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Best beer in Australia

We’ve chosen the top 20 beers in Australia for a variety of tastes and budgets.

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two mature men drinking beer at the balcony

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The best beer in Australia

  1. Best overall beer: Balter XPA
  2. Best cheap beer: Hollandia
  3. Best mid-range beer: Coopers Original Pale Ale
  4. Best premium beer: James Boag's Premium Lager
  5. Best Australian beer: Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  6. Best European beer: Kozel Dark Beer
  7. Best American beer: Miller Genuine Draft
  8. Best Asian beer: Sapporo Premium Beer
  9. Best lager: Victoria Bitter
  10. Best pale ale: Young Henrys Newtowner
  11. Best IPA: BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA
  12. Best craft beer: Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Pale Ale
  13. Best pilsner: Pilsner Urquell
  14. Best stout: Southwark Old Stout
  15. Best sour beer: Hope Brewery Imperial Pineapple Sour
  16. Best flavoured beer: Matso's Mango Beer
  17. Best low carb beer: Carlton Dry
  18. Best light beer: Cascade Premium Light
  19. Best mid-strength beer: Great Northern Brewing Company Super Crisp
  20. Best alcohol-free beer: Heineken 0.0

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!


How did we pick this list?

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.

Read more about our methodology below.


Best overall beer: Balter XPA

Balter XPA

  • Award winner
  • Pleasant to drink
  • Some reviewers found it too sweet
  • Not the best value for money

Average online price: $20 per pack (4)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at BoozeBud
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at Beer Cartel

Why we chose it

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.


Best cheap beer: Hollandia

Hollandia

  • Good quality despite the low price
  • Premium alcohol volume at 4.7%
  • Plastic packaging tends to break
  • Some drinkers found the taste to be a bit harsh after the first drink

Price (RRP): $36.99 per case (24)

Buy at Dan Murphy's

Why we chose it

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.


Best mid-range beer: Coopers Original Pale Ale

Coopers Original Pale Ale

  • No additives or preservatives
  • Sessionable but the taste is bold enough to satisfy a craft drinker
  • Some drinkers found that the sediment makes the beer too yeasty
  • Head fades within a few minutes

Price (RRP): $53.95 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at Liquorland

Why we chose it

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.


Best premium beer: James Boag's Premium Lager

James Boag's Premium Lager

  • Good quality Australian beer
  • This beer has a rich Tasmanian heritage
  • Strength has been reduced from 5.0% to 4.6%
  • Price fluctuates widely

Price (RRP): $54 per case (24)

Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best Australian beer: Stone & Wood Pacific Ale

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale

  • Refreshing summer drink
  • Goes well with a meal
  • Relatively hard to get
  • Some reviewers like it but find it overpriced

Price (RRP): $54 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's

Why we chose it

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.


Best European beer: Kozel Dark Beer

Kozel Dark Beer

  • Rich and complex flavour
  • Good value for an imported beer
  • Loses a bit of its flavour when it's just out of the fridge
  • Some reviewers would prefer a higher alcohol content

Price (RRP): $70.99 per pack (20)

Buy at Dan Murphy's

Why we chose it

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.


Best American beer: Miller Genuine Draft

Miller Genuine Draft

  • Fresh, clean taste
  • Good price for a premium beer
  • Some reviewers found it watery
  • Noticeable difference in the beer brewed under license in Australia

Price (RRP): $58 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best Asian beer: Sapporo Premium Beer

Sapporo Premium Beer

  • At 355mL, the bottle is slightly bigger than the usual 335mL for premium beers
  • Pairs well with any meal
  • Some reviewers prefer the Japanese-brewed version
  • Some reviewers found it lacking in flavour

Price (RRP): $50 per case (24)

Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best lager: Victoria Bitter

Victoria Bitter

  • Good price
  • Australian classic
  • Not everyone likes the taste
  • The alcohol content has been lowered

Price (RRP): $52 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best pale ale: Young Henrys Newtowner

Young Henrys Newtowner

  • An easy drinking beer for any occasion
  • Certified independent brewery
  • Some reviewers found it lacking in malt flavour relative to the colour
  • Drinkers said the Australian pale ale category is still finding its identity

Price (RRP): $21 per pack (4)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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%.


Best IPA: BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA

BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA

  • Unique can design
  • Big flavour but drinkable enough to be sessionable
  • Some reviewers found it lacking in hops
  • Flavour and 5.8% alcohol volume not for everyone

Price (RRP): $46 per pack (10)

Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best craft beer: Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Pale Ale

Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Pale Ale

  • Not overly fruity like some beers
  • Award winner
  • Taste and colour can be inconsistent
  • Some reviewers found it not as bold as some other beers

Price (RRP): $79.99 per case (24)

Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at Beer Cartel

Buy at BWS

Why we chose it

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.


Best pilsner: Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell

  • Iconic beer with a strong heritage
  • Refreshing taste and hoppy aroma
  • Too bitter for some tastes
  • More expensive than some other pilsners

Price (RRP): $57.99 per case (24)

Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Dan Murphy's

Buy at Amatos

Why we chose it

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.


Best stout: Southwark Old Stout

Southwark Old Stout

  • Affordable
  • Not overly sweet or heavy like some stouts
  • Can be hard to find outside of South Australia
  • Lack of aftertaste for some reviewers

Price (RRP): $66.99 per case (24)

Buy at Dan Murphy's

Why we chose it

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.


Best sour beer: Hope Brewery Imperial Pineapple Sour

Hope Brewery Imperial Pineapple Sour

  • Award-winning sour beer
  • Refreshing
  • Some reviewers found it too sour
  • No customer reviews from Dan Murphy's buyers

Price (RRP): $27.65 per pack (4)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at BoozeBud
Buy at Beer Cartel

Why we chose it

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.


Best flavoured beer: Matso's Mango Beer

Matso's Mango Beer

  • Easy to drink
  • Unique flavour
  • Some drinkers find the taste artificial
  • Expensive

Price (RRP): $24.59 per pack (6)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud
Buy at Liquorland

Why we chose it

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.


Best low carb beer: Carlton Dry

Carlton Dry

  • Diabetics are able to enjoy a full-strength beer
  • Reviewers report not feeling bloated after drinking it
  • The bottle size has been reduced for the same price
  • Some drinkers don't like the taste

Price (RRP): $43 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Liquorland

Why we chose it

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.


Best light beer: Cascade Premium Light

Cascade Premium Light

  • Balanced, fresh flavour that rivals full-strength beers
  • Doesn't leave drinkers with a headache
  • Pricy for a light beer
  • Recipe has changed over time

Price (RRP): $50.95 per pack (30)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Liquorland
Buy at Dan Murphy's

Why we chose it

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%.


Best mid-strength beer: Great Northern Brewing Company Super Crisp

Great Northern Brewing Company Super Crisp

  • Good value
  • Reviewers reported no side effects the morning after
  • Some reviewers find it watery and highly carbonated
  • Mass produced

Price (RRP): $43 per case (24)

Buy at Amazon
Buy at Dan Murphy's
Buy at BoozeBud

Why we chose it

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.


Best alcohol-free beer: Heineken 0.0

Heineken Zero

  • Malty flavour, which suits craft beer lovers
  • Great taste for a non-alcoholic beer
  • Lacking in character when compared to malt-forward alcohol-free beer
  • Low carbonation

Price (RRP): $39 per case (24)

Buy at First Choice Liquor
Buy at Liquorland

Why we chose it

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.


Methodology

45
Brands considered
100+
Products compared
20
Best products chosen
  • We compared over 45 beer brands and more than 100 different brews.
  • We balanced taste and popularity with price and availability to select the highest-rated beers among Australian consumers.
  • The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.

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