For all that attended, GABS 2017 in Melbourne and Sydney will go down as a day (or evening) to remember. Bigger and better than ever before, more than 150 festival beers and ciders were on offer for a record-breaking number of punters to sip and sample.

And while Aether Brewing’s Bone and Marrow Irish Red Ale stole the headlines in the lead-up to the event, Stockade Brew Co’s The Mountie Maple Imperial Stout has emerged victorious as the GABS 2017 Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Festival Beer.

Narrowly missing out, the two runners up are Pirate Life Brewing’s Vanilla Malt Thickshake, and the Lupulin Fog by Akasha Brewing Company.

Stockade’s The Mountie Maple Imperial Stout (12% ABV) was described as a “BIG, jet-black beer delivering beautifully rich stout flavours of chocolate and raisins with a roasty finish. In addition, they’ve added a heap of maple syrup to give a nutty, sweet character”.

Anton Szpitalak, Stockade Brew Co’s director, is delighted with the win.

“There’s so many great beers at GABS, everyone’s trying to be creative and everyone’s trying to put their best foot forward,” he told Beer & Brewer. And to be recognised in any way, whether it’s a mention on social media or winning the People’s Choice, that’s what we do it for.”

The Mountie is based off a previous Imperial Stout brewed by Stockade, which won Best Imperial Stout at the World Beer Awards in 2015.

Five hundred litres of that beer was also used to create Stockade’s Old Money, the Smeaton Grange brewery’s highest rated beer on Untappd, which spent nearly two years in Lark whisky barrels to emerge at a whopping 15% ABV.

That same recipe has been used to brew The Mountie as well, which has been available in bottle since 22 May in Victoria, and after Sydney GABS finished in NSW. Szpitalak says that it’s “probably all gone by now” but that there will be more coming out in just over a week to meet demand.

“We wanted to do a big winter stout, we loved the imperial stout that we made and we’d had success with Old Money, and the timing was also convenient for the barreling program, so in the end we decided to do a maple stout,” Szpitalak explains when asked about the team’s process for creating a GABS festival beer.

“We hadn’t seen an Australian one done before and we kind of riffed on what a breakfast pancake stout would taste like, and that’s how we ended up bouncing around to eventually land on our Maple Imperial Stout.”

On the cider front, The People’s Choice Festival Cider was won by KAIJU! Beer and its Pash Ma Cobana Slushy, with the runners up announced as the Cerasus Sour by Willie Smith’s Organic Cider and the Rochdale Pina Colada Cider by McCashins Brewery.

For the People’s Choice Food Dish, it was all about meat and BBQ; the top prize was awarded to the Burnt Ends Bun by Meatmother, followed by runners up Cluckin’ Good Chicken with its Southern Fried Chicken Tenders and the Brisket Sandwich by Bovine & Swine Barbecue Co.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks to everyone who voted in the awards – we’re already looking forward to GABS 2018.

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