Another Australia Day has come and gone, and the wonderful folks at the Crafty Pint and Local TapHouse have assembled the nations votes on the top brews of 2013. Most of the good beer swilling patrons flocked to various pubs to watch the countdown. I could do a blow-by-blow of the events, but there are those that can put it more eloquently then I, so to see a great summery of the list, check out BrewsNews here. Since I’m a bit more egotistical, I’m going to go over my top 5 picks and see how they stacked up.
1. Bacchus Red-Bellied – Did not rate
Sadly, my top pick didn’t even make it into the top 100. I’ve had this beer in it’s two iterations, the regular at 10% and the rum barrel aged at 14.1%. Their was no distinction between the two on the voting list, but both scored very highly with me. The later version saw a great deal of complexity and I would notice something different on each new sip. This beer was the highlight of the Slow Braised and Barrel Aged event I attended in late August. Being as the combined number of check ins on Untappd for this was a mere 124 altogether (with only 14 being for the aged), its not a huge surprise that it didn’t crack the top 100, but that’s little consolidation.
2. Moon Dog Black Lung III – #84 on Top 100
Another rum barrel aged beauty, this peaty, smokey, boozy stout ticked all the boxes for me. I make it akin to having a fine cigar along with some top shelf spirits. I’m not a smoker, but I’d convert if it were necessary to have this beer.
3. Moon Dog / Nogne O Selvmordstokt – Did not rate
Another Moon Dog beer and another pick that didn’t make it onto the list. 1 for 3 isn’t looking too good. This porter took me a good solid 1.5 hours to get through and changed constantly as it warmed up. Marked as a wheat porter, this beer was blended with sour cherry wine. Weird tastes coming from all sides, but what can I say, I like weird.
4. BridgeRoad / Nogne O Aurora Borealis – #7 of Top 100
Yes! I’ve cracked the top 10! But how? This 14.9% belgian quad is not the kind of beer you tread lightly around which makes it a beer that, theoretically, shouldn’t rank as high as it did. This is also a bit surprising as it was actually brewed in Norway and shipped here in whiskey barrels, so one could argue its not really an Australian beer, per say. All I know is that I loved it, and would drink it again and again. I’m glad it ranked so highly.
5. Murray’s Hell of the North – Did not rate
Last but not least, the Belgium Strong Ale from the Murray’s crew. All 11.5% of the ABV was present but it was balanced off nicely with a huge sour flavour and smell that made it a lot more easy to drink. I had this at a “Dark Side of the Moon” party at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. Strong dark beer and Pink Floyd. How can I NOT create a good memory about this beer?
Alright, so I hit 2 out of 5. That technically classify’s as a fail. I either have horrible taste or just a different preferred style. The beers I chose are pretty indicative of the style of beers I sought out through 2013. With 2 beers over 14%, and the average ABV being 11.1%, it’s pretty clear I wanted boozy, over-the-top palate wreckers. This year I’m approaching things a bit differently. My aim is to grow a greater appreciation for the more sessionable side of things, so I anticipate that next year we’ll see a more Kolsch, Pilsner, Pale Ale and maybe even, dare I say it, LAGER focused voting from yours truly. I’ll undoubtedly slip into my old ways and have the Imperial Stouts and Hop Bomb IPA’s I’ve grown so fond of, but I’ll try and balance it out with something that won’t put my taste buds out of commission for days.
Who did you vote for this year? How did yours stack up? Agree or disagree with my selections? Feel free to comment or send me a tweet @brewsandbacon