Perth Royal Beer Show 2017

Friday night was the Perth Royal Beer Awards Presentation Dinner and therefore the ultimate excuse for everyone in the local beer industry to come together for a few drinks.

Held at Beaumonde on the Point in the new hub on Riverside Drive which is also home to Ku De Ta Perth, The Point Bar & Grill and 8 on the Point Chinese Restaurant, almost 300 guests came to celebrate good beer.

This year over both commercial and amateur sections, more than 600 entries were received and among them almost 50 gold medals, more than 100 silvers and over 160 bronze medals were awarded.

I was also excited and very, very nervous, to be the MC for the evening. It was a unique experience for sure and I have to say that the behind the scenes work that goes on to make this evening possible is staggering! Thanks to Kim Borgogno, competition and event coordinator for the Royal Agricultural Society of WA and Justin Fox, chief judge for the beer awards and last year’s MC who helped me out so much!

[ Full Results for Perth Royal Beer Awards 2017 here ]

Feral Brewing Co. took out the major brewery trophies, winning Best West Australian Brewery and Best Commercial Brewery and also took out three more trophies, winning Best Ale Packaged for Finn Diesel, Best Ale Draught for Razorback and Best Stout Packaged for Boris, their Russian Imperial Stout. In total Feral picked up four gold medals, a half dozen silvers and five bronze adding to their already impressive medal collection over the years.

Photo by Feral Brewing Co

Brewhouse Margaret River were also big winners for the evening with their Peter Coupan Barrel Aged Stout taking out the trophies for Best Commercial Beer of Show, Best WA Beer of Show and Best Stout Draught. But this wasn’t the only stout that impressed the judges, their non-barrel aged version, the Coupan Imperial Stout and the Undie’s Oatmeal Stout also received gold medals. Overall the brewery also was awarded another four silvers and a bronze.

Best West Australian Beer of Show

Trophy Winner

Brewhouse Margaret River “Peter Coupan Barrel Aged Stout”

Second Place

Feral Brewing “Finn Diesel”

Third Place

Feral Brewing “Razorback”

Artisan Brewing “Barrel Aged Imperial Flanders Brown”

Best Commercial Brewery

Trophy Winner

Feral Brewing

Second Place

Artisan Brewing

Brewhouse Margaret River

Third Place

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery


Nail Brewing

Nail Brewing collected two gold medals for Nail Red across both packaged and draught and the newest addition to the core range line up, VPA received silver medals in both package and draught categories. Flaming Lamington, the chilli and coconut stout, also grabbed a silver. Nail Brewing also tied for third place for Best Commercial Brewery and Best West Australian Brewery.

[Full Disclosure: I work for Nail Brewing]

Artisan Brewing from Denmark, who specialise in Belgian style ales, received three gold medals and tied for third place for Best Commercial Beer of Show for their Barrel Aged Imperial Flanders Brown and tied for second place for Best West Australian Brewery and Best Commercial Brewery. Their Tripel Treating: A Belgain in Mango Land, the collaboration beer made with The Monk and Cellarbrations Superstore grabbed a gold medal and it joins the other gold it won at this years Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery who are about to launch their new core range beers to coincide with their fifth birthday mid-July, will be kicking off celebrations early with their Australian Lager receiving a trophy for Best Lager Draught and a bunch of silvers for packaging and design. Their West Coast IPA was awarded a silver and a gold for packaged and draught versions respectively and they got two more silvers and a bronze.

Photo from Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

Best West Australian Brewery

Trophy Winner

Feral Brewing

Second Place

Artisan Brewing

Brewhouse Margaret River

Third Place

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery

Nail Brewing

Boston Brewery, who recently underwent a major re-brand, won the trophy for Best Packaging and Design for their Right Nut Brown ale cans whilst their Boondie Rye Pale Ale received a silver medal.

The re-brand was done with local company Zendoke who has also worked with Whipper Snapper Distillery, Nail Brewing and the soon-to-open Nowhereman Brewing.

To go alongside their silver for packaging and design, the Boondie Rye Pale Ale also picked up a gold medal in the category for American Style Pale Ale.

Photo from Boston Brewery Facebook page

For the second year in a row Homestead Brewery was awarded the trophy for Best Wheat Beer Draught for their Kaiser’s Choice Hefeweizen. Gage Roads Pils 3.5 took out the trophy for Best Reduced Alcohol Packaged and Best Lager Packaged went to Lion’s James Boag’s Premium Lager.

Perth Royal Beer Show: Awards

On Friday 31 July the River Room at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre was filled with some of the countries best people in beer. The occasion was the Perth Royal Beer Show awards dinner.

This year saw a significant increase in entries in both the commercial and amatuer sections of the competition, upwards of 40%. When Sean Symons, chief judge, spoke on the night he commented that not only had the number of entries increased but “year on year there is a steady increase in quality”.

“Great beer is simple and elegant”

Sean Symons, Chief Judge Perth Royal Beer Show

Of the 186 medals awarded in the commercial section of the competition, 128 of them (if my math is correct) were awarded to WA breweries.

The Crafty Pint did a great wrap up of the awards which you can read here.

I spent a little time looking through the results and here’s what I counted –

WA breweries amassed 128 medals – 13 Gold, 59 Silver and 56 Bronze. Nail Brewing took out the most medals with 13, closely followed by Feral Brewing with 11.

Nail Brewing – 1 Gold | 8 Silver | 4 Bronze

Feral Brewing – 1 Gold | 6 Silver | 4 Bronze

The Old Brewery – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 3 Bronze

Homestead Brewery – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Mash Brewery – 2 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Gage Roads Brewing – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Colonial Brewing – 2 Gold | 2 Silver | 3 Bronze

Eagle Bay Brewing – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Duckstein Brewery – 1 Gold | 5 Bronze

Boston Brewery – 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Billabong Brewery – 1 Gold | 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Young Henry’s Beer Farm – 3 Silver | 2 Bronze

Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen – 1 Silver | 5 Bronze

Cowaramup Brewery – 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Northbridge Brewing – 3 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cape Bouvard Brewing – 2 Silver | 1 Bronze

Indian Ocean Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cheeky Monkey Brewery – 1 Silver | 2 Bronze

Matsos Brewery – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Elmars in the Valley – 2 Silver

Last Drop Brewery – 2 Bronze

Blue Mile Brewing – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Little Creatures Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver

Neighbourhood Brewing | 1 Gold 

Old Coast Road Brewery – 1 Bronze

Bickley Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

Blackwood Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

The Grove – 1 Bronze

The trophy tally was nine for WA breweries with trophies going to –

Indian Ocean Brewing for Mumme Returns

Little Creatures for Return of the Dread

Nail Brewing for Flaming Lamington

Mash Brewery for Purple Stain

Gage Roads Brewing for Pils 3.5

Billabong Brewery for Billabong Wheat

Duckstein Brewery for Duckstein Hefeweizen

Mash Brewery for Copy Cat and Best WA Brewery 

For the full list of results click here.



Weekend Reading #41

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days and hope that you will too.

Beer Pulse | Brewers Association enacts Sam Adams provisions as brewery nears threshold

Another interesting element in the ongoing debate on the definition of craft beer with the American Brewers Association raising the production level for brewers to call themselves “craft”. It’s a change that appears to impact just one brewer right now so what, if anything, does this mean?

Beeroness | Tiramisu Made with Beer

This sounds like another cracking recipe and Jackie introduces it with some great words on how wonderfully different the beer community is. As I’ve said many times over, beer people are the best people.

Crafty Pint | Pirates Plunder the West

The Perth Royal Beer Show awards were held last week and amongst the winners were South Australian brewery Pirate Life and Mash went back to back in taking out Best WA Brewery.

Draft Magazine | One Nation Under Lager

From pale ales to IPAs and now session ales and sour beers, as beer geeks we enthusiastically throw ourselves into the current beer style of the moment. At the same time though we are also on the look out to see what other styles are coming up. Is lager the next big thing? I’d certainly welcome it. Our beer fridge at home is often stocked with big hoppy beers, boozy malt monsters and bottles that often have the word “imperial” or “smoked” on them. The fridge could certainly do with more lagers and pilsners.

Perth Royal Beer Show: Judging

In April I received an email with the subject line “Invitation to Officiate as an Associate Judge – Perth Royal Beer Show 2015”. I was delighted, a bit nervous and most of all felt pretty lucky to have been considered by the Perth Royal Beer Show (PRBS) committee. Being an associate judge basically means I have my training wheels on. It is an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and hopefully I can continue on to become a certified judge. PRBS Associate Judge badge

Judging was held over two days, last Monday and Tuesday, and it was an amazing experience and a surprisingly exhausting one. It turns out that tasting beers from 9am to 4:30pm is a really tiring thing but, as many of the experienced judges told me, no one except the other judges will actually believe you. Judging panels were made up of four to six people with at least three of those being certified judges. There were six panels of judges which, I believe, is an increase from previous years and that is a good thing because the number of entries into the show continues to rise year on year. Each judge has their own table, on it is a number system since the beers are served blind so you need to know which is which. There is also, of course, plenty of water, cheese and crackers to ensure judges don’t end up sideways. I don’t think I’ve consumed so many bite sized cubes of cheese ever before in my life.  Beers come out in flights of anywhere up to eight or nine beers within the same category.

PRBS Judging table

I was on a panel with Justin Fox from Colonial Brewing, Brendan O’Sullivan from Mash/3 Ravens and Will Irving from Feral Brewing. In short, some amazing palates and all round good guys.

Will, Justin and Brendan at PBRS Judging

The judges were all really helpful and made efforts to help me through my first judging experience, something that I very much appreciated as it was a little daunting so it was a lot easier with friendly faces and plenty of advice. Though I have had a lot of beers, written my share of tasting notes for myself and discuss beer in a daily basis, it does feel like a whole different ball game when sitting at a table and blinding assessing the beer in front of you.  In fact there is a lot happening when you are judging beers.


It’s one thing to give a rating on Untappd but quite another to allocate scores in a judging scenario. At times I found my notes on a beer didn’t quite meet up to the score I had given so there is certainly a learning curve just in the scoring.


You have to be mindful of how much time you spend on each beer. As much as I would have liked to have lingered on each beer for a long time you just don’t have that luxury. I’m certainly not saying there isn’t enough time but as a beginner it’s something I had to be conscious of. As much as I would have liked to have given each beer thirty minutes of my time I’d still be there now if that was the case; I’d also be very drunk.


There are times when I taste or smell a beer and there’s just something I can’t put a word to. I search my brain looking for the word, it feels like it is on the tip of my tongue, pardon the obvious pun, until I either find it or finish the beer.


Not only does the beer need to be tasting great but it needs to fit within the style guidelines for the category of beer it is entered into. Each style has an acceptable range of appearance, aroma and flavours so you can have a beautiful tasting beer that doesn’t fit into the category and would therefore not be scored as high if it had fit the guidelines.

Big thanks to the Perth Royal Beer Show committee for inviting me to be an Associate Judge, I loved every minute!

Beer + Awards

Hitching a seat at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony with the team at Feral Brewing, tweeting with Jayne Lewis from Two Birds and finishing the night at Five Bar … yup, that’s a Friday night

Beautiful Three Course Dinner

Before I start I want to send a big THANK YOU to Feral Brewing

who so kindly offered me their spare seat at this years

Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony held at The Parmelia Hilton.

I arrived in the city a little early and found myself yawning so went on a mission to find a convenience store to purchase an energy drink. On my travels I ran into Mal, Head Brewer from Colonial Brewing, and brewers from Gage Roads who were on route to The Print Hall for a beer. They invited me along and beer certainly sounded a lot tastier than some horrible fluorescent energy drink.

After a pint of Colonial Alt Beer I headed to the Hilton for the big night. [Click here for a full list of the evenings winners].

The evening started with Swan Draught and Cowaramup Pilsener before we took our seats for dinner. I sat beside Jayne Lewis from Two Birds Brewing who’d been in town for the judging and having met on Twitter it was nice to make the leap into the real world. On that note don’t forget to follow Jayne on Twitter. Jayne tweets more frequently and with far more interesting stuff than I do. I got to witness her amazing high speed smart phone typing skills as trophies flew out in quick succession.

Sitting with the team from Feral, I got the chance to catch up with Brendan Varis who laughed at my story of selling Hop Hog to a customer at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough.

Customer: “What can you tell me about this?” [points to Feral Hop Hog decal]

Me: “It’s fucking awesome”

Customer: “I’ll have a pint”

Entrees arrived and I’d been looking forward to a spicy Tandoori Chicken match with Feral Hop Hog but they went rather lighter on the spices than I had hoped. Perhaps it’s just my palate-slaughtering use of chillies at home that ruined my expectations. All in all it was still a tasty dish and for those wondering, because I had to look it up too, “timbale” is kinda fancy speak for “round” and “paratha” is Indian flat bread. Fancy!

One of the highlights of the night had to be the cheers, woops and clapping from The Monk Brewery & Kitchen table as they were awarded the trophy for Best Ale Draught for their The Chief – Amarillo Edition and pulled in a few 2nd places in big categories too.

The other highlight was being witness to a healthy dose of man-love from the guys at Billabong Brewery for each of the 4 trophies they picked up – Best WA Beer of the Show, Best Commercial Beer of the Show, Best Wheat Beer Packaged and Best Wheat Beer Draught.

Mains were delicious, I think the only comment from our table was the feeling of being fooled in thinking the parsnip was another prawn spring roll!

After cleaning my plate of entree and main, and our table had requested yet another carafe of Feral Hop Hog, I was struggling to find room to fit dessert. A choice had to be made so I merely sampled the Beeramisu, lovely creamy and soft, and instead enjoyed a full glass of The Monk Porter. After all, there has to be room for beer! It poured beautifully, a nice thick head, with soft chocolate and caramel flavours that was perfect for finishing the night on … (or least finishing dinner on before catching up with Five Bar’s chef, beer dude and all round top guy, Mitch for a beer or two at Five!)