White Bay Beer Co on Sydney’s Balmain Peninsula have tasted their first major Australian awards success after their Lager was crowned the country’s champion beer at the 2022 Independent Beer Awards last night while Queensland’s Moffat Beach Brewing was once again a standout achiever.
Staged for the third year in a row as a live online event with crosses to state parties hosted at various venues across the country, The Indies broke last year’s record as the largest in the event’s history with 1,458 beers from 207 breweries judged by the 55-strong panel of judges.
Named after the iconic White Bay power station on Sydney’s foreshore, the brewery turned its lights on right at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020 where their Lager – originally called Union Lager – was one of their two foundation beers alongside the Sunny Pale. Back then brewer Dennis de Boer told Beer & Brewer lagers “are where we take ourselves seriously and… what we will hang our hat on”.
Speaking after being awarded the title of Champion Lager, fellow White Bay brewer Jess Walker said “this beer has been a passion of ours since the start of our brewery so we’re absolutely stoked… because it really has been a passion project for the last two and a half years”.
The Independent Brewers Association (IBA), who run The Indies, said the Lager category accounted for the largest number of gold medals while it was the second most contested behind pale ales (269) with 201 entries.
As unique as a lager winning a major Australian beer trophy is, Moffat Beach Brewing success on an awards night once again proved almost routine, with the Sunshine Coasters adding to their incredible haul of silverware over recent years.
For the second year in a row they won the Champion Queensland Brewery and Champion IPA trophies while they were also awarded the Champion Medium Brewery and No & Low Alcohol gongs. Among a host of awards won at other major competitions of late, Moffat Beach snared Champion Small Australian Brewery, Best International-Style Pale Ale and Best Traditional Pale Ale at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.
Moffat Beach’s efforts spearheaded another Indies where Queensland outdid every other state in terms of total trophies won by collecting seven of the 22 on offer. After dominating the 2020 Indies, Range Brewing got back amongst the action by winning the inaugural Champion Juicy-Hazy trophy for their beer Colour Therapy (after two more of their releases won golds in the same category) while Brouhaha and Madocke Beer also flew the Queensland flag.
The quality of Australian low and non-alcoholic beer was once again highlighted, where alcohol free brand UpFlow Brewing were crowned Champion Contract Brewer while 14 gold medals from 125 entries were awarded in the NoLo category. Non-alcoholic beers that won golds were UpFlow’s Stout and Bridge Road’s Free Time Pale, which backs up its gold at this year’s Sydney Royal.
In what will be very popular results amongst the industry and beyond, champion of independent beer Jade Flavell, who is the publican of Adelaide venue The Wheaty, won the peer nominated Service to the Industry award while the brewing company she co-founded, Wheaty Brewing Corps, won the Champion Small Brewery trophy in a repeat of their efforts back in 2017.
The first trophy awarded on the night, for best pale ale, was initially announced as going to Seeker Brewing in a live cross before it was correctly awarded to Six String Brewing’s Tropical Pale Ale. Other than the ones awarded to White Bay, Six String’s win was one of four more trophies heading to NSW breweries with The Grifter winning Champion NSW Brewery and Champion Amber-Dark Beer while Philter were awarded Champion Strong Beer.
As well as winning Champion Victorian Brewery, Moon Dog Craft Brewery were judged this year’s overall Champion Large Brewery.
In a statement, IBA chair Richard Adamson said both the number of entries and medals awarded should be celebrated after the challenges that the Indies faced in 2021.
“It is a testament to the trust and commitment that our community has in us. We also know that the industry is still doing it tough, now facing issues greater than the last couple of years, with skills shortages and rising costs making it difficult to do business. But to see a record number of entries once again has left us gob-smacked.”
Pale Ale – Presented by Yakima Chief Hops
Tropical Pale Ale by Six String Brewing Co
Champion Amber-Dark Beer – Presented by LOUD
Omen by the Grifter Brewing Co.
Champion Juicy-Hazy – Presented by Hop Products Australia
Colour Therapy by Range Brewing
Champion Specialty Beer – Presented by Beer Matters.
Gezellig by Good Land Brewing Co.
Champion Lager – Presented by Barrett Burston Malting
White Bay Lager by White Bay Beer Co.
Champion No & Low Alcohol – Presented by Fermentis
Social Jam Pale Mid by Moffat Beach Brewing Co.
Champion IPA (India Pale Ale) – Presented by Hop Products Australia
Moffs Summer Ale by Moffat Beach Brewing Co.
Champion Fruit & Funk – Presented by Lallemand
Brouhaha Strawberry and Rhubarb Sour by Brouhaha
Champion European Style Ale – Presented by CHILL
Blonde by Madocke Beer Brewing Co.
Champion Strong Beer – Presented by Midland Insurance
IIPA by Philter Brewing
Champion Large Brewery – Presented by Orora
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Champion Medium Brewery – Presented by Cryer Malt
Moffat Beach Brewing Co.
Champion Small Brewery – Presented by Gladfield Malt
Wheaty Brewing Corps
Champion Contract Brewer – Presented by KlippaKan
Champion Independent Beer – Presented by Konvoy
White Bay Beer Company – White Bay Lager
Champion Victorian Brewery – Presented by the IBA
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Champion Queensland Brewery – Presented by the QLD Government
Moffat Beach Brewing Co.
Champion South Australian Brewery – Presented by the SA Government
Barossa Valley Brewing
Champion New South Wales Brewery – Presented by the NSW Government
The Grifter Brewing Co.
Champion Tasmanian Brewery – Presented by the IBA
Champion ACT/Northern Territory Brewery – Presented by the IBA
BentSpoke Brewing Co.
Champion Western Australian Brewery – Presented by the WA Government
Otherside Brewing Co.
PEER NOMINATED AWARDS
Service to the Industry – Presented by the IBA
Jade Flavell, The Wheatsheaf Hotel/Wheaty Brewing Corp
Young Gun of the Year – Presented by The Crafty Pint
Emma Locke, Beerfarm
True Indie Supporter – Presented by Thirsty Merchants
Kieran Yewdall & Michael Shaughnessy, The Catfish Tavern
Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented by Brews News