60 / 100
This one set itself up to be hated with the Yak Ales marketing machine treating GABS festivalgoers like fucking morons, with their giant brewing hubris showing through bright and clear in their tasting notes that were completely opaque in terms of ingredients or style and instead just felt like copywriting spin. Really not the right foot to start off on. Apparently there's Cascade hops in here. Anyway, tried on tap at the festival.
Pours a gold colour, clear with a nice density to the off-white head, otherwise fairly standard.
Smells sweet, and has a distinct maple note which isn't bad. Fairly sweet, with caramel and honey characters around a fairly grainy backbone. Quite enticing and pleasant, really.
Tastes alright. Sweet for the most part, with vanilla blending with a general sort of sweet malt character upfront. Develops a very subtle cleanness on the back but no real hop character and fairly lacking in that maple note as well. Not great but certainly palatable.
Decent body, fairly standard for the style and the size.
Not great, but it's quite drinkable. It's possible that there's not much the marketing nobs could have written about this, but they don't need to couch it in so much artifice either for this audience. We're not going to suddenly love you for you being obtuse and enigmatic. And by contrast, we would respect you for being upfront and transparent about the fact that this is nothing special but it's drinkable, because that's all it is.
I refuse to buy into the whole 'Yak Ales' bullshit, because it's bullshit. Yak shit, even. Brewed for GABS 2016 (but really as a cynical marketing exercise to launch some new yak-shit branding clusterfuck) and tried there on tap, before everybody in the entire country got subjected to it instead of good beers. Yes, spoiler alert, it's shit. So shit that I'm angry.
Pours a champagne colour, clear with large bubbly head that doesn't stick around. Looks very pale, very clear, very generic. Meh.
Smells of virtually nothing. Some cereal notes, slight sweetness with a touch of caramel and maybe some vanilla. Just grain, nothing else.
Taste is similar. Cereal grain upfront that doesn't go anywhere before effectively disappearing. If there is any hopping on here then it's just cleansing into nothing rather than providing any character or balance. It's just terrible, dull, watery beer with no character or flavour.
Thin body, decent texture for the style. Bit of carbonation.
Awful. As bad as festival beer could possibly get. Factory-produced beer with the flavour dialed down to nothing. They do some reasonably decent, drinkable if unexciting pale ales at this company but this is those with the flavour and personality removed..
41 / 100
345ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a very clear, slightly burnished golden colour, with a weak head of off-white that bubbles away quickly leaving only a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Carbonation is slightly coarse, but flows surprisingly slowly when the glass is tilted. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very weak. There's a faint whiff of earthiness to it, reminiscent perhaps of Pride of Ringwood with its woody, herbaceous tones. Malt comes across as rather savoury as a result. But to be honest, it's all pretty insipid. It lacks even the hop aroma you get with Fat Yak. And I'm no great fan of Fat Yak.
Taste is no surprise after the nose. It's really weak, watery and lacking in flavour. There's a rather unpleasant herbal bitterness on the back that mingles with some savoury cereal tones. Together it's genuinely not very pleasant. Backpalate is exceptionally dry, leaving little impact apart from a bit of that residual woody bitterness.
Feel is very light and mild.
Honestly, this beer feels like it takes Fat Yak, an already pretty insipid pale ale, and turns all the knobs down a few notches again. It's nearing on pointless—why even bother making a pale ale with so little character? It's almost offensive to the sensibilities to anyone who enjoys the taste of beer.
48 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.
Pours an amber hue with a little weight behind it, holding a little fine carbonation and a solid haze. Head is off-white, forming a firm ring around the glass and leaving some sudsy lace. Looks decent.
Nose is really quite weak, and the characters that come off it are not what you'd expect. Weak grain and a little thin sweetness along with a meaty funk like old roast beer drippings or armpit odour. Not much in the way of hops at all. It's pretty poor.
Weak, organic bitterness on the front palate before the grain notes come through to leave a rather dull buzz of wet sack through the centre. What little there is falls away towards the back leaving it feeling neither offensive, nor... well, anything really. Feel is light.
Overall, it's certainly inoffensive for the most part (with the exception of that vague meatiness on the nose), but it's also less than ideal. It's way too bland for what it should be, and as a celebration of Matilda Bay's 30th Anniversary it's certainly lacks inspiration.
Pours an amber reddish colour, beige head. Small bubbles and not much retention or lace. Bit pale, pretty pedestrian.
Smells sweet and malty. Mild toastiness, but yeah. Sweet with some residual sugar. Touch of fruit, on the back. Just a whisper. OK.
Taste is a bit weaker. Some sweetness with toast, toffee, some charry notes towards the back without bitterness. Bland, mostly. Some residual sugar and mild hint of some earthy hop. Nothing too special. But OK for the style.
Bit of texture, not much body.
Decent enough red ale, but not a style I love and doesn't show me anything new in the style; just decent.
57 / 100
Pours a dark coffee colour with some light showing through. Head is tan, dense and creamy. Looks pretty nice.
Smells... a little odd. Chocolate malt notes with a touch of roast and lots of US hop character - fruity and citric, but a touch of phenol as well. Odd.
Taste is not bad. Dark and vinous for the most part, with notes of red wine and clove vying for the mid-palate in particular. Quite phenolic on the back and a touch of roast overall. Not bad, but an odd blend between vinous and dark notes.
Thin body lets a touch of alcohol heat through, as well as a bit of carbonation.
Not a bad beer, but a bit muddled, and I'm not getting a lot of peat from it at all.
47 / 100
Tried from a poured bottle at Vic on the Park during the Sydney Craft Beer Week opening party.
Pours, yeah, ok, amber-ish in colour, but quite pale and a little weak and light. Very good clarity in the glass, but minimal carbonation to keep it vibrant. Fine head of beige covers the cap. It looks decent enough.
Nose is pretty dull. There's a slight maltiness there, and a slight huskiness that makes it feel slightly German in style. In fact the nose is similar to that slightly grainy maltiness you might expect in a strong German lager, like a Märzen. But it's also just weak and dull, which ruins that illusion.
Taste is similar, but oddly because it's perhaps even more bland than the nose it just helps it be inoffensive and dull. There's a slight creaminess in the taste which is pleasant enough. Otherwise it contains similar characters to the nose. Some weak malt and a faint husky grain note.
Feel is light, and with a surprising hit of aggressive carbonation, which I didn't expect from the appearance.
Overall, though, this isn't great stuff. For a limited release beer, they really haven't looked far beyond the realms of what they usually do: it's a typically Matilda Bay affair.
56 / 100
A "hoppy, peated, Belgian black" is the style attributed to this beer. Sure, let's see where this goes. Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a roasted brown colour with some hazing, and a slightly gelatinous body. Head is solid and fine, mocha-hued, that leaves decent rings down the glass as lacing. No visible carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is vinous initially with a sweetness like raisins that also somewhat suggests garbage sitting in the sun. More acidity (something I really didn't expect), grape juice and a faint, vague toasted character. Despite the weirdnesses, it's all pretty light.
Light rounded entry on the palate before the acidity comes through again, a musty fruit skin character. I don't get much in the way of hops, and certainly no peat-smoke. On the back the palate just drops out all together—further cementing this as a weak beer. Nothing on the aftertaste but a slight remembrance of roast and acid.
Feel is light and clean, but empty.
I'm not a fan. Mostly, it's just dry and dull, but the characters it does have tend towards unpleasantness. Not something I'd seek out again.
330ml bottle of this "Hand Cut Golden Lager", purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Colour is—yep, correct—golden, quite deep and very clear. Head is minimal, just forming a fizzling film across the top with a small but firm ring of fine white bubbles. No lacing. Body is very light. Carbonation is fine. Looks okay.
Nose is more pleasant than I was expecting, slight fragrant hop character giving a touch of rubber lemon skin and a suggestion of fennel fragrance. There's a grainy base malt character underneath, but it's fairly neutral. Overall, while it doesn't do anything very exciting, it's fairly inoffensive and certainly well-crafted.
Taste is clean and crisp, but with an unsettling medicinal character through the centre that morphs into a plaster and cardboard flavour towards the back. Some green, slightly vegetative hop characters pull it up, and it sits well on a basis of that neutral malt to give it a slightly savoury platform. Feel is light and crisp, with a faint astringency from the medicinal note.
Overall, this is a perfectly drinkable craft lager. I was expecting this to be particularly unappealing and particularly bland, but it certainly does have some flavour lurking under its unassuming mein. It's not mind-blowing, of course, but it's a lot better than I'd been led to believe.
74 / 100
750ml dark green bottle brewed by the Women of Beer collective on site at Matilda Bay. A collaboration between the women of Matilda Bay, CUB, Old Salt, Red Hill, Two Birds, Hargreaves Hill, Beer Girl Bites and the Beer Diva. Proceeds support the Australian Pink Boots Society. This bottle was purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasantly bright and relatively clear deep golden colour, with a fine persistent bead of carbonation through the body. Body is light, but silky. Head forms a pleasantly fine, slightly filmy crest of white. Some thin, streaking lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is mild, but sweet with spices, with hints of rounded anise and a hint of woody cinnamon quills. Light oaky notes come through, almost lending a peppery tone when in conjunction with the spices. Indeed, the more I smell, the more it seems peppery and woody, almost dusky. It's very pleasant.
Taste is similar—pleasant clean spice characters, with a hint of peppery brusqueness on the back. There's a touch of acidity to it, just a faint brushing, perhaps, that descends more to the darker tones of spice and leather on the finish. Some volatile aromas of vanilla and a touch of fruitskin come through as well—it's quite pleasantly done.
Feel is smooth and light, with minimal carbonation.
Overall, very drinkable and really very enjoyable. Pleasantly bold and spicy, but tamed and structured to be easy to drink. I think the better of the beers from the Collective so far—here's hoping there's more to come.
Pours a very dark-brown colour, almost black but a bit of light shows through the clear body. Tan head is foamy and thick, crowning off a very nice looking stout.
Nose is roasty and spicy and dark. Pretty dry, too and a little muffled on the roasty side, possibly a bit too much malt showing through and not enough roast. Pleasant, though.
Again quite sweet on the palate, but a good roasty stout character as well. Slightly noticeable alcohol, but it comes across as warming rather than intrusive. Bit of a straight-down-the-line stout, sweet, chocolatey and a hint of roasty spice. Subtle and not bad at all.
Fairly good body, good substance to it. Carbonation is noticeable but the body pads it well. Not bad.
Not entirely my cup of tea overall, but a very decent stout.
73 / 100
Interesting: I see there's another similar "double stout" brewed by Matilda Bay back in 2010. This version was supposedly a new beer brewed for the GABS festival in Melbourne. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and not assumed it's just that old version rehashed.
In any case, this is a very tasty brew. Pours a deep, opaque black colour with very solid weight in the glass. Head is a creamy cap of crema that leaves some solid, full lacing. Looks good.
Nose is great: big roasty characters that almost lends a smokiness to the brew. Sweetness comes through with the thick aroma of peanut butter. Delicious, solid and very smooth. Great stuff.
Light entry on the palate, with a little roast, before some middling sweetness comes through to fill it out a little. Some roasty bitterness becomes more prominent on the finish, but it's always very smooth and creamy in the feel, which glosses over anything too harsh or astringent.
This is really nice stuff, unexpected from Matilda Bay, who usually shy away from doing anything beyond the "marginally craft". Let's see them be a bit more experimental in the future!
73 / 100
Hmm. Somehow, I've managed to go this long without reviewing this beer, probably one of the more ubiquitous Aussie pseudo-craft brews. It pours a suitable clear pale golden colour, with a very fine if largely non-retentive head of white. Nice lacing, fine body. It's a shame the beer doesn't have a big, frothy German-style head, but otherwise, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is good. Genuinely good for a Kristalweizen: clear, clean banana and bubblegum characters, along with just a hint of spice, but certainly along the smoother and sweeter ends. There's a hint of acidity to it, but not the thinness you often get from a sub-par wheat beer. Really quite good.
Taste is similar, and genuinely good, stylistically. Smooth, clean wheat characters along the length, with finishing touches of bubblegum, and the ever-present banana ester aromatics. It's quite light, but there are few if any flaws to it.
Overall, this is pretty decent. To be fair, it's very light on, but the style in general is pretty light on as well, and this does a decent job of capturing the same aromatics and flavours.
Part of my project to mop up some of the more common Aussie beers I haven't reviewed.
Pours a very deep red-brown, quite dark, but with good clarity. Head is reasonably thick and frothy, a light yellow-tinged beige. Some pancake bubbling as it settles. Lacing is good, like a good German lager in that respect. Fine carbonation. Really looks very nice indeed.
Nose is deep and grainy, with a lot of roasted characters. Hints of sugar as well, with some brittle toffee characters, although the darkness tends to overwhelm these. Pretty decent.
Taste is similar, although the burnt roasted character is the dominant force here, especially on the back. Front is milder, with some crisp grain character, on the finish, there's some pleasant toasted bread flavours. Feel is certainly a little thin, but not as bad as I remember - it was the failing point for this beer when I've had it in the past.
Yeah, a very decent beer. Tasty, but mild enough to be approachable. Also, better than I remember, and that's worth something.
Pours a very light bodied, and rather light coloured gold, with almost minimal head. Even with a pretty vigorous pour, it seltzers up, and the dissipates to the thinnest of rings, leaving some tiny bubbles around the edge. Decent lacing from what's left, however, leaving tiny-patterns sudsing around the glass, and the body looks pleasantly thick. Head is a clear disappointment, but otherwise decent enough.
Nose is fresh with lemony zest and a slight creaminess that almost makes me think of Belgian yeast. Then it sinks a bit, leaving some old grain characters and a faint whiff of musty organics. Eh. OK, but not great.
Taste misses the mark even more. Thin entry with a lick of metallic hops, before the big musty grain note comes through on the back, leaving a green but rather unsavoury finish. Feel is extremely thin. I don't know where the body I espied in the appearance went, but it doesn't lend anything to the very light palate. Eh.
Eh. I seem to have said "eh" a lot in this review, and that seems to be the critical point. It's not bad, but it really lacks interest, even enough to make me enthusiastic about my next sip.
59 / 100
Pours a clear bronzed amber colour with a filmy but solid head of white foam, that laces the edge of the glass in a tight ring. Nice carbonation keeps the beer looking lively. Pretty good.
Nose is slightly citric with a little leavened hop fragrance, but also a slightly sweet buttery diacetyl character. There's something rougher to it as well, with some earthy tones of tobacco and leaf mold. It's not bad, but it's missing the fresh and lively characters of the best.
Taste is similar - diacetyl comes through here as well, with some fresh green hop characters giving the only lift. Bitterness is extremely restrained, just a light bite on the back of the palate. Lacking some body as well.
It's a poor comparison to some other Australian Pale Ales. Much of the character is tamed, and it tastes overly filtered and dumbed down. Still, it's a drinkable beer, and eminently approachable as an introduction away from the generic macro lager.
70 / 100
Pours a reasonably thick black-brown, quite viscous out of the bottle. Head is filmy, just a collar of espresso-crema lacing around the edge of the glass. Looks pleasantly heavy at least, and there's some nice static carbonation when it's swirled, implying some excellent body.
Nose is pleasantly sweet, but robustly roasted, giving a hint of depth and darkness. Even just a whiff of something smoky coming through, which just emphasises the darkness nicely.
Nice entry, smooth on the body and pleasantly roasted. Sweetness wells mid-palate, giving a pleasant impression of chocolate and vanilla, before it dries out a little, leaving some dark bitterness on the back. A well developed and very flavoursome palate, without being overwhelming. Nicely done.
A very nice beer - lots of complexity for its size, but staying pleasant and approachable. Out of interest, I drizzled a little on some cookies and cream ice cream and it made quite a tasty addition.
Pours a bright deep golden colour, with lively carbonation forming a frothy and solid head of fluffy white foam. Lacing is good, sticking to the edges of the glass in frothy globs, just like a good helles should. Very decent look to it, overall.
Nose is light, with just some fresh grain character and a moderately sharp noble hop fragrance. Very clean, however, with a slight lift of pepper. Quite nice overall, and not a bad replica of the style, if a little heavy on the spice.
Taste is a bit of a letdown. Carbonation becomes too lucid on the palate, overwhelming much of the other sensation, some clear light grain notes and a touch of spicy phenols to it. Quite clean, but almost getting too clean and light by the end.
It's like an Australian macro lager masquerading as a Helles, in essence. Good look to it, no doubt, and there's some stylistic characteristics on the nose, and hiding on the palate, but it ends up just a little too bland.
Drinkable enough for what it is, but certainly missing something.
57 / 100
On tap at the Summer Hill Hotel. A more sketchy review, as I was entertaining a non-beer-geek friend while jotting down tasting notes.
Pours a clear golden-brown colour with a slight haze, dense white head of modest thickness, and nice sheets of lace. Pretty good.
Nose is tangy, with a fair amount of hop - grassy, citrusy with a slight sour edge. Light and refreshing, although a bit underwhelming.
Taste is okay, with a fair amount of bitterness that starts early, with earthy and phenolic notes. A hint of maraschino cherry sweetness, soil and pine bark. Some spice as well late in the palate, but a very dour mid-palate lends some unpleasant notes and lowers my overall impression. Quite palatable nonetheless.
A bit dry on the feel, fairly well-textured.
Quite good drinking, a decent German-style lager.
Got given this when I asked my mate to fetch something that would 'surprise me' - of course I'd already seen Beez Neez was on tap so I was willing to take the risk.
Came out looking alright, golden colour with fair carbonation, sparsely bubbled head but fairly good retention. No lacing at all; I find this disappointing in a supposedly sweet beer. Everything else pretty meh.
Smells alright and better than it does out of a bottle. Distinct honey aroma which, basically, is what I expect. Little bit of floral hop behind, but not enough to make a fanfare about. Decent nose, but simple.
Taste is a hodge-podge and badly so. Starts with a strong honey hit on the front palate, seems like it's heading for sweetsville then takes a sharp right into nasty, sharp adjunct flavour. The honey which makes this beer a marketing bonanza lasts for about a second, and the mid-palate is flat and weak, while the finish is very nasty bitter with no real hop character. Just a sort of chemical bitter, like putting your tongue to a battery. Mouthfeel is thin and dull, no carbonation, and the finish really renders this a difficult one to get through.
Again, I'm really put off by this beer. It's just all wrong.
Pours a lagery gold with good head, very healthy carbonation and a bit of lace. Alright...
A good belt of hops on the nose, herbal and grassy. Slight bit of fruit, slight vanilla smell. Quite nice, but too subdued.
That's actually not bad on the taste. A bit lagery though, for a pale ale. Fair hit of hops at the back, none of that fruit that was suggested by the nose. A little bit of yeast flavour which gives it that lagery edge, but not too much. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky but it's inoffensive and drinkable enough.
Passable, not orgasmic.
Sampled this at The Australian Beer Fest in The Rocks 07.
Standard APA looking orange gold colour, with a filmy white head. Lacing is good. Oh, and cheers for filling this one right to the rim of the tasting glass =)
Slightly sweet citrus on the nose, otherwise a bit weak. Bit of pepper character there. It's a nice nose, but not an amazing one.
Nicely balanced hop bitterness on the palate, with a bit of body and malty sweetness to carry it. Quite drying on the aftertaste, but overall it's pretty decent. Good body in the mouth.
This is nice, and would make a great sessioner, if you could track it down. One of Matilda Bay's best, and I'm glad I took dwarbi's advice and tried this one on tap.
Dark chocolatey colour, very good head - unusual for a dark beer, at least one brewed outside Belgium. Quite nice-looking.
Very sour aroma, unripe cherries is the major element here. Slight darkish ale smell (coffee sort of thing) too.
Taste - wow, that's actually very interesting. This palatte is a bit of a journey. It starts off sour and light-ish and finishes rich and chocolatey, but not too bitter or too strong. It's complex enough to be respected and yet light enough to drink. All I can really say is it raises the standard of Matilda Bay beers a little. Not too bad.
Dark, orangey-red colour. Good thick off-white head. Quite a large amount of carbonation.
Sweet malty nose. Hints of dark fruit, and a decent amount of bready yeast aroma. Rather fragrant.
Refreshing full-bodied flavour. A good backbone of toasted malt, balanced with a little dryness. Some hints of tropical fruits, raisins, but this is heavily masked by the robust malt which drives that beer. It finishes rather flat, which is a disappointment. Mouthfeel quite smooth.
It's a lot better than any of the other Matilda Bay beers I've had. A rather drinkable brew, that I could take to quite readily.
I'd been drinking Kilkenny Draught all night, and thought I should try something different. Despite the fact that I'd tried it from bottle and disliked it I ordered a half-pint of Beez Neez (they didn't sell it in pints, they said, and it still cost about as much as the pints of Kilkenny I'd been drinking - ridiculously overpriced - I guess if they charged $10 for a pint of this someone would click).
I took it back to our table. "Ooh," said one of my friends, "I know some people who really rate Beez Neez". She tried it and then decided that "some people" need a serious re-education.
Ok. So what about the beer? It had a very standard lagery kind of look to it. Amber colour, maybe a little orange. No head.
It smelled like bad lager. Maybe they tried to distill VB or something and mix in honey. (The honey comes later, you couldn't actually detect it in the smell). Wet paper and bad yeast.
The taste was slightly better, in that it didn't actually make me want to retch blood. But it was just bland as all hell. Watery, flavourless, oh yes, except for that sickly sweet residual honey flavour which caught on the back of your tongue. Mouthfeel was almost non-existant. Like drinking filtered water (even tap water has more character).
Sigh. I've been really disappointed in Matilda Bay. They seem to make all their beers taste the same, and that's bland. Not impressed.