James Cridland

Testing my local mass-produced beers

XXXX Bitter, as far as I can tell, the original beer produced by the Castlemaine-Perkins Brewery just a few km away from my house, is actually rather nice. It’s a “pale lager”, but one that is quite creamy and relatively dark. I genuinely enjoy this, which for a real ale drinker is a little strange. It’s about £1 a (375ml) can, as all of these are, assuming you buy a slab of 30.

XXXX Gold is a rubbish weak low-carb lager at 3.5% which frankly isn’t very enjoyable - it is fairly tasteless and watery. But then, that’s probably the point, in this climate - today was 33°C and very humid. If you just want something to satiate your thirst, I guess a “Gold” is the thing for you.

And the third is XXXX Gold Australian Pale Ale, which is closer to a British lager: a bit more hoppy, more fizzy, and “crisp” which means less rounded and less balanced. It isn’t particularly nice, to be honest, and the remaining four bottles will probably be left in the cupboard for emergencies.

(I’m avoiding the dreadful-sounding XXXX Summer Bright Lager, and even more avoiding the prospect of “XXXX Summer Bright Lager With Mango”).

The “best” Queensland beer I’ve found here is Burleigh FigJam IPA, a really nice, fruity, strong IPA at about 7%. It is definitely a sipper, though. It’s lovely but isn’t a day-to-day beer - and I found it was a pretty good way of getting a headache.

There’s plenty of craft beer here too; but I’m surprised that I like one of the mass-produced ones.