Beer of the Week

Five Things About … CUB’s Sheaf Stout


1) Finding Sheaf Stout in the bottle shop is like finding a dinosaur in your backyard. Yes, it’s cool and all but it really shouldn’t be there. But I reckon Sheaf Stout tastes a lot better than dinosaur – just a hunch I have.

2) Sheaf Stout should really have been axed during any number of corporate resizings or takeovers CUB has gone through. They tend to jettison poor-selling lagers all the time and I’m sure they can’t be moving Sheaf by the truckload. And it’s basically sold in NSW only, so the potential market is relatively limited.

3) But it’s still here, long after Tooth and Co – the brewery that created it – got swallowed up. So how did it survive all the corporate purges? My guess is that no one at CUB even knows they make it. True story: I remember contacting CUB asking for a bottle image of Sheaf Stout to run in the newspaper.  The person on the other end of the phone at CUB had no idea what I was talking about. They’d never heard of the beer.

4) Another reason I reckon they don’t know they make it is the label. Breweries just love to change labels and make them look all fancy and stuff. But Sheaf still sports the same old gold and brown label with the image of a sheaf of grain in the middle. It looks like it hasn’t been within 1000 metres of a graphic designer. I actually like that; it’s as though I’m drinking a piece of history.

5) And it’s a tasty piece of history too. Mock the big brewers all you want but they do make some good stouts. There’s also Southwark,  Abbotsford Invalid and Tooheys Old (even though that’s technically a dark ale). The Sheaf Stout is a slightly sweet beer, with some nice chocolate/coffee flavours, maybe a bit of liquorice or Vegemite. There’s a bit of bitterness to carry it across your tongue too. If you want to be a retro beer hipster give up the ironic drinking of Resch’s and try Sheaf instead. And if you’re not a hipster, try it anyway.

5 replies »

  1. I can’t say I’ve ever seen the Sheaf Stout, but I do remember CUB making a stout that was called “Double Extra” that was pretty nice. That has been gone a while though.

    • I think it might be a NSW-only thing. Though I might be wrong on that score as Southwark and Abbotsford were both once state-based beers that are available in other places.

  2. Sheaf hunting is the one and only time I abandon my local craft beer bottle-o and go to Liquorland. The majors aren’t all bad.

  3. i agree with Nigel, if i am to buy a commercial beer, Sheaf Stout is the first choice, particularly in winter

  4. Sheaf Stout is available in Minnesota! I was just there on a craft beer trip, & it was going for $2.99 a bottle at the local bottlo in St Paul. It’s been in the Twin Cities for 20 years. I’ve been told you can find it Duluth, Seattle & Portland too!

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