101. 4 Pines Kolsch

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Australian lager
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

4 Pines Kolsch

Company info:
4 Pines Brewing Company
Manly, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99AU

Label info: ‘During World War II, four pine trees were removed from the Southern end of the promenade to install machine-gun emplacements. A plaque was placed on the stump of one of the pines which read, “This and three other trees were removed for defence purposes in December 1941 when these shores were threatened with invasion. Their absence is a reminder of the many greater sacrifices made to preserve this fair land for the people of Australia”‘

What the label really means: I love this great legend, of trees being removed and then honoured not only with a plaque but with a whole brewing company named after them. I love being reminded of the truly great sacrifices made by many people (and trees) during wars in which this country has been involved. This is a great tribute to some unknown heroes and makes a good story to ensure this beer becomes an ANZAC Day favourite.

My only problem with this story is that ‘the Southern end of the promenade’ is mentioned as though it’s a well-known landmark across the world. If it weren’t for me reading that the brew is made in Manly, NSW, I would not have guessed that’s where they were talking about. My first thought was Norfolk Island. Maybe I’m being a little pedantic, but it has a certain North Shore arrogance in its assumption. Thankfully the nod of the head to these great fallen pines has not been lost in its significance to me.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I like the simplicity of this label. The logo has been very carefully designed to show the staunch four pines as they once stood side by side and ‘4 Pines Brewing Company’ displays prominently across the middle. Underneath is ‘Kolsch’ written in huge letters, set against a beige coloured background that looks a little paper-baggish in design. It looks classy, it looks elegant, and it’s something I’d be proud to hold and drink.

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

AROMA: There’s a subtle hoppy hint of bitterness. I gotta admit, I’m worried. I’m having ‘Nam-like flashbacks of Broo Premium Lager. Please don’t make it so.

Taste: GLASS – Hmm…it’s ok. It’s not bad, it’s not great. It’s certainly nothing to write home about. There is no overriding bitterness as I expected from the aroma but it’s definitely as dry as expected. There are some very subtle hints of citrus but no real discernible taste that makes this brew stand out from the shelf. Drink if it’s on special.

Note: This week I learnt what a kolsch is! Kolsch is a speciality beer brewed in Cologne, Germany, and has a bright straw-yellow hue, with a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. It is less bitter than the standard German pale lager. So, I feel that 4 Pines Kolsch is perhaps a kolsch-style beer as it seems to tick all boxes but can it be called a kolsch if not brewed in Cologne? Not sure.

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

Taste: BOTTLE –
A teensy bit better when drinking this from the bottle as the taste seems to intensify a little and give it a little more depth. Drinking from the glass seemed to diffuse the taste a little. Sure, it’s still nothing that will rock your world  but it’s one destined for the bottle – and with a label that nice, that’s a good thing.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Song of choice: Try this along side Crowded House’s ‘Tall Trees’

Accompanying food: Something intense in flavour like a chilli prawn or octopus dish. Even a bowl of olives might work alongside this beer – the salt could really bring out some good flavours. I’ll give it a go sometime.

Best season to appreciate: A bit of a Summer brew I feel. It’s not a thirst quencher but this would suit a warm, sunny afternoon, gazing out to sea.

All-nighter beer? Not for me. It’s just a little on the under-adventurous side of the fence. It may get better after 2 or 3, but then, doesn’t everything?

NEXT WEEK: Abbey Ale

  1. BargeDave says:

    Just coz I’m having a slow one at the office today (which I fear is about to end with the meeting I’ve just been called to) I thought it might be timely to nominate some suggested future beer reviews now that the no-repeat-brewery rule is off. Coopers Sparkling Ale, James Squires Pilsner, Barons ESB, Squires IPA, Vale lager (a cloudy lager!), Coopers Extra Stout. Also, have we thought about reviewing some ‘standard’ Aussie beers (albeit disgusting ones) eg VB, West End Draught, Melbourne Bitter, one of the Resch’s range (doff of the cap to Sniv) etc? Finally, would the beer reviews


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Uh oh….I guess that meeting wasn’t good news eh BD? Was it anything to do with typing comments on this here blog during work time? They caught you in the middle of sentence…!!

      Well, for those still here, I like the suggestions BD makes….will definitely be making my way through that list as well as some of the ‘standards’. Stay tuned.


      • BargeDave says:

        Sorry about that, computer glitch I think. I was going to suggest a companion page to the beer reviews to do the occasional (ie not weekly, just sort of pop up unpredictactly from time to time) interesting cider review. There are some very wacky ciders out there.


  2. BargeDave says:

    This beer lives up to Mase’s definition of a lager which is less bitter (ie hoppy) than most. It’s a clean, well-brewed lager with only the mildest hop experience. Great if you love that sort of thing, but give me a well-hopped pilsner (eg the previously reviewed Hop Rocker Pilsner or Squires’ Pilsner) any day as far as a personal preference goes. Will definitely appeal to Corona drinkers.


  3. bladdamasta says:

    Hell-Cat, an important correction. It’s Northern Beaches arrogance not North Snore arrogance. Two adjoining parts of Sydney that are miles apart in attitude.

    These guys are my local and I don’t they expected to be selling outside the insular peninsula. They are now so your point is valid.

    If you are ever in Sydney, Kolsch off the tap at the 4 Pines is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Fair call bladdamasta! Thanks for the correction – Northern Beaches it is!

      Would definitely like to re-assess this brew straight from the tap.
      How do you feel tap v bottle compares on this one?


  4. that all depends on
    a: the household budget,
    b: have I been a good husband
    and c: have I been spending too much on photography stuff recently..
    so as you see it can be a fine balance


    • BargeDave says:

      My thought on the matter is that it is important to remember that although quality beer can be quite pricey compated with cheap beer, world class excellent beer is still very affordable as an occasional treat, and this is not true for wine, spirits, many foods or many of life’s other pleasures.


  5. I am seriously going to need to get a raise in my beer allowance to keep up with your blog!


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