Crackenback Pale Ale - BOTTLECrackenback Pale Ale
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Company info:
Snowy Mountains Brewery

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.9%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$[TBC]

Label info: Crackenback Pale Ale, our flagship beer, is an award winning pale ale that embodies the classic style of Australian Pale Ale. Brewed with two-row malted barley and lightly kilned speciality malt, giving it a golden to amber colour, the bright perky maltiness is perfectly balanced by a delectable aroma and bitterness from three types of hops. Chinook hops provide a soft bitterness, while generous quantities of Amarillo and Cascade add unique spicy flavours and a fragrant tropical, citrus aroma.

This beer is named after the Crackenback mountain range in the Kosciuszko National Park, nestled between Jindabyne and Thredbo, with a rugged terrain and snow capped peaks’.

What the label really means: I was really hoping that mention would be made of the use of Snowy Mountains water in the beer, or hops grown only on the Eastern Side of Mount Kosciuszko. There’s no link to the Crackenback mountain range and I suspect it is simply a favoured holiday destination of the brewers situated in Crows Nest, Sydney. It’s like me making a brew called ‘Hawaiian Lager’ simply because I like Hawaii.  

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I’m still really lost on the relevance of the brewery being the Snowy Mountains Brewery (and not located in the Snowy Mountains), the text across the middle of the label announcing ‘Snowy Mountains Australia’, and the associated imagery of snow capped peaks. I get that it’s cool to make a themed beer and an enticing named brewery but I wish there was some kind of indication to us on where the snow theme came from. Even if it mentioned that the original brewers are avid-skiiers/boarders I’d be happy. Instead, I really can’t appreciate the imagery or theme amidst this confusion.

I give it a label rating of 4 out of 10. 

AROMA: Very tantalising! The distinct wheaty aroma of a good pale ale is calling out to me in a goblin-like sing-song voice.

Crackenback Pale Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Excellent! This is very similar in taste to one of my all time favourite beers, Little Creatures Pale Ale. The difference here is that I detect a slight hint of bitterness and it compliments the sweet flavours beautifully. It is just so smooth and fruity….I dig it. This is my kind of beer!

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – This is definitely not a beer to be consumed from the bottle. It is a whole-mouth beer and when drinking from the bottle it seems only to hit the tip of the tongue, enhance the bitterness, and that’s it. It’s still drinkable, but it’s not the beer I fell in love with when supped from the glass.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Mmm…tastes familiar…pleasant, lingering flavour”

She gave it a taste rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Something tomato based would compliment this like a charm. I suggest a good tomato-based pasta, or a chicken parmy.

Best season to appreciate: This is a great all-season brew, though the fruitiness contained within suggests it as more of a Summer drop (ie, when there is no snow on the snow-capped peaks of the Snowy Mountains).

All-nighter beer? All I have to go on is that I love drinking Little Creatures Pale Ale all night, and think this would work just as well.

NEXT WEEK: Kirin (our first Japanese beer!)

  1. Gordon says:

    Ahh – Snowy Mountains brews! The first time I tasted this was with the ol Hell Cat himself. We were having our ‘Liquid Lunch’ at the Occi & it was the special of the week.

    Mammories are about women – memories are about beer!


  2. McLean not MacLean says:

    Hellcat, loving your blog but I’m starting to see a pattern here: generally speaking the beers all rate quite highly. Nothing wrong in that per se – you are a lover of beer afterall – but it would be great to see you give a few bevvies a good hiding occasionally. There are some poor beers out there and, as a custodian of quality beer, it’s your job to expose these charlatans! Hellcat – consider this a call to arms! Do you duty my good man, for your honour is at stake!


    • BargeDave says:

      It’s a fair point you raise McLean, I can only refer to you to Mase’s review of the O’Brien gluten free beer as a single example of a beer he’s bagged. I think the problem is that Mase hasn’t reviewed West End Draught, Fosters Lager, XXXX or Toohey’s Old. There’s plenty to criticise out there – you’re absolutely right – but there are also plenty of good beers on this website, whether you like wheat beers, lagers or interesting ales.


    • Sniv Whettuce says:

      I bow to no man when it comes to piffing a rotten tomato at a deserving beer, as my Reschs raspberries in this blog will attest, but I don’t enjoy it. I have a sensitive dispostion. I’d rather coo than pooh.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Yeah fair call, Andy! I guess I’ve been choosing beers that I know I will like.
      Wait till I review Tooheys Extra Dry, BlueTongue, Carlton Cold, or Crown Lager.


  3. Sniv Whettuce says:

    I was watching Jerry Maguire whilst test-slurping a sextet of Crackenbacks last ngith and I can think of no better way to phrase my review than thus:

    Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at 4.9 %!

    Nine out of ten.


  4. BargeDave says:

    Once again Mase you’ve really hit the nail on the head. There are a bunch of subtley different hoppy pale ales (generally not that pale in colour, but ‘pale ale’ is anything lighter than dark ale by definition) available at Dan Murphy’s and they’re just about all delicious. Like the Wicked Elf and the more broadly available Little Creatures, the Crackenback Pale Ale does not disappoint. It’s a bit on an expensive exercise to select a bunch of single bottles to take home and compare, but it’s superb drinking and if you’ve got a few bucks spare on a Friday evening it’s worth it.


    • BargeDave says:

      Further to previous, had both a Crackenback Pale Ale and a Razorback Red Ale (both made by Snowy Mountains Brewery) at lunch time today and both are magnificent. The Pale Ale is hoppy and generally delicious, the Red Ale is maltier and a bit biscuity and very good if you prefer a big malt profile to a big hop profile. Well done Snowy Mountains Brewery.


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