Top 20 Aussie tinnies for 2018

Here are the top 20 tins from our marathon tasting session.

20. Newtowner Australian Pale Ale

Young Henrys, NSW, 4.8% ABV

Score 6.3/10

Cameron: A straight-up nice pale ale.

19. Strong Pale Ale

Balter Brewing, Qld, 5.9% ABV

Score 6.3/10

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

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Score 6.4/10

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

Score 6.6/10

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.)

Score 6.6/10

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

Score 6.6/10

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

Score 6.7/10

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.

13. IPA

Balter Brewing, Qld, IPA 6.8%

Score 6.7/10

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

Score 6.8/10

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

Score 6.8/10

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

Score 6.9/10

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

Score 6.9/10

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

Score 7.1/10

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

Score 7.2/10

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

Score 7.4/10

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

Score 7.5/10

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%

Score 7.5/10

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

Score 7.6/10 

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.

2. XPA

Philter Brewing, NSW, 4.2% ABV

Score 7.9/10 

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

Score 8/10 

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.

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