Crafty Pint / 14.12.12
It’s that time of year again: the time when the beer lovers of Australia get to select the best craft beers of 2012. For the fifth year running, the poll launched by The Local Taphouse in 2008 is giving the public the chance to cast their minds back over the past 12 months to select the five beers that have dazzled their palates.
As with last year, it’s a collaborative affair too (well, collaboration is all the rage these days, after all), with The Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News joining forces with the Taphouses to spread the word far and wide. Each year, the number of votes cast has doubled; no doubt the meteoric rise in popularity of craft beer across Australia in 2012 will see that trend continue.
Last year’s winner was the ubiquitous Pacific Ale from Stone & Wood, a beer that has since picked up a silver medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup in San Diego and which is ensuring there’s a constant stream of shiny new steel tanks rolling into Byron Bay. Will it hold on for another year, will something like Feral’s Hop Hog capitalise on its greater reach now that the Swan Valley brewery has moved to a new, larger site, or will a crazy, inspired one-off that blew the minds of all it encountered appear from leftfield to shock us all?
Only you can decide, so without further ado, enter your top five beers here (story continues below):
Guy Greenstone, co-owner of The Local Taphouses, says: “I love the excitement and anticipation it creates. Love the debate that inevitably follows the release of the results. Love the fact that it gets people thinking of the year in Australian craft beer and thinking back to all the amazing brews they may have tried and loved.
“It gets some media attention for the craft beer category and it’s also a people’s choice rather than a critic’s choice, which I guess helps breweries ascertain what the punters are after. It’s also a lot of fun!”
The system that was introduced last year, whereby people select their beers from drop down lists rather than input them manually – and which also helps to guard against attempts to rig the results – is back, with developer Andrew Mitchell giving it only the merest of tweaks.
“Every year it gets more exciting,” says Guy. “This year I expect to see an increased number of beers involved – again – and increased number of voters – again – and just as much discussion and debate as ever. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some of the serial top five spot earners appear there or thereabouts again but I’m certain there’ll be some surprises as there always are.”
No doubt, we’ll be picking the brains of some of the nation’s finest to see what beers tickled their fancy in 2012, while you can always peruse the SPECIAL BEERS section on Crafty for reminders of well over 100 of the limited release beers that came out this year. The individual brewery sections should help you recall what your favourite brewers have been doing too.
As for what’s excited The Crafty Pint in 2012, look out for the next edition of James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine, due out before Christmas. In it, we’ve picked 50 beers that impressed or knocked us sideways this year. Bear in mind, however, that despite our best efforts we’ve not come close to trying everything released in Australia this year and, despite agonising over the ten lists of five we concocted, we still have pangs of regret (most notably over the omission of Wig & Pen’s Sour Blonde, having revisited it since filing the story, but hey, we’re only human…).
Anyway: the rules, which are pretty much the same as in previous years:
- Voting will close at 11.30pm on January 15
- The beers you vote for must have been brewed in 2012 in Australia by anyone other than macro brewers' main operations (so, yes, there will be some in there that aren’t 100 per cent Australian-owned)
- The beers must have been commercially for sale (even if it’s just at the cellar door) on draught or in bottles
- One voter will be selected at random to win beer
So what are you waiting for? Get thinking, get talking and, if you’re not sure, get drinking.