1) I prefer to see myself as a beer fan, rather than a craft beer fan. Yes, the sort of beers I like largely fall into the craft beer category, but I tend to see that as the segment of a larger market. That larger market being “beer”. Also, I like some beers that get tagged as “mainstream” – Sheaf Stout or Tooheys Old, being two examples. I like the stories and the histories of these mainstream brewers as well. And seeing myself as a beer fan means I don’t have to give a flying fuck about whether some brewery is “craft” or not because of who owns it.
2) Gage Roads is a good example of this. They’re buying out Woolies’ shares, which would seem to make them instantly “craft” because they’re now independent, yeah? I don’t give a flying fuck – I bought their beers when Woolies part-owned them, and I’ll buy their beers now.
3) This goes to explain why I was excited – and that’s exactly the right word to use – about a mainstream brewer’s limited release of a beer into mainstream bottle shops. I write of James Boag’s Wizard Smith’s Ale, which is now briefly available on the mainland at Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars.
4) I was excited because this is a throwback to the days of state-based beers, back when a trip interstate would expose you to a load of beers you’d never seen before. This sort of thing still exists to a small extent, mainly in Tasmania where there are four Tassie-only beers. Well, three now that Wizard Smith’s is over here.
5) And it’s a really good beer. An English-style ale, there are toffee and biscuity notes as well as some dark fruit characters. It’s easy to understand why the Tasmanians have been keeping this one for themselves while they send us those mainstream lagers. I just wonder if the other three beers they’ve been keeping to themselves will find their way here soon.
Categories: Beer of the Week