Last week I went to visit the cellar door of Gulf Brewing Company in Hahndorf. The cellar door is wonderful and open to the air which is great in the warm weather and sunshine.
The Gulf Brewery is the child of former homebrewer Paul and his wife. They make a big range of beers which are generally in the more traditional style. The best deal if you go in is the tasting paddle. For a measly $5 you get to try 6 beers out of their current line up of 8.
Gotta love yourself a good paddle!
As is right and proper the beers were lined up from least bitter to most bitter and came with a nice folder which had the beer descriptions as you see them on the website. Check out the link above.
Starting from the left and going to the right the beers are; Cabin Boy Half Wit, Harvest Moon Organic Beer, Fish Tale Pilsener, Pilot’s Light, Humpback Pale Ale, Trade Winds IPA.
Now as people might remember I have written about the Harvest Moon before and didn’t really enjoy it. After that Peter from Gulf Brewery got in touch with me about the possibility that I may have had a bad bottle and we discussed the state of organic beers in South Australia. Peter told me that the Barossa Valley Brewing’s Organic Ale is contract brewed and not made in South Australia at all so that would make Harvest Moon the only S.A. made organic beer. The website does so the have a new brewery but whether that means that the Harvest Ale is made in South Australia is not certain.
Okay to the beers,
Cabin Boy Half Wit:
I love a good pun based beer and every time I think about this beer I imagine a less intelligent Jim Hawkins stumbling around. This wheat based beer is what a wine person would call a sweet and dry and now as a beer person I would nod my head and say something along the lines of “You got that right, you wine snob.” There are also distinct orange flavours and smells as well as some more unrecognisable and anonymous citrus. What there is in absentia from the beer is that coriander that people expect from a wheat beer. I know I was looking for it. I asked Peter and he told me that this was more German style wheat beer which generally stays away from the spice. At 4.0% it is a really good standard beer and was nice to get the wheat dryness without having that spice leading out in front.
The Harvest Moon:
This was the one which I have previously not enjoyed but this time the pale organic lager was a clear yellow full of aroma of peaches and a little plummy. It was not overly flavourful but it was clean and crisp with some lovely fruity notes and was delightful on a warmish sort of day and plenty refreshing. This time I found the Moon to be much more enjoyable and if you get a fresh bottle or are in Hahndorf trying it out on draught and at 4.6% it is not insignificant.
Fish Pale Pilsener:
This is a Czech style pils which is a golden colour, full flavoured and I found it to have a higher level of bitterness then your traditional Pilsener. When I spoke to Peter about this he said that we liked to make his Pilseners a little bit more bitter then that but found that he had to dial it down for commercial reasons. This upset me but I suppose you got to pay the bills and you cannot do that unless you make beers that people are going to enjoy, rather than beers that a small majority of people will love. The Fish Tale has a pleasant lingering maltiness that was not overly sweet. A really good beer at 4.2%
This is Gulf Brewery’s light beer at 2.7% and probably my favourite. I never thought I would write that my favourite beer in a breweries stable would be a light beer but there you have it. Please note that this is not an indictment on the other beers rather that this is just an exceptional example of a style which I usually have no time. The Pilot’s Light is extremely cloudy and unfiltered. It tastes a touch malty and a little bit grassy. What surprised and delighted me was how full bodied it was when you first take a mouthful. This then slips away and is replaced with just a hint of hop bitterness to finish it off.
Humpback Pale Ale
This is a traditional English pale which is quite enticing when I decided to use the olfactory receptors but I could not quite place where I had smelt it before. On tasting this beer you will get a flavour hit but unfortunately I found it dipped and left you way too fast and left me with a shallow mouth feel. It was quite a malty pale ale and had a distinct taste of honey to it. I would suggest it as a perfect gate way beer for someone who enjoys malty pilseners but are not sure about moving into a world of ales. It is a 4.2% beer.
Trade Winds IPA
Again this is a more traditional IPA as opposed to the trend of American or Imperial IPA’s which are hugely hoppy and high in alcohol. This tastes a little bit more alcoholicly and malt driven, it is 6% beer which after the shock of getting a sweeter rather than a bitter flavour I found this beer to be well balanced but just at the tail of the beer I found a little squeak of hoppiness which was a little rough.
4.6% 1.2 standard drinks. This stout is made with real belgium chocolate and has a big strong head that I love to see on my stouts. It is an extremely dense approaching black in colour. It smells of bitter dark chocolate with a slightly alcoholic after smell.
On the taste side it is really smooth, rich and a little bit chewy. It has a lingering bitterness that stays with you. The rich taste is really noticeable and this is a fairly good stout, full of flavour without being too heavy.
There we go, the Gulf Brewery, a place where good beer lives.