Posts Tagged ‘Lager’

Boags Premium Lager - BOTTLEJames Boag’s Premium Lager

Company info:
J. Boag & Son

Launceston, TAS


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

Budweiser - BOTTLEBudweiser

Brewery info:

Missouri, U.S.A

[No website listed

Alcohol: 4.9%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price’. 

What the label really means: I’ve read this label text a couple of times now and I’m still not sure I understand it. Maybe I’m a bit slow. Can anyone help? Seriously.
I hope the brew inside is less confusing.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: As arguably the most well known beer label of our time, this is a bold, in your face brand. The red makes the label jump out while the white and gold soften it and create an air of bogan-pride. The label portrays itself as a throwback to an era when smoking was advertised as a tool for picking up ladies, and conjures images of crack dens and whore houses. It’s sad, it’s depressing…it’s like a 68 year old man at a rave sporting a faux-hawk and fluro pants. Budweiser claims to be the ‘King of Beers’, I claim it to be the ‘King of Oversized Under-durps’.  

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

AROMA:  A very mild aroma…sniff carefully and you may catch a citrus hint.

Taste: GLASS – This is a very mild pale lager with no discernible flavour profile emerging. There is a soft citrus swirl through what is unsurprisingly a very bland brew. It’s very easy to drink because of its inoffensive style but that’s hardly endearing.
Putting your pre-conceptions aside when tasting this beer is difficult. But try your best to sample the brew within and judge it based on its performance and not its reputation. Budweiser - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 3.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Much the same from the bottle as it is from the glass…perhaps a tad soapier now. It’s not great, it’s not fun, it’s not impressing anyone. Very disappointing no matter which way you look at it.

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

Accompanying food: A strong Szechuan beef with extra chilli. Team it with this dish and Bud could at least act as a softener to the heat. 

Best season to appreciate: I suppose a Summer brew. Though by saying that I fear I’m insulting Summer.

All-nighter beer? Because this beer is so easy to throw back in large quantities, this really is a sessionable beer. Unfortunately it would make for a very dull evening.


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

KISS Destroyer - BOTTLEKISS Destroyer
Sweden Flag

Brewery info:
Stockholm, SWEDEN

[No website listed]

Alcohol: 4.7%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99 AU

Label info: ‘The hottest beer in the world’ 

What the label really means: Ok…great…I see what you rock gods are going for here. Playing it cool. I read ya. 

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: This is glarey, flamboyant, over the top and decidedly 1970s in style. Everything that the rock band KISS epitomises. I like the fact that it is instantly recognised as a KISS branded item, but is it a little marketing-ploy schmultzy? Come on, how many other bands release their own beer? (Stay tuned for word on You Am I’s brew out soon). I do like the dual two-tone colour arrangement here that reflects the KISS make-up patterns so well. What I don’t like is that awesome KISS album art hasn’t been used to create an even rockier brew. I just think more work could have gone into this one.

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

AROMA:  A meaty, hop-heavy brew.

Taste: GLASS – This surprisingly is a very flavoursome all-mouth brew that hits with a great punch to the smacker. It’s refreshing with a back of mouth bitterness. It prances very cleverly on the edge of being pilsener in flavour and then sort of backs off a bit to be a bit more subtle. I’m glad to say that this is a beer KISS should be proud to have their name attached to. It’s not an amazingly complex beer by any means, but it is definitely enjoyable. I’m claiming this as the demented love-child of Becks and Pilsner Urquell.KISS Destroyer - GLASS

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, KISS Destroyer hits with a similar level of enthusiasm but just falls short of the mark. Still good but not great. 

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

Accompanying food: Red meat…beef preferably.

Best season to appreciate: I’d suggest this is destined for outdoor Summer music festivals.

All-nighter beer? Yes I could definitely drink this all night…and party ever-eey night.


Cats Shank Kolsch - BOTTLECat’s Shank Kölsch
Australian flag - small

Company info:
Beer brewed and bottled in Australia for or under license from ALH Group Limited trading as
the Sail & Anchor Brewing
Alphington, V.I.C

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 345 mL

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$3.89

Label info: ‘Cat’s Shank – The one with a high-flying heritage!
You needed more than nine lives to hoist beer crates off the drayman’s cart at Fremantle Port. In fact, loading ships was lethal but the  wildest lifts were tamed with a Cat’s Shank knot. Unlike the original, our Cat Shank slips down all too easily. But here’s the twist. Thanks to the quality pilsner and Vienna style malts we use, our Cologne-inspired ale tastes light and refreshing like a lager. So it’s the ideal drink to get your claws around on a sunny day ‘

What the label really means: Something about ships, docks, knots, and cats in there. Let’s hope the taste of this beer gets to the point quicker than the label description. While I am always one to appreciate history lessons on beer labels, I feel this one misses the point a tad.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label is predominantly yellow and I feel this really kills the look. Yellow is a bit like gold on beer labels, it’s very difficult to make work. Then look at the label itself, placed on an angle. It gives the beer a quirky, crazy feel, emphasised by a sailor with a pencil thin moustache who hangs upside down, tied by his feet (with a cat’s shank knot presumably), with a crate in his hand. Is this really how crates were unloaded off ships back in the day? And with such suave finesse? Look at the cheeky little sailor man, a slight look of pain on his face, his belt hanging half off his pants. It’s a cute attempt but just seems too try-hard wannabee quirky. And don’t get me started on the logo on the neck label – it’s so simplistic that it reeks of clipart.
If I was rating bottle shapes, this would get a tick from me as it’s a unique shape that works. Unfortunately I don’t.

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

AROMA: Hoppy, wheaty aromas with a soft citrus hit. Cats Shank Kolsch - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Surprisingly tasty, this a refreshing brew with a dry finish. It’s well-rounded and flavoursome. I am enjoying this brew.
This is only the second kolsch-style brew I have reviewed so I’m still not sure if this brew qualifies for the style.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Almost as good from the bottle, but not quite there. It becomes a tad more bitey and I suggest you stick to the glass to sample this.

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

Accompanying food: Spicy chorizo sausage would sit well beside this – perhaps I am longing for deeper, sharper flavours. Or perhaps I am still seeking a breakfast beer. Spanish eggs anyone?

Best season to appreciate: Definitely geared more towards a Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? I easily think I could drink this all night.

Note: It’s worth noting, as has been done previously, that Sail & Anchor is majority owned and operated by Woolworths. Is it fair for this big supermarket chain to be clearly cashing in on the craft-beer scene? I’d love to hear reader’s thoughts on this.

NEXT WEEK: Pintail Pale Ale

Monteiths Golden Lager - BOTTLEMonteith’s Golden Lager

Brewery info:
Monteith’s Brewing Co
Auckland, Timaru & Greymouth, NEW ZEALAND


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.65 AU

Label info: ‘Monteith’s Golden.
A golden malty lager with mellow hop characters and a cashew nut smoothness. Refresh and relax with this classic-style beer‘.

What the label really means: I like the sound of cashews. After all, who doesn’t like cashews? Could this brew have the taste of cashew nuts (not particularly known for their smooth taste). Or are they just saying the beer is as smooth as a cashew nut? If so, surely a better analogy for smoothness could have been sought.
‘…a baby’s bottom smoothness…’?
‘…a recently sandpapered piece of timber smoothness…’?
‘…the skin of a banana smoothness…’?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: This is what I’ve said in the past for Monteith’s labels:
‘I’ve been a fan of Monteith’s labels for a while now and this is another fine label. Each of their beers has slight differences in colour and font’.
I think their colour variation labels are still working for them. Here we get a warm orange glow singing of Summer, crispness, and bbqs. It works.

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

AROMA:  Citrussy, zesty, fresh. No real surprises here.Monteiths Golden Lager - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – Refrshingly zesty, citrus infused, and mildly carbonated, this is a very easy to drink brew. It’s good that it’s easy to drink, and certainly inoffensive, but put this beside twenty other golden-lager style beers and you’ll be hard pressed picking this out from the bunch. I just get the impression these guys just aren’t trying any more…bit of a let down.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Much the same from the bottle the predominant flavours are the zesty, citrus notes with a swirl of wheaty goodness. Again, this is one very easy to drink beer, that is super refreshing. But perhaps it’s leaning a little too far over the generic fence.

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

Accompanying food: Rissoles and mashed potato would work well here I believe.

Best season to appreciate: This is a genuine Summer weather brew guaranteed to quench that unquenchable thirst.

All-nighter beer? I could quite easily drink this beer all night long.


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