Once a beer drinker has conquered the summit of lagers, pale ales, bitters and white beers, they may yearn for beers that are bigger and bolder still – beers that will really knock their socks off.
Here are what I consider some of the best beers available in Australia, in the biggest and boldest styles. The beers I have chose are numbered to progressively increase the challenge for the beer drinker, taking into account factors like costs and abv, as well as the beer’s greatness (based on its boldness of flavour, its complexity and any other intangibles).
So you enjoy your English-style bitters that bring the malt characteristics forward. And you like your highly-hopped American-style pale ales too. You want to have your cake and eat it too? Well you can because good amber/red/brown ales can give you lots of malt and hops flavours in the one beer.
1. 2 Brothers Grizz Amber Ale
An introduction to the style and a solid effort from the Brothers.
2. Murrays Angry Man Brown Ale
This one goes down easily but is still lively on the palate.
3. Brew Dog 5AM Saint Amber Ale
One of my go-to beers, plenty of flavour, loads of hops.
4. Feral Fantapants Imperial Red Ale
A sweet, fruity, bitter, strong beer from one of Australia’s top brewers.
5. Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve
Unfortunately, most American craft beers appear irregularly on Australian shelves but this one has been around for a while. Also, keep an eye out for when Bear Republic’s Red Rocket Ale returns to these shores, it’s amazing!
When it comes to Belgian beers, five beer steps is more like a whirlwind tour than a path to beer enlightenment, because there are just so many great and unique beers and styles to try. Saisons are a great place to start, as an approachable beer style that also offers lots of taste. While the Belgian Strong Ales listed below are some of the most exquisite tasting beers in the World.
1. Bridge Road Saison
A great Aussie interpretation of the style. Also look out for Temple’s Saison, which was great when available, and may be available again soon when Temple open their brewery in East Brunswick.
2. Saison Dupont
The Belgian brewery probably most renowned for this style, have produced a winner in terms of taste and drinkability.
3. Wicked Elf Mad Abbot Trippel
This brewery does some nice work and this is one of the finer Belgian interpretations in Australia.
4. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde Quadrupel
If you had one more beer to drink before the End of the World, you’d be content with this one.
5. Rocheforts Trappistes 10
Rated #9 on Ratebeer and #22 on Beer Advocate of all beers. It is probably the most highly rated beer you can find in Australia at the moment. Also, it’s really good.
A glance at the list of Ratebeer.com’s Top 50 Beers in the World tells me that 30 of the beers in this Top 50 are Imperial Stouts. So it’s true: beer geeks love dark beers. While they can be more challenging in terms of bitterness and alcoholic content, darker beers can also offer the drinker more in terms of flavour. The list of stouts below are on the more approachable side but still offer loads of flavour.
1. Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter
A really approachable beer offering with loads of taste, likely due to the use of cocoa and vanilla bean.
2. Coopers Extra Stout
You still can’t go past the Coopers for a top-quality local stout at an affordable price.
3. Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
This beer is oh so drinkable. A perfect mix of bitterness and sweetness with a velvety mouthfeel so it just slides down your throat.
4. Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodisiaque Vanilla Cocoa Stout
I do enjoy chocolate and vanilla flavours in my dark beers and Dieu Du Ciel have incorporated these flavours probably the best of anyone.
5. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
No it isn’t a Russian Imperial Stout, and it is only 7.5%, but this is still a beast of a beer, with lots of coffee and roasted aromas. A treat for the special occasions when anything other than a full-flavoured beer won’t do.