Tuatara London Porter

Prologue  This beer had a odd bottle top on it. It did not contain the product’s name, but rather was promoting an event called Brewvana. Interesting enough in itself. but then I read it more closely and noticed that this event happened on the 28th & 29th of August 2009.  You read correctly – August 2009

Concerning to say the least. I checked the ‘Best before’ date – February 2010.

This beer is nicely illustrates one of the problems with the micro beer industry in Australia, particularly when concerning overseas beers (although this is only from NZ so it’s not like it’s come any further than a WA beer.)

The problem is this: The focus of ‘speciality’ bottle shops is always on range. But I’m not convinced that the turnover of these shops is enough to insure that beer is fresh.

This beer hasn’t been sitting in a cupboard in my house for year or anything.  I bought from Slowbeer in late January/early February 2011. That is almost 1 year after its best before date.

Slowbeer’s website tells me they have 1098 different products. Their range is undoubtedly impressive (although upon ordering over the internet you’ll find about a third of the beers you want won’t actually be in stock. The International beer store is Sydney seems to have the same problem, so it’s not a problem exclusive to Slowbeer here.)

One has to wonder however if you are setting yourself up as a leading beer store in Australia (and I must say the effort they go to is generally very good). It seems a shame to let yourself down by continuing to sell products that you have to know at no longer at their best.

So my advice to you – don’t buy over the internet, go into the store, and check the use by dates on the products.

When I revealed to Jord that this beer was about a year past it’s best before date she did ask me ‘Are you still going to drink it?’ I thought for a moment, and replied ‘Yeah why not, it ain’t going to kill me”

 Packaging:  Nothing spectacular about this, just a whole bunch of writing on a beige background. But it is classy in a upmarket wholefood sort of way, and it’s consistent across the range which I like.   

Appearance:  It’s black, pours with absolutely no carbonation, basically no head, just this little wispy thing that reminds me of the wispy crema on the top of a good coffee.   

Appearance:  By now you should know that I’m fairly familiar with the smell of roasting coffee. I live near Di Peittas in North Melbourne, and work just near St Ali’s (Sensory Lab) in South Melbourne, so a lot of my time outside has that roasting smell in the background. This beer smells quite a lot like that slightly acidic smell.

Taste:  Quite crisp. It is slightly tangy but with very little hop bitterness, There are malts in there, with a tangy coffee aftertaste.  

Things that happened in February 2010 (when this beer was still in its use by date):  

 The Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The overthrow of the Nigerian Preseident.

8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile which killed 497 people.  

In conclusion:  It’s perhaps a little unfair to judge Tuatura on this beer given how far past it’s best it is, which is none of their fault – and yes now I’m pointing a finger well and truly at Slowbeer. I was a little disappointed with the brew though. It was a little too harsh for my liking and not as smooth as I would have hoped  

Ranking:  Let’s have a Schooner    

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