The Gold Coast pale ale that has wooed beer-drinkers

Balter's winning entry

Balter's winning entry

Votes have been cast in the annual Hottest 100 Craft Beers - and a new style has come out on top.

An unusual pale ale from Gold Coast brewery Balter has won first place in the annual GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers, the beer world's equivalent of a blue ribbon at the state agricultural show. The awards operate like a people's choice ranking of microbrews, providing a useful yardstick for Australians' drinking habits.

Balter's XPA, a variant on a pale ale, led the field ahead of three-time winner Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale and ACT brewer BentSpoke's American-style Crankshaft pale ale. The XPA category is an unofficial term created by Balter, so we asked GT's resident drinks expert, Max Allen, to do his own taste-test of the champion beer, which he says is a surprising winner.

"It's great to see that that style of beer has attraction in the market," Allen says. "For 130 years or so the much less robust lager style has been the popular choice."

Allen's hunch is the "X" stands for extra pale ale: the beer is much lighter in colour, body and aroma compared with other styles of pale ale, such as an IPA, making it an excellent choice for those looking for something sessionable. However, it's not necessarily one to throw back.

"There's quite a lot going on in the palate," he says. "It doesn't smell too hoppy but there's a whack of hop bitterness in the mouth. It's seriously flavoursome.

"It's brilliant, actually, how it ticks both style boxes at the same time," he says.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Trash Tiki comes to Australia
12.02.2018
The Gold Coast pale ale that has wooed beer-drinkers
07.02.2018
Leading Sydney sommelier opens She Loves You in Newtown
02.02.2018
Jim Meehan takes PDT to Hong Kong
01.02.2018
Drinking Australia's native ingredients
17.01.2018
P&V Merchants opens in Sydney, stocking small-batch and hard-to-find booze
06.12.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Signature Drink: The Baxter Inn’s Charlestown

Grab the mink and the fedora – this Baxter cocktail means bu...

Dan Aykroyd interview

Dan Aykroyd talks drinks, parties and his singular take on b...

New cocktail bar and soda factory to open in Sydney's CBD

Sydney's CBD is in for quite the (fizzy) shake-up when PS40,...

Craft beer bouquets

Sydney’s Brewquets delivers thank you gifts for craft-beer e...

Canberra's new wave of great bars

Canberra just keeps getting cooler - and we're not talking a...

Turning spit buckets into brandy

Upcycling wine from spit buckets into brandy? Only at Rootst...

Four Pillars’ Australian Christmas Gin

Have you ever tried distilled Christmas pudding? Christmas s...

Top drops: November 2016

Whatever the cause for celebration, Max Allen has a juicy dr...

50/50 Sazerac

Big in the '60s, the 50/50 Sazerac is a dry cocktail similar...

Signature Drink: Sweetwater’s Basil Smash

A simple twist on a gin classic.

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden’s very own gin

Distillery Botanica’s head distiller was let loose in the ga...

Jacoby’s, a Twin Peaks-themed tiki bar, opens in Enmore

David Lynch and tiki culture are the inspiration for Jacoby’...

Love, Tilly Devine’s new chapter

The Sydney wine bar has recharged the batteries and pivoted ...

Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, arrives in Australia

The question of what to drink when you’re not having a drink...

Four Pillars releases a new batch of its Australian Christmas Gin

The same pudding flavour, but with more Christmas spirit.