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.