Van Dieman Brewing Hedgerow Autumn Berry Ale.

A little light reading with my Hedgerow

Prologue:  So as ‘Australian Month’ comes to an end the observant amongst you might have noticed that our selection of beers has not exactly been fair and equitable. There has been plenty of beers from SA, Vic and WA but little from elsewhere. Although I still haven’t managed to find anything from the territories (Australian Capital and Northern) I can tick the Apple Isle off the list today.
There is something about Tasmania which says beer to me. It might be the two strong, long standing, highly advertised Tasmanian mainstream brewers Cascade and Boags, or it might just be that the only thing Tassie is famous for on the mainland is fresh produce, oh and David Boon, and that wood chopping guy, and John  ‘Super Apple’ McCarthy. 

My personal experience with Tassie brews has been mixed, at one end Moo Brew blew my mind a couple of years ago, but at the other end Two Metre Tall has disappointed me more than once.  This brings us to today’s beer, another long named wonder, Van Dieman Brewing Hedgerow Autumn Berry Ale.

Packaging:  Nice logo – who doesn’t love a tree? Good sized bottle (500ml) and lots of information about the beer sitting on Hawthorn berries and rosehip, which kinda makes it sound like this beer has been sitting in your Nanna’s wardrobe for a couple of months.
One problem, why can’t they spell Van Diemen’s correctly? Spelling doesn’t seem to be their strong point, check out the awesome poster below, complete with a strange use of apostrophes (the plural of genius is geniuses not genius’s), and yes I understand the saying about glasshouses. 

One of Van Dieman's posters

Appearance:  This beer is the colour of an Autumn leaf, cloudy, much like an Autumn day can be and with a foamy head, which must have some link to Autumn which I can’t think of right now, but feel free to insert your own poetic simile here.

Smell:  It smells a little fruity, in fact I would say it has beery smells mixed with berry smells. Bang – what a great play on words – I’m on fire here.

Taste:  The taste could best be described as unusual. It tasted a little like a dry, slightly under-flavoured amber ale, but then with this berry twist right on the tip of your tongue as you swallow. 

In conclusion: It’s a different brew. As I worked through the bottle I did start to enjoy it a little more, it felt like a reasonable (but not spectacular) amber ale, but with this weird slightly astringent aftertaste, one assumes from the tart hawthorn berries. Although I appreciate them going out on a limb (again, that’s puntastic) I just didn’t like it that much. They seem to be a good brewery though, so I will seek out their more ‘normal’ beers.  

Ranking:  Let’s have a schooner. 

Long Bow Youtube Clip:  It’s time for more Weddings Parties Anything, this time it’s a “Tale They Won’t Believe” the best song ever written about Tasmania.

Cricketers Arms Lager

Prologue:  The Ashes have started, I’m sitting at home waiting for ‘The Door Guy’ to turn up and fix, well a door. In a preview of the wasted days of summer to come I flick on the television to watch the Aussies take on the Poms in the long from of the game. So what better thing to drink whilst feining an interest in Cricket than Cricketers Arms Lager

Now I have some sneaking suspicion that this beer is connected to the great pub The Cricketers Arms Hotel in Port Melbourne, if it is then I wholeheartly support this beer and will drink it in memory of the many meals I’ve had in the beer garden there, if not we then that’s probably okay too.

Appearance: This is light, it looks like a good lager should, with the trail of bubbles rising to the surface, there isn’t too much froth in the glass though, and towards the end of the beer it was starting to go a little flat.

First Impressions: Is 11am too early to be drinking?

Taste: The immediate impression is that this is refreshing, it’s easy to drink. This is a slight bite just a half second after it hits your tongue, all in all a very nice beer.

Packaging: The label looks a little confusing actually, the logo is almost celtic in look which doesn’t seem to match the brand. I would have liked to seen a cricket theme brought through, prehaps Victor Trumper facing up, then the Lucksmiths song could be used in the advertisements (becuase we know beer ads don’t work unless there is singing involved). I must say I do like the list of cricket grounds in small print in the background.  

Food suggestion: The Brewer’s nose app tells me chicken. I think we can get a bit more Aussie that that, and go a Vegemite sandwhich (the vitamin B in Vegemite should also reduce any hangovers) or you could do a tribute to Shane Warne and have it with baked beans

Possible Slogans: It just IS cricket. or I don’t like cricket, I love it.

6 degrees of Norm: Where we link every beer back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in 6 easy steps.
1. Cricketers Arms is made by Sundance Brewing
2. Which may or may not be named after the Sundance Film Festival
3. Where the film ‘The Great Buck Howard’ had it’s premiere, which stars Colin Hanks
4.Whose dad is  Tom Hanks
5. Who was in Saving private Ryan with Ted Danson
6. Who was in Cheers, serving beer to  Norm.

Ranking: Let’s have a Schooner

Gage Roads – New World Wheat Beer

Prologue: It’s that one day of the year where is celebrate all things American, like apple pie, torturing people and being fat and obnoxious. So I thought what better way to celebrate American Independence Day than with a great American Brew. But then we remembered American Beer taste like a mixture of vomit and urine. So instead we went to a brew from Gage Road. Now they were the brewing company that produced all those shit ads of bottles that looked like arses a couple of years ago but I was willing to give them a chance. Anyway the point is that a good old Australian company produces a beer with an American Flag on it, and that’s good enough for us for the 4th of July.
Appearance: Light, golden, bubbly, like San Francisco on a Saturday Night. So, kinda gay (I mean that in a happy way).

Flavour: Or possibly flavor being Yank day. Very Sparkly, almost Champagneisk, doesn’t taste at all like a Wheat beer, tastes more like it’s made from bubbles. (actual bubbles not Michael Jackson’s pet chimp)

Packaging: So American I wanted to go out a bash an Arab, hate a black guy and own a gun.

Food Suggestions: A sloppy joe, Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and Buffalo Wings with ranch dressing, so the entire menu of TGI Fridays

Possible Slogan:
Drink this or we will invade your country and kill your family

Ranking: Maybe just a Pot.

3 Ravens Blond


Prologue: I love the story of the 3 Raven’s brewery. It’s every mans dream come true. You work somewhere where Friday night drinks are the norm. Then your local pub closes down, so what do you do, you convert the basement of your workplace into a microbrewery. So now you don’t work for the engineering company with a healthy drinking culture, instead you work for a microbrewery.

Appearance: Slightly Cloudy, Light Golden Brown, Honey Colour

Strength: 5.2%

: Dense, for a blonde, although I’ve meet one or two dense blonds in my time (I’ll be here all week, try the veal) Impressive Head (insert not so subtle blonde head joke in here)

Packaging: Sophisticated, rustic and generally impressive.

Food Suggestions: Honey Marinated Chicken Skewers on a BBQ with sliced potato.

In a Word: – That’s So Raven

Ranking: I’ll have a Pint Thanks