1) Nostalgia’s a funny thing. Take breweries’ occasional habit of released beers in retro labels. Victoria Bitter has an old-school label on its longnecks and every time I see one in a bottle shop fridge I feel an urge to pick one up. This is despite the fact I don’t drink VB any other time because I don’t really like it. Put it in the usual label and I wouldn’t entertain buying one for a second. But put a retro label on it and it means I’ll stand there at the bottle shop and try to talk myself out of buying a beer I know I won’t enjoy.
2) It’s all because I recognise the label from days gone by and it engenders nice feelings in me. That sensation was even stronger when I got a couple of cans of Tooheys New in the old-style Tooheys Draught livery (check out point five for an explanation of the two different names). While my recollection of the old VB logo comes from seeing it in beer books, the Tooheys Draught cans I vividly remember seeing in the fridge at home when I was a kid.
3) And of course the iconic “I Feel Like a Tooheys” ads that were all over TV in the 1970s and 1980s helped with that brand recognition too.
4) While that is still a cool-looking can, the beer is more important. When I took my first sip it was flashback city to my uni days where I was a Tooheys New drinker (mainly because I’d never been a beer drinker before then and that was what the other guy was drinking, so I just went with that). Also, it wasn’t crap like I was expecting; there’s none of that “wet cardboard” characteristic that is there with some other macro beers. As for hop aroma, don’t be stupid – of course there isn’t any. The malt character is a bit biscuity, but really sweet. So sweet that I couldn’t finish it.
5) These days the beer is called Tooheys New but, once upon a time, it had two different names. It was New when it was on tap but Draught when it went into cans and bottles. I’d have thought it made more sense to call the tap product “Draught”, given it means pulling a beer out of a tap – but what do I know? The beer started out in the 1930s as Tooheys New Special. In the 1970s for some odd reason, they started calling it Tooheys New Special Draught in bottles and cans before deciding that was too long and shortened it to Tooheys Draught. Finally in 1998, someone at the brewery went “Look, it’s all the same damned beer, why does it have two different names?”. From there it was called Tooheys New.
Free or paid for?: I got a few cans sent to me for review. They asked if I wanted some and, because I’m a bit of beer history geek, I said “hell, yes”.
Categories: Beer of the Week