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South Australian brewing industry

South Australian
reduced alcohol beers
By : Beer Adelaide
April 2015
Historically craft beer has meant big taste and high alcohol, this also meant that driving after have a few beers was out of the question.
However, recently a few of the local microbreweries have started to brew reduced alcohol beers.

Brewing weaker strength beers without losing the taste is very difficult, as you can tell with most of Australia’s large breweries light beer offerings, light in alcohol also meant light in flavour.

I will compare the reduced alcohol offerings from the local breweries, I will start with the reduced alcohol beers from Coopers, which will be available from all bottle shops around Adelaide, and then I compare them against the microbreweries offerings.

Firstly I will compare Coopers Premium Light against Gulf Breweries Pilot Light and Birbecks The Captain.
All three beers are under 3% alcohol and are considered light beer.

Coopers Premium Lager 2.9% is a normal Aussie lager, though with a much weaker malt taste, a bit of bittering hops, but unfortunately no real hop flavour.
As with all Australian light beers from the large breweries the malt flavour is really lacking and it is really noticeable, compared with a Coopers Premium Lager the most noticeable difference is the malt taste.

Next up is Gulf Brewery’s Pilots Light 2.7%, the first impression is it is much darker in colour compared to the Coopers, a little more malt taste, but much more hop flavour. You can still tell there is something missing, not as much body, and the malt profile is still lacking its full spectrum of flavours.The hops used are a little overpowering and could be pulled back in flavour a little. But all of this definitely shows that it is possible to make a light beer with flavour and something that can be consumed for enjoyment instead of necessity.

Lastly is Birbecks The Captain 2.9%, It is hard to believe that this is a light beer, the aroma is of tropical fruit and sweet malt. The taste is just like a good IPA, great hop flavour with passion-fruit, and berries. The malt is lacking though and the body is a little weak, but the hops more than make up for it. You could easily serve this up to a craft beer enthusiast and they would be none the wiser on it being a light beer. I would have no problem drinking this beer for enjoyment, more breweries should take a page from Birbecks book and craft light beers like this.

From this taste test I think that I have seen that light beers while lacking some of the malt flavours of their full strength brothers, don't have to be the bland watery lagers that the large breweries dish up to the drinking public.
If you can hunt out the Light beer from our craft breweries, I think it would be well worth your while.

Next will be the mid strength beers starting with Coopers Mild 3.5%, I will then compare it against Pirates Life’s Throwback IPA, Prancing Pony’s Crimson Ale and Lobethal Bierhaus’s Bruce. All beers land around 3.5% alcohol and hopefully all five beers will have the craft beer taste we like without the alcohol.

First up is Coopers Mild Ale 3.5%, My first impression of the Coopers Mild is that the taste is much stronger compared to the Premium Light. A great malt taste with Pride of Ringwood bittering. This beer is not unlike Coopers Pale Ale and Coopers Sparkling Ale, noticeably a mid-strength but very drinkable. As with the Coopers Ale range Mild Ale is bottle fermented, and thus has a nice cloudy appearance and noticeable yeast taste, a trait that Coopers is famous for.

Next is Pirate Life's Throwback IPA 3.5% is a nice hoppy IPA, with a nice malt flavour. The hop balance is great with hints of citrus and tropical fruit, and is not unlike their Pale Ale, but unlike the Pale Ale I think Throwback would be a better session ale. This is a great mid-strength beer and can be consumed as a fantastic session ale.

The Third Mid-strength is Lobethal Bierhaus's Bruce 3.5%, a more traditional bitter ale, with more bittering hops than flavouring hops, leaving a lingering bitterness on your pallet. A nice malt profile in the English bitter style, rounds this beer off nicely.

Lastly is Prancing Pony's Crimson Ale 3.4%, it is a typical Prancing Pony beer, with burnt toffee flavours imparted into the beer from their unique method of boiling the wort, with the bottom gas fired boiler. The hop flavour is nice with a nice mix of bittering hops with a fruit and a mix of freshly cut grass taste. Again you can tell there is something missing when it comes to the maltiness of the beer, but the hops do make up for it.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the local mid-strength beers. Again the mid strength beers from the 2 large Aussie breweries are bland and hardly worth drinking, but the local craft breweries brews are fantastic and can be consumed for pleasure.



Alex - You missed out the Fuzz by Clare Valley Brewing, a worthy addition.

Beer Adelaide - I will look to get a bottle and review it :) Cheers

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