For a free and impartial beer shopping list, compiled by experts, visit www.beerawards.com.au and download the 2007 Australian International Beer Awards catalogue of results.
The University of Ballarat and the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria run the event jointly since the early nineties, engaging top-notch beer palates to judge both packaged and draught beers. In 2007 these experts tasted 941 entries from 189 exhibitors.
That’s a lot of beer covering a tremendous diversity of styles – from the lovely, light, fresh ‘Grand Champion’ — Bavaria’s Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier — to Oregon’s deep, dark, trophy-winning Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout.
The winner’s list includes both exotic hard-to-gets and find-em-anywhere local favourites, like the Little Creatures Pale Ale, reviewed below.
And Canberra’s tiny Wig & Pen Brewery & Tavern turned in yet another blinder performance with a trophy (Mr Natural, champion reduced alcohol beer), top-of-section (Ballyragett Irish Red), 3 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze medals.
Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier 500ml $4.99
I couldn’t make the International Beer Awards judging this year, but having recently tasted the 2007 Grand Champion – Weihenstephaner Kristall (clear) — alongside the bottle-conditioned version (Hefe) still have a preference for the latter. Whichever you prefer these are superb examples of Bavarian wheat ale from a millennium-old brewery. See www.internationalbeershop.com.au
Little Creatures Pale Ale 330ml 6-pack $17.99
The AIBA’s ‘Champion Ale’, comes from a Fremantle operation in which Lion Nathan holds a major interest. Nevertheless, it’s a genuine craft brewer, making complex beers, albeit in sufficient volume for national distribution. Its original creation, Pale Ale, stimulates the senses deliciously with its passionfruit-like hops-led aroma and flavour.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007