May 1, 2013 by 250 Beers
“Australia’s finest craft lager”
That is a very bold statement isn’t it? Well, that’s exactly what greeted me when I went searching for some more information on a beer that I saw for the first time the other day.
I certainly enjoy stumbling across a beer that I’ve never tried before and it’s always a bonus when a newbie is Australian. I happened upon Old Time Brewing’s Premium Lager (4.6%) at First Choice Liquor, Mango Hill. Maybe it’s been stocked there for ages? Who knows? The guy at the check-out had no idea anyway! As far as I’m concerned it must be a fairly recent addition to Brisbane bottle shops. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Intrigued by my find, I bought one solitary bottle. I actually had a 6pack under my arm at one point, however, having stuffed up previously with a never-before-tried beer, I opted to play it safe with a single. Come on, let’s face it, it isn’t the most appealing of labels and the two words ‘Premium Lager’ certainly didn’t fill me with confidence.
The “Australia’s finest craft lager” statement actually appears on the Old Time Brewing website. They make the claim more than once. The site also suggests that the unique design makes this a “high value product“. Are they serious? I think it looks like a beer you’d find at the back of a fridge in a London side street in 1973. Maybe it’s the drab colour? Maybe it’s the typeface? Maybe it’s the artwork?
I’m rambling on about how it looks because labelling and packaging are important to me.
Whilst searching for more information, I found that Old Time Brewing is a fully independent Australian owned and operated business run by Stephen and Michael Fennell in Camberwell, Victoria. However, the label on the reverse of the bottle suggests the beer is brewed for JP Developments.
Nevertheless, they contract brew the beer less than 100 kilometres away at Southern Bay Brewing in Geelong.
Everybody seems to have an opinion on contract brewed beers. Personally, I reckon that if the owners are open about it then who gives a shit. The important thing is…does the beer taste any good? If the beer is ok then why should we worry about where it’s brewed?
On this occasion, and based on some of my findings, I can’t help but feel that this beer is nothing but the result of an entrepreneurial exercise intended solely on making a fast buck. That fast buck is being gained at the expense of real craft beer. If that is true then I’m not impressed.
So, is it any good? Is it indeed ‘premium‘? Does it ‘stand and deliver‘ as the label promotes?
I’ll tell you what I think…
I wasn’t convinced to be honest. It didn’t do much for me at all and it didn’t really stand up or deliver.
It poured a lot darker than I was expecting and tasted very malty. It was quite distant from many of the lagers I’ve tried in the past and there were no overwhelming flavours to rave about although, apart from the malt, there was a slight nuttiness to it.
Also, there was hardly any carbonation. This was evident when the thin head dissipated within 30 seconds of pouring from the bottle.
I gave it two stars because it was wet and cold and kind of resembled a beer. It wasn’t offensive and I would drink it again…if somebody handed me one. I’d urge you to try it for yourself though and make your own mind up however, I feel that my choice to leave the other five bottles from that 6pack on the shelf was justified.
If it was 1973 this beer would most definitely be at the back of the fridge because this is not Australia’s finest craft lager.