Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2018 announced

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The rise of Queensland as a craft beer powerhouse, the increasing popularity of independently owned breweries, and the importance of ‘localism’ are some of the key trends revealed in Australia’s biggest craft beer poll.

Now in its eleventh 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 2018 edition saw a record 31,000 beer lovers place more than 155,000 votes for their favourite craft beers of the year, then celebrate the live countdown on Sunday 27 January, many at the 45 official events held around the country.

From a field comprising some 2,350 beers from more than 260 breweries, Gold Coast brewery Balter claimed the title of Australia’s favourite craft beer for the second year running with their ‘XPA’ (Extra Pale Ale). Part-owned by champion surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge, Balter has proven to be a dominant force in the craft beer landscape, as evidenced with an impressive three beers in the top ten, including their IIPA (Double IPA) and IPA (India Pale Ale) in 6th & 7th position respectively.

Balter’s IIPA was one of 21 beers released in the last twelve months to make the list, demonstrating the impact that a popular release can have in the fast moving craft beer sector. The New England IPA, or ‘Hazy IPA’, style was prevalent amongst these new entries, and doubled its presence overall with beers including Hop Nation’s ‘Jedi Juice’ (#9), Dainton’s ‘Blood Orange New England Rye IPA’ (#36) and CoConspirators’ The Matriarch (#63).

In second position was Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale. Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2018, the iconic beer from Byron Bay has now appeared on the Hottest 100 podium for nine consecutive years, making it the most loved beer in the poll’s history. Also returning to the podium was Crankshaft from BentSpoke in third place, topping a charge of five beers from the popular Canberra brewery, all placing within the top quarter of the list.

Localism appears to be an influential factor throughout the results, with craft beer drinkers increasingly supporting beers and breweries from their immediate region. This year’s list features the very first Northern Territory brewery to appear, with fans and local media getting behind Darwin’s One Mile Brewery to rocket four of their beers into the big league. The Sunshine Coast also voted with a parochial view, elevating popular local breweries Your Mates, 10 Toes, and Brouhaha into the list, and regional NSW favourite The Welder’s Dog rallied strong support to place four of its beers, including the first ever Ginger Beer to make the Hottest 100.

On the broader scale, Queensland continues to emerge as a craft beer juggernaut, with 22 beers from 9 breweries (up from 15 beers and 5 breweries in 2017). While New South Wales maintained its overall presence on the list (26 beers from 13 breweries), Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia dropped in representation from last year.

In May 2018, the Independent Brewers Association launched an ‘Independent Seal’ to help educate craft beer drinkers about brewery ownership. The campaign seems to have had an impact in this year’s Hottest 100, with 88% of the beers listed made by independently owned breweries (up from 71% in 2017). Lion owned ‘Furphy Refreshing Ale’ is the highest placed non-independent beer at #25, and was the only non-independent beer to improve its position on the previous year.

The results also show a strong resurgence from Coopers, South Australia’s oldest family owned brewery. In 2017, their ‘Sparkling Ale’ was the sole entry at #97. That beer made the biggest jump of this year’s list, moving 51 places to #46. In addition, their ‘Original Pale Ale’ came in at #17 and ‘Session Ale’ at #22.

Created by the team behind GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest, The Local Taphouse, and Stomping Ground Brewing Co (the latter being ineligible for votes due to some common ownership), 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.

On the remarkable growth of the poll, GABS Co-Founder Steve Jeffares stated “I think it’s just become this wonderful tradition that’s grown alongside the craft beer industry, allowing beer lovers to reflect on their favourite beers of the year and give a vote to the brewers who made them. With breweries opening in all corners of the country, pushing the boundaries of style, technique and creativity, there’s really never been a better time to be a craft beer drinker.”

“And with such a huge number of votes behind it, this year’s list is again very revealing about what people are drinking and enjoying, whether that’s a more mainstream Pale Ale or a Strawberry Rhubarb Sour from their favourite Sunshine Coast local”.

In addition to the main Hottest 100 list, the organisers have also announced their annual sublists for the Hottest 100 NEW Craft Beers featuring those beers released for the first time in 2018, and Hottest 100 Indie Craft Beers (beers released by independently owned breweries), available at

From Monday 28 January, Dan Murphy’s will be selling a limited release mixed case featuring 24 of the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2018 via their website at

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.

Key Stats


  • Record 31,000 votes received and 155,000+ individual beer votes
  • More than 2,350 beers nominated (from 260 breweries) in the poll
  • 45 events held at bars, brewpubs and craft beer venues around Australia to celebrate the countdown


  • 46 brewers are represented in the list
  • Balter (QLD) and Capital (ACT) share the most beers in the list with 6 each
  • BentSpoke (ACT) and Young Henrys (NSW) each have 5 beers in the list

State by State

  • ACT: 11 beers from 2 breweries
  • NSW: 26 beers from 13 breweries
  • QLD: 22 beers from 9 breweries
  • SA: 9 beers from 3 breweries
  • VIC: 19 beers from 13 breweries
  • WA: 6 beers from 3 breweries
  • WA/VIC: 3 beers from 2 breweries

1 Balter XPA (Pale Ale) QLD* ↔

2 Stone & Wood PACIFIC ALE (Australian Pale Ale) NSW* ↔

3 BentSpoke CRANKSHAFT (American IPA) ACT* ↔

4 Young Henrys NEWTOWNER (Australian Pale Ale) NSW* ↔

5 Bridge Road BEECHWORTH PALE ALE (Australian Pale Ale) VIC* ↑4

6 Balter IIPA (Imperial IPA) QLD* NEW

7 Balter IPA (American IPA) QLD* ↔


9 Hop Nation JEDI JUICE (New England IPA) VIC* GABS ↓1

10 Gage Roads SINGLE FIN (Australian Pale Ale) WA* ↓5

11 BentSpoke BARLEY GRIFFIN (Australian Pale Ale) ACT* ↑16

12 BentSpoke CLUSTER 8 (Imperial IPA) ACT* NEW

13 Your Mates LARRY (Australian Pale Ale) QLD*

14 Black Hops PALE ALE (Australian Pale Ale) QLD* ↑6

15 Capital COAST ALE (California Common) ACT* ↑10

16 BentSpoke SPROCKET American IPA ACT* ↑8

17 Coopers ORIGINAL PALE ALE (Australian Pale Ale) SA*

18 Big Shed BOOZY FRUIT (New England IPA) SA* NEW GABS

19 Balter CAPTAIN SENSIBLE (American Pale Ale) QLD* NEW

20 Green Beacon WINDJAMMER (American IPA) QLD* ↑16

21 Capital ROCK HOPPER (American IPA) ACT* NEW

22 Coopers SESSION ALE (Pale Ale) SA*

23 BentSpoke RED NUT (Red IPA) ACT* NEW

24 Balter STRONG PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) QLD* NEW

25 Furphy FURPHY REFRESHING ALE (Kölsch) VIC ↑13

26 Philter XPA (Australian Pale Ale) NSW* ↑7

27 Capital TRAIL PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) ACT* ↑1

28 Stone & Wood CLOUD CATCHER (Australian Pale Ale) NSW* ↑18

29 Jetty Road PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) VIC*

30 Pirate Life MOSAIC (American IPA) SA ↓24

31 Young Henrys NATURAL LAGER (Kellerbier) NSW* ↑30

32 Modus Operandi SONIC PRAYER (American IPA) NSW* ↓11

33 Modus Operandi FORMER TENANT (Red IPA) NSW* ↓21

34 Hemingway’s PITCHFORK BETTY’S (American Pale Ale) QLD*

35 The Welder’s Dog FARMHOUSE GINGER BEER (Ginger/Spiced Beer) NSW*

36 Dainton BLOOD ORANGE NERIPA (New England IPA) VIC* ↑49

37 10 Toes PIPELINE (Australian Pale Ale) QLD*

38 Grifter PALE (Australian Pale Ale) NSW*

39 The Welder’s Dog AUSTRALIAN WHEAT ALE (American Wheat) NSW* NEW

40 4 Pines PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) NSW ↓24

41 One Mile 4:21 (Kölsch) NT*

42 The Welder’s Dog INDIA PALE ALE (Australian IPA) NSW* NEW

43 Black Hops HORNET (American IPA) QLD* ↑12

44 James Squire ONE FIFTY LASHES (Australian Pale Ale) NSW ↓22

45 Thirsty Crow VANILLA MILK STOUT (Sweet Stout) NSW* ↓11

46 Coopers SPARKLING ALE (Australian Sparkling Ale) SA* ↑51

47 Bridge Road BEECHY SUMMER ALE (Australian Pale Ale) VIC*

48 Burleigh TWISTED PALM (Australian Pale Ale) QLD* ↓1

49 Capital EVIL EYE (Red IPA) ACT* ↑19

50 Hop Nation THE DAWN (New England IPA) VIC* NEW

51 One Mile RDO (Pale Ale) NT*

52 Akasha HOPSMITH (American IPA) NSW* ↑2

53 Feral HOP HOG (American Pale Ale) WA ↓39

54 Fortitude PACER (American Pale Ale) QLD*

55 Moon Dog OLD MATE (American Pale Ale) VIC* ↑16

56 Green Beacon WAYFARER (Pale Ale) QLD* ↓3

57 Gage Roads LITTLE DOVE (American Pale Ale) WA* ↓46

58 Pirate Life PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) SA ↓35

59 Akasha KORBEN D. (Imperial IPA) NSW* ↓15

60 Colonial PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) WA/VIC* ↓1


62 Little Creatures PALE ALE (American Pale Ale) WA/VIC ↓36

63 CoConspirators THE MATRIARCH (New England IPA) VIC* ↓23


65 Balter PILSNER (Classic Pilsner) QLD* ↓22

66 Gage Roads ATOMIC (American Pale Ale) WA* ↓31

67 10 Toes LONGBOARD (Australian Pilsner) QLD*

68 Moon Dog BEER CAN (Hoppy Lager) VIC*

69 Pirate Life IPA (American IPA) SA ↓54

70 10 Toes HAPPY DAYS (American IPA) QLD* NEW

71 Burleigh BIGHEAD (Pale Lager) QLD* ↑18

72 Nail VPA (Pale Ale) WA* ↓41

73 One Mile NO LIMITS (American IPA) NT*

74 Green Beacon 3 BOLT (American Pale Ale) QLD* ↓18

75 Yak Ales WILD YAK PACIFIC ALE (Pale Ale) VIC ↓46

76 Jetty Road INDIA PALE ALE (American IPA) VIC* NEW

77 Brouhaha STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SOUR (Kettle Sour) QLD*

78 Grifter SERPENTS KISS (Fruit Beer) NSW*

79 Pirate Life IIPA (Imperial IPA) SA ↓66

80 Blackman’s JUICY BANGER (Hoppy Lager) VIC* ↑2

81 4 Pines INDIAN SUMMER ALE (American Pale Ale) NSW ↓40

82 One Mile OTTO’S (Irish Amber/Red) NT*

83 Mornington Peninsula SQUID RISING (New England IPA) VIC* NEW

84 Modus Operandi DREAM WEAVER (New England IPA) NSW* NEW

85 Mornington Peninsula SQUID SUPREMACY (New England IPA) VIC* NEW

86 3 Ravens JUICY (New England IPA) VIC* ↓69

87 Bridge Road BLING (American IPA) VIC* ↓39

88 Black Hops SUPER HORNET (Imperial IPA) QLD*

89 Young Henrys SUMMER HOP ALE (Australian IPA) NSW* ↓32

90 Big Shed GOLDEN STOUT TIME (Sweet Stout) SA * GABS ↓45

91 Fixation FIXATION IPA (American IPA) VIC* ↓61

92 Batch PASH THE MAGIC DRAGON (Kettle Sour) NSW*

93 Your Mates DONNIE (Porter) QLD*

94 Young Henrys MOTORCYCLE OIL (Porter) NSW*

95 Young Henrys AFENDS HEMP IPA (Specialty Beer) NSW* NEW

96 Colonial SOUTH WEST SOUR (Hoppy Sour) WA/VIC* NEW



99 Sauce BUBBLE & SQUEAK (New England IPA) NSW* NEW

100 Feral BIGGIE JUICE (New England IPA) WA ↓17



↔ Maintained position from 2017

↑X Up X places from 2017

↓X Down X places from 2017

First Hottest 100 appearance

* Brewed by an independent brewery (as defined by the Independent Brewers Association)

NEW Brewed for the first time in 2018

GABS A ‘Festival Beer’ brewed especially for GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest

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