German brewer tops field in Aussie competition

Odds were that most competitors in the 2007 Australian International Beer Awards were going to come away disappointed.

After all, more than 900 beers were entered in the event, held by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RAS), that finished up Thursday night in Melbourne. The competition is regarded as one of the top handful of such events in the world.

The grand champion trophy this year went to Weihenstephan Kristall from the Weihenstephan Brewery of Germany, which won the wheat beer category. The brew is a crystal-clear one, filtered and with somewhat fruity notes.

The brewery, whose entry won the best specialty beer award in Melbourne in 2003, is the oldest operating brewery in the world. It was founded in 1040 by Benedictine monks in their monastary overlooking the town of Freising.

The awards were established in 1987 to reward excellence in the field of brewing and to assist in the promotion of the brewing industry. There are 14 trophies awarded. Judging of the packaged entries were held from March 13 to 21, and for draft entries from March 27 to 29. The other major winners:

• Premier's Trophy: (for best Victorian beer) Stella Artois, Belgium
Champion Australasian Brewery: Colonial Brewing Co., Australia
Champion Large International Brewery: Deschutes Brewery, Oregon
Champion Small International Brewery: Colonial Brewing Co., Australia
Champion Specialty Beer: Feral White, Feral Brewing Co., Australia
Champion Lager: Timisoreana, Ursus Breweries, Romania
Champion Ale: Little Creatures Pale Ale, Little Creatures Brewing, Australia
• Champion Stout: Obsidian Stout, Deschutes Brewery, Oregon
Champion Porter: Redoak Old Baltic Porter, Redoak Pty Ltd., Australia
• Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer: Mr. Natural, Wig & Pen Brewery & Tavern, Australia

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