Victoria wins big at the Australian International Beer Awards

The Australian International Beer Awards are the world’s largest annual beer competition. This year 75 judges did the hard work of tasting 2,500 entries from 21 countries. The awards ceremony is the night of nights in the Australian brewing world. The 2021 awards ceremony was particularly special, as it was the biggest event of its kind held in Victoria since the covid outbreak. Hundreds of brewing professionals from Australia and abroad (welcome New Zealanders!) donned suits and heels to christen the new Melbourne Show Grounds Pavilion with a celebratory night filled with food, merriment, and exceptional beers. Australia’s diverse beer brewing scene was on show with everything from peanut butter porters to classic lagers to pina colada sours earning gold medals. Of those medalists, a select few rose to the top to claim coveted championship trophies.

Victoria’s Dollar Bill Brewing was awarded the prestigious title of Champion Australian Beer for their Gold Teeth 2021, a wild peach beer. The Ballarat based brewery is a relative new comer on the scene, but the family-run business has been turning heads in the beer world with their Belgium inspired ales. (Gold Teeth is a fruit beer, barrel aged and made with wild yeast and yellow clingstone peaches). Although Dollar Bill’s win might give the impression AIBA champions are OTT beers made with unusual ingredients and mysterious brewing alchemy, previous champions have included Gage Road’s Little Dove pale ale and White Rabbit’s white ale. Beers that collect medals at the AIBAs are outstanding beers for their style and free from any faults. And the best of the best earn the championship trophy. After trophies for best pilsner and best amber ale, Melbourne’s Hop Nation Brewing Co. secured another big win with trophies for both Champion Victorian Brewery as well as Champion Medium Australian brewery.

All up, Victoria took out an impressive 12 trophies this year, which included Fixation’s consistency of excellence award. Additionally, Two Birds Brewing, Melbourne’s first female owned brewery, won champion Australian style lager and Valhalla Brewing took out trophies for best porter and Champion Gypsy Brewer. Further afield, New Zealand’s Deep Creek picked up ANOTHER trophy. This writer has been a big fan of New Zealand’s Deep Creek Brewing for years, from their cracking Pilsner to their completely ridiculous Hoppy McHopface Double IPA. In 2019 the brewery won Champion Medium International Brewery. This year, in addition to winning Champion Large International Brewery, they are also taking the trophy for Champion International Beer across the ditch for their Sauvage beer — a wild beer aged for 9 months in New Zealand red wine barrels. There was significant growth in the number of IPA entries this year. Out of some killer competition, BentSpoke Brewing Co. managed to continue their winning streak. In January 2021 the ACT brewery picked up first place in the GABS Hottest 100 people’s choice award for their Crankshaft IPA. Continuing on the trend, Bentspoke’s Sprocket Draught won Best Traditional IPA at the AIBAs and WA’s Cheeky Monkey Lefties, was awarded Best Modern IPA.

The complete list of winners can be found at the RASV. Now go forth and drink good beer!

2021 AIBA Champion Trophies:

  • Champion Australian Beer presented by Cryer Malt

Gold Teeth 2021, Packaged. Dollar Bill Brewing, Victoria

  • Champion International Beer

Sauvage, Packaged. Deep Creek Brewing Company, Auckland, New Zealand

  • Champion Large Australian Brewery presented by Barret Burston 

4 Pines Brewing Company, New South Wales

  • Champion Large International Brewery presented by Barth-Haas Group

Deep Creek Brewing Company, Auckland, New Zealand

  • Champion Medium Australian Brewery presented by Cryer Malt

Hop Nation Pty Ltd, Victoria

  • Champion Medium International Brewery Presented by Kegstar

Nbeer Craft Brewing Co., Sichuan, China

  • Champion Small Australian Brewery Presented by Yakima Chief Hops

Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Western Australia

  • Champion Small International Brewery

Goose Island Brewhouse Seoul, South Korea

  • Champion Victorian Brewery

Hop Nation Pty Ltd

  • Australian Gypsy Brewer Award

Valhalla Brewing, Victoria

  • Gary Sheppard Memorial Trophy For The Best New Exhibitor

Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company, Ohio, United States

  • Best Australian-Style Lager

Lager, Draught. Two Birds Brewing C., Victoria

  • Best European-Style Lager (Excluding Pilsner) Presented by Weyermann

Lager, Packaged. Mismatch Brewing Co., South Australia

  • Best International Lager

Coastie Lager, Draught, Six String Brewing Company, New South Wales

  • Best Pilsner Presented by Brews News

Rattenhund, Draught. Hop Nation Pty Ltd, Victoria

  • Best Amber / Dark Lager Presented By Joe White Maltings

Keller Door-Schwarzbier, Draught. 4 Pines Brewing Company, New South Wales

  • Best Australian Style Pale Ale Presented By Konvoy Kegs

Burleigh Twisted Palm, Draught. Burleigh Brewing Company, Queensland

  • Best New World-Style Pale Ale Presented By Hop Products Australia

Cryotherapy Hazy IPA, Packaged, Sunday Road Brewing, New South Wales

  • Best International-Style Pale Ale Presented By The Post Project

King Road IPA, Draught. King Road Brewing Co, Western Australia

  • Best British or European-Style Ale (Excluding IPA & Pale Ale)

Foghorn Hunter Kolsch, Draught. Foghorn Brewery Pty Ltd, New South Wales

  • Best Traditional IPA

Sprocket, Draught Bentspoke Brewing Co, Australian Capital Territory

  • Best Modern IPA

Lefties, Draught. Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Western Australia

  • Best Amber / Dark Ale

The Buzz, Draught. Hop Nation Pty Ltd, Victoria

  • Best Porter (including Baltic Style Porter Presented By Weyermann

Valhalla Brewing Obsidian, Packaged. Valhalla Brewing, Victoria,

  • Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer

James Boag’s Premium Light, Packaged. J Boag & Son Brewing, Tasmania

  • Best Non-Alcohol Beer

Tinnies Ultra Low Alcohol, Packaged. Coles Supermarkets Australia Ltd, Victoria

  • Best Wheat Beer

Lowen White Beer, Packaged. China Resources Snow Breweries Co., China

  • Best Belgian / French Style Ale

Le Petit Biere, Draught. Stone & Wood Brewing Co., New South Wales

  • Best Fruit Beer Presented by CHR Hansen

Gold Teeth 2021, Packaged. Dollar Bill Brewing, Victoria

  • Best Wood- And Barrel-Aged Beer

Sauvage, Packaged. Deep Creek Brewing Company, Auckland, New Zealand

  • Best Specialty Beer

Heavy Smoker, Draught. Zhang Men Brewing Company, Taiwan

  • Best Specialty Flavoured Beer

Dangge Vanilla Coffee Imperial Stout, Packaged. Dangge Brewing, China

  • Best Design – Label / Surface Graphic

Stubbie Refreshing Beer 330ml. Pinnacle Drinks, New South Wales

  • Best Design – Outer Packaging

Classic IPA, Craft Lager, And Wheat Beer 4 Packs. Specific Gravity Beverage Company Pte Ltd, Singapore

  • Best Media Presented By The Crafty Pint

James Atkinson, New South Wales

  • Consistency of Excellence Medal

Products that have been awarded a gold medal for three consecutive years receive a Consistency of Excellence Medal. 

  1. Captain of the Coast, Packaged. Pelican Brewing Company, Oregon, United States
  2. Obsession Session IPA, Draught. Fixation Brewing Co, Victoria, Australia

– Jenny Schmidt
Jenny loves the magic of fermentation and supports craft beer alchemy.
The Australian International Beer Awards are conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. The AIBAs inspire and celebrate excellence in brewing, beer packaging design and beer media.

Images by Craig Moodie Photography
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Zilla and Brooke