“Alright everyone grab a beer, face the label towards me and then we’ll take a picture for facebook and instagram”
This is so commonplace that we all pick up beers immediately, turn them to where we know the camera will be, and start chatting while Jack frames the shot. Rosie, who is our special guest taster, has no idea what to do or what’s happening. That’s fine, we give her a beer and tell her to look amazingly impressed at the quality of the longneck she’s holding.
“What beers are we trying tonight?”
“I dunno, we did Grand Ridge last time. I think Hawthorn? Oh and someone mentioned the new Toohey’s Pale Ale.”
“Toohey’s Pale Ale? Is that a real thing that really exists that I can drink?”
Jack’s done with the photo now. “Yep, we’ll try it last though. Gotta finish with a bang”.
As Jack sits down, I look around at the team. To be clear, Sydney On Tap have pretty much no professional qualifications to review beer at all. How we ended up at this place in our lives is a mystery and that is not at all lost on us. The only reason we’re here is because we all love beer and have way too much to say about it. With that in mind, we get started.
When it comes to tastings, Jack organises all the beers we try and tonight he tells us that we’re in for IPA’s, Pilsners, then a few Amber & Pale Ales.
The first beer - Big Eye IPA - is a hit with everyone except Rosie, who says it “tastes like pee” but then immediately admits she’s dehydrated and has some water. Her reviews got much nicer from there. The Hawthorn pilsner goes down well - Andy even strays from his “it’s quite nice” catch-phrase to call it the “best of the pilsners”.
After My Wife’s Bitter, we start getting to the conflict. It inevitably happens at our tastings. Patrick starts it by trying the beer then immediately calling for divorce, Suni responds that her wife isn’t THAT bitter and that she likes her, and everyone’s kind of uncertain of where we land - until, of course, Beau and Jake weigh in.
“Dude...my wife must hate me if this is the beer I’m drinking.”
“See..it’s nice but it’s nothing.”
“I think it’s tasty but I can’t imagine drinking a six-pack of it.”
“Nope. Terrible. Let’s move on”
4 Pines Pale Ale comes in as a roaring success. “Hella drinkable” Patrick calls it. “1 pine, 2 pine, 3 pine, blue pine” Suni says. I think Suni has had too much to drink. But I guess that’s part of our incredibly professional reviewing process.
The Hawthorn pale ale gets our first 5 out of 5 of the evening. The second it hits Andy’s lips he starts yelling about how it’s the perfect beer and gives it an “A+++++++++++”. Everyone except Rosie (who we assume was dehydrated again by this point) thinks it’s a pretty good beer.
The last beer we try is the Tooheys Pale Ale. Newly brewed, it’s a bold innovation from Tooheys (who are looking into craft beer it seems). To be honest, we were pretty pumped for this one. Tooheys could’ve done wonders with it and it could’ve been a great, cheap pale ale that you could get a 6-pack of anywhere. As we lift the glasses to our lips, there’s a collective sigh of disappointment. Toohey’s has not reinvented the wheel. They have made the wheel shitty and bent and not good.
“We should’ve ended on Hawthorn”
“I know Suni. I’m sorry”
“Seriously Jack, get your shit together, the Hawthorn Pale Ale was so much better”
“That was terrible.”
And that’s pretty much how the evening went. We tried a bunch of beers, we yelled about how good or bad they were, and we assigned them scores which you can check out here if you’re looking for something new to try.
Alternately, if you want to be a part of the tasting process, check out our facebook and/or instagram for updates about when the next public tasting is on - they’re good fun and involve drinking beer and hanging out with other people who enjoy drinking beer and saying what they think about stuff.