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If you're looking for a go-to brew to kick back with this summer, Finder has got your covered. We've researched over 100 IPAs, pale ales, lagers, pilsners, craft beers, sours and more to determine the 20 best pints available in Australia. You can read about each winning beer below, with links for where to buy from a variety of retailers. Cheers!
Our editorial team selected the beer on this list based on extensive research, real customer reviews and personal experience. For each category, we carefully selected parameters based on our research and identified the products with the highest review score within those parameters.
If you’re looking for a high-quality local pale ale, Balter XPA has been named one of the top beers in the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) for the last four years running. It has also been a solid presence at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).
Produced in Queensland, Balter Brewing Co. says that this beer is “tailored for those who enjoy a fully-hopped beer that’s still easy to drink”, with tropical and floral aromatics. Described as a “5-star beer”, it has a fruity palette and an alcohol volume of 5.0%. The brewery recently became part of Japanese giant Asahi Brewing.
The average price of a carton of 24 full-strength beers is $52 according to the Brewers Association of Australia. Hollandia will give you change from $40. Scoring 4.3/5 from 233 reviews at Dan Murphy's, this beer is described as "crisp and refreshing in the northern European lager style."
Made by the Royal Swinkels Family Brewers – the second largest brewery the Netherlands with a history tracing back to 1680 – Hollandia ranks among the best of the imported beers.
This beer is said to have inspired a new generation of ale drinkers and sits in the mid-range price point of less than $60 for a carton. This drop balances fruity and floral notes with a crisp bitterness and has an alcohol volume of 4.5%. It scores a rating of 4.6/5 from 166 customer reviews at Dan Murphy's.
Coopers Pale Ale is naturally conditioned in the bottle or keg, a method that the brewer says produces its trademark sediment that gives the ale a distinctive, fine cloudy appearance. Featured in the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) list of the hottest 100 craft beers of 2019, this is one of the top-selling beers at Dan Murphy's.
A top-selling beer at Dan Murphy's, James Boag's Premium Lager is "acclaimed both at home and internationally". It's a popular brew, garnering 268 reviews and a rating of 4.0/5. Lagers receive a premium designation if they have an alcohol content above 4.5%, and James Boag's comes in at 4.6%.
The James Boag Brewery uses pure Tasmanian water to brew this pale straw lager, with a balance between hop and malt. Online reviewers liked that the subtle flavour makes it easy to drink, with no aftertaste or bloating.
Voted as Australia's number one beer in the GABS 2019 hottest 100 beers, Stone & Wood Pacific Ale is our pick for the best Australian beer. A top seller at Dan Murphy's, it receives an average customer rating of 4.6/5 from 86 reviewers.
Stone & Wood Brewing Co is an independent regional brewery from Byron Bay. The Pacific Ale is its flagship beer, using Australian ingredients to make a golden ale that features fruity hop aromas of passionfruit, pineapple and pear with a dry, easy finish.
The Czech Republic makes some of the best beers in the world, so we had to pick a Czech brew as the best European entry. Kozel Dark Beer has won seven "Dark Beer of the Year" awards. It scores a 4.7/5 rating from 58 Dan Murphy's customer reviews, and a decisive 97% of reviewers would recommend it to a friend.
Produced outside of Prague since 1874, Kozel Dark Beer is brewed from special dark malts that give it a dark foam unlike that of other coloured beers. With a 3.8% alcohol volume, this lighter style dark beer is a mid-strength drop. Rich yet refreshing, it has a hoppy caramel flavour and dark chocolate aromas.
Australian beer drinkers keep coming back to Miller, a clean light drop with no aftertaste. Miller Genuine Draft was introduced in 1986 and uses a proprietary "cold-filtered four times" brewing process. This draft beer in a bottle is brewed from malted barley, cereal grains and choice hops.
Smooth and not too heavy, this is the best American beer according to reviewers at Dan Murphy's, who rate it 4.4/5 and note that it's sold for a good price in Australia.
A popular Asian beer among Australians, Sapporo is our pick. It scores a 4.4/5 rating from 51 reviewers at Dan Murphy's and 87% of them would recommend it to a friend. Sapporo was first brewed in 1876 by German-trained Japanese brewmaster Seibei Nakagawa, making it Japan's oldest brewery. In Australia, Sapporo is brewed by Coopers rather than imported.
This light-bodied drop has a clean, crisp taste, and a fairly complex palate for the style. It features a good balance of hops and malt with a refreshing bitterness and a 5% alcohol volume.
Known as the "Big Cold Beer", Victoria Bitter, or VB, is one of the most popular beers in Australia and scores 4.3/5 from 300 reviews at Dan Murphy's. This classic drop has a full-bodied flavour with a bitter finish and an alcohol volume of 4.9%.
Founder Thomas Aitken opened his first brewery in Geelong in 1851, and by 1854 he had a large complex at Victoria Parade in East Melbourne. The iconic brown glass stubby bottle is easy for drinking and keeps the beer fresher for longer, and the green VB label is instantly recognisable.
This Australian pale ale has firmly held onto the fourth spot in the GABS hottest 100 list for the past three years. This light, fruity beer scores 4.5/5 among customer reviewers at Dan Murphy's, who describe it as not too heavy or hoppy.
Brewed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Sydney suburb of Newtown, the beer uses a blend of English and Australian malts in a nod to the suburb's past and present influences and has an alcohol volume of 4.8%.
Voted the top IPA in the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) for the last three years in a row, this deep orange coloured beer is medium-bodied with aromas of pine and caramel and a solid malt finish. It has a unique wide-mouthed can design – the top is removed so there's no need to pour it into a glass. It's a hit with customers at Dan Murphy's with a score of 4.7/5, and 90% of reviewers would recommend it to a friend.
Canberra-based BentSpoke Brewing Co has a brewpub in the suburb of Braddon. It runs a sustainable process, sending all the grain leftover from brewing to local farmers as feed for livestock in return for produce that is used in the brewpub's kitchen.
Brewed in small batches, Bridge Road's Beechworth Pale Ale is our pick for the best craft beer. It is one of the hottest 100 Aussie craft beers chosen for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS). It scores a 4.6/5 rating from 64 customer reviews at Dan Murphy's. Beechworth native Ben Kraus opened the first iteration of the brewery in his dad's shed in 2005. Often the yardstick of microbreweries, Bridge Road bases its beer on classic American pale ales.
This is an aromatic pale ale with an intense copper colour and floral taste without an overly fruity aroma. It's a step forward for those who have tried an entry-level craft beer and want to move onto something with more depth.
The original pilsner from the Czech Republic had to be our pick for the best in its category. First served in 1842 and brewed the same way ever since, it is widely considered one of the best beers in the world. This one scores a 4.7/5 rating from 68 Dan Murphy's customer reviews, and 94% of reviewers would recommend it to a friend.
This drop features a full-bodied flavour, with caramel tones, an intense taste of hops and a lingering bitterness. The characteristic bitterness comes from the variety of Saaz hops used along with soft water to give it its unique profile.
Widely considered one of the best dark beers in Australia, Southwark Old Stout from the South Australia Brewing Co. is our pick for best stout. This full-bodied beer boasts rich flavours of coffee and roasted malt with dark chocolate overtones, and it's a solid favourite among customers at Dan Murphy's, where it scores an impressive 4.8/5 rating.
Typically enjoyed as a winter drink, this stout can be served slightly warm or extra cold, and with an alcohol volume of 7.4%, it also works well in a cocktail. It rivals some of the Irish stouts that can be hard to find in Australia.
This sour beer packs an intense punch with its strong aromas of pineapple and other tropical fruits. Hope Brewery won 16 honours at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in 2019, including Gold for the Pineapple Sour. Matt Hogan, the head brewer at Hope since it launched in 2014, is said to bring a winemaker's approach to brewing, mixing innovation with tradition.
Described as tart and sour while still being drinkable and refreshing, the Pineapple Sour hides a 7% Imperial strength alcohol volume.
This flavoured beer is based on a classic Belgium blonde beer recipe using a natural mango blend. Easy to drink, this beer is a flavourful tropical thirst quencher ideal for summer.
The most remote brewery in Australia, Matso's Broome Brewery began in 2000 and produces a range of flavoured beers, including berry, melon and chilli ginger. The mango flavour won a gold medal at the International Brewing and Cider Awards in 2017 and scores 4.4/5 from more than 58 Dan Murphy's customer reviews.
Carlton Dry is a full-strength beer with an alcohol volume of 4.5%. It's brewed to remove excess sugars for a smooth, crisp finish with 30% lower carbohydrate content than a typical beer. Carlton & United Breweries is a historic brewery founded in 1864 that has remained at the forefront of innovation.
With an average rating of 4.4/5 from more than 165 Dan Murphy's customer reviews, this low-carb option has plenty of fans. Carlton Dry has a light golden body with a white foamy head. It is low in bitterness, unlike traditional beers, with a fruity aroma.
Cascade is a go-to for drinkers looking for a light beer that doesn't come with the side effects of having too much alcohol. This a sparkling bright amber drop with a slight graininess, a moderate hop aroma and a small white head.
The full-flavoured malty lager is brewed using a combination of pale malt and roasted barley along with hops to create a well-balanced flavour with an alcohol volume of 2.4%.
Popular among Australian drinkers, Great Northern's Super Crisp lager is our pick for the best mid-strength beer. With an alcohol volume of 3.5%, it's a light, easy-drinking beer that the brewery says was created with an outdoor lifestyle in mind.
This light golden beer has a subtle bitterness and light palate, with a mild fruity character. It has an average customer rating of 4.2/5 from more than 320 Dan Murphy's customers. Reviewers commonly described it as having a refreshingly clean and crisp finish.
If you love beer but don't want the alcohol, classic European brewery Heineken has an option for you. Heineken 0.0 is a lager that's twice-brewed and fermented using a unique recipe for a balanced taste. Refreshing with a light mouthfeel, this beer has a fruity flavour and slight malty notes.
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