Pike’s New Sparkling Oakbank Beer
Australian flag - small


Company info:
Pikes Beer Company Pty Ltd

[No website listed on bottle]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.5%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$TBC

Label info: ‘Henry Pike left Dorset England in 1878 and sailed into Port Adelaide aboard the HM Oaklands, settling at Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills. He quickly established a reputation for his fine home brewed beer, a craft he learnt as a boy from his mother in Dorset. In 1886 he founded Pikes Oakbank Brewery, producing a range of fine ales, stout and tonic water. In 1996, Pikes Oakbank Beer was re-introduced by fifth generation descendants of Henry Pike, brothers Andrew and Neil Pike of Pikes Wines in the Clare Valley of South Australia. By adopting a similar hand crafted philosophy to the original brewery, Pikes New Sparkling Oakbank Beer is again available for your enjoyment’.

What the label really means: I love a label/beer with a good story behind it (Malt Shovel Brewery beers are another fine example). With each sip I feel more immersed in the story and it seems to give a real justification for the taste. After reading the Pike’s New Sparkling Oakbank Beer story, I am fascinated. Henry Pike seemed like he was one of Australia’s true legends. I love the fact that (a) he learnt how to home brew from his mum! (Mrs Pike, you too are in the legend category), and (b) he learnt the techniques “as a boy” (ie, he had a life-long fascination and respect for the amber ale). Whether his story is true as written here, or whether there was a darker ‘Underbelly’ mafioso side to the man, I don’t care – he’s presented here as an early Australian brewer, and for that, Henry Pike, I salute you.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The first thing I think of when looking at this label is a canoe/camping trip into the wilderness. Birds are twittering (leaving updates such as ‘Just saw an earthworm. Dayaaam! I wannit!’), water is softly lapping at the shore, trees gently sway in the warm Summer breeze. And then all hell breaks loose as the banjos start up, and toothless hillbillies come screaming out of the bushes, shotguns waved above their heads. The label has this level of mystique, danger, adventure, and banjos. It could be a label from 1886, or it could have been designed yesterday – that’s the beauty of this thing. I love the font, I love the colour scheme, I love the striking Pike fish. This is one beer I want to crack the top off of.

I give it a label rating of 8 out of 10.

AROMA: I pour this one out and am hit with a deliciously earthy, hoppy aroma.

Taste: GLASS – This is a super smooth beer with a genuinely great hoppy flavour. In fact it’s bursting with flavour. This is all rounded off with a pleasant bitter after taste. I am really enjoying this brew and am confident to classify it in the pilsener category.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Drinking Pike’s New Sparkling Oakbank Beer from the bottle, a lot of the complexities are lost. It’s a bit harsher in taste, and nowhere near as enjoyable.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6.5 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Robustly fruity and easy to drink”

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

Accompanying food: I’d like to suggest Pike fish is had with this beer, but I have never tried it. Instead I’d like to suggest that this accompanies a nice juicy, fatty, pork chop with mash and/or sauerkraut. I think the saltiness in these foods would make the beer explode in the mouth.

Best season to appreciate: This is the beer equivalent of a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade. Because it slides back so easily, with it’s delicious hoppy flavours, I say this would work wonders on a warm Summer afternoon.

All-nighter beer? For sure!

NEXT WEEK: Beechworth Pale Ale

  1. BargeDave says:

    Ooh, further to previous I got a six-pack today and what do you know, they’ve changed the name! No longer Pikes Sparkling Oakbank Beer, now Pikes Oakbank Pilsener Beer. I wonder if this is another example of a brewery who read this blog (see review for Lucky Beer if this comment does not make sense).


  2. Cousin Leanne says:

    damm it’s too late I’m in my pj’s or I’d be tempted to hop in the car & see if I can find this one … definately going to look out for it !!!


  3. BargeDave says:

    As a semi-regular drinker, I’m still uncertain whether this is an Australian pilsner or an ale. I’ve never known an ale to have an aroma like this, but on the other hand it sometimes seems slightly cloudy (or perhaps that’s just my dodgy glass-washing) and if, as seems to be claimed on the label, it’s brewed in the old style then that would also confirm it as an ale.

    The aroma is what I really love about this beer. I don’t know why, but it takes me back to my boyhood sitting around with my dad while he enjoyed a beer on a hot day. It just seems to have such a classic beer smell. Definitely worth a try.


  4. McLean not MacLean says:

    A beer that explodes? Sounds awesome to me! Consider me sold on this one. I shall seek out this cheeky little number at the first available opportunity. Thanks for the tip off.


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