Experts comprising brewers, beer reps and the like spent two days at the Robinson Pavilion at Claremont Showgrounds sampling and monitoring 395 draught and packaged beers from across Australia before rating each beer on appearance (3pts), aroma (5), flavour (6), style (3) and technical quality (3), with a score of 16.9 (or higher) out of 20 earning a gold medal.
Russell has lived in the area since moving here more than 12 years ago, so the million-dollar investment was an obvious choice when he and his young family decided to pursue the dream after the award-winning amateur discovered a knack for making great beer (Blasta means ‘delicious’ in Gaelic).
His 350-person Burswood venue opened in May 2018 – the first site to be approved under the Town of Victoria Park’s temporary use policy – with a microbrewery, beer hall, private tasting and alfresco areas, a coffee shop, sandpit playground and restaurant that offers a solid spread to suit all palates.
Blasta’s large range of house beers includes classics to fruit-infused sours and other creative brews, while the tap beers are also a wee bit bigger than the standard 570 and 285 milliliter pours.
Sydney-based Lion Beer won Champion Large Brewery, King Road Brewing in Oldbury, WA, won Best New Exhibitor, Esperance-based Lucky Bay Brewing Co took home the hotly-contested Best Draught Lager for its aptly named Lockdown Dark Lager released the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also clinking glassware at Friday night’s awards ceremony was Denmark’s Boston Brewing Co for the seven gold medals their beers won, as was Margaret River Brewhouse for its five golds.
Chief judge and former Feral Brewing product development manager Will Irving said pale ales and IPA entries won a heap of gold this year and sours were also well represented, the style gaining massive popularity of late.
“Hops are still king and there is still a huge drive across all brewers in producing those great, expressive hop-driven styles,” Irving said of pale ales and IPAs.
“We’ve also seen a steady increase in the number of sours being entered.
“All in all the quality and consistency across categories in 2020 has been pretty exceptional, especially when you consider all the challenges the industry has been facing this year with COVID-19.”
Irving said Blasta’s success was incredible given their four trophies weren’t the result of one banging brew.
“They weren’t just confined to one style of beer … the quality is there throughout all their entries and their success this year shows it,” he said.
“Boston Brewing Co was close at their heels this year and deserve the recognition they’ve received for their three trophies and five gold medals across a wide spread of categories. [West Leederville’s] Otherside Brewing also had a great year, particularly with its stout.”
Irving also commended WA’s dominance of the brewing awards.
“While this is very much a national competition, it’s great to see WA brewers being so competitive,” he said.
“We have seven trophy-winning breweries in our metro area this year and a further seven in our state’s South West. There’s certainly no shortage of great beer to choose from on the west coast.”
For more details and award winners visit perthroyalfoodawards.raswa.org.au
David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.