About Australian Beer

Although Australia accounts for only 1% of the total worldwide beer production, beer is an important beverage in the country. While most of the beer is made by a few large corporate breweries, brewpubs and microbrews have been in existence since the mid-1980s crafting top quality versions of bitter lager, India Pale Ales and pale lagers, to name only a few. Wine is a bit of a quandary when one speaks of Australia. Here is a country that ranks sixth in the world as far as total production, yet it so too often associated these days with inexpensive, mass-produced wines.

This is understandable, given that a few huge corporations produce a great majority of the country's wine, with much of its destined for supermarkets in the USA and England. But this reputation is a true shame, as there are so many excellent wine regions that are home to some magnificent producers.

Shiraz is the country's signature wine; not only is it Australia's most widely planted variety, it is also the wine with the greatest reputation. Especially in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, there are explosive versions of this wine that can age for many years. Other notable reds from Australia are the Rhone blends with varying percentages of Grenache and Mourvedre added to Shiraz.

Certain areas such as Western Australia are ideal for cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Probably the best white wines are Semillon from Hunter Valley and especially Riesling from the Clare and Eden Valleys. These Rieslings, thought quite different from those produced in Germany, are equally brilliant and are most assuredly world-class.

Per capita consumption has decreased by 30% since the late 1970s, but it has remained at a consistent level for the past few years.
Top Picks for Australia
215089
Burleigh Brewing Co.
My Wife's Bitter
Pale medium sunburst color. Delicate, baked, buttery creamy nutty aromas and flavors of chocolate toffee and coffee beans, rye crisp and puff rice, and hint of turnip with a satiny, crisp, fizzy, off-dry light-to-medium body and an effortless, delightful, snappy arugula, mocha, beets, and touch of pepper finish. A solid, earthy bitter with nice table appeal.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
211759
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Black Giraffe Coffee Lager
Opaque ebony color. Rich, creamy, malty smoky toasty aromas of coffee and dark chocolate mousse with a creamy, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, very long smoked nuts and espresso finish. A wonderfully vibrant and balanced coffee lager.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213117
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Duke Premium Lager
Light clear gold color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of spiced apples, corn kernels, and white grape with an even, soft, fizzy, off-dry light-to-medium body and a graceful, appealing, relaxed kale, buttered roasted corn, and pepper dust finish. A tasty, pure, and unpretentious pale lager.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212614
Burleigh Brewing Co.
28 Pale Ale
Pale clear golden amber color. Tropical aromas of pineapple-mango chutney, gooseberry jam, and peppercorn muffin with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an effortless, compelling, medium-length nuts, delicate spice-sage bread, and grassy earth finish. A nice, fruity, easy drinking pale ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220566
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Hassle Hop Session IPA
Clear golden amber color. Fruity aromas and flavors of caramelized tropical citrus, honey roasted corn with paprika, lemon cake, and delicate fresh herbs with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, delightful, medium-long arugula and pepper finish. A well balanced IPA with a juicy center.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220567
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Fig Jam IPA
Clear dark amber color. Aromas and flavors of dried herbs, hop pellet, and onion marmalade on toasted corn bread with a supple, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, buoyant pepper, radicchio, and earth finish. A full-bodied chewer for those who want to teach their tongues a lesson.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
207662
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Dream Date
Deep amber bronze color. Attractive aromas of citrus, pine, and toasted fruitcake with a crisp, frothy, dryish medium body and a mildly astringent, medium length roasted nuts, pepper, and herbs finish. Not a lot of fruit character, but a tasty well made dark ale with vibrant hops.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220564
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Twisted Palm Pale Ale
Clear gold color. Tropical, floral aromas and flavors of tropical fruit salad, honeyed lemongrass and herbs, caramelized pineapple, and pinesap with a supple, crisp, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-to-long buttered Hawaiian toast, nutskin, lettuce, and dried banana finish. A nice tropical session pale ale that is front-loaded with hops and is sure to please.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
214227
Australian Beer Company
Yenda Hell
Minutely hazy light gold color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of apple butter on toasted baguette with a supple, crisp, frothy, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy arugula, radish, roasted corn, and orange pepper finish. A lively snappy lager.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208747
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Duke Helles
Bright gold color. Delicate, toasty aromas and flavors of raisin toast and lemon cream with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, dryish light-to-medium body and a fast finish with notes of lettuce, mineral, peppered jicama, and nuts. A crisp, relaxing lager.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab