Ten breweries faced off at the Terminus to decide who will represent the state in the Vic vs the World Good Beer Week event in May.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s what ran through the minds of the crowd, according to personal preference, when 3 Ravens brewer Murray removed his shirt after winning the Vic vs Vic Face-Off at the Terminus in Fitzroy North yesterday. The Thornbury brewery’s Double Black imperial stout had prevailed against stiff competition, with 10 Victorian breweries going head-to-head for a spot at the Terminus’s Good Beer Week: Vic vs The World event in May.
The contenders – Two Birds, Boatrocker, Bridge Road, Moon Dog, Mornington Peninsula Brewery, 3 Ravens, Wolf of the Willows, Bad Shepherd, Temple and Hawkers – all brought their A-game, with Two Birds showcasing their newly released Pale Ale, Boatrocker presenting their exquisite Miss Pinky raspberry Berliner Weisse, Bridge Road tapping their first Mayday Hills farmhouse beer project release, Yee-Hah, an 100% Brettanomyces Pale Ale fermented in American oak foeder (huge barrel), Moon Dog pouring a super fresh incarnation of their Mr Mistoffelees (a wild ale with passionfruit and mango aged for six months in a barrel), Mornington Peninsula Brewery offering up their Brain Squeeze Hoppy Kettle Sour, which uses Calypso, El Dorado and Citra hops and taste like a Frosty Fruits icypole, Wolf of the Willows concocting a delectable grapefruit IPA using fruit from brewer Scotty’s mum’s Gippsland orchard, Bad Shepherd pleasing the crowd with their on-point Hazelnut Brown, Temple with their unique Okinawa Sour made with the Shikuwasa “Japanese lime” native to Okinawa island, and Hawkers keeping the crowd drinking responsibly with their smashable but low-booze Rover Session IPA.
Once the votes were in, it was announced that Bad Shepherd and Wolf of the Willows came in second and third place, proving once again that there is something pretty special in the water down at Cheltenham where the two share a brewery. Perhaps most impressively though was that in a range of refreshing sour beers enjoyed on a hot day, a jet-black imperial stout poured from a sun-warmed jug won the day. The stout in question was a keg left over from 3 Ravens’ experiment with Hepburn Springs mineral water last year, where the brewery had to make a beer that best utilised the fancy water’s unique pH profile. Poured in the glass, the stout was deep black with a dark tan froth like a well-made espresso, and the coffee comparison continued on the taste buds with dark roasty notes and a satisfying depth to the flavour.
With the top three sorted out, fourth spot was decided with a range of brewer challenges including “Best Sexy Walk” and the fastest to assemble a keg coupler with hands covered in baby oil. Despite a sterling effort from breweries including Hawkers, Moon Dog, Bridge Road and Temple, Two Birds nabbed the spot with an admirable effort by brewer Wilson Hede who assembled the keg coupler with a calm confidence despite Terminus venue manager Mark’s best efforts to slow him down with liberal sprayings of lube.
The four winners will represent Victoria in the Terminus’s Good Beer Week event: Vic vs the World, which if anything like yesterday, will no doubt be a fun day enjoyed by all.