In my rounds the other day, I came across an unfamiliar beer which piqued my interest. It certainly wasn't the name, which was to me a lame attempt at appealing to men in desperate need of reaffirming their masculinity. That it wasn't a ubiquitous, here-we-go-again pale ale was certainly appealing, as was the 640ml bottle size. Puny 330ml bottles not only appear to make false claims of exclusiveness and rarity, but also deprive the beer drinker of a sufficient quantity to make a properly considered judgement of the quality of the beer. Well, that's my excuse and i'm sticking to it. Of course, the 6% alcohol by volume does not appeal to my inner drunkard, or my outward one for that matter, but I could be lying.
To be honest, I couldn't figure out whether this is a Sail & Anchor Brewery beer from Fremantle in Western Australia, or a Karl Strauss Brewing Company beer from San Diego, just that they waffle on about the latter being inspired by the former, and that it was brewed in Freo, but all in all it sounds like a poor man's James Squire with their dodgy tales of colonial days in Port Jackson, and equally unfascinating.
Anyway, to the fun part! Tasting notes on the bottle say that it is of "medium body with well balanced malt and hop characteristics and a slightly roasted malt finish. Pours a bright red hue in the glass, with lingering hoppy, grapefruit and tangerine aromas". Sorry, but unless the aromas are assaulting the senses, then it's just another wanky claim. After all, if there is no grapefruit in the ingredients, and no obvious grapefruit in the smell or taste, then it's the proverbial falling tree in the forest. Only when you open a bottle of Franziskaner or the like and feel like you've been smacked in the face by a bunch of bananas can they claim to have an aroma of something that is otherwise not there.
Fortunately, the beer is bold and malty, with the high alcohol content well masked by its full-body maltiness. Pouring a solid white head, it is the sort of beer than used to be told would put hairs on your chest, before metrosexuality dictated that hair should only be on your scalp and face. Maybe they should have claimed that instead, with an appropriately bearded target audience member on the label.
I don't support the notion of a lingering hoppiness as claimed, however it is consistent with the malty style, and does contain the coppery red it claims to possess. All in all, this is a good, honest, and bold beer, dubious labels and claims notwithstanding. Definitely a beer I would drink (over and over) again, as it doesn't shirk it's responsibilities as a beer, and is worthy of a good session with fellow appreciators of fine beer. Aussie to the trackie-daks, it is yet another strong showing from one of the world's great craft brewing locales.