While rare beers may be highly valued, there’s a lot to be said for a beer that is readily available. So while those lucky enough to live near to good independent beer retailers may scoff at a list of the best beers from Dan Murphy’s, for those out in the ‘burbs where finding good beer can be quite a chore, Uncle Dan can be a saviour for finding good beers.
And Dan’s is stocking a pretty decent range these days it must be said. You can still find classic examples of traditional beer styles from around the globe, but more than ever there’s also an intriguing selection of craft beers from either overseas and within Australia.
While I may not have set out drink Dan’s dry, I’ve had a fair crack at it over the years and reckon I’ve got a pretty good basis to provide a best of Dan’s list.
Without further ado, the delicious dozen for those who find themselves at Dan’s and want some great beer.
Pale ales are probably the beer style best catered for at Dan’s with a wide selection of good beers to choose from. You have the iconic American craft beer, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale (rated 96 on RateBeer), which is said to have been the inspiration for Australian brewers’ love for the hoppy pale ale.
On the local front, the Beechworth Pale Ale (77) from Bridge Road Brewers is a sessionable beer with nice fruity hop aromas.
Personally if I get hoppy I like to get really hoppy, which is why IPAs rock my boat. Feral’s Hop Hog (98) is already an Aussie classic that is much loved and awarded.
Ballast Point Big Eye IPA (98) is a world class beer that, I have to agree, may well currently be the best value beer in Australia.
If you favour malt driven ales, there’s a few classic English ales on offer but I personally enjoy the more modern twists. San Diego’s Karl Strauss’s Red Trolley Ale (56) is a red ale with loads of toffee and some dark fruit, while local brewers Mountain Goat’s Hightail Ale (50) is an easy drinker with a rich malt flavour and floral hop aromas to boot.
Dark ales are one area at Dan’s where I feel like the selection can be a bit underwhelming at times. But you can always rely on a classic – Coopers Best Extra Stout (93). I’d say it’s my favourite beer in Australia for one that you can find virtually everywhere.
And for an unexpected gem, try the Zywiec Porter (98), a Polish beast at 9.5% abv that doesn’t hold back on favour.
Look there’s nothing wrong with lagers per se, it’s just that there’s a lot of bad ones out there. In amongst those though, you’ll find a couple of classics. There’s Pilsener Urquell (74), a Czech pilsener from the town of Pilsen where funnily enough pilseners were invented – it has a lovely dry finish from the noble hops.
Then there’s Kostritzer’s Schwarzbier (83), a tasty German dark lager that is plenty flavoursome. It’s Oktoberfest right now if you really need an excuse to buy this one.
Of course, you can’t go past the classic Belgian beers they have on offer. I’d rate the Chimay Blue (100!) as the pick of the bunch as a Belgian strong ale that is typically complex yet absolutely drinkable.
And there’s Weihenstephan’s Hefe Weisse (99) from the so-called world’s oldest commercial brewery. Regardless of how you feel about wheat beers, you can’t argue this one is wonderfully made.
And I’ll make this a baker’s dozen by throwing in another delicious beer, newly arrived at Dan’s that impressed me greatly. Coming from iconic craft brewers from Oregon, Rogue. Their Dad’s Little Helper (89), pictured above, did justice to a style, Black IPA, which is tough to conquer and rarely seen at the likes of Dan’s. I don’t expect to see this one around long so grab it while you can. Also, look out for their Dead Guy Ale, which is coming to Dan’s soon according to their website