Sydney Brewery, Wayward Brewing Co. and Australian Brewery all won big at the 2022 Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Awards held over the weekend, reports The Shout.

This year’s competition introduced four new classes for reduced and no alcohol beers, and included the first ever category for alcohol-free cider in any beer and cider competition in Australia.

The 2022 Royal Beer & Cider Awards was also notable for having an equal gender split of judges for the first time in the competition’s history.

Sydney Brewery, which operates out of both the Hunter Valley and Surry Hills, was awarded two trophy awards: Champion Draught Beer and Best NSW Beer, both for its Speak Easy Black IPA.

Chair of Judges, Ian Kingham, commented on the quality of the brew.

“The Sydney Brewery Speak Easy Black IPA demonstrates an excellent use of malt and hops, lovely balance and is a beer packed with flavour that is readily drinkable,” Kingham said.

Meanwhile, Wayward Brewing Co, found in Camperdown, picked up the prize for Champion Packaged Beer for its Raspberry Berliner Weisse.

“Fruit based beers are on the rise and it’s good to see them doing well here. Getting fresh fruit expression, while balancing the acidity and sourness of this style is very difficult to get right,” Kingham commented.

Australian Brewery, based in Rouse Hill’s Australian Hotel, was awarded the Champion Experimental or Speciality Beer for its Reign of Darkness Imperial Stout. This win follow’s the brewery’s triumph in last year’s Champion Draught Beer category.

In the cider side of the competition, the Barossa Valley Cider Company won the Champion Perry category for its Squashed Pear Cider.

While not winning any of the major trophies, an honourable mention must go to another Sydney brewery, Philter Brewing, which took home the greatest number of medals, including five golds and eight silvers.

Reflecting on the event, Kingham commented on the general quality of the competition.

“This year we saw a variety of styles and a broad spread of medals across different classes. These medals are a symbol of quality, hard work, and consistency. All beers are judged blind and only great beer stands out at the judging table,” Kingham said.

“The Sydney Royal has a reputation as Australia’s toughest beer and cider competition. Medals are awarded on merit only, and the judging process is meticulous.”

In particular, Kingham had praise for the entrants in the new low and reduced alcohol categories.

“For a category which requires excellent technical ability and can often present styles that have been lowered in flavour thresholds, it was great to see that the beer character of the classes was preserved.”

Click here for a comprehensive list of entrants and medal winners.