GABS announces Australia’s Top 10 favourite craft beers

BentSpoke Brewing’s Crankshaft IPA has retained its crown as Australia’s favourite craft beer in the 2022 GABS Festival Hottest 100.

The win confirms Canberra’s position as the craft beer capital of Australia with fellow capital city brewer Capital Brewing grabbing two spots in the top 10, with it’s XPA taking out the best debut beer.

“Congratulations to all 281 breweries who had beers nominated and voted for, in record numbers, by fans around the country,” GABS said. “Huge shout out to the record 58 breweries who had beers place on the Hottest 100 list, an incredible achievement when you consider 2238 brews got love. ⁠

“Well done to Bentspoke Crankshaft IPA for taking the honours for a second year, another stunning podium for Gold Coast’s Balter XPA and the rise of Your Mates Brewing Larry to third. “⁠

BentSpoke co-owner and head brewer Richard Watkins said it felt incredible to have won for a second year in a row.

“Nothing was locked in this year, there was a lot of new breweries out there, 720 breweries are in Australia now and 361 are actually involved so there’s a big percentage and there’s lots of new beer,” Watkins told The Canberra Times.

“We never take anything for granted, we always hope people like our beer and vote for us, it’s pretty amazing that a little brewery from Canberra to win back to back.

“We’re really lucky because us and Capital Brewing being another independent brewery are getting their beers out there. We sell a lot more beers because they’re around and they sell a lot more beers because we’re around. People in Canberra are really passionate about local and want to support local.”

Pale, hazy and hop-driven ales dominated the list, but the move by craft breweries to attract mainstream beer drinkers is clearly working, judging by the number of high quality, easy drinking, gateway lagers and low-no options proving popular. Fun beers also hold their own with Little Bang’s Face Invertor Sour, Ballistic’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout and Bad Shepard’s big Peanut Butter Porter.

GABS Festival MD, Mike Bray said, “ It is just fantastic that the GABS Hottest 100 makes craft beer part of a national discussion. After the year the brewing industry has had, to see venues busy, beer flowing, people celebrating and debating craft beer as we delivered the live countdown on Saturday was incredible. GABS is all about sharing a common love for craft beer and the fact that more people are joining the conversation each year, only bodes well for the future of the industry.”

Top 10 beers

  1. Bentspoke Crankshaft IPA
  2. Balter XPA
  3. Your Mates Brewing Larry
  4. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  5. Black Hops Brewing Goat
  6. Better Beer Zero Carb
  7. Capital XPA
  8. Ballistic Hawaiian Haze
  9. Capital Coastal Ale
  10. Young Henrys Newtowner

Click here for the full list

Pivotal moment as non-alc and low-alc gain recognition

This year was a breakout year for non-alc and low-alc beers in the Hottest 100, with two non-alc beers featuring in the top 100. Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA debuted at 20 and Sobah Beverages zero alcohol Pepperberry IPA came in at 69.

Brick Lane Brewing, the company behind fast-growing no and low-alcohol brand Sidewinder and brewing partner to dozens of Australia’s top craft brands, made several beers featuring in the Hot 100, including its own Sidewinder Hazy Pale, a full-flavoured, low-alcohol beer (1.1% alcohol by volume – ABV) stocked nationwide by Dan Murphy’s.

Paul Bowker, CEO, Brick Lane Brewing, said: “Australia’s brewing industry continues to reinforce its status as a global leader in quality and innovation in bringing new and exciting beers to the market. This year’s GABS 100 list is a perfect illustration of the beer industry embracing new markets and is a pivotal moment for our industry, cementing the arrival of no and low-alc beers.

“Clearly, Australians are making more conscious choices about their alcohol consumption and opening themselves up to a variety of beers that fit different occasions and lifestyles. We’re delighted that Brick Lane has established itself as Australia’s leading independent producer of beers in the no and low alcohol beer market, including seeing our Sidewinder brand appear in the GABs Hot 100 list, which is the first time any alcohol free beer has made the list.”

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