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Revealing the Critics’ Choice: #10

March 23, 2011

Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale

We are into the Top 10 for the Critics’ Choice and rounding out the top group is Matilda Bay’s Alpha Pale Ale.

Little Creatures Pale Ale is often the beer credited as introducing the American-style pale ale to these shores, but Alpha Pale Ale has a real claim to that title as well. Developed by Brad Rogers at the Masthead Brewery on the Gold Coast around 2000, the beer has had several homes as owner CUB has reshuffled its businesses, but these days it is brewed at Matilda Bay’s Garage in Dandenong (though soon to move again if rumours of a new, visitor friendly Matilda Bay Brewery closer to Melbourne are to be believed).

Like its  geography, Alpha’s flavour profile has moved around a bit over a decade, but these days it is back to its hoppy heights and is one of the best of its style available in Australia these days. Compared to its little brother, Fat Yak, it is not a huge seller for the brewery, but its balance and consistency have seen it become one of Australia’s most awarded beers of late. Alpha most recently won two gold medals at the prestigious Sydney Royal Beer Show.

“Beautifully balanced with bold malt up front and steely fresh hop flavours and bitterness at the end the Alpha delivers just what it promises,” is  how Critics’ Choice Editor-at-Large, Peter Mitcham describes the beer.

The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers
RRP $14.95
Available from bookstores & newsagents from April 1, 2011


We’re giving readers a chance to win one of four copies of The Critics Choice: Australia’s Best Beers. Just tell us in the comments below which beer you think should be the choice for Australia’s best beer. Winners will be chosen at random from the comments.

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3 Responses to Revealing the Critics’ Choice: #10

  1. Jason on March 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Alpha is a fine beer, but in the style and general Little Creatures far surpasses it a cleaness, and freshness that is well balanced. Its right to credit this with opening the doors in Australia.

    Matilda Bay Premium was an incredibly good beer in the 90s but alas commercial evolution destroyed this…

  2. Stu on March 23, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I dissed this beer for a long time. I tried the bottled product a few times in Aus and NZ (shipped for BrewNZ, so it should have been in top form) and it was bland, thin, barely hopped… average. Then I had some in late September 2010… on the Sunshine Coast, no less. It was bursting with malt and hops. A cracking “Northwest” styled pale ale.

  3. James on March 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Excellent choice for #10! The Alpha Pale Ale deserves it.

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