Australia’s Craft Beer: A Story of Charm and Passion
If you are a beer lover, chances are you have already tried a few kinds of craft beer. And for those who still haven’t had the opportunity to try a new and unique style, there’s plenty to choose from. A new generation of craft fans is emerging and they are seeking out innovative, adventurous tastes.
What Is Craft Beer?
Unlike the mass-produced kind from large corporations, this beer comes from a small, independent brewery, made with unique, locally sourced ingredients and flavours. It is brewed in small patches, without the use of machinery or additives, but in a traditional way with a lot of love and passion. It is ‘crafted’, not manufactured.
Using a more artisanal and creative approach to brewing, these enthusiasts produce healthier alternatives with unique tastes. It’s returning to the roots of tinkering with home brew kits in the backyard, switching strains of hops, and adding a personal touch to create a premium product.
These microbreweries are always transparent. Most of them are open and ready to welcome customers who would like to see the techniques and ingredients they use and give you an improvised tour.
Why Does Its Popularity Grow?
Craft beer has been gaining momentum in recent years and Australia has seen a rise in the number of breweries like never before. With an average annual growth rate of 9.7% and around 600 brewers and 400 distillers across the country, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Although the general trend of declining consumption, demand for the variants has grown attracting a different demographic group. The popularity has been attributed to younger generations living in inner city areas motivated by seeking out new products from local businesses.
For consumers under 30, quality was their number one priority as well as experimenting with a huge diversity of styles and tastes. They feel the beer they drink says a lot about them and they care about the story behind it. And the breweries are excellent at showcasing the story, the aromas, and the flavours.
These craft drinkers like to back up the sustainability of a beverage that aligns with the responsibility to contribute to a better, more sustainable world.
Australia’s Craft Beer Culture
The highest concentration of breweries is in Victoria and New South Wales, and trying out craft beer in Melbourne or Sydney is popular not only with the locals but with the tourists as well. These labels are a valuable attraction to regional and rural Australia and they have strong ties to their place of origin.
This practice adds brand value to the beer and at the same time increases recognition of the places where it was brewed, making them attractive for tourism and benefiting the local hospitality as well as boosting the regional economies.
Festivals are another part of the culture around the drink. They are a great opportunity for brewers to showcase their brews and for consumers to sample new varieties as there are new drops made especially for these festivals.
With more people exposed to different styles, the industry increases the potential to grow. If you want to try the best craft beer Melbourne has to offer, make sure you visit this year’s festival or order some brews online.
Varieties and Characteristics
We can safely say the styles are endless since new brews are coming out every day and they all have a one-of-a-kind taste. Here are some of the more popular varieties with a short description of how they taste.
• Pale Ale – not too strong with light or golden colour and fruity to malty taste
• India Pale Ale – with more bitterness and aroma hop flavours
• Wheat beers – with refreshing, spicy character with lower alcohol content
• Classic craft lager – cleaner tasting with a strong aroma
• Sour ales – aged in oak barrels with intense, tangy flavour
• Light beers – low alcohol varieties with different aromas
• High-alcohol beers – 5% ABV or higher like barley wines, imperial stouts, or strong ales
• Alcoholic ginger – usually with about 3.5% to 4% alcohol and spicy flavour
And the list goes on. Some breweries offer fruity aromas like citrus and berries, and there are even outlandish chocolate flavours on the market today. You will have to go through the ‘difficult’ task of sampling a few before you decide on your favourite.
The industry is on the rise and even though the high-price-point market seems to be saturated with new players, there’s still room for those who are ready to put in the effort for some shelf space.
Many see the future of craft beer in brew-pubs models rather than packaged beer. It will give the customers yet another unique experience. With the tax changes that allow brewers and distillers to keep more of what they earn, and invest and grow, the potential for the industry is huge.
The consumer desire for the tangible, authentic and local experience, the changing tastes and the shift from quantity to quality have seen the craft beer movement flourish, and it seems like things are going to continue in this direction.
The Final Round
Starting from the process of discovering raw materials, fermenting beer, selecting a certain kind of hops and deliberately brewing it in limited quantities each time, brewers bring a charm to beer that is hard to resist.
In the craft beer world, there are always exotic and exciting new flavours and styles to explore. Savouring the talk-of-the-town novel variety, meticulously brewed from hand-picked high-quality ingredients is more than enough to fall in love with this world.