Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Granite Pils - BOTTLEGranite Pils

Company info:
Granite Belt Brewery

Stanthorpe, QLD


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.


SteamRail Pale Ale - BOTTLESteamrail Pale Ale – Ghost of Eyre

Company info:
Steamrail Brewing Company
‘Produced for Australian Beer Connoisseurs
Hawthorn East, VIC’

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.5%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Legend has it that twin ‘beerded’ brothers, Thomas and Charles, set out to find the great inland sea of Australia, Lake Eyre. Ensuring they stowed plenty of Pale Ale for their journey into the scorching centre, they soon had no choice but stay put and let the water find them. Who needs water when you have got great beer’

What the label really means: While I think the humour of this description is light and jovial, it does come off a little confused. I’m not sure who Thomas and Charles are, and how a steam rail comes into the equation.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I actually quite like this label. The green works surprisingly well, linking to the hoppy goodness within. There’s a jovial little drawing of a couple of bearded blokes on a sailing boat, with cracked dirt underneath. I like the fact that the beer isn’t taking itself very seriously and it has a good sense of fun about it. I’m still a bit confused about the two supposed adventurers depicted, and the steam rail significance.

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

AROMA:  Really delicious galaxy hops aromas. It hints at Summery goodness within.SteamRail Pale Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – This is not as great as I’d hoped. It lacks any semblance of a refined finish, has a rather dirty mouth-feel, and over all presents itself as unresolved. When battling it out with the other big gun pale ales around the country, Steamrail will struggle to keep its head up for long. Sure there’s a slight bitterness reaching out through the pervasive blandness of this brew that some may enjoy…me, not so much.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it becomes even drier, a bit more flavourless and watery. Unfortunately it just doesn’t stack up.

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

Accompanying food: To be enjoyed alongside crackling pork

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew

All-nighter beer? It’s definitely an inoffensive session brew that is potentially very easy to drink all night.

Note: At the conclusion of my tasting tonight, I did a bit of research into SteamRail Brewing Company and found this interesting article. So, while it’s now old news (I’m only just tasting this beer now!) – it appears this is contract brewed for LiquorLand / Coles and that there is no SteamRail Brewing Company. I feel a little cheated by this revelation.

NEXT WEEK: Thomas Hardy’s Ale

Mad Abbot Tripel - BOTTLEMad Abbot Tripel

Company info:
The Little Brewing Company
Port Macquarie, NSW


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 9.5%
Standard drinks: 2.5

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $7.00 AU

Label info: ‘Influenced by the classic monastic brews of Belgium, Mad Abbot Tripel is a very strong, golden coloured ale, exhibiting aromas and flavours of sweet malt and tropical/white stone fruit characters.
This ale is balanced with ‘noble’ hop bitterness and warming alcohol in the finish. Bottle conditioned’

What the label really means: The guys at the Little Brewing Company are almost always on the money with their descriptions and their brews. If this is anything as good as it reads, it will be great.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Here’s what I said in my last review of a Little Brewing Company label: ‘The label is abbot inspired with a shape that is rounded, with a point at the top like a church window… There’s a little circle in the middle of the label that proclaims this is a ‘cellar release”
I do like this line of similar labels in the Abbot range, and I’ve always loved the little goblin character.  

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

AROMA:  Nice melon, stone-fruit aromas softened with a particularly noticeable alcohol flavour.

Taste: GLASS – Orange zest combined with honey malt flavours mark this smooth brew that is propellered along by brooding alcoholic undercurrents. It’s a surprisingly heavy and thick beer that is a little deceptive given the golden appearance. It becomes very obvious very quickly that this is one masterfully crafted brew.   Mad Abbot Tripel - GLASS

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Even heavier from the bottle, this thing hits like a sledgehammer. A slight bitterness emerges now and the attractive zesty flavours drift into the background. Definitely stick to the glass, as it’s just not as enjoyable now.

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

Accompanying food: Pastry goods would work well here…a sausage roll or a vegetable pastie would be ideal.

Best season to appreciate: More of a cool weather beer, there’s a genuine warmth felt in every glass.

All-nighter beer? This is far too strong in alcohol for me to consider this as a session brew.


Mad Abbot Christmas Ale - BOTTLEMad Abbot Christmas Ale (2013)

Company info:
The Little Brewing Company
Port Macquarie, NSW


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 11.3%
Standard drinks: 2.9

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $9.00 AU

Label info: ‘The first of a line of ‘seasonal’ vintages brewed for festive occasions. This is a dark Belgian style quadrupel, exhibiting characters of rum, fruit cake, plum, cherry, leather and spice. It will reward with careful cellaring up to 3 to 5 years after date of bottling. Bottle conditioned’

What the label really means: I haven’t met a Christmas ale yet that has failed to disappoint. Bring it on.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label is abbot inspired with a shape that is rounded, with a point at the top like a church window. ‘Mad Abbot’ is written in a bold green across this label with snow-topped caps and a holy leaf off to the side. The little elf character on so many of Little Brewing’s beers has a jolly little Santa suit on his scrawny body and it’s immediately identifiable as a Christmas / festive season brew without going overboard. There’s a little circle in the middle of the label that proclaims this is a ‘cellar release’. I really like the label for not over doing the theme, remaining elegant with an air of fun about it. 

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

AROMA:  I get aromas of chocolate, port wine, and caramel. Very enticing.Mad Abbot Christmas Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – A myriad of flavours reach out and gently stroke your tongue on first sip. It’s a very smooth brew with flavours of chocolate, malty caramel, brown sugar, and a touch of port wine. There’s raisins and spice and all things nice. This is a truly exceptional beer that unfolds with each sip into something of complex beauty. Truly remarkable.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 9 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Surprisingly, a lot of the complex flavours noted from the glass remain. Flavours continue to pop out unexpectedly with each sip and remains just as strong. However, it never tastes too alchoholically strong – which is a good thing. Stick to the glass for the simple fact that this brew just feels trapped, claustrophobic. It needs a wide mouthed glass (as suggested on the label) and served at between 12-14c.

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

Accompanying food: Chicken sausages would suit this beauty.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a winter-warmer. A beer to sit with and to savour.

All-nighter beer? Wooooohoooooo!! Yes please! Either this beer has really gone to my head very quickly or I could imagine drinking this all the way from now until Christmas.

Happy Christmas in July everyone!


Death Between the Tanks - BOTTLEDeath Between the Tanks – Double IPA

Company info:
The Little Brewing Company
Port Macquarie, NSW


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 7.8%
Standard drinks: 2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $7.00 AU

Label info: ‘Our head brewer works ridiculous hours. Crazy hours. He never takes holidays or sickies.
His wife reckons that if he doesn’t change his ways, one day she’ll find him dead between the tanks.
Don’t worry though, if the worst happens, this double IPA is strong and hoppy enough to bring him back, proving the point that a little beer is good.
Hops: Citra, Cascade, Galaxy, Chinook, Simcoe, Motueka’.

What the label really means: If the head brewer does die from over work, this beer sounds to be his lasting tribute with all ounce of his strength poured into it. I am very keen to try this.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: In a dramatic departure from the regular Little Brewing labels, this label is innovative and brilliant. A gravestone engraved with ‘D.I.P.A’ sits amid a puddle of green sludge. Off to the side a green zombi-fied hand reaches from the earth holding a pint of beer aloft to the heavens. ‘Death Between the Tanks’ is emblazoned across the label in the same zombie-green while ‘Double IPA’ sits beneath in a bold white text. I love everything about this label. It combines my love of zombies with my love of beer, and all done in a strong fun cartoon style. Love it.Death Between Tanks - GLASS

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

AROMA:  A fresh hoppy aroma that appears to be bursting at the seams. Hints of Summer fruits gently waft out.

Taste: GLASS – Hearty, meaty, warming and delicious. It slides back with the sweetest of ease leaving the mouth with a blissfully bitter aftertaste. This is an IPA with awesomeness and beauty turned up to 11. Without question, this is the most superior IPA I have ever tasted and one for us all to be proud of.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it’s still an exceptional brew but the depth of flavour is now lost. All the elements are there…just reduced a tad.

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

Accompanying food: A crusty beef pie with mash seems very fitting.

Best season to appreciate: Enjoy this on a cold winter’s night and enjoy those dark deathly tones.

All-nighter beer? The strong alcohol content is barely noticeable and this brew is deceptively easy to drink. I could easily drink this all night.

NEXT WEEK: Rudeboy

Growers Ale - BOTTLEEndeavour Growers Ale (2012)

Company info:
Endeavour Beverages Pty Ltd
Sydney, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.2%
Standard drinks: 1.1

Cap type: Non-screw

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99

Label info: ‘A crafted Australian ale made in tribute to the barley and hop growers who provide us their freshest ingredients every harvest‘.

What the label really means: Sounds great. Bring it on, Endeavour.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Taking a step away from their other labels, Endeavour presents us with a label that is clear, on a green bottle. The text seems to float on the bottle, popping out like the credits of a 3D film. I’m not always a fan of the clear label but here it has been put to remarkably good use.

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

AROMA: Citrussy fresh….clean…

Taste: GLASS – This is one hell of a crisp, clean, refreshing beer. It is so surprisingly tasty that my mouth is hanging in a wide open ‘O’ gesture after every sip. There is so much flavour in every drop, and while a citrus undercurrent pushes this beer along, it’s the prominent hop performance that keeps this brew afloat on clouds of beauty. This is truly delicious.

Growers Ale - GLASS

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

Taste: BOTTLE –
Unfortunately drinking Growers Ale from the bottle makes the brew a little one dimensional, losing the huge depth of flavour you experience from a glass. It’s still a great beer and you will still notice the elements I mention above, but for my money stick to the glass.

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

Accompanying food: Gruyere cheese, or another strong tasting cheese would work well with this. Perhaps a favourite of mine, leak and gruyere pie.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Yes indeed!


Hargreaves Hill Hefeweizen

Company info:
Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company Pty Ltd
Yarra Glen, V.I.C


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.9%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: $3.99

Label info: ‘A traditional German style wheat ale, this beer is brewed in the Yarra Valley with 50% wheat and 50% barley. It is lightly bittered with noble hops grown in the Hallertau region of Bavaria. Conditioning occurs in the bottle, and provides some prominent estery notes of cloves and vanilla’

What the label really means: Sounds great – especially those ‘noble hops’. I’m already picturing hops getting about on neatly primped stallions, perusing their property, a monocle in one eye, and a large cravat billowing out from ‘neath a red hunter’s jacket. Tally forth dear hops, tally forth.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: For what I think is the first time in Hell-Cat’s Beer Blog history, I see blue on a beer label and am not immediately inclined to prank-call Tracey Curro. It’s a very mellow, peaceful blue depicting a hill amidst a sky of washed blue. It calms me, relaxes me, makes me put on a pair of tight jeggings and prance about the kitchen. What has it done to me? I am inspired, I am entranced by the raised lettering, I am eating a gummy bear I found down the back of the couch.

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

AROMA: Smells good…it’s hoppy and a tad citrus tinged.

Taste: GLASS – A deliciously earthy brew with citrus undertones and a whole swag of hop-busting wheaty goodness. It’s considerably dry in consistency but very, very drinkable. Good stuff.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – It becomes even more hop-heavy, a tad more bitter, and, I’m afraid to say, not quite as good. It’s difficult to explain but the more I drink of this from the bottle, the more I am hit by pangs of bloatiness. Still good, just not great.

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

Accompanying food: Drinking Hargreaves Hill Hefeweizen, I have a real hankering for Lebanese food. Bring on the hommous, the tabouli, the sweet caressing lady fingers.

Best season to appreciate: A genuine Summer beer-garden, barbie brew.

All-nighter beer? It’s a little too dry for me to say I could comfortably sit on this brew all evening. I also note the more I drink of this, a growing tangy propensity, lingering as an aftertaste. I’d have to have more to see if this sticks around long.

Other: Happy 2012 everyone! My apologies to all my readers for being AWOL for so long. Between now and my last post, my wife and I welcomed a little baby girl born on Elvis’ birthday with a pre-prepared quiff. Stay tuned in the coming months for the launch of my new section on this site ‘A word from the kid…’.

NEXT WEEK: South Pacific Lager Beer (our first beer from Papua New Guinea)