Monday, January 26, 2009

Beers down under.......

Many thanks to Mark Armstrong for inviting Terry and myself to taste a few Down-Under beers.
Mark recently returned from an extended vacation in New Zealand and Australia where he picked up samples of 7 beers.What follows is a decidedly unprofessional review of these beers, but hey! - we had fun! We decided to taste them from lowest to highest ABV, except for a light thrown in the middle.
So here they are:
  1. Cooper's Original Pale Ale, South Australia, 4.5% - This beer had a nice head, clean and pleasant with a clean finish. Not one of my favourites in tastings of previous years, but seems to have improved.
  2. Cascade Premium Lager, Tasmania, 5.0% - An immediate skunky nose on opening the bottle, reminiscent of Steinlager and even Heineken! No head in the glass and an unexceptional taste.
  3. Hahn Premium Light Lager, Sydney, Australia, 2.7% - This light beer had good head retention in the glass with a smooth finish. Just a hint of skunkiness at the end. I imagined drinking this on a hot afternoon after mowing the lawn!
  4. Moo Brew Hefeweizen, Tasmania, 5.1% - Came in a unique bottle. On opening, the nose was sweet with hints of banana and clove. Very tight bubbles and golden colour.
  5. James Squire Porter, Malt Shovel Brewery, NSW, Australia, 5% - Malty molasses taste with a long-lasting effervescence. Light creamy finish.
  6. Green Man Whisky Bock Limited Edition, Green Man Brewery, Dunedin, NZ, 9% - This was bottle 200 of 1400. No head to this brew. It had a malted whisky nose and a light whisky taste. In fact, it looked like whisky in your glass! Good to share, since you couldn't drink more than one!
  7. Enrico's Cure for Saints and Sinners, Green Man Brewery, Dunedin, NZ, 14.5% - Labelled as the world's strongest organic beer. This bottle sold for CDN $22.00! Again, no head with a caramel colour. Very rich taste and smooth drinking with that warming feeling, no doubt from the high alcohol content.
Our favourites? Well, I would have to say that for a hot summer day, when you're having more than one, the Hahn's would be the choice. Besides, I love their TV ads! The others were either unimpressive or too strong to be a regular drinking beer.

Just for giggles, we decided to sample a couple more brews for comparison. Yes, we were still capable!
  1. KB Double Chocolate Ale, Kamloops Brewery, BC, 5% - This beer was all show and no go. Impressive packaging didn't follow through to the beer. It had a subtle cocoa nose and felt very thin in the mouth. There was a slight chocolate after taste as well.
  2. Old Engine Oil, Harviestoun Brewery, Scotland, 6% - This beer was dark and viscous as expected. Also surprisingly dry and well balanced taste.
Click on the images for a closer look at the labels.

All in all, it was an interesting evening with a bit of label and coaster trading thrown in!
Thanks to Mark for the beers and Terry for driving (I know it was a sacrifice to limit yourself to one mouthful!) - I'll drive next time.