Craft beer winners

Richly flavoured, idiosyncratic beers

In late October, the Craft Beer Industry Association announced the winners of its 2015 Craft Beer Awards, a judging event open to Australia’s craft brewers.

The champion beer, Feral Brewing Co’s Watermelon Warhead, led a diverse line up of medal winners from the 468 beers entered by 92 brewers.

While mainstream beer drinking remains dominated by lagers, the craft show fielded mainly ales. They contributed 86 per cent of entries, compared to lagers, which made up just 14 per cent.

Richly flavoured and idiosyncratic brews filled the tasting benches, covering in descending order of entry numbers, pale ales (147), specialty ales (73), porters and stouts (49), IPAs (49), amber and dark ales (43), French and Belgian styles (21) and wheat ales (19).

The full catalogue of results, which makes a mouth-watering shopping list, is available at


Hop Dog Beer Works Cosmic Way 330ml $4.90
South Nowra brewer Hop Dog makes this in the American pale ale style, with hops as the main feature. In this case, New Zealand Motueka hops give an appealing aroma of tropical fruit. A sweet, toasty malty character complements the hops flavour on the palate, then hops flavour and bitterness take over the finish.

Cavalier Brewing Baltic Porter 330ml $9.50
Cavalier’s one-off, inky black, 7.7 per cent alcohol porter delivers the flavour intensity of vegemite, without the salt. The powerful flavours of roasted grains permeate a surprisingly light, fresh palate, completel subduing the high alcohol content, which can at times take over strong beers. The porter finishes pleasantly tart, tangy and bitter.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 10 and 11 November 2015 in and the Canberra Times