August 12, 2014 by 250 Beers
A rather well packaged ‘beer mail’ parcel arrived at 250 Beers HQ last Friday courtesy of Lion’s PR department. It contained three bottles from White Rabbit Brewery – which falls into Lion’s craft portfolio thanks to the Healesville outfit being part of the Little Creatures set-up. Little Creatures of course joined James Squire to become Lion’s flagship craft beer brands in 2012.
The exact contents of the box turned out to be one 330ml bottle from each of the permanent White Rabbit lines – Dark Ale, White Ale and the brand spanking new Belgian style Pale Ale – launched in Victoria that very same day.
It wasn’t until Sunday evening that I cracked it open. Appropriate glassware selected…
I’d heard about the release of the newbie some weeks before yet right up until I took my first sip I couldn’t understand why a Belgian style pale had been selected as the choice for full-time bunny beer number three. I surmised that both the Dark and the White aren’t your average beer styles so perhaps the Belgian pale would provide White Rabbit with a third quirky and slightly eccentric beer.
Indeed quirky it is but appealing it isn’t. The beer doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s stuck in no man’s land half way between a pretend, wannabe Belgian beer cafe and the City of Paleale. Not knowing which way to turn, like a rabbit (!) in the headlights of an oncoming car it’s screaming “Erm?!”.
There are distinct aromas that point towards Belgian yeast with muted, palatable Belgian characteristics and spicy fruit in there somewhere too but I couldn’t help thinking that if I wanted to drink a Belgian beer then I’d go and buy myself a proper Belgian beer from Belgium brewed by Belgian people. I might even decide to grab the wife some posh Belgian chocolates while I’m at it too.
Perhaps I’m being a bit too wanky and slightly over-geeky? Somebody (Warren?) commented on my Facebook page that perhaps one of the reasons this beer has entered the market is to give the Australian beer drinker a subtle dip of the toe into Belgian beers via a renowned ‘gateway’ craft beer brand. Maybe that is the case. Or maybe it genuinely is all about the ‘labour of love’ and the ‘imaginative history of mixing old world brewing techniques with new world thinking’ that the media release refers to.
The 4.9% effort isn’t actually a bad beer; it just needs some advice from an identity crisis expert.