IF the Perth Royal Beer Awards are anything to go by, the State's brewery industry is a tight knit group of blokes and women who are more than happy to celebrate one another's successes.
About 300 people attended the awards ceremony held by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia (RASWA) at the Claremont Showgrounds Silver Jubilee Pavilion last Friday evening.
Following the announcement of the winners of each of the award categories, guests kicked on, mingling and enjoying some of the night's award winning beer.
Spanning across 46 exhibitors, this year's Perth Royal Beer Awards received a record number of 540 entries.
From those, 143 were awarded bronze medals, 172 silver and 67 gold.
A record number of 40 judges, headed up by chief judge, Will Irving, determined the winners of the 22 award categories.
Rocky Ridge Brewing Company cleaned up on the night, taking out the trophies for champion large brewery, champion beer, best hybrid and specialty packaged and the best hybrid and specialty draught categories.
Having celebrated the brewery's fifth birthday in April, the company's brand manager Ricky Watts said Rocky Ridge had never won a trophy previously.
"We didn't enter all of the beers in the awards, only some of them, so to get the accolades is really amazing," Mr Watts said.
Their product which took out the trophy for champion beer is a Polish, 100 per cent smoked wheat beer, aptly named Polski Povi.
"The beer came about due to our head brewer, Ross Terlick's, girlfriend being Polish," Mr Watts said.
"He had been wanting to brew this style for a long time and we kept putting it on the back burner because it's probably not the most commercially viable beer for the modern beer market.
"However, we were lucky enough to attend a festival in the Blue Mountains with a brewery called Mountain Culture Beer Co. and they asked specifically for a smoked beer for the festival, so we brewed this one and it turned out amazing."
Mr Watts said both new and old world styles of beers had their respective audiences and that Rocky Ridge continued to dabble in both realms.
"For everyone who has done the new world styles, they are probably reaching for something a little bit more sessionable or approachable and maybe something a bit more malt driven rather than intense hop characters," he said.
Based in the South West, he said there was a real sense of camaraderie among the State's breweries, no matter their size.
"It is a community and all the breweries around us are always really helpful - if you need to borrow yeast, hops or malt, everyone always shares everything," Mr Watts said.
RASWA president David Thomas said the industry could take pride in the fact that beer was one of Australia's greatest exports.
"The number of entrants to this year's awards has been outstanding as has the quality and variety," Mr Thomas said.
"As an organisation that champions the importance of Western Australia's regions, it is so great to see so many different parts of our State showcased in these awards.
"What sets the Perth Royal Food Awards apart from other competitions is its tireless adherence to the exceptional quality and highest judging integrity, year-after-year.
"The approach taken to our awards makes winning a Perth Royal Beer Award one of the toughest and most valuable achievements for any of our producers."
The beer category's chief judge, Will Irving, who after three years in the role finished up his tenure on Friday, said he had been impressed by the entries this year.
"We can see that the quality of beer in WA is through the roof and I believe we had the best results out of this year too," Mr Irving said.
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