My Top Australian Beers
It’s beer’o’clock and I’m buying. An Englishman’s opinion on beer probably doesn’t carry much weight here in Australia. England is a land that likes its ale warm and flat, the antithesis of Australian tastes. A pint of bitter in a country pub after a long walk was one of life’s big pleasures, jostling for room by the open fire with a wet dog who has no intention of sharing the warm glow. The sight of a barman giving his biceps a good work out to pump the cloudy ale from keg to glass was always a sign that my thirst was about to be quenched.
The reputation for beers Down Under was that they are all fizz and no flavour which was a concern when we decided to pack our bags and head south. I certainly tried a few that ticked those boxes but after a lot of gruelling research I’ve grown to love Australian beers. There’s a buzzing craft beer scene, a style of brewing that uses traditional techniques for authentic and developed flavours, that’s redefining what Australian beer is.
I don’t drink a massive amount these days but when I do I’m quite happy to spend a little bit more to have a beer that I’ll really enjoy. Whilst Anna might mutter the shameful sentiment that “beer is beer, they all taste the same”, I sniff them, swill them, look at them, sip them and generally come over all beer tosser. I’m not an expert but I know what I like, when the sun is shining I’m at my happiest with a crisp glass of pale ale and as the mercury plummets the ale gets darker by June I’m usually clutching a creamy stout.
In no particular order here are eight Australian beers that have made me forget all about the warm flat beers of home;
Little Creatures, Pale Ale – It’s one of those beers that if I see it on tap in a pub I relax safe in the knowledge that I won’t go thirsty. It was the first beer I tried here that made me smile and remains a firm favourite.
Murray’s Craft Brewing Co, Whale Ale – Sometimes I can be incredibly shallow and I might buy something purely based on the packaging. That’s what made me pluck this beer off the shelf, I love the logo and would gladly frame it and hang it in my living room. But it tastes every bit as good as it looks and if I invite you round for dinner and I’m trying to impress you I might just plonk one of these in front of you.
Feral Brewing Company, Hop Hog – I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to beer and don’t tend to stay under 4.5%, this one tops the scales at 5.8% but I kept hearing how good it is and it is and it takes even less to have me grinning moronically and telling everyone I love them.
Stone and Wood, Pacific Ale – There are little floaty bits and pieces in this beer that reassures me that real people made it in a real way and that the life hasn’t been sucked out of it by big noisy machines. It’s basically Summer in a glass…..or a bottle or your mouth. Most things that come out of Byron Bay seem to turn out alright, there must be something in the water or the beer?
Mountain Goat Brewery, Steam Ale – Organic beer which surely means you can drink more of it, right? I get nectarines, straw bales and cut grass – told you I was a beer tosser.
Young Henry’s, Real Ale – I read a great interview from one of the founders of this brewery he was likeable chap with a great story to tell, a carpenter turned brewer, so naturally I felt obliged to try his beer. If I ever do feel nostalgic for home this English style bitter usually quenches the thirst.
White Rabbit Brewery, Dark Ale – I actually hijacked what was meant to be a Yarra Valley winery tour to visit this brewery. They have a fantastic warehouse space full of comfy grandad chairs to take a load off and try the brew. This dark ale somehow manages to be rich and refreshing at the same time for a best of both worlds experience.
4 Pines Brewing Company, Stout – Beer, chocolate and coffee are three of my favourite things in the world, this Stout combines all three superbly.
Here are eight great Australian beers to be proud of and more importantly to drink. All that typing has made me thirsty, let me see what’s in the fridge. Do you do brew? What beers are on tap in your household?