Festival of the Jugs – White Rabbit White Ale

Prologue:  The Festival of the Jugs continues today with everyone’s favourite open fermenting Healesville based brewery – White Rabbit. (I’m sure they are the only open fermenting Healesville based brewery but that’s beside the point)

We loved their dark ale when we encountered it at the pub last year, so when I wandered over to Parkhill Cellars on Errol street and spotted the white ale I was a happy little bunny.

Appearance: This was indeed white, it was almost as clear as the Mountain Goat Steam Ale.  It had a frothy head but even this was light, not creamy and thick like a lot of ales.  

Taste:  This is an interesting beer. The flavours are all very subtle, they are all there but they are muted. It’s very light and very refreshing. Like a lot of beers there is a citrus overtones, but this has this without the tang and bitterness, it’s almost sweet.

I note that they bottle condition with honey, which could add this sweetness perhaps. I assume what they mean is they prime with honey. What’s that? Well as any home brewer will tell you if you are bottle conditioning (which is leaving the yeast in the bottle to create carbonation, as opposed to a ‘filtered’ beer with injects gas to create carbonation) you need some sugar for the yeast to react with, most home brewers use a teaspoon of sugar, clearly the rabbit crew call up Humphrey B Bear and borrow some honey (Wouldn’t be a long phone call one would assume)  

It really is a great beer, but it’s hard to explain why. There is no distinctive character but you drink it and think Wow, that’s good. And then you drink some more, and then disappointingly soon the beer is gone.

Packaging:  It might have been the alchomolhol speaking but I could have sworn I could see an elephant in the trunk of one of the trees, I present it to you here…


See the circled area – tell me that’s not an elephants head? Okay he’s wearing a red cap, but it’s still an elephant.

Drinking location:  This would be a perfect beer for drinking in a park on nice Sunday spring afternoon. So you should do that, take a picnic.

In conclusion:  This is not a knock your socks off type of beer, but it is still very good, it’s subtle flavours lull you in, you sip and sip waiting for the usual hoppy smack in the head that craft beers seem to love, but it never comes and you are left feeling refreshing, satisfied and just a little bit happy, or is that hoppy?  

Ranking:  I’ll have a pint thanks  

White Rabbit Dark Ale

Prologue:  It had been a hard morning of doing, well, nothing. Lunchtime was upon us. It was a Wednesday, so it was obviously time to head to the pub. So I set off (assistant in tow) along the route I used to take home in my youth (okay last year) until we reached O’Connell’s.  

As I walked in and made my way between tables of businessmen eating steaks I looked over to the bar. I saw taps for Fat Yak (which I promise I will review at some point, the problem is I drink this so often it’s become like Carlton Draught to me) and White Rabbit.

When the attentive waitress popped up at my shoulder seconds after I sat down demanding that I order a drink I was armed with my order – White Rabbit.

First impression: Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought I’d had white rabbit before (although thinking back that might have been Red Duck) and in my mind it was a light ale. It was thus quite a surprise when a pot containing a dark ale was placed on the table   

Appearance: As mentioned it was dark brown, through the glass it looked thick, almost creamy. There was a lovely tea coloured head, as I drunk it left delicate lacing on the glass.

Taste: So smooth. It was full of flavour, but not in an overpowering way. I’d consider it a relaxed brew, refreshing and easy to drink. White Rabbit is open fermented, a method that is claimed to increase flavour. It seems to have worked.

The only time I’ve seen open fermentation in practice was in Prague at a microbrewery called Pivovarsky dum.(If you go to Prague go there, it’s amazing). It’s a weird concept that looks like it shouldn’t work, but the beers that night told me it did and White Rabbit seems to have proved it again.  


Me, and a tasting wheel in Prague (yes that is green beer)


Packaging: I had it in a pot, but the tap looked nice, and the bottle looks cool in an Alice in a drunken wonderland type of way.

Food suggestion: The burger I had it with worked, but I would think any meat would be good.  

Possible Slogans: I’d like to get lost in your rabbit hole.  

6 degrees of Norm: Where we link every beer back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in 6 easy steps.
1. This beer has a Alice in Wonderland vibe  
2. Alice in Wonderland starred the lovely Anne Hathaway as the White Queen 
3. Who apparently gets her kit off in Love and Other Drugs to be released shortly, which also stars Hank Azaria
4. Who voices Chief Wiggum in Simpsons,  
5. Who would have arrested Sideshow Bob, who was voiced by Kelsey Grammer
6. Who played Frasier Crane Cheers, and drunk with Norm.

Or if you wanted to do it in one step – George Wendt played Tweedledee in the 1999 telemovie of Alice in wonderland.   

Ranking: A Jug Please