Stone & Wood Win Big At The Australian International Beer Awards

May 17, 2024, by Crafty Pint

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Stone & Wood Win Big At The Australian International Beer Awards

The beer features BIG in large letters on its cans and now it’s seen Stone & Wood go big at the Australian International Beer Awards, with Hinterland Big Pale Ale winning Champion Australian Beer at the country’s biggest beer competition.

The strong pale ale, released last month and named “my favourite S&W beer to date” by Crafty writer Mick Wüst in his review of the beer last month, is the second release in their Hinterland series and took out Best Australian Pale Ale earlier in the evening. 

The International equivalent went to Garage Project for Chance, Luck & Magic 2021, a blended, 100 percent spontaneous fermented beer that has picked up back to back medals at the World Beer Cup in the US. It was one of four trophies on the night for the Wellington-based team, including another Champion Large International Brewery gong.

Upon collecting the last trophy of the night, a somewhat merry Stone & Wood head brewer, Caolan Vaughan (pictured above), said: "My heart is beating insanely fast at the moment. All I can say is just, 'Faaarrrk!'"

He went onto thank the team at Stone & Wood as well as HPA, who supplied the hops for the beer, which he described as "a real celebration of those ingredients: Aussie malt and Aussie hops", adding to the audience: "I can't see you, but I'm excited and I'm nervous!"

 

The Brick Lane team made four trips to the stage at the 2024 Australian International Beer Awards.

  

Champion Large Australian Brewery went to Brick Lane just months after they won the equivalent trophy at The Indies. Over the course of the evening at Melbourne Showgrounds, they also celebrated trophies for two very different beers: Natural Draught picked up Best Australian Style Lager; Asylum – an imperial stout aged on Amburana – was named Best Wood and Barrel Aged Beer.

The other locals to take out Champion Australian Brewery titles were KAIJU! (Medium) on a night where their Koldsplif won Best Pilsner, King Road Brewing (Small) as the WA brewers' IPA continued to prove nigh-on unbeatable at awards, and Dollar Bill, with the tiny Ballarat-based operation picking up their third straight Gypsy trophy.

Upon collecting their trophy for Koldsplif, head brewer Nat Reeves managed to grab the mic to yell out: "Ten fucking years!" in reference to the time since they won a trophy for their Hopped Out Red in their first year of operation. Later, he "rode" horseback onto the stage for their second trophy win, after which brother and business co-owner Callum Reeves told The Crafty Pint he was "feeling amazing" while also reflecting on the challenges facing the industry in a week in which Temple Brewing announced they were to close and another Victorian brewery, Sou West in Torquay, shut their doors.

 

KAIJU!'s Nat Reeves goes in for a handshake with MC Matt Kirkegaard, with brother Callum to his left.

 

"It's very exciting; it's been a long time since we've been able to get up onstage," he said. "The brewers have been working tirelessly on improvements with quality and really leaning into our sensory analysis to make sure we're going to make the best beer that we possibly can.

"But for us and all brewers, the achievement that we really want is for breweries to return to a profitable state and just feel like there's confidence in the future of beer. Things like this, bringing the industry together and breaking bread together, and looking for the positive things in what's a beautiful industry and still a great group of people – we still all really hold each other up."

There was cause to celebrate at Crafty Towers too as our senior writer, Will Ziebell, became only the second person to win two Best Media trophies; in a lovely touch, the trophy was presented to him by fellow Crafty Pint writer Mick Wüst, the 2023 winner who had flown in from Brisbane earlier in the day.

Afterwards, Will (pictured below with awards co-host Kirrily Waldhorn) described the win as "a big thrill", and cited two of his articles, Burnout And Beer: Paying The Passion Tax (which was named as the standout among all media entries in 2024) and Chronically Crafty, on which he'd worked closely with Amanda Baker of Lost Palms and Ben Boorer of Seeker Brewing.

 

Will Ziebell became only the second double winner of the Best Media trophy, following James Atkinson, in the trophy's tenth year.

 

"They were very brave with their stories and their struggles in the industry," Will said. "For the Burnout article, everyone was anonymous, but the bravery they showed in talking about what the industry had done to them, particularly as we're going through this economic malaise makes it more important than ever."

And there was a bittersweet moment too: Deeds Brewing, who ceased operations just last week after picking up multiple AIBA trophies in 2023, won Best Specialty Beer for Shared Dreams, a mixed ferment beer brewed with white peaches. They had believed a sale was in place to save the Glen Iris business right up until the start of last week and, as they took to the stage, received a standing ovation and cheers from the 800 or so gathered at Melbourne Showgrounds.

The other Australian winners covered much of the country between them. Rocky Ridge (Best Fruit Beer for Rock Candy) and Margaret River Beer Co (Best Modern Pale Ale for In The Pines) added to the trophies that have ended up on WA’s South West over the years as the country’s oldest independent brewery, Coopers, continued to fly the flag for SA with their Best Extra Stout triumphing again.

 

Female-owned and led Reckless Brewing continue their winning habit at the country's major beer awards.

 

Moo Brew added to their already trophy-laden cabinet with Best Amber / Dark Ale for Dark Ale, while Stone & Wood’s NSW peers Seven Mile (Best International Style Pale Ale for their American Pale Ale) and Reckless Brewing (Best Modern India Pale Ale for Red IPA) also tasted success. Impressively, both had won trophies in 2023 as well, but for different beers.

And, while serial trophy-winners Moffat Beach had to make do with a Consistency Of Excellence award for their Shadow Of The Moon, Queensland were represented in the trophy count by newcomers Perentie (Best Amber / Dark Lager for Komodo Black) and Valley Hops (Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer for Summer Rapture).

Australia could arguably claim a major hand in one of the international trophies too as Jing-A, the Beijing-based brewing company whose head brewer is expat Melburnian Wilson Hede (featuring in an article on this site next week), picked up Best Specialty Flavoured Beer.

The other Champion International Brewery titles saw a repeat of last year’s New Zealand clean sweep, with Garage Project joined by Behemoth Brewing (Medium) and Three Sisters Brewery (Small). Outer Range, from Colorado, won Best New Exhibitor.

 

Three Sisters were one of the New Zealand brewing companies who completed another clean sweep of the Champion International Brewery trophies.

 

The 2024 competition, run by Melbourne Royal, attracted more than 2,500 beer entries from a record-breaking 400-plus breweries from 23 countries. They were judged by 84 beer experts from around the globe, including 15 international judges from nine countries.

“The pinnacle event for celebrating excellence, hard work and innovation in the beer and brewing industry, this year’s Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards was an incredible success with a record number of brewers showcasing their passion, and precision for crafting some of the world’s best beer,” said Darren Keating, Melbourne Royal Executive General Manager, Agriculture. 

“We are immensely grateful for the extraordinary support from the beer industry and thank all brewers, judges, stewards, sponsors and event staff for ensuring this world-class event remains at the highest level. 

“Winning a trophy or medal at the coveted Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards opens many commercial doors and inspires consumer trends, and I extend my congratulations to all winners of medals and trophies.” 


You can view the full list of trophy-winners below, with the rundown of all medalists available via the Melbourne Royal website. And, if you’re in or around Melbourne and reading this has made you thirsty, The Crafty Pint’s Pint of Origin festival is still running at 21 venues across the city until May 19.


Full List Of 2024 AIBA Trophy Winners

Dollar Bill made it three Gypsy Brewer titles in a row, complete with another shimmy from co-owner Fiona Nolle.

 

  • Best Australian Style Lager
    Natural Draught – Brick Lane Brewing Co 
  • Best European Style Lager (Excluding Pilsner)
    The Prince of Dort-ness – Quarter Celtic Brewpub, New Mexico, United States
  • Best International Lager
    Prodigal Citra DDHL – Huli Brewing, China
  • Best Pilsner
    Koldsplif – KAIJU!
  • Best Amber / Dark Lager
    Komodo Black – Perentie Brewing Co
  • Best Amber / Dark Ale
    Dark Ale – Moo Brew
  • Best Porter or Stout
    Coopers Best Extra Stout – Coopers
  • Best Reduced / Low Alcohol Beer
    Summer Rapture – Valley Hops Brewing
  • Best Non-Alcohol Beer
    Free Damm – Damm S.A, Catalonia, Spain
  • Best Wheat Beer
    HAIDILAO Original Wheat Beer – Haidilao, Beijing, China
  • Best Belgian / French-Style Ale 
    Chance, Luck & Magic 2021 – Garage Project, Wellington, New Zealand

 

King Road owners Dave and Bev McKee with head brewer Steven Wearing and their Champion Small Australian Brewery title. All Dave needs now is for his beloved Man City to make it four in a row at the weekend.

 

  • Best Fruit Beer
    Rock Candy – Rocky Ridge
  • Best Wood and Barrel Aged Beer
    Asylum – Brick Lane
  • Best Specialty Beer
    Shared Dreams – Deeds Brewing
  • Best Specialty Flavoured Beer
    Tropical Nectar – Jing-A Brewing, Beijing, China
  • Best Australian Style Pale Ale 
    Hinterland Big Pale – Stone & Wood
  • Best Modern Pale Ale
    In The Pines – Margaret River Beer Co
  • Best International Style Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale – Seven Mile Brewing Co
  • Best British or European Style Ale (Excluding India Pale Ale & Pale Ale)
    Pickle Beer – Garage Project
  • Best Traditional India Pale Ale
    King Road IPA – King Road Brewing Co
  • Best Modern India Pale Ale
    Red IPA – Reckless Brewing
  • Best Design - Label / Surface Graphic
    Monsuta Okinawa Supreme Premium Beer – Endeavour - Pinnacle Drinks

 

More than 800 people gathered at Melbourne Showgrounds for the 2024 beer awards.

 

  • Best Media
    Will Ziebell – The Crafty Pint
  • Gary Sheppard Memorial Trophy for The Best New Exhibitor
    Outer Range Brewing, Colorado, United States
  • Champion Victorian Brewery
    Brick Lane
  • Consistency of Excellence
    • Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine 2023 – Hawkers
    • Triple Berry Nectar – Jing-A Brewing
    • King Road Pale Ale – King Road
    • Shadow Of The Moon Eclipse Strong Pale Ale – Moffat Beach Brewing Co
    • The Reveller – Revel Brewing
    • Coopers Sparkling Ale – Coopers Brewery
    • Double IPA – Philter Brewing
  • Australian Gypsy Brewer Award
    Dollar Bill Brewing
  • Champion Small International Brewery
    Three Sisters Brewery, Taranaki, New Zealand
  • Champion Small Australian Brewery
    King Road Brewing Co
  • Champion Medium International Brewery
    Behemoth Brewing Company, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Champion Medium Australian Brewery
    KAIJU! Beer
  • Champion Large International Brewery
    Garage Project
  • Champion Large Australian Brewery
    Brick Lane
  • Champion International Beer
    Chance, Luck & Magic 2021 – Garage Project
  • Champion Australian Beer 
    Hinterland Big Pale – Stone & Wood
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