My Top Australian Beers

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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?

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  • Seamus Curtain-Magee

    Good list! Mountain goat has their brewery in Richmond, and it is worth a visit if you can find it or are free when they are open (2 nights a week). I’m a big fan of their IPA, but I like hoppy beers. Red Hill brewery on the Mornington peninsula is another favourite of mine, they also do great food.

    White rabbit is great The local in my town (which has 400 people in it) has the dark ail on tap.

    Have you tried Coopers at all? That one is often my default tap beer as it is pretty wide spread.

    • daddownunder

      That sound slike a great Local Seamus, you must be a happy man. Yeah I keep meaning to check out the Mountain Goat brewery, I think they churn out the pizzas too one night? There are so many microbreweries now and they all seem to do a fine job, not too many miss the mark. I drink a bit of Coopers, I just find it a little gas’y for my taste but the flavours awesome. To be fair my list could have gone on and on : ) Thanks for sharing pal.

  • Deb

    fat yak. that is my current commercial beer.

    my hubby brews beers at the local micro brewery so we never run out. I am currently partial to a ginger beer. mummy’s medicine I call it!

    We even take a keg and tap camping, that’s how hardcore we roll.

    • daddownunder

      You roll so hardcore Deb, I’d be a very jealous man camping next to you guys : ) How handy having a partner that brews, I may get Anna some equipment for Christmas ; )

      • Deb

        That’s how my hubby got started, a gift certificate from me for xmas. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! I’m sure we would invite you over for a brew while camping, this last time we had 2 on offer. We call it the UCA…. Ultimate Camping Accessory.

  • http://lemonrhodes.blogspot.com/ jody

    Yep, Mountain goat do a mean pizza on Wednesday nights! My better half is a keen brewer, so I have become quite the critique… not sure that’s such a good thing or not.

    • daddownunder

      I think its a good thing for your other half Jody, a shared passion can’t be bad, especially when it tastes so good

  • Emily Callaghan

    I’ve never been partial to beer…or soft drink…unless the letters G&T are involved. I’ll take wine any day…and chocolate…and definitely coffee! Hubby is a lover of pale ales though…Little Creatures being a favourite.

    • daddownunder

      I’m versatile Em, G&T are also two of my favourite letters and I’ve been known to dabble in wine : )

  • http://www.moretas4less.com.au/ Bron Hogan

    I really enjoy a beer, but not the ‘every day run of the mill’ stuff – very into the darker ales, porters and stout. When traveling through Europe I loved that each beer was served in the brewery’s special glass. I tried a few and enjoyed the glasses as much as the beer! Belgium beer are as beautiful as their glasses!

    • daddownunder

      You’ve clearly got fine taste Bron, I can still remember sitting by the canals in Brugges sipping on Leffe and scoffing frites. You’re right about the glasses although having worked in a bar with all manner of different glasses it was a pain in the arse : )

  • Neets

    We love a good ale here too. Little creatures a particular favourite. We love fruit flavored ciders here too. Can I admit that?

    • daddownunder

      You can but your husband never should Neets ; )

  • Vicki C

    My Husband is currently knocking back a Steamrail “The Gold Digger” Golden Ale. He also appreciates White Rabbit Dark Ale, Coopers Pale Ale and of course since we live in the West, Little Creatures Pale Ale. James Squire is also a favourite.

    • daddownunder

      Sounds like a man of great tastes Vicki, I’d be happy with all of those, at once if necessary

  • www.boyeatsworld.com.au

    I love a drink. In fact I love a lot of drinks. But beer has never been one of them. My hubby, on the other hand, is a card carrying member of the beer guzzlers society but in 20 years of ex-pat living has never really gone for the Aussie brews and still favours Euro brews.

    • daddownunder

      I’m just showing my versatility Aleney, I’m happy with either : ) What’s your tipple of choice?

  • http://awesomelyunprepared.com/ KezUnprepared

    Little Creatures Pale Ale – amazing :) A favourite of mine too! I don’t indulge in beer as much as I used to, but the craft beers are amazing. My husband loves trying new ones all the time. It’s hard to believe that even a decade or so ago, there was nowhere near as much of a selection in your average suburban bottleshop or on tap at your local pub. I love it. I crave a beer when the sun is shining and it’s one of those beautiful relaxed Sundays. Now, how do you feel about cider?

    • daddownunder

      I’m so impressed with the craft beer scene, it shows a change of attitude too, that people actually care more about how things are produced and where they come from rather than just getting pissed. I like real cider, the stuff that still tastes of apple, not so keen on the mass produced stuff that comes in every colour of the rainbow.

      • http://awesomelyunprepared.com/ KezUnprepared

        Agreed! Cider should taste like apple!!! With you ALL the way on that one! I’m suspicious of the sugary ones with the red cordial flavour!

  • Beck@mamaupthemountain

    I absolutely love White Rabbit, and I’m lucky enough to live close to Healesville to be able to pop in fairly often :)
    Next time you’re there, go across the road to the Bodhi Tree for awesome woodfired pizza and a White Rabbit Dark.

    Also currently loving:
    – Buckley’s Bock (another Healesville local)
    – Anything from Bright Brewery (seriously worth a weekend away just to go enjoy fantastic beer and food, they do a gorgeous sample tray of mini glasses of their beer, with descriptions of each and which order you should drink them in to best appreciate the flavours.
    – my newest addiction, Beechworth Brewery’s Bling India Pale Ale. Omg, love it.