentally, the new Sawmill Brewery build is going great guns on Matakana Rd, just past the Matakana Country Park. The roof is on the main building, and a glorious cylindrical wooden edifice is going up beside it... however, it's not a giant beer barrel, but a hi-tech water tank. They'll be sharing the space with the Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese people - their beautiful water buffalo are already in the paddocks nearby, watching the build with interest!
New owners of the Cider Shed on SH1 north of Warkworth, the Forbidden Brewing Company, had a delightful welcome-to-the-area present after their hectic move (30,000 litres of cider on the road from Long Bay!). They've only won best cider in NZ at the Brewing Awards - congratulations, guys. They're keen to show off their prize-winning brew, so get on over there and help them celebrate.
Over at the NZ Food Awards, the Lovely Little Food Company (we are addicted to their I Love Pies range) won the Frozen Category for their Really Good Sausage Rolls - can't wait to try some. The meat is free-range, the pastry is their usual amazing sour cream-style crispy goodness and they have no dodgy bits in them at all. Hooray! These girls are not actually Matakana locals, but we feel they are, since their gorgeous pies are always at the Matakana Markets of a Saturday - for special prices, too.
I'm sure those sausage rolls would love a bit of chilli sauce - and who knew? The last item on our awards roundup: after buying a very tasty green chilli sauce recently, I liked it so much I googled it - Culley's Tijuana. And found out that NZ has recently won best in the world in three categories at the VERY prestigious World Hot Sauce Awards - in Louisiana, no less. Full story here. Chilli-heads take note. We are on the map.