The West

Feral brew tops best beer list
Hop Hog has taken the top spot in The Critics' Choice: Australia's Best Beers book. Picture: Rob Duncan/The West Australian

WA's Feral Brewing Company has been voted the best in the country, with its Hop Hog India pale ale named the top beer of 2012 in a soon-to-be-released guide.

It's the second time Hop Hog has taken the top spot in The Critics' Choice: Australia's Best Beers book, now in its third year.

Head brewer Brendan Varis described the beer as a hop extravaganza, with just enough malt to make it approachable.

Editor Pete Mitcham applauded Hop Hog for its balance, freshness, firm bitterness and dry finish.

Feral Brewing Company, the Swan Valley winery district, is a family business that started 10 years ago with a focus on supplying its own restaurant.

But it got serious about retail sales about five years ago after Mr Varis and wife Gabrielle bought out some original shareholders.

Last year, they built a new brewery in Perth's northern suburbs, increasing their annual production capacity from 500,000 litres to five million litres.

"We're lucky timing-wise because it seems the thirst for good craft beer is almost insatiable at the moment," Mr Varis said.

This year, Feral Brewing Company features twice in the top 10, with its unusual Watermelon Warhead light wheat beer ranking number four.

With an alcohol content of only 2.9 per cent, it was created with the intent of being an interesting addition to the small low-strength class, Mr Varis said.

Mitcham describes it as "possibly the most insanely marvellous beer to hit the scene since the discovery of yeast".

"Full of flavour, complexity and thirst-quenching satisfaction, but with little more alcohol than a Seventh Day Adventist Church picnic".

The West Australian

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