Our Sports Bar bartenders share their favourite beers in celebration of this annual global event.
On Friday 7 August, lager lovers around the world will raise a glass to ring in the 14th annual International Beer Day. And even though COVID-19-related restrictions means the festivities may look a little different this year, with bars and restaurants putting their planned celebrations on ice, there’s nothing stopping you from cracking open your favourite ale and toasting the brewers and bartenders behind the day as best you can. Need inspiration? We asked some of our own to tell us what they’ll be drinking both at work and at home.
Bartender Anon Jiamprayoon, ‘AJ’ from Sports Bar at The Star Gold Coast has been manning the taps since late 2008, making it the 13th International Beer Day he’ll have spent with us. For this year’s iteration, he’ll be drinking James Squire One Fifty Lashes. “It’s a refreshing pale ale with a slight fruitiness and mild citrus flavour,” he says. “And it’s great with fish and chips.”
Even though Sports Bar isn’t officially celebrating International Beer Day this year, if you find yourself there and you’re looking for a recommendation, AJ says you can’t go wrong with something from one of the big international breweries, such as a Heineken or an Asahi Super Dry. However, if you’re looking for something local, he suggests trying either Balter Brewing or Stone & Wood. “Balter’s breweries are just 25 minutes away from The Star Gold Coast and their XPA (or extra pale ale) is one of my favourites,” he says. “And Stone & Wood from Byron Bay is always a hit with our guests; it continues to be one of our best sellers.”
Guy Tracey, food and beverage captain at LiveWire bar at Treasury Brisbane, is a big fan of South Australian favourite Coopers – particularly the brewery’s most recent addition, the purple-labelled XPA. “I like flavourful session-type beers and Coopers XPA has nailed that balance of fruity flavour and easy-to-drink crispness,” he says.
If you’re more of a lager drinker, Guy reckons that locally brewed Eumundi Lager is one of the most underrated beers LiveWire has on pour. “It boasts a floral nose and sweet front palate, but leaves no residue or any of that overly lingering flavour that you’d expect from a lager,” he says. Other local favourites include – in true Queensland style – plenty from the smaller brewers the Steven Bradbury-inspired Last Man Standing and several from Byron Bay Breweries.
To truly put the ‘international’ in International Beer Day, Guy suggests seeking out something unique such as Japanese microbrewery Kizakura Kyoto’s range of craft beers, which he was introduced to on a pre-pandemic trip to Japan. “All the beers in their range feature a Japanese twist,” he says, highlighting the hazy golden kölsch and the Lucky Cat, a white ale infused with sansho pepper and yuzu, that knobbly Japanese citrus fruit, for extra flavour.
Ultimately, whether you choose to stick with what you know and love or experiment with some interesting beers from further afield, the most important thing is to lean into the spirit of International Beer Day by getting together with friends, celebrating those responsible for brewing and serving beer, and enjoying everything that make beer great.