By Annette Shailer, editor Beer and Brewer

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale has reclaimed top position on the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll, knocking Feral’s Hop Hog off the top spot for the first time since 2011.

The big mover this year was Pirate Life, which less than a year since launching managed to secure two spots in the top five, coming in at number three with its IIPA and number four with its Pale Ale. Pirate Life’s session beer, Throwback IPA, came in at number 11.

The Local Taphouse and GABS co-founder Steve Jeffares said the poll, now in its ninth year, generates much debate and encourages people to explore more Australian craft beer.

“I was very impressed that Pacific Ale and Hop Hog could still reign supreme at the top (albeit in a different order) which is an incredibly consistent effort in an increasingly competitive environment,” Jeffares told Beer & Brewer.

“If you wonder how long they can hold off other contenders, you just need look at the stratospheric rise of Pirate Life after less than a year in existence. Those guys are producing great beers but also proving very savvy at marketing and communicating their brand message.

“Pirate Life firstly make great beers but they also make very popular hop focussed styles. They also brilliantly sell their story, and that of their beers, via their marketing and sales initiatives. By doing these things really well, a brewery is well-positioned to catapult into the zeitgeist very quickly and Pirate Life has done just that.”

The poll has revealed some interesting trends, with hoppy IPAs and pale ales continuing to resonate with drinkers. Canned beers are also on the rise, however it seems lagers still have a long way to go with only two making the list.

“Hoppy beers dominate more than ever and will continue to for the foreseeable future although I think in some cases bitterness will be reined in and hop aroma and flavour ramped up. Stouts of various descriptions continue to punch above their weight,” Jeffares explained.

“In addition to that, another trend evident in the Hottest 100 results is the rise in breweries putting their beers into cans. I think this will increase as more breweries invest in canning lines or when mobile canning companies finally start up.

“I also thought there would be a few more lagers (only two but double last year!) and sours but that will happen.”

GABS beers have again performed well, with six making the Hottest 100, a testament to the growing success of the festival, which will head to New Zealand for the first time this year.

“It’s a great story that GABS Festival Beers have fared so well in recent years! I think more breweries appreciate the event as a genuine opportunity to get their innovative Festival Beer and core beers in front of an awful lot of people eager to explore new beers and flavours they haven’t tried before,’ Jeffares said.

“After all, that is a fun part of the craft beer experience.”

The GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2015

  1. Stone & Wood Brewing Co – Pacific Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  2. Feral Brewing Company – Hop Hog IPA (American-style)
  3. Pirate Life Brewing – IIPA Double IPA (American-style) – NEW
  4. Pirate Life Brewing – Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style) – NEW
  5. Little Creatures – Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  6. James Squire – 150 Lashes Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  7. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  8. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Kolsch Kölsch
  9. Modus Operandi Brewing Co – Former Tenant IPA (American-style)
  10. Feral Brewing Company – Karma Citra Black IPA
  11. Pirate Life Brewing – Throwback IPA IPA (Specialty) – NEW
  12. James Squire – Hop Thief 7 Pale Ale (American-style)
  13. Two Birds Brewing – Taco Beer Specialty Beer
  14. BrewCult – Milk and Two Sugars Sweet Stout – NEW
  15. Bridge Road Brewers – Beechworth Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  16. Big Shed Brewing – Golden Stout Time Sweet Stout – NEW
  17. Feral Brewing Company – War Hog IPA (American-style)
  18. Coopers – Pale Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  19. Mountain Goat Brewery – Summer Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  20. Mountain Goat Brewery – Steam Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  21. White Rabbit Brewery – Dark Ale Dark Mild
  22. Boatrocker Brewing Co – Ramjet 2014/15 (Whisky Aged) Russian Imperial Stout – NEW
  23. Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel – Three Sheets Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  24. Nail Brewing – Red Amber Ale (American-style)
  25. Prancing Pony Brewery – India Red Ale IPA (American-style)
  26. Riverside Brewing Company – 777 Double IPA (American-style)
  27. Fortitude Brewing Company – Noisy Minor Admiral Ackbar Amber Ale (American-style)
  28. James Squire – The Chancer Blonde/Golden Ale
  29. Stone and Wood Brewing Co – Cloud Catcher Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  30. Young Henrys Brewing Company – Newtowner Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  31. Fortitude Brewing Company – Noisy Minor ANZUS IPA (American-style)
  32. Matilda Bay Brewing Company – Fat Yak Pale Ale (American-style)
  33. Little Creatures – Bright Ale Blonde/Golden Ale
  34. Colonial Brewing Company – Small Ale IPA (Specialty)
  35. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Indian Summer Pale Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style) – NEW
  36. Rocks Brewing Co – Hangman Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  37. Mash Brewing – Copy Cat IPA (American-style)
  38. Wolf of the Willows – XPA – Extra Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  39. Vale Brewing – Vale Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  40. Little Creatures – Dog Days American Wheat – NEW
  41. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Imperial West Coast Red Rye IPA IPA (Specialty) – NEW
  42. La Sirène Brewing – Praline Belgian Specialty Ale
  43. Little Creatures – Return of the Dread Foreign Extra Stout – NEW
  44. Boatrocker Brewing Co – Roger Ramjet 2015 (Bourbon Aged) Russian Imperial Stout – NEW
  45. Hawkers Beer – Hawkers IPA IPA (American-style) – NEW
  46. Feral Brewing Company – Tusk IPA (American-style)
  47. Little Creatures – IPA IPA (American-style)
  48. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Australian Pale Ale – The Bastard Children of the British Empire Pale Ale (Australian-style) – NEW
  49. Murray’s Craft Brewing Co – Fred IPA (American-style)
  50. 2 Brothers Brewery – Growler Brown Ale (American-style)
  51. Mountain Goat Brewery – Fancy Pants Amber Ale (American-style)
  52. Green Beacon Brewing Co – Windjammer IPA (American-style)
  53. Hawkers Beer – Hawkers Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style) – NEW
  54. Feral Brewing Company – Watermelon Warhead Berliner Weisse
  55. Big Shed Brewing – Californicator IPA (American-style) – NEW
  56. Kosciuszko Brewing Company – Pale Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  57. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Citrus IPA IPA (Specialty) – NEW
  58. Two Birds Brewing – Golden Ale Blonde/Golden Ale
  59. Holgate Brewhouse – Temptress Porter
  60. Hawthorn Brewing – Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  61. Odyssey Tavern & Brewery – Calypso Pale Ale (American-style)
  62. Newstead Brewing Co – Two to The Valley IPA (American-style) – NEW
  63. Big Shed Brewing – F-Yeah Pale Ale (American-style)
  64. 2 Brothers Brewery – Kung Foo Pale Lager
  65. Stone and Wood Brewing Co – Garden Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  66. White Rabbit Brewery – Pale Ale Pale Ale (Belgian)
  67. Two Birds Brewing – Sunset Ale Amber Ale (American-style)
  68. Six String Brewing Company – Dark Red IPA IPA (Specialty)
  69. Gage Roads Brewing Co – Atomic Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  70. Murray’s Craft Brewing Co – Angry Man Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  71. Shenanigans Brewing – Winston Pale Ale (American-style)
  72. Akasha Brewing Company – Hopsmith IPA (American-style) – NEW
  73. Nail Brewing – Clout Stout 2015 Russian Imperial Stout
  74. 2 Brothers Brewery – Grizz Amber Ale (American-style)
  75. Exit Brewing – #010 West Coast IPA IPA (American-style) – NEW
  76. Colonial Brewing Company – Draught Kölsch
  77. Mornington Peninsula Brewery – IPA IPA (American-style)
  78. 4 Pines Brewing Company – Extra Special Bitter ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
  79. Australian Beer Co – Yenda Pale Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  80. Little Creatures – Rogers Amber Ale (American-style)
  81. Moon Dog Craft Brewery – Splice of Heaven IPA (Specialty) – NEW
  82. Batch Brewing Co – West Coast IPA IPA (American-style)
  83. Thirsty Crow – Vanilla Milk Stout Sweet Stout
  84. Mountain Goat Brewery – Barrel Breed Barley Wine Barleywine (UK-style) – NEW
  85. Bridge Road Brewers – Bling IPA (American-style)
  86. Rabbit & Spaghetti Brewing Co. – The Fox Vienna-style Lager – NEW
  87. Mismatch Brewing Company – Session Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  88. Bentspoke Brewery – Crankshaft IPA (American-style)
  89. Mornington Peninsula Brewery – Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  90. Burleigh Brewing Company – 28 Pale Ale Pale Ale (American-style)
  91. Newstead Brewing Co – 3 Quarter Time Pale Ale (Australian-style) – NEW
  92. White Rabbit Brewery – White Ale Witbier
  93. Feral Brewing Company – Sly Fox Pale Ale (American-style)
  94. Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company – ESB ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
  95. 3 Ravens – 55 Pale Ale (American-style)
  96. KAIJU! Beer – Metamorphosis IPA (American-style)
  97. Coopers – Coopers Sparkling Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  98. Modus Operandi Brewing Co – Zoo Feeder IPA (American-style)
  99. KAIJU! Beer – Hopped Out Red Amber Ale (American-style)
  100. Bad Shepherd – Hazelnut Brown Brown Ale (UK-style) – NEW

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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