Before we know it, summer will be upon us, and there’s nothing quite like reaching for a nice cold beer on a warm day. Beer holds a special place in Australian culture, and while statistics say Australians are drinking less of it, or turning to non-alcoholic versions, Australians are ranked fourth internationally per capita in beer consumption.
Beer was first brought to Australia on the Endeavour, by Captain James Cook. The Endeavour was well stocked with beer, and produce to brew with for the journey.
The first brewer in Australia was John Boston, who brewed beer from Indian corn, and cap gooseberry leaves. Following that, the first pub was opened in Parramatta, NSW in 1796 by freed convict, James Larra.
Australia’s oldest brewery still in operation is Tasmania’s legendary Cascade Brewery. Established in Hobart in 1824, the building stands today and still produces classic Cascade beers.
With a storied history, beer has made its mark on Australian states, with breweries setting up shop in cities and towns all around the country—providing they had a reliable water source. Today, many of these breweries still operate and have produced beers that have been consumed for generations.
These are the best old-school beers still being served in each state.
New South Wales
Tooheys Old has been brewed since 1869, and can be found on tap around New South Wales, as well as in the ACT, South Australia, and Queensland. It was previously known as Tooheys Hunter Old Ale.
Tooheys New is the most popular beer brewed by Tooheys and can be found on tap in most bars in New South Wales. The beer was first brewed in 1931 and was initially called Tooheys New Special.
Brewed since the 1800s, Reschs was taken over by Tooth & Co in 1929, who continued brewing Reschs Pilsener until it was then taken over by Carlton & United Breweries in 1983. Reschs Pilsner was discontinued, but found was brought back after campaigning by the Reschs Appreciation Society, and continues to be brewed by CUB.
Victoria Bitter, or VB as it’s more commonly known, is Australia’s highest-selling beer. It was developed in 1854 by Thomas Aitken, founder and head brewer of the Victoria Brewery. Despite the name, VB is actually a lager, not a bitter.
You’ll find Carlton Draught on tap and most pubs around Victoria, and is also found in the ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia. It was originally brewed by Carlton Brewery, one of the six major Australian breweries that merged in 1907 to become Carlton & United Breweries.
Despite only launching on taps in 2015, Melbourne Bitter was initially brewed in 1936 by brewers Jack Prederast, and Nick Deheer before being sold to Carlton & United Breweries later that year. The beer was initially popular in regional Victoria, but has had a resurgence among city dwellers over the past decade.
Despite not being popular in Australia anymore, Fosters is still an iconic Australian beer and was first brewed in Melbourne in 1888. Conceived by two American brothers, William, and Ralph Foster, the beer has become popular in the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Boags XXX Ale
Boags XXX Ale is impossible to find outside of Tasmania, but has been brewed in the Apple Isle for more than 100 years. James Boag initially brewed the beer in 1883 and has been enjoyed by generations of Tasmanians.
Another that’s just for Tasmanians, the Cascade Lager is to Hobart as the Boags red is to Launceston. The Cascade ‘Blue’ has fruity notes and is balanced with bitters from hops.
Coopers Pale Ale
While only hitting the market in 1989, Coopers Pale Ale has its roots in previously brewed Coopers beers such as the Light Brew Sparkling Ale, and the Light Dinner Ale which were brewed from the 1960s.
West End Draught
Known as ‘red tins’, West End Draught is the highest-selling beer in South Australia. Initially brewed by the South Australian Brewing Company, the brewery was acquired by Lion in 1993.
Swan Draught has been in production since 1857, making it one of Australia’s oldest beers. A classic golden lager made from Western Australian barley, and Tasmanian hops.
Initially brewed in 1923, Emu Bitter is still widely available and is commonly known as Bush Chooks, EB, or Kenny. It’s a crisp beer, and suits the warmer climate in Western Australia.
Launched in 1954, Emu Export is an iconic West Australian beer that isn’t often found outside of Western Australia.
The XXXX beer brand has been brewing beer since 1924 in Queensland by Castlemaine Brewers. Many beers over the years have been labelled with the XXXX brand, the oldest of which currently is XXXX Bitter which was introduced in 1991.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.