Chasing Ale’s Top 5 of 2015

  Well, it’s 2016. Time for me to write what could easily be the only solo post I do this year – the 5 best Aussie beers I had in 2015. Because tradition

To be honest, 2015 wasn’t a fantastic year for me. Plenty of ‘real life’ occurences got in the way of my beer time, which resulted in me becoming more of an Insta-blogger than legit wordsmith. Maybe I’ll get more time actually write some things this year…or maybe my next post will be my top 5 beers of 2016? Who knows – it’ll be a suprise for all of us!

I did manage to try some cracking beers last year though, so here are the one’s that I considered to be the best of the best.

5. IIPA, Pirate Life

I feel like this is the equivalent of voting for the cool new kid that everyone wants to be besties with. No doubt Pirate Life stormed onto the scene in 2015. When I left for my Europe trip in June, they were barely a blip on the radar; when I returned in July, they’d pretty much taken over the country. An impressive effort considering they only have 3 beers in the core range, all cut from a similar cloth. There’ll be a lot of people voting for the Pale Ale or the “Throwback” IPA (I still refuse recognise “session IPA” as anything more than a marketing ploy, but that rant has been done…). While those are both fine beers, my vote goes to their IIPA. Not only is it a can of fresh, citrusy, well balanced dankness, but that can happens 500ml and 8.8%ABV. Apparently the massive can is to encourage people to share. I personally think it’s because 500ml fits so perfectly into a Spiegelau IPA glass…

4. Fear and Loathing, Newstead and Croft Sour Series

Most people outside of Queensland may not have seen this brew. Hopefully everyone in Queensland got a chance to try it though. Not only was this an awesomely refreshing citrus sour ale, it was also ridiculously approachable. How do I know? Because I witnessed all of my workmates – whose collective beer experience ranged from “I don’t mind Pale Ales” to “I never drink that shit” – absolutely devourved glass upon glass of it during our Xmas party at the brewery. My boss was so impressed, that he went back the next week to buy his first ever growler just to fill it with Fear and Loathing. I put the popularity down to the balance; not too sour, not too malty, not too funky, not too citrusy, while at the same time being all of the above. I rated it, as did everyone else I saw drink it. More of this in 2016 please team!

3. Hefeweizen White Lies Brewing

When we did our Hefe blind tasting, I picked the White Lies as my number one. I kept all the scores relatively close to create drama, but the reality was that this won by a long way. I lost my shit over how much I enjoyed this brew. Just check the post, you’ll get the gist I’ve been hunting for it again since, but it hasn’t appeared again in recent times. So Lee, if you’re reading this…bring back my fav Hefe, please!

2. Admiral Ackbar Anti-Imperial Red Ale, Noisy Minor Brewing

I first tried this at the Noisy Minor Shout of 2014, and it was probably the beer of the day back then. 2015 saw this baby released in bottles for the first time, meaning a lot more people were able to get their hands on it. It became hotly sought after as beer geeks all over the place scrambled to secure some bottles of their own. Kegs of the Admiral were released into the bars of Brisbane to coincide with the release of the latest Star Wars flick as well, allowing everyone to get their mouths around some freshed tapped Ackbar before seeing the movie. One of the tastiest red ales on the market, anti-imperial or not, this one is defintely not a trap (come on, I had to go there).

1. Viking IPA (Grapefruit Edition), Ekim Brewing

While beer geeks all over Australia were losing their shit over the few bottles of Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin that hit our shores, Mike from Ekim was quietly and confidently brewing his own, vastly superior version. There will be a lot of people out there seeing red when they read that, but real talk; the bottled Grapefruit Sculpin ain’t as fresh as it should be, and it definitely suffers because of it. The Ekim Grapefruit Viking IPA though…damn…that’s the definition of freshness. So damn juicy, it seriously is a special beer. I’m pretty sure we drank at least half the keg at Black Bunny, and that was while Rodenbach was on tap next to it. So yeah, I’m now saying that it’s better than Rodenbach AND Grapefruit Sculpin…so you can see why this beer was the best of 2015 for me.

The Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers will be unveiled today. Keep up to date via the website here, or via pretty mch every sort of social media in existence.

As per tradition, here are my Triple J Hottest 100 votes:

10. Paces – Nothing’s Forever

9. Joey Bada$$ – Paper Trail$

8. Big Grams – Fell In The Sun

7. Leikeli47 – Heard Em Say

6. What So Not – Gemini

5. Jack U – To U

4. Kita Alexander – Like You Want To

3. Major Lazer – Lean On

2. Sleepy Tom – Pusher

1. Hermitude – The Buzz


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