The best 12 beers in Australia

Feral Hop Hog
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that ordering a beer at the bar was a fairly simple procedure. In Melbourne you’d ask for a VB, in Sydney a Toohey’s New and a XXXX in Brisbane. Today you can walk into hundreds of bars and restaurants and choose anything from a Chevalier Saison to a Watermelon Warhead without raising an eyebrow.

A new breed of brews is changing the beer landscape as brewers craft a range of beers based on both traditional and New World styles to satisfy an increasing thirst for something other than the pale Euro lager which has dominated sales for over a century. Styles like India Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Witbier and Czech Pilsner are finding space on retail shelves alongside old favourites.

The third edition of The Critics’ Choice – Australia’s Best Beers sees the following beers make the Top 12. The perfect dozen.

12 Mountain Goat – Steam Ale
11 Two Birds – Golden Ale
10 Hargreave’s Hill – ESB
09 Mountain Goat – India Pale Ale
08 Kooinda – Full Nelson Black IPA
07 Little Creatures Pale Ale
06 Bridge Road Brewers – Chevalier Saison
05 Two Birds – Sunset Ale
04 Feral Brewing Co – Watermelon Warhead
03 Holgate Brewhouse – Chocolate Temptress
02 Stone & Wood – Pacific Ale
01 Feral Brewing Co – Hop Hog

The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers is available May 2013 from


Comments for this article

4 Responses to “The best 12 beers in Australia”

  1. David says:
    September 21, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Interesting list? Im 41, Australian, love a beer and have never heard of the majority of these. Who are the critics? Wine drinking politians?

    My top drops are sadly not Australian beers. Why? Because they are all overpriced!

    1. Stella
    2. Becks
    3. Asahi

    Sad but true!

    • Rebecca Varidel
      Rebecca Varidel says:
      September 23, 2013 at 12:37 am

      Hi David and thanks for taking the time to drop by – apparently XXXX (pronounced 4 ex) is still the largest selling beer in Australia.

  2. Greg says:
    April 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Hi David, Do yourself a favour and taste some of these beers and you will appreciate the experience, especially the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale which is one of the nicest beers I have tasted in years. I’m 46 and don’t go out much so figure I can afford to spend 60-70 dollars on a good case of beer that will last me 2-3 weeks or even more. For years now I have treated beer like I used to treat wine, tasting and reverting back to favourites but always looking for something better. Yes I did used to drink Stella, Peroni and occasionally Asahi at my local Japanese restaurant but have moved on to find better. Take your head out of the sand and expand your horizon young man. Cheers, Greg

  3. nck says:
    July 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Nice list, few new ones to try.

    I agree with Greg, taste a few nice beers in a blind tasting then try to have a run of the mill typical Australian beer, without knowing which is which, you will quickly realise that all of those listed beers and all craft beers are magnificent and it’s hard to drink the megaswill beers afterwards. We had a tasting party and served a megaswill at the end, 100% of guests said it was tasteless compared to the craft brews.

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