TWØBAYS Gluten-Free Session Ale Claims Gold In World Beer Cup

April 26, 2024, by James Smith

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TWØBAYS Gluten-Free Session Ale Claims Gold In World Beer Cup

Session Ale from TWØBAYS has won gold in the Gluten-Free Beer category at the World Beer Cup. It's a remarkable achievement for the Mornington Peninsula-based brewery at the most prestigious beer competition on the planet, which took place in Las Vegas at the end of this year's US Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference.

The award means the beer has been rated the world's best by judges – only one gold, silver and bronze are awarded in each category at the World Beer Cup – and follows the brewery's success at the 2023 Indies, where Session Ale took out Best Specialty Beer in a category in which it was competing against beers brewed with barley.

Brewery founder Richard Jeffares (above right with head brewer Kristian Martin) took time out from celebrating in Vegas to tell The Crafty Pint about their "bloody exciting night", saying recognition was just starting to seep in as they acknowledged the size of the competition; in 2024, a team of 280 judges assessed 9,300 entries submitted by 2,060 breweries from 50 countries.

He added: "[Head brewer] Kristian [Martin] and I came a week ago to see what’s going on in the GF brewing community over here, so visited Oakland, Seattle and Denver on our way to Vegas, but also to meet with our malt supplier and see her new process equipment – very impressive for a small-scale malt house. And then onto Vegas – which is complete mind fuck when you see this oasis of neon and high-rise in the middle of the desert.

"We had entered a couple of beers in the World Cup – but to win the gold with the Session Ale was amazing. We get very excited when a core range beer wins any award as it really does recognise that your brewing processes are consistent and repeatable – and not necessarily a one-time brew of a limited release."

Putting their win into context beyond the number of beers and brewers taking part in the 2024 awards, this is also a very rare gold for an Australian brewery at a competition that only takes place every second year. Unless I'm mistaken, the Session Ale's triumph is only the fifth gold medal claimed by a local brewing company in the 14 years of The Crafty Pint, with a number of silver and bronze medals picked up by others over that period.

The other golds to make their way back to Australia since we launched in 2010 went to James Squire for Jack of Spades Porter in 2018, James Squire again for The Swindler Summer Ale in 2016 (with Stone & Wood Pacific Ale claiming silver in the same category), and Burleigh Brewing for their Hef and Redoak for Redoak Bitter in 2012. Redoak had previously tasted glory at the awards in 2008 with Framboise Froment – the same year Tooheys Extra Dry won American-Style Lager and James Squire Pilsener took out Bohemian-Style Pilsener.

 

TWØBAYS head brewer Kristian Martin and founder Richard Jeffares enjoying their moment onstage in Las Vegas at the 2024 World Beer Cup.

 

"We are delighted for the whole team," Richard said, "because everyone back at the brewery plays a huge role in the success of TWØBAYS, but this is massive recognition for Kristian, Grant, Stephen and our packing team for their brewing and packing skill.

"Our brewers have all stepped away from the barley beer world to brew with our difficult malts – millet, buckwheat and rice – and I think the whole gluten-free community thanks them for making us all some great beers!"

Kristian described the win as "big news", adding: "Overwhelming really [and a] crazy result off the back of the Session Ale getting the Indies trophy."

TWØBAYS weren't the only Aussies to pick up a medal on the night. Hop Nation continued their run of success at beer awards with a bronze for The Buzz, the American red ale that was one of their earliest releases and has long been a favourite here at Crafty Towers.

Brewery co-founder Duncan Gibson told The Crafty Pint: "We are pretty stoked. Wish I was in Vegas tonight, but Footscray it is!

"It's the first time we entered and, to be fair, we didn't think we would medal, but just wanted to compete and compare ourselves to the world's best and get some feedback on where our beers sit."


You can view the full list of World Beer Cup 2024 winners here. And read more about TWØBAYS' first half decade of brewing – during which they became the first indie brewer to get beer into the MCG – in this feature from late last year.

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