39. James Squire Sundown Lager

Posted: December 23, 2009 in Australian lager, traditional looking label
Tags: , , , , , ,

James Squire Sundown Lager
Australian flag - small


Company info:
Malt Shovel Brewery


Bottle size sampled: 345 mL

Alcohol: 4.4%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$TBC

Label info: ‘James Squire was an industrious man, but he was also a firm believer in marking the end of a long day’s work with a decent beer. He set up his legendary Malting Shovel Tavern for this very reason. When the sun gets too hot for any sensible work to continue people came from far and wide to relax together during the time they called “sundown”. In honour of this fine tradition, we’ve brewed a crisp and refreshing lager. What better way to unwind at the day’s end?
‘A thirst-quenching lager for all occasions, brewed using pale and carapils malts and a unique blend of hops. Crisp and refreshing with hoppy aromas that hint of citrus and freshly cut grass’ 

What the label really means: I love the story behind James Squire and his often recounted tales of convict origins (there is always a small, fascinating bio about Squire on each bottle). It adds to the mythology of early brewers in Australia and impresses upon us their pioneering spirit. The idea of a beer designed to be an after-work drink, to be consumed during relaxation really appeals to me – let’s see if the taste supports this.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The Malt Shovel Brewery (MSB) mob are renowned for very old-school, tradition filled labels. They always look as though they could be labels from 150+ years ago when Squire himself would have been brewing the goods. I also appreciate the fact that the bottles have a raised engraving of two shovels, and the company name – it adds to the charm of the brew, and the traditional feel. My only complaint with the MSB labels is that they are often over-ridden with text. Sure the story of Squire and co is intriguing but it seems like every available piece of space is taking up with text. Ahh but I can’t really hold that against them…it’s James Squire – Australia’s original Master Brewer (I can see a TV show in that…possibly involving Matt Preston). 

I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.

AROMA: This brew has a deliciously enticing smell of Summer fruits! I get mango and citrus hints wafting up, along with a distinct smack of Summer. 

Taste: GLASS – The Sundown Lager pours out a beautiful golden colour, again reinforcing this as the beer for Summer. It’s a refreshing, perfectly carbonated (tiny bubbles of carbonation make this roll off the tongue), citrus infused lager. It’s delicious, thirst quenching, fresh tasting, and flavoursome, while also displaying the boldness of a real lager. 

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Drink this from the bottle and you’ll lose the refreshing aroma, and a little of the Summer experience. It’s still great and could certainly be consumed from the bottle but somehow it feels a little Autumn-esque. 

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

A word from the wife: “Relaxed fruity mellowness…delicious! Very easy to drink”

She gave it a taste rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I’m talking Summer BBQ’d goods with this stuff. Roll out the ribs, roll out the buffalo wings, the sausages, steaks, and chargrilled vegies. You can’t go wrong!

Best season to appreciate: Probably the most refreshing, thirst quenching lager I have tasted and definitely a Summer brew. It’s a beauty and a highly recommended beer of choice for Christmas.

All-nighter beer? Yes, yes, yes! I’ll be drinking this all-night, and keep going until the sun goes down once again.

NEXT WEEK: Weihenstephaner Pilsner

  1. Ben says:

    A love the soundown drop so much better than the highly overrated golden ale… and as the sun goes down (bad pun intended) on this blog for 2009 I would like to reiterate Santa Clauses’ remarks and thank you Mason for all your hard work and dedication this year to the nectar of gods.
    Lastly I would like to share with you this wonderful quote from my good mate (and yours!) Dave Barry, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”


    • BargeDave says:

      The only thing more overrated than the Golden Ale is the rather bland Amber Ale. Neither are poorly brewed but both are simply tedious when compared with the Sundown, the Pilsner, the Porter, the IPA……


      • McLean not MacLean says:

        Ah the Porter… the Porter… I can feel a lunchtime trip to the James Squire pub coming on. How ’bout you Benjy?


      • Ben says:

        Agreed and just because you asked BargeDave – My top three in no particular order are:
        1. Porter
        2. Pilsner
        3. IPA


      • Mason Hell-Cat says:

        I like all of the James Squire range and do love a good Golden Ale, however the Sundown does pip it at the post.


      • BargeDave says:

        Ooh, further to previous I’ve erred…the Golden Ale on my recent sampling is better than I’d previously recalled and I’d have to say it probably pips the Sundown out of my top three Squires beers to leave that trifecta as 1. IPA 2. Pilsner and 3. Golden Ale but the Porter and Sundown definitely deserve extra special mentions for being superb examples of their respective genres.


  2. Santa Claus says:

    Ho ho ho! Hello there Hellcat! I can’t write much right now (because I’ve got a shitload of work to do before I set off on my sleigh tomorrow) but I did just want to say well done on your marvellous blog this year. You’ve certainly earnt the sackful of presents I have prepared for you.

    Having read your blog, I’m hoping some kind children will abandon the usual carrot, mince pies and sherry – and instead leave me a bottle of James Squire Sundown Lager. It sounds like the perfect tonic after a long night climbing up and down chimneys.

    P.S. Oh, and I received your letter and Christmas list. Not sure the elves can produce a “swimming pool filled with real ale” but I will try and pull in a few favours on your behalf. No promises mind you.
    P.P.S. Ho ho ho!


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Thanks Santa! I’ve always been a fan of your work…can’t believe you found the time to comment though! I feel very privileged.

      Good luck with tonight’s deliveries.


  3. BargeDave says:

    My favourite lager. I usually enjoy one while walking the dogs at around sundown. Our walking path goes right past the bottlo and they stock the Squires Sundown Lager but not the Pilsner. The reference to cut grass sounds like wanky marketing but it’s actually there in this subtly complex lager. This beer is also great to enjoy alongside a Squires Pilsner to get the full appreciation of Squires interpretations of these styles – they are as similar as they are different and both are very fine indeed.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      How convenient that your ‘walking path’ goes right past the bottlo, BD.


      • BargeDave says:

        It certainly is Mase. For those interested, my local is the ‘Emu Hotel’ in Morphett Vale in Adelaide’s south. It’s a very old stone two-storey effort with massive gum trees and a creek adjacent. Looks fantastic as you stroll past. Sadly, the inside decor is horrific and the on-tap beer selection is particularly dodgy. For this reason, my preference is to stroll the walking path which follows the creek past my place, on to the pub for a quick takeaway and up to some reserves which my dogs play chasey on. I listen to old Get This podcasts, enjoy beers and laugh at my dogs as I wind down at the end of a day. Fantastic.


      • Mason Hell-Cat says:

        Love it!


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