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Inherent in the process of making beer are so many opportunities. Thorny Devil get to create new flavours, learn about different techniques. Most of all, we get to share it with people and spread the word about just how exceptional craft brews can be. Thorny Devil get to explore and connect and learn, uniting those who value meticulously curated brews—and know the difference between marketing fluff and something truly handcrafted—with our simple, homespun blends.
It’s only what’s inside the bottle that matters. Or it isn’t, it’s lots of other things too. While the debate over ownership in the craft beer world rumbles on, part two of our look at the issue focuses on what is inside the bottle. For our latest blind tasting, we gathered a selection of beers produced by the craft arms of multinational beverage companies and Australia’s major retailers against a handful from small, independent Australian brewing companies.
Craft Beer Blind Tasting
We looked at the styles that would allow us to source as many varieties as possible. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this includes golden and pale ales, with IPA the third. These were presented in flights of three, with Prof indicating when we’d moved from one style to the next.
Every single beer was purchased from retail rather than sourced from breweries direct so they were a fair reflection of what our readers can access. We also felt that the fairest way to purchase them as regards the brewers / brand owners was to buy Woolies brands from Woolies stores, Coles brands from Coles stores and independent beers from independent outlets. Those brands from Asahi and Australian Beer Co were purchased from Dan Murphy’s, as it is the biggest seller of craft beer in Australia.
So, were there the usual surprises? To an extent, yes. Will the results change anyone’s minds? Maybe. Maybe not.
TOP FIVE GOLDEN ALES
1. Venom Golden Ale
2. Lorry Boys Golden Ale
3. James Squire Golden Ale
4. Mountain Goat Summer Ale – McCoppins Fitzroy; best before 18/05/16 (NB we regard golden and summer ales as pretty much one and the same, differentiated only for purposes of marketing)
5. Sail & Anchor Golden Ale – Dan Murphy’s, Alphington; best before 07/04/16
Other beers sampled in this category were Yenda Golden Ale, Little Creatures Bright Ale and Steamrail Golden Ale.
TOP TEN PALE ALES
1. Pirate Life Pale
2. Bridge Road Beechworth Pale
3. Gage Roads Atomic
4. Sail & Anchor Pale
5. Matilda Bay Alpha
6. Cricketers Arms Spearhead Pale
7. Steamrail Pale
8. James Squire 150 Lashes
9. Matilda Bay Fat Yak
10. Little Creatures Pale Ale
Other beers sampled in this category were Yenda Pale Ale, Matilda Bay Lazy Yak, Mountain Goat Pale, John Boston The Point Pale, Kosciuszko Pale and Lorry Boys Pale.
TOP FIVE IPAS
1. Feral Hop Hog (yes, we know they’ve crossed out the “India” on the label but it’s still the mostly widely recognised Australian IPA on the market)
2. Hawkers Beer IPA
3. Sail & Anchor IPA
4. Little Creatures IPA
5. Cricketers Arms Captain’s IPA
For More Information See: https://craftypint.com/news