Each year The Local Taphouse polls beer drinkers to decide the hottest 100 Australian craft beers of the year. They announced the rankings for 2013 on Australia Day this year.
While Australia's two biggest brewers, Fosters and Lion (both foreign owned), had a strong presence in the craft segment, independent brewers dominated this year's top 100. However, the big brewers also won favour with voters.
Feral Brewing Company Hop Hog took the top spot this year, repeating last year's performance. Stone and Wood Brewing Co Pacific Ale was second and Lion-owned Little Creatures Pale Ale was third.
Little Creatures took fifth place too with its India Pale Ale. But independent brewers held eight of the 10 top spots. (See the full list at craftypint.com.)
Australian Brewery The Fresh Press Cider ★★★
355ml can $14.99 for a four-pack
The Australian Brewery of Rouse Hill, Sydney, say they ferment their cider from freshly crushed apples. It's a pale coloured, low-gas cider with a pleasing, clean, apple-like aroma and flavour and a slight sweetness just outweighing the acidity.
Samuel Smith's India Pale Ale ★★★★ ½
Smith's says it uses water from a well sunk in 1758 to ferment their beer in traditional Yorkshire stone fermenters. True to the traditional India Pale style, it's intensely bitter, thanks to a mother lode of hops (originally a 19th-century preservative for the long voyage to India).