Beer of the Week

Five things about … Darling Pale Ale

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1) The new Darling Pale Ale from Tooheys has received a fair of mocking from the beer community, most notably for the ‘‘non-challenging flavour’’ in the press release. I have no dramas with that description. Why does every beer have to be challenging? I for one get a bit worn out by drinking flavour bombs all the time and can really yearn for a beer I can drink without having to think about it.
Also, geeks mock mainstream beer for promising flavour that’s not there. Now they’re mocking them for effectively admitting that. Jeez, you can’t really have it both ways, people.

2) I really like the rebranding Tooheys has done, particularly with its focus on the history of the brewery – the name of this beer is inspired by the Darling Brewery, which the Tooheys brothers opened up in Sydney back in the day.

Unlike the totally non-existent link between James Squire beers and the convict brewer they’re named for, Tooheys has an actual history to grab onto. What I would like to see is some limited runs of other beers from the days of Tooheys gone by.

3) While I like the link to history in the beer’s name, I’m not sure how it’s going to play with the blokey beer drinkers. I wonder if they’ll have issues with walking up to a bar and asking for ‘‘a schooner of Darling’’.

Also, as a longtime grammar pedant, I don’t like the inclusion of the word ‘brothers’’ beneath the Tooheys logo. That makes it read ‘‘Tooheys brothers’’, which is wrong. The family name was ‘‘Toohey’’ so they need to drop the S if they’re going to do that.

4) The ongoing rise of craft beer – and the corresponding fall in the big brewers’ coffers – is undoubtedly the reason Darling Pale Ale exists. Which is fine with me – Tooheys is a business, they need to look for whatever avenues they can to expand into. I doubt it will be a success though – as the release makes clear it’s pitched at mainstream drinkers, not craft beer fans, so it’s more likely to cannibalise Tooheys existing market share rather than adding to it.

5) Finally, even though I had my expectations lowered by the ‘‘non-challenging’’ description, I still found Darling Pale Ale to be quite underwhelming. There is meant to be a fruity aroma here, but I couldn’t find it and there was only a slight bitterness to indicate anything in the palate. It is a small step up from Tooheys New, which I’m thinking is the direction they’re hoping drinkers will travel. Because I’m not sure too many craft beer fans will make the backward step to grab a Darling.

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3 replies »

  1. I tried it for the first time yesterday. It was a huge disappointment.
    Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much so my hopes weren’t high.
    I can’t see this remaining permanently in their portfolio long term.

  2. Why do they call it Pale Ale? It is just a few shades lighter than Toohey’s Old. And as for those so called expert beer tasters, that reckon it has not got a fruity taste….. well, all I can say to them is, “your taste buds are shot”. This beer is the fruitiest thing I have tasted in a big brand beer since trying some of those so called ’boutique beers’ that almost taste like wine. This beer is like nothing I have ever tasted with a Tooheys name to it. Having said all that, I don’t think it is a taste that one could drink all the time. Beer drinkers look for a mature taste that is bitter and bitey, like beer used to taste, fifty or sixty years ago when it was brewed naturally. I would kill for a session on Tooths ‘Country Special’ or Bulimba Gold Top. Beers that were made before chemical brewing was introduced. But, what do I know, I am an old man and time and technology and trendy tastes are passing me by. I just wish the young fellas of today could experience what beer used to taste like in the sixties of the last century. Anyhow, I think I will just go and knock the top off another ‘Darling’ as I have just bought a box of the stuff and I must say, ” it’s not bad….’ Cheers.

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