Total Score: 6.4/10
This and a bottle of Little Dove were kindly donated to me by the Gage Roads rep for the purpose of reviewing it – thanks! I’ll give it a good home (in my belly). So I did caution the Gage Roads rep: I’m not a fan of Summer Ales, Session Ales, or in general anything south of 5% ABV, that said I don’t mind the occasional Gose or Gueuze and they’re generally south of 5% – those are the exceptions that prove my rule though. He said to give it a shot anyway, OK free beer – I’ll bite [even though I got stung before when a Matilda Bay rep gave me a free sample of Minimum Chips which tasted so much like soda water that it felt almost healthy drinking it – yuck!]. Well here goes Single Fin – if you taste even remotely healthy I will be disappointed.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: First test passed: It looks like beer and not soda water. Hazed tan-tinged amber body with a splotchy blanket of white on top… head could be a little bit better at 4.5% ABV, but oh well, looks OK otherwise. 6/10.
S: A balanced malt/hop affair with caramel notes, slight stone fruit character and… oh I get it – this is another Stone & Wood Pacific Ale knock off (others include: Fortitude Drifter, GB 3 Bolt, Balter XPA, Burleigh Twisted Palm… this list goes on…). Well the question will invariably be: How does it compare to S&W PA? This reiteration is a little bit more malty than the original product. 7/10.
T: Flavour was a bit subdued, but it is officially winter in Brisbane and I actually had to wait for it to warm up a little (I know – crazy!). It leans more towards the caramel malt than anything, some stone fruit/tropical hop notes linger in the background struggling to match the malt base. Finish has a touch of bitterness with a surprising dry character (this isn’t a Lager so dryness is a surprise here). It’s meh here… not terrible, but meh. 6/10.
M: Best part of this brew is the mouthfeel – it’s fairly creamy, mid to light bodied, has a bit of heft for a 4.5% ABV beer, it’s alright. 8/10.
D: As expected a bit too flavourless for my liking… and it’s another S&W PA knock off – look I get that S&W PA is killing it in the market, but if you’re going to go up against them you at least need a product as good as them. My respect for S&W Pacific Ale grows more and more every time another brewer tries to emulate their tasty brew and fail. Overall I wouldn’t knock this back on a hot day, but that’s not enough of a reason to give Summer Fin a free pass. 6/10.
Food match: Pizza I guess… or a hamburger… something.