Cam's Top Five Pale Ales for the Summer
We are deep into the long days of summer and so far Sydney is delivering its
sweltering best with the odd grey, damp day thrown in to keep us from taking all that sunshine for granted. Mornings at the beach, long, lazy lunches, the ceiling fans on high, the kids covered in zinc, mozzie coils smoking up the back yard, Australia ahead by three wickets, and a fridge stocked with snags, a bit of iceberg lettuce and a few of my favourite pale ales, and the summer is pretty much perfect. Australian brewers are producing some outstanding pale ales with interesting twists on the classic American style in particular. I love ‘em for sessionable summer quaffing and for matching with good summer time eats, whether it be chops on the barby, a spicy curry, or some fancy vegetarian nosh.
My top five Aussie pale ales to keep your summer endless are:
As Sydney summer as sand in your speedos and bindies stuck to your thongs, Nomad’s Long Reef pours the deep gold of a Manly sunset with a head as foamy and white as breaking waves. The Pacific vibe continues with heaps of tropical fruit in the aroma and a big burst of Aussie hops which have been added late to the boil for maximum flavour impact. This American style pale ale from one of our favourite Aussie brewers is my go-to lunch time brew.
Love the restaurant, love the brews and Norman is great company for summer BBQ. Pouring a pale, straw golden, it produces a white fluffy head and laces all the way to the last sip. Grassy hops, and rockmelon give way to a nice bready malt flavour with a medium body and it all finishes with a delightfully lemony zing. I’m an avowed carnivore but even I’ll go a bit of barbequed eggplant and haloumi if I’ve got one of these to wash it down with.
The name is a nod to the legendary 28 day swell that Burleigh Heads experienced in 1975 and in my experience, surfing is usually the default topic of conversation while drinking a few of these. It pours a bright copper and delivers generously fragrant hop aromas of citrus, lychee, and grassy florals. There’s a citrus kick in the hoppy flavour which is nicely moderated by a subtly sweet caramel malt taste and a smooth, medium mouthfeel comes with a zingy carbonation. The Burleigh brewers recommend quaffing this one with something that has a little heat – Moroccan lamb or a decent curry. Works for me.
Pouring a beautiful pale golden colour with a generous white head, this APA has a hoppy, floral and slightly spicy aroma. Quite dry, with grapefruit and passionfruit notes playing between tart citrus and sweet fruit, this one has a lingering bitterness and a strong hop character. Using water from the Clare Valley’s own springs, I’m loving this very sessionable Aussie take on the American Pale Ale style.
Don’t be fooled by their mad labels and reputation for nuttiness – these guys make
serious beers, seriously well and they are always hit in our beer boxes. With this pale ale they’ve ventured from the fringes they usually inhabit right into the most densely populated section of the craft beer market but with their signature wild style and skill – starting with what appears to be some kind of outlaw lemur on a neon orange background on the label. Make of that what you will. The brew itself features a classic Cascade hop character and an intriguing range of aromas, starting with dank, woody, and spicy tones before giving way to a twang of rich peach, pineapple and orange. With a caramel malt flavour and a resinous bitterness to finish, this is a pale ale with a touch of the dark side in it. Crack a few of these open once the kids are in bed.