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 mostly brewed in Australia and come from independent local brewers, with just a few notable exceptions, and they won’t break your budget. Good times!
(Updated January 2019)
My list of the best value beers in Australia
Rover Henty St Ale from Hawkers $20 a sixer or $58 a slab at Dan Murphys
My new pick for no.1 best value beer in Australia. Hawkers produce this cracking easy drinking ale that’s bursting with hop flavour at their brewery in Melbourne’s north. You won’t find anything that’s as good as this as cheap as this.
Stomping Ground Gipps Street Pale Ale $24 a sixer or $70 a slab at Dan Murphys
If you want a good hoppy full-strength Australian pale ale from an independent brewer you could do a lot worse than grab a slab from this top brewery based in Collingwood.
Young Henrys Natural Lager $21 a sixer or $64 a slab at Boozebud
If you have a hankering for a lager, this is a decent summer beer with a cloudy appearance and a smooth finish from this Newtown brewer. I’ve always found this beer a decent option if you want to drink local and independent.
Bridge Road Brewers Little Bling IPA $20 a sixer or $68 a slab at Dan Murphys
We’re now spoiled for choice in the mid-strength but full-flavoured category. This one from one of Victoria’s finest brewers based in Beechworth, packs in the hops and has a solid malty backing too. This beer may be only 3.4% but sure doesn’t taste small.
Adnams Ghost Ship Pale Ale $16 for 4 x 440ml cans or $64 a slab at Dan Murphys
This has long been one of the best bargains in Australia. Coming from the UK 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 Hop Culture Session IPA $14.49 a 4 pack at BoozeBud
One of the best examples of the style going around. It’s 4.9% and has a good hop aroma and kick to it, and that 4 pack price is just great from the Victorian brewery.
Goose Island IPA $60 a slab offer at Boozebud
A malty English IPA with a firm hop bitterness and a kick to it at 5.9%. This is great value for the style and strength from the brewing giant’s AB InBev’s leading global craft brewery.
Moon Dog Mack Daddy Ale $20 a six or $65 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 but this one is still a flavoursome beer with coffee and chocolate from the malts and a relatively thin body.
Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale $22 a sixer or $72 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 a top local brewer.
Coopers Session Ale $19 a sixer or $55 a slab at Boozebud
The best thing that Coopers have done in a while. It’s a decent attempt at a session ale although I think their trademark yeast is a bit too strong for the style. But the nice fruity aromas are there and it is a sessionable beer at a price that can’t be beaten.
Fortitude Brewing Pacer 2.8 Pale Ale $20 a sixer or $60 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 enjoy this beer on a warm day, as it often is in this small independent brewery’s home state of QLD.
Little Creatures Rogers $23 a six or $58 a slab at Dan Murphys
A nice malty mid-strength amber ale at a very reasonable price. This has long been a solid under-the-radar value option from this brand owned by Lion and brewing out of WA and Geelong.