By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier

A Sydney brewery that has only been in existence for a matter of months has taken home four of the eleven available accolades at the inaugural Craft Beer Awards.

Launched in July in Mona Vale, Modus Operandi Brewing Co dominated the inaugural Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) awards held on Friday at the Giant Dwarf Theatre.

As well as being deemed Labelmakers Champion Amber/Dark Ale, Beer and Brewer Champion IPA and Hopco Champion Small Brewery, Modus Operandi was also bestowed with the ultimate award of the Kegstar Champion Australian Craft Beer.

Also from Sydney, 4 Pines Brewing Company triumphed over 92 competitors in the AIBA Pale Ale category to be crowned champion with its ESB.

4 Pines and Two Birds Brewing were named joint winners of the Bintani Champion Large Brewery award, with Two Birds' Taco beer also taking out the Champion Speciality Beer gong.

Nail Brewing continued its run of show success, being named Cryer Malt Champion Medium Brewery.

Industry stalwart Willie Simpson was bestowed with the CBIA Services to Australian Craft Beer Award, recognising his lengthy contribution to the industry both as a brewer, craft beer advocate and as a reviewer. On receiving his award, Simpson said, “I’m really very humbled and honoured to be the inaugural recipient of this award. The craft beer industry is really finding its legs in Australia and it’s a great time to be part of it."

The 2014 Craft Beer Award category winners are:

Kegstar Champion Australian Craft Beer
‘Former Tenant’, Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)

AIBA Champion Pale Ale
‘ESB’, 4 Pines Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)

Labelmakers Champion Amber/Dark Ale
‘Former Tenant’, Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)

Champion Porter and Stout
‘Black Lung IV’, Moon Dog Brewing (Melbourne, VIC)

Champion Speciality Beer
‘Taco’, Two Birds Brewing (Melbourne, VIC)

Beer and Brewer Champion IPA
‘Zoo Feeder’, Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)

Champion French and Belgian style
‘Saison’, La Sirene (Melbourne, VIC)

Hopco Champion Small Brewery (up to 49,999 litres/per annum)
Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)

Cryer Malt Champion Medium Brewery (50,000 to 299,999 litres/per annum)
Nail Brewing Australia (Perth, WA)

Bintani Champion Large Brewery (300,000 to 40m litres/per annum)
Joint winners: 4 Pines Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW) and Two Birds Brewing (Melbourne, VIC)

CBIA Services to Australian Craft Beer
Willie Simpson

The winning beers for each category were determined by 25 judges from craft breweries around Australian and New Zealand, with all tastings conducted ‘blind’ to ensure an equal playing field. In order to be in the running for a Champion beer trophy, beers needed to be awarded a ‘Gold’ rating. As there were no gold beers in the categories of Label Makers Champion Wheat, Champion Light Coloured Lager and Champion Dark Coloured Lager, no trophies were given. It was from the category winners that the Champion Australian Craft Beer was chosen. 

CBIA chair Peta Fielding said there were more than 280 beers from 80 breweries submitted for the Craft Beer Awards.

"We were blown away by not only the quality but the variety of brewers we have in Australia.  We really feel the awards offer a unique opportunity for Australian craft breweries to be benchmarked against their local peers and are proud the CBIA can help draw attention to these talented brewers,” she said.

The Shout Team

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

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