My Beer Advent Calendar 2010
I’m enjoying a different beer every day in advent.
Kids get a calendar with chocolates or other goodies hidden behind each date; I get a beer!
What is an advent calendar? I posted all about that, last year – Rob’s Advent calendar
This is the third year of my beer advent calendar idea. I enjoy sampling a few beers I might not otherwise try and there an element of excitement as I open each bottle, not knowing what I am going to discover.
This year I am scoring the beers between 1 and 10. Assuming ALL beer is drinkable so there is no zero and 10 is the best. Normally I wouldn’t buy a beer rating under 6.
I thought I’d start by sampling a few of the Aussie Boutique Brewery Beers. The test cricket has begun, the English are over here defending ‘The Ashes’ and I’m looking forward to a good summer of cricket on the radio. My choice for the first beer of Advent was obvious –
Day1: Cricketers Arms Lager
I poured the amber brew into a glass and sniffed it – I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Brewed in Melbourne by Sundance brewery using Aussie Malt and Amarillo Hops. Sounds good. I took a sip – Hmm better than expected!
It had a deep colour and a big head that lasted through the drink. There was a hint of Pilsner taste but overall it was light tasting and ‘soft’.
Verdict: Drinkable Score: 7.5 out of 10
Day 2: Byron Bay Premium Ale
I was hot!! the beer was cold. It barely touched the sides as it went down!!
Why do they put good beer in these silly little 330ml bottles? The Aussie beer consumers are being conned.
Even without the hot circumstances, it seemed like a very drinkable beer. It had a Light colour and was neither sweet nor bitter. The taste was not weak or too strong. Overall it was a well blended brew and I enjoyed it. 5% alcohol. I would like to try more.
Verdict: Drinkable Score: 7.7 out of 10
Day 3: Gage premium Lager
Previously called Gage Roads, I was looking forward to trying this beer. It’s made by the guys who make “Sail & Anchor’.
My first sip was very disappointing, I immediately thought I had got an old beer that was going off. The ‘use by’ date was July next year, so it was in date. Perhaps it had been cycled a few times between hot and cold?
Verdict: Damaged Goods Score: 1.2 out of 10
Day 4: White Rabbit
Here was a surprise! I guess I didn’t fully read the label, because when I poured the beer into a glass it was very dark. A closer inspection of the bottle showed a pen and ink drawing of a forest with a stream running through it. In the forest is a small sign – ‘Dark Ale’. Aha , that explains it!
I went to the White Rabbit website which has an interesting and artistic design. It appears the brewing is also very imaginative, with wild yeasts able to enter the brew via the open fermentation process.
“We let the yeast have a party and it likes to play hard!”
I like dark beers, this one had a fresh taste avoiding being thought of as a stout. Unfortunately I don’t like the hops used, which seem to me as if the beer was brewed using nettles or other weeds as the hops. I have also tasted these hops in some ‘Little Creatures’ brews.
Verdict: Wrong Hops for me Score: 4 out of 10
Day 5: James Squire Golden Ale
Poured into a glass the colour was deep golden orange to amber, with good carbonation and a nice head it looked like an English beer. The bottle is 345mls, the taste was OK but not outstanding.
Verdict: Not my drop Score: 4.5 out of 10
Day 6: Wahoo Ale
This beer was good, very tangy. Brewed by Gage Roads Brewery who made the Day 3 beer that was disappointing. I think I’d better try Gage Roads again because I don’t think a brewer who could make a good beer like this Wahoo Ale could possibly make a skunky lager.
Like the Day 1 Cricketers Arms beer that scored a 6, this one also used Amarillo Hops
Verdict: Drinkable Score: 6.8 out of 10
Day 7: Fat Yak Pale Ale
This beer is exactly what I think qualifies as ‘Ale’. I can imagine sitting outside at a country fair in England in medieval times, with a pretty wench sitting on my lap watching the jousting while I quaffed large quantities of this Ale from my beaker- forsooth!!
There is a tanginess on the tip of the tongue, similar to high carbonation, yet the amber liquid seems fairly flat. It has an earthy taste with light floral hops and an underlying taste of smooth malt. All those factors define ‘Ale’ for me.
Verdict: Thanks for the memory! Score: 5 out of 10
Day 8:Little Creatures Pale Ale
Having the comely wench sitting on my knee yesterday put me in an excellent mood – so I’ve kept the wench and continued to watch the jousting while quaffing another Ale. I know I’m in a good mood because Little Creatures beers have a strong floral taste that makes me think they are strained through nettles, and today I don’t mind!.
This beer is conditioned in the bottle and pours slightly cloudy, as you’d expect. It has that ‘Ale’ taste with more bitterness than the Fat Yak and the brewery use whole hop flowers which accounts for the taste being driven by the floral aroma.
I was expecting not to enjoy this beer, which I’ve had before, but the pleasant company I was in changed my perceptions and although I wouldn’t want too many of these little 330ml bottles, I began to see past the strong hoppy character.
Verdict: Gadzooks! I’m having fun. Score: 4.5 out of 10
Day 9: Cairns Gold
I’d previously enjoyed some draught Cairns Gold so I was looking forward to this bottled version, brewed by local Cairns Micro Brewery, Blue Sky Brewery. It had a light yellow colour in the glass with a good head, the first sip showed some bitterness and there was a very strong malt undertaste.
This wasn’t the beer I remembered. I checked the bottle and printed on the side was “”Brewed by or under licence for Blue Sky Brewery. Maybe the Blue Sky Brewery doesn’t have a bottling system and the bottles beer is brewed and bottled elsewhere. Surely my memory can’t be faulty? I was expecting a 9 and got a 6!! I plan to go back to the brewery and sample some draught and remind myself how good this beer tastes when not in a bottle.
Verdict: Beer tasting is full of surprises. Score: 5 out of 10
Day 10: Blue Tongue Pilsner
Ho Ho Ho, first sniff of this one was good, a very dutch beer smell. The taste at first was very Heineken, perhaps more bitter. Further into the glass of this golden brew I could detect a hint of what I call German Hops.
This is a very good beer. I checked some reviews to see what other people thought and came across a very honest VIDEO review – FortyBeers.Com well worth watching.
The Blue Tongue brewery have a great logo –
Verdict: Great Tasting Beer. Score: 7.4 out of 10
Day 11: Corona Extra
I found possibly the strangest review ever written! ( from united-nations-of-beer.com/corona-beer-review) so I’ll let this lady speak –
“Corona. It’s Spanish for “Evil”.
Once upon a time, I had a friend named Corona. He was very handsome, with his pale amber colouring, his festive little lime… and all those bubbles. As long as he was around, I knew I was in for a good night.
Sadly, our time together must end. Because of last night’s disastrous, unofficial Corona beer review session, I’m breaking up with him. It is OVER! Do you hear me, Corona? OVER!!
I had a work function to go to. Very posh, very dressy, men in tuxes and gorgeous suits, women in formal dresses and full length gowns, and my friend, Corona, was everywhere.
Now, you would think after the last work function I’d been to, my boss, colleagues, and the general public at large would work very hard to keep Corona and I far, far away from each other.
The last one involved me getting very drunk, yelling at my boss, and then wandering into the ladies room and telling everyone in there that my boss was a bastard.
Ten minutes later, one of the women who’d been in there came up to me and said, quietly, “Have you calmed down?” to which I responded, rather saucily, “I dunno, have YOU calmed down?”
I then proceeded to literally fall on the CEO’s feet (ON them), and was whisked away in a cab.
And yet, last night? Bottle after bottle was brought to me. There’s me, thinking, “Do they have NO recollection of the last party? REALLY? Fine, whatever, just hand over the deliciousness and be on your way, while I continue my ‘Corona beer review’…”
Cut to me, half an hour later, running, RUNNING, (in heels, no less) after the Prime Minister’s wife (Hi, Mrs. Blair. If you’re reading this… I’m very sorry.) down the hallway. Her secret service guys? Very scary. I was impressed. My boss? Not so impressed.
So… we eat a little, we drink some more (stupid, stupid me), and finally, it’s time to go home. I am feeling very, very energetic at this point, and decide that I’ll get out before my stop on the tube, and walk the rest of the way.
Brilliant. I’m wearing a tight black dress, killer heels, tons of makeup… and my West Coast Choppers hoodie.
I got five “Honey, how much?” offers and one marriage proposal. The weird side-effects of an in-depth Corona beer review…
Get home, chat with flatmates…. And then? Total blackout. All I know is I woke up this morning, and everything was on.
Television? On. Radio? On. Computer? On. Little string of paper lanterns? On. Dress, heels, and makeup? ON, ON, ON!!!
It’s as though I considered getting ready to go to bed, and figured, “Nah… may as well just…” THUD. Fall down in a dead sleep on my bed. On top of the covers.
Do you KNOW how hard it is to get eye makeup off when it’s had 15 hours to adhere itself to your skin? That shit is never coming off, I tell you. I look like I’ve gone ten rounds with Rocky.
And you know what I have to do now? I gotta go to work. That’s my last EVER Corona beer review!
I blame you, Corona. We are NEVER seeing each other again. I know, I know, there’s a party next week, and we’ll both be there, but I will studiously avoid you and make friends with the vodka instead. HA!”
hehehe, now THAT”S a review!!
Verdict: Bland but drinkable. Score: 5.6 out of 10
Day 12: Coopers Clear
Coopers Beers – you either love em or hate em. I’m a fan and enjoy Coopers Mild which is the only mid strength beer I like. This ‘Clear’ beer is Coopers entry into the Low Carb/ ‘Summer Beer’ market and they have done a great job. This is probably the best brew I’ve tasted in the low carb/ ‘Summer Beer’ range. That’s not to say I liked it. The characteristics of this style are bland bland bland and I like my beer to have a taste.
The brew is light yellow and pours with a good head that quickly disappears, leaving a ring around the glass. There is a hint of sweetness and a slight taste which makes this better than most of the style. I rate this under 6 because I wouldn’t buy it, but it was drinkable.
Verdict: Bland but drinkable. Score: 5.9 out of 10
Day 13: Peroni
This beer was the lightest yellow I have ever seen! The taste was also light but not completely bland. Other reviews have mentioned a strong ‘skunky’ smell, but this bottle was well behaved.
Peroni’s light taste hides a strong 5.1% alc beer, an interesting brew.
Verdict: Light tasting but drinkable. Score: 6 out of 10
Day 14: Beck’s
Shed Mate Bruce enjoyed this at an Oktoberfest and decided to buy a carton which proved to be not as good as expected. With low expectation I poured a glass and sniffed, expecting that German hops, bitter smell. But no, this beer smelt good. After the first swallow I was pleased to find that it didn’t taste like a typical German Beer at all.
This beer was drinkable, I’d like to try more. I am concerned that the quality of the beer available here fluctuates. Just as Bruce found with his carton of Becks, I had a Carton of Stella Artois that was very poor, yet usually it is a good beer. Leaving pallets of beer out in the intense heat of the tropics for too long and /or chilling cartons down then letting them re heat are probable causes.
Verdict: drinkable. Score: 6.3 out of 10
Day 15: Ashai Super Dry
I’ve enjoyed this beer before. It’s not complex, just an easy drinking brew.
a simple, straightforward and refreshing beer.
Verdict: Nothing special but drinkable. Score: 6.2 out of 10
Day 16: XXXX Summer Bright Lager
Comparing XXXX and VB is similar to our Holden/Ford allegiance. I’m a VB fan so this bottle with 4 X’s on it was not first on my list to drink. It had been another very hot day and I was thirsty, I didn’t think it would take too long to swallow this small 330ml beer and carry on with a decent beer afterwards.
As seems to happen constantly, when I expect a bad brew I get a good one and vice-versa. This time was no exception. The XXXX hops taste that I dislike was not there. Instead this was a light malty beer, highly carbonated and inoffensive. It went down OK, the words ‘lolly water’ kept running through my head as I drank it.
Verdict: Not a XXXX fan, this was the best XXXX I’ve tasted. Score: 5 out of 10
Day 17: Barefoot Radler
Dear Oh Dear Oh Dear, shakes head and walks away….. WTBH is this!!! They should put ‘sweet Lemon & Lime flavoured lolly water with a hint of alcohol’ on the label – there’s no way this should be classed as a beer!! Refreshing it says, yes I can see on a hot day IF I DIDN’T WANT A BEER, something like this might be refreshing, if it wasn’t so sickly sweet.
It was a very hot day in Cairns, the humidity giving us strong sauna like conditions and yes I was thirsty, so this ‘beer’ should have gone down well. I was expecting a beer taste so it was a hell of a shock to find I’d opened a bottle of tonic!! Especially because as well as the strong Lemon & Lime taste, it was overly sweet.
Verdict: Yeuk – real lolly water! Score: Can’t be scored, it’s not a beer.
Day 18: Maxx Dry premium Lager
I’d never heard of this beer before. It poured as a typical lager and first taste had me smiling, here was a drinkable beer. Mouthfeel was strangely thin, and there was a faint unusual taste, maybe a style of hops I’m not used to?
I enjoyed the drink, which was over very quickly due to the small 330ml bottle. I checked the label to see where it was brewed and it was imported from new Zealand, so perhaps it should have been called Mick’s heheh. I checked out some reviews and no-one but me likes this beer, while I could easily buy a carton of it.
Verdict: Drinkable & slightly different. Score: 6.5 out of 10
Day 19: Grolsch Premium Lager
I’m 3/4 of the way through my Advent calendar. Today’s brew is a good one. Grolsch is a typical Dutch lager, similar to Heinekin and Carlsberg, perhaps not as strong tasting.
Grolsch used to have an old style bottle top with a rubber stopper held on by a wire hinge. This bottle had the normal cap. I drank the 330mls very quickly and it was enjoyable. I would buy this beer again.
Verdict: Mainstream drinkable Dutch lager Score: 7.2
Day 20: Stella Artois
A good beer for me is a beer that is well blended and doesn’t have any obvious abnormal taste. Stella fits the bill perfectly. Pours with a thick white head that slowly reduces, good mouthfeel and taste.
This beer is good to drink, I enjoyed it.
Verdict: Very Drinkable Score: 7.7 out of 10
Day 21: Coopers 62
Shed Mate Bob gave me a bottle at our Tuesday Night Christmas Party. Wow, this one is different! I had expected the usual Coopers taste, which I like. This Pilsner had a strong taste that was familiar but I couldn’t identify.
There are not many good reviews for this beer, and some say it doesn’t have much flavour. I thought it had quite a strong flavour, I liked it and would drink more.
Verdict: Drinkable Score: 6.9 out of 10
Day 22: Maxx Blonde
I have completely and utterly had ENOUGH of low carb beers. After enjoying the Maxx Dry on day 18 I expected this one to be good. Unfortunately I didn’t like the taste and it reminded me of all the other low carb beers.
The idea of a low carb beer is good, beer we can drink without getting fat- how good is that?? But the first time I drank one I thought it was false and nothing has changed that view. Something is added to the beer to compensate for the missing carb ingredients. It’s like having sugar substitute in tea or coffee.
Verdict: No thanks Score: 2 out of 10
Day 23: Radeberger Pilsner
I had no idea what this beer would be like, or where it was made. I discovered later that it’s an East German beer with a long history back to 1872. The taste was crisp and clean with a pleasant faint Pilsner aroma which made me think this beer is what a lot of other Pilsners are trying to emulate.
This is the best Pilsner I’ve had. Not my daily drinking style but a special occasions brew
Verdict: An Excellent Discovery Score: 7 out of 10
Day 24: Bombardier Bitter
Here I am, at the end of my Advent Beer Calendar. I saved this one till last because English Bitter is my favourite beer and I’ve enjoyed Bombardier before. I wasn’t disappointed
The beer is much darker than Lagers, with a reddish tinge. The taste is excellent there is everything there- mouthfeel, bitter, malt, hops- all in the right proportions- AND it’s a large 500ml bottle
Verdict: The most enjoyable beer this advent Score: 9 out of 10