Phew! We don’t have to eat our hat after all… A couple of weeks back, as votes were coming in for this year’s Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2012, we responded to a tweet with something along the lines of: “If it’s not Pacific Ale or Hop Hog I’ll eat my hat.” Instantly, given there are far more beers to choose from this year and more craft beer drinkers likely to vote, we began to regret our moment of bravado. Thankfully, with poll organisers The Local Taphouse revealing the top 100 this afternoon, it turns out it was a safe bet.
That said, who would have thought even two or three years ago that a poll of Australian beer drinkers would pick a nigh-on six per cent, US-inspired hop bomb as the country’s best beer. Times and tastes they are a-changing. And amen to that.
So congratulations to Feral head brewer Brendan Varis and sidekick Will Irving, who add this year’s Aussie craft beer world People’s Choice award to the long, long, long list of titles won by the awesome Hop Hog. We’re not sure yet of the final voting tally yet, but not long ago the people running the poll told us that there was just one vote between first and second. The results see a continued shuffling of the top three places, which last year were also held by the Pacific Ale, Little Creatures Pale Ale, and Feral Hop Hog.
“I didn’t think anyone expected to beat Stone & Wood for a long time,” says Brendan. “I’m really surprised. It’s a great list of beers, even if it’s still very eastern states biased. I feel bad that some of the good WA beers don’t get mentioned. There are breweries that are 10 or 15 years old that are making lots of really, really good beer and they are absent.
“A lot of WA beers are draught only, and in the early polls Hop Hog used to come in around about 12th or 15th when it was draught only, so it’s a bit of a bottled beer game.
“[As for the Hop Hog] I don’t see it as that big, I just see it as a highly hop-driven, balanced, sessionable IPA in the scheme of IPAs. It’s almost like the runt of our IPAs, but maybe I’ve got what Vinnie of Russian River calls the lupulin threshold shift, meaning that you get used to hoppiness in beers and are always looking for more.”
Rounding out the top five are past poll-toppers McLaren Vale, this time with their hoppy IPA, and the highest rating limited release of the year, the Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration Gypsy & the Goat, a Black Pepperberry IPA that has the dubious distinction of being the only beer ever released in Australia with the words “Crafty Pint” on the label…
So, without further ado, here’s the full rundown of 2012’s Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers. Thanks to the guys at the Taphouse for running it for the fifth year in a row, including Andrew Mitchell – the brains behind the voting system, and to Australian Brews News for helping publicise it to the wider be a world. Here’s to another awesome year for Aussie craft beer in 2013!
We’ll post a breakdown of results elsewhere on the site too.