Posts Tagged ‘pale ale’

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


Hop Thief - BOTTLEHop Thief American Pale Ale

Company info:
Malt Shovel Brewery Pty Ltd

Camperdown, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 345 mL

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: $3.50AU

Label info: ‘At the Malt Shovel Brewery, we craft beers in honour of the First Fleet convict who went on to become Australia’s first brewer. A series of American style Pale Ales using hops from around the world. These hops added late in the brewing process combined with Pale, Munich and Crystal malts create a smooth, deep amber brew with a pronounced aroma
‘By hook or by crook James Squire always found a way to source the finest hops available for his flavoursome ales. Sometimes this resulted in a good lashing and other times in a handsome reward, but always in a good story to tell with a great tasting beer.
Not for the faint hearted an American style Pale Ale with a firm malt backbone. Simcoe hops deliver a passionfruit and slightly pine-needle like aroma whilst the addition of Columbus adds further complexity and an earthy, spicy character’

What the label really means: The amount of info squeezed on to Squire labels is always quite astonishing, but I think this one takes the cake. This one is so long that I wonder if many drinkers make it all the way through. Still, honouring James Squire as the legend that he allegedly was is always a good thing – no complaints from me.

The Hell-Cat review starts hereHop Thief - GLASS

Label: I’ve said before that I like these MSB labels for their simplicity and their down to earth rustic nature. I guess it’s the same here but it does suddenly feel a little crowded. Almost every square inch is taken up with text and this isn’t doing the brew any real favours. Surprisingly though, I have no complaints with the blue or green used on this label – they seem to work.

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

AROMA: A slightly fruity aroma heralds a smack of caramel and familiar American Pale Ale aromas.

Taste: GLASS – A good, smooth mouthfeel with deliciously strong, dry, bitter after-taste. It’s a good take on the APA (which I am clearly a huge fan of) and I believe it to be the best brew in the Squire range. However, there are far superior APA’s on the market that overshadow this brew in depth and punch, and finesse – I’m thinking mostly of Gage Road’s Atomic Pale Ale.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Hop Thief from the bottle is still great with some of those good strong flavours clearly evident. It becomes a tad drier and a tad more bitter, but it’s still a very drinkable beast.

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

Accompanying food: A fatty cheesy kransky would go amazingly well with this.

Best season to appreciate: Those good dark, malty flavours suggest this brew would make a good Winter-warmer.

All-nighter beer? Yes I think so.


Queen of the Night Pale Ale - BOTTLEQueen of the Night Pale Ale
Mexican flag

Company info:
Cerverceria Mexican
Tecate, MEXICO

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$4.50

Label info: ‘Day of the Dead Beer’
‘Cerveza De Los Muertos’

What the label really means: As a big fan of the film ‘Day of the Dead’ I am looking for a beer equivalent. Could this be the beer I am seeking from beyond the grave?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The visual imagery on this bottle alone nearly bring this to label perfection. I don’t claim to be knowledgeable in the least of the intricately painted skull motifs prevalent for Mexico’s day of the dead celebrations, but I know I am always impressed by the intricate designs. On this label we are presented with the image of a woman standing tall and defiant, her black blue hair flowing behind her. She holds aloft what appears to be a recorder, the first beer label I have come across to display this instrument. Her face is intricately painted in a calavera/sugar skull design while loose pin-striping flies from her head. The label is mostly orange, and this is a little confusing as even the woman’s dress is orange and it all gets a bit lost. Then the font of ‘Queen of the Night’ is a bit small and not quite right… The neck label nearly redeems the entire bottle with a beautiful calavera design, replicated on the lid. A bit too much orange but over all one hell of a good label.

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

AROMA: A beautiful caramel, chocolatey aroma drifts up.Queen of the Night Pale Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS: Smooth malt, caramel flavours. It’s more towards the amber ale side of the fence with some pervasive dark flavours flowing through. It’s good. It’s real good. Probably the best Mexican brew I’ve sampled in my limited experience of exported beers. The only real downer to this beer, that is letting it down a tad, is the after-taste that fizzles to water quite rapidly. I want it to linger like the smell of death in your curtains – it just doesn’t happen.

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

Taste: BOTTLE: Damn fine! Suddenly Queen of the Night springs back to life, clawing its way out of 6-odd feet of dirt towards the skylight above. It gets way better, especially now that the after taste reveals itself like the stench of roadkill in your fender. Bitter caramels are here, and its what this brew was seeking all along. Very enjoyable.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I need something salty to match this brew. I’m thinking a haloumi salad or a pulled pork and slaw wrap.

Best season to appreciate: I suggest this is a good cool weather brew.

All-nighter beer? Yes please – I’ll dance with the Queen all night long.


99 Not Out - BOTTLE99 Not Out

Brewery info:
The Moa Brewing Company
Marlborough, NEW ZEALAND


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.99 AU

Label info: ‘”99 Not Out SKW Pale Ale is a sessionable, new world style Pale Ale. Hopped with New Zealand Kohatu and Cascade hops, it displays spicy/earthy hop notes, a strong malt backbone and a nicely balanced bitterness (35 IBUs). The perfect beer for summer” – Josh Scott & Shane Warne‘.

What the label really means: I had hoped for a bit of an explanation on why Moa decided to use  the name ’99 Not Out’ and how Warnie became connected. But, it’s not to be.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: It’s a simple, classy design, predominantly green and white. ’99 Not Out’ is emblazoned across the label. And while it works as a corporate logo, I’m not sure it can hold its head up among other brews on the market that walk all over this. I would have liked to see a stronger link to its cricket origins with the inclusion of a simple cricket ball / bat / stumps image included. Instead it’s all a bit vague, and while Warnie’s autograph may be on one side of the bottle, it’s hard to know why he’s even involved with this.

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

AROMA:  Strong citrus, lager-like aromas.99 Not Out - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – 99 Not Out sits on the palate with  robustly dry and bitter flavours that linger long after the brew has left your mouth. It’s surprisingly sharp to the taste, and not the smooth ale I had expected. It’s all a little too generic. All a little too beefed-up Crown Lager. All a little too tiresome.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 5.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it’s actually a tad better with some deeper, darker notes flowing through. The edgy of the bitterness is cut back, and it’s not quite as dry. Still, this is not a beer to rave about. Drink this from the bottle.

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

Accompanying food: I feel like a good, saucy meatloaf would work well alongside this.

Best season to appreciate: The citrus notes do tend to lend this brew to it being more of a summer beer. However, the darker bitter notes make it more of a winter brew. Let’s split the difference and call this an Autumn brew.

All-nighter beer? Not for me sorry Warnie.


Coldstream Crisp Pale Ale - BOTTLEColdstream Crisp Pale Ale

Australia flag - SMALL


Company info:
Coldstream Brewery
Coldstream, VIC

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$3.09

Label info: ‘Brewed in the Yarra Valley for a crisp hop finish’

What the label really means: ‘We ran out of room to include anything else’

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The bold yellow lettering of ‘Crisp Pale Ale’ stands out on the clear label against the dark bottle. The yellow at the top is also very bold. But does it work? For me, overuse of yellow can be a bit like gold on a beer label – it just doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s the suggestion of XXXX beer? Thankfully the white on this label just barely brings it back from the brink of disaster, accompanied by a picture of a bloke standing in knee-high water wearing a pair of budgie smugglers, washing himself, or perhaps shivering.  He is the saviour of this label – why is he there? What is he doing? The mysterious Coldstream creep. 

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

AROMA: Deliciously hoppy, malty, alcoholicy aromas.Coldstream Crisp Pale Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS: A citrus upfront welcome quickly moves aside to present darker toffee, malt flavours that sweep this brew through to a dry, bitter finish. It’s very tasty, very hearty, and chockers with flavour. Delicious.

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

Taste: BOTTLE: Much the same from the bottle, with all flavour profiles still clearly discernible. The finish becomes softened a tad, and not as bitter which is nice.

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

Accompanying food: Ok this sounds weird – but bare with me. I’d like to suggest this alongside a warm pecan pie with a huge dollop of cream. I think it’s the darker, malty flavours that prompt it.

Best season to appreciate: The darker notes of this brew make me suggest this as more of a Winter-warmer.

All-nighter beer? I’m not too sure if this is too heavy for an all-nighter….but to hell with it – I want it all night long.


BBC Pale Ale - BOTTLEOriginal Pale Ale

Company info:
Balmain Brewing Company
Balmain, N.S.W


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.9%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.50

Label info: ‘A full bodied English style ale, with a rich malt and subtle caramel character, derived from two base and three speciality malts.
Three complimentary hop varieties provide hints of citrus hue, mild spice, and a clean bitter finish.
All natural and unfiltered, drink from a glass to allow for full appreciation of the golden-copper colour, the aroma and flavour’

What the label really means: A well developed ale with a great deal of thought given to some of the finer areas.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The use of orange was always going to be essential for any Balmain-based brewery in salute to the local rugby league team. And in this case, the band of orange across a grey background works remarkably well. I love the bold font of ‘Balmain’ and the striking rays behind it.
Every time I look at this bottle I am reminded of early Barons Brewing labels…why it is I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the same graphic designer? There’s just a deja vu like feeling and I can’t place my finger on what it is.
I think the label works as a whole, but I’m not sold as this being one of the greats.

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.BBC PaleAle - GLASS

AROMA:  Really enticing…I am getting fresh, fruity, caramel notes…

Taste: GLASS – A deliciously well-drawn brew that is super-smooth and rolls along the tongue with ease. There’s a slight citrus note accompanied by a hint of caramelisation – I feel like this Pale Ale was heading in a strong caramel malt direction and then held back a bit from going over the edge. And this is a little disappointing as I feel more caramelisation would have really given it a push. I am, however, enjoying the dry bitter finish.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle it becomes a bit less smooth with the carbonation taking hold over the flavours. This makes it difficult to appreciate from the bottle, despite the enjoyable bitterness that is now arising by the truckload.

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

Accompanying food: A fatty bratwurst sausage with salty sauerkraut would really rock this beer’s world

Best season to appreciate: I’m inclined to point this beer in the direction of our cooler months due to the malty notes.

All-nighter beer? Yes I could easily drink this all night!


Moo Brew Pale Ale

Company info:
Moo Brew

‘Brewed at Moorilla’
Berriedale, T.A.S


Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.9%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘This American style Pale Ale represents the quintessential microbrewery beer. Traditional Pale Ale styles are fused together to give a pungent floral and citrus aroma, with a complex malt palate and pleasant late bitterness.
Moo Brew contains no additives or preservatives and not pasteurised. Store cold, drink fresh and enjoy’

What the label really means: I’m going to re-post exactly what I said when I reviewed Moo Brew Dark Ale as it’s just as apt here: ‘This is a well devised beer description that reads as though it is a brew that strives towards excellence. I like the cheeky addition of the ‘not pasteurised’ line, ensuring we know that the brewers don’t take themselves too seriously’.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I know I’m cheating this week, but I’m also going to copy a little of what I said for Moo Brew’s label design: ‘Amazing. Not only is this one of the coolest shaped beer bottles I have ever seen, the label just reeks of absolute class and sophistication with a genuinely fun spirit….Moo Brew have created a label and bottle design that not only looks cool, and holds beautifully, but is one that you’d be proud to hold’.
Once again Moo Brew bring us an artwork from artist John Kelly. this one is called ‘Dark Rainbow’ (2005). It depicts a dark arch portrayed against a backdrop of dark storm clouds and a dark landscape. It’s a simple design but seems to work so well here.

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

AROMA:  Mellow, soft, fruity flavours.

Taste: GLASS – Very smooth with a slight fruitiness that takes the edge off a delicious back of mouth bitterness. It tastes refined and crisp, a beer that has been made with absolute love and affection.

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

Taste: BOTTLE – Just as great from the bottle, Moo Brew Pale Ale is a beer to sit and savour. It’s clean, it’s crisp, and it’s damned enjoyable. Hop on board folks, the Moo Brew express is well and truly launched.

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

Accompanying food: BBQ’d pork, beef, or lamb…I can’t decide. So long as it’s marinated in a delicious sauce, all is swell.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer arvo session brew

All-nighter beer? Most definitely…I’d drink this till the cows came home.