1) I was reasonably excited to hear XXXX was releasing a pale ale. And I felt the same about Tooheys Darling Pale Ale too. Unlike some geeks, who wiped both beers before they’d even tried them, I was interested that big brewers were doing this. Obviously they’d seen which way the wind was blowing and decided to give it a try. And after yonks of them just doing the same-old same-old I was keen to see what happened when they did something different.
2) Both XXXX and Tooheys beers have been roundly mocked (with the exception of Tooheys Old) for being ordinary and boring. For being stuck in the past. For being ‘‘megaswill’’. compared to the super-tasty craft beers. And yet, when they make a tentative step in a new direction, what happens? The big brewers get mocked again. So they get mocked for not trying to make a tastier beer and then, when they DO try and make one, they still get mocked. Okay, people, you really need to pick a side. If you hate what they’ve always done, you can’t also hate it when they try something new.
3) I was a bit surprised to find this beer was just 3.5 per cent. I guess I had just assumed it would be around the 5 per cent mark. But it’s good that it’s a mid-strength because I’ve said for yonks that section of the market has seen little attention. It’s especially good to see a big brewer give the sub-four per cent market a bit of love. It bodes well for a possible change in the average beer drinkers’ consumption. Perhaps, rather than trying to slam down a sixer to get drunk as quickly as possible, there might some responsible drinking practices being learnt here.
4) I truly wanted to like this beer. Just like I truly wanted to like the Darling Pale Ale. But I just can’t. Not even when I try, really, really hard. There is some Amarillo hop used here – and that’s a hop that has a strong aroma in my experience – but I only get the very slightest, slimmest whiff of citrus from this beer. The flavour is somewhat gassy and still resembles XXXX Gold, which is confusing because this beer apparently uses an ale rather than a lager yeast.
5) But while I’m not going to be drinking this beer, I am pleased they’ve done it. Like I am pleased Tooheys did it. Their journeys to making tasty beer have to start somehow. And this is better than them doing nothing at all.
Categories: Beer of the Week