Long-time beer drinker Ross Lewis puts some of Australia's favourite drops to the test.
The label might be a bit different for the Mash Brewing stable. But that isn’t the only thing that is a little hard to pick for this product from the Swan Valley.
So the special India Pale Ale with the caricature on the outer lives up to its name, Challenger.
The test for each drinker is to determine to which regional style this highly pleasant pour belongs.
According to the hard-working team at Mash this brew lends itself to the English IPA.
However, the Americans have been responsible for the resurgence in the stronger ales and the presence of New Zealand hops does provide a slight hint towards a Californian beer. Some of the leading craft brewers on the US west coast have performed some magic with the buds of the Shaky Isles. Yet there are also some UK hops in the mix to give it that English edge.
And there is a very nice taste of orange which gives it an Australian appeal.
Challenger has a wonderful taste of caramel with a mild bitterness at the end that caps this brilliantly balanced drink.
While the beer is at 5.8 per cent the higher alcohol doesn’t detract. Indeed, during the test drive it was essential to have a second bottle for tasting.
This is a magnificent accompaniment to a glorious steak dinner.
The Sip Snip
Challenger English IPA
Brewer: Mash Brewing, Swan Valley, WA
Style: English India Pale Ale
Alcohol content: 5.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5
Bitterness: 52 IBU
Hops: New Zealand and UK
Estimated calories: 174
The Sip Tip (rating): A treat
Average prices: $56/carton. $16.50/four-pack. On Tap at Mash Brewing in Swan Valley, Bunbury, Rockingham, Melbourne (Thornbury)