South East Queensland breweries Black Hops and 4 Hearts took the honours from some of their bigger regional counterparts in a unique brewing competition run to celebrate Oktoberfest.
The competition saw eight of the region’s most established breweries brew either a true-to-style Pilsner or Märzen with the beers voted on by beer drinkers in a series of tap takeovers.
The event culminated over the last two weekends at Oktoberfest Brisbane, during which a crowd approaching 40,000 also had the chance to vote on their favourite version.
When the public votes were tallied yesterday, the Burleigh Heads’ Black Hops took the honours in the Marzen category, while Ipswich’s 4 Hearts won with its Pilsner.
Black Hops brewer Michael McGovern said it was an absolute honour to be a part of the inaugural Bavarian Brewing Competition.
“As a brewer, I have incredible respect for these traditional beer styles and it is their simplicity that makes them challenging to brew well,” he said.
“We are incredibly stoked to win over the public vote with our Marzen and to share that podium with our good mates at 4 Hearts Brewing.”
4 Hearts brewer Rob Skeat said described brewing for the Bavarian competition was ‘a blast’.
“The Reinheitsgebot [Bavarian beer purity law] is an integral part of our approach to brewing,” he said.
“While not always strictly adhered to, all of our beers are designed around the traditional ingredients of beer in order to showcase the variety and intensity of flavours available from malt, hops & yeast.
“For us it means a lot to win the Pilsner category as this competition included some of the best breweries in South East Queensland.
“I had the pleasure of drinking all the entries and can honestly say there wasn’t a bad beer among them. So to have our Pilsner selected as the winner is very rewarding.”
The vote saw the two breweries get up in a popular vote over big names such as Burleigh, Green Beacon, Balter, Brouhaha and Slipstream. The beer was poured and voted on at mini tap takeovers at pubs as far afield as Black Bunny Kitchen on the Sunshine Coast through to The Pourhouse in Maitland.
Oktoberfest Brisbane Festival Director, Kim Zoulek, said the response to the competition had been overwhelming.
“Oktoberfest Brisbane aims to be the Australia’s most authentic Oktoberfest experience, and share the culture of Bavaria,” Kim said.
“Beer is a big part of that experience and we aim to reinforce German brewing traditions, while celebrating the best of Australian brewing.”
“We were thrilled with the response from brewers, and the venues that got involved. The feedback from the public on the beers has been terrific. We can’t wait to run the competition again next year.”
Oktoberfest Brisbane has been named by National Geographic as one of the world’s Top 10 Oktoberfests.
A limited amount of the competition beers are still available. Venues interested in serving locally brewed versions of the two German lager styles can contact competition organisers.