Brendan Varis and Feral Brewing have had a surprise win as Champion Beer at the Hong Kong International Beer Awards.
It should be pointed out to fans of Feral’s Hop Hog that the surprise isn’t that this highly-awarded beer was competitive in an international competition, the surprise was that it was entered, according to brewer Brendan Varis.
“Ï didn’t even know it was entered or that there was such a competition,” Brendan tells Australian Brews News.
“It was entered by a distributor we used once.”
Even so, Brendan was pleased with the win, considering it a very useful benchmark for his beers to be judged on neutral ground where most beers have also had to travel.
“Basically Hop Hog would get smashed in the US because of lack of freshness and, to be honest, we don’t fear foreign IPAs in local beer awards for the same reason,” he said, highlighting the problems inherent in sending beer across the world.
“So here there’s neutral territory and also probably random stock from everyone, beer that has run a real life through the distribution channels.
“It’s probably one of the best and fairest possible comparisons you could have for judging your beer.”
Not having entered the awards himself, or even known of them, Brendan said he was interested to find out more.
“What I’m most interested in is who else entered to gauge how the beers really went because of the neutral territory aspect,” Brendan said.
The results show that Feral was at the very least up against beers from Scottish brewer, BrewDog, and US brewery, Rogue, amongst the 250 entries.
The big surprise, however, was the winner in the IPA category – not an American, but Feral Brewing, from Baskerville, Western Australia, with its Hop Hog. Indeed, the judges loved this beer so much, they gave it the highest number of points of any of the more than 250 entries in the competition, meaning Hop Hog also carried off the palm for Champion Beer of the 2012 Awards.
Reports say the microbrewing scene in Western Australia is booming: hopefully Feral’s success will encourage more brewers from there to look north to the market in Hong Kong.
Cat1 Lager: 961 Lager
Cat2 Pilsner: Scrimshaw Pilsner
Cat3 Pale Ale: Chatoe OREgasmic Ale
Cat4 Amber Ale: 5am Saint
Cat5 Brown Ale: Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Cat6 British Style Ale: Strong Suffolk
Cat7 Belgium Style Ale: Artevelde Grand Cru
Cat8 IPA: Hop Hog
Cat9 Cider: Henry Westons Vintage (ABV 8.2%)
Cat10 Wheat Beer: Hopf White
Cat11 Stout: Saltaire Triple Chocoholic (ABV 4.8%)
Cat 12 Fruit Beer: Floris Fraise
Cat13 Bock: Eye of the Hawk
Cat14 Organic Beer: Little Valley Python IPA (ABV 6%)
OVERALL WINNER: Cat8 IPA Hop Hog