Balter XPA.
Balter XPA.

BEER REVIEW: You be judge of winning international pale ale

One of the most thankless tasks I have ever undertaken in my working life was being a judge at a baby contest many years ago in Bundaberg.

Why the worst job?

At the end of the day, when we came to a decision on which baby out of the 200 took the prize, 199 parents thought we were imbeciles. But surely one was happy, I hear you ask.

Well, they knew their child was a shoo-in for the title from the get-go so we didn't even get points there either.

So I pity the judges at the Australian International Beer Awards - every brewer thinks their baby is best and the judges have no idea.

So it was with some trepidation that Hugh the Neighbour and I sat down to try an XPA from Balter Brewing that won the Best International Style Pale Ale & Best Design - Australian International Beer Awards 2017.

Would it live up to the hype, or would it be like the Archibald Prize for portraiture, where what the judges like can often be out of step with the public's idea of good art?

I am happy to report that both HTN and I thought this beer was a pearler.

A 5% ABV American-style pale ale, it is full of hoppy fruitiness, but is balanced enough to be really enjoyable and sessionable.

It pours a hazy gold colour with a decent head and notes of tropical fruit.

Price-wise it is one to keep for special occasions, as it is well up in the stirrups, but this beer really does taste like a champion.

Sometimes, just sometimes, judges can get it very right.