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Canberra has confirmed its position as the craft beer capital of Australia with Bentspoke’s stunning Crankshaft American IPA being voted Australia’s favourite Craft Beer of 2021 in the closest finish in the history of the prestigious GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll.
Gold Coast’s Balter XPA, two time winner in 2017-18, claimed second and was joined on the podium by Your Mates from the Sunshine Coast with their Australian Pale Ale, Larry!
After Omicron brought about a very challenging festive season for craft breweries, it was fantastic to see a record number of voters register for the poll and celebrate on Saturday with 55 pubs hosting live countdown parties around the country.
The GABS Hottest 100 reveals the trends, brands and breweries shaping the local craft beer landscape with each voter set the very challenging task of selecting only their five favourite craft beers of the year. To give you a sense of how difficult that is with Australia’s long love affair with beer, this year a whopping 2, 238 different beers were nominated by 281 breweries.
With craft being the only beer sector growing, it was no surprise to see a record 58 breweries have beers make the list this year and 37 beers change up from last year. Impressive performances too from many small independent breweries that keep our beer economy alive and employ so many young Australians. Some new entrants include trending breweries such as Range from Brisbane with their Triple IPA Lights + Music, One Drop Brewing Co from Marrickville with a delicious sounding Double Vanilla Custard Pancake Imperial Nitro Thickshake IPA.
Whilst WA might be locking the rest of us out, there is no stopping great beers from Otherside Brewing Co ( Anthem IPA) and Beerfarm (Royal Haze) from making the GABS Hottest 100 and Former PM Bob Hawke would have been over the moon with Hawke’s Brewing at preferring mateship at the polls as they still use his likeness and love for beer.
Whilst It’s clear the low-no alcohol category is getting significant consumer attention with Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA debuting at 20 and Sobah Beverages, zero alcohol, Pepperberry IPA coming in at 69. Low carb beer is also catching on with Gold Coast’s Burleigh Brewing Co, Bighead No-carb Lager up 19 places to 57 and Better Beer’s Zero Carb at 6.
Bentspoke’s capital city neighbour, Capital Brewing grabbed two spots in the top 10 with it’s XPA and Coast Ale and Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale and Young Henrys Newtowner remains two of the country’s favourites placing 4th and 10th respectively. Black Hops GOAT (5) and Ballistic Beer Co Hawaiian Haze (8).
In the battle between the states, Queensland set the bar at 30 with Black Hops and Balter combining to claim an amazing 11 of those spots. Victoria took 22, NSW 20, ACT 12, SA and WA 8 each.
Pale, Hazy and Hop driven Ales dominated the list but the move by craft breweries to attract mainstream beer drinkers is clearly working, judging by the number of high quality, easy drinking, gateway Lagers and low-no options proving popular. Fun beers also hold their own with Little Bang’s Face Invertor Sour, Ballistic’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout and Bad Shepard’s big Peanut Butter Porter!
GABS Festival MD, Mike Bray, said “ It is just fantastic that the GABS Hottest 100 makes craft beer part of a national discussion. After the year the brewing industry has had, to see venues busy, beer flowing, people celebrating and debating craft beer as we delivered the live countdown on Saturday was incredible. GABS is all about sharing a common love for craft beer and the fact that more people are joining the conversation each year, only bodes well for the future of the industry.”
You can find the full list at www.gabshottest100.com . GABS will also release the much anticipated placings of the Hottest 100 new brews of 2021 and Independent owned breweries list later this week.