A Joyous Celebration of Beer at the Australian International Beer Awards

From fruity sours to chocolate stouts, the 2022 Australian International Beer Awards were a smashing success. Nearly 1,000 industry professionals gathered together to toast the best beers in Australia and beyond. It was one heck of a party.

In the lead up to the event, expert judges (#dreamjob) tasted a record 2,630 entries from 20 countries. The beers were judged blind and scored on criteria including flavour, aroma, appearance, drinkability, and style. With a record number of gold medals handed out, the 2022 AIBA entrants were the highest standard yet. The ultimate trophy for Champion Australian Beer went to Western Australia’s Beerland Brewing for Blueberry Clouds, a sour lolly-like beer made with vanilla, lactose, and blueberries.

Closer to home, Hawkers snapped up Champion Large Australian Brewery following their Champion Victorian Brewery win. (For a winter warmer, I recommend their gold medal barrel-aged stouts.) Hawkers wasn’t the only Victorian brewery to win big. Collingwood’s Stomping Ground won three awards, including Champion Medium Australian Brewery. They also snapped up awards for their Bunker Porter and Raspberry Smash. The brewery’s founders are long-time contributors to the Australian beer scene. Prior to opening Stomping Ground in, they founded The Local Taphouse, the GABS festival and Hottest 100 craft beer countdown.

Molly Rose also brought a trophy home to Collingwood for Nectarined, the Best Belgian/French Ale. After pouring their heart and soul into opening a Brunswick Brewpub this year, the Co-Conspirators couples won for their Hop Peddler Hazy Pale Ale. Footscray’s Hop Nation added another trophy to their collection, this time for Get The Gist IPA and Thornbury’s 3 Ravens Brewery scored Best European-Style Lager for Hugin. Outside of the Melbourne city limits, there were enough champions in the Garden State to inspire a beer-fueled road trip. Ballarat’s Dollar Bill Brewing walked away with the Australian Gypsy Brewer Award after last year’s Champion Australian Beer win for their barrel aged peach wild ale. King River Brewing won for their Mabon Doppelbock lager (alternatively known as ‘liquid bread’). Ocean Reach Brewing on Phillip Island took a trophy home to for its Journey Home Black IPA.

Further afield was a win for Stone & Wood’s low alcohol beer East Point draught. Queensland brewery Moffat Beach hauled in three awards, including Champion Small Australian Brewery and wins for their Shadow Of The Moon Eclipse Pale Ale and Trilogy Best Coast IPA.

Peroni taking home the best pilsner award demonstrated the importance of properly handling beer. Fresh from the brewery, it can be a cracking example of a pilsner. But if the bottles sit in the sun or on the shelves for months, it will impact the flavour. (And old adage is to treat beer like milk — keep it cold and drink it fresh.)

A number of championship trophies are also winging their way around the globe. The world’s oldest brewery —  Weihenstephan in Germany —  won Champion Large International Brewery. New Zealand’s Deep Creek took a trophy across the ditch as champion Medium International Brewery. In the USA, the Belching Beaver brewers celebrated their Champion International Beer win with a chocolate peanut butter stout named Viva La Beaver.

The skill and diversity of Australian brewers on display was heartwarming. After lockdowns, staff shortages, natural disasters, and global supply chain issues, it was a privilege to raise a glass and toast the best in the business. Now go forth and drink good beer!

2022 Australian International Beer Awards Champion Trophies:

  • Champion Australian Beer presented by Cryer Malt
  • Beerland Blueberry Clouds, Draught, Beerland Brewing, Western Australia, Australia
  • Champion International Beer
  • Viva La Beaver, Packaged, Belching Beaver Brewery, CA, United States
  • Champion Large Australian Brewery presented by Barret Burston 
  • Hawkers Beer, Victoria, Australia
  • Champion Large International Brewery presented by Hop Products Australia (HPA)
  • Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, Bavaria, Germany
  • Champion Medium Australian Brewery presented by Cryer Malt
  • Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Victoria, Australia
  • Champion Medium International Brewery
  • Deep Creek Brewing Co, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Champion Small Australian Brewery
  • Moffat Beach Brewing Co, Queensland, Australia
  • Champion Small International Brewery
  • Artmonster Brewery, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
  • Champion Victorian Brewery
  • Hawkers Beer, Victoria, Australia
  • Australian Gypsy Brewer Award
  • Dollar Bill Brewing, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Australian Style Lager
  • King Road, Draught, King Road Brewing Co, Western Australia, Australia
  • Best European-Style Lager (Excluding Pilsner)
  • Hugin, Packaged 3 Ravens Brewery, Victoria, Australia
  • Best International Lager
  • Revel NZ Pils, Draught, Revel Brewing Company, Queensland, Australia
  • Best Pilsner
  • Peroni, Draught, Asahi Beverages, Victoria Australia
  • Best Amber/Dark Lager (Excluding Baltic-Style Porter)
  • Mabon Doppelbock, Packaged King River Brewing, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Australian Style-Pale Ale
  • XPA, Draught, Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Western Australia, Australia
  • Best Modern Pale Ale
  • The Hop Peddler Hazy Pale Ale, Draught, Co-Conspirators Brewing, Victoria, Australia
  • Best International-Style Pale Ale
  • Shadow Of The Moon Eclipse, Strong Pale Ale, Packaged, Moffat Beach Brewing Co, Queensland, Australia
  • Best British or European-Style Ale (Including India Pale Ale & Pale Ale)
  • Raspberry Smash, Packaged Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Queensland, Australia
  • Best Traditional Pale Ale
  • Triology Best Coast, IPA, Moffat Beach Brewing Co, Queensland, Australia
  • Best Modern India Pale Ale
  • Get The Gist, Draught, Hop Nation, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Amber / Dark Ale
  • Journey Home Black IPA, Packaged Ocean Reach Brewing, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Porter or Stout (including Baltic-Style Porter)
  • Bunker Porter, Draught, Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer
  • East Point, Draught, Stone & Wood Brewing Co., NSW, Australia
  • Best Non-Alcohol Beer
  • All Day Non-Alcoholic, IPA, Packaged, Bach Brewing, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Best Wheat Beer
  • Lowen White Beer, Packaged China Resources Snow Breweries, Beijing, China
  • Best Belgian / French Ale
  • Nectarined, Packaged Molly Rose Brewing, Victoria, Australia
  • Best Fruit Beer
  • Beerland Blueberry Clouds, Draught, Beerland Brewing, Western Australia, Australia
  • Best Wood- And Barrel-Aged Beer
  • Wayward Ripasso Bianco, Packaged Wayward Brewing Co, New South Wales, Australia
  • Best Specialty Beer
  • Viscosiraptor, Packaged Big Shed Brewing, South Australia, Australia
  • Best Specialty Flavoured Beer
  • Viva La Beaver, Packaged Belching Beaver Brewery, CA, United States
  • Best Design – Label / Surface Graphic
  • Hallertau – The Keeper, Hallertau Brewery, New Zealand
  • Best Design – Outer Packaging
  • Not Awarded
  • Best Media
  • Clare Burnett (Brews News), Queensland, Australia
  • Consistency of Excellence (2019, 2021, 2022)
  • India Pale Ale, Draught, Beer Farm, Western Australia, 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 provided by Melbourne Royal
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Zilla and Brooke