The International Beer Challenge in the UK has long proved to be a happy hunting ground for Australian brewers. And, in 2018, it's Melbourne based Hawkers celebrating again, after adding the Brewer of the Year for Oceania to past wins.
Trophy winners in the annual competition, which focuses exclusively on packaged beers, were announced last night at an event in London, with Hawkers named top dog in its home region after collecting gold for its Pale Ale, silvers for its IPA and Imperial Stout 2018 and a bronze for its XPA.
"It's testament to the brewers," says brewery CEO Mazen Hajjar, who was in London to collect the Supreme Champion Brewery title at the IBC two years ago. "To win trophies in two out of three years is pretty remarkable. It's very humbling, it really is."
Other local breweries to enter included past Supreme Champion Beer winners Redoak, which won gold for its Old Baltic Porter, silver for its Old Ale and bronze for its Framboise Foment, and Prancing Pony, with silver for its Black Ale and bronzes for Hopwork Orange and Magic Carpet Midnight Ride.
Two Birds Brewing collected a pair of silvers and a pair of bronzes for its Passion Victim, Sunset Ale, Pale Ale and Taco, Moon Dog picked up silver for its Sun Cat IPA, La Sirène a silver for its Farmhouse Red, Edge Brewing Project bronze for its Amalgamation sour and OJ IPL, and Matso's took out bronze for its Lychee Beer, Bishop's Best and Hit The Toad Lager.
The major trophies on the night headed overseas, with Supreme Champion Beer for 2018 going to the ABK Hell from 730-year-old German brewery Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren and Supreme Champion Brewery awarded to Hertog Jan in The Netherlands.
As for his brewery's latest IBC win, Mazen says: "It's amazing that, in three-and-a-half years, we are at that level of consistency. It blows my brain every morning that we've been able to do what we do.
"It's amazing the way the hard work that the team has put in and all the sleepless nights are paying off."