Archive for the ‘Novelty beer’ Category

Duff - CANDuff
USA flag - SMALL

Company info:
Imported by Pinnacle Liquor
Surry Hills, NSW
Product of U.S.A

[No website listed on can]

Can size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.7%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Ring pull

Cost: I picked this up for $2.99 AU

Label info: N/A

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The beer made famous by animated series The Simpsons has materialised as a real brew. Here is the label that we have seen in countless episodes. The same font, the same colour, the same everything. It is instantly recognised as easily as we would recognise one of the characters and instantly the connection from the beer to the series is made.
I vaguely remember many years ago an Australian company released Duff and was subsequently taken to court by Fox for copyright infringement. Now, this brew has been released as an ‘Australian Edition’ purporting to be a product of the USA and endorsed by Matt Groening (his signature is on the can!) and Fox. To me it reeks of a marketing ploy with the brewers knowing they have an instant customer base of nostalgic fools. Let’s hope the beer brings more to the table than a cheap gimmick. For attention to detail and authenticity to the celluloid design I have rated this label accordingly.

I give it a label rating of 5 out of 10.

AROMA:  It’s how I imagine the carpet in Moe’s Tavern smells – a washed out stale-citrus aroma.Duff - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Duff is a generic citrus infused lager with a smattering of bitterness and little else. It’s exactly as you’d expect. But perhaps that is the joke…it tastes just like all the other big US brews (think Bud, Millers, Coors, etc). It’s the stereotypical US beer that fits the mass produced formula of blandness, designed to be consumed in high quantity. Is Duff being ironic? Is this a post-modern brew where bland becomes unique? No. This is as boring as a night watching slides at Patti and Selmas. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 4 out of 10.

Taste: CAN Surprisingly, Duff becomes even more dull when tasted from the can. It’s like the night at Patti and Selmas just got turned down a notch with the arrival of Principal Skinner’s mum. What little taste I could sense from the glass has now all but packed up and headed back to Grandpa’s retirement village.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 3.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I often suggest spicy dishes for bland brews, especially lagers, and this is no exception. Grab yourself a chilli pork dish and tuck in like Homer at an all you can eat buffet.

Best season to appreciate: Summer I suppose.

All-nighter beer? Designed to be consumed in quantity. To be thrown back as quick as you can. It’s so inoffensive that it could be an all-nighter in the right hands. Not for me.

NEXT WEEK: New Englander Brown Ale

Broo Premium Lager

Company info:
Broo Pty Ltd
Sorrento, V.I.C


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $2.99AU

Label info: ‘Premium Australian Lager. Brewed in our back shed and crafted from the finest malt, barley and of course hops. There’s no artificial anything, and it tastes bloody broodiful’
‘Broo Fact: A good Broo should always be drunk from a brown bottle. (Troo)’

What the label really means: haha…see what they did there? They said ‘broodiful’ instead of ‘beautiful’! haha.
Ok, all facetious laughter aside I gotta give the guys some credit for clearly having a sense of humour and wanting to make their label a fun read. I’m sure it would appeal to many different people in the community – ‘Hey Hey it’s Saturday’ fans for one!

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: They’ve taken the oft-used ‘kangaroos ahead’ road sign and given it a slight twist by having half of it in a shade of bronzed gold. It’s certainly an improvement as it steers just a tad clear of cliched-ism. The gold used on the label is not your traditional beer label gold and also serves to steer the beer away from real-estate agent tacky. The R in ‘Broo’ bears a striking resemblance to a kangaroo tail and is cute in a ‘Look at that elderly person carrying a walkman’ kind of way. But, over all, the label fails miserably. It’s still well and truly entrenched in the highway gift shop genre and there’s little to help it claw its way out.

I give it a label rating of 4.5 out of 10.

AROMA: It’s very….wait for it….hoppy. There. Done. It’s good night from me.

Taste: GLASS – Quite a bland, generic lager and not overly enjoyable in the least. In fact the more I drink of this the more bland it becomes. It has all the markings of a big-mass produced brew while purporting to be made in the back shed. I’m not buying it for a second but if I did, I’d suggest someone check the guttering and the hop bag for mouse turds.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE –
Just as dull, if not more so. Oh boy…this is really quite embarrassing. I bet the bloke that sold me this bottle this afternoon was having a quiet chuckle to himself. Well the joke’s on him because….oh wait…no, the joke is on me isn’t it? Keep forgetting who benefits in jokes of this nature. You know, the ol consumer watchdog scares and such.

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

Song of choice: Try this along side Led Zeppelin’s ‘Over the Hills and Far Away

Accompanying food: It’s not a beer I recommend to accompany much food as I fear you might revisit a lot of dinner after 2-3 of these Broos. But if I did have to recommend food I’d say big, fatty sausages, steak, onions, mushrooms and char-grilled vegies.

Best season to appreciate: Which is the season that means never? Alright, alright….I’ll play fair. Summer. Done.

All-nighter beer? Nope. No way. Not now. Not ever.

NEXT WEEK: It’s my 99th beer next week, leading up to the great celebrations planed for the 100th! Give me your suggestions, or, if you’re reading this from a brewery with a few spare bottles, well….*wink*….you know….*wink*. 

Cave Creek Chili Beer

Company info:
Cerverceria Mexicana
Tecate, MEXICO
[NB: While these are the details listed on the bottle, further research indicates this beer is produced by the Black Mountain Brewing Company, Arizona. I’m not sure what to put so I am leaving it as listed on the bottle]


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: TBC%
Standard drinks: TBC

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Premium Lager Beer with a Chili Pepper added’

What the label really means: Ok, I’m scared. Check out the chili pepper picture below – these guys mean business (even if they can’t get their brewery name sorted)

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label is mostly gold with a big green chili bent into the shape of the letter ‘C’. There is really nothing great about this label and in fact I am only drawn to it because I recognise it as a beer I have sampled previously. Not a fan of cursive script on beer labels, and this combined with gold is a sure recipe for disaster in my books.

I give it a label rating of 3.5 out of 10.

AROMA: A spicy chili aroma that all but hints of the heat contained in this beer.

Taste: GLASS – The chili is so over-powering that it is difficult to discern any other flavours. It’s not so hot that I can’t drink it but it’s definitely not a pleasant tasting. The chili immediately warms and brightens my face. It’s an interesting beer from a novelty perspective – otherwise avoid.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5.5 out of 10.
Taste: BOTTLE – The chili hit becomes even more powerful when drinking this from the bottle. It’s not easy to drink (especially when the chili keeps floating down and half coming out of the bottle), it’s not pleasurable, but again it’s a good novelty. It’s a beer that needs to be tried at least once.

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

A word from the Wife: ‘Nice…a lingering chili essence that I quite like’

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

Accompanying food: Some soothing salsa and guacamole with corn chips may just settle the fires in my face.

Best season to appreciate: It’s a light lager so it should be perfect for a Summer afternoon. Alternatively, if you need an instant body warmer, keep a bottle of this under your pillow during Winter.

All-nighter beer? No thanks. I’m struggling on one.

NEXT WEEK: Fursty Ferret

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

Chopper Heavy - bottleChopper Heavy
Australian flag - small


Company info:
Steel River Brewery

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 5.5%

Standard drinks: 1.45

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$2.99

Label info: The most confusing/disturbing label info I have had to report on: ‘Nailed to a cross, his end was very near, he called to the Roman for one last drink, and smiled when he got a beer’.

What the label really means: This is probably an attempt by the brewery to be funny by either (a) comparing Chopper to Christ, or (b) making out Christ was handed a beer after crucifixion. Either way it loses me due to simply not being funny or relevant.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I’ve mentioned many times before that I appreciate a tough label on a beer. Unfortunately this beer is like a heavy metal fan dressed in knee high, steel clad boots, and long greasy head-banging hair at a kindergarten. The stealy eyed Chopper (Mark “Chopper” Reed) peering out on the label is kind of lame, and I can only think of Eric Banner’s impersonation and not a supposed Australian gangster. There is a kind of light-glow behind his head, as if to give him biblical importance but ergh! 

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

AROMA: It’s a very faint smell with a slight malty waft. The subtlety of this, combined with the pale colour is already making me think this won’t be a very tasty beer.

Taste: GLASS – It’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be. It has an amber ale taste which is confusing given the colour. It’s fuller-bodied than I expected also, and is distinctly a lager.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – This isn’t too bad from the bottle. I kept going back for more of it and feel that it’s one of those beers that should be consumed from the bottle in large quantities. Not too bad at all.

Chopper Heavy - glass

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

A word from the wife: “Doesn’t taste too heavy…pleasant and easy to drink – especially for a lager”

She gave it a taste rating of 7.5 out of 10. 
Accompanying food: I am thinking a nice, creamy pasta dish would accompany this beer well. Probably not something Chopper would agree with

 but stuff him!

Best season to appreciate: Due to the malty flavours persistent through this beer I would suggest this to be consumed during cooler months.

Time taken to finish bottle: 5 minutes.

All-nighter beer? There is no particularly overpowering flavour and I think it has been designed purposefully as an all-nighter beer so I will say yes.

NEXT WEEK: Cascade Green (by request)

Outback Chilli BeerOutback Chilli Beer
Outback Brewery
Australian flag - small 

Company info:
Outback Brewery

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Label info: No label info

What the label really means: N/A

 The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label on this beer is very ordinary. It’s plain, it’s unexciting. They’ve gone for a cartoon image of a frilled neck lizard in a supposedly threatening pose.
Now, I love a good, tough looking label and if a scary animal is in a threatening pose, the label designers get extra points. The Outback Chilli Beer’s design however leaves me yawning and not frightened in the least. The text around the lizard, and on the rest of the bottle, looks like it’s come direct from MS Word and is definitely not appealing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this label has been designed by kids at a sheltered workshop – or at least someone with a very rudimentary knowledge of Indesign. Lame font, lame colours, lame non-scary lizard. It makes me wonder if this label is designed specifically for tourists. Blind tourists.

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

AROMA: The smell of this beer is really quite nice. It’s very soft, and very wheaty. In a way, it reminds me in smell of a beer such as Hoegaarden. 

Taste: GLASS – Upon first sip of this ale I was hit with a stinging pang of nothingness. There was a slight hint of chilli but hardly noticeable. This alone, is a good thing (a couple of years back I tried Black Mountain’s Chili Beer and was almost blown sideways by the heat. It made it difficult to drink). Outback Chilli Beer at least has subtlety on its side. And that’s about the best thing I can say for this nothing kind of beer.

Outback Chilli Beer - glass

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Surprisingly (though it wasn’t too hard), this beer tastes better from the bottle. It seemed to go down easier and smoother – though I put this down to the beer being a bit of a nothing kind of beer that just needs to be thrown back quickly.
The other thing I noticed from drinking out of the bottle was that the chilli taste was a bit more noticeable. And in giving this beer a bit of taste, it was a good thing.

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

A word from the wife: ‘A subtle chilli flavour that would go nice with Thai or Vietnamese’.

She gave it a generous taste rating of 7 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I would suggest having this beer (if you insist) as a pre-dinner drink. It would go well with nuts or chips. Drink it from the bottle for the extra hit of chilli and the beer will serve to open up your palette, get the saliva glands working and prepare you for dinner.

Best season to appreciate: I think this beer would be best suited to the warmer months.

Time taken to finish bottle: 5 minutes – I sort of threw it back once my tasting was complete as I knew no other taste sensation would emerge.

All-nighter beer? Definitely not. 2-3 of this would be my limit for a very long time. After finishing this beer I didn’t feel like another beer of any description for about 24 hours.

Other notes: After typing up this week’s entry I decided to head to the Outback Brewery website. I was somewhat amused to see that Outback Chilli Beer has three medals to its name. A gold, and two bronzes. There is no year listed for these or further information.

NEXT WEEK: Holgate’s Mt Macedon Ale