#27 – Black Sheep Ale

From the label: “The culmination of six generations of brewing expertise. Brewed at the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire – and nowhere else.”

It’s good to make fun of the English, mainly because they deserve it, but we’re running out of things to tease them about. They’ve got the Ashes, for starters. The whole bad teeth thing? Yeah, not so much as it turns out. And I really can’t make fun of their weather, not today. Above all though as an Australian I grew up mocking the English habit of drinking beer ‘warm’ – which is never really all that warm in England anyway of course – but again, after too many distinctly average Australian beers which must be drunk brass monkeyingly cold to protect the unwary from actually tasting the stuff I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt if they can justify it with decent, balanced and interesting brews. The Black Sheep Ale – which is, a bit disappointingly, I admit – not a dark beer, is recommended to be consumed at 13┬ádegrees which is currently well above room temperature. So, warm then. But I shall have to put my mocking hat away. Without ruining the surprise too much I think I can say I get it now. It’s delicious. Continue reading

Review #4 – Fat Yak Pale Ale

From the label: “This garage engineered beer is golden in colour and has sizable floral aroma. We added hops to the kettle early and late to balance the bitterness, while dry hopping late in the fermentation delivers some big citrus and fruity hop character. Drink it any time of the year.”

Matilda Bay Brewing Company, Fat Yak Pale Ale (APA) – 4.7% abv., (Dandenong, Vic., Australia). $15/6 x 345ml bottles.

I’m trying to like this one, I really am. I can only assume I managed to acquire a less than stellar batch (the quality of this one has apparently varied fairly widely over the last few years) but it’s not easy. The aroma has a slight citrus note but there’s something fighting it that’s a bit fruity and funky, passionfruit maybe or ripe banana. It looks fine though, the colour is a dark golden amber with a slight haze and a thinnish white head that clears to a filmy ring within a minute. The mouthfeel is crisp enough but pretty thin with moderate carbonation. The aroma oversells it and it’s a fairly flavourless brew. Very slightly on the hoppy side perhaps, though a malty sweetness does come out toward the bottom of the glass. It fades to a subtle dry and bitter finish. I can’t actually say it’s a poor beer, but I find myself wondering why I’m drinking it when I can find stuff that’s better, more interesting or cheaper and on occasion, in a glorious subset of happenstance, all three. Continue reading