You know how it is, even though the parents claim that they love all of their kids equally they don’t. In reality they like the kid who got the better grades, or is more polite, or visits more often.
Alpha is this beer, the star of the show. The beer that wins all the awards. The beer that the brewers wish every beer could be. But how good is it?
Packaging: Whilst we are working on this sibling analogy I think you’ll find that the Alpha label is just a yellowy version of the Cascade Pure (which isn’t a bad beer by the way) label, which would make sense given that, as I understand it, Alpha is brewed at the Cascade brewery in Tassie
Appearance: A nice toasty amber colour with a creamy but thin head which had a slightly tan tinge.
Taste: Malty but not in an overpowering way at the start of the sip then these great hop flavours come through and linger right through until the aftertaste.
Food matching: I follow Matilda bay on Twitter and thus I note that the brewers often drink Alpha whilst eating cheese. So I gave that a try, in particular crumbly vintage cheddar, it was very good, so try that.
Made up reader question: “Hey cool blog, I love it and will be telling all my friends about it, how does this beer get its name?” I don’t work a Matilda Bay (although I would love to if anyone is handing out jobs) so I have no proof of this but I can only assume that it is a reference to this being a high hop beer.
You see the ‘strength’ of a Hop is measured in AAU or Alpha Acid Unit. Which is basically the amount of alpha acid in the hop, the more alpha acids the more bitter it is.
Traditional hops from England and Germany are generally quite subtle. For instance Saaz used in must Euro lagers has 2-5% alpha acid. US hops like Chinook is much more bitter at around 12-14%, and that kids is why American style pale ales are much hoppier or bitter than English styles.
It may also mean that this beer is for manly men, but that would be an outdated view of beer drinker preferences and gender politics and I’m sure the marketing kids at Matilda Bay are smarter than that.
In conclusion: A seriously good beer. Like Fat Yak on steroids.
Ranking: I’ll have a pint thanks.