In 2021, The Royal Queensland Beer Awards invited top brewers from around Australia to compete for national recognition. Supported by a team of brewers, beer writers and industry figures, the competition has become a respected guide for beer drinkers. Sydney Brewery put on a particularly good show this year, taking home Grand Champion Beer, Champion Lager, and the Hop Products Australia (HPA) trophy for Champion Small/Medium Brewery.
As industry leaders in quality, craftsmanship, flavour and diversity, we are committed to increasing our level of collaboration with like-minded brewers and celebrating their successes. So we’ve evolved our sales strategy to directly benefit Aussie brewers, signing up as a supporting partner of several industry events including the 2021 Royal Queensland Beer Awards. The Awards is Queensland’s premier beer competition which continues to enjoy growth with consistently high-quality entries.
Sydney Brewery beat a total of 485 entries from 71 different breweries to take the title of Grand Champion Beer. They are all about celebrating what makes their city unique. Sydney Brewery pour every pint with pride, knowing they never compromise on the quality of their raw materials or processes. After giving them a bit of time to celebrate their big win, we got in touch with Head Brewer Scott Hayward to congratulate the team and ask a few questions about their award-winning beers.
Q: Congrats on your recent success at the 2021 Royal Queensland Beer Awards. We’re glad we were able to support your success by sponsoring the trophy for Champion Small/Medium Brewery. What does an award like this mean to you?
A: Thanks, winning the Champion Small/Medium Brewery trophy is a great indication that we are doing the right things. We feel like we have been close a few times before, but to actually get there is a huge honour and recognition for the team.
Q: You also won Grand Champion Beer and Champion Lager for your Pilsner. It can be difficult to hide faults in such a light style of beer. How do you do it?
A: There is definitely not much room to hide faults in this category. We believe we have got our Pilsner balanced well and where it needs to be, and focus on our processes such as hygeine, handling, fermentation control, etc to ensure we keep it there.
Q: You obviously delivered a hop intensity that was well balanced with the rest of the beer. What’s your favourite hop to brew with at the moment? And if it’s not one of our proprietary varieties, what’s your favourite uniquely Australian flavour hop?
A: My favourite hop at the moment, and has been for quite some time, is Amarillo®. With the Australian hop varieties it is hard to go past Galaxy® (I’d imagine this would be a fairly standard response), but I am also liking Eclipse® in the right combinations and your experimental variety HPA033 is showing some promise.
Q: Interstate entries for the 2021 Royal Queensland Beer Awards doubled compared to 2020. What was your main motivation for entering this year?
A: My main focus for entering any beer awards is unbiased industry feedback. It’s also great to get the recognition of quality beers, but the biggest takeout is identification of areas to improve.
Q: You’re industrial warehouse with it’s exposed brick, concrete wall and street art is set up so that beer drinkers can watch your brewers at work in Surry Hills. Does the team thrive under a little extra pressure, or do they prefer the peace and quiet of an early morning start?
A: I’d like to think that most of the time we are mainly focussed on the job at hand, it’s pretty common to be doing our thing and look up to see a small audience but the focus and motivation is on making a quality beer.
Q: The brewery name suggests you are pretty proud of your city. How does the boutique Sydney lifestyle influence the specialty beers you make?
A: We are definitely proud of our city, and country. The great thing about Sydney is that it is very diverse and has endless influences.
Q: You also make award winning ciders. Are there any plans to release a hopped cider st some stage?
A: We have talked about releasing a hopped cider but haven’t got any solid plans as yet, we do have a Cidery Bar at Rydges World Square so it does make sense to try something different.
Q: Sydney Brewery is renowned for having a constant rotation of seasonal beers. Do you have any new and exciting beers or ciders in the works that we should keep an eye out for?
A: We do have a history of releasing seasonal beers (and keeping them in our core range), but are in the process of implementing a more seasonal based rotation including 2-3 seasonals as well as a couple of limited releases and experimental beers. Some of these include a Black IPA that was released last year but we have brought back again, a Double Red IPA we have just released which is drinking well and will be interesting to see how it is received, and are also a couple of weeks off a NEIPA that could have notes of mango…
With the ciders we are close to releasing a second batch of Oaked Organic Cider and have been doing small batches of flavoured ciders such as watermelon, guava, passionfruit, etc.
We will also be looking at releasing a whiskey sometime this year under the brand Two Doctors, and will be starting with a 5 year old single barrel release.