Disclaimer: A beer in hand is recommended before reading, this isn’t Shakesbeer!
Captain Jimmy Cook brought beer to Australia on the Endeavour in 1770. Cook discovered Australia and Australia discovered beer! It was popular then and even more so now, culminating with the current explosion of craft beer all around the country. But nowhere more so than Canberra, with a sophisticated industry and the country’s largest homebrew community. Last year, the Top 3 beers in the country were- the XPA American Pale Ale (Balter, QLD, Canberra Brewer) and the Crankshaft American Pale Ale (BentSpoke, ACT). The other one must have been Canberra inspired!
Every week it seems harder to pick just 5 things for our lists, but this week was nearly impossible with so many good brews!
5. Kingston Steam Ale. Bolt Bar, 68 Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda ACT 2614.
I went to the Bolt Bar in Aranda to try the Aranda Pale Ale, only to discover the Kingston Steam Ale. It’s a bit like the establishment- a hidden gem of a beer. An easy-drinking beer with bold malt characters and a surprisingly smooth and creamy finish.
4. Brewer’s IPA. Wig and Pen, Llewellyn Hall, William Herbert Place, Canberra ACT 2601.
For those as slow as me, the Wig and Pen has moved to the School of Music at the ANU. Years ago, apparently. This medium-bodied English style IPA has some lovely citrusy overtures with a hint of caramel to match its beautiful colour. I warn you- one will not be enough!
3. Summit Sessions XPA. Capital Brewing Co, 3/1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick ACT 2609.
What a super easy-drinking and tasty beer! The fruit is strong- but not too strong- and hoppy- but not too hoppy. The balance and flavour is great for a mid-strength beer. And at just 3.5% you can chill with them all afternoon. With a fireplace, burgers and even a cubby house to keep the kids entertained, I can’t wait to get back there.
2. Zhierholz. Zierholz Premium Brewery, 7/19-25 Kembla St, Fyshwick ACT 2609.
An absolute cracking beer! This North German style pilsener is dry and bittersweet. It packs a lot more punch than you would normally expect from this style of beer. Christoph explained that he gave it a lot more “umph”, as he already has an easy drinking beer on the menu. I, for one, am really glad that he did!
1. Bentspoke Crankshaft. Bentspoke Brewing Co, 48/38 Mort St, Braddon ACT 2612.
It is said that drinking this beer is like “walking through a redwood forest”. I am not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds great and that is how this beer tastes. In fact ‘great’ doesn’t cut it, tasty as f@#k would be a way better description- but I am not sure we can say that! The beer is hoppy and malty, with a subtle yeast character- but it’s the beautiful balance that makes this beer so special.
With so many beers left off this list, I have taken one for the team and commenced work on my next list of Canberra Beers “5 Beers that will smack you with flavour”. Until then!
Happy Eating, Happy Canberra!