James Squire Amber Ale

Total Score: 5.25/10 Nut1 Malt1 Earth1 Nonicpint1

The James Squire bottle tells a story of a man that received a hundred lashes from a cat-o-nine tail because of his insubordinate and wanton lust to brew beer. This to me sums up Australian’s well – so great is our thirst for the amber drop that we will gladly suffer punishment to brew the ultimate beverage.

Today’s serving vessel is my trusty old clay chalice/tulip 450ml cup (from the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Pilsen). The amber Ale itself was poured from a 345ml bottle.

A: Oh dear, I poured the beer before realised that I cannot see through lacquered clay… err, I’m sure the body would appear amber as advertised (actually it’s more of a “caramel brown” – I’ve had this beer before). 2cm tan head that dissipates to a thin layer that leaves lacing in the chalice. 5/10.

S: Nutty malts, followed by a woody fragrance with a hint of puke (not a good thing to have a hint of mind you). 4/10.

T: This “Ale” has a mild, slightly nutty flavour balanced with some sweet malts. The hop bitterness is slight, and doesn’t spoil the aftertaste which is earthy followed by a sour note. I’m glad there’s no taste of the ‘puke’ I noticed in the smell. 6/10.

M: Here’s my bugbear with this “Ale” (and I’m using inverted commas for a reason) – this is no more an “Ale” than my grandmother is a scuba diver, and it comes down to the carbonation for me – this “Ale” is carbonated like a Lager (which really p****s me off!). Unfortunately this is where Aussie brewers drop the ball over our English brethren. Points have been deducted. 3/10.

D: So we’ve got an “Amber Ale” that isn’t really “Amber” or an “Ale”, but how does it stand on the drinkability front? Quite well actually. I could easily go through a 6er of these – there’s very little confronting me. And that is the only thing holding this brew back – lack of complexity… apart from that – this is one drinkable beverage, worth a hundred lashes? Perhaps not, but otherwise enjoyable. 6/10.

Food match: Roast chicken, leg of Lamb, Lyonnaise potatoes and light barbeque fare.

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