Now in its 20th year, the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) has kicked off the all important judging session with more than 1300 entrants to be put to the test this year – a 10 per cent rise on last years entry numbers. The beers, from 39 different countries will be pitted against the Awards’ exacting standards over next three weeks with all of the brewers hoping to go for gold. This year, the strong international field shows the growing profile of the awards, with 692 international brews, from countries such as Cambodia, Fiji, Lithuania, Puerto Rico and South Korea, entered. But don’t think the Aussies are letting the team down, local breweries have tendered 660 beers for consideration and expectations are certainly high for a bit of local gold.

Additionally, the esteemed local judging panel will be joined by highly regarded international judges Anders Kissmeyer of Denmark, and Masayoshi Kaji and Shoji Kobotake of Japan. The addition of Anders Kissmeyer to the team is a definite win, with him being declared the Best Active Master Brewer in the world in 2011. It will be interesting to see how they think the Aussie and Kiwi brews stack up against their international contenders.

In other news, and in honour of the AIBA’s 20th anniversary, this year’s awards will see the fist World of Beer event. There, beer lovers will be given the opportunity to tour the globe through their taste buds, so to speak, as they are give the opportunity to sample the best local and international brews entered in the 2012 competition. For anyone in the area it promises to be an interesting evening. The event will take place in The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne on Friday, 18 May, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Tickets are available online at www.beerawards.com.au.

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