beer business

Crown Golden Ale – pass or fail?


The news that CUB was extending the Crown stable to include a golden ale had some beer geeks cranky. The perception was that Crown was trying to sneak its way in the “craft” market without actually saying so. See, geeks can get very protective about the craft beer segment – even as we debate what “craft beer” means. Apparently, whatever it is, CUB isn’t allowed to be it.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think this golden ale is marketed as a craft beer, any more than Crown Lager is. To me, they’re both still aiming more at that mythical “premium beer” sector which, despite the howlings of geeks still very much exists. I mean, the craft beer market is at, what, 5 per cent? That equals an awful lot of people buying mainstream beer, some of whom think they’re a little bit fancy because they like Crownies.

So, that’s who this beer is pitched at. And if they take a few tricks from the craft beer world, then so be it. Beer geeks can’t have it both ways – they can’t criticise CUB for making crap beer but then also criticise them for trying to make a good one.

At the end of the day, what matters to me is what the beer tastes like. Crown Golden Ale tastes okay. It’s easily more enjoyable than Crown Lager. The flavour profile and aroma reminds me very much of ginger ale, but without the sweetness. Perhaps the ginger notes are a result of the malt profile.

In terms of the hops, I couldn’t find any evidence of the Galaxy claimed by the media release. I assume it’s there somewhere – maybe it’s been dialled right down so as not to frighten off the premium beer drinkers who this is aimed at. When trying this beer, it’s worth remembering who it’s for; it’s not for beer geeks. It’s for those whose palates are used to stuff like Crown Lager – and coming from that perspective I reckon this is a step up.

Just remains to be seen whether those Crown Lager drinkers want to take another step or if they’re happy just where they are.

24 replies »

  1. Great perspective. I, for one, say all power to CUB for trying. I don’t like Crown Lager and always happily complain about it. However, as a geek, I’m quite happy with the distinction between “craft” and “premium” beer, and some premium beers are quite decent…

    I do like the fact that it’s an ale. Way to much mass produced lager out there, so hopefully this will help expand people’s perceptions of beer.

  2. Huge disappointment. Lacking greatly in flavour. I am certainly not an expert but I must say I have sampled more than my fair share of ales. You wouldn’t believe how excited I was to get home from work and straight to Dan Murphys to buy a crate of these bad boys…… If only they were!!! They are a far cry away from James Squires, who will be pleased with this attempt from the big guns.
    Just to note also that I sampled the Crown Golden:| Ale at room temperature, slightly chilled and stone cold (not recommended. Little flavour that existed is gone) 😩
    I do realise they are trying to entice both lager and ale drinkers but I really cannot see any ale drinker, worth his salt, enjoying this.
    I may be setting the bar a bit too high for these guys as my Favourite brewer is Matilda Bay who produce the best Pale Ale ever….. Need I say more.
    Will be very interesting seeing other peoples views as this is only my take on it.
    Oh well, rant over 👎

    • I don’t think any of the classic/mainstream beers made by CUB are going to satisfy craft drinkers, although I do enjoy a sneaky Carlton Draught while at the pub watching the footy. Matilda Bay makes some nice beers but it’s worth mentioning that CUB also owns Matilda Bay…!

      • I don’t think the likes of Crown are pitched at beer geeks either. Which is why I find it a bit odd to see beer geeks ridiculing it.
        Of course you’re not going to like it. It’s not made for you.
        That said, there’s nothing at all wrong with liking a Carlton Draught every now and then. Drink what you like – it’s beer, it’s supposed to be fun.

    • I have to agree. My favourite throw down beer is Carlton Draught, but I do still love a Crownie (lager) in summer. James Squire Golden Ale nails it for me, both on tap and from the bottle…although you must pour into a pilsener glass….the aroma, colour and frothy head are an unbeatable combination. As for the Crown Golden Ale, acceptable but I expected more. Not enough body, and I agree with the comment about the comparison to ginger ale.

  3. Yeah “Dial-up” the hops a bit and I think it’s a winner; at least of sorts. It is quite an improvement on the over-rated Crownies, or at least I reckon it is – just needs a slight sharpening-up.

    I don’t mind it, and I’ve never been much of a fan of the malt-monster Crown Lager – although there’s something a bit premium Bud about it it too.

  4. I tried it with an open mind, poured into a cold schooner glass.
    very nice!
    by the way I’m the atypical beer trolop and switch weekly.
    I’ll be staying with this one for a while though.
    9 out of 10

  5. If I were brewing an ale like this at home I’d give it 7% alcohol. This is more than decent though, especially for a massed produced Aussie brew. Although if they’d called it a lager I’d have believed them.

  6. Don’t kid yourself absolute crap , bought a slab couldn’t give it away , rather drink my own pee,
    Shame crown

  7. First time here…..found it after a search for Crown Golden, as I’ve got my first bottle in front of me. Good review, and some provoking thoughts. I guess I might find throughout your site some more information on your definition of a beer geek…..I’ve been called a beer snob, but that’s mostly because when my mates offer me a Carlton Draught I knock it back. I don’t mean to be rude (well, maybe a little!), I just don’t like it! Not a big fan of Crown Lager either, but I pretty much try any beer to give it a go.

    I agree, this isn’t marketed as a craft beer, it’s aimed at that debatable “premium” mainstream beer drinker. You make a great comment when you say beer geeks can’t have it both ways. I won’t criticise anybody for trying to make a good beer, I WILL however, criticise Carlton for failing…..again. It’s OK, and drinkable, but not much more. Carlton is the most disappointing manufacturer of beer in Australia. I wish it wasn’t so, but the only beer of theirs that I REALLY like, is the Ambassador, and that’s so stupidly overpriced it gets a taste and that’s it.

    So will I buy this again? No. Glad I only bought the single bottle. Would I drink it if a mate offers me one? Sure. It’s just not a patch on the Squires, and will never get near the craft ales, but yes, as you say it doesn’t pretend to be that. However on that basis, I’ll buy my ales from the craft brewers or “semi-mainstream” like Squires, and on a hot day, quaff a good lager.

      • I have enjoyed the beers of most European countries, except one made in Lithuania. I tried to find the factory it was brewed in to take it back, but failed. That is the only other one I recall worse than this.

      • After struggling through 6 stubbies of this brew I contacted CUB. All I asked for was a refund for the unused 18 from the carton. All they would say was take it back to BWS where I bought it and try to get a refund.This from so-called customer service. Since it was a manager I spoke with, he informed me there was no person higher than him to take my complaint. What happened to the common policy of ” If you aren’t entirely satisfied with our product return it for a replacement of refund “.

  8. Have to agree with others who say this is better than the Crownie “Malt Monster” and considerably so I reckon. I’ve come to Crown Golden Ale with a jaded beer palate and must admit I quite like it. I agree too though the hops needs to be “Dialled-Up” a bit. But just a bit because the hop thing has become a bit over-done through the whole ale zeitgeist.

    Anyway, for mine I’m enjoying CGA’s toasty malty character. I think this is a relatively brave try from CUB. Just needs to be a little sharper on the palate.

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