Total Score: 6.45/10
Now the second bottle that was donated to me by a Gage Roads rep for the purposes of being reviewed and science – yes science dammit! It was also Champion Australian Beer at the 2016 Australian International Beer Awards… quite a pedigree for this Little Dove. At 6.2% ABV it’s no slouch for an American Pale Ale (APA). Here’s hoping it will bring home the bacon (and fry it in the pan) in a way that Summer Fin (Pacific Ale) didn’t. One thing the rep mentioned about Gage Roads is that they actually bought themselves out of part-ownership by Woolies (i.e. Dan Murphy’s) so they could refocus on their craft… here’s me missing the days of Abstinence and The Convict (both of which I didn’t mind when Dan’s were selling it off cheap), hmmm.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hazed deep caramel amber with a beige head that leaves some nice lace scrawl on the glass sides. Not bad at all… though pretty dark colour for an APA, interesting (that was my: “expecting a malty APA” interesting). 7/10.
S: Floral/citrus hops mingle with a caramel/toffee malt base, bit on the malty side for an APA aroma, but nonetheless pleasant. I suspect this bottle isn’t as fresh as can be already – the rep wasn’t sure on the brew date – so it might have a touch of hop fade, which is a shame because this obviously earned a gold medal at the AIBA for epitomising an Aussie APA… unless I am mistaken [it’s been known to happen at least twice before]. 7/10.
T: Yep, more on the malt side than expected: my hop fade alarm is ringing (which is a green light marked up by a Sharpie to look like a hop. Caramel/toffee malt base front, centre and towards the back, floral/light tangerine and piney hops in the finish. There is a menthol-like note in there as well, not sure what that’s about. Aftertaste leaning towards caramel/toffee. 6/10.
M: Body is alright though – almost medium with a light but dense carbonation. 8/10.
D: Is for “Disappointing”, maybe if I see this on tap I’ll give it a go – bottles are far too susceptible to light-strike/hop fade, and this one might have been sitting in the back seat of the reps car for a while. That said it wasn’t terrible, just far too malty for any sane beer reviewer to consider it an APA, or an AIBA medal winner for that matter. Being older/wiser I know the warning signs of hop fade and tasted it in beers I’ve had multiple times – all brewers need to switch to cans already! 6/10.
Food match: Doves, preferably small and fried with a nice fennel salad. No joke – doves are tasty, I try to consume at least 3 a week, it’s an expensive habit.