March 6, 2014 by 250 Beers
I wanted to scrutinise them but in my mind it only seemed right to do a proper tasting alongside the old version. So, despite me receiving a couple of freebies I still went out and bought some of the older yet still current Bright Ales. Not that I minded. All in the name of fairness and all that.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a ‘pool beer’ for times spent in and around my pool – Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale. I also have a sessionable ‘camping beer’ for when I’m camping – Burleigh’s 28 Pale Ale. I have a ‘go-to beer when stuck in a shit bottle shop’ for when I’m stuck in a shit bottle shop and all else fails – Little Creatures’ Pale Ale. Like many others, my ‘mowing beer’ is Little Creatures’ Bright Ale.
I honestly didn’t know this fact until browsing through Creatures’ website recently but they actually suggest that Bright Ale makes an ideal post-mow beer. They call it a ‘just-gotta-crack-one-after-mowing-the-lawn-in-the-searing-sun beer’. Quite.
In my opinion, the two main reasons for it being a great ‘mowing beer’ are obvious. Firstly, it’s a simple, flavoursome, sessionable 4.5% beer and it just slides down after three hours tending to the exterior of 250 Beers HQ. Secondly, I’m not promoting binge drinking and neither am I a binge drinker, but that first beer can easily be backed-up by a second and often a third – one for every hour spent making a mess look nice.
I held onto my new samples and the recently purchased old bottles until it was time for a mow, a snip and a blow. Of course!
Those chores arose on the weekend just gone. With sunscreen, hat and sunglasses in place and beers chilling, off I went to tackle some flora and work up a thirst. Pacing up and down covering thousands of blades of grass there was only one thing on my mind “What’s the new Bright Ale going to taste like?”
I promise you that my life is far more exciting in general than pondering a beer recipe change but that’s what kept zipping through my head.
You won’t want to hear about how many times I had to empty the grass catcher and you don’t need to hear about the leak in my whipper-snipper’s fuel tank and you certainly don’t need to know how I scuffed my knee. So, onto the beer…
…I had absolutely nothing against the old version of Bright Ale and I couldn’t help wondering what instigated the change. Having briefly spoken to somebody on the Little Creatures payroll, it would seem that the change occurred due to a decrease in sales nationally. It was interesting to hear that the decision by parent company, Lion, to try to save Bright Ale rather than axe it was cheered internally. To me, this reeks of Lions understanding that there is a necessity for such a beer in that hazy gateway into bigger and better beers. Perhaps the Lion hierarchy agree with my sentiments that Bright Ale is far superior in its class to stablemate and step-brother, James Squire Sundown – which I think may even have been discontinued? Although I could be wrong.
I knew what I was going to get out of the older bottles so I opted for a new one first mainly to see if it quenched my thirst like its predecessor could….and quench it did. The first thing that I noticed was the aroma. There were stronger hints of citrus than before and more prominent notes of freshly cut grass. Wait a minute…
The initial mouthfeel was delicately appealing with a definite increase in crispness. From the first sip there was a very subtle hop hit. You wouldn’t miss it. It’s there but not aggressive or offensive. The inclusion of the Liberty hop variety provides a distinct resiny taste and gives the beer a real grown-up feel.
Over the course of the next couple of hours I drank two bottles of the old version and found them to be as I had before – easy-going, simplistic and sessionable yet now missing something. Consuming my second new bottle as the fourth and final confirmed it…the changes were for the better.
The commonly used adage ‘fresh is best’ is key to the distribution ethos of the new Little Creatures brewery in Geelong. The facility will service the east coast and shave ten days off the usual freight time from the Fremantle brewery in WA. Keep an eye out for the different bottle neck labels. Beer brewed in Geelong will proudly boast where it comes from.
A hop-headed IPA freak will never get bowled over by the new Bright Ale but that isn’t what it’s designed for. This beer bridges a gap from shite beer to bright beer for a lot of people and this change for the better will narrow that gap. It still remains extremely sessionable in my book and will firmly retain the position as my champion mowing beer of choice.
I can hear my wife now, “Will it make you mow the yard more often?”
No, dearest. It won’t.