Beechworth Pale Ale
Australian flag - small


Company info:
Bride Road Brewers


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$TBC

Label info: ‘Bridge Road Brewers, located in the Historic Beechworth, proudly boasts some of Australia’s best ales. Hands on, small batch brewing ensures these ales are the real deal. Visit us and sample the range at Tanswell’s Old Coach House…’.

What the label really means: Brewed in a town steeped in history, this sounds like it will be a very interesting drop.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: It’s not too clear from the photo I have taken, but Bridge Road Brewers have a logo that is of a topless Ned Kelly, standing there in his helmet, with a large bridge in the background and road running underneath. Now, I am cool with the fact that they have taken an almost Sidney Nolan approach to their depiction of Ned Kelly, but what is with the no shirt? Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s most infamous historical figures was a feared outlaw. He robbed people blind, shot cops, and probably drank plenty of good Australian beer. So why is he portrayed here without a shirt? He’s gone from feared highwayman to Sydney Mardi Gras mascot with a few quick paintbrush splashes. This blatant mocking of Ned, combined with the massive overuse of gold (I don’t want to look like I am drinking a Carlton Crown here!), and a cramped cursive font leaves me with a real bitter taste in my mouth. And I have even opened the bottle yet.

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

AROMA: A beautiful hoppy aroma that is vaguely reminiscent to Little Creatures Pale Ale.

Taste: GLASS – At first sip, Beechworth Pale Ale tastes quite fruity and soft. And then it hits with a sharp, bitter, alcoholic punch. It has an earthy, dirt taste to it which could be appealing if it was a little more subtle. I was ready on first sip to rate this beer quite highly but like a shirtless Ned Kelly, it’s left me a little confused.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Wow, I think this beer is way better from the bottle. It loses the alcoholic punch and re-emphasises a bitter sweet hoppy flavour. This is really quite enjoyable.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7.5 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Overly wheaty, and overly carbonated on my poor li’l throat…a bit too much punch for me…”

She gave it a taste rating of 6 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I’d like to retry this beer with a pastry item such as a hearty beef and Guinness pie, or vegetable pastie. I think the earthiness of this beer would really shine and compliment the pastry well.

Best season to appreciate: I didn’t feel like it was a thirst quencher, so maybe it’s more suited for the cooler months. This seems an unusual thing to suggest for a pale ale (more destined as Summer coolers in my experience) but trust me on this.

All-nighter beer? Not for me I don’t think. Sure it went back smooth enough, but it would have to be consumed from the bottle. And free.

NEXT WEEK: Spitfire Kentish Ale

  1. […] Road Brewers have really stepped up to the plate since I last reviewed one of their beer labels. The label is brown paper-baggish in texture, colour and feel, a swift […]


  2. Ben says:

    V. interesting Mr Barge. You can definitely be described as the ‘thinking man’s’ beer drinker. I am also interested to find out whether Mason is going to do an end of year beer wrap-up? E.g. The top 5 beers of 2009. I would be especially interested in this as I am very close to buying my alcohol supply for the festive season and would like some recommendations.


    • BargeDave says:

      Thanks Ben. I love my tasty beers. Interestingly, despite having grown up in a household of wine drinkers, I have no interest in wine and know virtually nothing about it. Yet I wank on about beer like wine drinkers go on about their tipples. Your ‘top 5’ is a good idea – perhaps it’s just a matter of comparing Mase’s ‘taste from glass’ ratings on a sort of league table and going from there.


  3. Threepwood says:

    I really quite like this beer, but agree on the occasional over-carbonation issue. The brewery itself is a great stop and the owner is passionate about beer if you get him talking.


  4. BargeDave says:

    I’ve found this beer to have a big variance in flavour depending on the temperature at which it’s consumed. I often enjoy my ales at just over fridge temperature to capture the esters from the hops and yeast characters. This beer is better after a day in the fridge and twenty minutes in the freezer, because of the ‘punch’ Mase refers to if it’s served at a temperature above pretty-damn-cold. At the right temperature, it’s a great example of the American pale ale style and could probably be enjoyed all night if you like a hoppy brew. At the wrong temperature, it’s quite unbalanced.


    • BargeDave says:

      Oh, and the carbonation is interesting too. It’s a bottle-conditioned beer (which I love) but some bottles definitely seem over-carbonated, to the point where I usually open it in the kitchen in case it bubbles over the top of the bottle. I think this may be indicative of some issues with the yeast used.


      • McLean not MacLean says:

        Ah BargeDave, your comments are like an old-school science lesson except that you hold my attention and amuse me much more than any stuffy old chemistry teacher ever could. Actually, I should be careful what I say, my father-in-law is a chemistry teacher and an occasional reader of this blog…


      • BargeDave says:

        Well it’s pretty easy to make a discussion about beer more interesting than a discussion about oxidation or the periodic table. But as any home-brewer knows, beer making is as much science as art, and it does pay to be across the science if you’re a beer lover. Through an accident of history, I actually have a degree in microbiology. I’ve never worked a day in my life as a scientist, but it does help me enjoy my ales, particularly those which are bottle-conditioned because I get to congratulate the yeast cells on their fantastic efforts.


      • McLean not MacLean says:

        Through an ‘accident of history’? Did you do an origami evening class and they mistakenly sent you a microbiology degree in the mail?


      • BargeDave says:

        Nah, I just filled out the uni entrance form without really thinking about what I was doing and discovered 3.999 years into a 4 year biotechnology degree that I just wanted to run away from it. They gave me a microbiology degree a few years later when I got around to asking for one.


    • Ben says:

      Barge i’m interested to know. Do you always put your beer in the freezer 20 mins or so before consumption? I had a discussion recently with a Tooheys New drinking friend of mine (won’t hold that against him…much) and he said the same thing. Perhaps its just me but I like my beer (especially boutique, brown and black varieties) to be a little warmer than straight out of the fridge… not room temperature pom style. Interested to hear your thoughts.


      • BargeDave says:

        Great question Ben. Basically in my experience, well-brewed beers (and I don’t put Tooheys in that category) can be enjoyed at temperatures between around 6 and 12 degrees (which is warmer than fridge-cold) and actually give off more flavour because the ‘volatile’ (in the scientific context) esters start to evaporate off the beer and really stimulate the smell and taste senses. Next week’s review – Spitfire – will want to be chilled in the fridge then left out for 20 minutes for maximum enjoyment for this very reason. Less well brewed beers such as many Australian so-called pilsner/lagers are better drunk very cold (ie out of the freezer) to mask the imperfections in the beer. All drinks taste pretty similar at very cold temperatures because the esters don’t interact with the taste buds when they’re too cold. The Beechworth Pale Ale is a rare example of a well-brewed beer which tastes better quite cold than a bit warmer.


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