An unprecedented 24 gold medals were distributed at the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show on Friday night, with Gage Roads claiming Best In Show – Beer.
Gage Roads took out top prize for its limited edition Red Rye IPA, which was also named Champion Draught Beer.
The other big winners were Bridge Road Brewers (Champion Bottled Beer – Little Bling IPA), Hope Brewhouse (Champion Experimental Beer – Barrel Aged Extra Stout) and Modus Operandi (Best NSW Beer – Former Tenant Red IPA).
Carlton & United Breweries won Champion Cider for Bonamy’s Apple Cider.
The 24 gold medals more than doubled the show’s previous high of ten, despite a similar sized field of around 230 entries, chair of judges Neal Cameron told Brews News.
He attributed the overall rise in quality to some very strong performances by new entrants, both local and interstate.
“I think we’re becoming more of a competition where the local breweries and the more ‘crafty’ breweries have got involved and as a result I think there’s a real uptick in quality,” he said.
“We put a call out for experimental beers, hence the experimental trophy for the first time. Some of those experimental classes just absolutely killed it.”
Cameron said the show has well and truly cast off its reputation for being overly negative in its scoring of beers.
“We kind of look for the good in beer rather than trying to find the problems. I think we’re very much more in line with the other competitions now,” he said.
“The calibre of judges that we manage to pull together are exceptional, because we don’t need 50 or 60 judges, we have 12.”
Cameron said it was hard to decide between the champion bottled and draught winners for the top prize.
“To get a mid-strength IPA standing head and shoulders above some of those other ones was extraordinary,” he said.
“I think the only reason it didn’t win in the end was it did lack the flavour punch of the Rye IPA, but it was a very close run thing.”
Gage Roads’ medal haul also included three bronze and two silver medals for its core range of beers, and gold medals for its limited release Sea Devil Stout, Hefeweizen, and Red Rye IPA.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys at the brewery and the team effort that led to this,” commented Gage Roads chief operating officer and head brewer Aaron Heary.
“The Sydney Royal Beer and Cider Competition is one of the toughest in the country. This level of success is a ringing endorsement of the quality of beer we are producing.”
The full catalogue of results is available here.