8 Popular Australian Beers You Need to Try

Beer drinking is essential to Australian culture. Aussies have favorite beer styles depending on their hometowns. But some of them are nationally popular.

The most popular Australian beers include:

  • Tooheys New
  • Coopers Original Pale Ale
  • Victoria Bitter
  • Carlton Draught
  • James Squire 150 Lashes
  • XXXX Gold
  • Iron Jack Lager
  • Young Henrys Newtowner

This guide outlines everything you need to know about popular Australian beers.

Characteristics of Australian Beers

Since introducing beer breweries in the 1800s in Australia, this industry has come a long way. Many craft breweries have entered and gone off the scene. The main reasons are economic problems, monopolies, and a need for technical skills. Now, Australia leads the way in beer production in Oceania.

There are hundreds of craft breweries in Australia. Thanks to Australians’ love of crafted beer, microbreweries are increasing rapidly. Plus, there are famous conglomerates with international fame. Two of the most famous breweries are Foster’s and Lion Nathan.

Main Ingredients Used in Australian Beer

Main Ingredients Used in Australian Beer

Early Australian brewers followed English and European ale makers. Hops, barley, and malt are the common ingredients in Australian beers. They resemble English ale. And this sets them apart from other beers. But you can find various other flavors. They include chocolate, caramel, fruits, and herbs.

Australian barley is the second most-grown crop after wheat. Plus, Australian hops are world-famous. There are eight hop varieties with unique features and aromas.

  • Topaz: tropical fruits
  • Ella: flowers, spices
  • Galaxy: peach, passionfruit, citrus
  • Eclipse: sweet, citrusy
  • Pride of Ringwood: bitter, spicy
  • Vic Secret: herbs, pineapple, pine
  • Cascade: citrus fruits
  • Enigma: fruits like raspberry and white grape

Lager is the most popular beer variety in Australia. The main reason for this popularity is the warm climate. It’s highly sought after thanks to its crisp and refreshing texture. Ale and Stout follow lager in popularity. Still, lager dominates the bulk of Australian beer.

Unique Brewing Processes in Australia

Unique Brewing Processes in Australia

A good part of the beer on the market comes from microbreweries. So, it’s natural to see different brewing processes. Each brewery may have its unique brewing method. These unique methods have created four beers specific to Australia.

Beer Color Body Flavour
Australian Lager Light to golden Light Slightly bitter, crisp, and refreshing
Australian Sparkling Ale Yellow, Golden to mild copper full-bodied Highly carbonated, zippy, herby, peppery, resinous
Australian Pale Ale Straw-yellow to medium amber Light to medium Hoppy, dry, tropical fruits
Pacific Ale Golden hazy Light to medium Low bitterness, tropical fruits like mango and lychee

The distinctive feature of the Australian varieties is the use of Aussie hops. They give them fruity and floral notes.

Hops aren’t the only Australian products used in beer. Australia’s barley is also highly popular internationally. It has excellent malting and germination traits. So, it’s suitable for various beer styles.

You can find a full range of beer in the Australian brewery scene. But the country’s hot climate calls for crisp, thirst-quenching, and light beer.

Popular Australian Beer Brands  

1. Tooheys New

Tooheys New

Currently owned by Foster’s, Tooheys Brewery dates back to the 1860s. James and John Toohey were pub owners in Melbourne. But they moved to Sydney to set up their own brewery. Their first product, now called Tooheys Old, became an instant success.

Tooheys Old may be their longest-standing product. But Toohey’s New is the most popular.

Born in 1931, this iconic Australian lager joins traditions with modern taste.

Here are its most notable features:

  • Color: Golden and clear
  • Bitterness: Medium
  • Flavors: Floral, grassy, mild hops, malt, fruit, caramel
  • Body: Light
  • Alcohol: 4.6%
  • Carbonation: Medium

This refreshing lager is easy to drink and great for hot days in the Down Under. It comes with a fizzy, creamy head that goes to the bottom. It has strong roots in Australian culture. So, it has become the go-to beer for many Aussies when they want to return to their roots.

2. Coopers Original Pale Ale

Coopers Original Pale Ale

Coopers is one of the few breweries not owned by Foster’s or Lion Nathan. It’s the largest independent brewery. But they also export their products to the U.S. Lion Nathan has tried to acquire the company. But Coopers has remained independent.

Thomas Cooper started the company in the 1860s. He tried his family’s recipe to make beer. And it became a hit among friends. More than 150 years later, his recipe is still used in Coopers. And his descendants run the company.

They produce various beers, including:

  • Ale
  • Lager
  • Stout
  • Low carb beer
  • Zero alcohol beer
  • Seasonal beer

But their most noted product is Coopers’ Original Pale Ale. They take pride in their traditional recipe that stays true to the original English pale ale. They also don’t use any extra flavors besides the four ingredients, malt, yeast, hops, and water. Their beer’s distinctive taste comes from their unique brewing process.

Coopers’ Original Pale Ale pours foamy and is smooth and easy to drink. Here are its main features.

  • Color: Deep golden and hazy
  • Bitterness: Mild
  • Flavors: Floral, malty, bready, black pepper, yeasty
  • Body: Medium
  • Alcohol: 4.5%
  • Carbonation: Medium

This beer is also great for Australia’s warm weather. It’s crisp and refreshing and highly popular in traditional pubs.

3. Victoria Bitter

Victoria Bitter

Victoria Bitter is a traditional  Australian beer. The company’s founder is Thomas Aitken. He established Victoria Brewery in the 1850s. But the company is now called Carlton & United Breweries.

Thomas Aitken developed its recipe to beat the hot climate. The modern recipe hasn’t changed much. So, it has the same fruity, malty, and thirst-quenching nature.

Here are its main features.

  • Color: Orange-golden
  • Flavors: Malty, grassy
  • Bitterness: High
  • Alcohol: 4.9%
  • Body: Medium
  • Carbonation: High

As a classic Australian lager, you should enjoy VB’s icy cold. It also has a stronger sibling, VX. It has 6% alcohol content and comes in a smaller bottle.

4. Carlton Draught

Carlton Draught

Carlton Draught used to be called Carlton Ale in 1864. And now, it’s among the top draught lagers in Australia. It has a perfect balance between bitter hoppiness and sweet malt. Plus, it has a dry and crisp finish, so it should be your cold drink for hot days.

  • Color: Dark gold
  • Flavors: Resinous, hoppy, malty, fruity
  • Bitterness: Light
  • Alcohol: 4.6%
  • Body: Light

It comes on tap and stubby, longneck bottles and cans. There’s also the award-winning sibling, Carlton Mid. It has the same full-flavored and smooth mouthfeel. But it only has 3% alcohol.

5. James Squire 150 Lashes

James Squire 150 Lashes

There’s an interesting story behind this Australian pale ale. James Squire had to steal ingredients to make beer. After getting caught, the judge punished him with 150 lashes. He opened his brewery in 1806.

James Squire 150 Lashes is now a refreshing, classic Australian beer. The company also produces:

  • Ginger beer
  • Lager
  • Zero alcohol beer
  • Wheat ale

Here are its main features:

  • Color: Gold, light orange
  • Flavors: subtle hints of earthy malt, fruity, floral, sweet biscuit
  • Bitterness: low
  • Carbonation: high
  • Body: Light
  • Alcohol: 4.2%

This low-alcohol beer has a great mouthfeel. It’s also very easy to drink and refreshing.



Pronounced “four-ex,” the XXXX company started in 1878. It gets its name from the traditional beer grading method. The number of X’s represents the beer’s quality. The brewery makes various beers, including

  • Dry
  • Gold
  • Bitter
  • Zero
  • Summer Bright Lager

XXXX Gold is their most popular product. It’s one of the best-selling beers in Australia. XXXX Gold is a mid-strength lager made with Australian Golden Cluster hops.

  • Color: Dark gold
  • Alcohol: 3.5%
  • Flavors: Sweet, malty, subtle hops, caramel, toast
  • Bitterness: Mild
  • Body: Light
  • Carbonation: High

This beer is very difficult to find outside Australia. So, you must try it if you travel to Australia.

7. Iron Jack Lager

Iron Jack Lager

This lager is perfect for those interested in exploring the traditional Aussie culture. It gets its name from the typical Australian adventure guy. Iron Jack signifies freedom, travel, and adventure.

When I first tried Iron Jack Lager, I found it crisp and thirst-crunching. The thin body and low bitterness make it perfect for hot weather. Plus, it has 30% fewer carbs. So, it’s ideal for diabetics or those watching their weight.

  • Color: Gold
  • Flavor: Mild hops, balanced hoppy, biscuit, citrus
  • Alcohol: 3.5%
  • Bitterness: Low
  • Body: Light

It also has another interesting adventure for those who love the outdoors. You can find some coordinates inside the bottle caps. Following them will lead to some of the most attractive Australian natural features and local hubs.

8. Young Henrys Newtowner

Young Henrys Newtowner

This brewery is the youngest on this list. It started in Newtown, New South Wales, in 2012. But it has achieved the pinnacles of craft brewing ever since. This award-winning brewery has a wide range of products. They include

  • Gin
  • Cider
  • Beer (Hazy Pale Ale, Lager, IPA, etc.)

Their most popular product is Newtowner. It was released in 2012 to celebrate the 150th birthday of Newtown. It’s an Australian pale ale and the company’s flagship. Here are its main features:

  • Color: Golden, Copper
  • Flavors: Peach, tropical fruits, caramel
  • Alcohol: 4.8%
  • Bitterness: Mild
  • Body: Light

Final Thoughts

Australians embrace traditional beer-drinking traditions with some of the highest-quality, crisp beers. The beers mentioned in this article are all easy to drink and light to serve this purpose. That’s why they’re all popular in the land down under.


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