The results are in! The best beers in Australia (and around the world) have been judged and awarded at the annual Australian International Beer Awards. Following three intense days of judging, the AIBA cumulated in a night of merriment at the Docklands Peninsula. Comedian Dave Thornton presided over the festivities, as the people from all walks of the brewing industry gathered together. Brewers (almost unrecognisable without their branded T-shirts), suppliers, sales reps, and marketers raised their glasses to a year of brewing great beers.
The AIBA is the largest of its kind in the world. This year saw nearly 2,600 entries from 26 countries. “2019 marks the biggest year in the awards’ history and we look forward to seeing this growth continue,” Paul Guerra, CEO The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria confirmed.
Orchestrating the awards is a massive undertaking. More than 80 Australian and international judges worked tirelessly over three days rating beers ranging from pilsners to fruit beers to porters. The beers are judged using specific criteria including appearance, aroma, and flavour. Only a select few score high enough to earn a gold, silver, or bronze metal. Ex. out of 111 entries for the best stout category, only 12 were awarded gold medals. And there can be only one championship winner.
The most popular category of the night was IPA, with 398 entries. Amongst stiff competition, local Melbourne brewery Hawkers took home the gong for their West Coast IPA. Also representing Victoria was Torque based Blackman’s Brewery with their Champion Small Australian brewery win. Mountain Goat (parent company Asahi) added another trophy to their collection, this time winning for their draught summer ale. And beloved local, Exit Brewing, won top honours for their Milk Stout. Queensland had a strong showing as well. Balter Brewing won Large Australian Brewery and Green Beacon was awarded Medium Australian Brewery. But it was New South Wales that took out the highly prized Champion Australian Beer with 4 Pines’ dark lager Schwarzbier (parent company AB InBev.) Despite some strong international contenders, our neighbours across the ditch also cleaned up. The Champion International Brewery trophies all went to New Zealand with McLeods winning Small Brewery, Deep Creek claiming the Medium Brewery category (a step up from their 2017 win as Champion Small International Brewery) and DB Breweries (owned by Heineken) picking up Champion Large Brewery. Ironically, Best Australian Style Pale Ale and Best Australian Style Lager also went to NZ. While further abroad Infinite Guide Gose, packed in Guangdong China, won best European-Style Ale, and best Scotch Ale went to Alba in Brazil. As we applauded the judges’ hard work, we were also treated to a taste of a unique AIBA beer, brewed as a collaboration with last year’s champion breweries. This year’s one-of-a-kind collab was named The Acha Cha Cha. A sour gose-style beer made with an exotic Bolivian fruit, it’s not for sale and it would be incredibly rare to spot a bottle out in the wild. But this year Winning Tastes answered beer lovers’ prayers and awarded ten lucky winners a prize pack of the exclusive beers.
With the Australian International Beer Awards getting bigger every year, there are plenty of medal winning beers to try in 2019. Go forth with good beer!
The 2019 AIBA Australian Champions:
Champion Australian Beer
Keller Door: Schwarzbier – 4 Pines Brewing Company, New South Wales
Champion Large Australian Brewery
Balter Brewing – Queensland
Champion Medium Australian Brewery
Green Beacon Brewing Co. – Queensland
Champion Small Australian Brewery
Blackman’s Brewery – Victoria
The Prospector Pilsner – Draught Hemingway’s Brewery, Queensland, Australia
Best Amber / Dark Lager
Keller Door – Schwarzbier – Draught 4 Pines Brewing Company, New South Wales, Australia
Best New World-Style Pale Ale
Pale Ale, Draught – Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery, Western Australia, Australia
Best International-Style Pale Ale
Balter Strong Pale Ale – Draught Balter Brewing, Queensland, Australia
Best British-Style Ale
Summer Ale, Draught – Mountain Goat Beer, Victoria, Australia
Hawkers West Coast IPA, Packaged – Hawkers Brewery, Victoria, Australia
Exit Milk Stout, Packaged – Exit Brewing, Victoria, Australia
Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer
Mid Range, Packaged – Black Hops Brewery, Queensland, Australia
Media and Design
Best Design – Label / Surface Graphic
Sabro: Single Hop Hazy IPA – Hope Brewery, New South Wales, Australia
Best Design – Outer Packaging
India Pale Ale – Mismatch Brewing Co., South Australia, Australia
New South Ales, New South Wales, Australia
All results including medal winners are available here.
Jenny S. is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest local beer and toasting the magic of fermentation.
Winning Tastes runs a variety of events celebrating Australian producers including the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, and the Australian International Coffee Awards. In May they host the Australian International Beer Awards as part of Good Beer Week.