By James Atkinson

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and its Matilda Bay craft beer subsidiary made a strong showing at last night's Australian International Beer Awards. 

Top AIBA gongs went to Alpha Pale Ale draught brewed by Matilda Bay and Oud Beersel Oude Geuze brewed by Oud Beersel from Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium, which took home the titles of Champion Australian Beer and Champion International Beer, respectively.

CUB meanwhile took out the trophy for Champion Large Australian Brewery.

"I think beer's back at the heart of our business and we spend a lot of time and focus on getting the beers right," CUB chief brewer, Jaideep Chandrasekharan told TheShout.

"What was really pleasing was seeing all the breweries being awarded – Cascade, Abbotsford, Yatala, Matilda Bay. I think that just goes to show that we are really focused on the quality of our beer across the whole scale of our operations," he said.

Matilda Bay head brewer Scott Vincent told TheShout the latest accolade for Alpha Pale Ale is indicative of the brewing team's dedication and emphasis on quality raw materials.

"It's all about hops. We spent a lot of time with the hop growers this year, chatting to them. You get great hops, you get great ingredients, use them right and hopefully things work really well," he said.

Now in its 21st year, the AIBA is the pre-eminent showcase for premium beer and brewing excellence in the Asia Pacific region, and is coordinated annually by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and the University of Ballarat. A record number of entries were received in 2013; over 1,480 beers from more than 230 brewers in 35 countries, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year.

The judging panel was headed by current Craft Beer Industry Association chairman Brad Rogers. A total of 42 judges participated from Australia, Norway, Belgium, United States, United Kingdom, Japan and New Zealand.

"Stand out classes this year included beers competing for Best Stout, with 49 medals awarded, Best Amber/Dark Ale with 48 medals awarded, Best International Pale Ale with 43 medals awarded and of course Best Belgium & French Style Ale with 55 medals awarded, 11 of these gold," he said.

"We are also pleased to have another first this year with a gold medal awarded in the Gluten Free Beer Class. This is a great result and a reflection that this beer is of the highest standard and quality in its category," he said.

RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan said the AIBA draws international recognition from the beer industry and showcases the commitment to excellence from brewers.

"Each year has seen standards continually improve and brewers continually exceed our expectations," he said.

"This year in response to both Australian and international brewing industry changes and trends, a medium sized brewery category was introduced recognising, in particular, the global growth in the craft sector."

A complete list of winners is available here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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