Shirt-fronting amber ale: Yeastie Boys "Hud-a-wa" Strong Amber Ale 330ml.
Victoria, with 23 points, seized top spot in this year's Australian Amateur brewing championship, narrowly beating the ACT on 22 points. Two points behind in third place came NSW (20 points), followed by Queensland (18 points), Western Australia (12 points), South Australia (12 points) and Tasmania (one point).
With a population of just 385,000 (ABS, March 2014), ACT's performance sparkles compared with more the more populous Victoria (5.8 million) and (NSW 7.5 million).
With eight points ACT's Kevin Hingston won the Champion Brewer award. Hingston's Belgian strong golden ale and weizen topped their categories, while his traditional bock and American pale ale ranked third in their classes.
Rich, smooth palate: Wychwood Brewery Pile Driver Classic English Ale.
The brewers at Canberra's three commercial brew pubs – the Wig and Pen, Zierholz and BentSpoke – all came from home brewing backgrounds. The championship was judged in October at BentSpoke, Braddon.
Wychwood Brewery Pile Driver Classic English Ale
Wychwood's easy-to-love, deep-amber-coloured ale suits cooler weather with its warm, malty, molasses-like aroma. The rich, smooth palate reflects the aroma. And spicy, herbal hops cut through the malt adding flavour and a long, persistent bitter finish. The malt-hops combination delivers plenty of flavour in a beer of a modest 4.3 per cent alcohol.
Yeastie Boys "Hud-a-wa" Strong Amber Ale
The Yeastie Boys' shirt-fronting amber ale cannot be ignored as it lands on the palate. A high 6.8 per cent alcohol and rich malt sweetness combine to give it a wine-like mouthfeel. Despite the initial impression of alcoholic-malty sweetness, intense, bitter hops successfully balances a potentially confronting beer.