The Beer and the Beautiful

I Tried the 5 Prettiest Beers I Could Find

My name is Katie and I don’t know a thing about beer.
To be totally honest I’m not even 100% sure if I know what a stubby is.
Come with me now on a journey through fields of wheat to the heart and homeland of beer appreciation.
I pick beers at random off a shelf, visit breweries and taste and try new things.
This week I decided to try the five prettiest beers I could find.
I went down to Blackheart and Sparrow on Smith St and stared at the shelf, a cornucopia of labels and phrases I don’t understand.

Brewery: TO ØL (Denmark)
Beer: Garden of Eden
ABV: 6.4%
The label calls this a fruit IPA, which I recently learnt means India Pale Ale, and apparently that’s different from IPL which means India Pale Lager? I still don’t know the difference between those two. And there’s also Double IPA? I have no clue what that means, maybe it’s like twice as strong or maybe twice as big? Twice the India?

Back to the beer. I’m drinking this from the can initially but then I remember I saw someone pour all the beers into a wine glass and wash it out between tastings. I’m not sure if beer tastes different out of a glass or a can. I figure that maybe all the cans could be made of a different metal and that might change the taste or something so to be on the safe side I’m going to try all the beers out of the same glass and then wash it in between. Where was I?

Oh that’s right, TO ØL! This label is bursting with bright tropical colours. I would actually really like this pattern on a dress which is why I picked it up. I’m thinking that it’s going to be fruity and I’m imagining Ribena and mango for some reason. It also has a silver slash down the middle and I’m taking that as a metaphor for something that cuts through the flavour.

The beer smells sweet and fruity, very citrusy and it’s making me really thirsty but when I taste it the flavour really isn’t citrusy as all. It’s bitter and I think that means it’s hoppy and it’s also a bit sour which I really like. The beer definitely smells more fruity and sweet than it tastes. It’s quite a light and refreshing flavour.

The flavours change quite a bit as you drink it and I can taste different flavours if I concentrate: passionfruity sort of flavour, something that might be apricot and I can’t really taste the mango that the label says it includes.

Overall I like this beer, it’s a light and fruity flavour, it says it’s brewed with full fruit, and while this makes me imagine a tropical jam, it could be a combination of the fruit brewing process and the hops that gives this a lovely freshness. I think it’s quite rich in flavour and doesn’t taste watery. I would drink this beer again.

Brewery: Colonial Brewing (WA)
Beer: Small Ale
ABV: 3.5%
I really like the label on this one. It’s bright and cute and has a whole range of characters doing different things on it. Quite a few of the images are nerdy and I take that to mean it’s the kind of beer you could drink at work and not worry about losing concentration. To me, this label says Silicon Valley start-up. It looks like it’d get series B funding from Y Combinator. I think it’s going to be light and I’m hoping for an appley flavour but I don’t think that’s a beer flavour? This looks more like a cider label to me.

The beer is very light, tastes watery. I’d say it’s not super hoppy. I’m beginning to think that hops tastes more … deep? A richer sort of flavour than simple bitterness. Maybe hops aren’t bitter? Ok well I can’t taste this beer in the middle part of my tongue but I can on the back sides of it. It’s inoffensive, lightly fizzy and it doesn’t last on the palate. I’m going to call this one baby’s first beer and instead of Silicon Valley I’m thinking maybe I’d rather drink this in a skate park in the summer. Skate park summer beer. I’m unmoved.

Brewery: Mornington Peninsula Brewery (VIC)
Beer: Brain Squeeze
ABV: 4.8%
This label is cool. I like the bright colours and it reminds me of the character Lemongrab from Adventure Time. He’s punched out his own brain and is squeezing it into a glass. I reckon this will be very, very sour and I’m OK with that. I really like sour. I think it might also be lemony because his brain looks like a lemon. I didn’t know beer had other flavours than just beer so this is beginning to be quite fun. Also maybe because I’m two beers down now.

Oh this beer is flavoursome and it certainly is sour. I think this beer is good, I’d have it again. The flavour stays on your tongue a bit longer than the others, and unlike the Small Ale I can taste it in the middle and front of my tongue as well as the sides. I don’t know if I could drink multiple cans of it, though. It has medium and pleasant fizziness and isn’t as hoppy as the TO ØL. It’s giving me beachy vibes.

I was originally thinking this would be more of a punk rock show beer but now I’m changing my mind. This beer actually smells floral to me but I think I’m mistaking an ingredient of beer to be flowers. Is there something that makes beer smell perfumey? This smells perfumey. A beer nerd I’m in love with tells me that hops can produce a floral aroma; how cool! It’s not very bitter in its aftertaste and I’m grateful for that because it is very sour. I’m happy with this beer.

Brewery: La Sirene (VIC)
Beer: Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 6.8%
This beer label is of a siren on a rock. It’s very pretty. I would like this label as a stained glass window in the mansion I’ll be buying once I save up enough avocado toast and cloud eggs.

It looks like a seaside beer label so I’m wondering if this beer will be salty. Maybe beer and salt goes well together?

This is darker that I thought. It’s reddish in colour. This beer is kind of a horny beer, it makes me feel sexy. This beer is like a deep Sean Connery voice. It’s rich in flavour and also the glass bottle is nice and heavy. It looks like a serious beer. I wonder if the experienced beer reviewers are picking up this beer and saying sophisticated things about it.

I’m thinking it’s going to be full flavoured and strong.

It smells strangely of white wine. It’s much more sour than I was expecting and a little tart. It definitely has a complex flavour, it tastes like fermented fruit. It’s reminding me a bit of the Japanese fruit ume.

It fizzes in the mouth a fair bit. I think that this beer tastes malty. I think there is malt in it. It reminds me of the flavour of molasses my mum gave to me as a kid. It’s quite sweet. I wasn’t expecting this. I like it.

Brewery: Sailors Grave Brewing (VIC)
Beer: Southern Right Ale
ABV: 4.7%
This has cute and lovely colours on the label. It foamed up quite a bit when I poured it. This is maybe my favourite label I picked, it’s shiny and pretty and I feel like it’s going to take me on a journey when I look at it. It smells a bit sour.

WOAH. Readers. This is NOT what I expected. This is very malty and almost vanilla-ish. It tastes creamy to me – soft and caressing with a bitter finish. It tastes like a soft dark ale? Maybe I’m thinking of a stout. It’s delicious. This really punches you in the face after drawing you in with enticing smells. This beer is my mate but maybe he lives down a dark alley and will punch out your lights if you catch him on a bad day. I don’t know, I’m having a lot of feelings about this beer. I don’t know if I would buy this again?

This beer is dating me. Like, I think this beer just took me on a really great Tinder date and at the time I was really into it but after I got home I was like wait… that was kind of creepy.

Katie is the co-founder of Lumi Consulting and Blush Box Games – a collective of developers making and hosting events on love, romance and sexy sex. She is a hurricane of marketing, designer of weird art and physical games and lover of David Mitchell. Join her on a journey from ignorance to blissfully beer aware. Twitter: @steggy_ Instagram: @katiestegs

Blush Box Games is curating an exhibition until June 28 at Bar SK at 90 Smith St, Collingwood, which also serves excellent craft beer. Titled XXXhibition, it is collection of contemporary videogames celebrating the exploration, interaction and experience of sex.