Our Australian readers will know that the “race that stops a nation” is fast upon us: the Melbourne Cup. For those not in the know, the Melbourne Cup is a yearly horse race held, surprisingly, in Melbourne. In Brew in Review’s home state of Victoria, we even have a holiday on the first Tuesday of November; many people in other states take the day off to watch the race.

Upon realising that the winning horse in 2000 was named “Brew” (coming in at 14-1 odds), we couldn’t resist listing some great beers to have during the cup. But first, let’s take a look at some Melbourne Cup facts (facts via Betfair):

  • Bart Cummings has taken in a record 12 Cup wins
  • Barrier 18 has never won a Melbourne Cup (so don’t bet on that one)
  • Horse number 4 and 12 hold the records for 11 wins each (so do bet on those ones)
  • Four and five year old horses tend to be the best odds of winning

Anyway, onto the beer! Since this is an Australian horse race, we’ll keep the beers Australian with the top five Australian beers for the Melbourne Cup.

Mountain Goat Summer AleMountain Goat Summer Ale: It’s not quite summer yet in Australia, but it is getting warm, so a summer ale should be suitable. The Melbourne Cup is also a long afternoon, so, whether you’re at the race itself or at a party/barbecue, this would probably be a good choice with only 4.7% alcohol. It’s a nice light beer (it’s a summer ale!) and designed to be a session beer. It’s also very Australian, so goes well with all sorts of Australian party foods like sausages.

Have we reviewed it? No, not yet…

3-ravens-esb.jpg3 Ravens English (ESB): OK, it’s called the “English,” but 3 Ravens have made one of the easiest drinking ESBs out there. As with the the Mountain Goat Summer ale, this one is pretty light in alcohol (4.5%) which makes it very suitable for a long day at the races. Sure, it’s a little heavier than a summer ale, but bitters really were the original session ale. This is really a proper pub beer, so if you’re watching the Melbourne Cup at the pub, why not go with a proper pub beer? Bonus points to the pub serves it via hand pump.

Here’s the full 3 Ravens English beer review.

Black Dog Brewery Lazy Dog AleBlack Dog Brewery Lazy Dog Ale: This one is getting a little heavier, but it’s possible that the day of the race can be cold; the Melbourne Cup has been known to be rainy and dreadful. So a good backup beer could be Black Dog’s Lazy Dog Ale. Made by someone who was originally a winemaker, this beer has a great sessionability while also being quite obviously thoughtful. It’s interesting, but in a traditional session beer way. Yes, it’s not quite as big as an American Pale Ale, but that’s made up for in some interesting flavours coming from the yeast and malts.

Here’s the full Black Dog Lazy Dog Ale review.

bridge-road-bling.jpgBridge Road Bling IPA: We needed an IPA on this list and Bridge Road’s IPA, the Bling, really deserves the place. For an IPA, it’s not too big, but it’s not trying to be a session IPA. As with the rest of the beers on this list, it’s great just to enjoy all day but also interesting enough that you don’t get bored. This is a bit of a “zone out” beer, so it may be a nice one to end the day on and just relax. However, it is called the “Bling” so hopefully it will help you get lucky with the betting!

Here’s the full Bridge Road Bling IPA review.

Killer Sprocket Amber AleKiller Sprocket Amber Ale: OK, admittedly this is a bit of a favourite and there may be some bias here, but it’s simply a good beer! Once again, at 4.8%, this is a beer that can be enjoyed all day. This is probably the heaviest of the bunch so would be suitable should the Melbourne Cup be a fairly cold one. This beer can go down nice and slow, so it’s also a good option if you want to enjoy a great beer during race day, but make sure you’re drinking slow enough to enjoy it!

Here’s the full Killer Sprocket Amber Ale review.

So that’s our list! Sure, it’s not definitive, but having a couple of these for your Melbourne Cup party should be quite welcome.

Remember to stay responsible though: it’s a long day that should be filled with fun; keep it that way.