beer review

Top Five for the year

So again, it’s time to vote in The Local Taphouse Hottest 100 Australian craft beer poll. The poll that is to beer geeks, what Triple J’s Hottest 100 is to music geeks (ie the chance to whinge about all the dickheads who voted that into the top 10).

Voting, as usual, was tricky for me because I have such a crap memory for the beers I liked this year. Hell, for the beers I liked this week. Someone can ask me, ‘‘had any good beers lately?’’ and my response (inside my head, at least) is ‘‘shit! I can’t remember any of them’’. What I say to the person is usually ‘‘look over there!’’ and then I run.

I’m joking. I wish I could do that. Instead I mumble some sort of rubbish or other.

So I used the massive dropdown menu on the voting page to jog my memory. And I introduced a rule – I could only vote for a beer I’d actually had this year. Partially because it’s a 2014 poll but also because, if I haven’t actually had one of them this year then it can’t really be that great, can it?

Anyway, for those who care (which will be mainly the five brewers, I guess), here’s what I voted for.

zephyr1) Doctor’s Orders – Zephyr: Had Tru Bru’s Bear Club not included this in the latest delivery, I wouldn’t have been able to vote for it because I hadn’t had this beer for more than a year. But I vividly remember the first time – it was up at Newcastle via a growler from Warner’s At the Bay. It was a warm summer day and this went down a treat on the hotel room balcony. Also, now that it’s about to be released in bottles, I’ve committed to buying a case of it. So clearly I’m a big, big fan.

FeralWatermelonWarhead2) Feral Brewing – Watermelon Warhead: I got to have this four times this year, which is a big deal for a beer not made all that often. I nabbed two glasses at GABS (it was actually the very first beer I tried there) and two more at the Royal Albert Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week. In fact, I was at another Sydney pub and saw someone had checked in a Watermelon Warhead at the Albert, so I finished my beer and headed down the road for some WW. And it was a warm day so it hit the spot.

bloodorange3) HopDog Beerworks – Brett the Bloody Orange: This one is based solely on one glass I had at GABS. Due to my shocking memory I don’t remember how it tasted beyond ‘‘funky’’ but I do remember thinking it was something special. I also remember feeling excited when brewer Tim said he was putting some in bottles for a select few and that I was one of those. Sadly that didn’t happen. Still a great beer though (and, as you can see by the photo, there’s no tap badge for it).

zoo_feeder_ipa4) Modus Operandi – Zoo Feeder IPA: Yeah, I know, it’s not like the need any more praise. They’ve had all the praise this year. All the praise are belong to them. But praise I must. I was at the Sydney Craft Beer Awards and they had all the beers that had been sent in to judge available for sampling. I managed to grab a glassful of this before any of the awards were given out – which was good because once Modus Operandi won everything that wasn’t nailed down everyone else went over to find their beers. Again, don’t remember the specifics of the flavour. But I do remember fireworks going off in my head. So that’s a good thing.

CLOUDCATCHER_Hi5) Stone & Wood – Cloud Catcher: This space was a toss-up between Cloud Catcher and Taco, two beers I love so much that I bought cases of (and I’m not a case-buying kind of guy). In the end, it came down to a toss of a coin. Which came up Stone & Wood’s way. I raved about this beer when it first came out as a limited release and then bought that six-pack esky thing Stone & Wood released just because it included a bottle of Cloud Catcher.

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