Here are the top 20 tins from our marathon tasting session.
20. Newtowner Australian Pale Ale
Young Henrys, NSW, 4.8% ABV
Cameron: A straight-up nice pale ale.
19. Strong Pale Ale
Balter Brewing, Qld, 5.9% ABV
Dowling: There's mandarin on the nose. A bit of warmth and sweetness too.
Pereira: It definitely tastes like there's a higher percentage of booze present. Massive hop character.
18. I Can't Believe It's Not Bacon Smoked Ale
Barossa Valley Brewing, SA, 5.5% ABV
Pereira: An absolute bacon bomb.
Jemima McDonald: It sure does have a bacon quality about it. Smoky but light.
17. Gipps St. Pale Ale
Stomping Ground Brewing Co., Vic, 5.2% ABV
Wilson: Tropical fruit notes and high drinkability.
Pereira: It's on the lighter side but still has great body and character.
16. Bliss Lager
Garage Project, NZ, Bliss Lager 4.5% ABV. (Originally brewed for Attica, Melbourne, and now available retail.)
Pereira: Lovely. Light, fresh and crisp.
Jemima McDonald: There's nice fresh citrus notes – clean and bright.
15. Windjammer IPA
Green Beacon Brewing Co., Qld, 6% ABV
Cameron: Fresh, chewy and well-balanced.
Jemima McDonald: Hell yeah. I dig the toffee notes and light bitterness at the finish.
Pereira: Super fresh. There's a honey-like malt sweetness and big hop grassiness.
14. Aftermath Double IPA
Kaiju! Beer, Vic, 9.1% ABV
Dowling: It's quite malty and chewy.
Pereira: Yep, it's very chewy. The massive bitterness lowers the drinkability for me.
Wilson: There's pine cones on the nose and an Aperol sweetness too.
Jordan McDonald: Yeah, I'm getting some burnt orange and toffee flavours.
Balter Brewing, Qld, IPA 6.8%
Jemima McDonald: It's quite floral on the nose but a little too bitter for me. I can appreciate it but probably couldn't enjoy a whole can.
Jordan McDonald: A really nice ale, properly balanced. There's a bit of mango about it.
12. Original American Pale Ale
Southern Highlands Brewing, NSW, 4.5% ABV
Wilson: It's quite sweet.
Jemima McDonald: I think it's a nice, light ale. Golden honey flavours. I like it! Sweet and approachable.
11. Sydney Draught Lager
Swill & Drill Brewers, NSW, 4.4% ABV
Dowling: Drinkability is high. Fresh and clean.
Jordan McDonald: Complexity is low. It's a bit too sweet for me. But, yep – super fresh.
10. Slick Rick Rampaging Red Ale
Yulli's Brews, NSW, 6.2% ABV
Wilson: Yes, it is quite bitter, but kept in balance. There's a sweet middle.
Cameron: It lacks a bit of finesse, but, yep – this is a good beer.
9. Kaiju Krush! Tropical Pale Ale
Kaiju! Beer, Vic, 4.7% ABV
Jemima McDonald: It's a really nice light ale. Fruity and easy to drink.
Dowling: Yep, it's quite airy and fizzy in good way.
Jordan McDonald: And super tropical flavours too.
Pereira: I feel this beer was designed to be very, very smashable.
8. 3 Quarter Time Session Ale
Newstead Brewing Co., Qld, 3.4% ABV
Wilson: There's a bit of underripe mango on the nose.
Dowling: It's super tropical and has a nice natural flavour. I wouldn't be happy drinking a pint of it though.
Bennie: It's definitely another one you want to drink icy cold in the park.
Jemima McDonald: All beers should be judged by how good they taste in a park, really.
7. Red IPA
Clare Valley Brewing Co., 6.9% ABV
Jordan McDonald: You don't see many of these Celtic red-style beers anymore.
Pereira: It smells like an Anzac biscuit.
Jemima McDonald: Someone actually made an Anzac biscuit beer years ago and it's what got me liking beer in the first place.
Cameron: This is a big beer.
Bennie: Yep. That would definitely stop me in my tracks after one.
6. The Big Orange Kettle Sour
Woolshed Brewing, SA, 4.1% ABV
Pereira: I don't like this new fruit-driven pale ale trend where the flavours taste artificial.
Jemima McDonald: Sure, it tastes artificial but I don't hate it.
Jordan McDonald: Yeah, I reckon it's really juicy.
Pereira: It still works because, unlike the creaming soda tinnie, where you only have three seconds of beer on the finish, this one actually tastes like a nice tart, sour beer.
Wilson: However, if we unveiled this and it was a pale ale it would be massively, massively faulty.
Bennie: That's always the way with wine judging too. You can be like "this is the best skin-contact pet-nat I've ever tried!" and then you unveil it and go "oh, right – it's Jacob's Creek".
5. Robust Porter
Colonial Brewing Company, WA, 6% ABV
Bennie: This is super clean.
Pereira: Most of the dark beers we've had today have been really sweet or really dry and this is balanced so well in the middle.
Wilson: Colonial's [wide-mouth] cans are good for getting aroma from the beer without pouring it into a glass, too.
Pereira: I love the super wide-mouth cans - Bentspoke Brewing in Canberra also use them. Although it can be weird drinking from a can where you can see all the beer at once.
Jemima McDonald: From a sales point of view, everyone loves the wide-mouth cans because they're a novelty.
4. Juice Train New England India Pale Ale
Quiet Deeds, Vic, 6.5%
Jordan McDonald: I don't dig how trend-driven the beer released by most breweries have become. New England India Pale Ale (NEIPA) styles are selling well, so now everyone has to do one.
Pereira: And remember when black IPA was a thing? Anyway, I enjoy this style of beer but I'm not looking for complexity.
Cameron: If NEIPAs are what punters want to drink over the next 18 months then it can be difficult for a brewery to resist making one – it's still a business at the end of the day.
Wilson: There's excellent balance here.
Cameron: Yep. This is a really seamless, well-made beer.
3. Law of the Tongue Oyster Stout
Sailor's Grave, Vic, 5.8% ABV
Dowling: Wow. Smoky. And surprisingly sweet at the same time. I want to sit by a fire and drink this. I love it.
Bennie: High drinkability. You could smash this.
Pereira: That's what makes this beer so good. This style is normally something you can only enjoy in small measures.
Bennie: I think people forget that's what Guinness does best too. Everyone's like, "gross – steak in a glass – you can't drink one without getting full", but that's not the case at all. You would get fuller drinking VB than this.
Philter Brewing, NSW, 4.2% ABV
Wilson: The drinkability of this is really high.
Pereira: I recognise this beer. It's the last beer I actually bought a case of.
Jemima McDonald: This is the one beer I would be able to drink a lot of. It's not bitter and leans towards the fruitier side of things.
Cameron: It's very elegant.
1. Pale Ale
The Grifter Brewing Co., NSW, 5% ABV
Wilson: This is just a beautiful, fruity, fresh, in-your-face beer.
Dowling: There's flavour, but it's not too fruity or hopped to the point where it's annoying to drink.
Cameron: It's really well balanced. A great Aussie pale ale.
Dowling: It's so on the mark. Light and crisp and they've nailed the carbonation. This is an every-person's beer for every occasion – pub, home, park or on the road. It's not just a beer drinker's beer.