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.
I’m now happy to say that all of the best value beers on this list are Australian (except for one great bargain from Adnams), come from independent craft breweries and are all less than $70 per slab. Good times!
(Updated 7 May 2017)
My list of the best value beers in Australia
Gage Roads Atomic Pale Ale $17 a sixer of $52 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.
Pirate Life Throwback Session IPA $20 a sixer or $70 a slab at Dan Murphys
One of the most exciting craft brewers in Australia. They make in my opinion, the finest pale ale in the land, and now they’ve sold me on the Session IPA style with this beer. It’s a style that brings the full-flavour and hoppiness you’d expect from an IPA but with a lighter malt profile and lower ABV at 3.5%, which comes in handy on occasion. This is one refreshing and tasty beer.
Feral Sly Fox Session Ale $19 a sixer or $60 a slab at Dan Murphys
Great to see a beer from arguably Australia’s finest brewer on this list. Pale with hop aromas of citrus, this beer is, er, sessionable and perfect in summer weather or any time really. Another tinnie that’s sure to be a hit.
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.
4 Pines Amber Ale $20 a sixer or $70 a slab at Dan Murphys
A nice addition to the 4 Pines core range and my new favourite of the lot. It’s got some great citrus fruit aromas from the Mosaic hops, held nicely in balance from the malts, which aren’t too sweet either. I can drink these very easily and the price is right too.
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.
Mornington Peninsula Pale Ale $20 a sixer or $70 a slab of cans at Dan Murphys
A genuine craft beer, fresh and tasty from the can and packed with fruity hop aromas, it’s a refreshing and good value beer from one of Australia’s best brewers.
Coopers Extra Stout $20 a sixer or $62 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, this South Australia classic is only $53 a slab despite clocking in at 7.4%!
Colonial Brewing Co. Small Ale $19.50 a sixer or $68 a slab at Boozebud
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.
Dainton Family Brewery Red Eye Rye $70 a slab
Dainton are currently offering some top beers at good prices with free delivery. This isn’t any ordinary beer, it uses rye and caramel malts, to create a rich caramel and spicy taste, and then is hopped with Australian galaxy hops to give it a really fruity hop punch too. Dainton’s really balance the line perfectly between approachable and interesting/tasty with their beers. Also check out Dainton’s Samurye Lager.
Hawkers Pilsener $70 a slab or $20 a sixer at The Beer Store
A really nice full-flavoured pilsener with good bitterness. Another good quality beer from Hawkers that’s perfect for the summer. Their Pale Ale is also a cracker at the same price with plenty of hops and flavour.
Australian Brewery New World Pilsener $70 a slab or $21 a sixer at Dan Murphys
A light, refreshing but tasty pilsener with new world hops for fruity punch. A good craft beer at a reasonable price, available all around Australia. That calls for a celebration.