Archive for the ‘Australian lager’ Category

Love Tap - BOTTLELove Tap Double Lager

Company info:
Moon Dog Brewing
Abbotsford, VIC

[www.moondogbrewing.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5.9%
Standard drinks: 1.6

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.95 AU

Label info: “Love Tap, Baby, Love Tap Babeeee! ….something and a something…as big as a whale…huggin’ and a dancin’ and a lovin’ and wearin’ next to nothing…and it’s about to set sail to the love tap”.
‘Pretty sure (almost certain) they weren’t the exact words but we reckon if they were they’d be a bang on way to describe this new world craft lager. It’s got a big schmack of citrusy, tropical hops and a clean, crisp finish. Enjoy!
AND
‘Really ridiculously fun beer’
AND
‘Vitals:
Malt: Pilsner, carared, carapils, Munich; Hops: Galaxy, Motueka, Tettenang; Yeast: Lager’

What the label really means: What I love about this label is the sense of humour. These guys clearly aren’t stuck up snooty craft brewers, they’re regular folks having a bit of fun with a very fun label description. They make fun of the classically horrid B52 track ‘Love Shack’ with their own spin. But then this is all juxtaposed with some very serious ‘Vitals’ for all the interested beery nerds. Love it. Love Tap - GLASS

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Just like the label text, here is a label that is clearly not taking itself too seriously, is having a bit of a laugh and succeeds in being very cool. The label is a funny greeny yellow colour with a black and white photo of a pig to the side. The pig wears a top hat and a bow tie – again showing that these guys don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t have a bit of fun. ‘Love Tap’ is scrawled in thick texta-type while ‘Double Lager’ comes in its own little speech bubble straight from the pig’s mouth. All of the above mentioned text appears hand written on the bottle. The whole thing reminds me a bit of what Brew Dogs do – sticking it to the establishment, rebellious, tough, and fun. 

I give it a label rating of 6.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Sadly the aroma is a bit lacking….there’s nothing outstanding and it smells like a regular run of the mill citrus lager.

Taste: GLASS – What I love most about this full-bodied, smack in the chops lager is the pervasive bitterness. They have taken a typical inoffensive citrus lager and turned it on its head. They have redefined the power of the lager and presented a very inspiring beauty. Very dry, very enjoyable.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE  The bitterness here, that I found such a highlight from the glass, surprises me once more by now becoming a little more refined. It’s a lot smoother now and I think I enjoy it a tad more from the bottle.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Some kind of tomato-based food would sit well beside this. I feel the acidity would cut through the dryness and soften it even more.

Best season to appreciate: A warmer weather brew.

All-nighter beer? For my money this is more of a pre-dinner beer to open the salivary glands. For me it’s a little too dry to drink all night.

NEXT WEEK: Stone and Wood Jasper Ale

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Granite Pils - BOTTLEGranite Pils

Company info:
Granite Belt Brewery

Stanthorpe, QLD

[www.granitebeltbrewery.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5.2%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.99 AU

Label info: ‘With a sharp, bitter taste, this pilsner is not for the faint hearted. In the Granite Belt we recommend you harden up with Granite Pils’

What the label really means: Oh they breed em tough in the Granite Belt don’t they?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label features a big beefy bloke with an uncanny resemblance to Aussie icon Mark Jacko Jackson. He takes centre stage holding two ‘1.5L’ steins of beer aloft. He’s a muscly beefcake bloke with muscles rippling across his badly airbrushed chest, his white hair sticks up in salute to the sulphur crested cockatoo, and underneath the words ‘Granite Pils’ are presented in a strong font. It’s a mixture of silver and greys, and it reflects the colour of granite quite well. Unfortunately for me I don’t think the design works too well. I think Jacko’s t-shirt gets lost in a sea of grey and it turns out to be a little plain. This would be improved hugely if the bloke was replaced by an all stone humanoid holding the beers aloft, on a sea of say crimson red. 

I give it a label rating of 5 out of 10.Granite Pils - GLASS

AROMA:  Very mild soft citrus wheat aromas. Not as strong as I had hoped.

Taste: GLASS – Rising above the ranks of many pilsners who have gone before, Granite Pils delivers all of the wheaty citrus goodness you could ask for, but with a sprinkling of bitterness. The bitterness gives a certain depth and character to the beer and it is very enjoyable. Over all mouth feel is impressive, with a good cleansing after taste.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Unfortunately from the bottle Granite Pils becomes a lot more watery and far less enjoyable. Plus this bottle has a slight metallic taste from where the cap once sat. I suggest you stick to the glass.

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

Accompanying food: Chargrilled seafood – prawns, squid, baby octopus…you get the picture.

Best season to appreciate: A fine Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? For sure! This is very drinkable, very sessionable.

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Artisan Reserve - BOTTLEArtisan Reserve

Company info:
Coopers Brewery Limited

 Regency Park, S.A

[www.coopers.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 355ml

Alcohol: 5.5%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.75 AU

Label info: ‘Thomas Cooper brewed his first batch of beer on the 13th May of 1862. Subsequent generations of Coopers have applied themselves to the pursuit of brewing excellence or the endorsement of our great beers to an appreciative public. This ale has been crafted to celebrate this passion for beer & brewing
AND
‘In the finest Bavarian tradition, Artisan Reserve has been crafted from an all malt brew with Hallertau Tradition hops. With low temperature fermentation and an extended maturation, this unpasteurised pilsner reflects the joy of tasting beer fresh from the brewery’

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Here’s what I’ve said previously:
‘This label is very similar to the previously reviewed Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale so I’ll repost a couple of previously made comments such as ‘I challenge anyone not to find a beer label displaying a man with an over-sized beard inviting’ – Thomas Cooper would surely be proud of his fine mug plastered on this brew. I also previously commented that ‘The only visual aspect I don’t like about this label is that there is too much descriptive text…it begins to detract from the beardo’ – I don’t feel this is really the case here, it actually works, as does the…’ blue in this label which is again, very surprising for me.  

Artisan Reserve - GLASS

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.

AROMA:  Wheaty, straw-like aroma with citrus backing.

Taste: GLASS – A fun wheat beer that is smooth, refreshing, citrus-infused and ever so softly carbonated. There’s next to no bitterness, is super easy to drink, and stacks up well as a fine pilsner interpretation. My only issue, as it is for most pilsners, is that it’s perhaps a little too ‘soft’….a little too generic. Not Cooper’s fault, it’s the style that lends itself to mild flavours.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – A little bland, a little watery. All of the flavour dimensions have now all but dispersed, and while it’s still noticeably wheaty and citrussy, it seems a little flat.

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

Accompanying food: Pork. I’m thinking dark marinated pork spare-ribs or a pork schnitty. 

Best season to appreciate: A great Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Definitely. This is so very easy to drink. 

NEXT WEEK: Mad Abbott Tripel

Rudeboy - BOTTLERudeboy

Company info:
Murray’s Craft Brewing Co
Bobs Farm, N.S.W

[www.murraysbrewingco.com.au]

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Murray’s Rudeboy Pilsner’s distinctive crisp and refreshing taste has seen it become a favourite among the country’s top chefs and foodie community. Murray’s Pilsner pours a pale straw colour with an intense citrusy aroma and flavour. This is delivered by the New Zealand motueka hop, which is balanced by sweet biscuity malt, and finishes with a refreshing bitterness’
AND
’cause most other pilsners are mod-cons’

What the label really means: With only the front tagline, ’cause most other pilsners are mod-cons,’ as the only reference to the rudeboy name (and subculture) I’m a little concerned this is an off-target marketing stunt.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Murray’s, you have done it again. These guys cannot put a foot wrong in the labelling department. This label has the mod-inspired target symbol with a soft blue on the outside and a pinky red on the inside. ‘rudeboy’ is emblazoned across the middle with the ‘b’ pointing up to the top of the label. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s a well-received nod to rudeboy and mod subcultures. Once again for Murray’s, this is very close to label perfection.

I give it a label rating of 9 out of 10.

AROMA:  A tad disappointing, there’s distinctive wheaty citrus flavours emerging but little else.Rudeboy - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Rudeboy is a typical pilsner with good crisp, mouth punching flavours that make this brew a real smack to the chops. A smooth dry beer with tinges of raw sugar caramelisation. It’s not the edgy, rule-breaking, throw caution to the wind brew I had hoped for but it’s still a good drop.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE  From the bottle Rudeboy becomes a tad watered down in flavour – while all the key ingredients are still able to be tasted. It remains big and beefy and a tinge of bitterness creeps through in the after taste.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Lamb…pinkish pepper-crusted lamb.

Best season to appreciate: The dryness leads me to suggest this as more of a Winter brew as it’s not refreshing in the least.

All-nighter beer? It’s a bit too dry for me to stick to all night, so no.

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Viking - BOTTLEViking
Flag of Iceland - SMALL

Company info:
Vifilfell
Akureyri, ICELAND

[No website listed]

Alcohol: 4.4%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99AU

Label info: ‘Pilsner Bjor from the pure waters of Iceland‘.

What the label really means: Hopefully a clean, crisp beer that truly showcases the pure Icelandic waters.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: This is one very cool label. Depicted is Odin, a Norse god, and father of Thor. He is flanked by two dragons, while a faithful dog sits at his side. Odin sits with his head held high, his helmet wings pointing to the heavens, while a heavy robe is draped on his noble shoulders. It’s all in monochrome and this is the absolute key to the success of the label – it could easily have gone down a gaudy or comical route and instantly made the beer a joke. Instead it hints that the beer inside is traditional, strong, full of character and depth, and one to be held above all others. It’s strong and bold and I love it.

I give it a label rating of 8.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  There’s a very typical lager aroma arising from this brew…citrus and hoppy fresh. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, as it’s definitely a pleasant aroma. I’m just saying that it’s not boding well for originality. 

Taste: GLASS – Not bad…this pilsner style beer is typically citrus-infused with a tinge of bitterness, nut it’s also a tad bland. It’s very easy to drink by being overly watery, and under-carbonated. Sadly, this is a very middle-of-the-road brew that I suggest you do not go out of your way for. Viking - GLASS

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Unfortunately for Viking, drinking it from the bottle ensures the brew becomes even more bland and dull. It becomes a little more watery and even the citrus flavours are dulled. I am disappointed. 

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: A spicy Asian pork dish would suit this brew.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? I really could drink this brew all night but I’d feel a little empty and unsatisfied by the end.

Over-all impression: This beer has been imported into Australia and I’m not too sure why they’ve even bothered. A cool label, and exotic country of origin can only carry a beer so far. There are a tonne of great pilsners out there that are comparable if not better than this. Sadly, flavour is really lacking in this brew – perhaps it didn’t survive the journey from Iceland.

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Boags Premium Lager - BOTTLEJames Boag’s Premium Lager

Company info:
J. Boag & Son

Launceston, TAS

[www.boags.com.au]

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.95AU

Label info: ‘Since 1881 Tasmania has been our brewers’ inspiration to perfect their craft. The result is James Boag’s Premium – a perfect balance of brewing passion and the finest ingredients delivering a world-class smooth and subtle lager. Tasmania’s finest‘.

What the label really means: The use of the word subtle tends to mean middle-of-the-road in my experience. I hope they prove me wrong.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The main image on this label is a soft, water-colour inspired painting of a babbling stream, flowing from a small waterfall. A looming mountain bares down in the distance. It’s peaceful and idyllic but overshadowed by a bold and sharp red banner reading ‘James Boag’s’ – it makes me think of the many attacks on Tasmania’s landscape over the white-settled years and contrasts beauty with capitalism. Then behind that (and mirrored on the neck label) is a horrible gold outline of the same mountain. The use of gold is often a bad move on beer labels and here it is disastrous. It conjours up images of cigarette packets and instantly feels dirty, dusty, tired, and old. Lose the gold, Boags.

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

AROMA:  It’s a generic lager aroma that is heavy, hoppy, and citrus infused.Boags Premium Lager - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Smooth and citrussy fresh, it’s very easy to drink but it’s also a little boring. There is absolutely nothing to help this lager stick out from the rest of the pack and it is very disappointing. A strong addition of bitterness in the finish would make this brew come to life…sadly, it’s not to be.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it’s much the same…perhaps now it’s a tad more bland and watery. This really is not a spectacular beer at all.

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

Accompanying food: I think Indian cuisine would suit this beer well.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Easy to drink, yes. But could I stick to it all night? Unfortunately no…I think I’d seek out something stronger and fuller flavoured.

NEXT WEEK: Viking Pilsner

Doss Blockos - BOTTLEDoss Blockos

Company info:
East 9th Brewing Co.
Prahran, VIC

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: TBC

Label info: “The story of Doss Blockos
‘…the mole people then join the search, but they were real. There is no actual manifesto that evolved from the underground New York movement in the late 1990s, which is when we first brewed beneath the city’s discarded railway systems. Our beer surfaced when squats started surfacing all around the Lower East Side, before those people came…’

Doss Blockos has been stripped bare of anything but the essential taste we could ream from the specialty pale malt and cascade hops that we have always used”

What the label really means: I’m a little lost by this label. Something about mole people, underground breweries and stripped bare. I love the sound of an underground brewery and perhaps alluding to the origins of this brew. Is the quote from something I am ignorant to? A Wikipedia search of Doss Blockos reveals a much more fascinating tale that is sadly lacking on this label.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I love this brown kraft label that tells a sad tale of homelessness and depression with a genuine air of hope about it.
The bottle comes wrapped in a brown paper bag which is cool in itself. Peel it back and there’s a drawing of a rosey cheeked girl smacking the bottom of a kid bent over in remorse, his hands raised to his face in shame. It’s almost child-like in design but with perfectly orchestrated precision. Perhaps South American in origin? I’m not sure. It is a very cool looking label that instantly won me over as a fan. My only gripe is that the label on this bottle (and others with it) had an issue where the glue hadn’t adhered properly and there was a big crease down the side. Still, it added to the backyard, poor man feel.

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

AROMA:  Strong citrus aromas arise. I’m a little disappointed actually…it’s nothing especially unique.Doss Blockos - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Sadly, this is a very typical pale lager with citrus notes dominating an all-mouth dryness. It’s an easy beer to drink, I am enjoying the tasting, but there is nothing ground breaking here. It’s a little generic and I feel really bad about saying that because I desperately wanted to like this beer. It just needs a little more work in the lab. A little more refinement. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Almost as good from the bottle but it becomes a teensy bit drier. Over all it’s comparable though, so if you want to drink this and show off the label at the same time, go the bottle.

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

Accompanying food: Salty pork or chilli szechuan beef would work a treat alongside this.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew fo sho.

All-nighter beer? Despite my review I do feel this would work well as a session brew.

NEXT WEEK: Anchor Steam Beer