Finding tasty good quality beers at an affordable price can be an exercise for Australians, but it is possible. If you’re shopping at one of the big retailers’ beer stores, start by avoiding their cheap home brand ‘craft’ beers that they are pushing at low prices. And if you’re at your local craft beer shop, close your eyes and pretend you didn’t just see the latest world-class imports, or the latest and greatest small batch Australian craft beers.
Craft beer drinkers on a budget need to look long and hard to spot the value buys out there so I thought I’d make a list of some of my top go-to craft beers that can be found at a reasonable price.
The best value beers on this list are all brewed in Australia (except for one great bargain from Adnams), and will cost you around $70 per slab at most. Good times!
(Updated 23 October 2017)
My list of the best value beers in Australia
Gage Roads Atomic Pale Ale $20 a sixer or $57 a slab at Dan Murphys
It’s not the best pale ale in Australia, or even in their own range (that would be Little Dove) but it is a pretty tasty but easy-going pale ale that gets the job done at a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking for an affordable Aussie pale ale, start here, with this WA brewery that recently bought out Woolworths to take full control of its own destiny.
Newstead 3 Quarter Time Session Ale $20 a sixer or $68 a slab at Dan Murphys
We’re now spoiled for choice in the mid-strength but full-flavoured category, also known as the Session IPA. These, er, sessionable hoppy and light brews are a good thirst quencher. Enjoy this one in bright new cans from one of Queensland’s rising craft breweries.
Adnams Ghost Ship Pale Ale $14 for 4 x 440ml cans or $58 a slab at Dan Murphys
This may just be the best bargain in Australia. Coming in tallboy cans, this highly rated Pale Ale is world class. It is something of a hybrid UK/US pale ale, using American hops, most noticeably Citra, imparting strong citrus aromas and bitterness, but with distinctively English elements too from the malt and yeast.
Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale $21 a sixer or $67 a slab of cans at Dan Murphys
I do love a good Brown ale, an underrated but all round tasty style, and this is one of the best examples in Australia, a fine English-style Brown ale. Hard to go past genuine craft beer, fresh and tasty from the can from one of Australia’s best brewers.
Hawkers Pilsener $70 a slab or $20 a sixer at The Beer Store
A really nice full-flavoured pilsener with a solid spicy hoppy bitterness that is reminiscent of the best Czech-style pilseners. Another good quality beer from the guys at Hawkers that’s perfect for the summer months.
Moon Dog Mack Daddy Ale $18 a six or $60 a slab at Dan Murphys
An outrageous bargain for a nice dark beer from an independent craft brewery. Moon Dog have toned things down for their solid core range. This one is a flavoursome beer with coffee and chocolate from the malts and a relatively thin body.
Young Henrys Real Ale $21 a six or $72 a slab at Dan Murphys
This beer is an old favourite of mine. With beautiful caramel-y malt flavours, distinctive English yeast, and a nice hop bitterness, it’s a great introduction to English-style ales and this Newtown brewery.
Fortitude Brewing Pacer 2.8 Pale Ale $18 a sixer or $55 a slab at Dan Murphys
Finding a flavoursome light beer wasn’t easy in the past but times have changed. This little guy at 2.8% is part of the reason. It has a light golden body with mild fruity hop aromas, and a nice crisp dry finish. I really this beer on a warm day, as it often is in this brewery’s home state of QLD. Also check out their Fortitude Drifter Summer Ale, another easy-drinker, pictured below for $20 a sixer,
Coopers Extra Stout $21.50 a sixer or $64 a slab at Dan Murphys
This is a big classic stout that is a tad underrated I feel. If it were a trendy craft beer would be lapped up but as it is this is a really great winter beer that presents fantastic value for money. Also look at Southwark Stout, another South Australian classic that is only $60 a slab despite clocking in at 7.4% abv!
Colonial Brewing Co. Small Ale $21 a sixer or $68 a slab at Dan Murphys
If you like hops, you don’t only have to have big beers, and here’s the evidence. This beer from Colonial may be only 3.5% but doesn’t taste small. Pull off the very cool can top and you’ll sniff some great fruity hop aromas from this light-bodied easy drinking beer.
Mountain Goat Hightail Ale $22 for six or $65 a slab at Dan Murphys
The Victorian brewery recently celebrated their 20th birthday and although things have changed a lot over the years, including the fact they’re now owned by Asahi, they continue to make good beer and this malty English-style ale is a classic good value beer.
Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale $68 a slab or $23 a sixer at Dan Murphys
A classic Australia pale ale from what is now one of Australian craft brewing’s elder statesmen, Murray’s continue to make good beers out of Port Stephens and this is a hoppy but easy-drinking pale ale for the summer days ahead.