I can’t think of the last time I went to a drive-thru bottleshop. Growing up in the ‘burbs they were certainly part of my youth, but since then nothing. Back in the day I had this mate who was about 18 months older than me and thus got his license nice and early. Better still he had an old Kingswood that he had inherited from his grandfather so it would be a common ritual to all climb into the back and stop at the drive-thru bottle-o on the way to party. Our theory was there were no ID checks in the drive-thru, old enough to drive, old enough to drink. Of course this was before my craft beer awakening so no doubt we were buying slabs of Strongbow and Two Dogs.
Fast forward almost 20 years and I’m crammed in the back of a rented Hyundai Getz, on the way to visit my mother when we spot a drive-thru. Lacking any real knowledge of bottleshops in Adelaide we gave it a go.
Peering out from the back seat (I couldn’t get out as I’d been blocked in by a Toyota Tarago driver buying a couple of slabs of VB) I’m scanning the fridge and coming up with little in the way of drinkable craft beers. This of course being the common problem of the drive-thru, very difficult to browse. My brother however could get out of the car so he spots a range of Lobethal Bierhaus beers. We buy the entire range and head back onto the road again.
Now the Lobethal Bierhaus is in Lobethal, which is just outside of the Germanic enclave of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. They are now in their fourth year of operation and actually have reasonable distribution around the trap; you can even get a couple of their brews in Uncle Dan’s. Unfortunately we never made it to the brewery itself as they were closed the day that we decided to embrace all things German and head for the Hills.
We started our journey into the world of Lobethal with the Pale Ale, which was a little disappointing actually; it was a tad thin and not very interesting. There is not a huge hoppy character for what is meant to be an American style Pale Ale. It’s pleasant enough to drink, but not a game changer – Schooner.
The Hefeweizen was a much nicer beer. It had banana flavours coming from the yeast on the nose and visually it lived up to the cloudy reputation of hefs. The banana was there again in the taste and it had a slightly hoppier character than many purists would prefer, but I liked that about it. It was very easy to drink and a good interpretation of the style – Pint.
The final in this trio of beers was the Bohemian Pilsener which had subtle non invasive carbonation. Visually it was a cloudy light yellow colour; it is a little strange to the taste, slightly metallic at the start and slightly bready at the end. It finishes dry, which is code for having almost no discernable hops character (keeping in mind that the style shouldn’t have much anyway). It’s okay but not brilliant – Schooner.
I also had the red Truck Porter which I do remember as being pretty good and at the more coffee end of the porter scene, but It was late in the night so I have no notes and thus can’t review it. The pick of all their beers however was the Double IPA which I had at the Wheaty the night before.