I finally sat down and started to think about all the fantastic beers I had in 2014, and there was a lot. Australia has so many new brewers and beers of high caliber that it’s really difficult to narrow down a select few. Readers of the blog may remember my dilemma on choosing a selection criteria, and my final decision was to leave it open to both sessionables and mind-blowers. This did, however, make chopping my massive list down to 5 for the Local Taphouse’s Hot 100 Beers seem too monumental a task to achieve.
So I didn’t and chose 10 instead.
How, you might ask? I decided to use the my wife’s votes that she inevitably wouldn’t have used. So here’s a break down of “mine” and “hers”.
1) Brewcult – Pepper Steak Porter
I first had this little gem on my birthday in June. Not only did I have it off tap at Brewski, I was also given a bottle from the DrunkSpec crew. I will actually say this is my top 2014 beer. It had a nice fiery pepper flavour on the back of the tongue that lingered. This would have been an excellent brew to accompany a meal, and really blurred the lines between food and beer.
2) Croft Brewing – Saison Grenade
Many will argue that this was the year of the saison. Sours featured prominently on many menus, blogs, and conversations. Saison Grenade from Gavin Croft’s solo venture Croft Brewing was, in my humble opinion, the best of the lot. I remember being amazed by this at the launch party in July, but a later batch that was bottled was even better. Such a dry, refreshing beer using pomegranate to give it flavour and colour, SG is a real thirst quencher.
3) Riverside Brewing – Othello’s Curse
I love Black IPA’s. I love imperial IPA’s. I REALLY love Imperial Black IPA’s. Originally a GABS beer, Othello’s Curse was a dropped as a single keg, limited supply beer at this years Beer inCider festival. After the announcement went over the P.A. system that it was freshly tapped, a stampede of beer geeks lined up hoping for a taste. I was one of the lucky ones and just couldn’t get over the complexity.
4) Noisy Minor (Fortitude Brewing) – ANZUS IPA
ANZUS is showing up in more and more establishments, and helping change many drinkers over to the side of flavour. This is one of my favourite IPA’s and I’ll grab a pint or many whenever I’m at the Pig & Whistle Riverside.
5) Brewhouse Brisbane – Walker IPA
You don’t expect much in the way of beer selection when you walk into the Brewhouse venue. From the windows, you can see pokies and the same layout that most hotels and pubs have. The beer, however, which is brewed on site is ace, with the Walker IPA being the best.
Alright, now it’s time for my “wife’s” votes.
1) Newstead Brewing – Hammerhead
Unless you’re from Brisbane, you really won’t get it. All I can say, is that it’s Hammerhead, and there is my vote.
2) Bacchus Brewing – Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road
A top beers list would be remiss if it didn’t contain a Bacchus Beer. Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road is a dessert beer if ever there was one. Strong chocolate, peanut, and cherry flavour dominate this strong dark beer from the Capalaba brewer, and turns heads everywhere it goes.
3) Brewtal Brewers – Jack The RIIPA
Imperial Red IPA’s are not something you see a lot of, but the style works and this proves it. A strong malt backbone to match a wicked bitterness all balanced out with an alcohol warmth. This is an amazing beer.
4) 4 Hearts Brewing – Pale Ale
For my money, this is the best Pale Ale in Queensland. With the opening of the new brewery coming up any day now, I expect to see a lot more good things coming out of Ipswich this year.
5) Ekim Brewing Co – HEL Black IPA
Once again, Black IPA’s hold a very dear place in my heart. Ekim’s HEL doesn’t appear that often or in high quantities in Brisbane, but when it does, it gets snapped up by punters in a hurry.
To be honest, I probably could have done another 5 and still felt like I was leaving out a heap of great beers. The Local Taphouse needs to give you more then 5 selections. Maybe an idea for next years poll….?
If you haven’t voted yet, head to the Local Taphouse or Crafty Pint website and get yours in. Voting closes at midnight on the 8th of January, and the results are released on Australia Day to coincide with the Triple J Hottest 100 music poll.
And remember: #votehammerhead