What with things having turned cooler for most of Australia, for the fifth Crafty Pint Blind Tasting Panel we decided it was time to turn towards the darker realms of the beer world. And, with the star of the Sh!t Beer Geeks Say! video having debuted on the panel last time around, it seemed only right to opt for the style that he graced with the line: “Length of toast”.
So Brown Ales it was, augmented by a couple of Dark Ales. As usual, the vast majority of the beers were local with a couple of international “classics” thrown in for benchmarking. It was the usual procedure too, with AIBA Steward Prof Pilsner handling serving duties, the beers served in flights of three, a calibrator beer to see how the palates were performing at the start and beers scored out of five for appearance, aroma and taste, with another 10 marks awarded for overall impressions.
The panel this time comprised The Crafty Pint, a commercial brewer, a beer rep and a beer lover, with a second brewer having to cancel at the last minute (and thus meaning no Black Heart American Brown on the lineup as it was in his car). The venue was moved from Crafty Towers to the upstairs room at The Terminus, partly to appease Mrs Pint but also with an eye on starting to run some public Blind Tastings later in the year (keen, anyone?).
Other than the beer that’s held up as the classic example of Northern English Browns, there were no stinkers; instead there was the usual collection of pleasant surprises and, as seems to be the case most times, a winner that pretty much everyone would have predicted beforehand; a winner by some distance, in fact, with the beer in second well clear of third too.
You can find out a little more about the style in our latest Drinking In Style feature here and read on for the results. In short, however, if you like Brown Ales, head to the Mornington Peninsula…
10. Newcastle Brown Ale – bought from Purvis Beer Richmond
9. Moo Brew Dark Ale – Purvis Beer Richmond
8. Coopers Dark Ale – Purvis Cellars
7. White Rabbit Dark Ale – Carwyn Cellars
6. Bullant Brewery Pig & Whistle Brown Ale – McCoppins
5. 2 Brothers Growler – Purvis Cellars
4. Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale – Purvis Beer Richmond
3. Cavalier Brown Ale – Carwyn Cellars
2. Hix Brown Ale – McCoppins
1. Mornington Peninsula Brewery Brown Ale – McCoppins
Selected Panel Comments
“It’s got an Ovaltine malt character. It’s like a pillow in your mouth.”
“There’s something that intrigues me about number three. It may not be technically as good as the others, but like Jamo’s Beast, I want to go into the woods and drink heaps of it. It’s just cool.”
Panelist 1: “Has anyone used the word russet yet?"
Panelist 2: "I’ve used ruddy."
Panelist 3: "I’m keeping burnt umber for later.”
Panelist 1: “I see Doss Blockos has brought out a Black Lager."
Panelist 2: "What colour bag’s it in?"
Panelist 1: "None. It’s got a pretty enough face to be allowed out in public, apparently.”
“The drum playing can be good and the sax and the guitar too, but if it’s jazz rock it’s still going to sound awful. It’s got to be in harmony.”
Panelist 1: “I want to ask Jayne Lewis [as part of the Ask Brewer Jayne Agony Aunt series] for advice on tasting a flight of Imperial Stouts."
Panelist 2: "You’re best to be based on the benches outside the Smith Street Safeway.”
“I found this harder than all the other ones. It’s fucking with my head.”
“Malt stands up. Hops go home.”
Next up in August: Imperial Stouts. Yeah, baby!!!