Category Archives: Golden Ale

Durham Brewery ‘Smoking Blonde’ Smoked Golden Ale


“At heart this is a strong mild, meaning it has a low hop content. In the 19th century milds were pale and strong with a direct historical line to original unhopped ale.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Pours a bold yet slightly pale golden hue with three fingers of rocky head forming on top. Reduction is slow and steady and spotty lacing is left in patches.

Aroma: We were sold as soon as we read that this was a smoked Golden Ale. Don’t think we’ve ever had one before. Obviously, it being an English brewery the Maris Otter malts stand out with their distinct crusty bread, toast and nuttiness but the addition of light smoky notes is a very fun and clever piece of work. Not to mention the more subtle hints of straw, light florals and herbals.

Flavour: It’s surprisingly bitter upfront. The light smoky notes, dry wheat grains and straw almost present like a Saison. The slightest touch of malt sweetness tries to counteract it…its efforts go in vain unfortunately. As it progresses a noticeable hop bitterness further emphasises the dryness and rolls into a dried finish with straw, dried herbs and light smoky notes drawing out.

Mouthfeel: Parched, overly gassy and effervescent. Light-moderate body. The 6% ABV is pretty well disguised we must say.

Overall: What a weird beer. We’re not really digging the dry Saison/Champagne-esque characters. When you’re blessed with a rich tasting malt like Maris Otter then we say use it! It needs that injection of sweetness to level it all out a bit. Very meh.

Ringwood Brewery ‘Forty Niner’ Golden Ale


“Ringwood’s Golden Ale was first brewed in 1978 and takes its name from the beers strength at 4.9%. A full-bodied malty beer, Fortyniner has a strong hop character and a deep bitter-sweet finish.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Slightly burnished orange to amber with a thumb of finely beaded foam atop. The head slowly recedes and leaves a cascading lace in its wake.

Aroma: Fairly sweet and malty initially then the jammy and citrusy hops gradually peek through. Lots of caramel and artificially sweet overtones, nutty malt, bread/dough, dark fruits, marmalade, apricot, floral perfumes and subtle yeast esters; mostly pear and rosewater. Quite a fascinating aroma… unbelievably rich and sweet for a golden ale.

Flavour: It grapples with the same issue as the aroma in our opinion…which is lots of sweet and sticky malts and little hop character to balance. To be fair there is a slight bitterness that kicks up around the mid and offers grassy and herbal-spicy notes late in the piece. A few more sips and we are getting a bit more citrus and pithy rind, especially in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little sticky upfront then a developing dryness ensues. Medium body, flat-ish Co2. Only 4.9% ABV so big ups for filling it out as well as they have.

Overall: This is our 2nd entry for Ringwood and we must admit we haven’t been overly impressed. Points for complexity but there’s something about it we’re not digging. The yeast profile maybe? Anywho, there’s far better English ales out there.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Kiandra’ Golden Ale

81542640_1274945476022928_3308675666186076160_o (1)Fresh, nutty malt with hints of caramel give our golden ale a solid backbone to underpin the delicious hop combination. Predominant aroma and flavours of fresh passionfruit and pineapple, with complexity and depth.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Golden amber with full transparency. It forms a sturdy two finger head which maintains and works a thick sudsy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Very traditional and old-world kind of feel to it. Beautifully balanced though. Biscuity malt structure with soft fruity hops – mostly passion fruit, mango, pineapple and melon. Just a hint of buttery sweetness, mild herbal and floral notes and a white grape-like tartness. So much depth for the style.

Flavour: So crisp and clean…we reckon it’s all down to the pure mountain water they use. Perfectly balanced malt to hop ratio – biscuity and slightly nutty malt gives way to the fruity and floral hops. A hint of pithy orange peel late in the piece finishes with a soft dry bitterness, marmalade and buttery toast.

Mouthfeel: Super clean, crisp and effortless. Mild-medium body. 4.2% ABV. Definitely a stayer.

Overall: We’re absolutely loving this brewery! In this day of crazy haze and sourness these guys are sticking to tradition and brewing old word faves with absolute perfection. Honestly JB deserve more attention than they get!

Prickly Moses ‘Spotted Ale’ Golden Ale

16999069_652106748306807_2343591627994115964_n“Spotted Ale is brewed to help support the endangered Tiger Quolls. All profits from this beer go to the Conservation Ecology Centre for the research and rehabilitation of Australia’s largest remaining carnivorous marsupials, the Tiger Quoll which is in rapid decline. This refreshing golden ale has hints of honey and citrus with a nice dry finish.”

Served in a shaker glass. A golden colored pour with a faint haze meets the eye. It manages to arouse a short head that holds together quite well, drawing a surprisingly healthy lace trail down the glass.
Nothing extraordinary on the nose: mild stonefruits, citrus and peach hit a sweet note with traces of grapefruit pushing up in support. Very distinct honey malt sweetness that ties in beautifully. Getting more passion fruit notes as the beer settles in the glass as well. Not bad.
Light on, crisp, nicely carbonated and super sessional in the mouth. Mild body with what feels to be about a mid 20 IBU.
Upfront it hints at those sweet honey malts before the mild citrus and peach tones are introduced. Nice carry through the mid but it all seems to taper off in to a short and uninspiring finish.
Overall it’s a pretty timid beer, although the upside would have to be its session ability. Only 4.5% ABV so it is seriously bang-able. Not really a beer we’d normally go for but we thought the cause behind it was worth supporting. We’re all for saving endangered Australian wildlife so we’ll drink to that!

Pirate Life Brewing ‘Golden Era’ Golden Ale

15590084_614247198759429_7708386710701734699_n“Collaboration with the Hilltop Hoods’ record label. Like the Hilltop Hoods’ music, Pirate Life’s Golden Era ale is firm but fair.”

Served in a shaker glass. This addition to PL’s repertoire provides a hazy golden amber complexion with a well retained finger of frothy foam on top. She weaves a streaky lace as we indulge.
Geez we can tell it’s a Pirate Life beer instantly. Those crisp and snappy hops hit the olfactory’s first with the bready and slightly sweet caramel notes well integrated. Certainly hoppier than your average Golden Ale – plenty of citrus, passion fruit and herbaceous tones handing it that real American disposition that PL are so well known for.
Good body. A nice, well rounded and creamy texture supports the vibrant Co2 level. The 22 IBU is low but it punches above its weight.
A mild bitterness kicks things off on the palate. Followed by light grapefruit and pine notes that soften in to the kind of sweet, kind of grainy malt middle. A subtle hop dryness carries a tangy citrus accent through to the crisp and accommodating finish. Length is pretty good too, a grippy bitterness along with mild herbal characters linger on the back end.
Although it’s not an overly memorable beer it’s thumbs up all round from us. Excellent brewery, decent record label, interesting back story and Hilltop Hoods don’t fare too badly as well. Golden Ales really aren’t our thing but if we ever had to go back for one this is the one we’d be reaching for. Not bad.

Willie the Boatman ‘Foo Brew’ Golden ale

imageWe always love a good surprise and our trip to Willie’s last weekend provided us with one as this Golden ale was, for us, one of our favourite beers of the afternoon.

Served in a shaker glass the deep amber pour reveals some attractive copper highlights when held to the light. A loosely held finger and a half of beige foam defied quite well but eventually shrunk down to a fine covering on top. Reasonable lacing. One of the best things we remember about this ale was it’s firmly hopped aroma and the second we take a whiff we know why we liked it so much. Big, herbal and resinous with hints of peppery spice, citrus, stonefruits and earth come forth initially. Quite vinous too with this fresh, leafy character coming though. The malts take a bit of a back seat here but some sweet hints of caramelised toffee and toast are there to enjoyed. Brilliant aroma. Well rounded in the mouth with a silky smooth texture. The front palate picks up a nice toastiness with a light splash of citrus and an assertive hop bitterness that cuts right through. Nutty malts begin to open up through the mid leading to a sweet and dry finish with a lingering bitterness in the tail. To offer this much flavour and depth with a 4.5% ABV has to be admired. Hats off to Pat & Nick for this excellent Golden ale. So untrue to style but executing it perfectly. Good work lads.

Stone and Wood ‘cloud catcher’ Golden ale

image“Touched first by morning light and often clothed in cloud, Wollumbin (also known as Mt Warning) is the Indigenous word for Cloud Catcher. Hopped with all Australian Galaxy and Ella, this full flavoured limited release ale has an aroma of apricots, a full bodied mouth feel from the blend of pale and crystal malts and finishes with a dry clean bitterness. The orange label features Wollumbin, the mountain which backdrops our Murwillumbah brewery, reflecting the aromatic elements and a style of beer which embodies this part of the world that we love”.

This is a limited release from the lads in Byron bay. This ale was poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark copper/amber and there is a lot more fizz than expected from an ‘ale’. Leaves a tight 3mm head. Can smell stone fruit and pine. It’s rather pleasant. Can get mild caramel from the crystal malt. First sip yields grapefruit bitterness. According to the bottle, apricot and grapefruit are the flavours produced by Ella and galaxy hops from Australia. Each sips leaves next to no lacing on the glass. Mouthfeel is decent, with some carbonation only. Nice and smooth on the palate this ale. Quite sweet. There is a crisp, not overly drying end feel. Maybe a little watery here but not really an issue. At a alc vol of 5.5%, you could be swayed into a couple of these. The funny thing going on with this ale is your thinking it’s a weak IPA, then you think no it’s just a pale ale, just with heaps of floral hops. It’s a nice hopped ale this one from a good craft brewing in nsw.

Hawthorn Brewing Co. Golden Ale

image“Our carefully selected German malts, including Vienna and Caramel give the beer its sparkling golden appearance. Generously hopped, but mild on the bitterness, the use of three different hops from the USA, UK and Australia impart  a highly refreshing passionfruit and tropical fruit character. With modest bitterness and a light to moderate body, this refreshing ale is the perfect thirst quencher. Hawthorn Golden Ale is an all malt beer with no added sugar, chemicals or preservatives. Its easy drinking nature help suit this beer to a wide range of food types, including burgers and seafood; or equally enjoyable on its own. Best served chilled in a glass”.

Before we start we felt compelled to mention that this golden ale won gold this year at the international beer challenge in London. High hopes then. The pour is the expected golden colour with a nice bubble. There was a big head here that swells as we poured into a tulip glass. Quite foamy. Ending with a small tight head with a faint pattern of lace being drawn down the glass. Has an aroma of passion fruit and tropical fruit, so Simcoe hops must be the major hop used. From reading the label, Australian, USA and UK hops but no description. Quite a malty nose to it also. The bottle states 4 German malts used. Vienna and Caramel. Maybe pilsner malt too? We also get a bit of pine from another hop used. We get a bit of grapefruit, again passion fruit, mild stone fruit. Fairly mild mouth feel, medium carbonation. Sitting at 4.5% ABV, It’s virtually one standard drink so it’s an easy BBQ addition. Nothing fancy here, just good basic brewing. Not bad.

Moor beer co ‘Nor’hop’ Golden Ale

image“This ultra-pale ale is brewed with a limited availability hop from America to impart a pronounced floral and citric quality to the beer, with honey and elderflower in the nose.  This beer had been so anticipated that in less than two weeks of release it had won a beer festival and sold out.  Not wanting to disappoint its many fans, we have rebrewed it and added it to our list of permanent beers where it continues to be the benchmark for the style around the world”.

This microbrewery is from Somerset UK. Pours a real light golden colour, and for a golden ale, this makes sense. Pours with minimal head. The first aroma’s are intense passion fruit and citrus. The palate then backs this up, with the addition of honey. It’s quite watery in the mouth lacking real depth but sitting at 4.3%, we guess that’s expected. This brew states that it showcases northern hemisphere hops and has a 4/5 bitterness scale. We a bit unsure about this scale cause there is some drying on the back of the throat. It’s not an IPA. But, for a golden ale, it certainly is hoppy. Very minimal lacing on the glass apart from occasional soapy residue.  Mild carbonation in the mouth. Overall, it’s a sessionable golden ale but only average.

McCashin family ‘Stoke bomber’ Bohemian ale

image.”Light golden yellow in appearance, with a citrus aroma and crisp fruity highlights, Stoke Bohemian captures the essence of summer in a bottle.”

After about a ten minute perusal of other sites we still aren’t exactly sure which category of beer this one fits in to. We’ve seen some call it an APA, a golden ale and even a hoppy pilsner. While all of these are fair assumptions we believe it’s simply an ale/lager hybrid and that’s exactly what the brewers intended. Anyway…on with the review. Served from a 650ml bottle (or bomber if you’re a yank) in to a shaker glass. Slightly hazy golden in appearance with a modest one finger head topping it off. The head is maintained well, eventually receding to a wispy layer of fine bubbles. Not a great deal of lace but some random patches of spotted residue clings to the walls of the glass as it ebbs. The concept of an ale/lager hybrid is again revisited on the nose as fruity hops lift out of the glass while the more delicate and grainy wheat malts run underneath. We do get a slight mixture of stone fruits, kind of like a fruit salad where it’s hard to identify only one type. Maybe a spicy hop undertone with a hint of honey too. Not a bad aroma, just slightly muddled. In the mouth it’s medium bodied with a light, dry texture. The Co2 levels are moderate and the mildly assertive bitterness adds a little more tickle on the tongue. Honey and a notable zesty citrus character is tasted upon entry. The hop bitterness does intensify through the mid as do the grainy wheat malts. Suggestions of stone fruits form late, delivering the dry, fruity finish. 5.3% ABV. To be honest it’s not a stunning beer but it definitely has high drinkability and would be pretty easy to session on. Not bad, but we both agree that the KPA is only somewhat better. Middle of the road kind of beer.

Murrays ‘Moon boy’ Golden ale

image“Moon Boy has a very light Australian Pilsner malt backbone with a crisp, dry, very moreish finish. Extensive dry hopping with the New Zealand Motueka and Australia Ella hops gives a late tropical fruit aroma to spice things up – but without too much residual hop bitterness. Light, dry, lightly filtered, Moon Boy is great warm weather drinking”.

One of Murray’s main stayers on the taps at his brewhouse in Bob’s farm, Port Stephens. We have tried this numerous times before but never have we reviewed it so here goes. Served in a shaker glass the hazy golden/amber pour constructs a fluffy 2 finger head that reduces down to a 5 mm cap. Good head retention with some healthy lacing visible. The nose is very light with a mild malty sweetness. NZ’s Motueka hops provide a reasonable fruity hop aroma but also give off subtle resinous/herbal wafts too. Undertones of lemon, stone fruits and a touch of caramel sweetness round off a really summery aroma. Really smooth and effortless in the mouth, some might say it borders on being a bit slippery but the light body and moderate carbonation make for a pleasant texture. The flavour profile gets underway with a delicate taste of straw, grains and toast. A very mild hop bitterness bridges the mid-palate and delivers a clean and fruity, but ultimately unconvincing finish. Slightly short and a little too weak. The 4.5% ABV is about on par for a golden ale. Overall it’s not a very exciting beer but when it’s paired with the fish and chips we have a new respect for it. Slightly timid but highly sessional. A perfect hot weather pairing.

Celt experience ‘golden age’ English pale ale

image“A zesty body and citrus aroma with a snappy finish. Drink to inspire you to an evening of passion! Circa 500BC, during the Celtic Golden Age, most of mainland Europe was dominated by spiritual tribes of Celtic origin”.

Following our surprisingly good experience (pun intended) with their Ogham Oak Tripel we thought we’d give this English style pale ale a run. Poured into a shaker glass the appearance boasts an almost clear copper orange. Just a touch of haziness takes it from full clarity. Atop sits a healthy two finger head with good retention. Gorgeous biscuity malt and caramel driven aroma with delicate floral hop undertones. Lemon and light tropical fruity hints of passion fruit and pineapple round off a lovely aroma with reasonable depth. Mouth feel is light and smooth with medium carbonation and bitterness. Medium body. An assertive hop bitterness upfront is nicely balanced out by a malty mid palate which follows close behind. Citrus and grapefruit deliver a smooth dry hoppy finish with good duration on the tongue. We were surprised by a low 4.2% ABV, as it definitely doesn’t lack in flavour and body. Wow, we really were not expecting this much character from this little known Welsh brewery. Up there with the better English style pale ale’s we’ve drunk. Really nice offering.

Rocks brewing ‘the governor’ Golden Ale

image“Named after several early governors who promoted the advancement of beer brewing in the early colony of Sydney. From Governor Bligh and the infamous mutiny off HMS Bounty and his controversial resignation as the NSW Governor after the Rum Rebellion, to Governor Phillip King who was prompted by Lord Hobart to import brewing materials to try and stem the rum currency in the early colony. Even before the first Governors could restrict the future drinking culture of the young colony, Captain Cook was already brewing beer on his way to the new country on board the Endeavour in 1770. Beer was always destined to be the drink of choice for the Australian people.”

Served in a shaker glass. Slightly hazy appearance with a short short white cap that peels off to a fine layer over the top. Laced well despite the quickly diminishing head though. A lovely fusion between Australian hops (topaz and galaxy) and American (Mosaic) lends this aroma a delicate yet lovely fruit-driven nose. A good splash of passion fruit, rockmelon, mango and apricot are hinged nicely on the back of sweet, bready malts. Clean and simple aroma, very uncomplicated. Already a perfect summer session beer. In the mouth it’s smooth with a nice weight behind it, some golden ales are too thin and watery but this one has a good grip on the back and some tingling bitterness on the front of the tongue. The flavour profile is very similar to the aroma. We get a really clean blend of stone fruits and sweet, bready malts with a gentle bitterness cutting through. Flavours remain unchanged as it leads through the mid and on to a crisp, dry finish with reasonable length. Only 4.5% ABV so this beer has held itself together quite well. Look, normally we don’t really talk lighter beers up but this one has surprised us. Aromatic, well bodied and tasty with a good, crisp finish. A super session beer. Good drop.

Wigram brewing co. ‘Phoenix’ golden ale

image“Over the years Reefton has given birth to many a bright idea – the ’Town of Light’ had the first public supply of electricity in th Southern Hemisphere – but no less illuminating was the Racecourse Brewery which wishes to advise of our FIRST CLASS GOLDEN ALE. Of regular body, brewed from the very best malt and hops procurable, and no care and attention spared to produce and article of truly high quality, which for sparcle, purity and relish cannot be surpassed”.

This is the first time we’ve ever heard of this micro-brewery from Christchurch, NZ. Served in a shaker glass the unique cloudy orange pour constructed a persistent 1 and a half finger head that retains and laces well. We’re thinking it must be unfiltered which is quite different for a golden ale. The aroma is a touch earthy with plenty of bready malt, dough, citrus and subtle fruity hops. Quite light on the tongue with mild body and mild-medium carbonation. On the tongue we got mainly a grainy malt flavour with a light addition of hops upfront. In the mid we picked up some zesty citrus and some subtle oats while a soft, crisp finish rounds off a pretty decent drop. Not really what you would expect from your standard golden ale which gives it some character and originality. At 5% ABV it is pretty sessional considering the flavours. Nothing memorable but it’s brewed well enough to enjoy.

Yeastie boys ‘Rex attitude’ Smoked strong golden ale

Yeastie boys Rex attitude“The world’s first heavily-peated single malt ale. Rex Attitude is a deceptively innocuous game changing beer that is possibly the smokiest in the world, certainly one of the most polarising, and yet very delicate and beguilingly drinkable for those who get past the initial shock. The favourite beer of both Yeastie Boys, it was infamously described as “like tonguing your grandad!”

Like tonguing your Grandad they reckon? That’s certainly an interesting way to sell the beer, but when you have the respect of your drinkers alike, hey sell it anyway you want to! We served this quirky looking Golden ale into a shaker glass. The heavily clouded golden appearance is capped off by a short white head that collapses almost instantly. A very wispy film of bubbles float on top. A good swirl wakes it up and eventually a nice pattern of residue clings to the galss. One whiff, and pow! There it is like a bonfire in our glass. Pungent wafts of peat, beef jerky, pepper, smoked ham and hickory come gushing out. The golden ale is pushed aside but there is a faint suggestion of white grapes and some citrusy hops. A little band-aidy too but its all about the peat here. Not bad to be honest. The mouth feel is smooth and well rounded with a medium weight. Co2 levels are moderate while the IBU (35) is kept relatively quiet. A nice heat is detected around the tongue on entry, almost a little peppery as a suggestion of beef jerky and the firm peated malts fill up the mouth. A little alcohol warmth (7%) adds to the peppery spice through the mid, leading on to the heavily smoked finish. A slight alcohol sting in the tail wears off quickly and allows those tasty smoked meaty flavours to draw out on to the back end nicely. Look, normally we aren’t huge fans of smoked beer but this is definitely the exception. What’s also surprising is the golden ale character is literally MIA, really just there to form the base of the beer for the smoked, peaty malts to control the flavour. We were pleasantly surprised here. Good drop from these Kiwi brewers.

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale

Stone and Wood Pacific Ale“Inspired by our home on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and brewed using all Australian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops, Pacific Ale is cloudy and golden with a big fruity aroma and a refreshing finish. After being dry hopped at the end of fermentation, our Pacific Ale is then drawn straight from the storage tank at the brewery into kegs and bottles. Drawing it from the tank and straight into a keg or bottle without filtering or pasteurising it means that the beer can be enjoyed at the pub or at home in the same condition as it is when we try it from the tank at the brewery … simply fresh.”

Served in to a shaker glass. Our eyes cast upon a cloudy straw-yellow appearance which reveals a certain milkiness when held against natural light. Capping it off is a nice 2 finger crown which reduced and retained to a firm layer over the top. Laced fairly well. The aroma is offering us a good dose of fruity hops and grainy malts. Wafts of tart lemon come forward thoroughly as hints of passion fruit and pineapple are a little more restrained. There is a slight dry/mustiness, a bit like a saison as we detect barnyard-like scents of hay, grains and subtle wheat notes. Quite nice, really summery on the nose. The mouth feel has a slight creaminess happening. Really light on with hardly any grip on the way down. Medium carbonation. Somewhat weaker and maltier on the palate as opposed to the aroma. A subtle bitterness tingles the tongue up on entry as a faint taste of lemon forms before the mid. Hints of straw and grainy malts carry forward and lead to a short, fruity finish. Not a lot in terms of flavour but what it has got is super session ability and the 4.4% ABV certainly accommodates for it. A good representation of a light Aussie ale. Not bad at all.

Steamrail ‘The Gold Digger’ Golden Ale

Steamrail Golden Ale“The Gold Digger Golden Ale beer is a smooth, rich ale that is honey gold in colour with a refreshing subtle hop taste that is perfectly balanced with delicious fruity aromas.”

It’s a strange brew this one, it’s labelled well with what seems to be a fair story behind the beer but we have this gut feeling Steam rail is a brewery that’s contract brewed and owned by a bigger parent company like CUB or Lion Nathan but nothing on the bottle shows this.

Anyhow, we served in a shaker glass. The transparent golden pour generates a standard one finger white head that reduces to a light dusting on top. OK lacing. Well there isn’t a great deal in the aroma, with a vigorous twirl of the glass we can only manage to pick up soft floral scents of pineapple, stone fruits and mild pale malts. Light sweetness. Weak as. Surprisingly the mouth feel is OK, a tad fuller than we were expecting. Moderate carbonation and body. It’s all well and good having a decent mouth feel but when there is no flavour to back it up then what’s the point? All we can muster up is a grainy fore flavour which is followed by a mild sweetness and an unwelcome metallic taste in the finish. 4.5% ABV. Put this golden ale up against Mountain goats or feral’s and there is a stark difference. This lacks aroma, body, flavour and overall character. We won’t be returning any time soon.