Festival of the Jugs – Williams Pale Ale

Prologue:  It’s the Festival of the Jug. An invitation only Festival for breweries which have previously been awarded a ‘Jug’ rating for any beer they make.

First cab off the rank William Bull, which a brewery owned by De Bortoli, those of wine making and North Melbourne Football Club sponsoring fame.

Their joined the Jug-r-naut team with a beer called Red Angus. Back in 2008 it was quite discovery, now it’s relatively common in the bottleshops of Melbourne, and in our opinion is a very good beer.

They are brewery that make only two beers so when I saw William’s Pale Ale I was a little bit excited.

Packaging:  William Bull’s face is on the label which is cool, he has a moustache which is doubly cool, his mug is also on the bottle cap with is thrice-ing-ly cool.   There is something classy, pioneering, and a little old fashioned about the label. I love it makes me think I’m about to drink something premium.

Made up reader’s Question:  Hey Leon, ‘Festival of the Jug’, what an idea, like Ivan reitman you are a genius. Can you tell me who William Bull is?

Certainly can made up guy. William Bull was a dude who ‘owned’ huge farms around the area which is now Griffith. In fact it’s where the De Bortoli winery and William Bull brewery now sit. Oh and the name of the town Bilbul. Which I like because it sounds aboriginal, but is most likely the great aussie tradition of shortening stuff – William Bull = Bill Bull = Bilbul  

Random Wikipedia Style Fact: According to the 2006 census there are 246 people who live in Bilbul.

Zimbabweans is well over represented in the community. They make up 2.0% of the population of Bilbul, which is 20 times the national average. Okay it’s 5 people but I think it’s interesting.

20.5% of the population of Bilbul and employed in the ‘Beverage making’ industry, that’s 68 times the national average.

Appearance: The label calls this beer both a Pale Ale and an Amber Ale. It actually sits somewhere between these two things. It’s yellow. It claimed to have a sparkling white head. It may have been my pouring, but as you see from the photo above there was no sparkling white head, or any head for that matter.

Smell:  Step two in my patented beer drinking routine is to smell the beer. I kind of wished I hadn’t on this one. The smell was a little ‘Wet Dog’  My incredibly basic understanding of brewing and some interweb surfing tells me this is likely to be the yeast. There are some yeasts that have this smell, which as more often used in wine than beer. Although given the linkage of the brewery with the winery I’m wondering if there is some experimenting going on here.   

Taste:  This beer is easy to drink. It’s has almost no carbonation, there is no hoppy aftertaste, any lingering flavour tastes yeasty rather than hoppy to me. The problem though is that it’s not particularly refreshing, which is a little concerning for a beer that is marketed as ‘perfect for cutting through the dust of the day.’

In conclusion:  I was a little disappointed with this. Given how good their pilsener is, which is a style I don’t usually like I had high hopes for this brew which sits more comfortably in my consideration set but unfortunately it didn’t really live up to the hype for me. I was a good beer, but not a great beer.   

Ranking:  Let’s have a schooner.

Six Degrees of Norm: (Where we link every beer back to Norm from Cheers)

  1. William Bull is based at the De Bortoli winery
  2. Which is unlikely to be named after Gary De Bortoli
  3. Who worked as a painter on the movie  ‘Life as a House’
  4. In which Mary Steenburgen starred as the next door neighbour
  5. Who, since 1995 has been married to Ted Danson
  6. Who is of course played Sam Malone in Cheers and served beers to Norm.
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