1) The Australian Beer Company really leaves me feeling conflicted. While I’m on record as not really caring who owns what, and not letting it impact on my purchasing decisions, it still bugs me a bit that they’re so coy about the fact that they have the muscle of Coca-Cola Amatil behind them. For that big corporation owns half of the Australian Beer Company but they seem to want to avoid highlighting that fact. While I don’t study all their beer labels in detail, I don’t ever recall seeing “owned by Coca-Cola” on any of the labels.
2) If it doesn’t shape my attitude towards beer, why does this sort of thing bother me? Well, I know it does bother others, and I support their claim that punters should be fully informed of that sort of stuff so they can make an informed decision. Also, the way the ABC passes itself off as some small craft brewery based in the country town of Yenda just strikes me as a bit disingenuous. They never actually say that they are but the marketing definitely leaves the way open for the consumer to come to that conclusion.
3) To be conflicted about ABC means I also have to have some positive feelings as well. Those feelings revolve around the beers they make. Not the Yenda range, which has a tendency to make the James Squire beers look edgy, but some of their limited releases are interesting. They’ve not long ago put out a choc-vanilla stout called Twist and Stout, which goes alright.
4) And now they’ve whacked their GABS beer in a limited release 500ml bottle. Called Beyond the Black Stump, it’s a strong ale made with black wattle seed. In this context “strong” means 6 per cent. The wattle seed gives the beer a hazelnut flavour with a bit of chocolate character at the back. This beer definitely comes with some sweetness, so a 500ml bottle might prove to be a bit too much for those without a sweet tooth, but I liked it just fine.
5) In what I think this is a first in Australia – if not the world – Beyond the Black Stump features a fold-out label. Just tear the strip along the right hand edge and the label folds out like this.
The label includes the story of Valerio Ricetti – a man who spent a number of years living like a hermit in the bush around Griffith (which is near the town of Yenda). It’s a nifty gimmick – though one you’d think only a brewery with some corporate muscle behind it could afford to do.
Free or paid for?: This one I bought, the same day as I bought a six-pack of their Twist and Stout.
Categories: Beer of the Week