It's been a while since I did this, and I think it was on a different blog anyway. This post was triggered by one of the people in the liquor store I frequent pointing out a beer fridge I'd never noticed before, with craft beers in it. Now when I say I 'frequent' I don't mean I, like, hang out there or anything. And nor do I go there every couple of days, in case that's what you were thinking.
So I cruised the fridge and selected 4 Australian beers to taste. When I got to the checkout the guy said: "You know if you buy 2 more beers you get a discount, which will probably just about pay for one of them." So he helped me select a couple more.
So I tasted each of them from a glass; over a few days, mind, I didn't sit down and guzzle a six-pack. Then I scored them on a 1 - 10 scale where 1 means 'I'll never buy that again, yuck' and 10 means 'I've just ordered another 50 bottles'.
Here they are:
1. Balmain Original Pale Ale by Balmain Brewing Company Pty Ltd (Balmain, Sydney, NSW), 4.9% alcohol.
What they say: " A full bodied English style ale, with a rich malt and subtle caramel character. Derived from two base and three speciality malts. Three complementary hop varieties provide hints of citrus hue, wild spice and a clean bitter finish.
" All natural and unfiltered. Drink from a glass to allow for full appreciation of the golden-copper colour, the aroma and flavour. "
What I say: Mostly true. I could taste some spice. The citrus hue escaped me completely, probably because I haven't been drinking beer long enough to taste a colour (only 45 years, you see). I liked it, and the golden-copper colour was unusual.
Andrew Score: 7
2. Matso's Mango Beer by Matso's Broome Brewery (Broome, WA), 4.5% alcohol.
What they say: " Matso's Mango Beer is based on a classic Belgium Blonde recipe using a 100% mango fruit blend. An easy drinking beer with excellent fruit aroma and balancing dry sweetness. "
What I say: This was always going to be a challenge, because I really dislike mangoes. And what they say is just rubbish: '100% mango fruit blend'. Say what? Or do they just mean they stuck a few mangoes in a blender? Similarly, 'balancing dry sweetness.' Say what?
So I was predisposed to dislike it, but when I was in Broome I hung out at Matso's enjoying their food and their wheat beer (Matso's Monsoonal Wheat Beer). So I thought I should give it a fair try (a.k.a. drink the entire stubby). It's not a beer you could drink by the bucket at a single sitting, but it was actually very nice. And it is beyond doubt the most unusual beer I have ever tasted.
Andrew Score: 8
3. 4 Pines Pale Ale by 4 Pines Brewing Company Pty Ltd (Manly, Sydney, NSW), 5.1% alcohol.
What they say: " 4 Pines Brewing Company offers great flavour sensations through variety, quality craftsmanship, natural ingredients and traditional time-honoured techniques - no short cuts! Pale Ale: A colourful deep ruby-amber appearance, aromas of pine and grapefruit overlay a malty background on the palate; full bodied malty flavours with a tight and bitter finish. "
What I say: I confess I have no idea what a tight finish is, but the rest is pretty accurate (although I didn't taste any grapefruit). Loved it, and the 330ml disappeared very rapidly, which is a bit of a worry at 5.1% alcohol.
Andrew Score: 9
4. 4 Pines Kolsch by 4 Pines Brewing Company Pty Ltd (Manly, Sydney, NSW), 4.6% alcohol.
What they say: " 4 Pines Brewing Company offers great flavour sensations through variety, quality craftsmanship, natural ingredients and traditional time-honoured techniques - no short cuts! Kolsch: Light straw in colour with aromas of lemon and lime. A light malty palate, finishing crisp, clean and showing hints of spice and citrus. "
What I say: Got everything except the citrus. And the colour just yells REFRESHMENT at you. I loved this one too.
Andrew Score: 9
5. Golden Ace by Feral Brewing Company (Baskerville, WA), 5.6% alcohol
What they say: " Golden Ace is a crisp dry Belgian style golden ale with a refreshing lemon hop character. Best enjoyed fresh. Treat like milk, refrigerate where possible. "
What I say: Very hoppy, quite bitter. It is very Belgian in its high alcohol content, but it wasn't at all refreshing.
Andrew Score: 3
6. India Pale Ale by Feral Brewing Company (Baskerville, WA), 5.8% alcohol
What they say: " Hop Hog American IPA. "
What I say: I have no idea what they are talking about. Again, very hoppy, quite bitter and very dark; it didn't really resemble a Pale Ale at all. I liked it a little bit better than the Golden Ace, but it took the best part of 45 minutes to empty the glass; I really wasn't enjoying myself.
Andrew Score: 5