An American IPA made by a Scotsman has been named Champion Beer at this year’s Perth Royal Beer Awards.
Burswood microbrewery Blasta Brewing Co. took out the coveted top prize with their Chainbreaker IPA, a double dry hopped India Pale Ale which beat 394 other entries in the annual trophies.
Blasta is owned by Scottish-born former FIFO worker Steven Russell, whose award-winning beer quest began five years ago when his wife bought him a home brew unit for Christmas.
The brewery, which opened in 2018, took home six medals and four awards, including the trophy for Champion Small Brewery and Best Hybrid and Specialty Beer for their sour-style The Rampant Raspberry.
Blasta, which is Scottish Gaelic for “tasty”, has previously won awards with their Grimster Rocks Mosaic American Pale Ale.
Meanwhile Sydney-based Lion Beer Australia took out Champion Large Brewery while, at the other end of the scale, Kings Road Brewing Co. in Oldbury were named Best New Exhibitor.
Esperance brewery Lucky Bay won Best Draught Lager with their Lockdown Dark Lager, which was launched during the coronavirus pandemic and billed as “a light yet indulgent beer to help you through the COVID-19 times”.
The 4 per cent easy-drinking dark lager was brewed using local barley and featured Esperance graphic designer Caroline Abbey’s eye-catching kangaroo Lucky Bay logo wearing a face mask.
Great Southern stalwarts Boston Brewing Co. took home three trophies and seven gold medals, while Beerfarm, Otherside and Pirate Life claimed two trophies each and Margaret River Brewhouse were awarded five golds.
Interesting, Pirate Life snared the title for Best Low Alcohol Beer Draught with their Acai and Passionfruit Sour, one of two beers brewed in collaboration with Sneakers and Jeans, the Perth hospitality group set to open their 1000-capacity brewpub Pirate Life Perth in the city this summer.
After winning the previous two years with the 2017 release of their Belgian-style Quadrupel, small Denmark-based company Artisan Brewing made it a “threepeat” with Quad ‘18 triumphant in the category of Best European Style Beer Draught.
Home grown craft breweries dominated the annual competition organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA, with seven trophies going to Perth outlets and another seven going to microbreweries in our State’s Southwest.
While local craft brewers dominated the gongs, there was still room for old favourites with Emu Export Lager and Swan Draught — both brewed by Lion — collecting gold medals in the Australian-style lager category.
Three dozen beer experts blind judged 395 entries from across Australia across 104 classes, with each beer identified only be catalogue number and served in a standard nondescript tasting glass.
Judges followed international criteria, rating each beer on appearance, aroma, flavour, style and technical quality.
Chief judge Will Irving, formerly of Feral Brewing Co., said this year saw an increase in pale ales and IPAs winning gold medals.
“It shows that hops are still king and there is still a huge drive across all brewers in producing those great, expressive hop-driven styles,” he said.
“We’ve also seen a steady increase in the number of sours being entered, though not the huge boom that many were expecting.
“The quality and consistency across categories in 2020 has been pretty exceptional,” Mr Irving added, “especially when you consider all the challenges the industry has been facing this year with COVID-19.”
Perth Royal Beer Show 2020 trophy winners
Champion Beer Blasta Brewing Company: Chainbreaker IPA
Champion Large Brewery Lion Beer Australia
Champion Small Brewery Blasta Brewing Company
Best New Exhibitor King Road Brewing Co.
Best Lager Packaged Beerfarm: India Pale Lager
Best Lager Draught Lucky Bay Brewing: Lockdown Dark Lager
Best Pale Ale Packaged Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co.: Sherby
Best Pale Ale Draught Beerland Brewing Co.: Beerland Pale Ale, Northbridge
Best India Pale Ale Packaged Otherside Brewing Co.: Headliner IIPA
Best India Pale Ale Draught Blasta Brewing Company: Chainbreaker IPA
Best Amber – Dark Ale Packaged Boston Brewing Co.: Devilslide Red IPA
Best Amber – Dark Ale Draught Nail Brewing Australia: Nail Red
Best Porter – Stout Packaged Beerfarm: Milk Stout
Best Porter – Stout Draught Otherside Brewing Co.: Russian Imperial Stout
Best European Style Beer Packaged Boston Brewing Co.: Afterglose Raspberry Gose
Best European Style Beer Draught Artisan Brewing: Quad 2018
Best Hybrid and Specialty Beer Packaged Boston Brewing Co.: Cherry Porter
Best Hybrid and Specialty Beer Draught Blasta Brewing Company: The Rampant Raspberry
Best Low Alcohol Beer Packaged Pirate Life Brewing: Throwback IPA
Best Low Alcohol Beer Draught Pirate Life Brewing: Acai and Passionfruit Sour
Best Packaging and Design Feral Brewing Company: Dirty Biggie