Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Beers of Xmas - On the ninth day of Christmas....

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a Beard and Brau "Golden Paw" Pale Ale...

Established in 2008 by Chris Herring and Tanya Harlow, South Australia's Beard and Brau microbrewery has two regular offerings, which starting hitting Victorian retails shelves last year. Along with this Golden Paw, there is also the "Red Tail" Amber Ale, which I had a little while back and found perfectly drinkable but a bit uninspiring. They also have some seasonal specials (both of which I am yet to drink) - the "Black Snout" Milk Stout (retails in 750ml bottles) and "Bon Chiens" Farmhouse Ale.

Along with the usual microbrewery/craft beer weasel words of "all natural" and "handcrafted" for their beers, Beard and Brau describes the Golden Paw as a 'Steam Ale, American Pale Ale fermented with Lager yeast at Ale temperatures', which I believe many will classify as a "California Common" style...similar to that of the Mountain Goat Steam Ale (...I think?).

I also note that it seems the Beard and Brau labels have changed at some I'm not sure if this bottle that I have tonight is from an old or new batch. I suspect old...because I think their labels now look like that which you see on the bottle images on their website. Therefore, I hope it is not too old.

The Golden Paw has a cloudy golden-brown appearance and pours from the bottle with a huge bubbly head, which provides plenty of fluffy slippery lacing.

The aroma is grassy with a fairly strong pineapple hit, maybe some mango and peach type fruits too.

The flavour is big but not as balanced as hoped (as I suspect it as mellowed too much through age...not being the freshest of bottles). Full of tropical fruits, some hoppy bitterness and something a bit yeasty. It is one of those beers that improves its drinkability the more you have of it.

The carbonation is high and probably a bit too much. The finish is dry with an ok length and bitterness.

Overall, the Golden Paw is a promising beer that does not quite get there for me. Maybe I'm making unfair comparisons to the more refreshing and cleansing Mountain Goat Steam Ale...but this Steam Ale from Beard and Brau is at least worth trying...because it may work for you! I will revisit it because I'd like to try it on tap some time, on a hot day.

There days left until Christmas(!)...and the beers are about to get uber exciting. I may not get a 12 Beers of Xmas post up in time for tomorrow because I will be at the Biero Bar "Night Before Christmas" party, which will feature an 11% abv Imperial Gingerbread Brown Ale from Moon Bog Brewery...yikes!  Also on tap will be Southern Tier Double IPA, Renaissance MPA and Craftman’s Chocolate Stout, Timmerman’s Kriek and the Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter. As an added bonus, after 11pm all pints will be just $5...!! Yes, it is going to be brilliant! Hope to see you there!

I promising 3 more posts will eventually be published by Boxing Day. Cheers!

Alt Christmas Song of the Day: "Father Christmas" by The Kinks


  1. got to love that $5 pint night at biero, have not put a foot wrong there yet.

    As for your comment on Cal Common or Steam Beer as a style, all I can add is that that Mountain Goat Steam Ale is nothign like that. Its a US style pale with an ale yeast and citra hops. Not a bad beer but not a steam beer (was a bit dissapointed with them when I found out they'd kind of played people on that) . Have a look where you can get the style guidelines. Off the top of my head Californian Common Beer is an amber lager featuring Northern Brewer hops. I had a crack at brewing one earlier this year, havent got it dialed in yet but I will try and track down a Beard and Brau

  2. Thanks for the the info! I really do not know that much about beer styles, as I am still relatively new to the whole thing...and primarily go with what the brewer offers in terms of style descriptions.

    Will you be at the Biero Christmas party tonight?

  3. Probably not the beers are tempting, better chance I will be having a Mountain Goat Steam Ale at the Mitre Tavern! got to have an xmas beer with the Carlton Draught drinking mates.

    Am picking up some Bridge Rd Saison for Xmas lunch though, both the original and the tweaked one, with elderbery flowers I think?

  4. Yes, elderflowers and blueberries in the Bridge Rd Saison. Will be very interested to hear how a side-by-side comparison of the regular and the new elderflower version goes!

  5. looking forward to it myself, but may look to more enjoying it rather than evaluating it. Time and place and all may not be the most subjective of tastings, what with christmas lunch and several beers before hand. Also may be chased down with a tripple or 2.

  6. It takes about 5 minutes online to work out that Mountain Goat Steam Ale and Steam Beer (called California Common thanks to copyright issues)aren't one and the same. Mountain Goat Steam Ale is an ALE brewed at LAGER (lower) temperatures (resulting in a long fermentation and very low ester profile) while true Steam Beer (including Golden Paw) is a LAGER brewed at ALE (higher) temperatures (resulting in a more ester driven beer.) Mountain Goat are indulging in a bit of a brewers' joke there. Incidentally Cascade PALE ALE is actually brewed as a lager, showing that truth in advertising has no place in Australian brewing...