Prologue: Ahhhh Mountain Goat, everyone’s favourite little Melbourne brewer. (okay that’s not true I think 2Brothers is my favourite Melbourne based brewer but Mountain Goat have to be my favourite brewer that you can find in most pubs) I remember drinking more than a few pots of ‘goat’ at the corner hotel back in my youth.
But I haven’t had a goat in a while, and I certainly hadn’t touched the Steam Ale, and probably wouldn’t have except a six pack of it turned up on my desk at work one day, as things do, I work in a strange place.
Why wouldn’t I have tried it? Firstly I had no real concept of what a ‘Steam Ale’ is. Secondly, it has organic written on it, I found that words like ‘organic’ or ‘pure’ are actually code for tasteless, so I tend to avoid them.
But it was free, and I do have residual goodwill for the Mountain Goat boys so I thought, what the hell, I’ll give it a go.
Made up readers question: Hey Leon, the Blog is just ace, dig the photo of you with the hot dog, but can you tell me what a Steam ale is?
Hey great question made-up guy. Short answer, no I can’t really explain it. Long answer, I’ll give it a shot but you’ll probably still be confused by the end.
To understand it you need to know that lager yeast and ale yeasts work in different ways. Lager yeast ferment (turn the sugars in the malt into alcohol.) at cold temperatures (less than 13 degrees C) and bottom ferment (all the crap is left at the bottom)
Ale Yeasts on the other hand are top fermenting, they ferment at higher temperature (between 13-24 degrees Celsius)
Ales and lagers taste different, (partly because of this, partly hops, malts etc), the most obvious difference is a lager is more gassy, and generally crisper in taste.
A Steam Ale flips this on its head. It’s a bottom fermented beer using lager yeasts, but brewed at warmer ale temperatures.
How do they get the Yeast to do that? No idea
Why would you want to do it? Also no idea.
Told you would be none the wiser.
Appearance: This is almost clear. It’s a very pale yellow colour. In fact if it wasn’t for the lack of ice cubes and the cloudy yeast suspended in it I would have sworn this was apple cider.
Taste: It’s very light on the palette, almost tangy, not bitter or hoppy, but rather just gassy. In fact it lacks any major flavour. It’s similar in a way to something like Asahi, in that it’s refreshing, crisp with no aftertaste.
Packaging: That goat silhouette is such a powerful logo, It’s easy to spot the red goat taps in a bar. They have chosen a light blue and grey colour scheme for this, fresher, calmer, paler beer than the red used on the Hightail ale.
Food suggestion: Like the beer it should be summery which not overpowering tastes, maybe seafood. Prawns would work I think.
In conclusion: I have to admit although I get it from a marketing perspective, from a personal taste persepctive I don’t really get it. The interwebs tells me that this is Mountain Goat’s highest selling beer. Why oh why do people seek out a brewery least interesting beer? This is an okay beer, but it is nothing to write home about (although apparently good enough to write a blog post about) Their Hightail Ale is a much more interesting and compelling proposition.
Ranking: I’ll have a schooner