Australia’s Best Beers and Lagers by BobinOz

Australia’s Top 10 Beers

As you know, here on BobinOz we love a good survey. But what we have here today, I think, is even better than a survey. The people from Nielsen produce statistics each year to find out Australia’s most popular beer.

Bobs Beer GuideI haven’t been able to find the full details behind their figures, but I am led to believe they are based purely on sales volume.

You can’t argue when people vote with their wallets.

Australians, as you know, love their beer. They are something like the fourth or fifth biggest beer consumers in the world, according to various figures. Blokes don’t buy their beer in party fours here; they grab a carton of 24 from the bottle-o.

But what are they buying?

Here’s the top 10 list courtesy of Nielsen.

Australia’s Top 10 Beers

 

  1. XXXX Gold 12.4%
  2. VB 12.3%
  3. Carlton Draught 9.3%
  4. Tooheys New 7.1%
  5. Tooheys Extra Dry 4.4%
  6. Carlton Mid 3.8%
  7. Carlton Dry 3.3%
  8. Corona Extra 3.1%
  9. Pure Blonde 2.6%
  10. Hahn Premium Light 2.5%

NB. Those percentages are volume share of the market, not ABV 🙂

So, top of the pile is XXXX Gold, which is brewed up the road from me at the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery in Milton. This year it pipped Victoria Bitter (VB) to top spot, last year the positions were reversed.

Either way you look at it, a quarter of the beer buying blokes of Australia are drinking either VB or Gold.

Both, in my humble opinion, are absolutely awful.

Gold is about as fizzy as you can make a beer without calling it lemonade, its weak (3.50% ABV) and tasteless.

VB, on the other hand, is as fizzy as you can make a beer without calling it lemonade, stronger (4.60% ABV) and tasteless.

Sounds like I’ve just insulted 25% of my fellow Australian beer drinkers here, but I think I know why these beers are popular.

Many Aussies workers tend to be up at about 5:30 AM, on-the-job by half six in the morning, and work through till about 3:30 PM or four o’clock.

It’s usually still very hot by then; so something really cold that will quench the thirst is in order. But no-one wants to get a hangover; they need to be up at 5:30 AM again the next day.

So, what can be better than a 3.6%, 375 ml can of XXXX Gold?

And the colder the beer, the more tasteless it gets anyway. Cool any lager down to 2 or 3°C, and they all begin to taste very similar, as long as you drink them real fast.

Cheers!

Add to that, both these brews are budget beers; you can pick up 30 cans of XXXX Gold for around $37 and the same quantity of VB for about $45, although most people seem to prefer the slightly more expensive stubby bottles.

But popular beers aren’t the same as favourite beers. There isn’t a survey for Australia’s favourite beers, but I can certainly tell you mine.

Top 10 Favourite Aussie Beers by BobinOz

Well, it is my top 10, but I am splitting it into two halves, so two top 5’s.

Why?

Pretty much all the mass produced beers in Australia are lagers as we would call them in the UK. To confuse matters, Australians can call certain lagers “bitters”. As in the example above, Victoria Better is not a bitter at all. It’s a lager.

Generally speaking, if you are looking for a “bitter” beer, look for the words “Pale Ale” or “IPA”. There are plenty about, designer beers are becoming more popular here in Australia. But they can be quite expensive; I have tried to concentrate on the more accessible brews available in the shops.

Please be aware I have limited myself to Australian brewed beers in both of these lists. We do have plenty of imported beers but they can be quite costly.

So here are my two lists for lagers and bitters, first…

Bob’s top 5 Aussie budget lager beers

Update August 2016:

Just last weekend it came to my attention the some sneaky brewers are messing with our beers. I haven’t bought XXXX Bitter for a while, and I was just about to pick up a carton of it at the weekend when I noticed something strange.

The ABV on the tin said 4.4% and I knew this beer was supposed to be stronger than that. So I Googled it to find out what was going on and yes, the strength has been reduced. The brewer in question is Lion, and they have been gradually reducing the strength of XXXX Bitter. Originally it was 5%, then it went to 4.6% and it is now 4.4%. They have done a similar thing with Tooheys Extra Dry.

Carlton United Breweries (CUB) use the same trick with their Pure Blonde, reducing it from 4.6% down to 4.2% ABV, they then introduced a new and more expensive but product called Pure Blonde ‘Premium’at 4.6% ABV.

The brewers say they have done this in order to keep the pricing competitive, the rest of us really know they’ve done it in order to maximise their own profits.

On that basis, none of these three budget beers deserve a top 5 place in my list, I will personally no longer buy any of them. Until I have had a chance to review other beers, my budget beer of choice will be Crown Lager, although I do think I will be looking more closely at the whole Coopers range.

The good news though is that my top 5 Aussie “Bitter” beers have not been reduced in alcohol content, and quite right too. Back to the original post.

5. Pure Blonde Premium Lager (4.6% ABV- Now down to 4.2% ABV)

I only mention this one because it is Australia made and is a low carb beer. Okay as a thirst quencher for those who need to watch their sugar intake. There, not much of a review, is it? I only drink this one if it’s given to me.

4. Tooheys Extra Dry (5% ABV – Now down to 4.4% ABV)

Or TED’s as they can be known. Another beer at its best when served icy cold on a very hot day. Not a favourite of mine, but a few of my friends like it.

3. James Boag’s Premium (5% ABV)

Brewed in Tasmania, this has a much better taste, so doesn’t have to be served so cold. I will sometimes by this one for a change, if it’s on special.

2. Crown Lager (4.9% ABV)

AKA Crownies. I hated this beer when I first had one, thought it was quite disgusting. Two years later, somebody handed me one on a hot day in the afternoon. I loved it! I think that’s part of becoming an Aussie.

1. XXXX Bitter (5% ABV- Now down to 4.4% ABV)

This may surprise you, being as it is brewed by the same people who make XXXX Gold which I dislike so much. But this one is their “bitter” version, but yes, it’s a lager. It’s nowhere near as gassy as Gold, it’s stronger at 5% ABV – Now down to 4.4% ABV (see update above) and it’s a good budget beer at around $45 for a carton of 30 cans.

When people ask me what I drink indoors and I tell them it’s XXXX Bitter, they normally go “Aaargh, how can you drink that *&^%!”

I explain it’s not the Gold, but the Bitter version in the red can, not the fizzy thing in the yellow can.

“Oh!” They usually say, still not quite understanding.

Trust me, it’s worth a try. It’s about the only Australian lager that I buy regularly to put into my fridge.

XXXX in FridgeOkay, I’m hoping to be a little better at this next one. I’m afraid, by and large, all lagers taste pretty much the same to me. I can’t help it, I’m English.

The only exception being Stella Artois, which is available here and made under licence in Australia. It costs about $40-$50 for a 24×330 ml carton.

Bob’s top 5 Aussie “Bitter” beers.

5. Coopers Original Pale Ale (4.5% ABV)

This is a cloudy beer; each bottle has a little bit of sediment in the bottom which you really should pour into a glass to appreciate. So it’s not a “drink it out of the bottle” beer. Slightly fizzier than I would like for a pale ale, but a good budget beer that isn’t a lager.

4. James Squire Stow Away India Pale Ale (5.6% ABV)

Now we are venturing more into the traditional English IPA taste, and this one from James Squire is quite hoppy, but not too much so for the Australian market. Remember, heat and hops don’t really go well together. Not a beer to quench your thirst, but nice in the evenings.

3. James Squire Nine Tails Amber Ale (5% ABV)

No apologies for having two James Squires’ beers in this list, I recommend anything from that brewery. Never had a bad drop from them, including their “Golden Ale”, which is a kind of lager. This Amber ale has a great flavour and is very drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable.

2. Fat Yak Pale Ale (4.7% ABV)

I really like this beer, especially because I can get it in pints on draft down the Pig n Whistle in the city. The bottled beer is pretty good too. This beer is not too heavy, and not too gassy. Perfect for sinking a few pints. Probably better on draft, just.

1. Little Creatures Pale Ale (5.2% ABV)

The undisputed King of Australian pale ales, this beer is a beaut! Better still, it does come in pint bottles. I was in a bar in the city and I was paying $17 per bottle for this stuff, but who cares? Worth every cent! Available on tap in certain places, but unfortunately, not my kitchen sink.

Easily Australia’s best brew, almost.

Update June 2018:

These days though, if I’m going to have a beer, I choose from one of the many craft brewery beers now available in Australia. The more on that, see my post Microbreweries in Brisbane: Let’s Go for a Beer.

Homebrew

Almost, because the best beer of all, pipping Little Creatures Pale Ale but not mentioned in either of my lists, is the beer that I brew myself in the microbrewery in my garage…

MicrobreweryNot available in the shops; not for sale; it’s mine! I brew…

Thomas Coopers India Pale Ale

“A strong, robust ale with bold malt characters with very high hopping levels. It carries all the hallmarks of a genuine India Pale Ale.”

It works out at the equivalent of $13.50 per carton.

And it’s on draft!

Draft BeerIt’s lucky you don’t know where I live, isn’t it?

What about Foster’s?

Update June 2018

Yes, I was reminded of this by DRM’s comment below about it being the only Aussie beer they’ve heard of in the US. Well, here’s the story about Foster’s…

Visa Assessment Service

 

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{ 147 comments… add one }
  • John Wade July 15, 2015, 8:17 am | Link

    This explains it all, it is not Australia’s favourite beer, it is Australia’s most successful flooding of the beer market with beer-flavoured tap water –
    “The way we’ve marketed and promoted the brand really positioned it as a quintessentially Australian brand.” said spokesman Matt Tapper to the Courier Mail.

    Lately been getting a lot of joy out of James Squires “Hop Thief #6”, drinking it really cold, tastes like liquid silver with deep, golden hops.

    The trouble I am finding is the leading bottle shops, the most common ones on every street corner are dominated by demand for cheap, expressionless beers. Recently someone put out an “American styled nut brown” and then it disappeared.
    Maybe too many people are afraid to venture out of the mainstream or the price difference really is the lever for bottle shop supply.

    Someone please, put BWS out of our misery.
    Remember what happened to Gage Road after Woolworths bought the brewery and the same fate for Blue Tongue.

    • BobinOz July 15, 2015, 9:45 pm | Link

      Yes, exactly right John.

      The first list in this article is all about the bestselling beers in Australia, nothing to do with the best beers in Australia. Is all about volume and market share. And you are right, most people buy on price and I can understand that.

      A lot of the premium beers, James Squires for example, come in cartons of 24 and they are either 330 mL bottles or 345 mL bottles. VB and XXXX can be purchased in cans, 30 to a carton and 375 mL for around two thirds of the price of the premium beers.

      It’s a big difference, especially when you glug rather than sip 🙂

      I agree with you on the James Squires Hop Thief, I love all of their beers, but that is one of my favourites. We actually have a Squires pub in the city that does them all on draft. Yum.

      Do you not have Dan Murphys down your way? They always have a good beers section, much better than BWS.

  • Bing July 14, 2015, 5:09 pm | Link

    Sorry, but couldn’t disagree more. In South Australia we don’t even sell xxxx or VB. Assuming that one state in Australia is the same as the others would be like assuming that Scotland and Wales are similar ….and I’m still yet to see a pub in Australia which sells fosters

    • BobinOz July 14, 2015, 7:05 pm | Link

      Bing, nobody is assuming anything about Australia’s states, this article is simply about the share of the beer market in Australia nationwide. The figures have been provided by Nielsen so if you want to disagree, you’d best get in touch with them.

      I can assure you though that as at 2012 when I wrote this article, it was all absolutely true and if you Google “Queensland takes the Gold with XXXX” you should find an article by the Australian Business Review confirming these figures.

      Seems that despite South Australia not selling xxxx or VB, they still manage to top the charts anyway. Cheers, as we say 🙂

  • western australian breweries May 20, 2015, 10:03 pm | Link

    Thanks for those insights. Whether it is lager or bitter beers, the love for beers has a long history in Australia. Not to mention the breweries in Western Australia, you won’t disappointed when you taste the handcrafted beers and ciders.

    • BobinOz May 21, 2015, 6:36 pm | Link

      You will be pleased to hear I had a couple of your fine beers and also a taster plate of all your beers at your brewery in Margaret River and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. You can see the pictures on my post 4 Days in Margaret River. Loved the pale ale and the kolsch; beautiful.

      I am now also the proud owner of one of your growlers, perfect to put my homebrew in for when I go to barbecues. Keep up the good work.

  • Lucas October 9, 2014, 7:51 pm | Link

    Could not agree more on VB. Awful stuff. I didn’t drink beer regularly till I was 21 because VB was the first beet I ever tasted. Turned me off it for years.

    1 vote for Extra Dry, love it.

  • Andrew September 26, 2014, 10:03 am | Link

    There is a great Aussie Lager made down in Hobart called ‘Cascade Lager’ or much more commonly known by locals as ‘Cascade [or Cassie] Blue’ (as the packaging is blue). Don’t be confused with Cascade Premium Lager – you know, the one with the tiger on the label – which is a better known beer.

    Cascade blue is not ‘exported’ out of Tasmania so you won’t find it anywhere else. In fact you’ll even struggle to even find it outside of southern Tasmania.

    As far as commercial Aussie Lagers go, Cassie Blues would have to be up there with the best I’ve had! And although it is only sold within a small consumer market, it has a good portion of share in that market!

    • BobinOz September 26, 2014, 9:13 pm | Link

      Well, I’m actually glad you have cleared that up for me Andrew. I have heard of several people raving about Cascade, saying what a great Tassie lager it is, and I’ve always wondered why anyone would think it was so good.

      Now I realise, it’s because I’ve only ever tasted Cascade Premium Lager which, as you have now pointed out, is a totally different beer. Shame I didn’t know, I would have made a point of trying your Cassie when I was in Tassie a few years ago.

      Incidentally, whenever I’m driving the car and we go out for a meal or something, I will often go for the Cascade Premium Light, it’s one of the very few low alcohol beers that I do still actually quite like the taste of. Stood me in good stead when I was RBT’d in Bateman’s Bay once.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Pete August 24, 2014, 9:50 am | Link

    Thanks Bob… I now drink the red can too.. $41.90 for 30 at Dans , and at these prices… I always get two! 🙂

    • BobinOz August 24, 2014, 9:21 pm | Link

      Aha, a convert, wonderful! Not too bad, is it? Best budget beer around in my view. Cheers, as we say.

      • Pete September 3, 2014, 4:40 pm | Link

        Yeah.. More guts to it Bob… Lot of beers these days are soft.. Too easy to drink with no real taste.

        • BobinOz September 3, 2014, 10:14 pm | Link

          I agree, but unfortunately I’m going by memory; I’m on a beer belly busting diet at the moment, restricting myself to wine. Not had a beer binge for five weeks. At this stage I’d do a sad face, if only I knew which keys to hit.

  • John Wade July 30, 2014, 7:46 am | Link

    Bob, I have not found an IPA that I would stump up for a second time. They appear to lack the depth of complexity that my taste buds demand.

    Grand Ridge produce a thoroughly enjoyable Black and Tan for our long winter evenings, though until the last few days our winter has been fairly mild.

    The craft brewers in Tasmania seem to lack an idea of complex brewing. They can jump up and scream all they like but at the most recent festival of beer there were only three brewers who I considered complex and that was William’s, Moo Brew and James Squire’s ‘Constable’. All of the others were just ‘beer’.

    • BobinOz July 30, 2014, 8:53 pm | Link

      Well, I think most of James Squires brews are pretty good, and whilst I was in Tasmania a few years ago I did try the Moo Brew, I’d be lying if I said I remembered what it tastes like, but I do remember it was pretty darn expensive for a small bottle.

      Now the English, and the Americans also, they know how to put together an IPA that would tingle your taste buds, that’s for sure. Hopefully somebody in Tassie will come up with something decent one day soon too.

  • John Wade July 29, 2014, 3:40 pm | Link

    In my opinion the Pilsener leaves the IPA for dead.

    • BobinOz July 29, 2014, 6:52 pm | Link

      Do you mean their award-winning Limited Release India Pale Ale? Interesting. I have to say though, especially in Brisbane’s climate, the cold Pilsener is certainly a better beer to quench the thirst than an IPA. But down there in Hobart, I’m sure you do have some quite nice IPA’s for those cold winter nights, don’t you?

  • John Wade July 18, 2014, 7:03 pm | Link

    Yeah, I was dubious about the 3-5 days timeline that I was given, never expected it to arrive before Tuesday 22nd.

    Be Surprised!

    • BobinOz July 20, 2014, 8:53 pm | Link

      Oh don’t worry, I will be surprised, I’ve already practiced my lines. “Well I never! It looks like it’s beer, I wonder what brew it is?”

      • BobinOz July 22, 2014, 12:09 am | Link

        Well I never did. A parcel has arrived for me, all the way from Tasmania. I wonder what it could be?

        • John Wade July 22, 2014, 7:18 am | Link

          I bet it looks like a telefunken U47 … in leather.

          • BobinOz July 22, 2014, 6:00 pm | Link

            In a way, yes, a very cold one. I’ll be back on Monday with more 🙂

            • BobinOz July 28, 2014, 6:37 pm | Link

              A couple of fine beers for sure. Of the two, my preference was for the Pilsener, it had a smooth and also quite malty taste; or was it hoppy, or was it both? As you can see from my article above, my preference is for ales, not lagers or Pilsener’s, but these two were definitely different and very enjoyable.

              Bottoms up as we say, and my thanks again for giving me the opportunity to taste these brews.

              Cheers, Bob

  • John Wade July 17, 2014, 7:37 am | Link

    4x Gold?, gave it away many years ago because of its blandness – same as Fosters and VB. MB is my pick of the common ales.
    Then again, I grew up on Hunter Old.
    I had a Crown Lager in 1st class one time and a better beer I had never up until that moment. Bought Crown Lager after that and it was never the same. Also had a Coopers ‘something’ in the Cow Bay pub in The Daintree and it was so rich in hickory, so pleasant, never had that experience again either.

    • BobinOz July 18, 2014, 1:37 pm | Link

      That Coopers might have been the Pale Ale, a cloudy beer but distinctive and very nice.

      Post not allowing, by the way, it’s Friday arvo and no delivery as yet; looks like I’ll be savouring it next weekend John, for some reason in my head I think the occasion deserves a Saturday night.

      Cheers

  • John Wade July 16, 2014, 3:47 pm | Link

    Hey Bob, they should be there any day.

    Don’t forget, cold, even if the day is cold.

    ATB.

    • BobinOz July 16, 2014, 7:15 pm | Link

      Bewdy John, my mouth is already watering. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they’re cold and I’ve already pencilled in Saturday night for this special beer tasting, post permitting.

      I’ll let you know how it goes. Cheers!

  • chad July 16, 2014, 2:34 pm | Link

    I drank Tooheys new, VB, Carlton Draught etc for years. Never contemplated drinking anything mid or light strength. I started drinking xxxx gold a few years back mainly because you could have a “few” and not wake up with a terrible headache the next day or next to someone you wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole sober. Sometimes a 6 pack of news or VB after work was still enough to make you feel like crap the next day.

    XXXX gold and Carlton Mid seem to be getting more popular in NSW every day and I think the people are now getting used to being able to have a night on the beers without getting too drunk or having a hangover the next day. The xxxx gold has a relatively full taste and gives a slight buzz after a few unlike light beer.

    Having said that, there are much better options out there but I think that is the reason of their growing popularity.

    • BobinOz July 16, 2014, 7:11 pm | Link

      Yes, I think you are right Chad, I think a lot of tradies who have to get up for work at 6 o’clock in the morning and often like to have a beer as soon as they finish work at 3 o’clock in the afternoon favour these mid beers, it gives them the chance to keep a clear head.

      I suspect they can also be quite thirst quenching on a very hot day. So they certainly have their place, but for me I will always prefer the heavies.

      Cheers, Bob

  • John Wade June 30, 2014, 4:31 pm | Link

    I work hard to keep this beer on the market and for one reason only – it is a beautiful beer. My preference is for the Pilsener and Lager.
    9/11 IS the name of the bottle shop but investigation has revealed, seemingly, it is only a Tasmanian franchise.
    Don’t forget, drink it COLD. Bet it is gone in four – one to savour and critique, one to familiarise and two to swallow.

    • BobinOz June 30, 2014, 9:49 pm | Link

      I am more of an IPA man myself, that’s what I brew when I make my own. But I also do enjoy a good Lager or Pilsener on a hot day, and we get plenty of those in these parts.

      I’m looking forward to receiving my taster John, and I will definitely serve it cold. I will also count my glugs, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

      Cheers, Bob

  • John Wade June 29, 2014, 2:58 pm | Link

    PM your address, I will send you taste.

    • BobinOz June 30, 2014, 4:10 pm | Link

      That’s jolly decent of you John, my address is on its way to you 🙂

      You’re not the only one who loves this beer either, I’ve just discovered it’s won an award here in Queensland. See this page on the http://www.debortoli.com.au website. As it says “William’s Limited Release India Pale Ale was crowned ‘Grand Champion of Show’ as well as ‘Best Ale of Show’ in Brisbane last week.

      Even so, no amount of googling “Buy Williams Beer in Queensland” leads me any closer to buying a Williams beer in Queensland, so your offer is most welcome.

      Cheers, Bob

  • John Wade June 27, 2014, 7:08 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Gotta get the beer COLD to appreciate the William’s selection. Don’t work too late. I have found that 9/11 bottle-os are the ones to carry the William’s brand and some specialist pubs.
    I can’t understand and, I have asked De Bortoli, why they don’t promote their product more. A stall in a shed on Hobart waterfront is not getting ‘it’ out there.

    • BobinOz June 28, 2014, 11:08 pm | Link

      I’m assuming you mean 7/11 bottle-o’s, we certainly don’t have the 9/11’s here 🙂 I will check to see if I can get some here, but it sounds as though I may have to take another trip to Tassie to have a taste.

  • Crust June 26, 2014, 9:56 pm | Link

    The Prancing Pony beers are only available in SA at the moment but have a look at there website……..http://www.prancingponybrewery.com.au/ Crust.

    • BobinOz June 28, 2014, 10:40 pm | Link

      Looking at the website doesn’t help, I need to taste it 🙂 next time I’m in SA, I’ll be sure to check it out, cheers Crust!

  • Crust June 26, 2014, 3:37 pm | Link

    The best beers in Australia without a doubt are at the Prancing Pony Brewey in Mount Barker. South Australia. The best being India Red Ale. Geddit India is there slogan and indeed do!

    • BobinOz June 26, 2014, 8:13 pm | Link

      That’s a new name for me Crust, not heard of them before. But I take this website seriously and especially the necessary research required to talk about “life in Australia”, so I’m going to make it a priority to buy a six pack (or maybe even a carton) of India Red Ale as soon as soon as I possibly can.

      I’ve already started my research, i.e. where to buy it, and I’m already struggling. Any tips? Maybe it’s not on sale here in Queensland?

      Cheers, as we say.

  • John Wade June 26, 2014, 11:40 am | Link

    It is time you tried Williams Beer – Lager or Pilsener – made by De Bortoli Wines. Makes most other beers taste like Fosters in comparison.

    • BobinOz June 26, 2014, 8:26 pm | Link

      Hi John

      I’ve somehow managed to answer these comments the wrong way round, but as with my reply to Crust below, looks like there’s another six pack I’m going to have to buy and drink in the name of research.

      Looks like I’ll be working til late Saturday night 🙂

  • Rob May 30, 2014, 5:14 pm | Link

    Little creatures pale ale , yuck . Fat yack is much much better . I do agree with xxxx bitter , it is a staple , but then again as is VB . Great article

    • BobinOz May 30, 2014, 6:57 pm | Link

      I can’t believe you don’t like Little Creatures, but hey, everybody is different. At least you are (I think) the first person to agree with me about xxxx, so that’s cool.

      Bottoms up, as we say.

  • Mr Gus May 29, 2014, 1:14 am | Link

    I visited Queensland recently with a view to take up a job offer there in the near future. Sat in the pub every evening for a meal and few beers – every single patron came in there and ordered a ‘pot of Gold’. Bah, too watery. Much preferred the bitter.

    • BobinOz May 29, 2014, 7:05 pm | Link

      Maybe they were driving and simply wanted to order the closest thing you can get to lemonade 🙂

  • Diz May 28, 2014, 9:54 am | Link

    Ahhh yep, how are Crownies considered budget? They are the complete opposite

    • BobinOz May 28, 2014, 7:30 pm | Link

      Not really, they are often $40-$45 for a 24 bottle carton around here, that’s not premium beer. I’d say premium beer, like Little Creatures, are $55 or more. How much are you paying for Crownies?

  • Rick May 17, 2014, 10:51 pm | Link

    Great read Bob. I’m shocked xxxx Gold is Australia’s best selling beer. I’m also shocked you like xxxx bitter – it’s the worst lager I’ve ever tasted!! I get paid out for liking VB though. Each to his own!! Totally agree with your Little Creatures choice though – what a beer.

    • BobinOz May 19, 2014, 2:24 pm | Link

      I’m shocked as well, why would anybody want to drink that? The Gold I mean, the bitter in the red can is a different story, I’d take it over VB any day.

      At least we are agree on the Little Creatures though 🙂

  • youngie November 9, 2013, 2:27 pm | Link

    It is interesting listening to the opinionated cliches voiced by various brew snobs who have obviously put very little effort into discovering and enjoying the diverse styles of beer openly available here in “the colony”.
    It is true that we are a nation of lager lovers. The majority of commercial beers referenced are easy drinking and well suited to our climate. As an obsessed ale addict (expensive habit at around $80 Australian for 24 cans of John Smith, Tetleys etc.) even I have trouble enjoying an ale at room temp when the mercury is hovering above 30’c. Having said that it is interesting to look at beer sales world wide. In England Carling and Foster rule the roost (two beers that go down like nails) while the rest of the world is drinking Chinese rice concoctions or variations of that American invention “lite” (low carb not low alcohol).
    Historically speaking, long forgotten brands such as Flag Ale (Tooths) and K.B. Larger were local adaptations of traditional European lagers. Moving forward quality beers brewed with the finest materials available such as Cascade and Boags were testament to the fact that there was room in the market for quality brews. These days there are a plethora of exotic native beers widely available catering for any taste with new labels gaining distribution every week.
    As I pour another Hoegaarden while Dad drains another XXXX Gold it’s to live in a Brew Lovers Democracy.

    • BobinOz November 11, 2013, 1:21 pm | Link

      I haven’t drunk a beer at room temperature since I’ve lived here, it just doesn’t work in Australia, does it? When I lived in England I was always an ale drinker, not lager. But here, when the mercury is climbing above 30°C, you can’t beat a nice cold lager.

      Maybe you should have a go at the homebrew yourself Youngie, then you too can enjoy some decent ales without paying through the nose.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Linka June 14, 2013, 10:53 am | Link

    You have to gently roll Coopers before you open it 😉
    After I moved from Adel to Bris, I was horrified upon ordering a pale ale when the bartender just popped it open hehe

    • BobinOz June 14, 2013, 8:22 pm | Link

      Yes, it’s cloudy and has a sediment at the bottom, so you need to mix it up. That said though, I’ve been served many a bottle of Coopers where the bartender just popped the top off, but I think the action of glugging from the bottle goes a fair way towards stirring it up a bit.

      Especially if you glug fast 🙂

  • Crust April 14, 2013, 9:59 am | Link

    Hi Robbie. I agree that Aussies do not have any idea generally of how to serve a pint but things seem to be improving go to the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Adelaide for example. I don’t agree at all though that the English don’t have the art of a good pint. I have been to many establishments back home whre the beers and pints have been to die for.The atmosphere of an English country pub and a pint with locals is one of God’s gifts.

    • BobinOz April 14, 2013, 9:58 pm | Link

      Robbie, I have a good deal of Irish blood in me, but even I can’t go along with your views on this, Ireland is certainly not the world’s best brewers. Czechoslovakia or Belgium maybe, but not Ireland.

      England produce some wonderful beers, and as Crust has mentioned, even here in Australia things are improving all the time.

      I guess you must be a Guinness man 🙂

      • Robbie April 14, 2013, 11:46 pm | Link

        Guys don’t get me wrong, I honestly don’t mean to cause offense. I’m only saying that whatever way the kegs are kept or whatever way they are poured just isn’t right. And Bob, I completely agree that Ireland knows very little about brewing but we do know how a pint should be served. Cold beer does not make a good beer. My eyes lit up in a pub on Chapel Street when I noticed they had Carlsberg on tap, it was cold, it looked just right. But that’s where it ends. The vile smell outweighed the dirty awful taste of what I couldn’t believe was my very favourite pint that I would regularly back home.

        • BobinOz April 15, 2013, 12:07 am | Link

          Robbie, you are not causing offence, you are just getting wrong. You were wrong the first time, the UK in particular produces some absolutely marvellous beers. And now you’re wrong a second time because warm beer just doesn’t work in Australia.

          And if Carlsberg really is your favourite beer, I think that’s wrong too 🙂

  • Robbie April 14, 2013, 12:37 am | Link

    No offense lads and lassies but every single beer on tap over here (and in England) is absolutely disgusting.. I was warned before I came over that the pints were even worse than in England. I just didn’t believe that until I got here.. Because of this, I haven’t had a drink in almost 4 months!! Good God I can’t wait to take a trip home to Ireland so I can finally enjoy a real pint..

  • Sean April 6, 2013, 11:06 am | Link

    Hey Bob
    Coopers Sparkling Ale is the best beer in the country, full of flavour and with a bit of a kick. Pale Ale is just a light beer when you have to drive.

    • BobinOz April 7, 2013, 9:26 pm | Link

      I’m afraid it’s just a little bit too sparkling for me, I don’t like my beers too fizzy. And the pale ale at 4.5% AVB is hardly a light beer 🙂 The Coopers IPA I brew though, even if I have to say so myself, beats both of them!

  • Crust January 7, 2013, 5:54 pm | Link

    Hi Bob.You didn’t mention the best beer in Australia – Feral Hop Hog – very expensive but the best without a doubt. You haven’t mentioned at all how expensive beer is in this country with most beers twice the price they would be in the United Kingdom. As for buying any English beers here they are 300% more expensive than they are at home(England)!

  • joel October 27, 2012, 1:51 pm | Link

    Dear bob. Would you be so kind to let me know what brand of draft tap fridge you have for your home brew. Regards Joel

    • BobinOz October 29, 2012, 5:43 pm | Link

      Hi Joel

      Mine are plain old “Made in China” taps, I bought the whole lot on eBay for around $600. I know there is one brand of taps that are supposed to be the best, I think these are Chinese copies of those ones.

  • Ian September 6, 2012, 8:07 pm | Link

    Beer lovers, a few expats are meeting up Friday sept 7 at burleigh brewery from 6 til 8.30.I’m not the organiser, but I’m sure all are welcome, as the brewery bar opens each first Friday of the month.theres a band and great beer.cheers.

    • BobinOz September 6, 2012, 9:45 pm | Link

      Sounds good, bit too far for me to go for a beer though. Have a great night!

  • phil September 5, 2012, 5:35 pm | Link

    gooday, just wanna ask ya, how long has xxxx bitter been in red cans, and do you have anyway of finding out why i can only find xxxx gold in tasmania ?

    no one seems to sell the good old xxxx heavy 🙁

    • BobinOz September 5, 2012, 6:29 pm | Link

      I’m not sure you’ll get it in Tassie, what with the costs of shipping it over there and all that. Tasmanians make some pretty good beers themselves, so I can’t imagine there being a market for importing XXXX from Queensland.

      I think you have to spend some time tasting the local beers, well somebody’s got to do it!

  • Ian July 9, 2012, 3:17 pm | Link

    Cheers for the tip Bob, I’ll make sure I go for the IPA rather than the
    plain lager.I’ll start saving my empties but may run out of space quickly!Cheers

  • Ian wood July 3, 2012, 8:06 pm | Link

    Check it out Bob, I know we all like different beers but It’s a personal favourite of mine………..so far! I have seen the elephant iPa but not tried it yet, on your recommendation I’ll pick 6 elephants up next time I’m at the bottle o.
    I saw the coopers brewing kits in big w yesterday, will invest in one as soon as i get a job!
    let us know what u think of the burleigh bitter, cheers,I’ll drink to that….or anything really!

    • BobinOz July 5, 2012, 12:43 pm | Link

      Those beer kits are okay, but I think the brew that comes with it is just a Coopers lager. You would be better off going to a proper brew shop and buying a tin of the above-mentioned Coopers India Pale Ale, it’s part of the Thomas Coopers Selection series of homebrews.

      For bottles, just save your old empties. Yes, I’ll let you know what I think of those Burleigh bitters.

  • Ian & Sara July 2, 2012, 1:31 pm | Link

    Wow, I just discovered probably the best beer in Oz! It’s “my wife’s bitter” by burleigh brewery,Qld.
    the bottle says” English bitter, Burleigh style.our coastal version of a classic English bitter” it’s 4.8%, and really hits the spot.Worth tracking it down.Cheers!

    • BobinOz July 3, 2012, 6:28 pm | Link

      Funnily enough I saw a sixpack of that on the shelf of Vintage Cellars the other week, I assumed the joke was in the name, I didn’t really imagine the beer would be a winner.

      Next time I’m passing, I will have to pickup a pack and give it a try. Thanks for the tip off!

      Oh, another one worth trying, is Elephant IPA, that’s a nice drop.

  • ian & sara July 1, 2012, 6:47 pm | Link

    Home made cider sounds ace, but cost of apples here is $%#@!

    • Marc July 1, 2012, 7:43 pm | Link

      White Lightnening is still legal, but i think you need to be under 18 and sat in a park to drink it!!!

      Homebrew sounds great – but not sure i could leave it for a year!!

      • BobinOz July 1, 2012, 8:13 pm | Link

        Under 18? Surely not! That really would be against the law. I can’t believe it goes on…

  • Hawkmoon July 1, 2012, 3:10 am | Link

    Just for info, i collect a few buckets of mixed apples from friends and families trees then mince them all up skins and all, squeeze out the delicious juice (drink some fresh) then simply put the rest away in a few demijons with air locks and nature takes over and over a few months turns it all into reallly good cider. I dont add a thing to it. I wait till the following summer before drinking with ice, smashing! Easyest homebrew ever but takes an age of patience haha.

  • Ian & Sara June 28, 2012, 3:10 pm | Link

    Ciders :5 seeds is v popular here, also James squires caft beer brewery now do a cider , there was a promotion in one of the Irish bars at surfers paradise last week, I had a free one it seemed v nice.think it’s called orchard crush or similar.cheers!

    • BobinOz June 29, 2012, 6:45 pm | Link

      Well I’m glad Ian and Sara piped up, because incredibly I haven’t had a single glass of cider since I’ve been here, so I wouldn’t have been able to help you Marc. I really should have a go, I used to drink cider on occasions back in the UK.

      I also drank some of that White Lightning back then, is that still legal? It wasn’t really cider, was it? More like some kind of chemical experiment!!

  • Marc June 28, 2012, 6:18 am | Link

    Great post – have been reading you for the past 6 months or so.

    Hoping to come to Perth in September on a 457, the one thing you don’t mention is Cider!

    Are there any purveyors of fine fermented apple Juice??

    Cheers

    Marc

  • Dorian Hawkmoon June 27, 2012, 7:00 am | Link

    Hey it’s good to know home brewing is available downunder haha, but is it just kitform or can you get hold of ingreidients for your own recipes?

    • BobinOz June 27, 2012, 6:53 pm | Link

      No, you can certainly get all the ingredients to make a proper brew. Google ‘Brewers Choice’ here in Australia and have a look at their online shop. I’m not sure, I think they may show all the individual ingredients available.

      There is also a very big Australian brewers forum somewhere online, can’t remember the name.

      I don’t bother with all that, I get mine out of a tin and just add some malt. Still yummy!

  • Ian & Sara June 25, 2012, 1:50 pm | Link

    Well Bob, you’ll have to invite us over for a taste test, 🙂
    I have also just discover ranga red beer, something to do with saving orangutans.on offer at Bws, 4 bottles $10 pretty tasty, worth a try if u spot any.cheers!

    • BobinOz June 25, 2012, 11:22 pm | Link

      I’m still recovering from all those glugs my mate took!

      Ranga red, I’ll look out for that. Cheers!

  • Ian June 21, 2012, 1:40 pm | Link

    Bob, I agree pretty much with your pale ale choices, I love Little Creatures, Fat Yak, & Coopers is pretty good. But you left out Squire’s One Fifty Lashes, which is one of my favourites and on tap down Burleigh Heads Surf Club.Cheers!

    • BobinOz June 22, 2012, 3:08 pm | Link

      You have it on tap? Lucky lucky! Yes, it’s a nice beer, I think all Squires beers are worth a try. Funnily enough, some friends of mine were round on Saturday, one of them was drinking Fifty Lashes.

      He did a taste test to compare it with my homebrew, and after (too many) glugs of my beer, he said the difference wasn’t significant enough to even comment on.

      That makes me pretty lucky too.

      Cheers!

  • tom sneath June 20, 2012, 12:13 am | Link

    HI again Bob. Just a quick email to say thanks for the up/date .I do look forward to them .Im going to share the emails with a couple of good friends ,and I will let you know how they liked it. Im not exactly sure if or when I will make another trip yto Oz again. I certainly would like to if at all possible. I will close for now Bob,but I will be in touch again. Good day,mate.

    • BobinOz June 20, 2012, 4:45 pm | Link

      I hope you do find time to take another trip down here Tom, you know you will love it 🙂 thanks!

  • jess Irving June 19, 2012, 6:22 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    Having lived in Brisbane before I did know some of the beers but your blog has opened up a new list of beers I never new you could get, I am hoping to be over from the UK in July this time for good, I have a sponsored job in Perth are there any good beers different to the ones you have mentioned in WA you can recommened, one other consolation from my friends here has been they don’t mind visiting now they know they can bye Stella (yuk)

    • BobinOz June 20, 2012, 1:26 pm | Link

      Hi jess

      I can’t help you out about the beers in Perth, I’ve never been. It’s on my list of things to do. But I have heard they do have different beers over there to cater for the strong British and South African market, so you might find some interesting brews over there.

  • Jude Eason June 19, 2012, 5:22 pm | Link

    Interesting reading, haven’t decided on a favourite yet but the micro brewery looks great! You might find that Little Creatures is more widely available soon, see perthnow for a story about the brewer being taken over by a Japanese company.

    • Jude Eason June 19, 2012, 5:27 pm | Link

      The friend who brought my attention to the takeover story also had this to share – not a brewer myself, but the recipe seems pretty comprehensive! Here’s his version of Little Creatures: ‘50% Australian Pale Malt, 45% Australian Pilsner Malt, 3% Medium Crystal Malt, 2% CaraPils Malt. Mash at 66C. Bitter to 35 IBUs with East Kent Goldings Hops, then use equal additions of Chinook & Cascade Hops at 15 minutes and 2 minutes before end of boil. Dry hop with Chinook Hops 7 days into fermentation. Ferment at 16 degrees C with “Safale US-05” or “Wyeast 1056” yeast. This recipe makes a beer that looks & tastes EXACTLY like Little Creatures before they started to mess with it! Google “All Grain Home Brewing” to find out how.’ Enjoy!

      • BobinOz June 20, 2012, 1:22 pm | Link

        Thanks for the recipe Jude, as much as I love the beer I’m not sure I could go through all that though 🙂

        Let’s hope these new owners don’t ruin the beer, but do make it cheaper. Something tells me though, that isn’t going to happen. Cheers!

  • Biton June 13, 2012, 3:13 am | Link

    I hoop that there are some real Belgium beers for sale in Oziland as that is what I really like… Even here on this little island called UK it’s way ever priced but easy to get with a ferry ride 😉

    • BobinOz June 14, 2012, 1:27 pm | Link

      Yes, we do have Belgian beers here, they are not cheap though and no ferry rides to France from here 🙂

      You can get quite a good selection from Dan Murphy’s or First Choice bottle shops and we even have a Belgian bar in Brisbane City so you can get it on draft.

      Cheers!

      • Biton June 15, 2012, 5:00 am | Link

        cool so nothing is stopping me then to come over 😀

  • Sam June 8, 2012, 7:09 pm | Link

    Fosters is not on the list!?!?

    My world is crushed! lol

    • BobinOz June 8, 2012, 9:05 pm | Link

      I have an interesting story about that. In a frame on the wall in my family room I have a poster, actually a menu, which I got from a restaurant in New York called Jekyll & Hyde.

      It’s not a food menu, it’s a beer menu; it lists famous beers from around the world. Under the heading of USA, it lists about 90 beers. Under the U.K.’s heading, about 25 beers. Under Australia’s heading, it says…..

      “Fosters Light”

      Nothing else, that’s it!

      Makes me laugh:-)

  • James May 31, 2012, 4:16 pm | Link

    Back in the good old days late 60 s early 70 s before I could legally drink the only choice u had was lager pale ale that was real men’s drink weather you liked it or not now its all full of bloody chemicals guaranteed to give u a sore head then there is Australian beer/ lager it’s well named xxxx. bring back the 60s

    • BobinOz May 31, 2012, 10:42 pm | Link

      What? Then we’d have to go through the whole Beatles catalogue again!

      Anyway, have you really tasted Brisbane Bitter? Click on the link in the answer to the comment above this one, the one about buying the Christmas beers. I bought some 70s beer, it was disgusting!

  • John May 31, 2012, 4:37 am | Link

    This is an interesting subject, because being from the UK, you’ll know that we grew up with a stereotyped image of Australia being one of the worlds great beer drinking nations (mostly form TV adverts in the UK for XXXX, or Fosters, or shows like the Paul Hogan TV show) and then we all get here, and the beer is tragic!

    It’s shocking that XXXX and VB are at the top of that poll with 25% of the market, you wrote you might have insulted 25% of beer drinking Australians by saying you don’t like those beers, but they deserve to be insulted. XXXX and VB are so poor, it’s not even funny. People over here need to get out more (of the country), if they did they’d understand just how bad their popular beers are compared to the rest of the world. Even In Asia, they’ve only been brewing beer for 20 minutes and they do it better, you can get a better pint in Cambodia than you can in an ‘average’ pub in Brisbane, and I’m not joking.

    The redeeming factor in Oz are the micro-breweries. I went to the little creatures brewery in Fremantle (nr Pearth) It was amazing, I tried a few different beers and they were all good. Like you mention their ‘pale ale’ is very good, I think it’s like a nice Czech lager. You can get it in bars in the city (Brisbane) which is good or otherwise I’d have left Queensland long ago. The Belgium Beer bar in the city also does nice imported Euro lagers on draft.

    • BobinOz May 31, 2012, 2:55 pm | Link

      I do have to agree, I can’t think of anything good to say about VB or XXXX Gold, although some of their other lagers are a bit better. But if you think they are bad now, you should have had a taste of Australian beers in the 70s and 80s.

      You can read about that in my post called Buying the Christmas Beers in Australia.

      Thank the Lord for those microbreweries though, they are producing some wonderful brews, just a bit expensive though. Hence my microbrewery in the fridge.

      Cambodia, long way to go for a beer 🙂

  • Joel May 30, 2012, 10:48 pm | Link

    Bob,
    I suspect you are one of the most qualified people to rate Australian beers and pop this list. 🙂
    Good on you!

    • BobinOz May 31, 2012, 2:11 pm | Link

      My dedication on this one just cannot be questioned 🙂

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