The hops on top

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The GBAS poll of the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers throws up some surprises this year as new microbreweries join the club

When Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) put out the list of ‘the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2015’, the names of two micro-breweries created quite the buzz — Byron Bay-based Stone & Wood for unseating Feral’s Hop Hog from the top spot after a three-year reign as number one; and Adelaide wild card Pirate Life Brewing, which grabbed three of the top 11 spots, despite being the new kid on the block (Pirate Life arrived on the scene just nine months ago).

With Aussies bordering on the obsessive when it comes to their hops, the GABS poll — which began as a bit of fun in 2008 at the award-winning Local Taphouse beer bars in Melbourne and Sydney – now attracts thousands of beer fans around the country who vote for their 5 favourite Australian craft beers and enjoy the countdown on Australia Day.

While this year’s top two spots were more or less predictable – having been occupied by either Stone & Wood or Feral since 2011 — GABS spokesman Steve Jeffares says Pirate Life’s ascension proves the craft beer industry is growing and evolving.

“As more beers come on stream and brewers market those beers well, I don’t think we’re going to see Stone & Wood and Feral hogging the limelight for the next 20 years. There’s always going to be the opportunity for brewers with great brands that produce great beer to rise fast,” he adds.

Pirate Life was founded by beer sales professional Michael Cameron together with son Jack Cameron and Red Proudfoot, brewers who between them have worked at Scotland’s Brewdog and WA’s Little Creatures and Cheeky Monkey.

The top 5 of the GABS Hottest 100

  1. Stone and Wood Brewing Co – Pacific Ale Pale Ale (Australian-style)
  2. Feral Brewing Company – Hop Hog IPA (American-style)
  3. Pirate Life Brewing – IIPA Double IPA (American-style) – NEW
  4. Pirate Life Brewing – Pale Ale (American-style) – NEW
  5. Little Creatures – Pale Ale (American-style)
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