December 15, 2014 by 250 Beers
Today is Monday 15th December. You know what that means right? Yes, yes…10 more days until my children eventually burst with excitement but it also signals day one of voting for the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers.
The polls open today and close at midnight on January 8th. The results are announced on Australia Day at official venues around the country – these pubs and bars will also feature a number of the top 100 on tap. There are almost 60 venues nationwide that have signed up to take part which is bloody awesome.
The poll started back in 2008 at The Local Taphouse merely as a bit of a hoot between the staff and their loyal customers. Now in its seventh year, the 2014 edition promises to be larger than ever.
Here’s the thing…I’m not the biggest fan of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting together for beers with a few mates on Australia Day and watching the results come in via social media (it’ll be broadcast live on Channel 9 in a few years when ‘craft’ beer becomes the ‘norm’ just you wait and see). I see the entire concept as fun and it’s very well put together. Plus, the bloke behind it (Steve Jeffares – Mr Local Taphouse and Mr GABS) is a bloody good egg.
The only thing holding me back from embracing it like I would if I was hugging a carton of free beer is that I’m not convinced that all brewers are totally behind the scheme.
Industry awards/recognition and even pats on the back from fellow brewers would be held in higher esteem than a voting system aimed at the general public. What do the results prove? Not much at all.
Whilst brewers and their breweries are happy to lap up praise from their own customers I’m not sold on the fact that the results on Australia Day will give a true reflection of the average punter.
Here are three recent examples that may add some weight to my claim:
In the 2012 poll results, 4 Hearts Brewing saw their Pale Ale smash into the top 20 – number 12 to be precise. That beer had hardly ever left Queensland – if at all. I take nothing away from Wade, he deserved every credit for getting there BUT I’m certain he’ll admit to behind a fantastic marketing campaign targeting friends, family and most craft beer lovin’ Queenslanders to ‘Vote 4 Hearts’.
In the 2013 results, Wagga Wagga based Thirsty Crow Brewery witnessed their Vanilla Milk Stout sit proudly in tenth spot. It was eighth the year prior! The thing is, despite it being a sensational beer (I have tried it), how did it generate such popularity coming from a small facility in NSW? The brewpub has a cult following for sure but did that beer reach large numbers of voters or was there a smart campaign from the loyal following?
Lastly, and again from the 2013 placements, Noisy Minor’s Yastrebov Ukrainian Imperial Stout hit #50. This beer is brewed in very small batches and I believe it never left Queensland. How did it beat Stone & Wood’s Jasper and a shit-hot single batch from Little Creatures? I’ll tell you how…aside from it being a cracking beer…there was an online campaign from fellow Brisbane blogger, Jack from The West Bender.
Like I mentioned above, it’s fun. I like fun and I will be voting. Newstead Brewing Co’s Hammer Head session ale will get my #1 vote. Those close to me know that I can’t get enough of it. It’s bursting with a huge fruitiness and at 3.4% it’s the most sessionable of session ales. The epitome of sessionable if you will and perfect for our Queensland climate.
A bottle of Hammer Head traveled to the UK with me recently for a few happy snaps. Check ’em out on Instagram by searching #HAMMERHEADONTOUR
Here’s my personal favourite thanks to a game police officer in Leicester Square:
For the next few weeks I’ll be part of a social media experiment to see how high Hammer Head can reach in the Hottest 100. Join the Hammer Head revolution leading up to January 8th (closing date for votes) by following these hashtags across social media:
#VOTEHAMMERHEAD and the official one #H100BEERS
And don’t forget to vote! You can do so by clicking HERE.