We have a new winner in the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers poll for 2022, with Mountain Culture achieving a staggering result and blasting straight into top spot. Their Status Quo pale ale became the first beer to debut at number one, pipping Balter's XPA, champion in 2017 and 2018, and with BentSpoke's Crankshaft IPA unable to make it a hat-trick of triumphs.
Last year, Mountain Culture's only appearance in the Hottest 100 was via their collaboration with Capital Brewing; this time around, their flagship pale ale was just one of four of beers in the Hottest 100, including their Bucket Full Of Nothin' collab with fellow podium-toppers Balter.
Ahead of the countdown, there was plenty of buzz around whether Better Beer's Zero Carb lager, endorsed by The Inspired Unemployed, could take top spot, but it finished in the same spot as its 2021 debut, sixth, leaving Mountain Culture to deliver the surprise.
Indeed, there was less change at the top than some had forecast with Mountain Culture's Status Quo the only newcomer in the top five; Crankshaft, Balter XPA, Your Mates Larry and Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale have filled four the top five positions since the 2019 poll.
It was another year of records too. More than 60,000 people registered to vote for their favourites from the 2,140 beers nominated from 311 brewing companies and drinks brands.
You can read our analysis of the top 100 here, from the focus on flagship beers to the ongoing love affair with pale, hoppy ales of all shapes and sizes.
Aside from the big winners and the familiar faces filling most of the spots, congratulations to One Drop and Blackflag who improved on their 2021 debut appearances to each add a second beer in the Hottest 100 this time around, with Range also scoring two beers for the first time, including their new core beer Disco.
The breweries making the most appearances in the H100 this time around are Balter (six), Capital (five) and Coopers (five).
Outside the top ten, among the most eye-catching finishes was Revel Brewing's Strawberries & Cream Sour Ale at 14 – the top-rated sour beer in the Hottest 100 – while there were six ginger beers in the list, with the highest-rated from 4 Pines spin-off Brookvale Union at 16.
Special mention to Bridge Road Brewers, with their Beechworth Pale Ale returning to the top ten and remaining the only indie beer to appear in every Hottest 100 since the poll's inception in 2008. And in the battle of the Labor leaders, the Albo-endorsed Albo Pale Ale from Willie The Boatman finished in 56th, two spots ahead of Hawke's Lager, but Bob had the last laugh with the Patio Pale featuring his likeness in at 27.
GABS managing director Mike Bray told The Crafty Pint it had been incredibly tight at the top, especially across the first seven beers.
"If it had been the Melbourne Cup, they would have gone upstairs with a photo finish," he said. "The New South Wales Blues knocked off the Maroons, and WA has moved up too.
"One Drop went from nothing two years ago to one beer last year and now two; Range are making inroads as well."
He added: "It's just been a great day for the industry, with 311 breweries, 2,140 beers attracting love, 29 changes to the list from last year, and a record voter registration. Huge congratulations to Mountain Culture."
Congratulations also to Mike and the GABS team for running a slick show around the 2022 poll, as well as all the breweries that featured in the countdown. They'll be unveiling the beers that finished between 101 and 200 next weekend, with 90 brewing companies and drinks brands represented across the top 200.