Instagram Flikr Twitter Facebook

Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Saturday 19 April 2014

Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers 2010: The Full Rundown

Crafty Pint / 26.01.11


You’ve seen the top ten, so what about the rest? Here they are from one to 100. You’ll have to agree it’s a pretty colourful selection and, as a snapshot of where the Aussie beer market is today, confirmation that we live in exciting times.

1 McLaren Vale Ale

2 Little Creatures Pale Ale

3 Stone & Wood Draught/Pacific Ale

4 Feral Hop Hog

5 Kooinda Pale Ale

6 Matilda Bay Fat Yak

7 White Rabbit Dark Ale

8 James Squire Golden Ale

9 McLaren Vale Dry

10 Hawthorn Pale Ale

11 Little Creatures Bright Ale

12 Coopers Pale Ale

=13 Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter

=13 Mountain Goat Hightail Ale

15 Murray’s Icon 2IPA

16 Endeavour 2010 Reserve Pale Ale

17 Knappstein Reserve Lager

18 Hargreaves Hill ESB

19 White Rabbit White Ale

20 James Squire Amber Ale

=21 Moo Brew Pale Ale

=21 Nail Brewing Clout Stout

23 Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale

24 Nail Brewing Nail Ale

25 Red Hill Imperial Stout

26 Coopers Sparkling Ale

27 Endeavour 2010 Reserve Amber Ale

28 Murray’s Spartacus

29 Mountain Goat Double Hightail.

30 Holgate ESB

31 Mountain Goat Steam Ale

=32 Bridge Road Brewers B2 Bomber

=32 Little Creatures Rogers

34 True South Summer Ale

35 Red Hill Scotch Ale

36 Matilda Bay Beez Neez

37 Jamieson’s The Beast IPA

38 Boatrocker Alpha Queen

39 Hawthorn Amber Ale

40 Bridge Road Chevalier Saison

41 Feral White

42 Lord Nelson Brewery Three Sheets

43 Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe

44 Bridge Road Brewers Galaxy Single Hop IPA

45 Murray’s Heart Of Darkness

46 Bridge Road Brewers Bling IPA

=47 Matilda Bay Big Helga

=47 True South New World Pilsner

49 2 Brothers James Brown Belgian Ale

=50 Moo Brew Imperial Stout

=50 Murray’s Grand Cru

=50 Murray’s Punch & Judy

=53 3 Ravens 55

=53 Mountain Goat Rare Breed Double IPA

55 Feral Fanta Pants Imperial Red Ale

56 2 Brothers Growler

57 2 Brothers Voodoo

=58 Little Creatures Pilsner

=58 Murray’s Wild Thing

=60 Matilda Bay Dogbolter

=60 True South Dark Ale

=62 Holgate Hopinator

=62 James Squire Porter

=62 Red Hill Christmas Ale

=65 Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Australian Ale

=65 Little Creatures Single Batch Brown Ale

=65 Moo Brew Hefeweizen

68 Steam Exchange Truffles Porter

=69 Bridge Road Beechworth Pale Ale

=69 Goodieson Brewery Pale Ale

=69 James Squire Pilsener

=69 Red Hill Temptation

=73 Boatrocker Hoppbier

=73 Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale

=73 Matilda Bay Redback Original

=73 Murray’s Whale Ale

=77 Brew Boys Ace of Spades

=77 Coopers Vintage 2010

=79 Feral Boris Russian Imperial Stout

=79 Mountain Goat Rare Breed IPA

=79 Murray’s Nirvana

82 Stone & Wood Pale Lager

=83 Arctic Fox American Pale Ale

=83 Kosciuszko Pale Ale

=83 Pepperjack Ale

=83 Red Duck Bengal IPA

=87 James Squires Sundown Lager

=87 Red Hill Weizenbock

89 Feral Raging Flem

=90 Feral Funky Junky

=90 Grand Ridge Moonshine

=92 3 Ravens USB

=92 True South Red Truck Lager

=92 Wicked Elf Pale Ale

=95 Balmain Brewing Pale Ale

=95 Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale

=95 Holgate Road Trip IPA

=95 Holgate White Ale

=95 Little Creatures Single Batch IPA

100 Bridge Rd Chevalier Bier de Garde

So, what do you think of this year’s poll? Did your favourite beer fare better or worse than expected? Do you think the beer scene is Oz is looking healthy? Any surprises on the list for you? How many have you tried (89 at Crafty Towers)? If you’ve got any feedback, either email or add a comment here and we might print the best in an end of week roundup. Cheers!


Aaron — 26 January at 12:19PM

Who is voting in this poll? There are some really good beers there but there is also some megaswill in the top 10.

steve — 26 January at 12:21PM

With such a massive jump in voters from around the country, i reckon it's only natural more mainstream craft beers will gets votes as they're the gateway beers for a lot of people. There's not any I would call megaswill though..

Aaron — 26 January at 12:34PM

I just don't think anything from CUB, Lion Nathan or even Cooper's can seriously be considered craft. If you include Fat Yak, Js Golden and Coopers Pale you may as well include Pure Blonde, VB and Super Dry.

Joseph — 26 January at 12:45PM

What Aaron said — five or six of the top ten brews pay too much obeisance to the blandness that has always dominated the Australian beer palate. Squire Golden? Fat Yak? Vale Ale? I guess it works, then.

Still, the poll is a fun idea, and the rest of the list presents the diversity and inventiveness of Australia's pretty young craft brewing industry. That's stuff to make you proud.

Crafty Pint — 26 January at 01:27PM

Aaron / Joseph - no doubting it was a jaw to the floor moment when Steve passed on the results last night, but Peoples Choice awards have a habit of throwing up surprises and it would seem that there are those who are better at getting their drinkers to vote for them than others. I didn't see any way anyone other than LC or S&W would take out top, but there you go. I have tried calling and emailing McLaren Vale for their reaction and to find out how they toppled those two - perhaps there are lessons for other brewers in terms of getting the word out- but have yet to hear back.

As for the inclusion of certain brands, The Local Taphouse have made clear who can and can't be included and you can't deny the role of Cooper's, Matilda Bay and James Squire in helping introduce Aussies to better beer. Even now their reach helps turn peoples' heads away from genuine megaswill and, hopefully, onto the smaller guys' stuff. What's more, if the parameters were drawn up really tight, you're in danger of only appealing to the beer geeks and appearing a little wanky to everyone else. Ultimately the goal of this website - and I presume everyone who drinks craft beer - is to see the craft beer market grow and more Aussies give up the awful lagers they've made do with for so long. And that isn't going to be aided by overt exclusivity.

And, as Joseph points out, this poll is really a bit of fun and has thrown up its most eclectic list yet - at least once you look below the top ten (which still includes Kooinda ferchrissakes!) - and gets people talking about good beer. Speaking of which, the Terminus calls...

John — 26 January at 03:47PM

Good on McLaren Vale for their result(s), but I guess as a brewery/brewing company, you have a decision to make: do you pimp your brand out via social media/email - all but begging for votes - or do you not?

I'm not suggesting they have damaged their brand, but have they cheapened it slightly? Guess that's for others to eventually decide.

Vale Ale is a reasonable beer. But it's not a significant one (in the way LC Pale, MG Hightail and Hargreaves Hill ESB are significant); nor is it special (in the way some of the one-offs from the micros are special).

Personally I'd prefer it if social media lobbying were kept out of such polls, even though I know that's not going to happen.

Be interesting to see of other brewers ramp up their efforts next year in "mobilising their base".

Hate to use the language of political operatives in this context, but the parallels demand it.

Joseph — 26 January at 03:56PM

Crafty: indeed. I ain't pressing for a change in eligibility rules, I'm just saying more people should be voting for better beer. Next year. :)

Ryan — 26 January at 05:41PM

What a joke.. 40% Lion Nathan #2. Fosters #6 and a handful of marketing companies rounding out the top ten.

The whole deception thing drives me mad.

Paul — 26 January at 06:28PM

Well done Kooinda boys big ups to you all.I knew u had it in yer!!!!

Stacy — 26 January at 09:39PM

As much as there are at least a couple I don't rate that are in the top ten, all I can say is, smashing work Kooinda boys!!! Definitely well deserved and especially with the big move last year. You keep makin it, I'll keep drinking it ;) BOOM!!

BOOOOOOOOOOO!!! — 27 January at 02:11PM

im sorry vale, but this is a disgrace! you have taken a great comp and made this years results a joke. marketing before beer, makes you look like one of the big boys. your beers cant stand on there own two feet so you resort to underhand tactics, all be it legal and within the rules, but dirty and slimy. working in the liquor trade will be more than happy not to drink,sell or recommend your beers ever again. enjoy your 15 min of fame and your shelf space in dans and 1st choice, its where you belong, not in good beer outlets. you have gone and done the same type of things i would expect from CUB. lets hope CUB makes a bid for you, its where you belong, under the banner of the dark side. shame vale shame.

Crafty Pint — 27 January at 04:17PM

Hi guys

Good to see this year's poll result sparking debate. However, please note that there are limits and responsibilities when commenting on articles, as set out in the terms of use on The Crafty Pint. While it is fair comment to offer an opinion on the results - whether positive or negative - please do not enter into personal attacks or unsubstantiated accusations.

I have had to delete one comment as a result already - the first time this has happened on the website despite other negative comments on other articles. We firmly believe that these comments sections are there for open debate and would rather never remove a single one - after all, if we censor one comment then we may as well remove commenting altogether. So please, by all means fight hard, but fight fair!

Also, we did make contact with McLaren Vale for a follow up article on their number one position yesterday by were unable to conduct the interview. This is now taking place this afternoon and will be live later today (Thursday).



Adam Trippe-Smith, McLaren Vale Beer Company — 27 January at 06:31PM

Good afternoon

I have read with some amusement and disappointment some of the negative comments above.

As Founder & CEO of McLaren Vale Beer Company and an active participant in the craft beer segment, I am compelled to respond.

James set up the Crafty Pint website as a promoter of craft beer. Craft beer is less than 1% of the market in Australia and the only way this will grow is through a common voice. Craft brewers only succeed if we jointly grab market share from the duopoly, which holds a combined market share of over 90%. A united voice is how this happens. Venues like The Local Taphouse, magazines like Beer & Brewer and sites like this one provide that voice. Most of us realise this and act together to promote our trade at various beer festivals, forums etc.

The Hottest 100 is a great initiative that allows the public to give their thoughts on what beers they like. It's a system that is transparent. People who like your beer, vote for it. In fact, they must vote for 5 beers to ensure a spread and fairness and to prevent a swell. Most of the "experts" on the blogs have attributed our voting result to a social media campaign. This is laughable. Every beer company that I follow on facebook and twitter, were promoting the Hottest 100. Why? Firstly, we want it to be a success for the Local Taphouse Team and the broader craft beer segment and secondly, we naturally want our drinkers to know about the Hottest 100 and give them the option to vote. If you had your life savings invested in a beer company, you might do the same, instead of throwing stones from the sidelines. We did little to market the Hottest 100, and 3 weeks ago, as voting closed, we commented in our weekly team meeting we should have done more. We posted on facebook, we posted on twitter and we emailed our database. That is basically what I witnessed each of our peers also doing, most of them in the top 25.

The major movements this year up the list were Stone & Wood and McLaren Vale Beer Company. We are delighted with this. But there were also some major successes like Kooinda at #5, Hawthorn making the top 10 and Endeavour's 2 beers entering high up the list. This is wonderful for craft beer. Little Creatures alone cannot take on the duopoly; in fact one of the duopoly own circa 40% of Little Creatures. So, it is the privately owned companies such as ours, Stone & Wood, Mountain Goat, Moo Brew etc, that are fighting hard to compete with limited resources.

It is clear from the above posts that many of the followers of this site know little about us. McLaren Vale Beer Company was launched in July 2008. For most of this time, we have had just one beer, Vale Ale, which we have produced in 3rd party breweries to our own recipe. Our Chief Brewer, Bruce Peachey, spent 20 years at Tooheys, founded Bluetoungue, consults to Mountain Goat and Moo Brew, judges at most of the beer awards and is regarded by his peers as one of the best brewers in the country. He is also a good bloke and a gentleman. In terms of our home region, yes, we own the original inn of McLaren Vale built in 1851. We are very proud of this. We are currently commissioning a 35HL DME brewery with 105HL fermentation vessels in McLaren Vale with an investment of over $1m. Production will commence in May. We are doing this after working day and night for 2 years to build our brand and get people to like our beer.

These are the people that voted for us. We did not vote for them. They voted because they wanted to; just like those that voted for Little Creatures Pale and Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Let me go on record and say that I respect Litttle Creatures as the best beer company in the country and Stone and Wood as the best team in the country. We are honoured to be voted amongst them. We sell their beers at The Salopian Inn.

We received a large number of votes; the experts above do not understand the extent of our following in South Australia. In addition, our strategy of only having one beer until recently helped us, too. The memory recall of Vale Ale is high as we only produce one beer (now 2).

As a company we generally avoid commenting such as I am now and focus our energy on the positives. However, when people try to discredit us as above, they are only serving to discredit the broader craft beer segment and thus help the duopoly stay in front. This is why I am responding. We can take a knock on the chin; but discrediting craft beer we will not stand for.

Adam Trippe-Smith
Founder & CEO
McLaren Vale Beer Company

Ian — 28 January at 02:39AM

Adam, Thank you very much for your balanced, and heartfelt comments... Congratulations to you and all your staff for winning the Hottest 100...

I have read a lot of comments on several sites over the last couple of days, and I can't understand all the ill will.... Lets be honest with ourselves - All of us have drunk our fair share of beer from the BIG 2 at one time or another. And yes they may own or have shares in several breweries on the list..... SO WHAT!!!

What really matters here is the promotion of Australia's craft beer industry, and the education of the Australian beer drinking public. We need to keep pushing more and more Aussie craft beer in our bottleshops, and pubs, but we also need to recognise the fact that the BIG 2 are actually helping the Australian craft beer movement.

In my opinion the BIG 2 (and Coopers) are playing a role by providing "gateway" beers to the Australian public through the breweries that they have bought or have shares in. This can only help the craft beer movement. With the diversification of the BIG 2's stable of beers, and their push into our bottleshops and pubs, they have helped to open the minds, tastebuds, and wallets of Joe Beerdrinker to Australian craft beer.

From experience it is difficult to give a true craft beer to someone who only drinks mainstream beer, because (in general) they do not get it, and will not like it because it is too different from what they are conditioned to drink. If Joe Beerdrinker has a "gateway" beer or two to start their journey toward craft beer, it then provides the opportunity for them to gain a better understanding and appreciation of beer in general, and then open them to some of the beers that the readers here take for granted.

Here is the kicker - you can all help.... I urge all the readers here to go forth and help Australia's craft beer movement. if you want to see the beer that you like on this list (or any other) in future, use your passion to educate others, and promote Aussie craft beer wherever you go. Talk about it, drink it, offer it to others, buy the t-shirt, and always be always be positive with your support of a great industry.

Lastly, thanks need to go to all the craft brewers of Australia for making some amazing beer, and thanks to the websites, bloggers, bottleshops/pubs/bars that support the craft brewing industry. Keep up the great work!!!!

Dan — 28 January at 01:49PM

7 of the top 10 & 20+ of the top 50 are inoffensive, pretty easy to drink, comparatively mildly flavoured pale ales or light lagers...

This is voted on by people who care enough about beer to participate in this survey in the first place. Why is it that hardcore beer geeks have such a hard time accepting, that the Australian (and most other nationalities too) palate - actually prefers beers that aren't all that complicated and/or strongly flavoured? Time and again the most popular beer in a brewery's portfolio, the most popular beer at a beer bar that DOES offer alternatives, the most popular beers in surveys like this ---- are Light Lagers and stock Pale Ales. People like these sorts of beers - these sorts of beers are GOOD.

The problem isn't that "Boring Beer" is popular - it's that for a long time it was virtually mandatory - and It isn't anymore. Everyone has a choice now - and beardy weirdy beer geeks (one of which I am) seemingly wanting to compel everyone else to "like" the IIPA, Lambic, RIS etc etc sort of beers that they think are great, is just as bad as there being no choice but CD or TED.

Those beers won because people actually like them, not because they are so stupid that they have been tricked into thinking they like them. I'm sorry, but an ability to appreciate a Flanders Red does not make you any smarter than someone who drinks Fat Yak .. no matter how much some of the people I have seen ranting about this in various places seem to think it does.

Congratulations to the people who placed highly - I for one dont think its such a terrible crime to make beers that a lot of people like.

Top Aussie Tones — 29 January at 12:38AM

I think the title of the top 100 craft beers is what is at the core, it's such an emorphous blanket. In my head a craft brewery needs to be 1. an actual brewery, and 2. trying hard. I don't accept that the massive fake micro brews are craft breweries in the sense of the term that I myself apply, so no to Little Creatures, no to Matilda Bay (where was Dogbolter? their best beer) The appreciation of world class beer whilst doesn't make your "smart" it does mean you are more experienced and able to place beers like Fat Yak in context. I think the positive is Kooinda getting a taste, and the huge negative is.... what no Prickly Moses? arrrrrrghhhh. I also think the argument often used that beers like Little Creatures, James Squire and Matida Bay etc lead the unwary VB disciple towards greater things is not valid here as we are looking at Craft beers, and without regard to the quality of those breweries output, I don't think they can be truthfully termed craft beers. put it this way, Commodores = VB, the midway big boy beers are Commodore SS utes, and then there's a 1968 Mustang , a different beast all together, another level

brett — 30 January at 06:39PM

Isnt having Vale Ale as the flagship Australian craft beer like trying to promote the European car industry using Skoda ahead of Ferrari, Lambos, BM’s, Mercs, etc, etc. I mean Skodas are a car, they are built in Europe, but they are shit. I mean its a beer, but...

Greg — 11 February at 09:42AM

Well written article/response by Adam/McLaren Vale Beer Company. "Cos of Vale Ale coming top 100 brew and not having tried it I went out and bought a 4 pack last weekend. It's a well made brew that didn't really excite me- that said I will keep an eye out for your new drop and wish you all the best- love your passion.

Bill Duke — 15 February at 10:13PM

Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone was a garbage song by a garbage weird brother and sister who knows what they get up to duo. Yet it still won the triple J's hottest 100 which is no different to this. This is essentially a popularity contest. Not everyone is a craft beer fanatic. Was it the best beer of 2010? Maybe not. Is it a nice beer? Yes.

Stop pissing and moaning this purely a bit of fun. The AIBA's are what I look at.

Don't compare Skoda and Ferrari or cars with beer its irrelevant.

brett — 09 March at 09:13PM

bill, i gotta say i think your irrelevant, but good try.

Fifey — 20 March at 10:08PM

I'm quite disappointed by the snobbery in some of the comments. I also feel that it is a good thing that the majors have their own house craft brands.

I'm quite fond of Vale, it's delicate, and inoffensive, but that's not a bad thing. It's a well crafted lighter Pale Ale. If I was to brew my own version I'd up the late addition hops a bit, but that's just my personal tastes. I really like the wheat notes, it's a good refreshing pale.

I don't want to bang on about Vale too much and not spend time to reflect on the wider poll, but I'm also disdainful about the complaints regarding Vale promoting the poll through social media. It is not underhanded, most brewers with a twitter feed and/or a facebook group would have done the same. Nobody rags on bands in Triple J's Hottest 100 for asking their followers to vote for them. It is really petty, and not something I'd expect from what seems to be a really chummy community.

On the poll though, quite a lot of my favourites are there, but it does reinforce the fact that I need to get out more! It's also giving me withdrawals from Hargreaves Hill ESB. Living in the country there's not enough craft beer that I can get here, but I always try to taste as much as possible when I get to the city, and I patronise my 'local' at Warrnambool whenever we drive over there.

craig — 21 March at 02:01PM

I believe that Cooper's Sparkling Ale is the best beer in Australia. I was very dissapointed that their pale ale ranked much higher.
However, I recently tried the McLaren Vale ale and enjoyed it very much. I will always be a Cooper's devotee, but must congratulate McLaren Vale Beer company on their derserved win.

keeriaseephed — 21 March at 07:38PM

Hi all. This is my very first visit to this excellent place.
Thank you for the neat information.

Leave a Comment:

Only the comment field is required. Omitting the ID fields increases your risk of being mistaken for spam.

Preview or