Beer competitions were among the victims of 2020, with many cancelled due to COVID-19. However, a few managed to work around restrictions and, after navigating many a logistical tunnel and loop, the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards made it over the line before the year's end – not to mention South Australia's three day "circuit breaker" lockdown.
And it was some of the stalwarts of the SA beer industry, those who helped lay down the foundations for the state's thriving craft beer scene of today, that swept the major trophies. Adelaide Hills-based Lobethal Bierhaus took out three major awards – Champion Ale and Most Outstanding Beer in Show for their Irish Red as well as Champion Small Brewery.
Since starting their journey in 2007, Lobethal have focused on consistency, quality and innovation. While the beers pouring from the 20 taps at their brewpub are typically more traditional styles, founder and head brewer Al Turnbull (pictured above), alongside wife Rose and their brewing team, are always tinkering with new gear.
Most notably, in 2016, Al fashioned his own malting equipment, trucking in grains from local farms to malt himself, a venture that's seen him create unique beers such as one brewed with malted lentils. The Bierhaus is a local icon in the Hills and often packed to the brim on the weekends.
Champion Large Brewery went to another company that's been producing beer in SA for more than a decade. Vale Brewing didn't take out any individual trophies for their beers, but in nabbing four golds, nine silvers and two bronze medals, they pipped Coopers to the trophy, with the latter claiming three golds, seven silver and five bronze medals.
Coopers also added Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer (Mild Ale) and Champion Porter or Stout (Best Extra Stout) to their trophy cabinet. Another family business that's been around for generations, Clare Valley-based Pikes, chimed in for a win, taking home the Champion Speciality Beer category with one of their limited release, Raspberry Berliner Weisse.
However, it wasn’t just the old-timers that were able to celebrate. Wallaroo’s only brewery, Bond Store, picked up Best New Exhibit for their Bond Store Lager. Completing the picture on the beer front was the Champion Lager category, which went to James Boag’s Premium Lager.
Best Cider In Show went to Daylesford’s Session Cider with Best South Australian Cider Exhibit taken out by The Hills Cider’s Apple.
In total, 254 entries from 45 brewers of all sizes across Australia and New Zealand were judged blind by an expert industry panel in what was the tenth year the Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards have taken place in their current format.
Full List Of Winners
CHAMPION REDUCED ALCOHOL BEER
Coopers Brewery – Coopers Mild Ale
J. Boag and Son Brewing – James Boag's Premium Lager
Lobethal Bierhaus – Irish Red Ale
CHAMPION PORTER or STOUT
Coopers Brewery – Coopers Best Extra Stout
CHAMPION SPECIALTY BEER
Pikes Beer Company – Raspberry Berliner-style Weisse
BEST CIDER IN SHOW
Daylesford Cider – Session Cider
BEST NEW EXHIBIT
Bond Store Wallaroo – Bond Store Lager
BEST SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CIDER EXHIBIT
The Hills Cider Company – Hills Cider Apple
CHAMPION SMALL BREWERY (less than 2,500 hectolitres per annum)
CHAMPION LARGE BREWERY (greater than 2,500 hectolitres per annum)
MOST OUTSTANDING BEER IN SHOW
Lobethal Bierhaus – Irish Red Ale