Say Cheers to 2020's Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers

You've heard 2020's best songs — now drink the year's best brews.
Sarah Ward
Published on January 24, 2021

Think there's just one Hottest 100 in January? Think again. The second important countdown of the month actually goes rather well with the music poll that just proclaimed 'Heat Waves' by Glass Animals the nation's best track of 2020 — and picked Mashd N Kutcher's Daniel Andrews-inspired 'Get on the Beers' as the 12th most popular song of the past 12 months.

In the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers list, great brews are in the spotlight. And, just like its music counterpart, a worthy victor has come out on top. That'd be Bentspoke Brewing Co, with the Canberra brewery taking out the top spot with its Crankshaft American IPA. In doing so, it bested Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale, the winner of the 2011, 20152016 and 2019 polls, which was named this year's second-placed brew — as well as 2017 and 2018 winner Balter Brewing Company, which came in third.

Bentspoke had five beers in the top 100 list in total, which is clearly something to toast to — also coming in tenth for its Barley Griffin Australian Pale Ale, 15th for its Sprocket American IPA, 19th for its Cluster 8 Imperial IPA and 32nd for its Red Nut Red IPA.

Reacting to the news, head brewer and co-owner Richard Watkins said that everyone at Bentspoke was "blown away that our small independent brewery from Canberra can take Crankshaft to the number one spot in Australia's biggest beer poll. Crankshaft holds a very special place in our hearts as one of our original beers on tap when we first opened in Canberra in 2014. We are thrilled with the support for Crankshaft from Canberra and around Australia."

Clearly, plenty of folks sipped more than a few brews throughout 2020. Run by GABS — or the annual festival also known as the 'Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular' — the countdown is a people's choice poll decided by booze-lovers around the country. Now in its 13th year, almost 40,000 voters took part this time round, a new record.

Elsewhere on the list, 15 brews that first wet lips in the past year were included in the GABS Hottest 100, and a whopping 85 percent of the beers on the list are made by independently owned breweries. If you're particularly keen on either, GABS has also released rundowns of the Hottest 100 New Craft Beers and the Hottest 100 Indie Craft Beers (those owned independently) plus the next 100 from the main countdown.

If you're thinking "less background, more beer", here's what you've been waiting for: the rundown of the best beverages from the past year that just keep tempting tastebuds. Your Mates, Black Hops, Ballistic, another appearance by Balter, Bridge Road and Young Henry's round out the top ten, while Kaiju!, 4 Pines, Philter, Modus Operandi, Stomping Ground, Heads of Noosa, Gage Roads, Grifter, Hawke's, Mountain Goat and Pirate Life are among the other brands featured.

Working your way through the whole 100 isn't just a great way to show your appreciation for locally made brews, either — consider it research for the 2021 countdown.


1. Bentspoke 'Crankshaft' (American IPA) ACT
2. Stone & Wood 'Pacific Ale' (Australian pale ale) NSW
3. Balter 'XPA' (Extra pale ale) QLD
4. Your Mates 'Larry' (Australian pale ale) QLD
5. Black Hops 'G.O.A.T.' (New England IPA) QLD
6. Ballistic 'Hawaiian Haze' (Hazy pale ale) QLD
7. Balter 'Hazy' (Hazy IPA) QLD
8. Bridge Road 'Beechworth Pale Ale' (American pale ale) VIC
9. Young Henrys 'Newtowner' (Australian pale ale) NSW
10. Bentspoke 'Barley Griffin' (Australian pale ale) ACT
11. Kaiju! 'Krush!' (Extra pale ale) VIC
12. Feral 'Biggie Juice' (New England IPA) WA
13. Capital 'Capital XPA' (Extra pale ale) ACT NEW
14. Capital 'Coast Ale' (California Common) ACT
15. Bentspoke 'Sprocket' (American IPA) ACT
16. Black Hops 'Pale Ale' (Australian pale ale) QLD
17. Black Hops 'Hornet' (American IPA) QLD
18. Beerfarm 'Royal Haze' (Hazy IPA) WA
19. Bentspoke 'Cluster 8' (Imperial IPA) ACT
20. 4 Pines 'Pacific Ale' (Australian pale ale) NSW
21. Philter 'XPA' (Australian pale ale) NSW
22. Balter 'IPA' (American IPA) QLD
23. Modus Operandi 'Modus XPA' (Extra pale ale) NSW NEW
24. Balter 'Captain Sensible' (American pale ale) QLD
25. 10 Toes 'Pipeline' (Australian pale ale) QLD
26. Burleigh 'Twisted Palm' (Australian pale ale) QLD
27. Stomping Ground 'Gipps St Pale Ale' (American pale ale) VIC
28. Your Mates 'Sally' (American IPA) QLD
29. Moon Dog 'Old Mate' (American pale ale) VIC
30. 4 Pines 'Pale Ale' (American pale ale) NSW
31. Big Shed 'Boozy Fruit' (New England IPA) SA
32. Bentspoke 'Red Nut' (Red IPA) ACT
33. Stone & Wood 'Cloud Catcher' (Australian pale ale) NSW
34. Gage Roads 'Single Fin' (Australian pale ale) WA
35. Modus Operandi 'Modus Pale' (American pale ale) NSW
36. Colonial 'Pale Ale' (American pale ale) WA/VIC
37. Heads Of Noosa 'Japanese Lager' (Pale lager) QLD
38. Modus Operandi 'Sonic Prayer' (American IPA) NSW
39. Ballistic 'Oaked XPA' (Extra pale ale) QLD
40. Grifter 'Pale' (Australian pale ale) NSW
41. Hop Nation 'J-Juice' (New England IPA) VIC
42. Black Hops 'Super Hornet' (Imperial IPA) QLD
43. Brick Lane 'One Love' (Australian pale ale) VIC
44. Grifter 'Serpents Kiss' (Fruit beer) NSW
45. Modus Operandi 'Former Tenant' (Red IPA) NSW
46. Capital 'Trail Pale Ale' (American pale ale) ACT
47. Akasha 'Hopsmith' (American IPA) NSW
48. Capital 'Rock Hopper' (American IPA) ACT
49. Black Hops 'Neverland' (Hazy IPA) QLD NEW
50. Black Hops 'Caribbean Haze' (Hazy IPA) QLD
51. Balter 'Dry Haze' (Hazy IPA) QLD NEW
52. Cronulla Beer Co 'Next Level XPA' (Australian pale ale) NSW NEW
53. Brick Lane 'Brick Lane Draught' (Australian pilsner) VIC NEW
54. Dainton 'Blood Orange Neripa' (New England IPA) VIC
55. Ballistic 'Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout' (Sweet stout) QLD
56. Hawke's Brewing 'Hawke's Patio Pale' (American pale ale) NSW
57. Dainton 'Jungle Juice' (Hazy IPA) VIC
58. Black Hops 'Send It' (Blonde ale) QLD
59. Modus Operandi 'Lost In The Fog' (Hazy pale ale) NSW NEW
60. Mountain Goat 'Goat' (Pale lager) VIC
61. Colonial 'South West Sour' (Hoppy sour) WA/VIC
62. Your Mates 'Macca' (Helles lager) QLD
63. Moon Dog 'Splice Of Heaven Pine-Lime' (Milkshake IPA) VIC
64. Brick Lane 'Base Lager' (Helles lager) VIC
65. Ballistic 'Lager' (Classic pilsner) QLD NEW
66. James Squire 'One Fifty Lashes' (Australian pale ale) NSW
67. Hawke's Brewing 'Hawke's Lager' (Australian pilsner) NSW
68. Your Mates 'Donnie' (Dark ale) QLD
69. Little Creatures 'Pale Ale' (American pale ale) WA/VIC
70. Coopers 'XPA' (American pale ale) SA
71. Bridge Road 'Beechy XPA' (Australian pale ale) VIC
72. Capital 'Evil Eye' (Red IPA) ACT
73. Capital 'Hang Loose Juice' (New England IPA) ACT
74. Your Mates 'Eddie' (Session pale ale) QLD NEW
75. Coopers 'Original Pale Ale; (Australian pale ale) SA
76. Burleigh 'Bighead' (Pale lager) QLD
77. Deeds 'Juice Train' (New England IPA) VIC
78. Bridge Road 'Bling' (English IPA) VIC
79. Pirate Life 'South Coast Pale Ale' (American pale ale) SA NEW
80. Colonial 'IPA' (Australian IPA) WA/VIC
81. Dainton 'Supertrooper' (Imperial IPA) VIC
82. Blackman's 'Juicy Banger' (Hoppy lager) VIC
83. Akasha 'Mosaic' (American IPA) NSW
84. Coopers 'Hazy IPA' (Hazy IPA) SA NEW
85. Moon Dog 'Beer Can' (Hoppy lager) VIC
86. Hawkers 'West Coast IPA' (American IPA) VIC
87. Jetty Road 'Pale Ale' (Australian pale ale) VIC
88. 4 Pines 'Amber Ale' (American amber/red) NSW
89. Brick Lane 'Avalanche' (Hazy IPA) VIC NEW
90. 10 Toes 'Culture Kick Sour' (Berliner weisse) QLD NEW
91. Bridge Road 'Little Bling' (Session IPA) VIC
92. Hawke's Brewing 'Hawke's Legend' (Australian IPA) NSW
93. Capital 'Summit Session Ale' (Session pale ale) ACT
94. Hawke's Brewing 'Hawke's Opener' (Australian IPA) NSW NEW
95. Feral 'Hop Hog' (American pale ale) WA
96. Grifter 'Pink Galah' (Kettle sour) NSW
97. Ballistic 'Watermelawn' (Gose) QLD NEW
98. Furphy 'Furphy Refreshing Ale' (Kölsch) VIC
99. Moon Dog 'Lager' (Helles lager) VIC
100. Bad Shepherd 'Peanut Butter Porter' (Porter) VIC

For more information about the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2020, head to the GABS website.

Published on January 24, 2021 by Sarah Ward
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x