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Blasta’s tasty Chainbreaker IPA named Champion Beer at 2020 Perth Royal Beer Awards

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.

Steve Russell from Burswood microbrewery Blasta Brewing Co.
Camera IconSteve Russell from Burswood microbrewery Blasta Brewing Co. Credit: Simon Collins
Steve Russell with his trophy. Burswood microbrewery Blasta Brewing Co. took out the coveted top prize with their Chainbreaker IPA.
Camera IconSteve Russell with his trophy. Burswood microbrewery Blasta Brewing Co. took out the coveted top prize with their Chainbreaker IPA. Credit: Simon Collins

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 Brewing Co in Burswood has proven popular with WA beer lovers, as well as the judges at this year’s Perth Royal Beer Awards.
Camera IconBlasta Brewing Co in Burswood has proven popular with WA beer lovers, as well as the judges at this year’s Perth Royal Beer Awards. Credit: David Baylis

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”.

Esperance’s Lucky Bay Brewery was among the winners thanks to their Lockdown Dark Lager.
Camera IconEsperance’s Lucky Bay Brewery was among the winners thanks to their Lockdown Dark Lager.

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.

Pirate Life founders Michael Cameron and Jack Cameron with Andy Freeman, centre.
Camera IconPirate Life founders Michael Cameron and Jack Cameron with Andy Freeman, centre.

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.

Julia and Brian Fitzgerald of Artisan Brewing have won the Best European Style Beer Draught trophy for the third year in a row.
Camera IconJulia and Brian Fitzgerald of Artisan Brewing have won the Best European Style Beer Draught trophy for the third year in a row.

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.

Perth Royal Beer Awards chief judge Will Irving during the arduous judging process.
Camera IconPerth Royal Beer Awards chief judge Will Irving during the arduous judging process. Credit: Marcus Visic

“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.”

The Perth Royal Beer Awards were announced on Friday, August 21.
Camera IconThe Perth Royal Beer Awards were announced on Friday, August 21. Credit: Marcus Visic

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

Nigel Metz, of Lucky Bay Brewing, was among the winners at this year’s Perth Royal Beer Show.
Camera IconNigel Metz, of Lucky Bay Brewing, was among the winners at this year’s Perth Royal Beer Show. Credit: Simon Santi/Simon Santi

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

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