The Independent Brewers Association's annual celebration of the best of the indie beer world known as The Indies is set to return on November 25.
Once again, due to ongoing COVID restrictions and border closures it will be a virtual event, streamed live and free from a studio in Melbourne via YouTube, and with official parties hosted all over the country.
It represents another logistical triumph for the IBA, who managed to gather 34 judges, 50 volunteers and a small team of staff to assess more than 1,389 beers from 180 breweries over three days in Brisbane at a time when much of the country was in lockdown and borders were closed.
IBA head of events Siobhan Kerin said this year was the most challenging yet, with rolling lockouts changing judging and shipping constantly.
“It wasn’t easy, but with such a high quality of beer this year, we know the results will reflect the incredible work of our members and indie brewers have been putting in over the past 12 months,” she said.
As well as crowning Australia's Champion Indie Beer – which last year went to Range (pictured below) for their Fahrenheit IPA – and Champion Small, Medium and Large Indie Breweries, there will be awards for best beers by style, best breweries by state and territory, and also a series of peer nominated trophies, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a statement announcing the 2021 awards night, IBA CEO Kylie Lethbridge said: “While, for the second year running, it’s a shame we can’t be together as an industry, we’ve learned that doing things virtually can have its upsides.
"We’ll be back with more live parties around Australia and will be crossing to brewery taprooms and possibly a couch or two. Last year we got to see people celebrating with family and friends, and it really bought home just how much of a community we are, made up of a wide range of businesses, both small and large, scattered throughout Australia.”
The awards will be co-hosted by Kirrily "Beer Diva" Waldhorn and The Crafty Pint's founder, James Smith, and will feature special musical interludes from Arlo Sim, who spends his days packing beers at Wayward Brewing Co and his nights wowing the country on The Voice, where he made it to the grand finale earlier this year.
If you're keen to be part of one of the official parties, they are being held at:
- Easy Times Brewing – Brisbane, sponsored by Cryer Malt & YCH
- Moffat Beach Brewing – Sunshine Coast, sponsored by Hop Products Australia
- Grifter Brewing – Sydney, sponsored by Konvoy Kegs
- Mismatch Brewing – South Australia, sponsored by Kegstar & Mighty Craft
- Park Floreat Hotel – Perth, sponsored by Konvoy & Bintani
- Shelter Brewing – Margaret River, sponsored by Hop Products Australia
- Moon Dog OG – Melbourne, sponsored by Cryer Malt, YCH & Konvoy
- Deep South Brewing – Hobart, sponsored by Hop Products Australia
To join in the fun wherever you are, head to this link from 8pm (AEDT) on November 25, and keep an
eye out for invitations and registrations for the state parties.
If you'd like to relive the 2020 awards, they can be viewed here.