Vintage Cellars

Best of Beer 2023: Victoria

From no-alc IPA to smoky-tasting porter, “it’s a great time to be a Victorian beer drinker” according to local experts.


Victoria’s beer scene is progressing at pace, and that progress was on show at the recent Victorian arm of the Vintage Cellars Best of Beer Awards.

Beers from across the state and beyond impressed an experienced team of judges, with Melbourne breweries Stomping Ground, Deeds Beer and Dainton among the leading lights.

“We relish days like this,” said Dainton’s Todd Barac, who was one of the judges. “Sampling some of the best beers not just in the state, but in the country. It’s a great time to be a Victorian beer drinker that’s for sure, with more variety and choice than ever before.”

To find out which beers triumphed, here’s a rundown of the winners.

Winner No Alc (0.5% and below) – Big Drop Paradiso IPA Can

Judge Guy Greenstone from Stomping Ground Brewery said this new category was the most surprising. “Everyone’s talking about no and low alcohol. It’s definitely a trend to watch, and there’s some good options in this category now.”

Big Drop is a leading non-alc brewer, and its Paradiso IPA, which has a citrus fruit profile with a twist of bitterness, was a deserving winner.

Winner Lager – Tinnies Lager

“The humble lager is making a comeback in a big way,” said Dainton’s Todd Barac, and this crisp, clean, true to style lager from the popular Tinnies range went down well with the judging panel.

Winner Summer/Pacific – 4 Pines Brewing Pacific Ale

4 Pines Pacific Ale shone through in the ever-growing Summer/Pacific category. The judges found this refreshing ale was surprisingly full-bodied despite the lower ABV – the perfect summer sipper.

Winner Sour - Gweilo Rainbow Sherbet Sour

With so many inventive sours now available, competition in this category was stiff. But Gweilo’s Rainbow Sherbet Sour stood tall thanks to its intriguing balance of sour, tart, citrus flavours and its zany sour lolly notes.

Winner Ginger Beer – Brookvale Union Ginger Beer

Brookvale Union’s popular ginger beer has been winning fans since it was introduced back in 2013. It won over the judges in this year’s awards, with its ginger root spice, balanced sweetness and slightly drying finish.

Winner XPA – Deeds Brewing XPA

Melbourne’s Deeds Brewing is on the rise, with a spectacular new brewery and cellar door now showcasing the brewers’ talents. The easy-drinking but flavour-forward Deeds XPA took home the chocolates in its category – another example of the quality in the Deeds brewing program.

Winner Pale/Hazy Pale – Dainton Beer Equalizer Hazy Pale

The Equalizer Hazy Pale has won awards all over the place, so it’s no surprise, particularly to Dainton sales manager Todd Barac, that it got the gong here.

“It’s got just the right amount of everything you like in a pale ale. A little bit of haze, some tropical notes and juiciness, but wonderfully balanced and perfect for the Australian climate.”

Winner IPA – Stomping Ground Hop Stomper IPA

The IPA title was taken out by Stomping Ground’s Hop Stomper. “It’s a staff favourite,” says the Collingwood brewery’s Guy Greenstone. “It’s super drinkable and it’s got a very light malt bill that allows the tropical, pine hop characters to shine.”

Winner Dark – Blackman's Brewery Arthur Smoked Porter

This was the judge’s favourite category of the awards, and top of the pops was the Arthur Smoked Porter from Blackman’s Brewery in Torquay. The judges loved its balance, from the smoky backbone to the dark chocolate and burnt caramel flavours.


Products featured are available from 01/02/23 to 07/03/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.