Foudre-fermented lager, with subtle smoke, apparently. Tried on-tap at Gold Star Beer Counter in New York.
Pours a very clear, very pale golden colour with a very light body. Head is white, forming a fine but persistent crest. Lacing is minimal, however, although the carbonation is streaming and pleasant.
Nose has a distinct corn character to it, which derides some of the pleasant grain notes by driving them in that direction. There's subtle undertones of smoke, but they go more towards turned earth, accentuated by the German hop characters. It's a bit thin all up. But no unpleasant.
Tate is light and crisp on the entry, with a slight herbal quality to it. Corn on the mid-palate with a hedgerow kind of woody bite to it. Back has a bit more sweetness than you want, but with a slight linger of mineral smoke, developing into a husky finish.
Feel has a slight gluiness from the corn note. It makes it feel more cloying and thicker than it would otherwise.
Overall, it's okay. But it's not the clean crisp beer you want, and the smoke isn't prominent enough to make it interesting.
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a golden colour with slow bead. Head is off-white , decent bubbling that peters out to a thin spit cloud but leaves some nice foamy lacing behind. Decent lager.
Smells grainy, with sweet puffed rice and oatmeal on there. Some light fruity and floral hops with a touch of lemon, apricot and other stone fruit. Banana as well, all maybe a touch sweet and could use some more cutting with a sharper fragrance. Appealing though.
Taste is fairly grainy, all over. Quite sweet upfront with a caramel malt flavour, hint of honey and brown sugar. Gets grainy midway with some barley and a touch of semolina in there, maybe slightly wheaty. Subtle grassy noble hops late-mid, just twist the flavour gently bitter and could maybe be emphasised a bit more, as the back is a little corny-sweet and gluggy because the hops aren't quite cutting enough. Ultimately alright but a bit sweet and stodgy.
Fizzy from the carbs but the body is quite sticky. Could use more drying or cutting from something other than the bubbles.
Drinkable enough but just a touch more hopping would really balance better as well as bring the palate to life.
41 / 100
330ml can purchased from Dan Murphy's somewhere.
Pours a depressingly light and thin yellow colour, albeit with excellently filtered clarity to it, and a mild, slightly rocky head of white, that ends up in big bubbles that look like eyeball stew. Lacing forms in thin streaks and a few minor specks. It fits the bill well enough, but it doesn't inspire confidence.
Nose is actually rather adjuncty. I get a distinct character of corn cereal, with a vague suggestion of grain bag and maybe a little touch of fusty, herbal hop. It's all pretty uninspiring though.
Taste is similar. There's a rounded, flaky corn note that rolls over everything, although there's a pleasant crispness to the palate that works rather well to clean everything up. Back palate has a distressingly familiar bland euro lager note that reminds me of my university days drinking Heineken and Stella and extolling their virtues.
Overall, it's not good. I genuinely feel that if this were in a green bottle and called something like Eurobräu, everyone would be trashing it. As it is, in its funky can with its forthright graphics, it seems to escape the death knell of the "generic lager" tag. I'm not a fan.
81 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Spec's in Austin, TX, and drunk at The Salt Lick to match a mixed plate of BBQ.
Pours a pale yellow hue, quite clear, with a frothy, but light head of white, that does seem to fizzle slightly. Lacing is patchy. Carbonation is quite high. Looks pretty good.
Nose is quite pleasant, and on-target. Nice noble hop character is quite strong—the flavours are right but the aggression is all-American. There's also a robust grainy malt character to give it a savoury basis. There's a slight hint of pear as it warms slightly as well. It's nice, all up.
Front is very clean and pleasant. Slight peppery tingle from the earthy noble hops, that melds with the grain character as it continues. Clean bitterness towards the back, and slight suggestion of honey. Very dry on the finish, with a fine, clean lager crispness that falls away.
Feel is very appropriate, crisp, dry and light.
Overall, this is really well-made and eminently smashable. It's a really well-constructed lager with tons of character, forged into a really great package. I liked it a very great deal.
Tried on-tap at the brewery in the north of San Antonio.
Pours a pleasant golden hue, slightly hazed as though unflitered, which is fine by me. Head is relatively fine, but minimal, staying as a slight ring and leaving good lagery lacing. Carbonation is remarkably minimal, which is certainly something of a surprise, but looks fine when agitated or tilted.
Nose is solid for the style. German grain comes through, slightly dusty and little sweet. Maybe some slightly vegetative noble hops, but they're pretty much lost. It catches the right flavours at least. There's perhaps not much else to it, but it's stylistically appropriate.
Taste is similar. Firm, German grain character which verges towards the sweet, but with a slightly hazy quality which prevents it from being cloying. Mild bitterness on the back is restrained, but coherent within the body of the beer and again is pretty suitable for the style. Clean finish with a husky note in the finish.
Feel is clean, but a little heavy. It's not bad, and certainly not outside what's suitable for the beer.
Overall, this is pretty solid for the style. It's not a really exciting beer on it's own, but it makes sense for what it is. It's this sort of brewing that makes me believe in a brewery—more so than having fantastic beers at the fringes of styles. So after this beer, I certainly believe in Freetail.
On tap at the Black Tomato (sidenote: two days later I suggested to a group of North Americans going back here, and realised I was pronouncing it To-mar-to. Everyone had great fun with me)
Pours a clear gold colour, lots of carbonation, but not furious. Head is white, decent density and retention. Looks like a decent lager.
Smells grainy. Cracked pilsner malt with a touch of wheat. Bit of honey to it and puffed rice. Non-descript; pretty bland.
Taste is very grainy. Lots of cereal notes with puffed rice and corn. Some grassy hop notes creep up late, with a touch of phenolic medicine. Finishes almost clean, but a tickle of bitterness lingers. Decent lager otherwise.
Fizz is noticeable; otherwise texture is OK for the style.
Lagery; close to clean, but quite refreshing.
58 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a very clear golden yellow colour, with a mildly forming head of white film. Some veiny lace forms when tilted. Lots of fine carbonation. Stylistically, it's pretty much spot on.
Nose is grainy and slightly thin, with a faint hint of banana skin and a touch of smoke, but less than I expected, even though they state it's not brewed with the classic rauchmalz. It's more like a slightly tweaked Helles Lager than a beer from Schlenkerla.
Taste is extremely light, with some grainy pilsner malt through the centre leaving a hay-like vegetative or rustic note. It mingles again with a very faint suggestion of smoke, but this leaves a medicinal aspect when mingled with the slightly earthy hop bite on the finish. Feel is light and crisp; quite suitable.
Overall, I found this a little disappointing, even though it's a decent beer overall. It's a reasonable example of a classic style, but there are slight fractures to it which don't really move it off-kilter enough to be interesting.
71 / 100
Had at the brewery restaurant, which was a disappointing experience overall, although the beers themselves were very decently made.
This one poured a clear, bright golden colour, with a white head consisting of wispy large bubbles. This collapses to a film pretty quickly. Body is fine and clean. Overall, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is grainy with classic German pilsner maltiness. A little bit of a wet, bready edge to it along with a tinge of greenery from the hops. It's pleasant enough and solidly in style.
Taste is similar in flavour to the noseâthat big grainy German malt character comes through with a pleasant pils crispness, and the hops are just present enough to provide balance. It dries it our nicely on the finish without the hop flavours or bitterness becoming too prominent. Carbonation is light, but again, just enough to set it off nicely.
It's very nicely in style, and obviously a well-made beer. Overall, it's perhaps a little dull, but it's genuinely decent.
On tap at Harts Pub.
Pours a pale amber colour, clear and metallic with head that is slightly too thin. Dense bubbles, nice trail of lace. Bit meh, but OK.
Grainy and a bit yeasty with bread grain and mild sour character, hints of fresh-cut grass and dish detergent. Pretty bland again, nought to recommend.
Taste starts decent, with a crisp lagery tang and hint of beery esters. Gets less pleasant later, with wet bready grain and yeast and a hint of honeyed oat on the back. Bit of a crisper lager note on the back, but a slightly heavy, sunken grain note lingers. OK, but yeah, quite bland.
Thin feel, bit of fizz but not too much. Again, OK.
Very uninspiring effort here, though not unpleasant. Needs more body, and something to cover the thin grain and pump some interest into this.
Pours a clear, golden amber colour, with a fine, slightly sudsy, but persistent head of off-white. Body is light and liquid, although it seems just a little flat. Not bad overall, but missing the wow factor.
Nose is mildly grainy, with a smooth, lightly crisp estery character, giving a slight whiff of banana and some green herbal hop characters. A hint of marzipan comes through as well. Interesting enough, if a little flat.
Taste is very smooth and light, and extremely quenching and drinkable. Light, slightly nutty characters on the palate, with just a tingle of herbal bitterness on the finish. It's not really, classically similar to a German Munich Helles, but it's close, and in any case, who cares: it's smooth and damn drinkable.
Exceptionally drinkable lager. Clean, smooth and fresh, with the edges polished to where they need to be. It's not a flavour bomb, but it's really clean and really nice to drink. I'd be perfectly happy drinking this regularly, and it would be a great beer to give to someone who's starting out on a craft beer journey.
There appears to be two entries for this beer here. This one (with rating B+) and another under Urig Wurzig (with rating D+), both with the same label in the photo. Such disparity!
Pours a slightly hazed golden yellow colour, with a crackling head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a slight collar of large white bubbles and a film that replenishes itself with the fine carbonation. It's a shame about the lack of head retention, but otherwise, it's a suitable looking Munich Helles.
Nose is pretty decent. Nice German grain character, with a rustic, cleansing crisp malt character, and just enough hops to balanceâa slight hint of carbonic acidity and citric tartness. It's subtle, but it allows the malt to do its thing, and that's its job.
Taste is light, but pleasant enough, with a singing sweetness on the back that shies away from being sickly, what with the very light body, and the upswell of grain characters that give it a more savoury tone. Minimal hop bitterness, which is a little bit of a shame, because I can imagine the hops just cutting back the sweetness again a little.
It's a pretty decent stylistic example. Clean enough, with some classic characters. No, it's not a beer to knock your socks off, but beers of this style aren't meant to do that. It's just clean, correct and quaffable.
The label said "naturtrÃ¼b", so I rolled it before uncapping. For my efforts, I get a very weak touch of haze to the light yellow body, with a webbed and gauzy film of white. Lacing is intricate and intense, and pretty damn good. Good look to the beer.
Bright, grainy and slightly citric aromas on the nose. simple, but crisp and direct. Pleasant notes of honeydew melonâit's all very light, but it's nice and bright and pleasant throughout.
Taste is crisp and light as well, with a pleasant sharp phenol character through the centre, which gives some bite and a a stab of refreshment. Mild smooth grain comes through on the back, which gives a little body and some balance. It's nothing extraordinary, and the nose suggested something a little better, but it's not bad.
It's drinkable, and pleasant enough. Easy to sink, and no off characters. No, not the most exciting beer in the world, but a decent brew nonetheless.
45 / 100
Pours a pale metallic gold, clear colour but the slightest hint of haze. Slow carbonation bead trailing up to a snowy white head that's sunk to a thin film, leaving some nice sticky lacing around. Looks quite good, I guess.
Smells grainy, with a sweet alcohol kind of aroma. Pearl barley notes with a touch of honey and some corn characters as well. Some unpleasant bready notes but a fairly pleasant hop character backing up with some earthy sourness. Not enough, though, to cover that yeasty note. Not bad, but bland.
Taste is a little unpleasant at times. Mild maltiness on the front with some barley and corn balanced with a touch of honey. This evolves into bready grain on the mid with a yeasty note that doesn't last. Finish is largely phenolic with a real medicinal hop character. Too pungent, really, to be overly clean and doesn't contrast well enough to knock out the sweetness which continues to the finish. Once I adjust to the flavour, it becomes a milder but it could be a lot cleaner and better balanced.
Feels alright in the mouth, there is a spice to the back, body is a bit over-full and could be crisper, but sits quite well with me otherwise.
Yeah, palatable enough once you get over that medicinal finish. But nothing special.
Pours a clear gold colour, nice white head, quite dense. Sinks quickly not helped by a slow bead. Clear body, not a lot of lace. Decent lagery appearance.
Smells lagery with crisp hops and light cereal grain, yeah corn and rice on there. Nice citric twang from the hops; nothing special at all, but certainly not too bad.
Taste is reasonably flavoursome. Light grain on the front with pearl barley and rice notes. Gets hoppy on early mid, grassy and herbal with a hint of fresh sage and wheatgrass as well. Bit of grain on the back had an unfortunate residual effect, slight cereal twang mars an otherwise crisp finish. Nice and bitter but lacking on the front and that slight sweet taste hanging around the back is unwelcome.
Quite a brash and effervescent mouthfeel. A bit much.
I wouldn't want another of these beers, but I can see it suiting the purpose after a long session in the surf at Byron.
Pours a light golden colour, with a decent and very frothy head of white foam, big-bubbled at the top, but with decent retention. Surprisingly little lacing, merely a bit of sudsy remnants as the head dissipates. Not bad, but I've seen better.
Sharp, slightly metallic hop characters on the nose, giving rise to nuances of rust and tinfoil. A hint of honey as well, but it's minimal, giving it very little sweetness. Mostly, there's that pungent metallic twang.
Taste is initially grainy, with some sweet wort runoff character, before a very light hint of those metallic hops, which jangle against a spritzy seltzer water acidity and ragged carbonation. It's pretty clean, but it's also pretty bland. Mouthfeel is harmed a little by the carbonation.
It's better than the standard Aussie macro, but it's not significantly better. It ends up being reasonably inoffensive, and pretty clean, but it's so bland that I wonder why you'd bother drinking more than one.
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.
Had on tap at the Marly Newtown.
Pours an orange-gold colour, with very dense white head, webs of lace clinging to the glass. Steady stream of bubbles heading upwards makes for a pretty good-looking lager.
Smells grainy and lagery, kind of sweet with crisp lager notes. Mild grass and pine character. Not a lot to it, really. Plain, kind of bland.
Taste is quite dry. Lots of grain on the front, slightly sweet with barley and a hint of corn, then some earthy hops. Bits of POR and some grassy notes, hay. Slight medicinal character comes through on the finish, but mostly crisp and clean, doesn't leave a lot of aftertaste which is good as it is quite drinkable and clean as a result. Not special, but inoffensive.
Mouthfeel is sizzly, but not harsh. Surprisingly good body for how low ABV is. Feels like a real beer with natural ingredients.
A decent effort and more than a match for most Aussie lagers out there.
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.
59 / 100
Pours a very pale amber colour with voluminous head and strong, steady carbonation. Head sinks very slowly and retains very well, leaving a fluffy white cloud on top. Leaves little specks of lacing, nothing to be excited over. This is, however, exemplary. Exactly right for the style.
Good golden grainy malt characters on the nose, balanced reasonably well - but not perfectly - with a grassy, herbal hop character. I suspect Hallertauer hops, and possibly Saaz as well. Nice nose, not spectacular though.
Taste is fairly pleasant, with a strong malt character present throughout. A hint of honey and some subtle citric characters as well, grapefruit and lemon. Hops are distinct on the back and quite metallic. Leaves a burnished copper aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky due to the prominent malt body, and although the carbonation in the glass is good, there is little once it's in the mouth.
A refreshing drop though, to be sure, quite well-balanced and with enough flavour to make it interesting. A solid offering; no brewing pinnacle.
40 / 100
Pours a urine-gold colour with effervescent white head, sinks all too readily, in a drowning-man kind of way. Gets zero help from the carbonating lifeguards. Produces a web of lacing but nothing exciting. Standard lager appearance, really.
Smells fairly strongly of amber malt mixed with a slight grassy hop aroma. The hops are definitely slight. Malt has a slight honey edge to it, and the whole thing develops a bit of a nasty yeast character. Not all that pungent, and quite predictable. Not impressed.
Taste starts off with an unpleasantly sticky malt flavour which becomes a bit darker and brooding on the mid. Hops come through towards the back, herbal and resiny like fresh-cut grass. The hops, like the carbonating lifeguards, aren't enough to rescue the finish from being a bit cloying. Not overwhelmingly so, but it certainly isn't as clean as it could be with a few more hops. This does have more as far as palate complexity goes than your average Aussie lager. There are buttery and slightly darker notes among the malt profile. However, being comparatively good doesn't make it intrinsically good. Being the innocent man in a lineup of paedorasts doesn't make you a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
While this has hints of respectability, they're not enough to really impress me. Mouthfeel is flat and dull and the finish is, as I've said, just not clean enough to make this drinkable or refreshing. There's potential here but not quality.
77 / 100
Pours a brilliant bright yellow gold, with a delicately bubbled, but boisterous head of pure white foam. Good lacing, and elegant streams of bubbled rising from the etchings in the glass. I don't care what you think of lagers - this one has a perfect appearance. Just what the style should be.
Light grain with a delicate noble hop bite on the nose. Some organic sweetness, and a slight metallic crust at the back. Pleasant enough.
Clean and crisp, with a light carbonic bite mid way through the palate. There's a definite copper twang on the back, which adds to the crispness and the refreshing character. Mouthfeel is spot on - crisp with fine carbonation, but with a delicate smoothness rounding it out.
This is exactly the sort of beer to fall victim to the likes of Budweiser or Tooheys New. This is what a pale lager should be like, and there is unfortunately a prejudice against the style because of the most famous (and poor) examples. Very drinkable, very well made and very enjoyable.
Very pale yellow colour with a rocky, loose-bubbled head of white foam. Not much retention or lacing. Some bead, racing through the very thin looking body. Can't say it looks terribly appealing.
Metallic, funky yeast aromas on the nose. Definite notes of barnyard, bread yeast and rotting grains. Really quite offensive. Can't say I like this at all.
Taste is very flat - a thin, watery sugar character with a late belt of fungus encrusted metal. Very weak, unpleasant and offensive, bordering on undrinkable. Mouthfeel woefully thin and flat.
Quite certainly a very unappealing and unpleasant beer. Devoid of all but the most offensive characters, leaving it like a rasp across an open wound.
I can only say that either this bottle was off, out of date, poorly stored or brewed under license by unhygienic fishmongers. I can't understand how my review is so out of whack with the general opinion, but truly the bottle I had was appallingly bad.
Pale appearance, not weizen-pale but not English-ale gold. Pours with a very generous, slightly off-white head, but that dissipates very quickly. Slow bead of carbonation. Slight lacing. Nice, but not great.
Slightly rich, earthy hop aroma and a slightly sticky honey at the back. A bit of sticky yeast lingers. Standard lagery nose really, fairly aromatic without being pleasant. In fact it's unpleasant.
A fair amount of honey throughout the palate, not really desired. Slight yeasty/hoppy bitterness on the back, a bit of a sticky mouthfeel; body is quite thick and slow, with very little carbonation upon drinking. This is overly sticky, and quite unpleasant. When I'm drinking a lager I expect some sort of gas. Having said that, the palate is not very nice, yes, but it's fairly well balanced. This is drinkable enough and it's what I would expect given the style.
45 / 100
A bright, clear golden beer with a firm head of fine white foam. The head dissipates to a ring after a while. Carbonation is robust. Nice colour, decent look to it.
Pretty light on the nose - sweet biscuity malt characters and only a hint of grassy hops. Light tropical notes creep in slightly later, but it's pretty subdued.
Clean, dry palate with an extremely light body. Subtle vegetative hop characters again, and a thin grain/hay character. Carbonation is high, which gives a little shake to the otherwise rather flat palate.
It's a pretty bland beer, in my opinion. Drinkable enough, but bland. Like JS Pilsener with all the character removed. Is this MSB's answer to the no-flavour, no-body, lo-carb beer craze?
I'm even more disappointed that I chose to try this instead of buying some Knappstein Reserve. Ah well, you live and learn...