An Indian Pale Ale from Western Australia's Mash Brewing has been awarded the top gong for a domestic beer at The Australian International Beer Awards.
The awards were held in Melbourne on Thursday, May 22 and are the largest competition for the beer industry in the Asia Pacific. This year saw a record 1560 entries from 31 countries.
The title of Champion International Beer was awarded to the Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery in Portland, USA.
"All the beers that were entered were treated with respect, individually assessed, evaluated blind and without bias," said Warren Pawsey, Little Creatures head brewer and head of an expert panel of 40 judges at the awards.
Mash Brewery took home their trophy for Champion Australia Beer with an American-style IPA.
Mash brewer Charlie Hodgson said the win hadn't sunk in. "I find it really hard to put into words, you know, coming from a home-brewer background like most of us do. Now we've been awarded the champion beer in Australia."
Due to a higher levels of hops, bitters and alcohol, IPA is the go-to beer for most craft enthusiasts. "In my mind, if you're going to win something, an IPA is the beer to win it with," Hodgson said.
However, Hodgson was initially reluctant to release an IPA. "I like to do my own thing, but it got to the point where I felt like we were being left behind because we didn't have a big IPA," he said. "So we've had a bit of fun with that over the last year and dubbed ours the 'Copycat IPA'."
The rise of domestic craft beer shows no signs of slowing down.
"The Australian brewing scene is growing exponentially at the moment," the general manager of 3 Raven’s Brewery in Victoria, Nathan Liacscous, said. "There's amazing craft breweries popping up every year and the amount of great beer out there is excellent to see."
3 Ravens was awarded the trophy for Champion Small Australian Brewery as well as Best British-Style Ale for their English Bitter. Liacscous said he was pleased to receive the awards. "We've only got a small team here and it's a big pat on the back for all of us."
"The English" has been one of 3 Raven's iconic styles since the brewery started 12 years ago but this is the first time it has received a trophy at The Australian International Beer Awards.
While 3 Ravens beers are available at craft beer stockists across the country, the Mash Brewing Copycat IPA isn't as easy to track down - it's yet to be bottled and Hodgson thinks he only has two kegs left though he aims to brew and bottle another to sell in Dan Murphy's on the east and west coasts.
Other winners on the night included Carlton and United Brewery for Champion Large Australian Brewery, Victoria's Thunder Road Brewery for Champion Medium Australian Brewery and James Boag's Draught for Best Australian-Style Lager.