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Beer Reviews: Top Australian 10 Craft Beers of 2016

To see out the year we’ve compiled our Top 10 Australian Craft Beers of 2016.

These are the beers, based on our craft beer reviews, that we consider to have been the Top 10 of 2016 (in no particular order of preference – other than first place was definitely the BlackFont BerlinerWeisse):

BlackFont Brewhouse Organic Plain BerlinerWeisse (3.7%)

Tried at the very small tasting room at their very small Sydney brewery. Two versions with the traditional raspberry and woodruff syrups. This brewery may be very small, but it is turning some stunning beers – and this one was an absolute highlight. Best BerlinerWeisse I’ve tried outside Berlin – and exactly like the original. Light, dry and mildly acidic with a sparkling mouthfeel. Amazing. Best beer I’ve tried this year.

Ekim Brewing Co Grapefruit Viking IPA (6.2%)

A small Sydney brewery that turns out some big beers. Strong grapefruit aroma that comes through as a sharp, clean taste. Strong hop taste but there’s great balance with the malt which makes this an incredibly drinkable and refreshing IPA. Definitely one of the best Aussie beers I’ve tasted.

Feral Brewing Company Watermelon Warhead (2.9%)

Slightly cloudy effervescent BerlinerWeiss style beer. The aroma is all watermelon which really comes through in the aftertaste. The initial taste is sharp, sour, and bitingly acidic – with bubbles. They fill your mouth with the watermelon perfectly balancing the sour with its sweetness. Wonderful beer.

Noisy Minor Brewing Company Red Ryeding Hood (4.9%)

Pours a sharp clear copper colour with a small off white head. There’s a big, bold, strong fruity hop aroma. It’s a robust tasting beer with lots of fruity flavours with a slightly oily bitter finish balanced by some of the sweet malt. Gorgeous.

Batch Brewing Company Elsie The Milk Stout (4.4%)

Tried at again the brewery several times this year and each time it has been perfect.  Served on nitro, it is creamy, robust and intense.  The creaminess fills your mouth with a perfect balance of the harsh bitterness of stout with the delicate soft taste of the milky sugars. A slight smooth roast coffee tastes rounds out the flavour.  Perfect in every way.

Fortitude Brewing Company Pacer 2.8 (2.8%)

One of the new mid strength beers that are clearly showing low alcohol can mean great aroma and flavour. A light gold, pale ale, with a clear aroma of citrus, a hint of pine and some floral notes. Strong taste of citrus, mainly orange marmalade smartly balanced with grapefruit giving a slightly bitter tang. A really great drinking beer with a refreshing bitterness.

Bruny Island Cheese Co. & Bruny Island Beer Co. Whey Stout (5.8%)

Tried on tap at the small tasting room at the brewery and cheese making site on the small island in southern Tasmania. Poured a dark black with a small head. Brewed with lactose from the whey left over from making a raw milk cheese, giving it a smooth texture and sweet taste with a backbone of roasty coffee. Finishes with some slight chocolate hints and a touch of bitterness. Gorgeous.

Fox Friday Craft Brewery Bangarang Brown Ale (5.4%)

Fox Friday Craft Brewery tasting paddle at the brewery in Hobart. Featuring Bombshell Blonde Ale (5.0%), Bangarang Brown Ale (5.4%), and Prototype 1 (5.9%) a Belgian IPA. Three excellent beers from this small 300 litre brewery. The Brown just about takes the honours. A solid, proper, brown ale with a strong sweet malt base accentuated by the hop bitterness. Great orange citrus flavours. Big mouthfeel that finished smooth. Tasting room open on Wed and Fri evenings. Well worth a visit.

Stomping Ground Gipps Street Pale Ale (5.2%)

Tried at the brewery shortly after it opened alongside the rest of the range in a tasting paddle.  The Pale Ale was one of the rare beers that made me order a pint, then another.  Then come back later in the day for several more. The big tropical aroma entices you into the taste that’s sharp, refreshing with a perfect level of bitterness that keeps you coming back for more.

Akasha Brewing Company Tradewind Lager (4.4%)

Very light in colour with a small head. Delicate floral aroma of citrus with a clean, crisp and nicely sharp bitter taste. Another great beer from Akasha (can they do no wrong?) and very easy to drink.

Honorable Mentions

This year, it was increasingly hard to get down to a Top 10.  The following beers came close, and deserve an honorable mention:

  • Noisy Minor Brewing Company ANZUS IPA (6.0%)
  • Holgate Brewhouse Hop Tart Semi-Sour Pale Ale (4.5%)
  • Hop Nation The Buzz American Red (6.5%)
  • Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery Old Reliable Pale Ale (5.0%)
  • Brisbane Brewing Co. Smoking Gun Robust Porter (5.3%)
  • Castlemaine Brewing Company Red Ale (5.2%)
  • Stockade Brew Co Hopzilla Hoppy Weizen (6.0%)
  • Akasha Brewing Company’s Freshwater Pale Ale (5.2%)
  • Balter Brewing Company XPA (5.0%)
  • Moo Pilsner (5.0%)