Local Byron brewer Stone & Wood’s flagship, Pacific Ale, has been voted champion independent beer in the annual GABS Hottest 100 poll. More than 2500 craft beers were nominated from 290 breweries for the poll, and over 35,000 votes were cast.
The GABS poll is now in its 12th year, and the explosion of interest in craft brewing during that time has meant that the number of breweries competing is now six times larger than in the first year. Despite the stiff competition, beer newsletter, The Crafty Pint, said Pacific Ale ‘now has a record four top-spots spread across the best part of a decade, no doubt a result not just of its reach and longevit, but the importance of independence to some voters who will have pulled their votes from Balter (among others)’.
Gold Coast brewer Balter, in top spot for the last couple of years, but this year number two, sold out in December 2019 to giant brewer CUB, and is now under the same banner as 4 Pines, Pirate Life, and very soon Green Beacon and Mountain Goat.
The Byron brewer, on the other hand has remained independent, and according to Craig Williams, GABS Festival director their success, ‘is a testament both to the beer’s quality and consistency, but importantly to the community and lifestyle they’ve built around the brand’. Stone & Wood thanked the community for their support and said they were ‘proud to have landed our Australian pale ale Cloud Catcher, The Gatherer, and Counter Culture’s Sticky Nectar in the Hottest 100’.
To celebrate the Original Pacific Ale’s win, Stone & Wood are giving away a free coldy holdy – made from sustainably made wetsuit offcuts – to the first 100 people who purchase a carton of Pacific Ale stubbies from their official online store.
In third position in the poll was ACT-based brewery BentSpoke with their India Pale Ale Crankshaft. They had 6 beers in the top 100.
According to BrewsNews ‘The New England (or Hazy) IPA was again a hugely popular beer style in 2019, which, alongside hop-driven Pale Ales and IPAs took up almost three quarters of the list. Easier drinking Lager styles also proved popular, with tart and fruity sour beer styles continuing to emerge’.