Beer Reviews – August


It’s the simple things that make life so enjoyable. The older I get, the more I believe that and it comes as no surprise that this philosophy is making a resurgence in the competitive one-upmanship world of craft beer. Let’s face it, as much as the average beer geek enjoys Instagramming their latest whiskey barrel aged stout and 100IBU double IPA conquests (guilty as charged), most of us just want to enjoy a good, approachable beer after a hard day’s work and not be insanely incoherent or financially insolvent after three helpings.
Which is why I keep coming back to beers like this American Pale Ale (APA) from Brookes Beer. Based in Bendigo since July 2013, Doug Brooke has always believed in his “simple = good” formula as a mad home brewer.  The premise of this beer is a true American style ale, which generally feature citrus, tropical fruit and pine characteristics. The Brookes APA includes some of Doug’s favourite tropical fruit driven hops including simcoe, mosaic and cascade to provide plenty of late and dry hopped character to the beer.
I asked Doug how this beer has evolved since they launched it 12 months ago. “I’m a constant tinkerer on the malt end of our beers and we’re gradually working the crystal malt down and replacing it with more biscuity malts. Our particularly brutal Bendigo summer taught us a few hard lessons on managing freshness and we’ve spent the last few months seriously upgrading our post fermentation processes and equipment. I can taste that investment coming through in the beer, it’s significantly better than where we were on day one and I’m excited to see what our customers say.”

That sounds like an invitation to me. Brookes Beer opens their public bar at the brewery in Mayfair Park, Bendigo for the first time on Friday 15 August. Why not head up to Bendigo and make a weekend of it while the “Bendigo On The Hop” festival is in full swing from 15-17 August.

ABV: 5.2%
STYLE: American Pale Ale
SERVING TEMP:  6 degrees
ORIGIN:  Bendigo, Victoria
FOOD PAIRING: Thai Green Curry
PRICE (RRP): 330ml $9 / 24 x 330ml $69


A bird in the hand is worth two in the fridge. At least, that’s the case with this fantastic amber ale from Australia’s first female owned and operated brewing company, Two Birds Brewing. Continuing on the theme of approachable, well-made beers, Sunset Ale is the perfect session beer for the colder months, although I find myself cracking a bottle of this at any time of the year.

It’s been three years since brewer Jayne Lewis and marketing guru Danielle Allen hit the craft beer scene brewing at various places all over Australia and winning numerous AIBA and People’s Choice awards while they looked for a perfect place to nest. Finally, they opened the doors of their brand new brewery in the inner-western Melbourne suburb of Spotswood only a few weeks ago.

So what’s so good about Sunset Ale? It’s a great gateway beer for people who are a bit gun shy when it comes to darker beers. The smooth roasted, malty, caramel flavours and slight tropical hit never fails to deliver a pleasant surprise to the average craft beginner, while satisfying the craving for aroma and body for the seasoned beer lover.

What has surprised Jayne the most is the way restaurants and good beer venues around the country have embraced Sunset Ale as a true food beer, “Sunset is fantastic with any BBQ meats and has been really popular at a lot of the awesome burger joints that are around at the moment”.

Hmmm…. Huxtaburger anyone?
ABV:  4.6%
STYLE: Amber Ale
SERVING TEMP: 6-8 degrees
ORIGIN:  Spotswood, Victoria
FOOD PAIRING:  Char grilled beef
PRICE (RRP): 330ml $8 / 24 x 330ml $65

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