Slow Lane Triumph At Sydney Beer Awards

Botany brewery Slow Lane have achieved much in the short time they've been releasing beers, not least making a mockery of their own name as they rise through the ranks of Australia's best brewers at a remarkable pace.

Today, the brewery launched by Alex and Yvonne Jarman in the middle of 2020 claimed Champion Packaged Beer and Best NSW Beer at the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Awards for their Belgian-inspired tripel Threefold, which had earlier picked up a gold medal in the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in May and been named in The Crafty Pint's Best New Beers of 2021 – So Far in July.

Slow Lane's Solitude Belgian Dark Strong Ale claimed silver and their Botany Weisse Mixed Fermentation Sour Ale – a trophy-winner at the 2020 Indies – a bronze to continue a fine start to life for the operation that focuses mainly on creating traditional styles from Europe, including many barrel-aged beers.

Brewery co-founder and head brewer Alex told The Crafty Pint he'd actually forgotten he'd entered as they'd been delayed so much by Sydney's COVID lockdown, making today's news "a nice surprise".

He added: "This morning, it was the deadline to enter the World Beer Cup [in the US] and I was thinking, 'Should I enter?' – now I'm thinking maybe I should!"

Alex says he's particularly pleased to see Threefold continuing to fare well too.

"It's good to be recognised for those Belgian beers as that's what we like to make and what we're known for," he said. "If you had to pick a couple of beers we would like to be known for, that's certainly one of them."

 

Alex and Yvonne Jarman of Slow Lane Brewing.

 

As with their Sydney peers, Alex, Yvonne and their team have been enjoying welcoming guests back to their cellar door in recent weeks, with the first two after reopening their busiest to date.

"It's kicking along well," he said. "Over lockdown, more people found out about us so there's been new faces as well as old ones now people can get out and about."

As for their impressive run of trophy success, he said with a laugh: "It makes it more nerve-wracking – if we don't win something it will feel like we've gone downhill. We've been pretty lucky."

Chair of Judges and Philter head brewer Sam Füss said of the winning beer: "Slow Lane certainly demonstrated their unique style and attention to detail with the Threefold Belgian Tripel, and as a first-time exhibitor, it's incredible to see them take out both Champion Packaged and Best NSW Beer."

Other winners in the competition that received a record 313 entries this year, included the Australian Brewery, whose Old Cattle Dog Dark Ale claimed Champion Draught Beer, and KAIJU!, who took out Champion Experimental or Specialty Beer with their once-a-year release, the double India black ale Where Strides The Behemoth.

That was only the highlight of an excellent showing for the Melbourne brewers who are set to open a venue soon; all 11 entries medalled, with Aftermath Double IPA, Betelgeuse Double Red Ale, and Cthulhu On The Moon Black IPA helping them to an impressive five golds. Meanwhile, the Australian Brewery also picked up gold for their Pale Ale.

 

KAIJU!'s two biggest beers both picked up golds, with Where Strides The Behemoth also claiming a Champion trophy.

 

Aside from the champion trophies awarded, there were plenty of other breweries with much to celebrate. Perennial awards achievers Sydney Brewery entered no less than 26 beers and ciders with only one failing to medal and their Pale Ale, Blue Swimmer Summer Ale, and Pilsner all scoring golds.

Of the new exhibitors in 2021, Atomic Beer Project – an offshoot from Gage Roads with a brewpub in Redfern – picked up four golds (for their Pale, Talusdega Nights, Dark Side Of The Moon Boot, and Saddle Up Sour) amid a total of seven medals from eight submissions, while Loophole from SA continued their awards success with nine medals, including golds for Quick Hare Cape Ale and Astral Project La Lune Shiraz Sour. Sydney locals Bucketty's claimed four medals from just five entries, including a gold for their IPA.

After overseeing a judging process in which 183 gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded, Sam said: "With COVID-19 forcing us to postpone and work around restrictions this year, the 2021 competition was truly a team effort, and I can't thank our exhibitors, stewards and NSW judges enough for their patience and commitment to making this event happen."

She said there had been an increase in entries and new exhibitors, adding: "In addition to an increase in exhibitors, the competition also celebrated a rise in female judges with seven great female beer and cider experts driving the team forward.


Sydney Royal Winners 2021

 

Best NSW Beer

Slow Lane Brewing – Threefold Belgian Tripel

Champion Packaged Beer

Slow Lane Brewing – Threefold Belgian Tripel

Champion Experimental or Specialty Beer

KAIJU! – Where Strides The Behemoth

Champion Draught Beer

Australian Brewery – Old Cattle Dog Dark Ale

Champion Cider

Small Acres Cider – 2017 The Cat's Pyjamas

Champion Perry

The Hills Cider Company – Hills Cider Pear

Champion Bottle Conditioned Perry or Cider

Small Acres Cider – 2017 The Cat's Pyjamas

Slow Lane D
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