Otherside Brewing Co's Anthem IPA was named Beer Of The Year at the WA Good Food Guide Awards last night. The Myaree brewery's success makes it two years running that an IPA has claimed the title, after Cheeky Monkey's Hazy IPA came out on top in the inaugural WA Beer Of The Year judging last year.
Anthem pipped Crate Digger Pale Ale from Nowhereman and Eagle Bay Brewing's Lager at an awards ceremony at Optus Stadium where beer was celebrated alongside the best of WA's restaurants, bars, chefs, sommeliers, wine and more.
Speaking after the winners were announced, Otherside director James Legge told The Crafty Pint: "The one word that sums up Anthem is 'balanced', and this is what we aimed for. We've worked so hard, and we just won't compromise on the quality of the beer. It's a testament to the brew team's strive for quality."
Head of sales Kyle Lyons added: "The biggest thing for us was to make an IPA that's relevant, and with high drinkability for WA. That beer is a WA IPA in a glass.
"We have spent so much time drinking the beer together, and enjoying it together as a team, and talking about the details. It's always been about getting the balance right, and that's taken time.
"It's a different beer to when it was first released, but everything is different, our palates and our customers."
As in 2020, beer judging was led by head judge Guy Southern (a regular contributor to these pages), who coordinated a panel featuring Pia Poynton (Nowhereman), Will Irving (formerly Feral) and Elliot Moore (Mane Liquor and besk). Beers were assessed blind over two days, with Pia abstaining from judging the final 25 to avoid any clash of interest.
Guy said entries for the beer awards were up substantially on last year.
“These awards differ from others as they put the drinker at the heart of judging," he says. "Beers were still assessed on technical merit and overall quality, but factors like drinkability, repeatability and relevance are equally important. This contemporary approach reflects how we actually socialise and drink – as well as WA beer culture right now.
“The Top 25 showcases the best of WA this year. I was excited to see the diverse range of beer styles in there, with a good mix of limited releases and core range beers, something which echoes what West Australian’s enjoy each week."
Familiar faces sat alongside the lesser known in the final list, with Feral featuring no less than four times – the newly-reworked, and now mid-strength Runt New World Pale Ale their best performer, while three Rocky Ridge beers made the 25 too; Pilsner and Ace IPA were joined by the limited release collab featuring Margaret River Roasting Co, Ken Oats Maple Coffee Breakfast Stout.
A number of breweries were seeing double too, including Gage Roads, whose just-released Party Wave sour claimed fourth spot as their Pipe Dreams Coastal Lager – deemed the best in our pale lager blind tasting earlier in the year – came in at 11. King Road's Pale and high-flying IPA also made the top 25, while Cheeky Monkey's Leftie's IPA and Silverback Russian Imperial Stout were joined by two from near neighbours Margaret River Brewhouse: Rhubarb Berliner Weisse and perennial award-winner Panther Cream.
As for the winning beer, Guy said: “Anthem’s modern take on the classic West Coast IPA style leaned in to juicer profiles while retaining personality, poise, and drinkability. Judges described it as well constructed, vibrant and moreish, and repeatedly came back to it as an exemplar of excellence in an already strong field.
“Anthem is a generous IPA for every day, and a reflection of the tight knit brew team’s ongoing core range refinement.”
Other notable winners on the night included Foxtrot Unicorn, who took out Bar of the Year, La Madonna Nera with Best Bar Dining, and Stella Bella, whose 2018 Serie Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon was named wine of the year.
The Top 25 WA Beers Of The Year
Here's the full rundown of the top 25 in the WA Good Food Guide Awards 2021 Beer of the Year.
25. Boston Brewing Co – Whisky Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
24. Feral Brewing Co – Biggie Juice East Coast IPA
23. Colonial Brewing Co – Inquest 2021 American Imperial Stout
22. Feral Brewing Co – Boris Russian Imperial Stout
21. Margaret River Brewhouse – Panther Cream Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
20. Bevy Brewing Co – First Lager
19. Rocky Ridge Brewing Co x Margaret River Roasting Co – Ken Oats Maple Coffee Breakfast Stout
18. Feral Brewing Co – Tropical Disco Sour
17. Nowhereman Brewing Co – 2021 Mr Otter’s Barley Wine
16. Blasta Brewing Co – Rampant Raspberry Kettle-Soured Wild Ale
15. Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co – Silverback Russian Imperial Stout
14. Margaret River Brewhouse – Rhubarb Berliner Weisse
13. Rocky Ridge Brewing Co – Ace IPA
12. King Road Brewing Co – Pale Ale
11. Gage Roads Brewing Co – Pipe Dreams Coastal Lager
10. Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co – Lefties East Coast IPA
9. Rocky Ridge Brewing Co – Pilsner
8. Heroes and Villains – Attention Seeker Oat Loaded IPA
7. Feral Brewing Co – Runt New World Pale Ale
6. Beerfarm – Big Hazy Double IPA
5. King Road Brewing Co – IPA
4. Gage Roads Brewing Co. – Party Wave Stone Fruit Sour
3. Eagle Bay Brewing Co – Lager
2. Nowhereman Brewing Co – Crate Digger Pale Ale
1. Otherside Brewing Co – Anthem IPA
You can view the full results from the WA Good Food Guide Awards here. Photo at top of article from Otherside's socials.