Total Score: 7.2/10
BentSpoke is the latest micro-brewery in Canberra, Braddon to be precise. After having recently moved from sunny Brisbane with micro-brewers popping up everywhere I was a bit disappointed to find in Canberra a very marginal craft beer scene that is thankfully growing, not unlike my beer gut (the two could be related but I’ve now since dismissed thought as ludicrous and unfounded by any evidence).
Poured from tap into a “schmiddy” (something between a schooner and a middy, it looked about 300ml).
A: Presents a hazy safety orange/amber with a 1cm off-white head that stands up well. The appearance is right in the ball-park for a good Pale Ale, as for IPAs they do vary between amber and rust colours. 7/10.
S: Fruity/citric hops with hints of a caramel malt base. It’s not a FULL-ON hop aroma but it does present a decent balance. As an APA it would be perfect, as an IPA, and from my personal experience of drinking hundreds of American IPAs it does lack a little in hop flowers, still I can’t wait to dive in (not literally of course). 7/10.
T: There’s some good upfront sweet caramel malt notes followed by a little burst of citric/floral/fruity hops. The flavour is clean and well balanced. Finishes with a restrained hop bitterness. Again it could definitely benefit from a little more hoppiness however this can be said of most Australian IPAs. The aftertaste has a herbal note as well. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a light creamy carbonation that has a touch of bite, at least enough to let you know it’s there. This mouthfeel is right on the money, and illustrates why tap beers always beat bottled brews – I could drink these all night. 9/10.
D: A good entry level IPA, i.e. before moving on to some of the US/NZ hop monsters, and quite well balanced for 6% ABV, I for one am impressed. I had a sample of one of their experimental brews too (Choca Hop – a Pale Ale with choc-mint notes) however I thought it would be best to review one of their mainstream Ales first. If this beer is any indication of what to expect Canberra (and my beer gut) has a good micro-brewery future ahead of it. 7/10.
Food match: Their menu has a heritage breed beef burger with beer braised onions, beer fortified barbecue sauce, cheese and Cajun potato skins that sounds like a corker and a good match for this brew.