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Australian Beer Round-Up | Best Australian Beers

Australian Beer Round-Up | Best Australian Beers

Beer - it’s what makes the world go ‘round, or something… 

While it may not literally be the force behind the spinning motion of the Earth, I think we can all agree that beer dramatically improves your quality of life. What’s more relaxing than laying on the beach and sipping on a Corona with a fresh lime you just struggled to push into the bottle? Literally nothing. One of my favorite parts about traveling is seeing which beers are popular in which countries. It’s especially fun in smaller countries where everyone drinks the same one or two brands of beer. It really brings everyone together!

Australia on the other hand has tons of local beers. They don’t really have as many craft beers as they do in the United States, but they surprisingly have a lot of beers that people drink country-wide. And what better way to get to know a country than drinking all of their beer? So that’s exactly what Kenyon and I did. We decided to pick up one of each of some of the more popular Australian brews and give them a try. Check out our (very scientific) research below to find out which is the best Australian beer.

Great Northern

Kenyon: “Completely middle of the road”

Forest: “Tastes like a warm bud light”

A pretty average beer from probably my favorite Australian state, Queensland. There was nothing really noteworthy about this one. It’s never really my first choice out at a bar and I would never willingly purchase a six pack. However, when it’s on draft and comes in a nice chilled glass, you can be fooled into thinking it’s a decent beer. One thing I will give Great Northern is that it’s really easy to drink so if you’re hosting a Beer Olympics or are going to be drinking beer all day - this could be a good choice.

James Boags

Kenyon: “Not a huge fan of average lagers”

Forest: “Just not good”

The one word that comes to my mind when I think of James Boags, “ew”. Ugh I do not know how people drink this, it is not a good beer. While I drink my fair share of beer and definitely enjoy a nice craft beer, I’m not a beer snob by any stretch of the imagination and will drink just about anything you put in front of me. Except for James Boags (probably). It’s bitter, the bottle is ugly, it’s heavy, and it’s just not a good drinking experience. I have no idea where or why I would ever have to make this decision, but If I had to choose between drinking a pint of James Boags or a pint of my own urine, I would have to take a minute to think about it.

Carlton Draught

Kenyon: “Really heavy”, “Old socks”

Forest: “Bottom of the keg”, “Just how it looks”

Another disappointment. And this beer is actually fairly popular across Australia! I see a lot of people drinking it at bars so I had semi-high hopes for this one. But they quickly came crashing down after my first sip. It’s really heavy, has a strange flavor, and actually does taste a little bit like old socks. Seriously don’t even bother with this one.

Pure Blonde

Kenyon:  “Easy drinking”, “Not super carbonated”

Forest: “Nice solid flavor”, “Honestly, I like it”

This was refreshing after suffering through the James Boags and Carlton Draught. It’s not the most flavorful beer in the world but it still has a fresh, light, full flavor. It’s another beer that’s really easy to drink and it’s even a low-carb beer, apparently! I don’t really care about that but I guess it is nice to drink a beer that’s “good for you”. Relatively.

Victoria Bitter

Kenyon: “Actually sort of a weird taste”

Forest: “Damn, this is 4.9%?!”

I go back and forth with Victoria Bitter. I’ve had it before and actually enjoyed it, but other times it tastes a bit weird to me. I also secretly think the bottle is really cute, so that probably factors into my opinion. Kenyon didn’t really enjoy it that much but I think overall it’s a decent beer! Also, it’s 4.9% ABV which may not seem like a lot, but most beers in Australia have a pretty low ABV so I was happy about that.


Kenyon: “Good drinking beer”  

Forest: “Well-rounded flavor”, “Not too heavy”

This is probably the first beer on the list that I genuinely enjoyed drinking - it has a nice bright flavor that still tastes full. As an added bonus, it’s usually one of the cheapest options at the bottle shop/bar. Also if you want to order this beer, ask for a “four x”. It took me a few tries of asking for “the x beer”, “quadruple x”, or my favorite just saying “X” four times in a row before a kind bartender finally corrected me.

Crown Lager

Kenyon: “So smooth”, “Only for celebrations” | Forest: “Actually really nice”

I will admit that when it comes to brands and packaging, I always judge a book by its cover. AKA I will buy something based solely on how pretty its packaging is. So upon initial inspection, I really didn’t think I was going to like Crown. However! It ended up being my favorite on the list, with XXXX Gold coming in close second. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but it’s honestly just delicious. It has a nice little after taste as well. The packaging is a bit weird to me though. The bottle is a weird shape and the gold seems a bit excessive to just casually pick up a six-pack. I would definitely order this at the bar though or maybe drink it at some sort of backyard BBQ graduation celebration.

XXXX Summer

Kenyon: “No tropical notes at all” | Forest: “Not very summery”, “Buy it for the bottle”

Literally the exact opposite happened with XXXX Summer. I thought the bottle was super cute and was expecting a nice light, summery beer with maybe a few citrus-y notes. I was severely disappointed. It’s kind of just like a slightly worse version of XXX Gold. It’s an okay beer but there are much more summery beers out there if you’re looking for an actual summer beer. Is it sad that even though I don’t like this beer, I would still buy it again because the bottle’s cute?

Hopefully this list will save you from having to try some truly awful beers yourself. You’re welcome. In summary: 

  • I would never purchase James Boags or Carlton Draught ever again. 
  • If none of my favorite beers are around, I would settle for Great Northern, XXXX Summer, or Victoria Bitter. 
  • I would actually willingly purchase XXXX Gold, Crown, or Pure Blonde.

Cheers, friends!

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