The Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers

Alright, folks. It’s that time of year again and as always I have left my voting to the last minute. I am, of course, talking about the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beer poll

Alright, folks. It’s that time of year again and as always I have left my voting to the last minute.

I am, of course, talking about the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beer poll.

Finding out what the most loved Australian beers of year has been is always fun, always brings some kind of debate and, generally ends with Feral Hop Hog taking out number one position. If they repeat this, who cares? Well a lot of people probably, but it doesn’t mean the poll isn’t any less interesting or fun. Don’t forget folks, beer is about the fun!

So,  here’s what I voted for and, as always, it didn’t take hours for me to put this list together, it’s a list of beers I have loved and would recommend any beer lover to seek out (if able to, of course).

    1. Nail Red Ale – love this beer and love that I work for Nail now. Damn right I’m voting for this gorgeous beer.
    2. Pirate Life IIPA – crazy great beer, epic 500ml can and beautiful branding.
    3. Boatrocker Orange Sherbet – I’m so in love with Boatrocker and this beer is perfect.
    4. Colonial Small Ale – the reduced alcohol beer that still tastes great and all inside a super fun can. Seriously, I love the POP it makes!
    5. Feral War Hog – Wow. A beer that slaps you around a bit but damn if it isn’t one of the finest beers to come out of Feral.

If I could fit more, well Monk R2D8 would be in there for sure. As would Boatrocker Banshee and Eagle Bay Citrus IPA. Damn it’s hard to fill just five spots.

Voting closes at 11.59pm AEST TODAY (Monday 18th January) so get voting now if you haven’t already!




GABS Edition: 5 minutes with John from Nail Brewing

Q&A with John Stallwood of Nail Brewing about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington

Melbourne’s Good Beer Week is well and truly underway with another four days to go and one of the biggest events of the week kicks off tomorrow – the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS.

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. There’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff, plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer. Oh and it’s three marvellous days of this!

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not at GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival.

Over the past week or so I have been posting Q&As with various WA brewers talking all about their GABS beers.


Here is the last Q&A before GABS kicks off tomorrow with head brewer and owner of Nail Brewing, John Stallwood about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington.

GABS Festival Beer: Flaming Lamington | 5% ABV | Sweet Stout

The Official GABS Guide says: “A moderately bitter chocolate Stout blended with coffee, coconut and finished with chilli to add some fire to the brew.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Seeing lots of people enjoying craft beer is a great sight. The industry has gone a long way and getting better by the day. I still have scarring memories of people back in the early 2000’s that would say things about Nail like – “this is beer?” and “you make money from selling this?”  It’s such a great site seeing people want to try as many way out beers as they can. It’s always a great atmosphere with lots of drinking but no thugs causing trouble. The organisers do a great job and it gets better each year.

Last year Nail had Copper Hopper which ended up being revved up to become Nail Red and part of the core range. I don’t think Flaming Lamington will …

Tell us about the Flaming Lamington and what was the inspiration for it?

About 4 years ago I did some chilli and stout testing where I would put full chillies in bottles. Hugh [Hugh Dunn, ECU brewing and lecturer] said back then it was the best chilli beer he has ever had, not hot but spicing with a slight after taste. That was what I was hunting for this time. Adding the coconut and cocoa was a test of something I haven’t brewed before. Dan [Dan Turley, assistant Nail brewer] brewed a perfect base chocolate like porter and I just finished it off.

How was the coffee added and what sort of chilli did you use?

We used about 4kg of coconut, 2kg of cocoa and 6 kilos of chilli (jalepeno and birds eye)

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

The trickiest part of this brew will be when we brew a 5000 litre batch at Bassendean in June, which will be the Nail Brew Log Collection #7 Flaming Lamington.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Sorry, too hard a question.

girl + winter beers

Ah winter, the time of year when beer geek conversation turns from aggressively hopped American pales to dark malty beasts with punchy roast and chocolate flavours.

Ah winter, the time of year when beer geek conversation turns from aggressively hopped American pales to dark malty beasts with punchy roast and chocolate flavours.

The Food Alternative | Tuesday’s 6pm on RTRFM 92.1 Drivetime

Listen here to past segments

I was invited to Perth’s RTRFM radio station last night to chat about winter beers during the Drivetime segment called ‘The Food Alternative’. It’s a weekly segment every Tuesday at 6pm that explores Perth’s great food and beverage scene. I had an absolute blast chatting about beers with Drivetime hosts Simon and Anth. In the lead up* to last night I had naturally been thinking a LOT about winter beers.

*aka bundle of nerves at being on the radio

As much as the beer geek in me is screaming that stouts and porters are great drinking all year around not just winter, I cannot deny that my palate craves those darker brews more when the temperature drops. Like ballsy red wine, peaty scotch and roast dinner, the darker ales are just the ticket for a wintery night.

I’ve got some exciting beers in our fridge that are perfect for the rain and cold wind –

  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2014, their annual release barleywine style beer
  • Boatrocker Ramjet Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, a limited release from Melbourne
  • Cheeky Monkey Silverback 2013 Russian Imperial Stout from Margaret River

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2013

But not every night can be filled with beers edging their way over 10% ABV with flavours that shamelessly smack you in the face whilst wearing a devilish grin. So when you’ve come in from the rain, your socks kinda soggy and your wind swept hair looking nothing like it does in shampoo commercials, here are my two of favourite winter to-go beers to cuddle you back to happiness …

coopers best extra stout

Coopers Best Extra Stout Tasting Notes

Easily one of my favourite “good heavens it’s cold outside” beers, it’s liquid ink pouring from the bottle with a light coffee head. There’s a lot happening here, a little roast, a little smoke and big doses of chocolate, liquorice, coffee beans and brown sugar.

Coopers Best Extra Stout
Coopers Best Extra Stout

nail oatmeal stout

More jet black goodness … aromas of milk chocolate and biscuit and something kinda melony. Flavours of chocolate and red fruit dominate the palate with a little fresh citrus in the back. The mouth feel is creamy and soft; its 6% ABV is well hidden amongst a lot of delicious flavours, of course after a few you are aware it is a fraction on the stronger side. Cheeky little stout.

Nail Oatmeal Stout
Nail Oatmeal Stout

Since I have many favourites I’ll be happily re-hashing this theme a couple more times so I hope you’ll join me and please feel free to comment with your winter favourites!

Big thank you to Simon, Anth, Ai-Ling and Laura for inviting me to be part of The Food Alternative and assuring me I’d be okay. Additional thanks to Simon and Anth for not thinking I was weird when they were telling me to stay close to the microphone and I remarked it was like holding the distance before an awkward first kiss. Sometimes my internal filter shorts out.


girl + clout stout

I’m a big fan of Perth’s Nail Brewing, their beers are gorgeous, balanced and a single glass is never enough. Their Clout Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout released every year in limited quantities, is no exception.

I’m a big fan of Perth’s Nail Brewing, their beers are gorgeous, balanced and a single glass is never enough. Their Clout Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout released every year in limited quantities, is no exception.

My Nail Clout Stout 2011
The beer comes in a 750ml bottle and the box is marked with which number it is and when it was packaged

When I purchased my very own bottle of 2011 Nail Clout Stout it was the most money I’d spent on a single beer so I decided it would be opened on an undetermined special occasion in the future.

The bottle sat for months, unopened and still in its black box, waiting for that special occasion to come around. Birthdays, Christmas, New Years, they all came and went and the bottle wasn’t opened.

I always fall into this trap of allocating a beer for a special occasion. I end up over-thinking the whole thing, the point of enjoying a sensational beer in the first place gets lost in my determination to match beer to occasion.

The best time to open a special beer is whenever you damn well feel like it because first and foremost it’s there to be enjoyed

I opened my bottle of Clout Stout on a Friday night, an ordinary Friday night because I really, really felt like it. I documented the occasion with photos from box to glass, an idea from my partner –

Enjoying a 2012 Nail Clout Stout ... from box to glass
From box to glass …
2012 Clout Stout ... from opening the box to pouring it into a glass
From box to glass …
Nail Clout Stout
From box to glass

The beer was drop dead gorgeous. Nuts, chocolate and fortified wine aromas backed up by flavours of dark chocolate and fruitcake encased in a surprisingly light-medium bodied stout. There’s a nice booziness that lingers on the palate too.

It seemed fitting to break out some cheese to accompany the beer and it just so happened we had some Stilton in the fridge. It was left over from a tasting session I did with Eagle Bay to prepare for our Beer & Cheese Masterclass at the recent Fremantle BeerFest. The cheese was Bassett Colston Stilton, a cow’s milk cheese from England with a mushroomy rind wrapped around a rich, salty blue body. 

The Stilton was a nice complement to the Clout Stout, a contrast of sweet chocolate stout flavours with the strong mouldy blue.

If you see Clout Stout, buy it. You won’t regret it. Just remember to share it with people who will love it too.

2011 Clout Stout & Bassett Colston Stilton
2011 Clout Stout & Bassett Colston Stilton