There's No XXXX Beer In The US, But There Are Plenty Of Similar Brews

If make your way to the Land Down Under and ask a bartender to give you whatever the locals drink, there's a very good chance they'll hand you an XXXX beer, usually a Gold, the brand's top-selling brew. As well as XXXX Gold, a basic lager, the brand also produces other varieties, including Bitter, Dry, and Summer Bright Lager. Founded over 100 years ago, XXXX proudly brands itself as Australia's No.1 beer. The name reflects an antiquated beer rating system in which beer would receive an X for its level of quality. (Think of it as a boozy star rating.) All told, this beer really does remain high on the list of favorite beers among Aussies year in and out. Despite its popularity in the other half of the world, you won't find XXXX in the U.S. anytime soon — or anywhere but Australia for that matter! 

XXXX's website states the Australian brewery "[keeps] our best brew just for the Aussies." During the 20th century, XXXX was only shipped overseas to Aussie soldiers during World War II and the Vietnam War. After troops returned home, the company declined to ship elsewhere, though there's no single reason listed for this decision. While you won't be able to find it in your local store, several widely available beers taste a lot like classic XXXX beer. Basic lagers like Budweiser substitute nicely for XXXX Gold, American-style pale ales for the bitter brew, and most Mexican-style cervezas for the XXXX Dry. 

Our top alternate picks

XXXX Gold, described as a full-flavored lager, is the brand's most popular beer and likely gets its name from the Golden Cluster hops used in its production. It's described as having a mildly bitter flavor with a slight sweet streak and is celebrated for its refreshing properties. Luckily, these notes aren't hard to find in other lagers. Budweiser is quite comparable and known for its inoffensive flavor, light malty sweetness, and soft, bitter overnote. Very similar in taste, XXXX Dry is even lighter and crisper than XXXX Gold and is meant to be the quintessential cold one on a hot summer's day. Corona and other Mexican lagers (cervezas) such as Modelo or Sol fit this profile nicely, with balanced, fresh, and zesty flavor notes. 

On the other hand, XXXX Bitter is (as you may have guessed) more bitter than Gold, especially its aftertaste. Still, this lager is not as bitter as many ales and is pretty light, clocking in at just 4.4% ABV. It uses a blend of Golden Cluster and Superpride of Ringwood hops, the latter of which is typically used in pale ales. To get close to the flavor of XXXX Bitter, opt for an American Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the most popular, but Dogfish Head Brewery Shelter Pale Ale seems to be a closer match, with lightly citrusy, sweet malt notes and a subtle bitter finish.