Slow Beer

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beer News - AIBA Results


Most of you would have seen various press / press releases on the just released results from the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA). Full results can be found at this link at

As per usual reaction to the various awards was mixed. Weihenstephan was a strange choice as Grand Champion in our very humble opinion; a good enough beer (I guess) but hardly deserving of greatness. Then again, a better beer than some of the absolute crap that has won trophies in years gone by. Perhaps its time to get Foster's and Lion Nathan staffers off the senior judging panel?

What really gave us this shits was the farce surrounding the Premier's Trophy for Best Victorian Beer - hard to believe that the 'local' version of Stella was actually even seriously considered, let alone deemed worthy of winning. This is boring, flavourless pale lager rubbish at best and is appropriately known as 'wife beater' in the UK. It is also the brew of choice for the down and out in Amsterdam and Belgium. We wonder if CUB will publicise the win, the irony being that full disclosure of the brewing location may well damage the laughable 'premium' image of this beer.

Emerald Hills Carl Jacobson was good enough to include the emails of Steve Bracks ( and John Brumby ( in an email yesterday annoucing his achievements plus the Stella win. We sent a rocket to Brumby.........

"Hi Mr Bracks and Mr Brumby,

I just received notification that Stella Artois (brewed under license by CUB) won the Premiers Award for the best Victorian Beer at the AIBA. The Belgians will be pleased that their beer has gone on to receive such a prestigious award, as back in Belgium it is the beer of choice of the homeless and others down on their luck....a far cry from the fancy brand it is marketed as in Australia!

Given the great many beers developed in Victoria by locals, with quality ingredients that are often grown locally; it is a shame that recognition goes to the mass-produced boring brands owned my multi-nationals being pumped out of beer factories.

Meanwhile we have some absolutely fantastic beer being produced in Victoria, such as Red Hill Brewery who grow their own hops on the Mornington Peninsula, or Hargreaves Hill brewed with Yarra Valley rainwater (yes stocks are limited) using no artificial ingredients or preservatives. These are just two examples of great Victorian beer, both of which outsell Stella Artois in my wine and beer outlets - and rightly so.

I think you should get busy drinking some quality Victorian beer over the next twelve months so at least you may be able to select a beer developed in Victoria by Victorians. Oh, and I believe CUB want people to think that Stella is a posh European I am not sure they will be sending out press releases declaring it won best Victorian beer!"

and suprisingly recieved a very prompt reply....

"The award was determined by the RAS judging panel. The Government does not determine the award. Last night i also launched the 3rd edition of our guide to microbreweries which was very well received."

Whilst we are all for the Government doing its bit to support the industry awarding this award to a beer with very little local linkage, made by a global industrial beer company, is a complete f$%$# joke.

On-line discussions on the AIBA awards can be found at Rate Beer, Beer Advocate and Australian Home Brewer.

Predictably the beer factories had a whinge (see article here) at the results given in recent years offshore micro brewers with no Australian retail presence have cleaned up. Whilst there might be a sliver of logic in this arguement these clowns need to realise 2 obvious truths - (1) AIBA is an international competition so it will attract offshore attention, and (2) cease churning out shit beer and you may improve your chances.



  • Stella won the best Victorian Beer? excuse me.... (laughter can be heard from the othe room.)

    I need to read that again... Stella Artois won the Best Victorian Beer? Geez what the hell were the Judge drinking?

    I swear that Stella Artois brewed by CUB actually taste no different to Carlton Draught. (at least it is that distinct taste something like metallic) Same goes for almost all CUB brewed beers.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:49 am  

  • yep - agree with all points.

    Did you get down to the Royston?

    By Blogger Stewart, at 5:33 pm  

  • Yeah i did, along with geoff and couple of friends.

    Tasted the IPA, Brown Porter, Irish Red Ale, and "Honey Ale" (tasted before)

    Interesting, Irish Red Ale seems slightly plain, but still nice. The IPA was surprising, and thought the fuggles hops was very strong, slight too sharp for my taste..
    I thought the Brown Porter was slightly flat but nice.

    Geoff played horrible joke at the end, pointing to a guy saying it was you, so i just went over and ask for confirmation and nah wrong guy lol.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:11 am  

  • I'm flabbergasted, how did Stella manage to win the Premier's trophy? I have little idea of the judging process but how did this happen if only 2 of 18 judges were from FGB, commonsense suggests that the other judged voted favourably for Stella? It's a bloody joke, more than half of the consumers are still under the illusion that the local stuff is imported directly from Belgium.

    As for Weihenstephan Kristall, I agree wholeheartedly, it isn't a champion beer. I reckon it's average by international standards, I prefer the hefewezien myself.


    By Anonymous Geoff, at 1:44 pm  

  • Anton - agree (again!) on your assessment of the Red Oak beers. There's a core range of beers that all have a very similar flavour profile (ie floral aromas and sweet pretty malts) that works quite well but is a touch one-dimensional. I would put the Irish, the Honey Ale, the organic Pale Ale, the Vienna, in this bracket.

    The IPA, on the other hand, is a bit brutal for my tastes given in the intensity of the hops. Still, good to see someone is pushing the envelope.

    Geoff - buggared if I know. At least one judge told us personally that the beer was very good and another associate judge on ratebeer (who appears to have a very good palate) was supportive. Perhaps CUB pulled a McGuigan? (I should be careful - I'll probably get sued saying that!)

    By Blogger Stewart, at 10:23 pm  

  • I just realised about your asssesment that core range of Red Oak are one one-dimensional similiar flavour and yeah it makes sense. Although can't help feeling that it kinda shows that the brewer is taking the easy way. But nonetheless, good effort for making rather large range of brews. I do wonder if he is making basic brews for a starter and then complex it further in the future? Would be interesting journey of evolving beers for both brewer and customer if this was so.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 1:27 pm  

  • Yep...

    at the end of the day (to use a great Oz saying) Dave chooses to make a wide range of beers and for most part succeeds.

    I've just come back from Sin City and called into Redoak for a few and I've gotta say the new beers were looking awesome!

    When are we catching up for beer?

    By Blogger Stewart Went, at 10:41 pm  

  • I am a fan of the CUB made Stella and think it is one of the best tasting beers going around at the moment. It is well balanced and does not have that "CUB taste" which I then to avoid like the plague. I'm not surprised if their Stella stands up well in blind / taste tests. Cheers!

    By Blogger jaryd, at 4:38 pm  

  • Fair enough Jaryd...each to their own!

    By Blogger Stewart Went, at 6:50 pm  

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