Long-time beer drinker Ross Lewis puts some of Australia's top drops to the test.
Tasting paddles are a wonderful adventure, often taking the beer traveller to areas of surprise.
Not only is the variety of drinks a sample of the brewer’s wares, it often supplies a taste that would more likely be shunned if drinking bigger glasses – or if the sipper is reluctant to go past the old favourites.
The Monk Brewery in Fremantle threw up that opportunity with the eight beers they offer in their trial pack.
There are the staples such as Wheat, Pale Ale and Porter but if you’ve followed the instructions from the bar staff the best will come last. And no disrespect to the wonder Chief – an Amarillo and Citra hop special.
The Rauch is not something even seasoned brew tasters come across regularly.
But the Monk crew are very proud of their German style of beer. Brewer Craig Eulenstein has given the beverage a tweak in production to bring the Rauch to a new level. It is his take on a Peated Scotch Ale.
The malted barley is dried over an open flame and it generates a wonderful smoky flavour which the Monk has mastered with this drop. It isn’t overdone, just right.
Backed by Vanguard hops, which are similar to German Hallertau bulbs the Rauch has a fruity taste, even a hint of plum. There are some meaty undertones as well.
However, it is nicely malty on the palate with a gentle bitterness at the end. Yet it is definitely not too tangy. No wonder it won
Rauch is not something you have every day but is well worth trying whenever you get the chance. No wonder it has won bronze medals at the Australian International Beer Awards.
Unfortunately, the Monk are unable to package their brews. But any excuse will do to pop down to the port for a pint.
Or a tasting plate.
The Sip Snip
Brewer: The Monk Brewery and Kitchen, Fremantle
Alcohol content: 5.3%
Standard drinks: 1.7 (425ml glass)
Bottles: 425ml and 570ml glasses
Estimated calories: 160 (425ml)
The Sip Tip (rating): Straight to the pool room
Awards: Bronze medal (Smoked Beer) AIBA.
Average prices: $7.50 (425ml) and $10 (570ml). Tasting plate of eight beers $17.