This is the last of my Grand Ridge beer reviews. So far the Bitter and Yarra Valley stick out in my mind as being 2 things I’ll miss about Australia (unless Grand Ridge Brewery has a heart and sends some cases my way).
Man, my curtains sure are ugly. I’m glad I’m moving out of this apartment soon.
Yeah, this one is great too. I’ve met a lot of Aussies that say they don’t like pale ales. They seem to mostly like lagers here. I can understand that. I think I must prefer bitter beers because this one is fairly bitter. It’s not as malty as the Yarra Valley Gold, but I still love it. I’d like to go back to my classic wrestler motif now:
If this beer were a classic WWF wrestler it would have to be Jake “The Snake” Roberts. It’s kind of an underdog in a world full of VB, but it’s a hard worker and worthy of your respect. After a hard day of work this is the kind of manly beer that mates deserve to reward themselves with. Not VB.
Today we have the Grand Ridge Yarra Valley Gold ale. I’ve been a bit disappointed and pleasantly surprised with Grand Ridge Brewery so far. I think they just have so much that they’re not going to please me with every beer they have, and that’s totally fine with me. I loved the Grand Ridge Bitter, let’s see how the Gold goes.
This is probably one of my favorite beers. It’s hoppy & malty. They describe it as being ultra hoppy, but I’d rate this as the perfect amount of hoppiness. It’s bold, but well-balanced. You know you’re drinking a beer.
If this beer was a person it would be Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat; a well-rounded wrestler & champion body builder.
Back to the Yarra Valley Gold. You should try this right away. Unless you’ve been brainwashed by VB or Miller Lite into not respecting your taste buds, this will be the only beer you’ll ever drink again. This really hits the spot. I tried it after an 11 hour work day and it was the perfect thing to wind down with.
Grand Ridge Yarra Valley Gold: 4.1/5
Grand Ridge, if you’re reading this, please export to America. Specifically, to my house so I can show my mates how great Australia is.
I picked up Grand Ridge’s mixed box of beers last weekend. The box is covered with labels from all the awards they’ve won. I decided to ease into it so I started with their light beer.
In Australia light beer means it’s just light on alcohol content; in America it means it’s light on carbs or calories, but mostly flavor. I don’t really care too much about the alcohol content or how many calories it has. As long as it tastes great I’m happy.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a light Aussie beer before. I can’t say I’m a fan. It’s a lager and meant to be an all-round Aussie beer. It’s miles beyond VB though. Heck, the contents of a spittoon is better than VB.
You’ll noticed the amount of bubbles. They’re deceiving because it’s not like a sparkling ale. It’s very light and slightly bitter. It’s not full of flavour like the bottle led me to believe.
I’m glad I started with this one because it can only get better from here on out. Grand Ridge has won over 100 awards for their beer, but I have a feeling the light has never been a winner. What would make a good light beer though? Should it make me think I’m drinking something more robust like a Big Helga? Perhaps it should taste lighter. I really don’t know. I just want more flavor. Maybe if they stuffed a few more hops in there I’d be more into it.
The legendary copyright-infringing Duff Beer is here straight from Germany. It’s not an Aussie beer, but being a Simpsons fan (up until around season 12 at least) I couldn’t pass it up.
It’s not in a can (tinny) so that’s 1 strike against them, but the design is a pretty faithful adaptation. There are Duff cans out there, but you’ll have to go to Europe to get your hands on one. Interestingly there was a brewery in New Zealand that brewed Duff before The Simpsons even existed. Fox sued them and being a small brewery they opted to change their name instead of go out of business in court fees. If you read the link above you’ll see how breweries are able to legally brew a beer and name it Duff. I think it’s still fairly nebulous and subjective, but it raises some interesting points on interpreting the law for virtual worlds such as a cartoon or the internet.
Do you want to know how it tastes? Would it matter if you saw it in a store?
As far as novelty beers go I’d say it’s better than most. Duff is depicted as a beer for the lowest common denominator. I’d say this fits the bill, but gives you more quality than something as offensive as VB or Milwaukee’s Worst.
It’s a decent lager. You probably won’t hate it. You definitely won’t buy it again though.
P.S. Here’s something new from the makers of Duff Bier:
I’d like to know from any German experts out there if those are considered grapes in Germany before I poke fun at them.
At the risk of sounding like Seinfeld, why is it called grapefruit anyways? It seems pretty lazy to me. At least call it Sour Orangefruit (Citrus squirtus inthe eyeus) so people have a better idea of what they’re getting in to. Can you make wine or jam from a grapefruit? Well, I guess you could, but I’ve never heard of such an obnoxious thing.
Coopers hails from Southern Australia (SA). This is the last beer from my Backyard Beer Box. I think I’ll keep these reviews going if I can find more of these collections. It’s been nice being able to sample such a wide range of Aussie beer.
I left Coopers for last because I bought a 6 pack in America on a whim as I do to try new things. It probably cost no more than $8. I don’t remember if it was the pale or not though.
Gosh, I feel bad drinking this out of a XXXX mug. I wish I had a proper Coopers glass or something.
I had a feeling, and I was right, Coopers wins best of box. A previous commenter recommended the Coopers Pale Ale as it’s made more like a home brew. It’s seriously a superior beer. The Bluetongue and Dry Dock stand out to me, but this one takes the cake. This beer reminds me most of America. Which is to say, it reminds me of the quality of beer I can easily and for a decent price find in America.
I just read you’re supposed to roll the bottle before you pour it so everything mixes back together. I didn’t do that and it’s still great. I guess I’ll just have to get some more and do another review to taste the difference. Darn.
On to the actual tasting notes: I can taste a slight fruity, almost citrus flavor. It’s very well balanced. Oh man, I’m going to stop right there. I’m going to savor this beer while I can. Just go try it and if you already have, give it another go. I only wish pubs here sold Coopers for less than $7.50 a bottle. It’s hard when I know I can get 6 bottles for nearly the same price in America.
P.S. Sorry I keep complaining about the price of beer.
Gage Roads is from Western Australia (WA) and I don’t know how this beer ended up in the Backyard Beer Box. Gage is a craft brewery. Did they know that when they were picking beers for this collection? Maybe Gage haven’t told Aussies that they’re a craft brewery so they wouldn’t scare anyone away. I kid! I kid!
Apparently Gage was started by the dudes that ran Sail & Anchor, which made the Dry Dock I liked and which happens to be the brew you’ll probably be offered if you get your hair did at Mods & Rockers.
I have fairly high hopes for this one even though it’s just another lager.
At first I didn’t like it too much. I was ready to give this one a big fat 2/5. But the problem was that I froze my glass and it made the beer taste watered down. This is a good beer. The bottle claims extra smooth and they’re not kidding around.
It’s a 4.7% alc/vol and 1.2 standard drinks. I don’t understand all that. I just drink it and enjoy. There’s mid-strength, low-strength, and full-strength beers. And it doesn’t relate to alcohol to volume. Also none of the beers I’ve had at 1 standard drink. They’re usually around 1.5. I just don’t understand. Please leave a comment and untangle this mystery wrapped in a riddle for me.
Aussies become mathematicians when they’re drinking. They know exactly to the millilitre how much they can drink. I’ll bet you could give an Aussie 3 different beers in different size glasses and say “In 48 minutes you have to drink exactly 3.3 standard drinks”. They would have no trouble working that mess out.
Anyways, give Gage a go. It’s a really decent beer to relax with.
Platinum Blonde comes from Victoria, which is on the south east coast of Australia. Melbourne is there, so is Ramsay Street where Neighbors is filmed!
That was nice. Now I’m prepared to start this review.
I had a Pure Blonde on the plane coming here from America. Besides Fosters and Coopers it was my first Australian beer. I hated it. It didn’t help that it was a bit warm. After that I tried the other beer choice on my flight, VB. First impressions are everything and VB did its best to offend me from the start. The can felt like it had been heated up and the outside was sticky, presumably from another can of VB committing suicide. It was the worst. I’m open minded though. I knew that wasn’t the best of circumstances to enjoy a nice refreshing glass of VB. I was wrong, VB is thoroughly unenjoyable.
First off, this is much better than Pure Blonde. I think Pure Blonde is this Fridays work beer so maybe I’ll like it better next time.
I was put off by the green bottle, I was afraid this would taste like Rolling Rock or Heineken. Thankfully no, it’s much better than those 2 disasters. It’s not great, but as far as low carb euro-style lagers go it’s top-notch. Very, very light. Yeah, give this one a go.
XXXX (pronounced four-ex) Summer Bright Lager from Queensland, more specifically, Milton, Brisbane. Just an hour drive north from where I live.
I’ve had XXXX on tap before at the pub and I was not impressed. The backyard box says:
If XXXX is a working class man, this low-carb drop is his bubbly, sporty sister. It’ll get - and keep - your attention for being fruity, sassy and easy on the eye. As a boutique offering from Queensland’s world-famous drinking culture, it cleverly offers the refreshment of a full-strength beer, with a slightly lower alcohol content.
Great, I’m going to drink a girl beer.
That description is right on, it’s really sassy and girls will probably love it. It’s very drinkable, but there’s no denying that you’re drinking a delicatedainty lighter beer. I wouldn’t mind drinking this on the beach, but I haven’t figured out the open container laws here. I see people do it all the time, but it can’t be legal, right?
I might have to visit the brewery in the future to try their other, hopefully more respectable “boutique” brews.
Boags Draught from Tasmania (also known as Tassie). Another draught from close to where Carlton Draught and VB come from. Thankfully this isn’t nearly as awful as either one of those disasters.
Boags isn’t great, but it’s not bad either. It has a little bite, but it goes away pretty fast. It’s a little bitter, but that’s OK. I like my beer to at least have some sort of flavor instead of tasting like clogged up sink water like VB.
I really hate VB. Earlier today while I was reading the paper I saw Australia won a cricket match or something and they were all celebrating with stubbies of VB. It was so obvious that the head of VB marketing had just thrust his obnoxious brew in their hands. They just won an important game, they didn’t care what they were celebrating with. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so darned popular. About 25% of Australia drinks only VB; that’s an insane market share. I heard today that they have to make a case or 2 of VB every second just to keep up with demand. All of Australia only has the population of New York state, they don’t need that much VB in their lives. VB is not fit to be drunk. It’s marketed as a beer for sweaty blokes that work hard all day and need a gross beer to wash away their thirst. I think this is the reason there’s so many bar fights in the Gold Coast, I’d be mad too if I only drank VB.