This is an excerpt of an article by James Smith posted on craftypint.com.au on 11 Dec 2023. To read the full article, click here
We've been running blind tastings – both with expert panels and as public events – for more than a decade now. Almost exclusively, each has focused on a particular style, although there was one focused on ownership a few years back, as well as our Budget Busters special earlier in the year, that were a little different from the norm.
As we've noted before, it's nigh-on impossible these days – at least outside the confines of a major beer awards where they've scores of judges and several days on their hands – to conduct such an undertaking with many beer styles. And that's simply due to the weight of numbers: there's hundreds of brewers putting out pilsners, pales, IPAs and sours of varying kinds today; in the earlier days of this site, we would struggle to find even a dozen packaged local examples of most beers.
It means that, in recent years, we've tended to focus on emerging or less saturated areas of the beer landscape. Or, in the case of this blind tasting, we've stepped away from a strict focus on styles to look more broadly at a theme: the rise of beer brands associated with personalities known for their endeavours elsewhere, or bands and businesses keen to add beer to their merch offering.
Such beer brands are far from new – famous people were putting their names to beers long before the term "craft beer" came into existence – and they warranted a mention in our Best of 2022 feature a year ago. We were sparked into action, however, by a flurry of new arrivals this year, most notably when we received media releases announcing two new brands on the very same day.