Wednesday, January 26, 2011

McLaren Vale Ale gets most votes in Hottest 100 Craft Beers of 2010 poll

The votes have been counted, the results for The Local Taphouse's Hottest 100 Craft Beers of 2010 poll are in and McLaren Vale’s Vale Ale has finally ended Little Creatures Pale Ale’s two-year reign as #1 hottest craft beer of the year.

Brilliantly utilising social media and its extensive email database, McLaren Vale ran a great campaign and came out on top as a result. Little Creatures Pale Ale remains phenomenally popular while Stone & Wood’s Draught/Pacific Ale came in with a bullet (as Molly Meldrum would say) to third position.

As the number of voters around the country skyrocketed beyond the hardcore craft beer fans, it is not surprising that some of the more widely distributed craft beers are rising to the top. But there are some wonderful exceptions. Feral’s Hop Hog IPA and Kooinda Pale Ale enjoyed a staggering rise in popularity, the latter particularly notable given its humble beginnings in a Melbourne garage only a few years ago. Further down the results makes for captivating reading as some one-off beers received strong support despite their very limited availability.

This year’s count had a staggering three times as many voters as last year (which was double the first year) and nearly 500 different beers from across Australia received votes. People from all around the country voted, confirming that an ever growing number of craft beer lovers are enjoying the fun (yet challenging!) task of listing their 5 favourite craft beers of the year. Reading on how hard beer industry folk found it to name their favourite 5 beers of the year made us all feel much better about how long it took us to cull and organise our lists!

From tiny breweries, to those on the larger side that just scrape into the ‘craft’ definition, and everything in between, 2010 saw votes for beers from VIC, TAS, NSW, SA, QLD, WA and ACT. Just about every imaginable style attracted votes with punters showing their fancy for hoppy Pale Ales and IPAs together with Hefeweizens, Stouts, and Porters.

Being a fun ‘People's Choice’ list as opposed to a ‘Critics Choice’ list meant everyone was in with a chance and, like McLaren Vale, canny breweries took the opportunity to mount campaigns for their beers and get friends, family and customers alike to vote for them. A new book is being published in a few months listing Australia's top beers according to critics and industry figures. It will be interesting and fun to compare the two lists!

A huge thanks also to for sponsoring the 2010 poll. I, for one, read with great interest what beer industry identities considered their favourite 5 beers of the year and rarely was their consensus. It was also fascinating to read the stories behind top ranking beers of recent years' polls.

So, without further ado, here are the Hottest 100 craft beers of 2010 as voted by a huge number of craft beer lovers around Australia. The randomly picked voter who will win a case of each of the top 5 available beers is Leigh Camilleri (VIC). Lucky man!

1 McLaren Vale Ale
2 Little Creatures Pale Ale
3 Stone & Wood Draught/Pacific Ale
4 Feral Hop Hog
5 Kooinda Pale Ale
6 Matilda Bay Fat Yak
7 White Rabbit Dark Ale
8 James Squire Golden Ale
9 McLaren Vale Dry
10 Hawthorn Pale Ale
11 Little Creatures Bright Ale
12 Coopers Pale Ale
13 Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter
13 Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
15 Murrays Icon 2IPA
16 Endeavour 2010 Reserve Pale Ale
17 Knappstein Reserve Lager
18 Hargreaves Hill ESB
19 White Rabbit White Ale
20 James Squire Amber Ale
21 Moo Brew Pale Ale
21 Nail Brewing Clout Stout
23 Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale
24 Nail Brewing Nail Ale
25 Red Hill Imperial Stout
26 Coopers Sparkling Ale
27 Endeavour 2010 Reserve Amber Ale
28 Murrays Spartacus
29 Mountain Goat Double Hightail.
30 Holgate ESB
31 Mountain Goat Steam Ale
32 Bridge Road Brewers B2 Bomber
32 Little Creatures Rogers
34 True South Summer Ale
35 Red Hill Scotch Ale
36 Matilda Bay Beez Neez
37 Jamieson's The Beast IPA
38 Boatrocker Alpha Queen
39 Hawthorn Amber Ale
40 Bridge Road Chevalier Saison
41 Feral White
42 Lord Nelson Brewery Three Sheets
43 Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe
44 Bridge Road Brewers Galaxy Single Hop IPA
45 Murrays Heart Of Darkness
46 Bridge Road Brewers Bling IPA
47 Matilda Bay Big Helga
47 True South New World Pilsner
49 2 Brothers James Brown Belgian Ale
50 Moo Brew Imperial Stout
50 Murrays Grand Cru
50 Murrays Punch & Judy
53 3 Ravens 55
53 Mountain Goat Rare Breed Double IPA
55 Feral Fanta Pants Imperial Red Ale
56 2 Brothers Growler
57 2 Brothers Voodoo
58 Little Creatures Pilsner
58 Murrays Wild Thing
60 Matilda Bay Dogbolter
60 True South Dark Ale
62 Holgate Hopinator
62 James Squire Porter
62 Red Hill Christmas Ale
65 Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Australian Ale
65 Little Creatures Single Batch Brown Ale
65 Moo Brew Hefeweizen
68 Steam Exchange Truffles Porter
69 Bridge Road Beechworth Pale Ale
69 Goodieson Brewery Pale Ale
69 James Squire Pilsener
69 Red Hill Temptation
73 Boatrocker Hoppbier
73 Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale
73 Matilda Bay Redback Original
73 Murrays Whale Ale
77 Brew Boys Ace of Spades
77 Cooper's Vintage 2010
79 Feral Boris Russian Imperial Stout
79 Mountain Goat Rare Breed IPA
79 Murrays Nirvana
82 Stone & Wood Pale Lager
83 Arctic Fox American Pale Ale
83 Kosciuszko Pale Ale
83 Pepperjack Ale
83 Red Duck Bengal IPA
87 James Squires Sundown Lager
87 Red Hill Weizenbock
89 Feral Raging Flem
90 Feral Funky Junky
90 Grand Ridge Moonshine
92 3 Ravens USB
92 True South Red Truck Lager
92 Wicked Elf Pale Ale
95 Balmain Brewing Pale Ale
95 Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale
95 Holgate Road Trip IPA
95 Holgate White Ale
95 Little Creatures Single Batch IPA
100 Bridge Rd Chevalier Bier de Garde

Whatever of the Top 5 beers we can source in kegs will be showcased in both venues until GABS on Feb 12th.


  1. might not agree with the rankings but that is a worthy list of beers. Well done to all the brewers, wouldnt have the beers without you. Could someone please deliver a full list of the beers to me?

  2. I agree with you Darren. As I mentioned in the post, there was very little consensus between all the beer industry folk so what hope is there for the rest of us.. Different opinions make it all the more interesting but let the controversy begin!

  3. dare I ask who let Fat Yak in?

  4. The rules allowed for the craft divisions of Fosters and Lion Nathan i.e. Matilda Bay and James Squire/Malt Shovel..

    Personally, I think these guys play a very valuable role. They have massive distribution networks and a lot of clout and if they can get people tasting more flavoursome beers and beginning their better beer journey, I'm all for that!

  5. yea I know, but it kind of feels out of the spirit of the comp. I find the beer prety dissapointing too, but it does have a role as a gateway beer

  6. For a lot of budding craft beer lovers, gateway beers is all they may be drinking thus far and we want to give them a chance to vote..

  7. true but we can still aspire to greatness!

  8. Well done again Taphouse crew (by which I mean mainly Justin!) for the great job of compliling and calculating the Top 100. Always interesting to see how the cards fall.

    We really need to remember that any beer that is CRAFTED to traditional styles by proper brewing methods by people who care about the end result need to be embraced by the 'Beer Lovers'. It wasn't that long ago that we were being blown away by 'new & exciting' beers like LCPA, JS Golden or even Fat Yak.

    They don't sell tickets to this club called beer so there's always room for a few new passengers. Hopefully in a few years they too will get all hot and sweaty about barrel aged IPAs or Russian Imperial Stouts and hop-loaded APAs just as we do now. We don't promote craft beer just so we can have them all to share between a select few.

    Cheers and Beers for all!

    Prof Pilsner

  9. I think the 2nd para says it all...

    "utilising social media and its extensive email database"

  10. Darren, if you got rid of Fat Yak due to the spirit of the comp, half of those beers on that list would be removed as well... as many are owned by big brewers.

  11. fat yak was my gate way beer and i still stock it in the fridge along with Icon 2IPA etc. I think its a great list and plan to try and find the ones i haven't tried. Plus didn't the Brad Rogers from stone and wood brew for matilda bay his beer is now number 2. (ale stars educated :))

  12. I also nominate Steve for 'Diplomat of the Year' ... just need to read the headline.

  13. yea yea Katja, Fat Yak isnt the only beer that I think misses the spitit of the comp. just my oppionion. If it were me setting the rules it'd be a line up of local hop bombs, imperial everything's and belgian inspireds (and nothing with links to the big breweries). But that is just my oppionion

  14. Darren I'm not sure why you're complaining about Fat Yak. At least it's a reasonable beer. The McLaren Vale Beers are not.

  15. ah the faceless anonymous comment think you missed my train of thought, just using Fat Yak as an example. Although not the worst beer in the world I find Fat Yak is thin tasting and faceless (like your comment!) A least the McLaren Vale beer is a bunch of punters having a crack, and not at all a terrible beer. It gets my vote over the dumbed down try hard Little Creatures immatation that is Fat Yak(but as they say immataion is the ultimate form of flattery)

  16. I'm not a fan of Fat Yak either, but keep in mind that last year it debuted at 3rd on the list, so the fact that it's on the way down suggests that a number of people have moved on to better beers.

    This list is also to an extent a reflection of how widely-available particular beers were. For example, my favourite from 2010 was the Hargreaves Hill Phoenix Imperial Red Ale, but as it was only on tap for a limited time in a few venues, followed up with an extremely limited bottle release, most people would have missed it. Hence, I was disappointed, but not surprised, when it didn't make the top 100.

  17. Another year, another great list. I'll have to pop in and try some in St Kilda soon!

  18. you know we can argue all we like but we are lucky esp in victoria to have, want for a better word, a thriving craft beer industry with more joining the club each year. i believe not enough people try these craft beers and rather stick your major brands . they don't know what they're missing out on'if fat yak is a "gateway"beer that gets more people interested in the craft beer market ,then kudos to them.

  19. I agree with you Anon. They are perhaps not the very best beers (MB Alpha an obvious exception) but mainstream craft beers play a critical role in getting people to try more flavoursome beers.