Australia’s best independent beers revealed

23 November, 2020 by Andy Young

The 2020 Independent Beer Awards have been held, to celebrate Australia’s independent beer category and the people and products that make it so strong.

This year’s ‘Indies’ saw Range Brewing in Newstead, Queensland, take out Champion Beer and Champion IPA for its Fahrenheit IPA, along with Champion Small/Medium Brewery and Queensland State Champion.

Advertisement

Other major winners included Dainton Brewery (VIC) for Champion Large Brewery, and Moffat Beach Brewing Co (QLD) for Champion Brew Pub.

“Each year the Indies is celebrated as part of BrewCon which provides a fantastic opportunity for us to come together as a community, however this year the world changed and therefore so did we,” said Pete Philip, Independent Brewers Association Chairman.

“As a result, the Indies Project Group and the IBA Team quickly reinvented the event which resulted in close to 700 entries, 32 judges working in Brisbane, Perth and Newcastle and a live ceremony that included crosses to more than 40 nominees and state parties around the nation. A mammoth effort for a very small team.”

Michael Capaldo of Hop Products Australia, and Indies Project Group Lead, added: “We crowned champions and gave feedback to help nurture future trophy and medal winners.

“I was particularly impressed with the rise in quality of packaged beer. The first Indies competition in 2014 was similarly restricted to packaged product only, and I remember that the quality was definitely not what it is in 2020, it has gone through the roof. This is a great compliment to the maturity of Australian independents and to our brewers, who give their blood, sweat, and tears to make every batch better than the last.”

Following a particularly challenging year, the IBA Board congratulated all those involved in making the Indies a success once again.

“It never ceases to amaze me what can happen when this industry rallies, we work together like no other, so I’d like to send a big shout out to the judges, project group members, and party hosts – all doing this for you in their own time, for overall the betterment of the industry. You rock and we will be forever grateful,” Philip said.

Here’s full list of winners:

  • Champion Amber Dark Beer sponsored by Roxset Health and Safety Flooring Solutions – Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Upside Down Brown Ale.
  • Champion Hybrid Beer sponsored by Ellerslie Australia and Lallemand Brewing – Loophole Brewing Co, The Astral Project – Merlot Sour 2020
  • Champion Lager Beer sponsored by Barrett Burston Maltings – Hepburn Springs Brewing Co, Pilsner.
  • Champion Mixed Culture Beer sponsored by the IBA – Slow Lane Brewing, Botany Weisse.
  • Champion Session Beer sponsored by the Yakima Chief Hops – Moffat Beach Brewery, Moffs Summer Ale.
  • Champion Strong Beer sponsored by Midland Insurance Brokers – Dainton Brewery, Apocalypso II – Second Wave NEIPA
  • Champion Porter Stout Beer sponsored by Orora – FogHorn Brewery. Sligo Extra Stout
  • Champion IPA Beer sponsored by HopCo – Range Brewing, Fahrenheit IPA
  • Champion Pale Ale sponsored by Yakima Chief Hops – 3 Ravens Brewery, New World IPA

State Champions:

  • New South Wales State Champion presented by the NSW Government – Wayward Brewing Co
  • West Australian State Champion – Blasta Brewing
  • Champion Territories – BentSpoke Brewing Co. (ACT)
  • South Australian State Champion – Loophole Brewing Co.
  • Tasmanian State Champion – Moo Brew
  • Queensland State Champion – Range Brewing
  • Victorian State Champion – Dainton Brewery

Peer nominated awards:

  • Young Gun of the Year Award – Jessica McWatt Forbes, Red Stockholm
  • Community Initiative Award sponsored by BrewsNews – Nowhereman Brewing Co.
  • True Indie Supporter Award sponsored by Konvoy Kegs – The Local, St Kilda
  • Service to the Industry Award sponsored by Lallemand and Ellerslie Australia – Jamie Cook
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Pete Meddings

Overall Champions:

  • Champion Brew Pub Award sponsored by Kegstar – Moffat Beach Brewery
  • Champion Small/Medium Brewery Award sponsored by Hop Products Australia – Range Brewing
  • Champion Large Brewery Award sponsored by Cryer Malt – Dainton Brewery
  • Champion Indie Beer Award sponsored by Bintani Australia – Range Brewing, Fahrenheit IPA