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Say Cheers to 2021's Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers

Canberra's Bentspoke took out the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll for the second year in a row with its Crankshaft American IPA.
By Sarah Ward
January 24, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
January 24, 2022
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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 The Wiggles' cover of Tame Impala's 'Elephant' as the nation's best track of 2021. In fact, while you were listening to the hottest songs of the past year, you might've been sipping some of these other winners.

That'd be the great brews in the spotlight on the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers list, which does for yeasty tipples what Triple J's poll does for bangers. 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 for the second year in a row.

In doing so, it bested 2017 and 2018 winner Balter Brewing Company, which came in second with its Balter XPA; Your Mates Brewing Co, which took third spot with its Larry pale ale; and Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale, the winner of the 2011, 20152016 and 2019 polls, and 2020's second-place getter, which nabbed fourth position this year.

As it did in 2020, Bentspoke had five beers in the 2021 top 100 list in total, which is clearly something to toast to — also coming in 12th for its Barley Griffin Australian Pale Ale, 41st for its Sprocket American IPA, 45th for its Cluster 8 Imperial IPA and 91st for its Red Nut Red IPA.

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 14th year, it saw a huge 2238 beers nominated this time around, hailing from 281 breweries.

Still playing the numbers game, 58 beermakers nabbed a spot on the 2021 list — and, states-wise, Queensland emerged victorious with 30 brews on the full rundown of 100 beers, followed by Victoria with 22, New South Wales with 20, the Australian Capital Territory with 12, and South Australia and Western Australia with eight apiece.

2021 was also a big year for new brews, with 37 beers making their GABS Hottest 100 debut. And, low- and no-alcohol tipples also made a splash, including Heaps Normal's Quiet XPA debuting at 20 and Sobah Beverages' zero-alcohol Pepperberry IPA taking 69th place.

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. Black Hops, Better Beer, Capital (with two showings), Ballistic and Young Henrys round out the top ten, while Coopers, Bridge Road, Pirate Life, Gage Roads, Kaiju!, Heads of Noosa, Brick Lane, Moon Dog, 4 Pines, Philter, Stomping Ground, Grifter, Hawke's and Mountain Goat and 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 2022 countdown.

GABS HOTTEST 100 AUSSIE CRAFT BEERS OF 2021:

  1. BentSpoke Brewing Co — Crankshaft IPA
  2. Balter Brewing — Balter XPA
  3. Your Mates Brewing Co — Larry
  4. Stone & Wood Brewing Co — Pacific Ale
  5. Black Hops Brewery — G.O.A.T.
  6. Better Beer — Better Beer Zero Carb
  7. Capital Brewing Co — Capital XPA
  8. Ballistic Beer Co — Hawaiian Haze
  9. Capital Brewing Co — Coast Ale
  10. Young Henrys — Newtowner
  11. Coopers Brewery — Original Pale Ale
  12. BentSpoke Brewing Co — Barley Griffin
  13. Balter Brewing — Balter Hazy
  14. Bridge Road Brewers — Beechworth Pale Ale
  15. Beerfarm — Royal Haze
  16. Pirate Life Brewing — South Coast Pale Ale
  17. Gage Roads Brewing Co — Single Fin
  18. KAIJU! Beer — KRUSH! Tropical Pale Ale
  19. Black Hops Brewery — East Coast Haze
  20. Heaps Normal — Quiet XPA
  21. Heads Of Noosa Brewing Co — Japanese Lager
  22. Brick Lane Brewing Co — One Love Pale Ale
  23. Little Creatures — Little Creatures Pale Ale
  24. Moon Dog Craft Brewery — Old Mate
  25. Philter Brewing — Philter XPA
  26. Mountain Goat Beer — GOAT Very Enjoyable Beer
  27. Feral Brewing Co — Biggie Juice
  28. Brookvale Union — Ginger Beer
  29. 4 Pines Brewing Co — 4 Pines Pacific Ale
  30. Big Shed Brewing Concern — Boozy Fruit
  31. Hawke's Brewing — Hawke's Patio Pale
  32. Bright Brewery — Alpine Lager
  33. Grifter Brewing Co — Pale
  34. Blackflag Brewing — Rage Juicy Pale
  35. Green Beacon Brewing Co — Wayfarer
  36. Stomping Ground Brewing Co — Gipps St Pale Ale
  37. Akasha Brewing Co — Hopsmith IPA
  38. Dainton Beer — Blood Orange NEIPA
  39. Revel Brewing Co — Strawberries & Cream Sour Ale
  40. Coopers Brewery — Sparkling Ale
  41. BentSpoke Brewing Co — Sprocket
  42. Capital Brewing Co — Hang Loose Juice Blood Orange NEIPA
  43. Coopers Brewery — Coopers XPA
  44. Your Mates Brewing Co — Sally
  45. BentSpoke Brewing Co — Cluster 8
  46. Black Hops Brewery — Neverland
  47. Balter Brewing — Eazy Hazy
  48. Ballistic Beer Co — Hawaiian Haze IPA
  49. Capital Brewing Co West Coast NEIPA — Mountain Culture Collab
  50. Coopers Brewery — Coopers Pacific Pale Ale
  51. Bodriggy Brewing Co — Speccy Juice
  52. Colonial Brewing Co — Colonial Pale Ale
  53. Grifter Brewing Co — Serpents Kiss
  54. Sunday Road Brewing — Cryotherapy
  55. Deeds Brewing — Juice Train
  56. 10 Toes Brewery — Pipeline Pale
  57. Burleigh Brewing Co — Bighead No-carb Lager
  58. Hop Nation Brewing Co — J-Juice
  59. Range Brewing Co — Lights + Music
  60. Black Hops Brewery — Hop Swap
  61. Black Hops Brewery — Black Hops Pale Ale
  62. Your Mates Brewing Co — Macca
  63. Balter Brewing — Captain Sensible
  64. Capital Brewing Co — Trail Pale Ale
  65. Hawke's Brewing — Hawke's Lager
  66. Burleigh Brewing Co — Twisted Palm
  67. One Drop Brewing Co — Double Vanilla Custard Pancake Imperial Nitro Thickshake IPA
  68. Cronulla Beer Co — Next Level XPA
  69. Sobah Beverages — Pepperberry IPA
  70. Jetty Road Brewery — Jetty Road Pale Ale
  71. Brouhaha Brewery — Strawberry Rhubarb Sour
  72. Stone & Wood Brewing Co — Cloud Catcher
  73. Blackman's Brewery — Juicy Banger
  74. 4 Pines Brewing Co — 4 Pines Pale Ale
  75. Brick Lane Brewing Co — Sidewinder Hazy Pale
  76. Hop Nation Brewing Co — Rattenhund
  77. Sunday Road Brewing — Enigma Ale
  78. Otherside Brewing Co — Anthem IPA
  79. Bad Shepherd Brewing Co — Peanut Butter Porter
  80. Ballistic Beer Co — Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout
  81. Black Hops Brewery — Hornet
  82. Little Creatures — Pacific Ale
  83. Your Mates Brewing Co — Eddie
  84. Dainton Beer — Jungle Juice
  85. Bodriggy Brewing Co — Utropia Pale Ale
  86. Young Henrys — The Unifier
  87. Hawkers Beer — West Coast IPA
  88. Mismatch Brewing Co — Mismatch Session Ale
  89. Gage Roads Brewing Co — Side Track All Day XPA
  90. Little Bang Brewing Co — Face Inverter
  91. BentSpoke Brewing Co — Red Nut
  92. Tumut River Brewing Co — Ginja Ninja
  93. Eumundi Brewery — Eumundi Alcoholic Ginger Beer
  94. Deeds Brewing — Once More Into the Fray
  95. Akasha Brewing Co — Mosaic IPA
  96. Ballistic Beer Co — Low Ha
  97. Capital Brewing Co — Rock Hopper IPA
  98. Wayward Brewing Co — Raspberry Berliner Weisse
  99. Willie The Boatman — Nectar Of The Hops
  100. Balter Brewing — CryoHaze

For more information about the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2021, head to the GABS website.

Published on January 24, 2022 by Sarah Ward

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