Blasta first announced themselves to the drinkers of WA – at least in the sense of trophy success – at the Perth Royal Beer Awards in 2017. The fledgling brewing company claimed Champion IPA for their MyWay Grapefruit IPA and have never looked back, claiming multiple trophies in the years since – including Champion Beer and Champion Small Brewery last year – to which they can now add another trio.
Their Unbridled Unicorn, a double IPA featuring the mythical creature that is both the brewery's logo and the national animal of Scotland, the birthplace of brewery founder Steve Russell (above right), made it back-to-back Champion Beer titles at the 2021 awards ceremony at the Claremont Showgrounds. Judges deemed it the finest of the 430 entries received from 43 brewing companies, with Blasta also heading home with the trophies for Best Large Brewery and Best IPA – Draught.
Steve told The Crafty Pint: "Unbridled Unicorn was a deliberately a double West Coast, with proper bitterness. We like using higher amounts of caramel malt, but for this we dialled the malt back and let the Strata hops shine. It's the same with King Road IPA – if you use Strata well the results speak.
"It's a very unique hop. It's alluring, it makes you drink more. We just want to continue mucking around, and we've got at a new team, but this goes to show that if you're methodical the you'll get a great result. Nailing consistency is key."
Esperance brewery Lucky Bay also enjoyed multiple trophy success, named Best Small / Medium Brewery and winning Best Stout / Porter – Packaged for their Black Jack, on an evening in which plenty of familiar faces were called up to the stage.
Otherside will be wondering what they have to do in order to pick up a Champion Brewery title after walking away with no less than three best beer trophies – Vinyl (Best Amber / Dark – Draught); Sabbath Stout (Best Hybrid & Specialty – Packaged); Indie XPA (Best Pale Ale – Packaged).
Whitelakes Brewing are also heading back to the brewery with multiple trophies, as their Wit and XPL collected Best European Style Beer – Draught and Best Lager – Draught respectively.
It's getting to the point now where they should consider naming one of the trophies in honour of Margaret River Brewhouse's big stouts as the likelihood of them heading back south with another to add to their collection is akin to that of the sun rising in the morning. This time it was perennial PRBS favourite Panther Cream taking out Best Hybrid & Specialty Beer – Draught. They weren't the Margaret River region's only winners, either, as Beerfarm's Royal Haze was named Best IPA – Packaged, following its strong showing in this year's GABS Hottest 100.
King Road Brewing showed their AIBA trophy was no fluke as the same beer that struck gold there, their IPA, was named Best Pale Ale – Draught, as Boston collected another gong for their Devilslide red IPA, up and coming Impi Brewers won Best European Style Beer – Packaged for their Guava Berliner Weisse, and Stomping Ground claimed the only trophy heading across state lines with their Bunker Porter.
Completing the picture were Bailey Brewing Co, with the Swan Valley operation named Best New Exhibitor, Shelter's Summer Sour (Best Packaging and Design), Emu Export Lager (Best Lager Packaged), and, rather poetically, Gage Roads, who claimed The Gage Roads Trophy for Best Low Alcohol Beer Draught with their Pipe Dreams 3.5% (their full-strength Pipe Dreams took top spot in our recent pale lager blind tasting too).
Chief judge Will Irving said: "The Perth Royal Beer awards are the most prestigious beer competition in WA. We are lucky to have such a diverse range of quality beer here and these awards are a great way to gauge who is leading the charge.”
The 2021 Winners
The Menu Magazine Trophy for Best Packaging and Design
- Shelter Brewing Co Summer Sour
The Gage Roads Trophy for Best Low Alcohol Beer Draught
- Gage Roads Pipe Dreams Lager 3.5%
Hyde Park Hotel Trophy for Best Amber-Dark Ale Draught
- Otherside Brewing Co Vinyl
The Royal Agricultural Society of WA Trophy for Best Amber-Dark Ale Packaged
- Boston Brewing Devilslide
The Sail & Anchor Trophy for Best Porter-Stout Draught
- Stomping Ground Bunker Porter
The Containers for Change Trophy for Best Porter-Stout Packaged
- Lucky Bay Brewing Black Jack
The Belgian Beer Cafe Trophy for Best European Style Beer Draught
- Whitelakes Brewing Whitelakes Wit
The Container Refrigeration Trophy for Best European Style Beer Packaged
- Impi Brewers Guava Berliner Weisse
The Queens Trophy for Best Hybrid & Specialty Beer Draught
- Margaret River Brewhouse Panther Cream
The Bintani Trophy for Best Hybrid & Specialty Beer Packaged
- Otherside Brewing Co Sabbath Stout
The Cryer Malt Trophy for Best Lager Draught
- Whitelakes Brewing Whitelakes XPL
The Royal Agricultural Society of WA Trophy for Best Lager Packaged
- Lion Emu Export Lager
The Balmoral Trophy for Best India Pale Ale Draught
- Blasta Brewing Unbridled Unicorn
The Hop Products Australia Trophy for Best India Pale Ale Packaged
- Beerfarm Royal Haze
The Albion Trophy for Best Pale Ale Draught
- King Road Brewing Co King Road IPA
The HOPCO Trophy for Best Pale Ale Packaged
- Otherside Brewing Co Indie XPA
The Little Creatures Trophy for Best New Exhibitor
- Bailey Brewing Co
The Royal Agricultural Society of WA Trophy for Best Small/Medium Brewery
- Lucky Bay Brewing
The Hop Products Australia Trophy For Best Large Brewery
- Blasta Brewing
The Cryer Malt Trophy for Champion Beer
- Blasta Brewing Unbridled Unicorn