Beer of the Week

Beer of the Week – Hairyman Brewery’s Pop Ale

1) “I don’t like beer but I really liked this”. That’s what the bottle shop attendant said to me as they scanned the four-pack of Pop Ale from Hairyman Brewery. I wasn’t sure that was much of a recommendation. In case you hadn’t figured this out by now, I like beer. A lot. So getting a tip from someone who doesn’t care much for beer doesn’t really fill me with enthusiasm for the four-pack I’m buying.

2) But I bought it anyway, as much for the sheer goddamn novelty of the beer as anything else. You see, this is tagged as a creaming soda ale. Yep, it’s supposed to taste like creaming soda. Now I’m not really a fan of beers that are trying to mimic some other beverage. I tend to think, “if I wanted to to drink that other beverage, I would have bought that instead”.

3) That said, I’ve always felt I can’t really have an opinion on a beer unless I’ve actually tried it. I’m not one to say “beer X is crap” when really what I mean is “the description sounded like something I wouldn’t like so I didn’t try it”. So, given that I don’t like beers apeing other drinks, it may seem a bit odd that I bought this. Well, I was in a bottle shop and I feel awkward leaving empty-handed – so I had to buy something. Besides, I was curious.

4) Turns out it was good that I bought it, because Pop Ale was a pleasant surprise. Yes, it does taste like creaming soda but it’s not overwhelmingly sweet like a soft drink – there does seem to be a smidge of beer-related bitterness here. It pours very pale, like a white wine with a head and there are notes of creaming soda and vanilla on the nose. I assume the beer is made by adding some sort of creaming soda concentrate, but I can’t be sure about that. I do know it works best on a warm day, as it’s really quite refreshing.

5) I’d known of Hairyman Brewery, in the Sydney suburb of Caringbah, for some time but has assumed the name was a reference to a bearded brewer who works there (do they actually employ a bearded brewer? I don’t know, I just assumed). But it turns out it’s a historical reference; apparently some weird hairy wildman who scared the bejesus out of the locals in the Botany area back in the early days of the colony of Sydney. The things you learn from beer.

Free or paid for?: I bought a four-pack of cans and will happily drink all four of them.

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