Hawthorn Brewing Co – Golden Ale (AUS)

Having tasted the Hawthorn Pale Ale on home ground, I thought I’d try and see how their ‘Golden Ale’ fared in the away fixture.  I never really know what to expect from a Golden Ale …… a bit like AFL, I’m not really sure what the rules are?

Hawthorn Golden Ale - hits the mark in the 4th quarter
Hawthorn Golden Ale – hits the mark in the 4th quarter


I drank this the Australian way, icy cold, poured into a glass from the freezer. It’s a pale straw in colour and is crisp and fresh with a nice yeasty odour. When cold, it’s really refreshing but the taste really comes through as the ale warms up. There’s a hint of rock melon with a nice bitter citrus finish. As the Hawks would say, go ‘all for one’ ….. and, as us Cornish say, ‘one for all’ ………. i.e. get a 6-pack.

From Hawthorn we get thorn, which gives us Tracy Thorn and Everything But The Girl, with the Rod Stewart classic, ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’


Theakston Old Peculiar (ENG)

Theakston Old Peculiar‘. Just the mention of the name conjures the archetypal image of the CAMRA member, bearded, woollen jumper under tweed or corduroy jacket with leather elbow patches, supping his pint from a dimpled glass with a handle. If only the campaign against coal seam gas could be as successful as the one for real ale!

Theakston Old Peculiar - the legend lives on
Theakston Old Peculiar – the legend lives on


Old Peculiar is a dark and mysterious pint. The colour of polished teak, impenetrable to light, it could almost be a stout. Toasted malt and a little fruit on the nose is followed by burnt toffee-apple and roasted coffee beans on the palate. It has the character of an Olde English ale, capable of getting you lost on the moor on the way home. A few of these would make you most peculiar indeed!

Most peculiar mama! Here’s another English legend, John Lennon. I was going to go for ‘Nobody Told Me’ but after careful consideration, I’ve hopted for  ‘Instant CAMRA’.

Cricketers India Pale Ale (AUS)

This is a new brew from the Cricketers stable, recently acquired by the Asahi brewing giant.  The big brewers are catching onto the craft brewing revolution and want a piece of the action. If it improves the overall quality of available beers, then I’m all for it ….. as long as they don’t masquerade as true craft beers (see Liquorland’s ‘Gold Digger’).

Cricketers India Pale Ale ....
Cricketers India Pale Ale …. middle and leg

This is a pleasant enough beer but it lacks the bite of a real IPA, the ‘I’ bit is missing. Instead you have a fruity pale ale with undertones of lychee, but not enough hopping to give it the bitter finish one associates with an IPA. I wasn’t quite bowled over and score it middle and leg.

Here’s Paul Kelly with the legendary ‘Bradman’ ……..

Rosee d’Hibiscus – Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Can)

“Spiced strong beer with hibiscus” wasn’t the first thing that sprung to mind when reached into the fridge at ‘blog o’clock’ this evening. In fact I’d forgotten I’d bought this intriguing Canadian brew from the Quebec-based, Dieu du Ciel.  After trying beer with chocolate, beer with chilli, beer with mango, beer with banana …….. beer with hibiscus flowers? Well why not?

Rosee d'Hibiscus ..... beer with flowers
Rosee d’Hibiscus ….. beer with flowers


I’ll tell you why not. Unsurprisingly, this has quite a floral aroma, more like an eau de toilette than a beer. It pours the colour of a strong rose (rose-eh) wine (can’t find the ‘acute’ button this keyboard) and doesn’t really look like beer. So, is it beer? Well, it’s beer Jim, but not as we know it. It tastes like ‘Boxing Day Punch’, as served at St Gorran Cottage for many a year, a heady mix of white wine, cider, vodka, vermouth and lemonade …… with added hibiscus. No bad thing in itself but it sure don’t taste like beer. Dab it behind your ears.

Here’s QOTSA with ‘My God Is The Sun’


Robinson’s ‘Old Tom’ with Chocolate (ENG)

‘What’s Easter without chocolate’? I hear you say.  ‘A religious festival free of rampant commercialism’ I reply. There’s more to Easter than preaching the gospel of tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Hence I shun the chocolate egg, let the whippets loose on the Easter Bunny and try a bottle of ‘Old Tom with Chocolate’ to prove I’m not a complete cynic.

Robinson' Old Tom with chocolate ...... the cat's whiskers
Robinson’ Old Tom with chocolate …… the cat’s whiskers


Robinson’s have been brewing in the UK for over 175 years and their 8% ‘Old Tom’ was voted the ‘World’s Best Beer’ (it says so on the label). This version has been toned down to 6% but is still a full-blooded bitter. The chocolate is evident in the aroma and even the rich brown colour, but only subtly in the taste. This is a heady brew, deep, strong flavours with coffee and cocoa undertones, not at all sweet. It’s a great winter ale and not what you might expect when you read ‘chocolate’ on the label ……. nice bottle too!

Here’s The Stone Roses with ‘I Am The Resurrection’. Happy Easter everyone.

Dundee India Pale Ale (USA)

I’ve come to expect a lot from American pale ales and IPA’s and certainly wasn’t disappointed with this one from the Rochester, NY-based Dundee Brewery.

Dundee IPA ..... like a Dundee cake put in blender and mixed with beer .. beautiful!
Dundee IPA ….. like a Dundee cake put in blender and mixed with beer .. beautiful!


After a hard day replacing the front deck, this IPA went down a treat.   Such complexity in the flavours, dried fruit and caramelised sugars mixed with a subtle bitterness with a hint of malt whisky (or perhaps that was the 6% abv coming through). In fact, it reminded me of a Dundee Cake, whether this was psychosomatic because of the name, I don’t know, but I certainly wanted another slice when I’d finished the first. Have your cake …… and eat it.

Here’s Dundee band, The Associates, with the great  ‘going out’ anthem ‘Party Fears Two’.  There was a time when we all tried to dance like this …………



Bloke – Red Ale by Sail & Anchor (AUS)

You know when you see a bloke and you like the look of him? You know, when you think, ‘I wouldn’t mind a bit of that bloke’? No? Me neither until I came across this ‘Bloke’ in my local boozoligist’s. Sail & Anchor, the old Femantle-based brewery, have made what can only be described as a ‘bloody good bloke’.

Bloke - Red Ale by Sail & Anchor - This bloke is a bloody good chap
Bloke – Red Ale by Sail & Anchor – This bloke is a bloody good …… chap


This red ale lives up its name, rich reddish brown in colour, it fills my pint glass and then some. Nice tight bubbles, it has a floral aroma and, when poured correctly, holds its head . Although it’s brewed in collaboration with the American brewer, Karl Strauss, I found this very English in character, like a strong Kentish ale. At 6% it packs a  punch and has a good balance of malt and citrus hop flavours. I really like this Bloke.

It’s a limited edition, so rush out and buy one now. Better still, buy a case and lay it down, like a fine wine ……. one day you might be able to bribe a politician with a bottle!

To celebrate the day, here’s the Black Crowes with ‘Good Friday’ and remember, there are no bunnies in the real story of Easter.



Little Creatures IPA (AUS)

Fremantle’s Little Creatures Brewery have added to their stable of great beers with a beefed-up IPA that’s up there with the best. An American style India Pale Ale, packed with hops and citrus flavours.

Little Creatures IPA .... big on taste.
Little Creatures IPA …. big on taste.


After the disappointment of Roger’s Beer, it was good to see the West Australians back on form. It’s an IPA with real bite, pleasant pink grapefruit undertones and a great bitter finish. As Jim Carey once said, ‘I like it a lot’.

Here’s the Creatures with ‘Miss The Girl’

Artisan Reserve – Thomas Cooper’s Selection (AUS)

‘Unpasteurised beer’? Whatever next, permeate-free lager?

Thomas Coopers's Selection Artisan Reserve --- arty farty pilsner
Thomas Coopers’s Selection Artisan Reserve — arty farty pilsner

Tommy Cooper has come up with just that, an unpasteurised pilsner …… just like that!  Golden straw in colour, it has good meaty bubbles but lacks the sediment you expect with a Cooper’s brew. For a lager, it has some depth, malt and a slight hint of Wax Jambu. Clean and fresh but hardly earth shattering,  and at $20 for a 6-pack, this Artisan ale can stay on the reserve’s bench.

On a more interesting note, there was an eclipse of the the moon this evening , which was pretty cool.

Lunar eclipse ... pretty cool huh?
Lunar eclipse … pretty cool huh?


In honour of this evening lunacy, here’s Echo and the Bunnymen with   ‘Killing Moon’



Reef Blonde – Blue Sky Brewery (AUS)

The Beer Hunter is back, redefining the meaning of ‘365’.  I won’t blame it on the sunshine, the moonlight or the boogie but suffice to say I’ve been away for a few days in FNQ, with no internet and even worse, no beer …….. until I reached the airport! At least there was no FNQ.

Blue Sky Brewery's 'Reef Blonde' ....... Blonde's have more fun
Blue Sky Brewery’s ‘Reef Blonde’ ……. Blonde’s have more fun

Regular reader will know that I’m not much of a lager fan (old friends will scoff and do a double take), but the ‘Reef Blonde‘ caught my eye at Cairns Airport.  Besides, it’s not really a lager. Hand-crafted? yes. Low-carb? Yes, but why? I like carbs!

I was pleasantly surprised but this pale lager-like beer. The pipes were certainly clean when mine was poured, producing a good head that tracked down the glass as I sipped away. I didn’t miss the carbs at all and found fresh undertones of Champagne and elderflower.  A real refresher. The best beer I’d had all week ……….. and the first.

Here’s Reef with ‘Place Your Hands’ …….. Oright now!