Two stouts, a wee heavy, and a Belgian strong ale. Woo!

The great thing about winter is it’s the perfect weather for darker beers!

The craft beer scene is usually all about IPAs, pale ales, or anything robust, interesting, or hoppy. But sometimes something dark and malty is what’s needed. A good dark beer, whether it be a brown ale, a porter, or a stout, can go down extremely well in colder weather.

The following are some favourite darker beers from Australia. These are all on the maltier side of things, so we’re purposefully moving away from anything too experimental. Adding to that, this is far from the “best” Australian dark beers, they’re just the five go to’s that are brilliant!

In that way, these are winter beers. They were selected because they’re ideal for drinking inside on a quiet cold winter’s night. Yes, these beers can be social too and enjoyed in a warm bar or pub, but they work all the better as a solo wind down beer.

We’ve also tried to narrow the list down to easier find dark beers. While there’s some brilliant darker beers out there that are very deserving of this list, we’re going to avoid darker beers that will be difficult to find Australia-wide. With that, limited releases won’t appear on this list either.

Presented in no particular order…

Five Australian Dark Beers for Winter

Holgate Temptress (Chocolate Porter): A nice porter that feels good in a pint! A problem with some darker beers, particularly porters and stouts, is that they’re often too heavy, and, while you’d gladly drink more, it simply won’t fit. Holgate just generally make some pretty great beer, and the Temptress is really one that put them on the map. Holgate’s Temptress is a porter that, while nice and heavy, feels like one that you can have three pints of. It’s pretty simple and standard, but infused with chocolate and vanilla to give it another brilliant angle.

Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale: Mornington Peninsula does beers very traditionally and this is no exception. A good brown ale is nice and malty without being too heavy: it’s a good beer style in between both its lighter and darker cousins. Mornington Peninsula’s Brown Ale is well balanced and full of malt without having too much hops in it. Hops can be a good thing, but for a nice quiet winter beer to enjoy when it’s cold, stay malty! Read the full beer review here.

Feral Brewing Co Smoked Porter: This beer is a little bit bolder than others on this list of dark beers. It is, after all, a smoked porter. Feral Brewing Co doesn’t often pull punches with its beer, and this is no exception. Because of that though, Feral’s Smoked porter may not suit everybody’s tastes. For those who like a smoky beer, this is a great beer to try on a cold winter’s night. The smokiness will warm up the belly and slow the beer down so the drinker can really take their time with it. A nice slow drink on a cold winter’s night? Yes please! Read the full beer review here.

Mountain Goat Sure Foot Stout: While this one from Mountain Goat technically isn’t in their core range, it’s a regular enough winter release that it’s made the list. This beer is further weird as it’s a stout in a can! It just feels a little strange to have a stout coming out of a can, but really, there’s no reason it should. Of course, though, the beer should be poured into a glass before drinking it. Mountain Goat’s stout is on the sweeter side which makes it a great winter beer. While the beer is a moderate 5%, ABV, the body and sweetness stops the drinker from having too many. These winter beers aren’t meant to be chugged after all.

2 Brothers Growler (Brown Ale): A lovely American brown ale by 2 Brothers. It’s a bit on the sweet side but very satisfying on a cold winter’s night. However, it’s an American brown ale so there is a bit of hops in there to keep things interesting. That’s the fun thing about this beer… it’s kept its maltiness despite having a bit of hops to keep it interesting. This thins things out a bit, but it helps keep the beer from getting too heavy and allows the drinker to have a few. While this is a great winter beer, it’s also a good beer for any weather. For those who aren’t terribly into beers with a huge amount of body, the 2 Brothers Growler still works as a nice winter beer without being too heavy

As mentioned, these are great beers but we’re not pretending they’re “the best.” Sorry to some of the amazing darker beers that have come out recently either on limited release or by smaller brewers. Hopefully this list gets more people into darker beers and they go on and join the dark side.

Feel free to comment with any personal favourites, especially if they’re Australian.