Monday, 30 January 2017

HOTTEST 100 BEERS: PART 8


The Hottest 100 Beers


You may have noticed it's past Australia Day now and that I didn't get all these posts up in time. I did manage to complete the challenge on Instagram and so will spend the next couple of days finalizing these posts for completeness.

#6 - James Squire 150 Lashes James Squire gets a pretty bad rap at times. I found very little wrong with this beer, it's pretty inoffensive. The malts are light, as are the hops which provide light citrus and floral flavours. It finishes really nice and dry, leaving you wanting more (if there's nothing better available...).

#20 - Mountain Goat Steam Ale A beer I drink regularly on tap around Melbourne; Mountain Goat's Steam Ale, snuck into the top 20. It's a beer that is incredibly easy to drink, with plenty of fruit and citrus qualities. I'd highly recommend this to everyone who visits Melbourne, from experience it's better the closer you get it to the brewery.

#30 - Young Henrys Newtowner This challenge was the first time I've tried the Newtowner from Young Henrys. I found it to be a pretty generic Pale Ale - with biscuity malts on the sweeter side, whilst the hops don't provide much bitterness, only earthiness and floral qualities. Maybe it's a case of this being better on tap - I can't see it ranking this highly otherwise...

#40 - Little Creatures Dog Days I've really enjoyed the Dog Days from Little Creatures, since it was first released last Summer. Since then they've launched their canning line and this beer was one of the first to get the can treatment. It's a light bodied Pale Ale with plenty of fruitiness, particularly peach. It doesn't pack much bitterness, yet strangely isn't sweet.

#42 - La Sirene Praline It's rare that GABS beers last multiple years in the Hottest 100 Beers. La Sirene's Praline is one of those beers that have bucked the trend. It's not your typical beer though... It's a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with hazelnut, cacao and vanilla all strong flavours. It's quite sweet yet not cloying. I've reviewed this beer in full before and you can read that here.

#52 - Green Beacon Windjammer
 I have really fallen in love with this IPA, it's such a shame it's hard to get in Victoria... It's beautifully balanced with enough biscuity malts doing their thing so that mango, piney and grapefruit can come through in waves from the hops. The bitterness accordingly seems slightly restrained and the beer finishes beautifully dry.

#64 - 2 Brothers Kung Foo This may well be the best lager produced in Australia! Like many other craft beer enthusiasts the words "rice lager" do not generally illicit an excited response from me. As you'd expect there wasn't a heap of flavour coming from the malts, which allowed the liberal amount of citrus and grassy hops the platform to shine.

#72 - Akasha Hopsmith I first had Hopsmith from Akasha on tap at The Rainbow during Good Beer Week. Since then I've tried it a few times, both on tap and in bottles, and have been really impressed with it. It's another impressive IPA with heaps of citrus hop flavours, notably tangerine and orange, combining with plenty of caramel malts. As far as balanced Australian IPA's go, you'd be hard pressed to find better.

#85 - Bridge Road Bling Speaking of well balanced IPA's... Bridge Road's Bling is one of the most readily available Australian IPA's out there with it stocked in Dan Murphy's nationwide. It's got plenty of earthiness and caramel malts, while the hops provide citrus and tropical fruit flavours, with grapefruit the most prominent. How this beer didn't score higher I do not know.

#92- White Rabbit White Ale This is a far better Witbier than I recall it being when I've tried it in the past. It's on the slightly sweeter side, and is pretty bland although there are hints of orange and coriander that manage to poke through. It became a little cloying by the end of drinking, but that may have been because I let it warm up a little too much. Personally this isn't my thing, but technically it's a pretty good beer.

With any luck I'll get these last three posts knocked out by the end of next week. All the posts are now up on the Beeroclockau Instagram page, so please feel free to check them out if you can't wait until the next installment. Once these get finished I'll get into some new content, including a long overduce Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack review. You can follow me along live . Until next time...

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

Saturday, 28 January 2017

HOTTEST 100 BEERS: PART 7


The Hottest 100 Beers


You may have noticed it's past Australia Day now and that I didn't get all these posts up in time. I did manage to complete the challenge on Instagram and so will spend the next couple of days finalizing these posts for completeness.  

#4 - Pirate Life Pale Ale Pirate Life shocked Australia with their three core beers all placing in the top 11 in last years Hottest 100. This beer is a cracker with sweet caramel malts helping to balance out big grapefruit flavours and bitterness from the hops.

#18 - Coopers Pale Ale The ubiquitous Coopers Pale Ale deservedly found it's way into the Top 20 of last year's Hottest 100. Every Australian beer lover has had a Coopers (Green) Pale at least once and knows that the house yeast is what makes the beer. You've been living under a rock if you don't know what this tastes like!

#24 - Nail Red Nail's Red was the first beer in the countdown that I hadn't tried before. It's quite an impressive Red Ale with nice deep caramel malts being beautifully complimented by hops that provide grapefruit and tropical fruits, with passionfruit the most prominent. It has a slight bitterness to it, but is definitely more of a traditional Red Ale than an U.S. influenced one.

#37 - Mash Copy Cat This was another quite impressive beer. It's not the hoppiest IPA out there, but it's certainly not bad. The hops give most resinous pine and zesty citrus characteristics and are just kept in check by the chewy caramel malts. It's not the prettiest looking beer, but it's certainly one I wouldn't be upset at having again.

#48 - 4 Pines Australian Pale Ale It would be pretty harsh to judge this beer on the tasting I had of it in 2016... Dylan found this beer in the back store room at work and it had not held up well over the 20 or so months since it was brewed. When I tried it fresh in early 2015 it was a pretty good Pale Ale, sort of reminiscent of a Coopers Pale with some extra hops chucked in.

#58 - 
Two Birds Golden Ale I was really quite disappointed when I tried this beer. It had a lot of residual sweetness from the malts, while there was little to no hop presence. The thought crossed my mind that this may have just been an off bottle (it was well within date) and a subsequent trip to the brewery to try it on tap proved it to be far less sweet than the bottled version I'd tried.

#65 - Stone & Wood Garden Ale One of a growing number of craft mid-strength options on the market, Stone & Wood's Garden Ale clocks in at 3.5% ABV. It's reminiscent of English styles with plenty of earthy maltiness, whilst the hops are predominantly floral and grassy and provide little bitterness. Personally it's not my thing, but I can see the appeal - it's a very easy beer to drink.

#80 - Little Creatures Rogers Speaking of better mid-strength offerings; Little Creatures Rogers is just that! Stylistically this beer sits somewhere between English Bitter and American Amber Ale. If that sounds weird picture a mix of earthy/nutty malt, which melds with some spicy floral and citrus hops. I think this beer gets overlooked far too often, it's a wonderful beer in the right situation.

#84 - Mountain Goat Barrel Breed Barley Wine I was really excited to see a Barley Wine make the cut for the Hottest 100. This was a seriously impressive Barley Wine with wonderful complexity, It was packed full of dark fruit flavours, as you'd expect, and had nice warming booze elements - not the overpowering harshness that you can sometimes come across. This one is absolutely worth the price tag.

#95 - 3 Ravens 55 Last but not least for this installment was the 55 American Pale Ale from 3 Ravens. It's named 55 because it's brewed with 5 malts and 5 hops, initially for the brewery's fifth birthday. It's a Pale Ale that I really enjoy drinking, with nice bitterness from the floral and citrus hops.

With any luck I'll get these last three posts knocked out by the end of next week All the posts are now up on the Beeroclockau Instagram page, so please feel free to check them out if you can't wait until the next installment. Once these get finished I'll get into some new content, including a long overduce Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack review.

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

Monday, 16 January 2017

HOTTEST 100 BEERS: PART 6


The Hottest 100 Beers


It's taken me a little longer than expected, but I've finally put together Part 1 of this Hottest 100 segment. I've tried at least 1 beer from each decade (yes, it's correct - it's not just used for years.) and have written short summations for you below. Assuming things go to plan, ie. I can find all the beers in time, I intend to complete this challenge in 10 posts.

#7 - 4 Pines Pale I don't know if the distribution of this beer has been improved, but it's a greatly improved beer from what I knew it before last year. It's a lovely Pale Ale, when fresh, which has a nice biscuity malt base with restrained bitterness and grapefruit and pine hop flavours.

#13 - Two Birds Taco Very few GABS beers survive the test of time. Sure the odd one is bottled, but rarely do the go on to become permanent offerings from the brewery that creates them. The original GABS beer from Two Birds bucks that trend and is still their most popular beer 3 and a half years on. It's a wonderful beer which evokes the flavours of Mexican cuisine, with lime and coriander dominating with chilli and corn in the background. It's just been released in cans and is a summer favourite of mine.

#28 - James Squire The Chancer I was concerned that this beer was going to be horribly sweet. I needn't have been worried! James Squire is the main craft arm of Australian brewing giants Lion (who are now owned by Kirin). If this beer is any indication they're doing a reasonable job of producing beers that will hopefully convert more drinkers to craft beer. Contrary to popular opinion in the craft community; you could do far worse if you're at a pub than try this beer.

#38 - Wolf of the Willows XPA This beer is so underrated; it's bordering on criminal! I've re-discovered this beer in the last couple of months and now I always have some on hand. It's a wonderfully balanced beer with lovely biscuity malts laying the foundations for the passionfruit and citrus hop characteristics to shine through. I'm going to make sure I have at least one o these a month in 2017! I'm seriously considering voting for this beer in this years Hottest 100.

#45 - Hawkers IPA Hawkers IPA took out 45th spot in the countdown, This is one that I forgot to post on Instagram for a few months, but found when I had to clear photo's off my phone. There's nice bitterness to this IPA, with pineapple, passionfruit and citrus all prominent. This IPA is a really nice readily available option and, like all their beers, I wouldn't be surprised to see this higher in the next countdown.

#56 - 
Kosciuszko Pale Ale I didn't know what to expect from the Kosciuszko Pale Ale. It was started by the legendary Chuck Hahn in 2009 and like all his previous ventures has now been bought by Lion. Again, putting aspersions aside and looking at the beer objectively, I was reasonably happy with it. The malt body is predominantly bready and the hops provide nice notes of grapefruit and moderate bitterness for the style.

#62 - Newstead Two to the Valley This Queensland brewery has got a pretty good reputation, although very few of their bottled offerings make it our way down south. I'm not sure where I picked this up, but it's a nice tasting IPA. The malts provide caramel and biscuit notes, while the hops are mostly citrusy and quite bitter. It's one of the more balanced IPA's that I've come across in Australia, #62 is probably a little low for this beer.

#78 - 4 Pines ESB It's taken me years, but I think I finally understand ESB's now!  This beer is lovely with plenty of malt and dark fruit flavours being balanced out by impressive, distinctly English, earthy hop bitterness. I don't think I'll ever be a person who would vote for an ESB in their Hottest 100 votes, but I now at least understand why some other people would.

#82 - Batch West Coast IPA I stumbled across this beer at my work local craft beer bar; Dr Morse, one afternoon after work. It's a really impressive IPA and one that would do far better in the countdown with wider distribution - this is the first time I've seen this outside of Sydney. The body is relatively light and predominantly biscuity, while the hops provide assertive resinous pine and citrus bitterness.  

#96 - Kaiju Metamorphosis Kaiju suffered the two biggest falls in last years Hottest 100 countdown from the previous year, with this particular beer falling all the way from #29! This is not the typical sort of IPA you'd find in Australia; with masses of malt at times overwhelming the hops. It's got chewy caramel and biscuity malts as well as grassy and floral hop characteristics. It's a beer that seems to change from batch to batch, with the one I tried before this having an almost roasty quality to it.

This has taken a little bit longer than I had hoped to get up, however I'm still on track to finish before Australia Day! I've still got a couple of beers to track down but with any luck that will all take care of itself. With any luck the next installment will be up on Wednesday. You can follow me along live, well slightly delayed, on the Beeroclockau Instagram page. Until next time...

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

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

THE BEER-THUSIAST PACK: NOVEMBER

The Beer-thusiast Pack: November 


Since the temporary demise of Tru Bru's Bear Club, I've been looking for a beer club to fill the void. Up stepped The Beer-thusiast Pack from one of Melbourne's finest craft beer establishments; Carwyn Cellars.

The Beer-thusiast Pack is delivered to your door monthly. It's composition is a complete mystery until it arrives - although it's likely to include a number of local offerings. Each month 12 beers arrive, including 5 duplicates. As many of you know I'm not generally one for duplicates, which is where Dylan comes in.

Dylan and I share a love of sport and have been playing indoor soccer together for a few years now. Dylan's love of craft beer has grown over the years to the point that he's now an avid Untappd user and works at a boutique bottle shop, with a large craft beer range. His tastes are not dissimilar to mine; with a preference for sours and hoppy beers over maltier offerings.

For the first time in a few years I'm going to have a co-reviewer on Beer O'Clock Australia. The plan is that we'll divide the duplicates at soccer soon after they arrive. We'll both drink them individually and record our thoughts, before getting together to share the single beers in the pack (and possibly a few more!). After the success of the first installment, we're progressing with the same format for this second post. Keep your feedback coming as we're still tinkering with it.


I was genuinely excited by this lineup. There were four local Victoria beers, of which I'd only previously tried one, alongside 3 American offerings, again of which I'd only previously tried one. You could make a case that there are 7 different styles in this pack, if you consider the passionfruit infused session IPA as a unique style. That very beer, the Passion Fruit Pinner from Oskar Blues, was the beer I was most looking forward to trying!

Colonial USA-AUS Pale Ale - American Pale Ale - 4.4%

Colonial Brewing Co. is one of the pioneers of craft beer in Western Australia. Last year they opened a second brewery in Port Melbourne, that has seen their range become far more prevalent on the eastern seaboard. This beer is their new Pale Ale, which aims to blend the best of American (Tomahawk & Simcoe) and Australian hops(Galaxy & Astra).

"There’s something about Colonial. Their beers are generally good but unspectacular, well made but not as exciting as many other local releases...and I always thoroughly enjoy them and want to revisit them. It might be the ring-pull cans (which are amazing!), the straight up and down interpretations of styles or the simple but effective flavour profiles but their beers always seem to punch above their weight. This is a very straightforward pale as expected: good bitterness at a sessionable ABV, very light body for easy drinking, light pine and citrus notes. It all comes together nicely and I’ll be drinking more of these when I’m in the mood for a no-nonsense, easy going pale."

Bad Shepherd ESB By Dan (The Barman) - ESB - 4.9%

Bad Shepherd have been going from strength to strength since opening last year. This beer is the first of hopefully many in their "Brew Crew" series. It's an ESB designed by and to be just like Dan, the barman. To quote straight from their website - "Some sweetness (from the malt), a touch fruity (from the yeast esters) but mostly dry and bitter. To be any more like Dan this ESB would need to have tattoos and stay away from social media."

"I’m starting to like ESBs a lot more than I used to. I think as long as the malt is balanced with a certain degree of bitterness it’s a very nice style and this is a good example of that. There’s definitely a lot of malt flavour - a little biscuity and sweet - but there’s this punchy bitterness and underlying earthiness that make it all come together nicely. Looking at this one, the Hargreaves Hill ESB and the 4 Pines ESB I’m starting to think Aussie breweries are getting the hang of the style."

Regular readers would know that, much like Dylan, I'm beginning to appreciate ESB's more and more. I tend to agree with his assessment of this beer; plenty of malt with just a hint of fruitiness. The bitterness was more intense than I'm used to for the style, but it definitely worked in this beer.

Golden Road Saison Key Lime - Saison - 5.8%

Golden Road is an American brewery based in LA that have been sending beers to our shores for a few years. This Saison came out in the latest shipment and it's the first time I've seen it. From what I understand this beer is a Saison that has been brewed with Key Lime, a strong flavoured lime with high acidity that's native to Florida.

"I enjoyed this one, a fun little twist on a good base saison. There’s nice floral/yeast notes with a good dry finish and the lime pairs really naturally. Pithy citrus up front creates a very good lead-in to the more traditional saison flavours on the back end of the beer."

I've previously had the grapefruit Saison from Golden Road (Saison Pamplemousse), which was truly excellent and that I can only assume is from the same series. This one wasn't quite as nice as Pamplemousse, but the hints of tart lime flavour combine really nicely with the base Saison. Apparently they already have one brewed with lemons (Golden Road Saison Citron), which I'll have to keep an eye out for.

Fury & Son Pilsner - German Pilsner - 4.8%

Fury & Son are a Melbourne based brewery who launched in Keilor Park in 2016. I don't actually know a heap about them, although I do find it interesting that they launched with a Pilsner. I'm quite interested to try this beer after the awards it's been picking up recently.

"This beer recently won the 2016 iteration of the Terminus Hotel’s Lager Off against some very stiff competition so I was very keen to try it! I’m a sucker for pilsners but this is still a very enjoyable one regardless — good craftsmanship, nice stonefruit flavour from the ‘new world’ hops, light bite on the finish. I probably like my pilsners with a touch more bitterness overall but this was a really pleasant beer, one I’d be keen to try fresh off tap in future."

This beer is the first one where we are going to have a real disagreement. I quite enjoy Pilsner's, yet this one however did very little for me. It was crisp, but was lacking in bitterness and really didn't stand out for me at all for me from a macro Pilsner. I would likewise be keen to try it off tap, maybe the bottle I sampled wasn't a great representation of the beer.

Stone IPA - American IPA - 6.9%

I was really excited to see this beer arrive in Australia in can form; I was even more excited to find it in the Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack that arrived at my door. Having sampled this when it was fresh in the country last June, I can't imagine how good this will taste fresh and canned!

"I’ve been drinking a lot of Stone’s Go To IPA recently so I was excited to give this one a whirl. The hop profile is a little different (way bigger but not as wide on the flavour spectrum) and it’s obviously got the amount of hops turned way up. It’s easy to see why it’s such a well known and loved IPA — it’s packed to the rafters with hops but is still well balanced and surprisingly easy to drink at the IBU/ABV level it has."

Oskar Blues Passion Fruit Pinner - Session IPA - 4.9%

As far as I'm aware; Oskar Blues were the first craft brewery to embrace the can, way back in 2002! Since then these guys have expanded from their original Colorado brewpub and now have three breweries throughout the U.S.. This is the beer I was most looking forward to in this pack; they're a brewery noted for their excellent use of hops and this seems right up their alley.

"I was very excited for this one! Great passionfruit on the nose, nice bitterness...but it just doesn’t work. It seems like a natural combination but the way this beer is made seems to let the flavours exist on two different planes - the fruit and the IPA don’t mesh at all. You’ve got some tart fruit up front which is almost immediately overtaken by bitterness that isn’t supported by the body. Certainly not a terrible beer (some individual elements are quite nice and it’s interesting to drink) and I love the idea, but the execution leaves a fair bit to be desired — especially when it’s delivered by a brewery with the pedigree of Oskar Blues."

I couldn't believe this beer didn't work! The body was too thin, the bitterness was harsh and the passionfruit wasn't that passionfruity... It's certainly not an awful beer, it's beer destroyed for me by the hype surrounding it.

La Sirene Urban Pale - Belgian Pale Ale/Saison - 5.2%

La Sirene surprised the craft beer community when they announced this beer at the end of October. Since then I've had quite a few of these and I like it more and more with each can that I try. It's a beer that I struggle to fit into a style, with the nose giving the tropical and citrus notes of a Pale Ale, whilst the flavour finishes with this distinct peppery Saison yeast. Either way it's a superb beer and one that I will keep drinking as long as they keep making it!

"La Sirene bringing out a warm weather can release was one of my bigger surprises of 2016 in Australian beer. They’re an excellent brewery and saisons are a fantastic summer choice; that said they’re definitely in the ‘boutique’ category, carving out their own lane mostly involving sharing sized bottles. It seems like a natural decision upon tasting the beer though — it’s a cracker! If I had to categorise it I’d call it a gateway saison, there’s some mild funk and a lovely dry finish with light hop character and good carbonation. Super easy to drink and bloody well made. Achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Great can design too!"

Kaiju! Metamorphosis - American IPA - 6.7%

I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of the bonus beer in our second pack, I thought it was a one time deal! Anyway, this was a bottle of the very fresh new batch of Kaiju's Metamorphosis. It's an IPA that I sample roughly once a year, and I always enjoy the maltiness that it offers to balance out it's aggressive hopping.

"Kaiju’s deft hand with hops is well known but it really comes to the fore when you compare this beer with efforts like their Robohop IPA. Whereas that one leaned more towards citrus and passionfruit, this is definitely more in the malt heavy, floral bitterness category. It was actually far roastier in terms of the malts than I’d expected - it was a real point of difference compared to many other Aussie IPAs - but that wasn’t to its detriment. Excellently balanced. I’d be intrigued to know if this batch had different malt flavours to previous iterations, this was my first time having it!"

Despite the let down of the Oskar Blues Passion Fruit Pinner I really enjoyed this pack. Just like last time I was really pleased getting to try some beers that I otherwise probably would've bypassed. The December pack has already been consumed by both Dylan and myself so with any luck that post will be up in the coming weeks, but realistically by the end of January. Keep the feedback coming in on this segment guys!

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

GOLDEN PINTS 2016

Every year UK based beer bloggers Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg put out the cry for beer bloggers to produce their "Golden Pint Awards". Basically it's a celebration of best beers had during the year by people who know the most about beer, or at least think they do :P.

This is the fifth year I've done this now and it's getting harder rather than easier! Despite promising myself I'd take better notes this year my notes seem to end in March... This is going to be an interesting exercise.

This year I've had over 800 beers from 37 countries, with Australian beers making up more than half that number. The United States, New Zealand, Denmark and Belgium round out the top 5 countries.

Best Australian Draught Beer - Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout This beer doesn't get as much love as it deserves. This year I sampled this at the brewery in Wagga Wagga and it was as creamy and delicious as ever, still packed with chocolate and vanilla. If you ever get the opportunity to try this beer in it's natural setting you have to take it!

Best Australian Bottled Beer Boatrocker L.A.B. Standing for Lactic, Acetic and Brett; Boatrocker's L.A.B. takes out my Golden Pint for best Australian Bottled Beer. I would say this is the best produced Australian sour out there, with wonderful flavour depth for a Flanders Red Ale. I'm very pleased to say that I have a few of these aging in my cupboard for years to come!

Best Australian Canned Beer - Feral War Hog This year has seen the can well and truly emerge on the Australian craft beer scene, with some breweries choosing it as their only packaged form - something that would've been barely perceivable just 18 months ago. After taking out my Best Australian Bottled Beer last year, Feral's War Hog gets the nod for the Canned Beer this year! It's a phenomenal IPA, which is only going to benefit from the improved lack of light and oxygen exposure that a can offers. It's great to finally have some choice in this award!

Best Cask Beer - 3 Ravens Dark Nothing was jumping out at me this year. I reckon I've had maybe 5 beers off the handpump for the year... I'm giving the nod to the 3 Ravens Dark that I quite enjoyed at The Cherry Tree in early-November as we were going through the dark taps (and obviously handpump). It was a nice malty brew with caramel, chocolate and some hints of smokiness coming through.  


Best Overseas Draught Beer - Almanac Farmer's Reserve Blueberry I have to go all the way back to February for this award. I sampled this wonderful Blueberry sour for the first time at The Local Taphouse during the Almanac launch. It's a wonderful beer mixing intense sourness with a wonderful blueberry fruitiness.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer - 
Omnipollo Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout (Double BA Version) For me this was the tightest fought category this year. Knee Deep's Hoptologist, Founders KBS, innumerable Almanac's and a late contender from Evil Twin's Even More Jesus all could've had claims to this title. But in the end I had to stump for the incredible stout from Sweden, full of chocolate and vanilla, that's been in both whiskey and cognac barrels.

Best Overseas Canned Beer - BrewDog Elvis Juice This was another Golden Pint award with a huge number of contenders. After much deliberation I've settled on Elvis Juice, BrewDog's grapefruit infused IPA. I thought this was quite fitting after the grapefruit IPA craze swept Australia in 2016. This is beautiful beer with plenty of hops complimenting the naturally tart grapefruit that BrewDog have used in this beer. With any luck you'll be reading more about this beer in the coming days.

Best Collaboration Beer - Beavertown/To Øl Mr. Hyde This was one of the most expensive beers I bought last year. It was always going to be worth the money considering the two brewers collaborating on both this and Dr. Jekyll. I ended up cracking it on International Stout Day and reviewed it in full, which you can read here. It was phenomenal!


Best Overall Beer - Cantillon Fou' Foune My beer highlight of the year was getting to sample Fou' Foune, my all time favourite beer, on tap at Carwyn Cellars. I was slightly apprehensive that it wouldn't live up to my rose-tinted memories of it, but the beer is that good that it did! The apricot is subtle and the beer is tart and spritzy. In my mind it's simply the best beer in the world! As a side note - Lizzie's parents recently went to Brussels and now I'm the proud owner of 3 Fou' Foune's!

Best Branding - To Øl I would have had these guys up there anyway, but the To Ølekalender really drummed it home for me. Their branding is eclectic, yet still strangely seems to remain relatively congruent. I've got at least one To Øl beer that I'll be aiming to review in full early next year.

Best Bottle Label - Mountain Goat Japanese Cowboy There was a lot of doom and gloom from the craft beer community following the announcement of the sale of Mountain Goat to Japanese brewery Asahi. The first of their Rare Breed's to be released after that was Japanese Cowboy complete with a label covered with Japanese characters and a bucking cowboy under a rising red sun - to say I found it amusing would be an understatement (apologies for the poor picture quality!)


Best Australian Brewery Boatrocker Boatrocker, in my mind, have clearly matured into Australia's best brewery. Their range of sour and barrel aged beers stacks up against the world's best - as seen in the Carwyn showcase back in Good Beer Week - whilst their core range of approachable beers are more than serviceable. I can't wait to see what new stuff they come out with in 2017!

Best Overseas Brewery - Almanac Right from their launch back in February I've been in love with the beers from Almanac! Their sours are wonderful, many with light vinous characteristics from the barrels they're aged in, whilst they are mostly packed with fresh fruit. There are also plenty of clean beers with their IPA a real standout for me!

Best New Brewery Opening 2016 - Fixation Brewing Co. It may have technically been founded right at the end of 2015, but for all intents and purposes I'm awarding Fixation Brewing Co. with the Best New Brewery Golden Pint for 2016. These guys are a subsidiary of Stone & Wood and brew just IPA's. I've had their regular IPA at least 12 times and can safely say it's Australia's best IPA. I'm really interested to see if these guys bring out any new beers in 2017.

Pub/Bar of the Year - The Birmingham Hotel I'm going for something slightly less crafty than usual this year... My Golden Pint for Pub of the Year is going to The Birmingham Hotel. One of many Fitzroy pubs I frequent after work, The Birmingham gets the nod not because of their taplist - which isn't bad, but could be better - but for their food! It serves hands down Melbourne's best parma and is absolutely worth a visit if you're in the area!


Beer Festival of the Year Good Beer Week This year I'm awarding Good Beer Week (of which GABS is apart of) with the gong for Beer Festival of the Year. I thought the events really stepped up a notch this year - or maybe that was just my picking of events to attend... In any case; I can't wait to see what the GBW team have in store for us this year!

Supermarket of the Year - First Choice First Choice are getting the nod this year due to their increasing care for craft beer. Dan's may have a wider range of foreign big name breweries (ie. Ballast Point), but First Choice aren't far behind stocking beers from Tuatara and Parrot Dog exclusively in Australia now.

Independent Retailer of the Year - Slowbeer Taking out the Golden Pint for the second year in a row for Independent Retailer of the Year is Slowbeer. Chris and my palettes have clearly synced up and now I find it very hard to shop elsewhere. The range of sours is as good as anywhere I've come across in the world; while you can also find rare stouts and plenty of hoppy offerings.

Online Retailer of the Year Carwyn Cellars This year I really discovered Carwyn Cellars, as both a bar and a bottleshop. I've been using their online store since the middle of the year to access some of the rarer things they get that sell out quickly - mainly Omnipollo stuff. The speed of their delivery has really impressed me, with beers often arriving the day after ordering. My impression of them has only been enhanced since joining the Beer-Thusiast club, which is wonderfully managed.


Best Beer Book - The Best Beer in the World This year I read more beer books than ever before. From classics like American Sour Beers to the Crafty Pint's new book to the fascinating Wood & Beer - I've read a heap. In the end Mark Dredge, my favourite beer author, is getting the Golden Pint - I wonder if he thought some random bloke in Australia would one day award his third book an award when he started this movement way back in the day!

Best Beer Magazine - Pallet  Pallet is the most eclectic magazine I've ever read; covering literally everything from Zambian Rock music to bird watching. It's certainly awesome but, once shipping to Australia is factored in, it's pretty expensive. If you've got deep pockets and are interested in a wide variety of topics it's hard to go past!

Best Beer Blog or Website Girl + Beer - Girl + Beer is getting my Golden Pint award for Best Beer Blog mostly for one segment. It may have become a less prominent feature in recent months, but I've always really enjoyed Pia's Weekend Reading. It's a segment that partially inspired my own similar thing - The Thirst. Her cheese and beer pairings also strike a chord with me - her latest one involved one of my favourite cheeses; Reypenaer VSOP. 

Best Beer Twitterer - Luke Robertson I'm not on Twitter that much any more (never really was that into it to be honest), but when I am I enjoy Luke's post via his handle @AleOfATime. Maybe I'll get back into Twitter in 2017... 


This is a few days late, but I'm glad I've finally got it up. Just like every year this has been a hard but rewarding process. Thanks for reading throughout 2016 and I hope you'll join me again for more beer adventures in 2017. I've got a few post for you to look out for over the coming week or so; first there will be the November Beer-thusiast pack (hopefully followed by December not that long after), a massive December Untappd Catchup, the long awaited glassware post, many Hottest 100 posts. another installment of The Thirst and finally a huge expose on Porters & Stouts. Stay tuned guys - 2017 is going to be the biggest yet on Beer O'Clock Australia!

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