Avoca Hotel

The pub with Australia’s best beer list

July 29, 2019
By Alana House

The Avoca Hotel has won Australia’s Best Beer List at Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards for the second year running.

The Victorian pub carries a substantial range of local and regional craft beer together with many uncommon imported boutique beers from all over the world. 

Launched in 1993 by Rob and Judy Hirst and Tucker Seabrook, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards were created to recognise and reward the hard work and talent of sommeliers as well as the enormous investment in time and resources by business owners to develop quality wine lists and cellars.

Chairman of Judges Peter Forrestal noted: “A key feature of the nation’s best beer lists is the presence of a wide number of beers on tap.

“The best beer lists tend to be curated by passionate individuals who will provide customers with information and tasting notes to help their choice of beverage.

“Thanks to the craft brewery revolution the range of different kinds of ales and lagers that is possible is vast.”

The Avoca hotel; best beer list; Australia's Wine List of the Year

The Awards’ Consumer Media Partner Gourmet Traveller Wine noted that The Avoca’s beer list features “plenty of typically popular ales and lagers, as one would expect, but they have gone above and beyond to compile an extraordinary collection”.

“The Avoca has sourced their beers from every corner of the globe,” it said. “Feel like a Mexican pilsner or a Sardinian lager, a Japanese IPA or a Californian wheat beer, a Norwegian saison or a Belgian trappist tripel? Well, this is the place. There are light beers and strong ales and even gluten-free beers. And a wonderful assembly of fruit beers, sour beers and lambic beers.

“The highlight, especially for fans of the style, must be the stouts and porters. From renowned breweries from around the world, these are a treat.” 

Forrestal added: “[Owner] Ian Urquart can’t resist extending and refining his beer list every year. There are now more than 160 beers of every imaginable style from around the world, including most corners of the US, Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, Japan, Jamaica, Norway, Ireland, England, NZ and all over Australia). It’s the breadth and depth of the beer list that sets it apart – as well as the sheer quality that it embraces.”

Pubs & clubs triumph at Wine List of the Year

Other winning pubs and hotels included Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel for Best Listing Of VIC Wines; and Margaret River’s Settlers Tavern, which took out Best Wine List WA and Best Listing Of WA Wines.

Regarding the Wickens win, Forrestal added: “For a decade or more the Royal Mail has had one of Australia’s great international wine lists – with huge strength in Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel; Australia's Wine List of the Year

“A former winner of Australia’s Wine List of the Year, it has never neglected its local winemakers. The current list by the glass has three classic Victorian bubblies; eight (out of 11) Victorian whites; a local rose; and eight (out of 10) Victorian reds. It highlights Victoria’s strengths (especially with riesling, chardonnay and pinot) while offering some older vintages that have been an important part of the state’s wine history.”

Meanwhile, The Newcastle Club was awarded Best Club Restaurant Wine List and Best Club Restaurant Wine List.

Forrestal added: “There’s invariably a sommelier or a small group of dedicated wine lovers who have transformed the fortunes of pub restaurants like Perth’s Mayfair Lane, Margaret River’s Settlers Tavern, Sydney’s Upstairs at the Lord Nelson and the Adelaide Hill’s Crafers Hotel.

“People are enticed to these venues by quality food and exceptional wine lists. Sommeliers, driven by an often unreasonable passion for wine which they are determined to share, know what their consumers want and make it available. As a result, the venues thrive.”

Drinks Trade a proud partner of the awards

“The Drinks Association is thrilled to support Australia’s Wine List of Year,” said CEO Georgia Lennon.

“As the Trade Communications Partner of the event, we look forward to featuring the winners in our magazine, Drinks Trade. Drinks Trade is the go-to publication for Australia’s on and off-trade and keeping them informed is key to its success.

“These awards are a valuable acknowledgement of the amazing talent in our industry and I congratulate all the winners.”

Full winners list:

Australia's Wine List of the Year 2019 winners

NATIONAL AWARD WINNER – 2019 Wine List of The Year – est, Sydney & Judy Hirst Award Bhatia Dheeraj


Best Wine List ACT – Mezzalira

Best Wine List NSW – est

Best Wine List NT – Stone House

Best Wine List QLD – Otto Brisbane

Best Wine List SA – The Barn Steakhouse Mount Gambier

Best Wine List TAS – Terrace Launceston

Best Wine List VIC – Cutler & Co

Best Wine List WA – Settlers Tavern Margaret River


Best City Restaurant Wine List – est, NSW

Best Country Restaurant Wine List – The Barn Steakhouse Mount Gambier, SA

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List – Berts, NSW

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List – Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room, WA

Best Club Restaurant Wine List – The Newcastle Club, NSW

Best Wine Bar List – Dear Sainte Éloise, NSW

Best New List – The Tony Hitchin Award – Bistecca, NSW

Best Small List (Max 50 Wines) – Congress, VIC

Best Small List (Max 100 Wines) – Institut Polaire, TAS

Best Food & Wine Matching List – Momofuku Seiobo, NSW

Best List Of Wine By The Glass – Bentley, NSW

Best Beer List – The Avoca, VIC Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks List – Attica, VIC

Best Sparkling Wine List – Melbourne Supper Club, VIC

Best Champagne List – Quay, NSW

Best Aperitif List – Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro, NSW

Best Digestif List – Bentley, NSW

Best Listing Of A Region’s Wine – Stillwater Launceston, TAS

Best Listing Of Australian Wines – Cafe Sydney, NSW

Best Listing Of ACT Wines – The Boat House, ACT

Best Listing Of NSW Wines – The Newcastle Club, NSW

Best Listing Of QLD Wines – Cru Bar + Cellar, QLD

Best Listing Of SA Wines – Republic Norwood, SA

Best Listing Of TAS Wines – Terrace Launceston, TAS

Best Listing Of VIC Wines – Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, VIC

Best Listing Of WA Wines – Settlers Tavern Margaret River, WA

Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers’ Choice – Muse, ACT

Sommeliers Choice Award – Sixpenny, NSW

Click here to see photos from the ceremony

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