Well, there you have it: a change at the top for the first time since 2011 as Stone & Wood Pacific Ale usurps Feral's Hop Hog. Yet the biggest story in this year's GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers may well be what's happened in their wake with Pirate Life Brewing, who only released their first beer on March 1 last year, taking out spots three, four and 11. It's quite an incredible achievement – albeit one that won't surprise too many; we'll admit the thought did occur a few weeks ago that the IIPA might even snag top spot given the deserved hype it's attracted since its launch.
Elsewhere, while 4 Pines has missed out on the podium finish it first achieved in 2014, the team will be able to take comfort in the fact that, with seven beers in the list, it's the most successful of the independent Australian breweries in the list. Feral follows close behind, with its six entries arguably the most colourful single brewery collection: an IPA, black IPA, double IPA, imperial IPA, summer ale and Berliner Weisse.
The brewery with the most representatives, however, is Lion. The Kirin-owned company has 13 beers in the lineup, with multiple beers from Little Creatures, White Rabbit and James Squire as well as Kosciuszko in the top 100. By contrast, the other major player in the Australian beer scene, SABMiller-owned CUB has a mere one representative: Fat Yak.
You'll find more analysis and stats below the table. You can also check out our H100 Infographic, which features more facts and figures as well as comparison with last year's results.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), we'll be running interviews with three of the newcomers to the H100 in 2015: Pirate Life, Hawkers Beer and Big Shed Brewing Concern. And on Thursday we'll have the story of Crafty Kev, a man who set off on a mission to sample all 100 of last year's list. How did he fare? Did the Aussie beer world rise to his challenge?
View / download a full size Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2015 table here.
You can now also check out which beers filled the spots 101 to 200 here.
H100 – The Stats
For a look at popular styles, how states fared and so on, check out our handy Infographic.
Highest New Entries
- Pirate Life IIPA
- Pirate Life Pale Ale
- Feral Brewing Karma Citra
- Pirate Life Throwback
- BrewCult Milk and Two Sugars
- Big Shed Brewing Golden Stout Time
- Feral Brewing War Hog
- Colonial Brewing Small Ale
- 4 Pines Indian Summer Pale Ale
- Rocks Brewing Hangman Pale Ale
- Wolf of Willows XPA (up 62)
- Feral Brewing Tusk (up 51)
- James Squire 150 Lashes (up 49)
- Boatrocker Ramjet (up 45)
Young Henrys Newtowner (up 45)
- Nail Brewing Red Ale (up 44)
- James Squire Chancer (up 43)
- James Squire Hop Thief 7 (up 32)
- Vale Brewing Vale Ale (up 26)
- Odyssey Tavern Calypso Pale Ale (21)
NB Technically, Fortitude Golden Ale, Riverside Brewing's 77 IPA and Mountain Goat's The Delmont IPA (which was only brewed in 2014) all fell further as they were top 20 beers and are no longer in the list. Of those that are still there from 2014 to 2015...
- KAIJU! Hopped Out Red (down 80)
- KAIJU! Metamorphosis (down 67)
- Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout (down 62)
- Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale (down 46)
- Hargreaves Hill ESB (down 46)
- Two Birds Sunset Ale (down 40)
- Bridge Road Bling IPA (down 40)
- La Sirene Praline (down 37)
- Shenanigans Winston Pale Ale (down 31)
- Holgate Brewhouse Temptress (down 28)
Audience: The number of voters grew by 112 percent from 2014 to 2015. And, before you ask, no, the guys at The Local Taphouse aren't sharing the figure with us.
Brewing companies: Beers from 55 brewing companies made the list this year, up from 45 in 2014. Of those, 47 own their own breweries (and are responsible for 92 of the entries) and eight are gypsy or contract brewers.
NB: Akasha and KAIJU! moved from gypsy / contract brewing in 2015 to owning their own breweries so are included in the former category.
Cans: There were 17 canned beers (including Modus Operandi's CANimals) in this year's list compared to four in 2014.
GABS: There were six beers that first appeared at GABS festivals this year, down from seven in 2014. Interestingly, among them was Feral's Karma Citra, a beer that was debuted at the very first GABS in 2011, when it was held at the two Local Taphouses and featured just 20 new Aussie brews. Presumably, the fact it's now in bottles assisted its rise.
Doubling up: Boatrocker has two versions of the same beer in the top 100 Ramjet and its bourbon barrel sibling Roger Ramjet. Previously, Feral had done similar with its Hop Hog and BFH (Barrel Fermented Hop Hog).
Booze: By far away the most popular range in terms of alcohol content is between 4 percent and 5.99 percent ABV. There were 64 beers in that spread, with 6 to 7.99 percent next most popular (22), then below four and above 10 (five each). There were four beers featured with ABV between 8 and 9.99 percent.
The best stat of all: Only two beers retained the same position as in 2014 and both belong to Two Birds Brewing.
Look out for our thoughts on what this year's results mean tomorrow (Wednesday).
Thanks to Mrs Crafty Pint NSW, Gia Coleman, for her assistance with the graphics again this year. And apologies to anyone that had difficulty with loading the site when the results were coming in live. Not an issue we've encountered before but one we'll look into before next year...