We're past the halfway mark in our state by state roundup of top new brews released by Aussie brewers in 2014. Thus far, we've run down ten from Tassie, Western Australia and Victoria and now it's time for Queensland.
For our selection from the Sunshine State, we turned to Darren Magin, the man behind the 250 Beers blog and a regular contributor to The Crafty Pint, who has come up with a colourful collection of beers that encapsulates just how far and fast the beer scene in Queensland – particularly in and around Brisbane – has come.
With more new breweries coming and new bars adding further choice for punters – not to mention a vastly expanded Brewsvegas on its way again in March – here's to another cracking year for the most fun beer scene in Australia in 2015.
Anyway, before that, let's finish 2014 with Darren's in-no-particular-order ten...
Burleigh Brewing Co – Dream Date
Burleigh Brewing's 2014 GABS entry was a 5.7 percent ABV dark ale brewed with a shed load of dates. This resulted in a delicious beer bursting with sweet toffee and, well, dates! It made enough noise to eventuate into 650ml bottles.
Newstead Brewing Co – MO
A collaboration charity brew by Newstead Brewing, this (extremely) hoppy 6.3 percent ABV India Pale Lager assisted in a local Movember fundraiser by generating more than $1,000 via a karma keg. It was also tapped as far north as the Sunshine Coast down through Brisbane to the Gold Coast raising not only eyebrows but awareness for men's health too.
Granite Belt Brewery – IRA
This Irish Red Ale (5.2 percent ABV) has turned heads wherever it's been tapped this year. Pouring a deep copper colour and providing a sweet caramel yet bitter, dry finish this beer is certainly not your average red ale.
Fortitude Brewing Co – Toasted Lager
This 4.5 percent ABV pale lager made its way around Brisbane to wide applause. It has a subtle, toasted, bready sweetness to it that will make you want a second.
Black Hops Brewing – Eggnog Stout
The first commercial release from these Gold Coast brewers was Eggnog Stout (5.0 percent ABV). It burst onto the scene late in 2014 surrounded by a large marketing push via social media. The inclusion of vanilla, brandy and spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, ensured this quintessential craft brew lived up to the hype.
Green Beacon Brewing Co – Grappler
This wonderful 5.0 percent ABV India Pale Lager packs a punch with its traditional malt base being enhanced by flavoursome new world hops. The result is a ridiculously sessionable, fresh lager.
Brewtal Brewers - Jack The RIIPA
A red imperial IPA standing strong at 7.5 percent ABV stands out as a highlight from 2014 not only because of its artistic tap decal [slightly modified above; sorry, Darren – couldn't resist! Crafty] but also because of the huge bitterness' ability to smack you in the face. Many hope that 2015 reveals more glimpses of awesomeness from the Brewtal boys.
Bacchus Brewing Co – Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road
The ability to brew small, 50 litre batches enables Bacchus to pump out a phenomenal amount of one-offs. This special 8.6 percent ABV dessert beer was Bacchus' 2014 GABS entry [so more than 50 litres was brewed] and ended up taking the runner-up spot in the People's Choice Award. Packed with peanuts, marshmallow, cherries, chocolate, hazelnuts and Turkish Delight - everything you'd associate with a bar of Rocky Road – this beer was one of the craftiest of craft beers from 2014.
Noisy Minor – Admiral Ackbar
A few limited releases of this flavoursome double red ale haven't failed to impress. It's a big (8.5 percent ABV), bitter red ale with a huge, ballsy bitterness yet is still so flavoursome and easy to drink.
Croft Brewing – Saison Grenade
There are many notable craft beer releases to have occurred in Queensland during 2014. Many raise an eyebrow due to the inclusion of non-standard ingredients. A few have made this list. It would therefore be remiss to ignore this quirky beer from Croft Brewing. A bright pink, 4.3 percent ABV saison that features the addition of hibiscus flowers and pomegranate, all of which results in a delicious, fresh, dry tartness.
Thanks, Darren. Just New South Wales and South Australia to come now (provided the selectors get copy to us before the year is out...). And on the subject of top beers, don't forget to vote in the Hottest 100 poll.