Okay, so by now most people know the big supermarket rivals Coles and Woolworths have entered the beer market.
Woolies was first up last year with the Sail and Anchor range of what some dubbed ‘‘faux craft beer’’. A few months ago Coles joined the party with their Steamrail range of beers, which caused a bit of controversy in beer circles.
So for the next three days I’m going to put the beers from both supermarket chains up against each other.
Why? Well, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And I’ve had a sample of each of the Sail and Anchor foursome sitting in my beer fridge at home for a little while now and wanted to do something useful with them (and no, just drinking them didn’t seem useful as my memories of them were that they were pretty ordinary).
Both ranges have a golden ale, a pale ale and an amber ale. Some will note that the S&A range has four beers while the Steam Team only has three. That just means I won’t be doing anything with the S&A kolsch. Which is a good thing as I hate kolsch.
I’ll be going from the lightest style to the darkest, which means we start off with the golden ales.
Round one: Lark’s Foot Golden Ale (Woolies) versus The Gold Digger Golden Ale.
The Lark’s Foot is a surprisingly malt-driven beer, which I found a little odd for a golden lager. The publicity gumpf claims it has a citrus tang through the use of US hops (curiously, they only name one of them – Cascade) but I really worked hard to find those citrussy notes and largely came up dry.
I did find some slight ones, but they were hidden way in the background, behind those dominating malt characters.
The Gold Digger, on the other hand is much better. Which I assumed it would be – of all the beers from both stores, this is the only one I went out and bought a sixer of because I liked the flavour. It’s a light golden colour, certainly lighter than the Lark’s Foot. When poured in the glass it gives a nice soft head and an easily discernible citrus aroma.
The flavour is light and citrussy and, to be honest, it’s more enjoyable than many other golden ales I’ve tried. For the most part, they tend to be bland but this has some good, refreshing flavour about it.
The winner: Steamrail’s Gold Digger by a knockout. In the first round. Just after the opening bell.