The Hottests' Hottest

January 11, 2013, by Crafty Pint
The Hottests' Hottest

Time is running out for this year’s Hottest 100 Aussie craft beers, being run again by The Local Taphouse, The Crafty Pint and Brews News. The deadline for votes is January 15. As in past years, The Crafty Pint has spoken to some of the brewers behind a number of the previous poll’s top beers, asking them which beers impressed them in 2012 and why.

In addition to articles such as yesterday’s James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine top 50, which you can read here, these picks from last year should give stragglers who have yet to cast their votes more inspiration as they pick their five beers of 2012.

If you are yet to vote, you can do so by heading here. Don’t forget, one person will be picked out of all voters to win cartons of the top five beers.

One other thing, once you have selected your five beers you must validate your votes. If you have voted already and are not sure whether you have done so, please have a look in your email inbox and see whether you still need to complete the validation process.

Anyway, on with the picks of last year’s hottest 100’s hottest breweries...

Brad Rogers, Stone & Wood

Number 1 in 2012 for the Pacific Ale

Young Henry’s Real Ale
Love the malt balance, hop balance and the richness of this English Special Bitter. Also love the fact that these guys are up and running and enjoying the business of craft brewing.

Temple Saison
I enjoyed the spicy, yeastiness of this beer; and oh so drinkable. Would like to have some of this in Byron Bay and go beer for beer with our Pacific Ale.

Nail Stout
Big, Rich, Powerful, Drinkable, Black – how good!!

Feral Hop Hog
Still the best IPA/APA by miles. Equally, I love the fact that the guys have moved to their new home and the beer is still awesome.

Hargreaves Hill ESB
What a great beer, so dangerously moreish… there’s a theme here!!! As again it’s so easy to drink. It’s luscious, malt rich, and well finished with hop flavour and bitterness.

Miles Hull, from Little Creatures

Numbers 2 and 5 for Pale Ale and The Big Dipper

Kooinda Black IPA
A favourite of last year as well, but I’m still in love with all that’s going on with this.

Hargreaves Hill ESB
A great take on a classic done so well.

Mountain Goat / Mikkeller Cross Breed Gypsy & The Goat Black Pepperberry IPA
A standout flavour experience of the year.

Feral Hop Hog
Brendan keeps leading the way for serious hop heads.

Little Creatures The Quiet American – Single Batch
OK, it’s one of ours but there’s just something about New World hops and the traditions of Belgian ales that excited us at Creatures this last year – and still does!

Brendan Varis, Feral

Number 3 for Hop Hog

Nail Brewing Clout Stout
It just has the most smooth, luscious mouthfeel and manages to hold its high ABV right in check. I also like the fact that it is a little drier than most other Aussie imp stouts. Only problem with it is for such a strong beer it’s too sessionable! Especially when it’s being stored just a couple of metres away from my desk…

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
Will be hard to ever beat this as a beach / hot weather / session ale.

Mornington Peninsula Brewery Brown and Porter
Beers rarely make the trip west and arrive in A-grade condition but these two did each time I tried them. Fresh, technically spot on and perfectly balanced. Left me craving for more at the end of each stubby.

Mash Brewing Challenger
I feel that generally we don’t do English IPA, in fact most English styles, all that well in this country but this one was at least the equal of any I tried during a short visit to the UK earlier this year. Broad, well managed bitterness and plenty of those classic marmalade flavours you want in these beers.

Will Irving, also of Feral Brewing

Stone and Wood Pacific Ale
Cracker of a beer. Post surf, work, bender or just going outside to check the mail, this beer is good for any occasion. Big Papa Brad and Rear Admiral Scotty do a corker of a job.

Bootleg Brewery Raging Bull
Such a well balanced, smooth and easy drinking beer for a high ABV. One can easily turn into six and before you know it you just "broke the seal" in the females by accident. [The seal shouldn’t have been in the females in the first place surely… Crafty]

Young Henrys American Brown Ale (this may have had a different name)
I tried this over in Sydney recently. Good body, good bitterness and a good whack of hops on the aroma. This beer really stood out when I was over there.

Last Drop Brewery Hefeweizen
This is a very good example of a hefe. Fresh and creamy with a bit of banana and clove. Its slogan should be "It will put a banana in your pyjama".

Little Creatures Rogers
For 3.8 percent ABV it packs a good amount of flavour and is consistently good no matter where you go.

The 4 Pines Crew

Number 4 for their Kolsch. Please note, they thought we were after the pick of their own beers (well, they did release 39 in 2012), so are coming back with a separate list of their pick of everyone else’s. [They said they were going to, at least...]

This is equivalent to the child that becomes an astronaut. Throw the AIBA 2012 Stout Trophy in the mix and he or she will forever be the favourite.

Independence Day Keller Door Double IPA
A tough contest for the high ABV beer of the year. This guy was atypical from the majority of 2xIPAs going around, by displaying a big malt backbone. It was a very pleasant change up from the norm.

"Beer Mimics Food" Keller Door Sunday Roast
Whilst the idea of making beers with celebrity chefs (and pretty weird beers at that) on the surface may have been a massive mistake, all of the beers worked a dream. The Sunday Roast (by 4 Pines Head Chef Rob De Paulo) pipped the rest, probably as it sounds impossible and almost ridiculous, yet what came out was the Jekyll and Hyde of beers.

Aromatically it was identical to a Roast Dinner yet drank as an incredibly clean lager. It really showed us the extremities of beer in terms of ingredients and final product.

Kind of the nice guy of the schoolyard. Friends with everyone. A few people feel as if they can’t like it, but ultimately it either gets people into craft beer or pulls the hop heads back in once their mates aren’t looking.

The ESB has always been one of the favourites amongst the locals at the venue in Manly. Gold medals in previous AIBAs probably give good reason why. The big kid that is robust and strong enough to lift a full size adult off the ground. At the end last year we released it in draft format out into the wider trade for the first time to a few happy venues and we are hoping to do so a bit more in 2013.

So, there you go folks. No excuses now, it’s time for you to head here and enter the votes for your top five beers of 2012. As we said above, voting closes on January 15. Results will be announced on Australia Day.

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