Drunken Speculation

#5 Hawthorn Brewing Amber Ale

hawthorn brewing amber aleSometimes, looking at the label for a beer, you can’t tell where it’s from or what the hell is going on. Hawthorn Brewing Co have produced an amber ale which is, unsurprisingly, called “Amber Ale”.

If you’ve ever seen the label or turned your head slightly to the right to see the terrible photo provided, you’ll notice there’s a ship on the label and on the neck. I almost didn’t get this because I figured it wasn’t Australian, Hawthorn referring to a Hawthorn in England. You know, one that was probably a major trading port back in the day (it wasn’t), hence the clipper. A closer look and it’s actually from Hawthorn in Victoria. You know, the one that’s in no way associated with merchant shipping.

Squinting at the descriptive text

In the tradition of the travelling merchants of old, the Flavour Merchants criss-cross the globe to bring home the secrets of the world’s best brewers…

I’m picking up what they’re putting down now. Back to the beer,

…this English style Amber Ale  combining a blend of roasted malts with traditional old world hops. Another world class beer, imported from Hawthorn.

As we’ve established, “imported” is a bit of a stretch but we shall persevere. When I finally stop researching different places named Hawthorn, opening the bottle and pouring the beer gives off a rich, intoxicating fragrance. Being amber ale, the loudest voice comes from the malts but there’s a backup singer of caramel in there as well. It’s a very nice combination.

As well as smelling amazing, it looks amazing. The people down at Hawthorn have gone to some trouble to give the beer a proper English head (wink wink nudge nudge). It comes up a bright white and it stays there, even in my inappropriately sized tumbler, for long enough for you to take a drink. As the vintners would say, it has “legs”. The beer itself is a deep shade of amber and quite clear.

Now that my beer is 90% drool, I may as well give it a taste. Yep, tastes like amber ale, which is to say, it’s all about the malt, baby. Nourishing, sustaining roasted malts. I take a few deep breaths to keep hyperventilation at bay, that’s how excited I am, and I get a bitter, hoppy finish. This beer is flavourful but clean and it also stays on the palate, which given how it tastes, can only be a good thing.

I think I may be a bit odd when I say I can drink amber ales for session down at the local, so I’ll decline to weigh in on its sessionability but it’s a pretty bloody fantastic beer, so I’ll probably find myself drinking it quite a bit in future.


  • Website
  • Genre: Dark ale
  • Regionality: Hawthorn, VIC
  • Strength: 4.7%
  • Rating: 2.5 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 4.5 / 5
  • Plus: Smells the best of the five beers reviewed so far.
  • Minus: You might expect it to be a bit stronger in the booze stakes (>5%?).
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