The GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2016 was a victory for brewing excellence, said organiser Steve Jeffares as the poll wrapped for another year.
Many of the top performers in this year’s poll are multiple award-winners, Jeffares observed during Radio Brews News’ Australia Day coverage.
“It’s great to see the Hottest 100 showcase, particularly at the top end of it, really good quality beers,” he said.
Jeffares said it was also noteworthy that independent breweries performed even better than last year, in spite of a massive 46 per cent increase in voter participation.
He said this defied speculation that as the poll became more popular, the more mainstream beers would climb.
“In fact, the opposite has happened,” he said.
Humbled: Stone & Wood
Stone & Wood Pacific Ale took out the title for the second year running in a top three that was unchanged, although Pirate Life Brewing Double IPA knocked Feral Brewing Hop Hog into third place.
“We’re really, really humbled by that result, given there’s so many new breweries and new beers coming in each year,” commented Stone & Wood CEO Ben Summons.
“It really blows us away, just having it hang up the pointy end there over a few years. I think [for] five years, it’s been one or two.”
This year’s strongest performing debutante was Balter Brewing, which picked up fourth place with its XPA.
“[We’re] pretty stoked,” said Balter head brewer Scott Hargrave. “It’s not something we really focus on, you get in and make the best beer you can… but I guess it’s pretty awesome that people have responded and like us back.”
Asked why he’d chosen the XPA as the particular beer to launch with, Hargrave said it was a “statement of intent”.
“Don’t expect us just to go in timidly and think that some famous people will push it into people’s faces, whether they like it or not,” he said.
XPA aimed to strike the right balance as a highly drinkable beer that still offered plenty of hop character, Hargrave said.
The complete GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2016 is available to view here.