Five fresh local beers perfect for right now

Warmer weather equals beer weather, and John Krüger recommends five fresh South Australian brews that make his tastebuds sing – from a watermelon-infused sour to a tropical-style lager and an ale that’s refreshingly pale.

Nov 26, 2019, updated Nov 27, 2019
Photo: John Krüger

Photo: John Krüger

Mismatch – New England Lager

While nearly every craft brewer is on the NEIPA bandwagon (that stands for New England India Pale Ale, but cool bottle shop staff understand if you say “Neepa”), Mismatch has put its own twist on the hazy tropical-style IPA by making, technically, a NEIPL. The L is for lager.

Some ale yeasts can produce fruity esters and contribute to the fruit character of the beer. (There’s also “biotransformation”, which is a whole new rabbit hole to look into if you’re interested.) Whatever the reason, this beer still works. It is indeed soft, hazy, juicy and tropical, with big aromas, soft fruity flavours and quite low bitterness. It’s 5 percent ABV in a 375ml can, but also excellent fresh on tap.

Food match: Spicy Jamaican jerk chicken with plenty of chargrilled fresh pineapple.

Little Bang – Shwangermelon!

It almost seems like the guys at Little Bang are coming up with a new beer every few weeks and the Schwang range of sours are definitely worth checking out. The latest, Schwangermelon!, is a watermelon-infused beer that’s perfect for a stinking hot day – definitely a beer to drink while wearing thongs.

It pours bright and clear with only a hint of pink; the watermelon aroma is also quite subtle but the flavour is a lovely natural watermelon fruitiness with soft malt and a soft acidic twang on the finish. It’s dry and very refreshing. There’s no artificial perfume-like aromas or flavours, just real melon and even a hint of watermelon rind. The Schwangermelon! is a quite restrained and well-made fruit sour and, at only 3 per cent ABV, it’s the perfect summer refresher.

Food match: Try this beer icy cold with a chargrilled watermelon, mint and pea salad. You could also add some chargrilled kingfish.

Pikes Beer Co – Limited Release IPA

Let’s hope this limited-release turns into a core beer. It’s a golden-orange-coloured ale which pours from a 500ml bottle with a strikingly pretty minimalist label by Adelaide’s Black Squid Design. I hope the font decal is as good as the label because this IPA is apparently sensational fresh on tap.

It smells of sweet malt and a good whack of hoppy citrus peel. In the mouth it’s slightly lighter than expected from the sweet aroma – well balanced in bitterness and sweetness, with some enjoyable candied-bitter-orange characters on the finish. The ABV is 6.5 per cent.

This ale is a bit like a shot of Campari and a toasted slice of raisin bread – delicious. Brewer Alister Pike reckons it’s gutsy but not over-the-top, and suggests not overpowering it with food that’s too spicy … so I’ve gone for a dessert.

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Food match: Fresh cannoli, Galaktoboureko (a Greek dessert made with custard and filo) or crème brûlée. Candied orange and alcohol needs custard.

Pirate Life – Tropical IIPA

That’s not a typo. This is a double India Pale Ale, or Imperial IPA. IIPAs have more of everything: more hops, more alcohol, and generally some more body to balance the extra hops as well. This is a big 8 per cent ABV beer and, like Pirate Life’s original IIPA, it’s refined and perfectly made.

It pours crystal clear with a deep golden colour. It smells of passionfruit and grapefruit but on the tongue there’s strong pine, grapefruit, guava and a hint of pineapple. There’s a honey-like malt sweetness that carries all of the bitterness and it’s in perfect balance, although I don’t think this is the kind of beer you’d drink a few of while cooking a barbecue. It’s more the beer you treat yourself to when you get home on a Friday arvo (especially with 2.3 standard drinks from one 355ml can).

Food match: Pork skewers with habanero mango salsa. This needs some intensity to balance things out.

Uraidla Brewery – Forgotten Ritual Unfiltered Pale Ale

This is light and hazy. It’s nice to see a modern pale ale that’s actually pale, and this refreshing beer has a crisp lemony hop character and a dry, almost acidic finish on the tongue. It’s delicious.

The unfiltered aspect lets the yeast settle on the palate, softening the finish. It’s another great beer from a relatively new brewery and would be a perfect summer quaffer. It’s a full 5 per cent ABV or 1.3 standard drinks from the 330ml can, but would also be great when fresh on tap.

Food match: Pan-fried flathead and hand-cut chips with pink saltflakes. The lemony aspect would be very refreshing.

John Krüger is an Adelaide-based photographer and home brewer with a passion for good beer. He’s on the Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards committee, as well as being a beer judge with the awards.


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