Australia Day. BBQ. Beach. Cricket. Triple J’s Hottest 100… and beer?
#StrayaDay has taken on an extra meaning for beer lovers in recent years, with the GABS Hottest 100 now counting down the best craft beers in the nation, mirroring what Triple J have down with music (for much longer).
While I’ve normally just seen the list after it was published, this was the first year I’ve really followed the countdown live (today via the #h100beers hashtag). What fun it was to see the beer geeks upset about very mainstream beers taking out the top slots too!
Anyway, one name did slide into the higher slots that I’ve never tasted before, and tonight the aim was to rectify that…
This Pirate Life Brewing IIPA (Imperial Pale Ale) made it to an impressive #3 on the Hottest 100 Beers list, with its Pale Ale and Throwback IPA siblings taking out #4 and #11 respectively. That’s particularly impressive given that Pirate Life Brewing only kicked off in early 2014.
To be honest, I’m not surprised that this was a hit, as it’s got quite a presence – a big beer, in a big 500ml can, with big 8.8% alc. Yet when you look at the much more mild beers around it in the top 10 of the h100 beers list, this is a surprise packet. It’s every bit the beer monster, and every bit the polarising brew – yet that’s missing the smarts behind (which you can notice just by reading these notes).
From the outset, this is outsized in every way, the nose carrying passionfruit and citrus on the nose, though it’s not all hops – there is some plenty of malt in there too. Underneath this is chunky, bitter and full, the finish heavy with malt and a sweaty bitterness that comes from the smorgasbord of Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe and Mosaic hops.
In many ways this should be a single-beer-only proposition, but the balance between bitterness, richness and alcohol sweetness makes this surprisingly balanced. Huge power and weight makes it quite a mouthful, but you still don’t feel like it’s an attack. A prop forward no doubt, but still light on its feet.
4.5 stars and well worth its lofty title. I’m a big fan.