Although much of the excitement in craft beer circles stems from the collaborative this or oak-aged that, the key to the growth of the craft sector is traditional styles done well.
Burleigh Brewing may not threaten to trend in the Twittersphere, but they are quietly going about their business on Queensland’s Gold Coast making very solid beers consistently well and carving out a niche in the region and beyond. Given they don’t create beers that generate waves of digital hyperbole, it’s good to see their beers getting recognised here and abroad for their quality.
Most recently the brewery scored 93 points to collect a gold medal at the Beverage Testing Institute’s World Beer Championships last week. This saw the beer placed equally with Franziskaner Hefeweisee and ahead of such notable German breweries as Paulaner and US brewers such as Brooklyn Brewery.
The tasting panel described the beer as having “aromas of banana bread toast and delicate nutmeg spiced pudding with a supple, frothy medium-to-full body and a long, well integrated finish with accents of melon rind, sprouts, and grass”. They concluded, “very tasty and stylistically focused.”
The World Beer Championships are run annually in a series of style-based tasting sessions in a dedicated tasting lab at the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in Chicago. Unlike most beer competitions which judge all beers in all categories in a very short time frame, the World Beer Championships reviews a different category of beer every other month and blind tastes no more than thirty-five beers a day with a small cadre of certified judges. The awards have not attracted many Australian entrants over the past few years, but a scan of the medals awarded reveals a who’s who of US craft breweries.
This the fourth time Burleigh Brewing’s beers have been awarded gold, last year’s coffee-infused Black Giraffe, Duke Pale Ale – now renamed as 28 Pale Ale – and My Wife’s Bitter receiving the accolade in 2011.
Burleigh Brewing brewmaster, Brennan Fielding, and his team of brewers are justifiably proud of their achievement, especially hearing that HEF was rated as ‘exceptional’ by the judges.
“Wheat beers are a unique style – and one with a rich history,” Brennan said.
“They take a lot of work to get right and our team works really hard on all the minor details that impact the quality of this style of beer. We put our hearts into it absolutely and so to get this bit of recognition is really gratifying,” Brennan said.
The award adds to HEF’s success at the 2010 Good Food and Wine Show beer competition where it was named Grand Champion. The news also comes in the week that My Wife’s Bitter, their interpretation of a classic English Bitter, officially enters their regular line up. It was formerly part of the brewery’s seasonal and occasional collection, the Bit on the Side Department. As noted above, this beer last year won gold at the World Beer Championships as well.
While we’re talking Burleigh, you can see the team involved in a little bit of silliness here: