Beer Reviews: July

Mountain Goat Fancy Pants
Let me be honest and up front, I’m a little bit biased when it comes to this beer. Originally a Rare Breed release in 2012, the craft beer loving public went all Lady Gaga over its simple, yet tasty toffee, fruity combination. In March this year, Mountain Goat owners Cam and Dave announced Fancy Pants (a.k.a. my second mortgage) was to become a part of their Autumn/Winter range – in a can!

Canned craft is well established in the U.S. and is only just starting to take hold here in Australia with a handful of craft breweries investing in canning lines. In short, canned beer doesn’t let light in, which helps preserve the flavours. Cartons weigh less, meaning a smaller carbon footprint and most importantly, cans don’t smash on the ground when you’re playing backyard cricket or stumbling around BYO music festivals! (I love you Aunty Meredith).

So let’s talk about the amazing beer inside this fancy can. Being an amber ale, it has a wonderful toffee note thanks to the crystal and roasted malts which provides a beautiful smooth mouthful. The real hero for me is the Aussie Galaxy hops which adds its signature passionfruit/pineapple aromas and gives you something close to a slightly sweet, caramelised fruit salad experience.

But as I said, I’m biased. I asked Simon Frake, one of Mountain Goat’s beloved reps, why Fancy Pants has had such a huge impact, “It’s hopefully a good honest nod to the pacific northwest in terms of a decent bittering and aromatic hop profile battling it out against a rich malt base which maintains a great balance. It’s the beer we’d make all year round if we had a money tree in the brewery, so it’s nice to know for a small-ish period of time, people can enjoy it in the cooler months.”.

Available all around Melbourne and regional Victoria in good beer venues on tap and in cans, do yourself a favour and get your hands on some Fancy Pants.

ABV: 5.2%
Style: Hoppy Australian Amber Ale | Serving Temp: 6-8 degrees
Origin: Richmond, Victoria
Food Pairing: Char grilled pork, beef or lamb with a side of grilled corn
Price (RRP): 375ml $8-9 | 24 x 375ml $69
Buy it here:
Bright Fainters Dubbel
There’s definitely something spiritual about Victoria’s high country. Winter is a brilliant time to visit places like Bright and Beechworth with snow-capped mountains towering over magnificent wineries, cheese producers and of course, some of Australia’s best craft breweries.
Bright Brewery, founded in 2006 by Scott Brandon and Fiona Reddaway, offers a range of beers to suit all palates. But it was the Fainters Dubbel that caught my eye and taste buds. A typical Belgian Abbey Ale, I was transported back to my travelling experiences through Europe where beers where big, sweet and kind of like drinking fruit cake.

Scott does not hide his affection for the style, “The Dubbel was an original part of the core range from the early days of our existence as we have always loved the big, rich and bold flavours of Belgian beers. Even though it’s not our biggest seller, we consider the Fainters Dubbel our flagship beer. It’s what we’re all about.”.

With huge smack of clove, raisin and toffee aroma supported by a solid malt profile, it’s surprising that the high ABV doesn’t linger too long on the palate. I’d consider this a perfect night cap or after-dinner beer poured generously into a big tulip glass, while sitting in front of an open fire nibbling on a cheese platter. Heaven.

ABV: 8.5%
Style: Belgian Abbey Ale
Serving Temp: 10-12 degrees
Origin: Bright, Victoria
Food Pairing: Pulled Pork roll, Sticky Date Pudding, Goats Cheese.
Price (RRP): 375ml $6.20 (direct from the brewery) | 24 x 330ml $125
Buy it here:

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