For the past few years, The Crafty Pint's founder has selected 50 top Aussie beers to run in his end of year article in James Halliday's Wine Companion Magazine. This year, with the book 150 Great Australian Beers – Your Guide To Craft Beer & Beyond on shelves and published by Hardie Grant, the magazine's publishers, we thought another list in print could be overkill.
But we also know how people love lists. And that many of you won't have the book.
So we figured we'd do something a little different this time around and present a top 10 beers from each state, selected by people who know their beer from each state. The only instruction that we gave to those who agreed to compile the lists was that the beers selected must be new in 2014 – although this could include a new version or take on a previously released beer.
First up is Tasmania. Compiling the list is Luke Dempsey (pictured above bottom right) who used to be part of the team at Crown Cellars and is now head honcho at Launceston's Saint John Craft Beer bar. We asked him to compile the list as a) he knows his beer and pours pretty much everything released in Tassie at this bar and b) because he's been waiting for us to do a listing for his bar on Crafty for months...
Anyway, over to Luke for his in-no-particular-order top 10 of Tassie...
Moo Brew Hop Harvest Rye IPA
This year's Hop Harvest ale. Always one of my most anticipated beers of the year. This year's was killer and it the first IPA Moo has ever produced. Nailed it.
Van Dieman Fresh Hop White IPA
Another fresh hop seasonal release. Particularly special for me, as myself and family helped pick (a very small amount) of the hops. We did the launch of the beer at Saint John and have had the hop vines hanging in the bar ever since.
Van Dieman Hedgerow Barrel Aged Sour Ale
This barrel aged beauty gets better and better each year. An amber ale, with added sloe berries, hawthorn berries and rose hips from the Van Dieman property. This year's has some real funk and tartness up front but finishes with some lovely, sweet, fruity, oaky characters.
Morrison 2014/15 Saison
My favourite beer from the Morrison stable. Second release of their summer seasonal. Zesty and peppery, packing a nice little 6.2 percent punch. Dangerous stuff. I've been told to keep an eye out for a couple of new additions to the saison range in the coming months.
Seven Sheds Platypus
Produced to celebrate Seven Sheds' 200th Brew. A rich brown ale brewed in collaboration with a whole host of North West Coast Tassie producers including a chocolatier, a ginseng producer and an organic quinoa grower. Legendary Saint John patron and Seven Sheds assistant brewer, James Maine, cast his fine hand over this one, and it remains one our highlights of the year.
Hobart Brewing Company Harbour Master Tasmanian Ale
This newest kid on the local brewing scene and the first release of hopefully many. Hoppy, session (4.4 percent) amber sort of a thing, utilising all Tassie malts and hops. The sort of thing you would be happy to drink all day long, all year round. Will see this popping up on taps all over the place shortly.
Little Rivers Brewing Co European Dark Lager
A northern brewery also fairly new to the scene which launched its awesome range with us back in late February. The Dark Lager has been one of our fave new releases this year and has figured prominently on our taps throughout. Light caramel and honey notes in the sort of dark beer you would be happy to have on tap all year round. Was a big hit at our bar at the Dark Mofo Winter feast.
Moo Brew Vintage Stout
A barrel aged version of the seasonal winter release nicknamed the Velvet Sledgehammer! Enough said!
Morrison's Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular release from earlier in the year. A hopped up version of their already delicious Saison. Perfect. Eagerly awaiting a remake of this one as we were only able to pour one keg through our taps.
Ironhouse Paddy's Head Lark Barrel Aged Stout
Quite possibly the best received stout to go on tap over winter. We smacked through this quicker than nearly anything to go on tap all year. This is one smooth, decadent monster with lashings of whisky notes coming though. Can't wait till next year!
Thanks, Luke. Next up: Western Australia, courtesy of Pia "girl plus beer" Poynton.