The 2015 Craft Beer Awards have been run and won, with the craft beer industry coming together on 23 October to celebrate. The results were an interesting change from the expected, with the top beer of the night a low ABV, soured ale from the well-known Feral Brewing Co. from Western Australia.The family owned and operated microbrewery, took out Champion Craft Beer, as well as the Champion Wheat Beer, for their sour brew Watermelon Warhead.

Made in the German Berliner Weisse style, the 2.9% ABV sour German wheat beer is infused with half a tonne of local Swan Valley watermelons before spending 12 weeks maturing in Chardonnay barrels to create a “fresh, spritzy and refreshing beer”.

Accepting the award, Brendan Varis, from Feral Brewing Co. (pictured), said that the brewery were proud to win the award and appreciative of the recognition for all the work they put in to brewing.

“We are out there like a lot of craft brewers, saying that we make beer that we love, that we like to drink ourselves and we have personal respect for,” he says. “This particular beer absolutely personifies this, along with the critical work we put into perfecting this beer.”

While sour beers are nothing new, the style has always lived in the shadow of the dominant, hop-driven trend for IPAs and pale ales in Australia. The US craft beer market has been producing a multitude of sour beers for some time now, and according to Chris McNamara, Executive Officer of the Craft Beer Industry Association (organisers of the awards) it is about time the trend spread to Australian drinkers, encouraging them to explore more craft beer – especially those who find hops are not to their taste.

“It has taken a while, but we are finally seeing the rise of sour beers in Australia,” says, the national body behind the Craft Beer Awards. “We are really excited to be giving this award to such a unique and flavoursome beer. We hope it inspires more people to get out there and try more locally produced craft beers.”

A testament to the Australian craft beer industry and its growth, the second year of the awards saw even more entries that the first competition in 2014.

“There were 91 breweries that entered this year’s awards with over 380 different brews,” says David Cryer of Cryermalt, the presenting partner of Craft Beer Awards. “There is a wealth of top talent right here in our backyard; and it is an exciting time to be supporting such a booming industry.”


CHAMPION BEER: Feral Brewing Co. – Watermelon Warhead (WA)


CHAMPION MEDIUM BREWERY: Modus Operandi Brewing Co. (NSW)

CHAMPION SMALL BREWERY: Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (WA)



CHAMPION AMBER DARK ALE: 4 Pines Brewing Co. – Keller Door American Amber Ale (NSW)

CHAMPION DARK LAGER: Hunter Beer Co. – Hunter Bock (NSW)

CHAMPION FRENCH BELGIAN STYLE: Two Birds Brewing – Pink Boots Society Victoria Cherry Saison (VIC)

CHAMPION IPA: Modus Operandi Brewing Co. – Zoo Feeder IPA (NSW)

CHAMPION LIGHT LAGER: Little Creatures Brewing – Pilsner (WA)

CHAMPION PALE ALE: Modus Operandi Brewing Co. – Simmy Minion (NSW)

CHAMPION PORTER STOUT: FogHorn Brewhouse – Sligo Extra Stout (NSW)

CHAMPION SPECIALTY BEER: Newstead Brewing Co. – 3 Quarter Time (QLD)

CHAMPION WHEAT: Feral Brewing Co. – Watermelon Warhead (WA)

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