One of the many victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in the beer world is the country's biggest week of beer. And, just as Good Beer Week has become Virtual Good Beer Week and headed online, so did the annual Australian International Beer Awards.
With this year's judging proper cancelled, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria got to work with a few industry figures and came up with a new set of award categories and invited people from within the beer world to cast their votes. And it's an approach that favoured the bigger brewing companies with CUB's brands cleaning up.
In fact, with Mountain Goat nabbing a couple of titles too, once the transfer of CUB's ownership from AB InBev to Asahi goes through, the Japanese giant will be able to lay claim to 12 of the 14 gongs handed out in this one-off event. The other two awards went to Moo Brew for Best Champion Lager since 2012 and Furphy for Best Australian Beer Name Ever.
Instead of a glitzy bash in Melbourne's Docklands, the awards were doled out by MCs Kirrily "Beer Diva" Waldhorn and Miro Bellini via YouTube stream. Luke "Ale of a Time" Robertson pulled the strings in the background, with trophies presented via pre-recorded videos and winners invited to join the stream from wherever they were in the world.
As much as anything, it was a chance for people who would have spent the past week catching up with old mates and meeting new ones to come together, albeit virtually, for a couple of hours, while we wait to see when such events can return again.
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Australian Brewery since 2012
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Australian Beer since 2012
Alpha Pale Ale – Matilda Bay & Keller Door Schwarzbier – 4 Pines
Brewer’s Choice Best AIBA Collab Beer since 2012
We do it for the Passion…fruit Passionfruit IPA – Stone & Wood, Balter, Green Beacon, Pact
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion IPA since 2012
Pulped Fiction – Mountain Goat
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Lager since 2012
Pilsner – Moo Brew
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Pale Ale since 2012
XPA – Balter
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Dark Beer since 2012
Keller Door - Schwarzbier – 4 Pines
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Euro Style Beer since 2012
Summer Ale – Mountain Goat
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Other Specialty Beer since 2012
Throwback IPA – Pirate Life
Brewer’s Choice Best Champion Design since 2012
Bastard Children of the British Empire – 4 Pines
Best Australian Beer Name ever
Furphy – Lion
Best Australian brewery social media
Thinking about COVID-19, which Australian brewery has made the best of a bad situation?
4 Pines' home delivery service
Best Beer Industry Personality?
Tina Panoutsos – CUB