Melbourne's Dainton Brewery has won champion beer at the Independent Beer Awards for the second time in three years.
Renowned for its skilled execution of strong and experimental beers, this time Dainton won The Indies' top honours with its Triple Dry Hopped Double Red Eye Rye, which had already taken out the trophy for best strong beer.
"We're stoked. It was brewed for the third anniversary of our taphouse in Carrum Downs, so we put a lot of hops into it – we really didn't hold back on this one," founder Dan Dainton said.
Indie Beer Day
The awards ceremony in Melbourne drew to a close the 2019 instalment of the indie brewers' annual conference, BrewCon, where members revealed a new initiative to rally drinkers behind their cause.
October 26 will now be known as Indie Beer Day, which aims to highlight the Australian ownership and community-mindedness that indie brewers argue sets them apart from the multinationals.
The announcement came against the backdrop of the latest sale of an indie to a major.
Minor leagues, major stakes
Late in August, Japanese brewer Asahi purchased Green Beacon Brewing Co., resulting in the Brisbane outfit's beers being excluded from competition at The Indies and returned to sender.
Green Beacon has an impressive record on the competition circuit, but leaves behind no shortage of brewing chops in the independent movement.
Fixation Brewing Company, the IPA-focused offshoot of indie flag bearer Stone & Wood, won Champion Large Brewery with an array of medals that included gold for The 86 hazy IPA.
Fixation managing partner Tom Delmont said that particular gong could not have been better timed for The 86, coming on the eve of its national release in cans.
"The 86 has been the most popular beer at our Collingwood taproom, The Incubator, and we packaged it yesterday as the first beer in our new Freshly Hatched series," Delmont said.
Over a thousand entries were judged by a respected panel of national and international beer professionals to recognise the best beers and award the champion beer trophy to the most outstanding entry in each class.
This year saw the introduction of a new category to recognise the significant number of brewpubs in Australia and their integral role in the Australian craft beer segment.
Sydney's All Hands Brewing House won the gong for Champion Independent Brewpub, a category reserved for pubs, taprooms and restaurants that brew beer on the premises, with at least 75 per cent of it sold onsite.
But it was undoubtedly Dan Dainton who stole the show at the ceremony, in more ways than one.
A cause to celebrate
Egged on by his peers, the champion brewer got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend when he took the podium for a second time.
"When we won the first trophy I said to Jess, 'sorry I didn't take you up on stage. Next time I'll take you up and I'l propose'," he said.
"Then we won champion beer, and I like to think I'm a man of my word! She's the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, so it wasn't a regrettable decision at all."
James Atkinson is creator of the Drinks Adventures podcast and a previous editor of Australian Brews News and drinks industry publication TheShout. A Certified Cicerone® and 2017 winner of the Australian International Beer Awards media prize, James regularly contributes to other publications including Halliday, Good Food, QantasLink Spirit and more.
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