Hottest 100 Beers

It’s hottest 100 time again, no not the Triple J hottest 100, but rather the Local Taphouse’s hottest 100 Aussie craft beers.
The beer geek Twitterverse has been all a flutter with ponderings of a top five and lamentations of the unfortunate beers which have to be left out.
Of course what will actually happen is the beer geeks out there will spread our votes across 200 very obscure, but brilliant beers and then a middle of the road, well distributed craft offering like Vale Ale(2010 winner), Little Creatures (2009 and 2008 winner) will end up dominating. People will whinge (as people do) but that is actually a reasonable snapshot of the industry, to be successful you need both good quality beer and distribution.
So this begs the question, what will happen this year? Firstly I don’t think Vale Ale will top it again, my tip is Feral’s Hop Hog for Number 1 (up from 4th last year) it has the right mix of being a brilliant beer, the darling of the beer geek set, but approachable enough to get good numbers of people drinking it.  Little Creatures and Fat Yak will be up there again thanks to their distribution.  Oh and I think it’s the year of the Pale Ale and IPA – look for about a quarter of the top 100 being highly hopped beers.
The bigger interest for me though will be down the bottom of the list. There are so made secondary stories, will beer geek darling beers like Bridge Road 500 Breakfast Lager make the grade? Did enough people actually find any of the Moondog beers for them to make an impact? Could Temple Brewing sneak something in, even though they were only open for about a week in 2011 (it’s not as weird as it sounds given the collective orgasmic bliss that dominated Twitter just after they opened) or will a beer from the  ‘most hated by beer wankers’ Thunder Road brewery make it in? (I doubt it).
As for me, well after a week or so of revisiting some of the better beers I had this year, here is what I voted for:
Feral’s Hop Hog – The best regularly available IPA made by an Australian brewery, hands down.
Mountain Goat’s DIPA – This was a revelation when we had it on tap at the Wheaty earlier this year; I just wish I could find it again somewhere. 
Holgate’s Temptress – Always a stunning beer to end a session with (I’ve tested this theory many a time now).
Murray’s Angry Man Brown Ale – I liked it so much I bought the T-Shirt, unfortunately like many of Murray’s beers it is near impossible to find in Melbourne Town.
Burleigh Brewing’s Black Giraffe – Of all the coffee infused beers that have been around this year, I think this is the stand-out.
So there we go, I think that is a well rounded top five, 2 IPA’s, a Chocolate Stout, a Brown Ale, and even a lager, albeit a coffee infused dark lager. And surprisingly for a Melbournian, only 2 Victorian brews (plus one from WA, one from NSW and one from QLD).
And apologies to a whole heap of beers that were on the cusp of the top five including Hargreaves Hill’s Topaz and Amarillo IPA, Red Hill’s Weizenbock, 2Brothers with both Chief and James Brown, Murray’s Heart of Darkness, 3 Raven’s Black, Lord Nelson’s Old Admiral, Mad Brewers Stout Noir, Bridge Rd’s Saison Noir and Steam Exchange’s Southerly Buster. So many great beers, so few spots in the top five.
Voting is open until the 25th – so head over here and vote.

A Couple of WA Brews

Today’s beers have nothing in common apart from the fact that they are from Western Australia. The first is from Mash Brewing, which is a brewery I must admit I know nothing about (and their straight out of 1994 website didn’t help me much) but they have been starting to pop up here and there in Melbourne town over the last few months.
The beer I had was a Weizenbock (which I picked up at Beer Deluxe where I was hiding to escape the ridiculous heat that was up and about in Melbourne over the Chrissy break).  This was a good looking beer, a deep brown colour with a great tan coloured creamy head. It also smelled terrific, nice burnt caramel tones on the nose, which is what you would expect with this style. But then the love-fest stopped. My mouth’s experience did not match the expectations that my nose and eyes had promised. There was just a hint of sweetness, but then nothing.
This is what I would describe as a donut beer, that is, it has a huge hole in the middle. You are expecting a big malty sweetness, but rather you get this unsatisfying thin bodied beer. It had all the makings of a seriously good beer, but it just left me wanting for more. Schooner
Our second brew is from Feral, makers of what I will claim is the best IPA made by an Australian brewery. The beer today, just like the weizenbock is another European style – a Belgian Golden Ale, called Golden Ace This beer is a honey golden colour, with some lively, yet non invasive carbonation. There are some interesting flavours in there, Jordan claimed she could taste bananas, which I can only assume was from the Belgian yeast (personally I couldn’t taste it, which only proves, yet again, that Jord is now better at tasting beers than me). The other distinctive thing was some spiciness and lemon tones, which I would attribute to the unusual hop variety used. For you beer geeks out there it has Sorachi Ace hops (and if you are a beer geek you know how unusual and cool that is).
Overall this was a very nice beer, no Hop Hog, but it was right up there. Pint
Six Degrees of Norm: (Where we prove all beers can me linked back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in 6 easy steps.
1. Well Mash brewing is easy – George played Pvt. La Roche in an episode of M*A*S*H called Trick or Treatment, it was a Halloween Episode.
2. Feral Golden Ace is a little harder, although have you ever considered that the Golden Girls were both Golden and Ace?
3. And one of the cast members was Betty White, who was also ace in Lake Placid
4. Which was written by David E Kelley
5. Who also wrote Harry’s Law (along with Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Chicago Hope and LA Law)
6. And George Wendt guest starred in an episode of Harry’s Law as Franklin Chickory