Welcome to 2014!
It’s that time of year again, when beer nerds across the country try to cut through the drunken haze of memories that was the previous year to remember the best beers that they tasted, so they can compile a list of their favourite five and vote for them in the Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers. I admittedly struggled with this task last year, so I made a resolution to keep track of any stand out beers that I came across as the year progressed. I even created an excel spreadsheet to keep track of my progress…
…well now it’s a new year, and that spreadsheet is still empty. Thank god for Untappd.
I’ve changed my voting criteria slightly this year; in fact, there’s only one criteria a beer needs to have met to be considered for voting:
– I must have drunk it for the first time at some stage in 2013…pretty simple
Gone are the criteria regarding local availability (because there’s not much you can’t get in Brisbane these days) and about having to have tried it more than once (because I have a tendency of choosing beers I’ve never tried over ones I already have). So you won’t see any popular favourites here like the Pacific Ale or the Hop Hog – my votes are all about what was fresh and new in 2013.
If you’re enough of a beer geek to be reading this blog, then chances are you’ve already voted for your five favourite brews of 2013, so this post isn’t about getting any votes for these beers. Just consider it me getting all sentimental…
Here are my votes for 2013:
5. Little Creatures IPA, Little Creatures Brewing Company
Well damn, didn’t this cause a stir! Announced on IPA Day 2013, this was touted as the beer that would prove if LC truly had “sold their soul” to the big guys, or had held onto the crafty spirit that has kept them at the forefront of Australia’s beer scene for decades. The verdict? Well I think they’ve nailed it; the aroma coming off a freshly poured glass of this bad boy is ridiculous! The kind of stuff you could use as a cologne in a pinch, with a cirtusy lychee musk that would have all the girls (and dudes probably) swooning. The flavours are about as balanced as you’re going to get, with the caramel malt, tropical hops and restrained bitterness all coming together harmoniously. This has become my go to IPA when I need to take a four-pack to a party. I think there’s a bright future for them Little Creatures yet…
4. ’77’ India Pale Ale, Riverside Brewing Company
This one made it onto the list, even though my recollection of it is quite faint (which is also part of the reason for removing some of the voting criteria…). I remember drinking it on a hot sunny day fresh off tap at the Scratch bar (there’s an Instagram photo proving that this happened). I also remember thinking that this is the ultimate IPA. Yeah, the ULTIMATE IPA. Which for me is a pretty huge call. Hence why it made into position four. I’ll need to look for some more of it this year…
This was the beer that I wanted by my side on Christmas Day, so it’s an obvious choice for my top 5 for the year. This beer seemed to be very polarizing in the beer community. Some thought that this was a sign of MG going soft, or selling out, trading flavour for profits. Others thought that this was a stroke of genius, providing a beer that is perfect for the Australian summer in terms of both taste and packaging (cans being the preferred choice of festival goers/campers etc). The simple fact is this; when it’s hot, this is what I think about buying a 6-pack of to quench my thirst. That’s why it makes number three on my list
It seems like a Burleigh beer makes my top 5 each year – FIGJAM IPA was my number one pick of 2012, and now it’s moved into the regular range of 330ml bottles. So here’s hoping that my vote for the fantastic Hassle Hop strong pale ale elicits a similar response from the Burleigh crew this year…
1. Can’t Fight The Funk, BrewCult
This is my number one beer of the year, without a doubt. The moment it passed my lips for the first time, I knew this was the case – because I wanted to buy another bottle immediately. In fact, I bought a bottle of this every time I saw one. I couldn’t find a bottle of it at Christmas to do a proper review (noooooo!!!…I was absolutely devastated by this. Seriously, I shed a tear right there in the bottle shop) but I manage to write down some random notes through the year:
Some ridiculous mango notes. Fresh cracked pepper. It’s juicy, and funky…pretty much perfection.
Ok, the notes are brief, but that also goes to show how much I enjoyed drinking it. Fuck notes – I know it’s good! Well done BrewCult for making my number one spot for 2013!
A big shout out to these awesome brews that just missed the cut:
– A few other Mountain Goats, namely the Fancy Pants Red Ale and their collaborative Hopfenweizenbock
– The Grifter Brewing managed to catch my attention as well with their Big Sur IPA and Tortoise and The Hop pilsner. Keep em’ coming!
– The plethora of local Brisbane brews that have emerged this year: notably the Green Beacon Windjammer IPA, the Fortitude Brewing Golden Ale, and the Bacchus…well, pretty much everything Bacchus has done (including their sensational Hopfendunkelweizenbock)
Votes close at 2330 on 16/01/2013 aka this Thursday. So if you haven’t voted yet, head to the Crafty Pint website and make your opinion count.
The Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers will be unveiled on Australia Day.
And once again (because I’m a stickler for tradition) here’s my Triple J Hottest 100 vote also:
10. Empire of the Sun – Alive
9. Busta Rhymes ft. Q-Tip – Thank You
8. RUFUS – Take Me
7. Flux Pavilion ft. Childish Gambino – Do or Die
6. Dizzee Rascal – I Don’t Need A Reason
5. The Bloody Beetroots ft. Tai & Bart B More – Spank
4. Lorde – Royals
3. Danny Brown – Dip
2. Martin Garrix – Animals
1. A$AP Rocky ft. Skrillex – Wild for the night