What to buy
- Hahn Premium Lager - $14.00
- Kokanee Glacier - $23.00
- Bluetongue Traditional Pilsener - $17.00
- James Squire Golden Ale - $13.85
- Little Creatures Bright - $19.00
- Coopers Best Extra Stout - $15.00
- Following the experts’ recommendations is a good start, even if you might not always agree with them.
- If you want to experiment more widely, look for premium beers on special to keep any disappointments cheap.
- A high price certainly didn’t guarantee a better beer in this test. While the most expensive (Kokanee, $23 for a six-pack) rated very well, several other beers that cost us $18–$19 for six were well down the scores.
Hard to choose
There’s no shortage of different brews to try — one big retailer supplied us with a stock list of more than 700 premium and imported beers. Sadly, we couldn’t test them all. Also, many of the interesting craft beers are only sold locally, but they’re well worth a try when you find one from your area.
We tested 46 top-selling premium beers that you should be able to find at your local bottle shop. Eighteen are imported and 28 brewed in Australia. All up, our experts tasted 24 lagers, nine pilsners, 11 ales and two stouts. (For what distinguishes these different types or styles of beer, see Drinking in style.)
Australians are certainly heading upmarket with their beer and drinking more imported stuff, not to mention local craft beers with names like ‘Bluetongue’ and ‘Dogbolter’. While plenty of people are happy with the old standard brews, a good-sized minority of both men and women are experimenting with their tastebuds (at a cost to their wallets).