Category Archives: Uncategorized

Colonial IPA – Colonial Brewing Company (AUS)

There was a special ‘Australia Day’ deal at the Gooner IGA, buy a six-pack of Colonial IPA and receive a free glass. Seemed like a pretty good deal, only I like to think of it as buy a glass and get a six-pack of beer free. Free beer always tastes better!


I love this beer! Caramel sugar brown in colour it has a warm, sweet aroma. So, it looks good, smells good and then you taste it! First up is the sweetness of old fashioned barley sugar, a beautiful warm and nostalgic flavour, subtly balanced with a refreshing bitter finish. My new favourite beer.

And get this. The clever people at Colonial Brewing Co have come up with the innovation we’ve all been waiting for, a pull-ring that turns the can into a drinking vessel you can actually drink from ……..


What next? Flying cars?

From the future of drinking we go to the future of heads, here’s the Futureheads with Decent Days And Nights…….




Double Cascadian Dark Ale – Four Pines Brewing Co (AUS)

And here was I thinking a Double Cascadian was a complex manoeuvre in the synchronised diving! Turns out it’s a dark ale, a bloody fine one at that.

Image of a bottle of Cascadian Dark Ale in a flower pot
Cascadian Dark Ale – it’s from Cascadia!


Now, I’ve never had a single cascadian before but even if it were only half as good as this Double Cascadian, I’d be queueing up for a sample. Manly-based Four Pines Brewing have come up with another winner in this limited keller door release. There’s rich, dark chocolatey aromas and I was blown away by the flavours. Smokey cocoa, Turkish Delight and black cherries all combine to make a complex, rewarding and surprisingly delicious dark craft ale.

Here, with some vintage Mancunian cascade magic is the Stone Roses with, “Waterfall” ……….



Beyond The Black Stump Wattle Seed Ale – Australian Beer Co (AUS)

It really pays to read the label properly before you make that impulse buy. This one cropped up in my local bottlo, ‘ ooh, wattle seed ale, that sounds interesting’ I thought. It wasn’t until I’d purchased the nicely packaged pint bottle that I read “Australian Beer Co’ on the bottle top. This is Newspeak for Coca Cola Amatil and what they’re doing pretending to make craft beer is beyond me. Could it possible be motivated by money? Such is the nature of naked capitalism.

Beer bottle in a tree stump
Beyond The Black Stump – What’ll they think of next?

I shan’t be buying any more of this stuff or their Yenda craft beer bollocks. I’m not sure what a wattle seed tastes like but this beer tastes like cream soda mixed with nougart and I’m a fan of neither. It went flat pretty quick too.

Here endeth the rant.

To lighten the mood, here’s Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with ‘Nature Boy’ ………

Sierra Nevada – Harvest – Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA (USA)

Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Fresh Hop IPA turns the tables on the current Southern Hemisphere trend. Whilst, increasingly, Southern Hemisphere breweries try to emulate  the hop-packed flavours of American-style IPA’s, this American IPA uses fresh New Zealand grown hops to create a more smooth yet complex brew.


Sierra Nevada Harvest - Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA ..... it's a bit of a mouthful!
Sierra Nevada Harvest – Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA ….. it’s a bit of a mouthful!


I’m a fan of the the Sierra Nevada brewery, its beers are full of taste and character and this member of its Harvest series is no different. Colour-wise it reminds me of my last beer, the Young’s Special London Ale, a beautiful orangey-brown. The aroma is fresh and floral as you’d expect with an IPA. The surprise comes with the taste. Unlike the beefed-up IPA’s, like Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, this one is more subtle. The taste is hard to put your finger on, but the blend of Southern Cross, Pacifica, and Motueka hops makes for a fresh and exciting brew. There’s a characteristic bitter citrus finish, just enough to bring you back for more ….. but beware, weighing in at 6.7%, it’s not beer for guzzling ……. unless you like that kind of thing!


Here’s another American pale, Neil Young, with ‘Harvest Moon’ …….



Wicked Elf Pale Ale (AUS)

It’s been a while,  I know, but I’ve had a good excuse, having been away on deployment in the Philippines with disaster relief charity, ShelterBox. And whilst I did get the chance to sample a few Philippine ales, I didn’t have time to blog about them.

So here’s one from just before I went away. A rare evening out with my gorgeous wife, a quick Thai meal and a thought-provoking movie (Calvary).  To accompany my spicy pork I chose a cheeky little pale ale in the shape of Wicked Elf.

The Little Brewery's 'Wicked Elf', part of an elfy diet as one of your 5-a-day
The Little Brewery’s ‘Wicked Elf’, part of an elfy diet as one of your 5-a-day


Made by Port Macquarie’s Little Brewing Company, ‘Wicked Elf lives up to its billing. Packing a 5.4% punch, this little fella is more than a match for pork in chilli and coconut milk. The colour of Lyles Golden Syrup, it has the aroma of toffee apples and molasses. The taste is classic American-style pale with the real bite of citrus rind. Its my kind of beer and I’ll be keeping my eye out for it on tap.  Elfy livin’ at its best.

Here’s Cage The Elephant with, ‘There Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ ………. money don’t grow on trees!

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Boston’s Mill Pale Ale (AUS)

Don’t be fooled by it’s name, this American-style pale ale doesn’t come from Boston but from Sydney. Named after Australia’s first brewer, ‘John Boston’, the beer boasts some dubious heritage on the brewery website. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Boston's Mill Pale Ale - with taking for a spin
Boston’s Mill Pale Ale – with taking for a spin


I christened my rejuvenated front deck with this fine pale ale. Boston’s Mill is a beautiful honey coloured beer, with a good malty nose and plenty of fizz. It’s nicely hooped, with caramel undertones and hints of passionfruit and nectarine. It holds its head well and finishes with a balanced bitterness. A class act, It goes well with roast Tawny Frogmouth or seafood.

The new deck gets the seal of approval from the locals
The new deck gets the seal of approval from the locals


Taking their name from the Boston Strangler, here’s the ‘Men in Black’ with a fabulous cover of the Burt Bacharach classic, ‘Walk On By’ ……. ‘just go for a stroll in the trees’

Thirst for flavour driving hops revival – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Thirst for flavour driving hops revival – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Coopers Original Pale (AUS)

Ned Kelly? Ageing Melbourne barista? No, Thomas Cooper, Australian God of Beer
Ned Kelly? Ageing Melbourne barista? No, Thomas Cooper, Australian God of Beer

The face that launched a thousand schooners, Thomas Cooper quite rightly has the look of greatness about him. I have a  lot to thank him for, for without him and his wonderful Original Pale Ale, this blog would not exist. For it was the search to find a beer consistently better and adaptable than the Original Pale that inspired the blog. In fact it was a Coopers brew that I first reviewed, their Dark Ale going down a treat in Bill’s Bar at the Woodford Festival.

Coopers Original Pale Ale - putting smiles on faces since 1862
Coopers Original Pale Ale – putting smiles on faces since 1862


After all this time, this beer really hits the spot, even at the airport. Nothing is overdone, there’s a hoppy floral aroma, there fruity apples, yeast and a hint of banana on the tongue and a truly satisfying finish. Enough fizz to cleanse your palate but not too much to bloat, this is the beer for all seasons and still sets the standard.

Here’s The Clash with ‘Tommy Gun’

Swell Golden Ale – Swell Beer Co. (AUS)

When I first encountered ‘Swell Golden Ale‘ on the shelf it had a strangely familiar look and feel to it. The surfer with longboard motif, the black and gold label ….. I though, ‘hang on a minute, is this a Cornish craft beer ….. even the cap looks like a St Piran’s Flag!’

Swell's bottle cap - is this a Cornish flag in disguise?
Swell’s bottle cap – is this a Cornish flag in disguise?

The truth is that this beer was born in South Australia and could well be a Cornish cousin. My third surf-inspired brew in just over a week is another pleasant surprise. It reminded me of the old ‘Newquay Steam’ beer, layered and satisfying, malty with a hint of Cox’s Pippin apples. It sure is swell.

Swell Golden Ale - 'What a swell party this is'
Swell Golden Ale – good enough for Cousin jack

Here’s The Pouges with the celtic anthem, ‘South Australia’

Mountain Goat Beer – Organic Steam Ale (AUS)

‘No need to panic, it’s all organic’ ….. that doesn’t mean you can throw the skins out of the window!

Mountain Goat Beer began in ‘Dave’s backyard’ but now operates out of Richmond in Melbourne. I doubt there’s many mountains there but there might be the odd goat …. or at least goatee. I first tried their Organic Steam Ale at my good friend’s wedding, at the Jack Rabbit Winery in Bellarine.  It was just what I needed after an afternoon’s shooting ….. no pressure photographing your friend’s wedding I can assure you.


Mountain Goat Beer, Organic Steam Ale - full steam ahead!
Mountain Goat Beer, Organic Steam Ale – full steam ahead!


As steam ale is basically a lager, and this is a pretty good one. It’s a pale straw in colour and I smell hints of lemon sherbert on the nose. It’s clean, crisp and refreshing …. I had another one this evening after mowing the lawn and it went down a treat ….. restoring my faith in lager. The Sun Herald called it ‘an organic triumph’ …… sounds like a motorbike that runs on hemp-seed oil.

Here’s Black Mountain with the awesome ‘Hair Song’

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