Balter XPA tops GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2017

Balter Brewing XPA has taken out top place in the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2017

Balter Brewing XPA has taken out top place in the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2017

Independent ownership, ‘hazy’ beers, and a continuing love of hops are some of the key trends revealed in a major poll of Australia’s favourite craft beers.

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Now in its tenth year, the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll shines a powerful spotlight on the trends, brands and breweries shaping the booming craft beer industry. Described by Australian Brews News as “the largest and most influential people’s choice poll in the land,” the 2017 edition saw tens of thousands of craft beer lovers vote for their five favourite craft beers of the year, then celebrate the live countdown on Saturday 27 January at more than 45 events held around the country.

In a year punctuated by the acquisitions of craft darlings 4 Pines (NSW) and Pirate Life (SA) to the world’s largest brewery AB InBev, and Feral Brewing (WA) to Coca-Cola Amatil, the Hottest 100 results indicate that ownership is of importance to craft beer consumers, with beers from each of those breweries slipping in rankings from the previous year. Performing strongest amongst the non-independent breweries was Adelaide’s Pirate Life, with seven beers making the list, including it’s ‘Mosaic’ IPA (India Pale Ale), brewed for the first time in 2017, in fifth position. Overall, 71% of the listed beers, including nine of the top 10, were produced by independently owned breweries.

Leading the the charge was Gold Coast brewery Balter with their hugely popular ‘XPA’ (Extra Pale Ale). Part-owned by champion surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge, Balter have made significant waves in the beer world in just under two years of operation. Indeed, every one of their five nominated beers made the list, and they were the only brewery to place twice in the top 10.

Second place went to Byron Bay based Stone & Wood’s perennial favourite ‘Pacific Ale’, a consistent top three beer since the 2010 poll, and three-time winner. Rounding out the podium was ‘Crankshaft’ from BentSpoke Brewing Co in Canberra. The American-style IPA topped an impressive showing from Canberra brewers, with Capital Brewing and Pact Beer also featuring prominently. One of the biggest movers was Victoria’s KAIJU! with it’s Tropical Pale ‘KRUSH!’, breaking into tenth position from 55th place in the 2016 poll.

An impressive 24 new beers debuted on the list, including seven beers in the hugely popular New England, or ‘hazy’ IPA style. Chief amongst these was ‘Jedi Juice’ from Melbourne’s Hop Nation. First brewed as a ‘Festival Beer’ for GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest in 2017, the beer leads one of the most popular beer styles of recent years, particularly in Victoria where 3 Ravens (‘Juicy’), Mountain Goat (‘Back To The Brewer’) and CoConspirators (‘The Matriarch’) also drew significant votes.

The New England IPA seems to be just another extension of Australia’s love of hoppy beers, which shows no sign of slowing down. Across the range of beers in the list, 75% were hop-driven styles – such as Pale Ale, IPA, or the higher-ABV Double IPA – up from 68% in the previous year. Some of the outliers to this trend include Bad Shepherd (VIC), with their ‘Hazelnut Brown Ale’, and Wagga Wagga’s Thirsty Crow, whose ‘Vanilla Milk Stout’ has made the Hottest 100 since 2011. Coopers (SA) also returned to the list with their iconic ‘Sparkling Ale’, after opting not to include their beers in last year’s poll.

Created by the team behind GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest, The Local Taphouse, and Stomping Ground Brewing Co (the latter being ineligible for votes), the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll is a proven sales driver for the craft beer industry, with many listed breweries enjoying a significant boost in brand awareness and sales, as retailers, bars and beer fans use the results when deciding what to buy.

GABS Co-Founder Steve Jeffares remarked “Since it’s very early days at The Local Taphouse, the Hottest 100 Craft Beers poll has always aimed to be a fun and simple way for beer enthusiasts to celebrate their favourite beers of the year, whether that’s a more mainstream ‘go-to’ beer, or a limited release they might have only been able to experience over a brewpub bar. What we’ve seen over the ten years of the poll is that it’s become so much more, revealing the ever-changing tastes of the Australian craft beer lover.”

“We’re thrilled with this year’s list, which is possibly one of the most exciting yet. New breweries, new styles and importantly, new winners all go to illustrate what an exciting time it is in the craft beer space”.

In addition to the main Hottest 100 list, the organisers have also announced sublists for the Hottest 100 NEW Craft Beers featuring those beers released for the first time in 2017, and Hottest 100 INDIE Craft Beers (beers released by independently owned breweries). Please get it in touch if you would like these lists.

The GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers is proudly supported by Dan Murphy’s, The Local Taphouse, The Crafty Pint, Australian Brews News and Sun Tap Decals.

  1. ‘XPA’ American Pale Ale (Balter, QLD)*
  2. ‘Pacific Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)*
  3. ‘Crankshaft’ American IPA (BentSpoke, ACT)*
  4. ‘Newtowner’ Australian Pale Ale (Young Henrys, NSW)*
  5. ‘Single Fin’ International Pale Ale (Gage Roads, WA)*
  6. ‘Mosaic’ American IPA (Pirate Life, SA) NEW
  7. ‘IPA’ American IPA (Balter, QLD)* NEW
  8. ‘Jedi Juice’ New England IPA (Hop Nation, VIC)* NEW GABS
  9. ‘Beechworth Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Bridge Road, VIC)*
  10. ‘KRUSH!’ American Pale Ale (KAIJU!, VIC)*
  11. ‘Little Dove’ International Pale Ale (Gage Roads, WA)*
  12. ‘Former Tenant’ Red IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)*
  13. ‘IIPA’ Double IPA (Pirate Life, SA)
  14. ‘Hop Hog’ American Pale Ale (Feral, WA)
  15. ‘IPA’ American IPA (Pirate Life, SA)
  16. ‘Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (4 Pines, NSW)
  17. ‘Juicy’ New England IPA (3 Ravens, VIC)* NEW
  18. ‘Future Factory’ Double IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)* NEW
  19. ‘Back To The Brewer’ New England IPA (Mountain Goat, VIC) NEW
  20. ‘Pale Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Black Hops, QLD)* NEW
  21. ‘Sonic Prayer’ American IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)*
  22. ‘One Fifty Lashes’ Australian Pale Ale (James Squire, NSW)
  23. ‘Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Pirate Life, SA)
  24. ‘Sprocket’ American IPA (BentSpoke, ACT)* NEW
  25. ‘Coast Ale’ California Common (Capital, ACT)*
  26. ‘Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Little Creatures, WA/VIC)
  27. ‘Barley Griffin’ Australian Pale Ale (BentSpoke, ACT)*
  28. ‘Trail Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Capital, ACT)*
  29. ‘Wild Yak’ Australian Pale Ale (Yak Ales, VIC)
  30. ‘IPA’ American IPA (Fixation, NSW)*
  31. ‘VPA’ American Pale Ale (Nail, WA)*
  32. ‘War Hog’ American IPA (Feral, WA)
  33. ‘XPA’ International Pale Ale (Philter, NSW)* NEW
  34. ‘Vanilla Milk Stout’ Sweet Stout (Thirsty Crow, NSW)*
  35. ‘Atomic’ American Pale Ale (Gage Roads, WA)*
  36. ‘Windjammer’ American IPA (Green Beacon, QLD)*
  37. ‘Kolsch’ Kölsch (4 Pines, NSW)
  38. ‘Furphy Refreshing Ale’ Kölsch (Furphy, VIC)
  39. ‘India Red Ale’ Specialty IPA (Prancing Pony, SA)*
  40. ‘The Matriarch’ New England IPA (CoConspirators, VIC)* NEW
  41. ‘Indian Summer Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (4 Pines, NSW)
  42. ‘Throwback’ American IPA (Pirate Life, SA)
  43. ‘Pilsner’ German Pilsner (Balter, QLD)* NEW
  44. ‘Korben D.’ Double IPA (Akasha, NSW)*
  45. ‘Golden Stout Time’ Sweet Stout (Big Shed, SA)* GABS
  46. ‘Cloud Catcher’ Australian Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)*
  47. ‘Twisted Palm’ American Pale Ale (Burleigh, QLD)*
  48. ‘Bling’ American IPA (Bridge Road, VIC)*
  49. ‘Three Sheets’ Australian Pale Ale (Lord Nelson, NSW)*
  50. ‘Mount Tennent’ American Pale Ale (Pact, ACT)*
  51. ‘The Mountie’ Specialty Beer (Stockade, NSW)* NEW GABS
  52. ‘Squish’ Specialty IPA (Fixation, NSW)* NEW
  53. ‘Wayfarer’ American Wheat (Green Beacon, QLD)*
  54. ‘Hopsmith’ American IPA (Akasha, NSW)*
  55. ‘Hornet’ American IPA (Black Hops, QLD)* NEW
  56. ‘3 Bolt’ American Pale Ale (Green Beacon, QLD)*
  57. ‘Summer Hop Ale’ American IPA (Young Henrys, NSW)*
  58. ‘Small Ale’ American Pale Ale (Colonial, WA/VIC)*
  59. ‘Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Colonial, WA/VIC)*
  60. ‘Steam Ale’ California Common (Mountain Goat, VIC)
  61. ‘Natural Lager’ Pale Kellerbier (Young Henrys, NSW)*
  62. ‘Dark Ale’ Porter (White Rabbit, VIC)
  63. ‘Spearhead’ Australian Pale Ale (Cricketers Arms, VIC)
  64. ‘Fat Yak’ Australian Pale Ale (Yak Ales, VIC)
  65. ‘IPA’ Specialty IPA (Colonial, WA/VIC)*
  66. ‘Pale’ American Pale Ale (Modus Operandi, NSW)*
  67. ‘Dog Days’ Australian Pale Ale (Little Creatures, WA/VIC)
  68. ‘Evil Eye’ Red IPA (Capital, ACT)*
  69. ‘Pale Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Kosciuszko, NSW)
  70. ‘Taco’ Specialty Beer (Two Birds, VIC)* GABS
  71. ‘Old Mate’ American Pale Ale (Moon Dog, VIC)*
  72. ‘Summer Ale’ Blonde Ale (Mountain Goat, VIC)
  73. ‘Garden Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)*
  74. ‘Hazelnut Brown Ale’ English Brown Ale (Bad Shepherd, VIC)*
  75. ‘Tusk’ Double IPA (Feral, WA)
  76. ‘Hazy Craze’ New England IPA (White Lies, QLD)* NEW
  77. ‘Session IPA’ Specialty IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)*
  78. ‘Aftermath’ Double IPA (KAIJU!, VIC)*
  79. ‘TPP Strong Pale Ale’ American Pale Ale (Pirate Life [SA] / Ballast Point [USA]) NEW
  80. ‘Vanilla Malt Thickshake’ Winter Seasonal Beer (Pirate Life, SA) NEW GABS
  81. ‘The Punch’ Gose (Hop Nation, VIC)*
  82. ‘Juicy Banger’ Dry Hopped Lager (Blackman’s, VIC)* NEW
  83. ‘Biggie Juice’ New England IPA (Feral, WA) NEW
  84. ‘7 Bells’ Gose (Green Beacon, QLD)* NEW
  85. ‘Blood Orange New England Rye IPA’ New England IPA (Dainton, VIC)* NEW
  86. ‘The Swindler’ Australian Pale Ale (James Squire, NSW) NEW
  87. ‘28’ American Pale Ale (Burleigh, QLD)*
  88. ‘India Pale Lager’ Pale Lager (Beerfarm, WA)*
  89. ‘Bighead’ Pale Lager (Burleigh, QLD)*
  90. ‘Black Metal Disco’ Sweet Stout (Balter, QLD)* NEW
  91. ‘Passion Victim’ Australian Pale Ale (Two Birds, VIC)* NEW
  92. ‘Robust Porter’ Porter (Bridge Road, VIC)*
  93. ‘Session Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Mismatch, SA)*
  94. ‘Pale’ American Pale Ale (Mornington Peninsula, VIC)*
  95. ‘8bit’ American IPA (Stockade, NSW)*
  96. ‘Alt Brown’ American Brown Ale (Balter, QLD)*
  97. ‘Sparkling Ale’ Australian Sparkling Ale (Coopers, SA)*
  98. ‘Bright Ale’ Australian Pale Ale (Little Creatures, WA/VIC)
  99. ‘Little Bling’ Specialty IPA (Bridge Road, VIC)*
  100. ‘Rogers’ American Amber Ale (Little Creatures, WA/VIC)
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