Experts tasted almost 3000 beers from just over 400 national and international brewers before deciding on the two big gongs (and several more besides), awarded at a rollicking Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) held in Melbourne on May 16.
The Keller Door Schwarzbier Draught from 4 Pines Brewing Company, NSW won the coveted Champion Australian Beer awards, while the Champion International Beer Awards went to US-brewed Feral One from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
A swag of styles including popular India Pale Ales, Wheat Beers and Pilsners were judged across a number of categories by a judging panel of more than 75 local and international experts who tasted, critiqued and awarded over 30 trophies, including 24 major trophies across various beer types, and 10 overall champion trophies.
As a nod to changing trends, this year saw Best Fruit Beer and Best Wood or Barrel Aged Beer Trophies added to the line-up.
Queensland breweries stood out, taking out two of the top four Australian spots; Champion Large Australian Brewery, awarded to Balter Brewing, and Champion Medium Australian Brewery, awarded to Green Beacon Brewing Co, while Victoria's Blackman's Brewing took out Champion Small Australian Brewery.
Internationally, New Zealand took home three of the four Champion International Trophies with Champion Large International Brewery going to DB Breweries, Champion Medium International Brewery awarded to Deep Creek Brewing Company and McLeods Brewery taking home Champion Small International Brewery.
The awards are hosted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), and have evolved from being a small national competition started in Ballarat in 1987, to now being the largest annual beer competition in the world to assess both draught and packaged beer.
2019 AIBA Champion Trophies
Champion Australian Beer
Keller Door: Schwarzbier – 4 Pines Brewing Company, New South Wales
Champion International Beer
Feral One – Firestone Walker Brewing Co., United States
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 Australian Style Pale Ale
North of Nowhere Pale Ale, Packaged - DB Breweries Ltd, New Zealand
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 (excluding IPA & Pale Ale)
Summer Ale, Draught - Mountain Goat Beer, Victoria, Australia
Hawkers West Coast IPA, Packaged - Hawkers Brewery, Victoria, Australia
Best Amber / Dark Ale
Traders, Packaged - McLeods Brewery, New Zealand
Black Shield Draught, Draught - Myanmar Brewery LTD, Yangon, Myanmar
Exit Milk Stout, Packaged - Exit Brewing, Victoria, Australia
Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer
Mid Range, Packaged - Black Hops Brewery, Queensland, Australia
Best Wheat Beer
TAP6 Mein Aventinus, Packaged - Schneider Weisse GmbH, Bavaria, Germany
Best Belgian / French Ale
Feral One, Packaged - Firestone Walker Brewing Co., United States
Best Scotch Ale / Barley Wine
Alba, Packaged - Cervejaria Bohemia, Brazil
Best Fruit Beer
Rodenbach Caractere Rouge, Packaged - Brouwerij Rodenbach, Roesalare, Belgium
Best Wood- And Barrel-Aged Beer
Captain of the Coast, Packaged - Pelican Brewing Company, Oregon, United States
Best Specialty Beer
Maui Express, Packaged - Denver Beer Co, CO, United States
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
For the full list of winners go to winningtastes.com.au