Archive for the ‘Tough label’ Category

Pistonhead Kustom Lager - CANPistonhead Kustom Lager
Sweden Flag

Brewery info:
Brutal Brewing AB,


Can size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.75 AU

Label info: ‘Custom brewed with a double-clutch of Munchener-malt and pilsner malt injected with spalter select, magnum and perle hops’ 

What the label really means: The description is definitely revving my taste buds into action.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: This is the label I have been looking for all these years. Sheer design perfection. The can is a matte black finish with a white sugar-skull inspired design. There are splashes of blood red across the skull’s forehead with a spade motif smack bang between the eyes. The skulls itself is surrounded by a simple silver flame that shoots off behind it. There’s a banner beneath the skull that proudly announces ‘Pistonhead’ in big bold lettering while ‘Kustom Lager’ is in a cursive script beneath. It has a style of tattoo meshed firmly with street art graffiti and works brilliantly. This truly is label perfection. I cannot find a single fault with this and I am proud to hold this in my blood-stained hands.

I give it a label rating of 10 out of 10.Pistonhead - GLASS

AROMA:  Citrussy, musky, good. 

Taste: GLASS – It’s most certainly a very familiar lager encased within this canned beauty. But what is it that distinguishes this from the myriad of lagers in its class? Well…nothing really. It’s a very, very enjoyable drop that is incredibly smooth and has a slight hint of malty goodness, but it’s a bit run of the mill. I guess I expected, and hoped, for more. Still…it’s a great beer that deserves a tasting.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the can Pistonhead loses a good dose of that malty undercurrent and as such becomes a little one-dimensial. It’s still good, it’s just not as strong.

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

Accompanying food: Chilli prawns or chilli beef would suit this well.

Best season to appreciate: A real summer thirst quencher. 

All-nighter beer? Absolutely! Pistonhead slides back very easily. I am most certainly up for the all night challenge.



Inedit - BOTTLEInedit Damm
Spanish flag - SMALL

Company info:
Brassee Par: C.C Damm
Barcelona, SPAIN

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Wheat and barley beer with spices’

What the label really means: Straight to the point.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Just like the previously reviewed Estrella Damm I love this label. A single gold star shines out from a matte black label. It’s simple and sophisticated, classy and elegant. As you would know, dear readers, I am generally against gold on beer labels but in this case, it’s just the right amount. It’s beautiful. Once again it ‘reeks of revolution. It reeks of liberation. It reeks of freedom. It also reeks of tradition, quality, and a beer not to be messed with. The label is tough, staunch, unblinking in the face of a pudgy, angry dictator with a penchant for tight trousers. It stares down authority and gives the finger to establishment.’ Who wouldn’t want to be seen holding this?

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

AROMA:  Deliciously hoppy, floral aromas.

Taste: GLASS – Oh wow. This is one superbly crafted brew. All the elements are there for a smooth wheat beer with an undercurrent of citrus, but somehow it rises above this to pure brilliance in every drop. It’s clean, crisp and delicious. I am very impressed with this beer and finding it hard to stop drinking.Inedit - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, Inedit loses a good deal of that clean, refreshing mouth feel and becomes a little watery. Flavours are definitely diminished here, and while it still gives a fine glimpse into this heavenly brew it most certainly is better from the glass.

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

Accompanying food: Drunken garlic prawns.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a summer brew.

All-nighter beer? For sure! This is very easy to drink and it’s refreshing nature keeps you wanting more.

Other: This is my first review in a while and the reason for that is revealed over at my official Facebook page – come join me why don’t you? In the mean time I’ll get back to bringing weekly reviews your way.

NEXT WEEK: Pistonhead

Hop Hog IPA - BOTTLEFeral White

Australia flag - SMALL

Company info:
Feral Brewing Company

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 5.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$4.99

Label info: N/A

What the label really means: N/A




The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Contrary to what I’ve said earlier on Feral’s labels, the hog on this one works a treat. Here is a ferocious razor back screaming out of the label like a hog that has had its goolies pinched. Light shoots out of it on all angles to emphasise the pain, the angst, and all set against a beautiful green that shines out brightly. Sure it’s tough, it’s in your face, it’s loud, but there’s a certain beauty to this too.

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA: Delicious! There’s a soft melon-fruit aroma that is reaching out and gently cupping my nasal hairs.

Taste: GLASS: Classic heavy IPA flavours are held aloft to the beer gods on a wave of subtle, and not over-bearing, alluring Summer-fruit flavours. This is one hell of a finely crafted brew with all the hallmarks of an absolute classic. Delicious to the last drop.Hop Hog IPA - GLASS

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

Taste: BOTTLE: Almost as good from the bottle, the fruit flavours shine through as the unsung saviour of this very fine IPA. I repeat, this is delicious to the very last drop.

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

Accompanying food: A tomato salsa on freshly baked corn/tortilla chips would set this beer ablaze.

Best season to appreciate: The fruity notes compel me to suggest this is a good Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Yes please! One of the finest IPAs I’ve sampled.


The Chancer Golden - BOTTLEThe Chancer Golden Ale

Company info:
Malt Shovel Brewery Pty Ltd

Camperdown, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 345 mL

Alcohol: 4.5%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: $TBC

Label info: ‘Never one to let a ball & chain hold him back, ex convict James Squire seized every opportunity his emancipation offered. His unique blend of charm, skill & luck ultimately rewarded him with an enviable fortune as Australia’s first brewer. But was he really happy? A brewery, money & freedom – what do you think?

Brewed using toasted grains of wheat & barley with Amarillo hops for a tropical fruit aroma, Golden Ale is the ideal thirst-slaking beer.’

What the label really means: This is now the second reference I have come across for the term ‘slaking’ (see the first here). [Given the early years competition between Squire and Boston, are these two brews now competing with each other?]
Once again we are given a brief insight into the life of James Squire and that is one thing I have always enjoyed with the labels of Squire brews. Legend. Legend. Top bloke.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I always enjoy these variously coloured labels from MSB and this Chancer is mostly a rusted golden colour, depicting a stack of coins that hint at Squire’s wealth. It’s simple, it’s rustic, it works.

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

AROMA: Deliciously hoppy, grainy aromas.The Chancer Golden - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – This is one fine, refreshing, thirst-quenching brew that is light on the palate, cleansing and smooth. But it’s almost a little too clean and actually has a disappointingly watery finish. I think I was hoping for a bit of a punch and instead I’m just getting a slight slap on the wrist. 

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Drinking from the bottle The Chancer loses a bit of the flavour and becomes a little more watery. It’s also now more noticeably carbonated and this totally detracts from the taste. Good, but stick to a glass.

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

Accompanying food: A tomato paste smothered canneloni dish would suit this brew

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew through and through. It’s true.

All-nighter beer? Yes! This is very easy to drink, refreshing and fun. You will not get sick of this.

NOTE: I recently was presented with a Tap King (more on that another time), and The Chancer is such an amazing brew to showcase this home-tap instrument. Amazing. If you’ve only tasted this brew from the bottle (or glass), you must taste it on ‘tap’.


The Convict - BOTTLEThe Convict

Company info:
Gage Roads Brewing Co.
Palmyra, W.A.


Bottle size sampled: 640 mL

Standard drinks: 3.6

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $8.99AU

Label info: ‘Australian beer drinkers, you’ve been locked up by bland, watered-down lagers for too long. Never fear, the Fussy Bastards at Gage Roads are here to set you free! You won’t find a boring, run-of-the mill lager here. This is a BIG Australian ale. A boatload of Aussie ingredients: 6 specialty ale malts, 4 of our finest hops. The Convict is rich in flavour, soaked in tropical aroma. Dry hopped with an insane amount of Summer, Stella, and Galaxy hops, this is an ale that could bend even the strongest bars at Freo prison! Break off the shackles with Gage Roads The Convict: Australian Strong Ale’

What the label really means: I always appreciate the level of detail that Gage Roads go into on their labels and this is no exception. The label rings of pride and beauty and I can’t wait to taste what has gone into this bottle.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: On first glance at this label, I love it. I love the bold colours, the cartoony style, the punch in the jaw. The image depicts Neptune (the Gage Road’s God of choice) holding a beer bottle out in front of him. His beard flows wildly in the breeze and the handcuff shackles break free and fly behind him. His teeth are gritted in a smile, or perhaps anger, while a prison number is imprinted on his shirt. His merman tails flaps off to the side of his beige, veiny body. Look closely around the top banner and you’ll notice little tallys like those seen in prison sells, reinforcing the convict theme. All well and good, but what is difficult for me to ignore is the genuine death-metal freakishness the label depicts. Am I buying a beer or a ticket to a German metal scream-fest? Ok so it’s meant to evoke feelings of rebelliousness, strength, freedom, intensity – I get it. But it’s a tad scary, and a bit too metal.

I give it a label rating of 6.5 out of 10.The Convict - GLASS

AROMA:  Malty, chocolatey aromas.

Taste: GLASS – First sip and I’m hit with rich, malty, caramelised flavours. It’s dry, very dry, but it’s so smooth that you are left more with an impression of smoothness than dryness. This is one meaty, hearty brew that is brimming with flavour.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – While I’m not really a drink from a long-neck kind of guy, drink this from the bottle and you’ll discover that The Convict becomes a bit less dry, and a tad better. Now highlighted are the malty tones, with caramel subtleties raised to new highs. Also stronger is the bitter after taste – but this works well.

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

Accompanying food: Lamb and couscous would suit this to a tee.

Best season to appreciate: A definite Winter-warmer

All-nighter beer? No, not for me. I think this would pack a powerful punch in the morning, so I will decline from considering this as an all-nighter.

NEXT WEEK: Monteith’s Golden Lager

Wingwalker Belgian Style Wheat Ale

Company info:
RJ King Wingwalker Brewing Company

[No website listed on bottle]

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.59 AU

Label info: N/A

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Wingwalker brews pay homage to the great aero-entertainers that would climb out on the wings of a bi-plane and perform amazing stunts of bravery. This brew shows a bloke performing a hand-stand on the upperdeck, seemingly unsupported by any tetherings. These entertainers are the legends of a forgotten era and it makes me wonder how we even cope today without them. What joy they would have brought to little Billy the disabled boy with epilepsy as they announced they were taking to the skies with their own form of acrobatics. What laughter they would have shared with Sandra the girl everyone called ‘Miss Mute-alot’ due to her lack of tongue. These men (and women I presume, though we really only remember the male wingwalkers) are the forgotten comedians of a forgotten time. Finally they are recognised through a series of brews. And it’s hight time.

My only complaint with this label is that every single bottle I picked up was not glued properly. Huge creases lined the label. Is this any way to treat our air-heroes?

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  It’s very subtle but sniff carefully and you’ll hit delicious fruity aromas.

Taste: GLASS – Very smooth, very wheaty. Wingwalker Belgian Style Wheat Ale is like a mild Hoegaarden – and this is a good thing as it’s an incredibly drinkable beer. Stick around for the subtle bitterness that follows as a nice after-taste. This is a very enjoyable brew.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Drink this from the bottle and you’ll realise that it quickly becomes a little less complex. But the strong wheat and citrus flavours are still there. Still a very enjoyable brew that I am heartily enjoying.

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

Song of choice: Try this alongside Motor Ace’s ‘American Shoes

Accompanying food: Something with tomato sauce…I’m thinking a good ol American hot-dog or perhaps a sausage roll….both smothered in plenty of tomato sauce.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Yes please…it feels like this brew would easily be a good session beer.

NEXT WEEK: Dogbolter

Victoria Bitter

Company info:
Carlton & United Breweries
Southbank, VIC


Can size sampled: 375 mL

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Ring-pull

Cost: $TBC

Label info: ‘Heritage Series – Classic 1958 can design – Today’s Best Cold Beer

As soon as we realised that metal chills faster than glass we started selling VB in it. In fact, in 1958 we were the first Australian brewery to sell beer in a can. Back then our cans were 13 1/3 fluid ounces of pure steel, meaning you didn’t get far without a church key and a bit of muscle’

What the label really means: Good stuff. I’m all for beer labels giving a bit of a history lesson on their brew, or their company. I really do appreciate being armed with the alleged knowledge that VB was the first Australian beer sold in a can.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Ok so this week I’ve specifically gone for VB in a can, and not the bottles that I normally seek. Does this change anything? No, I don’t think so. The brew is still being put under the same level of scrutiny that I review all beers with. What drew me to this can was the awesome 1958 design. I love it. It makes me think of boiling Summers, watching cricket on a rickety old black and white television. It makes me think of sprinklers on lawns, and crickets in trees. It just has a certain degree of strength, of nostalgia, of warmth. I probably would have breezed straight past VB, and still not reviewed it, were it not for this heritage series can. I love it.

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA: Quite pleasant….it’s citrussy subtle with a lingering wheat musk.

Taste: GLASS – I, like any Australian drinker, has tasted VB on many occasions. But, I’ve never stopped to smell the roses and to see what this beer is all about. My initial comment upon tasting is that it hits with an initial citrus, hoppy hit. It’s actually quite pleasant – and it almost pains me to say this because I’m supposed to hate this beer aren’t I? Isn’t this supposed to be the epitome of evil in Aussie beer? What the hell is happening to me? 
It’s a tad dry, not overly bitter, and rather drinkable. VB’s main issue is that there is no lingering mouth flavour that sticks with you. It seems to dissipate all too quickly. Look, I’ll defend my review by saying it’s an inoffensive lager that is easy to drink, but oh so generic. It’s not going to win any unique taste awards any time soon but it’ll do the job if you’re after a throw-back beer.

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

Taste: Can – There’s a bit more of a hoppy punch that takes hold when drinking this from the can, wiping out the citrus tones. I’m drinking this from the can and I am instantly transported to outdoor music festivals, sporting events, and concerts that I’ve attended in the past and VB has been the beer of choice for the venue. It’s taking me on a magical head-journey and I’m enjoying the ride. However, I also note that it becomes a bit drier when drinking from the can, and ever so slightly not as enjoyable.

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

Song of choice: Try this along side Bob Dylan’s ‘It Aint me Babe

Accompanying food: Chicken. I’m thinking chicken satay skewers.

Best season to appreciate: A good Summer brew to watch the cricket with.

All-nighter beer? It’s so dry that I wouldn’t like to drink this all night. But…I could if I had no other choice.

NEXT WEEK: Endeavour Amber Ale (2010 Reserve)