Big flavours with lower ABVs, lagers and the recent corporate buyouts of popular craft behemoths, are some of the trends expected to influence the upcoming GABS Hottest 100.
With the annual list turning 10 this year, creator Steve Jeffares (GABS festival director) reflected on its growth, some of the trends over the past decade and what we can expect this year.
“We certainly never initially considered it would be more than a one-off poll of staff and customers at both Taphouses,” Jeffares told Beer & Brewer.
“The early polls certainly had more style diversity than recent polls as the phenomenal interest in beers with hop characters has taken hold. It is one of the reasons we introduced the Next 100 (beers ranked 101-200) as that often features more diverse beers, many from smaller breweries.
“In the last year or so there has been a greater focus on beers that manage to pack serious flavour under five per cent ABV and I think more lagers will appear in upcoming Hottest 100 lists too.”
A big development over the past year has been the corporate buyouts of Feral, 4 Pines and Pirate Life, all of which have dominated the top few spots in recent years. It will be interesting to see if this is reflected in this year’s poll.
“You just need to have followed the passionate reaction in some quarters to know that some fans of those breweries which sold have switched their allegiances to independent breweries,” Jeffares explained.
“The vast majority of voters in the poll, however, are not hardcore beer fans so I am not sure whether the brewery sales will impact on their voting choices. That said, there are so many great breweries – new and established – that are producing incredible beers with strong brand strength, so any beer, independent or not, that consistently ranks highly in this competitive environment where there is so much choice is really doing something impressive.”
The Hottest 100 countdown has changed to 27 January this year to align with the Triple J countdown. Beer lovers can follow the results at gabsfestival.com, on social media (#hottest100beers), or head to one of the many bars, brewpubs and craft beer venues around the country for the full Hottest 100 experience.
Voting closes 19 January, to support your favourite breweries, head to www.gabsfestival.com.
“Despite its growth and influence now, though, we still hope that people enjoy it for the simple opportunity to vote for their five favourite Australian craft beers of the past 12 months and then enjoy the results countdown and perhaps note other beers on the Hottest 100 that they may want to try,” Jeffares said.