Canberra is Aussie amateur brew champ

It’s official. Canberra’s amateur brewers are the best in Australia. Craig Webber, president of Canberra Brewers, says local contestants won the Australian amateur brewing championship, held recently in Canberra, by a wide margin.

And the qualities that took us there showed in a later taste-off of fifteen local beers, each previously judged the best of its style. I was one of four judges for the Wig & Pen trophy, assessing the diverse line up of international styles – English standard pub ale, Bohemian pilzen, Vienna lager, bock, Munich helles lager, English extra special bitter, American brown ale, robust porter, Russian imperial stout, English-style India pale ale, American barley wine, Belgian triple, German hefeweizen, Flanders red ale and rauchbier.

After much sipping and discussion we narrowed the field down to four brews, each an outstanding example of its style – the English standard pub ale, the extra special bitter, the robust porter and the Rauchbier.

The ballot produced a clear trophy winner – Mike Day’s extra special bitter, an appealing deep-amber ale with distinctive, zesty hops. Mike also won second place for his gentle, refreshing English style pub ale.

Mike’s winning ale recipe will now be brewed by Richard Watkins and offered over the bar at the Wig & Pen in the new year.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009