Sunday, 14 February 2016

HOTTEST 100 BEERS

 
The Hottest 100 Beers


The dust has settle on The Hottest 100 Beers for another year. As usual their was some consternation among beer lovers as to the results. This year I felt their was a greater sense of unrest than previous years, so thought I may as well throw my own two cents in the ring.

For those who don't know, the Hottest 100 Beers is a poll run in much the same way as the Triple J Hottest 100, the general public vote for their 5 favourite Australian beers of the year in no particular order. Accordingly, and again similarly to the music version, this has thrown up a few anomalies which has disillusioned different members/sections of the community.

Statements like Dan Murphy's, first time sponsors of the Hottest 100 Beers this year, have artificially inflated the rankings of beers they stock - are not helpful. Nor are statements of brewers like Pirate Life getting employees to vote multiple times for their beers, and subsequently landing their 3 core beers in the top 11 of the Hottest 100. Neither of these statements, both of which I've heard multiple time, do I believe to be true.

I've taken a couple of weeks to collect my thoughts on the whole thing. I've read various pieces from a number of people, ranging from people I know and value their opinion through to a guy on a forum who said that he couldn't believe Fat Yak didn't win, as it was "clearly Australia's best beer!"... I believe, but sincerely hope not, that this individual was being 100% genuine.

After analysing some of the critiques and comments, as well as my own initial thoughts, in conjunction with the results I've come to the following conclusions;
  • The Hottest 100 Beers list is comprised of the most popular beers in the Australian craft beer community, albeit contrary to popular belief.
  • The Hottest 100 Beers list is a reward for consistent quality of product.
  • Brilliant beers will be rewarded, albeit not with the top positions in the rankings.
  • And finally something we all knew already, the Australian craft beer community is great because of it's diversity, and our ability to express different opinions.
I intend to address all four of the these dot points in more detail below. Starting with first; the Hottest 100 is without a doubt the most popular beers across the broader craft beer drinking community. I can accept that not everyone enjoys drinking huge Imperial IPA's, stout's or barley wines all the time like I do. The Australian craft beer scene is constantly growing, and a lot of that growth is through brands such as James Squire, and in particular their 150 Lashes. Their own head brewer recently admitted that they were a gateway product for people moving from mainstream to the pointier ends of craft beer. I believe it's place in The Hottest 100 is a true indication of how many more people are seeing the light and moving on from mainstream lagers. James Squire's key is their quality control and people knowing what they will get every time they order a pint, which brings me onto point 2...

Find me one example in the Top 100 that is not a continually excellent product - I think you'll struggle. The list is a reward for consistency - there's no two ways about it. There is not a single beer, that I've had, on that list that I've ever had a bad one of. One of the hardest parts of being a brewer is producing the same product time and time again. The Hottest 100 has, inadvertently, become an acknowledgement of brewers who take great care of their sanitation and quality control measures.

The very best beers, the ones spoken about ad nauseam on beer groups and forums, simply do not reach enough people to earn the top placings in the Hottest 100 Beer rankings. Furthermore, in many cases, they are simply to complex for the average persons palate. Before jumping up and down about the placing of Mountain Goat's Barley Wine or Boatrocker's Roger Ramjet, we all must recall that this is a popularity contest - not an awards ceremony voted on by expert beer judges. With this in mind, it is a huge achievement for such beers to even crack a spot in the Hottest 100. If one of these beers can capture the imaginations of the 10% of craft beer drinkers that love bigger, more ostentatious brews and get enough of that 10% to vote for said beer so it gains enough votes to feature, they must be pretty special.

Finally we are brought to a point we all already knew; that our craft beer community is great. Despite what I've said above, I think it is great that people are getting so passionate about beer. At time we all need to remember that at some point in our lives we were all mainstream macro beer drinkers, without those beers we wouldn't be where we are today discussing some of the wonderful beers craft brewers are producing in this country!

This is a post that I didn't intend to make this long - it's just kept snowballing the more I thought about the subject. On a somewhat similar note; I'm announcing that I am going to follow in the footsteps of Crafty Kev and try and track down the Hottest 100 Beers of last year over the course of the next year. A couple of these will be very hard, with limited stock/not being in production any more, but I'll do my best. You can find the results, and subsequently my list I'm chasing down here. I'll be posting updates here throughout the year, if you want to follow my challenge live it'll be on my Instagram - beeroclockau. Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts on the above guys - hit me up via the usual channels. Until next time.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

2 comments:

  1. Think you'll struggle to find a Milk and Two but good luck anyway.

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  2. Already have my hand on a Milk and Two Sugars - think he brewed a second batch towards the end of last year, as I've been seeing a fair bit around recently. MG Barley Wine I think will be one of the hardest

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