What happens when you gather all of the country’s leading industry insiders and experts to taste their way through the best beers on offer in their state?
“Sampling beer all day is the easy answer here,” jokes Brendan Stanley, Sales Manager at Sealegs Brewing Co., who was one of the judges at this year’s Vintage Cellars Best of Beer Awards, an annual event which took place at breweries across the country.
The awards, which bring industry players and their peers together to participate in category-specific blind tastings, designate winners for each state among categories ranging from “Better For You” to Lager, XPA and Dark.
“All jokes aside, judging beer awards like these really get to showcase how high the calibre of brewing in Queensland has come in recent years,” says Stanley, whose favourite beer of the day was White Lies Raspberry Sour.
This was a sentiment echoed by many judges across the country. Ashely Allen, Head of Sales at Western Australia’s Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co., had recently returned from a ten-week trip across the United States and Europe when the judging took place. “On my trip, I visited many well-known global craft breweries. However, the beers I tried from local WA breweries would stand their own against them if judged blindly. We are very fortunate to have such great beer in our backyard!”
According to Sophie Goldsmith, head of intelligence and analysis at Beermatters, the blind judging process allows judges to rate beers without bias and according to consumers tastes.”Usually, I’m judging beer to style guidelines, so it was great to step into the consumers’ shoes and know the results of this judging would get the best beers into their hands.”
In fact, blind judging is so effective that Stanley recommends everyone to try a blind tasting at home with some similar style beers.“It’s a great way to find out what hop characteristics you prefer.”
Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to the insiders and experts for lending their time and taste buds.
Go the Blues! Check out The Best Of Beer for NSW.
Heading to the Sunshine State? Check out their summer-ready winners.
For anyone keen to channel their inner Melbournian, these are the award-winning brews to try.
The best of the West: don’t miss our round up of Western Australia’s category winners.