It’s GABS time again! That fantastic festival where breweries get to try out-do one another with weird, unique and interesting beers to take home the People’s Choice trophy. Once again, Sydney’s a bit behind Melbourne, hosting the event a few weeks later. Thankfully, that means there are plenty of recommendations of great beers to try thanks to friends and internet reviewers who stayed sober enough to remember what they drank.
1. Panhead Custom Ales (NZ) – Wham Bam Thank You ‘Nam
Dessert stouts tend to be quite popular, but this one stands out from the rest given it’s a fairly straightforward coffee stout, served with a side of sweetened condensed milk. I’ve never been to Vietnam to try the coffee this beer is inspired by, but I have eaten sweetened condensed milk straight out of the tube on camping trips more times than I’d care to admit. I don’t see how these two delicious things can’t go well together.
For more beers for the sweet tooth, try:
- 4 Pines’ “Nitro Crème Brulee”
- Barossa Valley’s “PB Shake”
- Fury & Son’s “Pineapple & Mango Upside Down Stout”
- Gypsy Fox’s “Dark Paradise”
- Malt Shed’s “Choc Ripple Double Hazlenut Brown”
- Moon Dog’s “Are You Not Satisfied?!”
- Mr Bank’s “Raspberry Milk”
- Tallboy and Moose’s “Snot Block”
- And many more…
2. Mornington Peninsula Brewery (VIC) – Tusen Takk
Some kind of Scandinavian for thank you (literally, “thousand thanks”), this beer been lautered through Blue Spruce leaves inside a trough-shaped mash tun made from the trunk of a Blue Spruce tree. It sounds like a lot of effort and ingenuity to make, and although the result might polarise drinkers (it was described by one reviewer as “Vick’s VapoRub”), it got the thumbs up from last year’s AIBA Best Media, Will Ziebell.
For more beers recommended by 2018 AIBA Best Media Will Ziebell, try:
- #3 on this list
- #7 on this list
3. Wayward Brewing Company (NSW) – Coffee and Donuts
There was a bit of an issue with this beer at Melbourne GABS. Wayward recently released a statement saying that it tasted a bit too ‘tart’, a result of infection from their house lacto strain used to make their Raspberry Berliner Weisse (formerly known as Sourpuss). Nevertheless, it got a great response, so it will be a delight to taste what the original version, brewed in collaboration with Grumpy Donuts and Sydney icon Toby’s Estate, will taste like.
For more beers with coffee company collaborations, try:
- Coastal Brewing’s “Little Street Coffee Milk Stout”
- Hop Nation’s “The Husk”
- Tooborac’s “Bombora Mocha Madness”
- Tuatara’s “The Sheffield Street Collaboration”
4. Australian Homebrewer of the Year (NSW) – The Barry
I often (unfairly) overlook the homebrew entry, but brewer Barry Cranston is Australia’s National Homebrew Champion for the second time, following from 2012, so he must be doing something right. His beer is an Australian take on a farmhouse ale, brewed with all Aussie ingredients, at Willie the Boatman. It’s been described as funky and spicy, with just the right amount of banana notes.
For more beers brewed by champions, try:
- AIBA Champion Brewers’ “Achacha Gose”
5. Red Hill Brewery (VIC) – Pancho Mole Imperial Stout
Smoky, chocolatey, thick and spicy, Red Hill’s Mexican-inspired stout sounds like the perfect winter warmer to cheer you up after waiting outside for an hour between sessions.
For more beers/ciders with a chili kick, try:
- Aether’s “Bloody Mary IPA”
- Deep Creek’s “Chipotle Lime Salsa Gose”
- Willie Smith’s “Willie’s Fire Cider”
6. Brisbane Brewing Co (QLD) – Sex on the Beach
New England IPAs are all the rage currently and there are plenty on offer at this year’s GABS, but I included this one in particular because it prevented my dear sister from sending me an email about her GABS picks, because it was blocked by her workplace safe-work filter. She had to delete it from the list in order to send it to me. I thought that was a funny story.
For more beers/ciders that had to be removed because of naughty words, try:
- Colonial’s “Citra Ass Down”
- Mountain Goat’s “Sodomy & The Lash”
- Flying Brick’s “Virgin Paddock”
7. Currumbin Valley Brewing (QLD) – Grape Bubblegum Sour
Inspired by Hubba Bubba Groovy Grape gum (remember that tape that came in a spiral?) this beer has successfully replicated the colour, flavour and feelings of nostalgia from the original product. Whether it’s possible to drink an entire glass is another concern entirely.
For more beers inspired by childhood treats, try:
- Big Shed’s “Tim Tam Slam”
- Bright’s “Off the Wagon Wheel”
- Dainton’s “Violet Rumble”
- Left Barrel’s “Choctop Porter”
8. Eden Brewery (NSW) – Grilled Pineapple Smoked Bacon NEIPA
There’s always got to be someone that adds something really weird to their beer, last year it was ground crickets, in 2016 it was ambergris (never forget). Thankfully, the weirdness seems to have toned down a bit, but only slightly. Carrying the flag this year is Eden Brewery, with a pizza-inspired beer sure to ignite arguments as to whether pineapple belongs on pizza (yes), or a more relevant argument as to whether bacon belongs in beer (probably not).
For more beers with animals in them (or other weird shit), try:
- Rare Bird’s “Kangabrew” (char-grilled kangaroo)
- Southern Highland’s “Egghead” (eggplant and sesame)
- Sweet Amber’s “Vegemight Gose” (vegemite)
9. Willie the Boatman (NSW) – Man Goes Nuts
Another one of those NEIPA’s, but this time with mango pulp and macadamia nuts, which sounds quite delicious. Once again WtB has outdone themselves with a punny name, following on from last year’s miso-inspired “Miso Thirsty”. Here at New South Ales, we love puns.
For more beers with punny names, try:
- 10 Toes’ “NEIPA’d in the Bud”
- Beer Garden’s “The Darkest Sour is Just Before the Dawn”
- Foreigner’s “Czechmate”
- Little Alchemist’s “Funk Adani”
10. Hope Brewery (NSW) – FA-18% Rhino IIIIIPA
Just kidding, I’m not looking forward to this at all, a quintuple 18% IPA sounds awful.
For more IPA’s that can f*ck right off, try:
- Any IPA with more than two I’s
Have fun this weekend, and remember to drink responsibly!