The GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2016 were announced on Australia Day. In now annual tradition it generated plenty of debate.
Here’s a look at the popular vote through a Sydney lens.
Hottest Sydney Beers of 2016
Here are Sydney’s representatives in the Hottest 100.
- #9 – Modus Operandi Former Tenant
- #10 – 4 Pines Pale Ale
- #14 – James Squire 150 Lashes
- #16 – Young Henrys Newtowner
- #17 – 4 Pines Indian Summer Pale Ale
- #18 – 4 Pines Kolsch
- #21 – Modus Operandi Sonic Prayer
- #25 – Akasha Korben D
- #27 – Lord Nelson Three Sheets
- #46 – Modus Operandi Modus Pale Ale
- #48 – 4 Pines American Amber
- #51 – Nomad Freshie
- #61 – Stockade 8 Bit IPA
- #62 – James Squire Hop Thief 8
- #72 – James Squire Hop Thief 7
- #75 – Batch Elsie The Milk Stout
- #89 – 4 Pines Imperial IPA
- #91 – Modus Operandi Session IPA
- #94 – Wayward Sourpuss
- #99 – James Squire The Chancer
- #100 – Akasha Hopsmith
- 21 of the 100 beers were from Sydney (up one last year).
- 29 of the 100 beers were from New South Wales. Outside of Sydney, the state was represented by Murrays, Stone & Wood, Rabbit & Spaghetti (Naked Wines), Thirsty Crow and Yenda (Australian Beer Co).
- 4 of the 21 Sydney beers were from macro breweries.
- 11 Sydney entries were new into the Hottest 100. They were Wayward Sourpuss, Modus Operandi Session IPA, 4 Pines Imperial IPA, Batch Elsie The Milk Stout, James Squire Hop Thief 8, Stockade 8 Bit, Nomad Freshie, 4 Pines Amber, Modus Pale, Akasha Korben D and Modus Sonic Prayer.
- 4 Pines had the most beers out of Sydney’s representatives in the list with 5. Modus Operandi, having started packing their beer, had 4.
- 17 of the 21 Sydney beers could probably be classed as hop-forward, consistent with the overall trend. The exceptions were Wayward Sourpuss, Batch’s Elsie, Nomad Freshie and 4 Pines Kolsch.
- There were a further 19 Sydney beers in the 101-200.
After not making it into the Hottest 100 last year, Wayward made it in this year with Sourpuss at #94. This time last year they weren’t packaging their beer so that, along with the growth in popularity of their cellar door, will have helped them crack the 100 this year. They also had Camperdown 1 and Charmer in the 101-200 so it’d be good to see them in the top 100 next year.
Props also go to The Royal Albert Hotel for Bert, their collaboration with Colonial Brewing, getting in at #93.20 of the #hottest100beers were from Sydney! #sydneybeer Click To Tweet
Rocks Brewing also dropped out of the 100 with Hangman coming in at #182.
Many locals wanted to vote for BlackFont beers but given they’re quite content with their current size, they reportedly didn’t want the additional exposure.
Throughout the day many were predicting Coopers Pale Ale to come up in a high position but the brewery didn’t enter their beers into the vote.
Breakdown of Styles
The range of styles represented in the Hottest 100 should come as no surprise. Australia is still in love with hop-forward beers, be they session beers or bolder IPAs. They still make up a large portion of the 100, particularly those in the American style.
Last year there were just two lagers. This was matched this year.
Interestingly this year was the first Hottest 100 to feature a gose. In fact, there were two, including one from Sydney.
There were also fewer session beers than last years despite what many people might have predicted. This was balanced out by an increase in pale ales and a few more sour beers. The typical ABV sits between 4 and 6% for most of the beers on the list, with more over 8% than under 4%.
There are a few things we can see from this year’s Hottest 100.
Drop In Macros
The standout trend was fewer macro beers in the top ten when many were predicting that beers like 150 Lashes were in with a chance with a top spot. Lion, CUB and Asahi all had fewer beers than last year. Only Australian Beer Co (Yenda) matched last year with one beer.
80 of the 100 were from independent breweries. Ultimately this is a good development for independent Australian beer.
There was also a drop in some old favourites, including Little Creatures Pale Ale.
This year there was a move away from the Victorian focus of the results we’ve seen previously, with more and more coming from New South Wales and Western Australia, while Queensland has the most breweries per capita in the top 100.
New Beers In Cans
21 of the 100 were new to the list, showing there’s still a growing demand in Australia for beer that’s new and exciting.
It also shows that dramatic improvements in the quality of beer, alongside some half decent branding and marketing can go a long way. This can be seen with the likes of Stockade and Gage Roads.
We’ve also seen how it doesn’t take too much to crack the top 100, with beers like Kaiju’s Krush and Nail VPA only being released or packaged shortly before the vote.
Those beer were both launched in cans which is another trend that’s recognisable form the list. Particularly with breweries such as Modus Operandi and Canberra’s Bentspoke, packaging in cans is something which has allowed some breweries to really kick on in the top 100.
The Big Winners
The big winner from 2016’s GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers was independent beer.
It’s also shown the impact new breweries with big branding can make. Pirate Life continued the trend from last year, while Balter had a high entry with their XPA coming in at number four.
Looking to the top of the pile, Stone & Wood are the obvious big winner with another first place. This billing provides the credentials which allows them to deliver a uniquely Australian flavour profile around the world.The big winner from 2016’s #hottest100beers was independent beer. Click To Tweet
As always, the list creates plenty of debate. Many discussions were the same as previous years.
- Should macro-owned craft brands be included?
- Is a popular vote good or bad for craft beer?
- Who the hell are so-and-so?
These questions are better answered elsewhere and will surely be debated on social media for the next week or two.
Overall the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers is a good thing for craft beer. If someone new to it looks at the list and tries beers from independent breweries, it can only strengthen the industry.
Cheers To Another Year Of Great Beer
As always it’ll be interesting to see how mass media reports the Hottest 100. It’ll likely be labelled as Australia’s best beers but there’s not much harm in that. Let’s hope we see some positive coverage, focusing on the diversity and success of independent Aussie beer.
The value of a popular vote is in generating discussion and providing a snapshot of trends. We can quickly see from the list the kind of habits that consumers are developing. It’s an interesting point-in-time view of the shape of the craft beer landscape.The value of #hottest100beers is in generating discussion and providing a snapshot of trends. Click To Tweet
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