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My 7 Best Australian Beers
People discover different tastes in different beers while in Australia or trying Australia's beers overseas.
Foster's is popular or famous in the US and the UK but not so much in Australia.
Some people love Victoria Bitter (VB), or beers like Toohey's New, West End Draught, Hahn Premier and the somehow aptly named XXXX.
Honourable mentions I think at the very least should go to Knappstein Reserve Lager, Kooinda Pale Ale and a wide range of popular beers made by Coopers - but they begin the top seven with:
Coopers Pale Ale
Coopers Brewery is in Adelaide, South Australia, and is one of the most popular brands around the country.
Green (Pale Ale) and Red (Sparkling Ale) labels are the most popular.
They are notable for a density and for sediment, meaning that they are typically tipped or rolled (not so much shaken) before being opened, and a little of the sediment tends to stay in the bottle at its bottom right till the end of drinking, which may be out of the ordinary for some beer drinkers.
Coopers is also the world's largest producer of homebrewing equipment.
Little Creatures Pale Ale
Little Creatures is based in Fremantle, Western Australia.
The name is inspired by lyrics from the Talking Heads "Little Creatures" album and refers to live yeast cells, which turn the sugars in malt wort into ethanol. When I visited the brewery I had a great time at its restaurant and in the pleasant, relaxed surrounds.
The original Little Creatures Pale Ale is an American-style Pale Ale. The brewery has won a number of Australian International Beer Awards, including being named Champion Australian Brewery in 2002, with its Pale Ale being crowned as Champion Ale. The beer also won Choice magazine's 2003 Best Australian Ale and the 2004 BBC Good Food prize for Best Ale.
Beez Neez (Honey Wheat Beer)
Beez Neez is brewed by the Matilda Bay Brewing Company, based in Dandenong South, Victoria.
It is a specialty honey-infused wheat beer that often changes yearly due to honey supplies and varieties available.
Matilda Bay was the first new brewery opened in Australia since World War II and is Australia's first craft brewery. The company was purchased by Carlton & United Breweries in the early 1990s, one of Australia's biggest brewers.
Crown Lager is a premium beer made by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and was first brewed in 1919 under its former name, "Foster's Crown Lager" (CUB is a subsidiary of Foster's Group which was acquired by SAB Miller in 2011).
CUB is based in Melbourne, Victoria. Crown is known colloquially as "crownie" and is a popular beer recognised for its unique bottle shape and associations with the distinct aims of a premium beer, such as with the first royal visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 and its affiliation with Golf Australia.
Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
Mountain Goat Beer is a microbrewery in Richmond, Victoria founded in 1997.
Hightail Ale was the company's first commercial brew. The company markets cider as well under the Two Step brand.
Like Coopers beers, all Mountain Goat beers are vegan friendly, and are also free from preservatives and additives.
James Boag's Premium Lager
James Boag's Premium is a beer from Boag's Brewery in Launceston, Tasmania, which was first released in 1994.
It is a European style lager brewed using pilsner malts and fermented at a lower temperature than most Australian lagers.
It has won various local and international awards. The company was founded in 1883 by James Boag and his son, also named James, and is now owned by Lion Nathan Ltd (subsidiary of Japanese beverage conglomerate Kirin).
James Squire One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale
James Squire, a convict transported to Australia, is credited with cultivating the first successful hops in Australia near the start of the 19th century, and is also considered to have founded Australia's first commercial brewery in 1798 (though John Boston seems to have made corn beer two years before this).
The home of Squires' beers, known as the Malt Shovel Brewery, is located in Camperdown, New South Wales. The five main brews produced under the James Squire brand are Nine Tales Original Amber Ale, Chancer Golden Ale, Four Wives Pilsener, Stowaway India Pale Ale (IPA) and Jack of Spades Porter.
There will be more to come on all things Australian - if you feel in the mood for more of the local flavour, check out my top 7 Australian films.