Byron Bay Premium Ale

Company info:
Byron Bay Beverages Pty Ltd
Byron Bay, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$3.50

Label info: ‘Taste the lifestyle – A full strength premium ale with a clean, crisp, uniquely refreshing taste inspired by the healthy, vibrant and youthful lifestyle of Byron Bay’

What the label really means: Let’s hope the beer really can live up to these high expectations.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Wow! I have somehow been transported via a time machine to a time that many of us have chosen to forget. 1994. Back when tobacco companies still advertised on highway billboards, and pastel coloured polo shirts were worn by guys with sweaters tied around their necks. A time when white sneakers were worn with jeans, and boofy hair was the ‘if you got it, flaunt it’ way of thinking. But hang on, everything around me looks so…..well….so….2010….oh wait a second, it’s just Byron Bay Premium Ale’s label that looks so 1994. With an outdated font that sings of menthol gum, and a blue sparkly backdrop that makes me want to smash a pair of polaroid sunglasses, I am not holding much hope for this tourist marketed, despicably ugly beer bottle.

I give it a label rating of 3 out of 10.

AROMA: Strong, hoppy aromas suggesting a full-bodied flavoursome ale.

Taste: GLASS – Stronger hop flavours than I expected give this beer an interesting initial taste. But, upon closer suppage, I feel it lacks any real depth and tastes a bit like mildly flavoured water. It reminds of when people make a cup of tea and only leave the bag in the cup for about 10 seconds (and no jiggle). If only they let it sit longer, it might have a stronger taste. I am not overly impressed with this.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – This is one that is slightly enhanced when consumed from a glass. From the bottle it becomes bitter, lack-lustre, causes me to curse a little, and prompts me to throw things. It reminds me of Kyle Sandilands.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 5 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Strong lingering aromatics…a bit too heavy for me”

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

Accompanying food: As a meat and three veg kind of beer, perhaps this would be enhanced with meat and three veg.

Best season to appreciate: I suggest this as a slightly cooler months beer. Due to its darker colour and stronger hop flavours I suggest this isn’t a by-the-beach Summer thirst quencher. Which is a little incogruous to the “healthy, vibrant and youthful lifestyle of Byron Bay” marketing speel. For a beer that truly reflects this market, I would suggest something with more citrus undertones, lighter in colour, and more complex in taste – perhaps something along the lines of the previously reviewed ‘Sol’. Unfortunately, I feel Byron Bay Premium Ale loses half their intended drinkers by not practicing what they preach.

All-nighter beer? No, not for me thanks. I even found it difficult finishing the bottle let alone drinking it all night.

NEXT WEEK: Steinlager

  1. H.A. Chamberlain Esq. says:

    I hate this beer. Pure and simple. It tastes like garbage.

    I see you’re doing Steinlager next week, copy paste this comment into next weeks 😀


    • BargeDave says:

      Ouch, HA. It’s been years since I tried a Steinlager and I will make sure I do so over the weekend, but I don’t recall it being garbage so much as bland. Which makes it pretty much the same as most of the lagers previously reviewed on this blog. The great exception being the Sundown Lager by James Squires, which not only had character, it actually lived up to its description on the label.


      • Mason Hell-Cat says:

        BD – it’s not my fault I haven’t yet found an exceptional lager to review…or have I? My booze-addled mind is messing with me.
        Gee if only a local beer supplier would be able to source me a good lager to review, ensuring instant publicity to them…*wink* *wink*


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      HA – love your honesty!


  2. BargeDave says:

    I tried a Byron Bay Ale yesterday. I didn’t find it offensive, but it was an unusual ale and I wonder if it’s actually an ale or a pilsner. I remember making a similar comment about the Oakbank beer on this blog a while back and I’ve noticed that Oakbank Sparkling Beer has now become Oakbank Pilsner! I wonder if Byron Bay Ale will go through a similar transformation!


  3. Frank says:

    Just like the Yuppies and wanna be Hippies of Byron, it’s no surprise the beer that comes out of there is as unimpressive as their kind!


  4. McLean not MacLean says:

    Awesome! A beer that transports me back to 1994 would see me sitting (relatively) pretty in my first year of university in Manchester, UK. Ah, such halcyon days. I had 21 beers on my 21st birthday. Makes me go misty eyed just thinking about it (or maybe that’s just the flashbacks). Having read your review though, Byron Bay sounds like a dodgy beer that I’d be better off avoiding (time travelling is all very well, but not if it means having to drink a rough beer first).

    I’ll be fascinated to read your comments about Steinlager. I won’t prejudice your review by giving my opinion now. I’ll save that for next week. Keep up the great work Hellcat.


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