Welcome to 2015!
It’s that time of year again, when I copy and paste my first post from the previous year and slap “Welcome to 2015!” at the start, making it all seem fresh and new. I could also just say “it’s once again time to vote for the Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers!”, but since voting closes shortly, that may not be accurate by the time you read this…
I was muchmore prepared for my vote this year – this post has been in draft form since around May of 2014. Every time I bought a beer that I thought had the potential to make my top 5, I’d re-open the draft and make notes. This method, I hate to admit, was only semi-successful – most of the beers I’d predicted to make my list came up short, leaving me underwhelmed. Perhaps it was the expectations I placed on those particular brews, I’m not sure, but beers from breweries that had blown me away in the past just didn’t cut it this time. Instead, I found that most of this year’s top five came straight out of left field. Still, I don’t consider this to be a bad thing at all.
My voting criteria is exactly the same as that of last year’s vote:
- I must have drunk it for the first time at some stage in 2014
So let’s get straight to it – here are my votes for 2014:
- Chocolate Salty Balls, Moon Dog
What can I say about this tasty little collab between Moon Dog and the NZ based Garage Project? Chocolaty? Yep. Salty? Yep. Ballsy? Nah, it was pretty damn smooth actually. Tasting similar to a smoked salty chocolate sundae (I’m sure that’s a thing somewhere) this was a standout during a recent weekend of massive crazy brews. It even had some of my non-beer geek friends scrambling back to the bottle shop to grab some bottles of their own – not a bad effort at all.
- Metamorphosis IPA, Kaiju! Beer
In my opinion, Kaju! was kicking goals all year in 2014 – big, big, hoppy goals. Every time I’d look there’s a new monster stalking about the place. Any number of their brews could’ve made my top five, but I’ve restrained myself and chosen the one that I enjoyed the most – the Metamorphosis IPA. Fucking Ka-BOOM! pretty muchsums up this hop bomb. The aroma is a beautiful combo of fresh pine and perfume, belying the savoury dry bitterness that assaults the tongue each time. This quickly becomes a sweet balance between hops and malt, without ever being too heavy. Downright delicious.
- Saison Grenade, Croft Brewing
Something of a flagship brew for Brisbane’s new kid on the block, Croft Brewing, this is a pomegranate Saison – I know, you want one already don’t you! Delicately dank, perfectly dry, with enough tartness to keep you coming back for more, this is pink beer at its best. Expect to see a lot more of this around the traps now that it’s being bottled.
- Cloud Catcher, Stone & Wood
I’d heard little about the latest Stone & Wood special when I got my hands on a bottle – hence why I turned down the offer to purchase two of them. Then I released the melon, pineapple, mandarin peel, mango, passionfruit and nice slightly spicy bitterness, and wished I’d bought more. It’s almost like a fuller, richer older brother of the Pacific Ale, and I’m looking forward to trying it again
- Imperial India Brown Ale, Four Pines
For the first time that I can remember, it was a winter release that blew me away to take out number one spot. This brew took me back to my travels around the East Coast US, where the winters are freezing and the brown ales are hoppy. Since this is an IMPERIAL India brown ale, the hop-gasm here was off the charts. Tropical hops, fresh strawberries, blended with milk chocolate malt, with a spicy bitterness to warm me even in the coldest of Queenslands winters. A cracking drop, I hope to see it again in 2015.
Obviously, these are the five beers that will be getting my vote. But there’s only one beer that should receive your vote – that’s the incredibly epic brew straight out of Brisbane’s very own Newstead Brewery, Hammer Head by Newstead Brewing Company. By some unfortunate and utterly devastating twist of fate, my palate was never graced by the liquid godliness that was contained in any of these bottles in 2014, so it can’t receive my vote. But that’s only because I’ve got strict guidelines. You, dear readers, have no such rules. So vote for Hammer Head, and only Hammer Head. You know it’s the right thing to do.
Speaking of voting, it closes on Friday (9/01)…so by the time you read this, you may be shit out of luck anyway. But head to the Crafty Pint website and make your opinion count if you’ve still got time.
The Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers will be unveiled on Australia Day.
As per tradition, here are my Triple J Hottest 100 votes:
10. Flight Facilities – Sunshine
9. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance
8. ZHU – Faded
7. The Magician ft Years and Years – Sunlight
6. Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
5. Baauer – One Touch
4. Theophilus London – Tribe
3. Hudson Mohawk – Chimes
2. Carmada – Maybe
1. Rustie ft Danny Brown – Attak