For Drunkspec’s Origin Week, I had intended to review XXXX Gold that had been specifically blessed by Queensland great, Billy Moore, as seen in this amusing advertorial. Mr Moore is probably more famous for his rousing cheer of “Queenslander” at halftime of the first game in ’95 (and his punch-ons during that series) than his football. Watching the clip out of context, it seems like he’s a bit of a lone nutjob but it has become part of Origin lore.
This brings me to four days after the first Origin game of 2013 and after doing three or four blockies in Woolloongabba, I managed to find my way into the Dan Murphy’s. There was a dazzling array of XXXX Gold options: did I want stubbies, tallies or cans? Did I want three, six or twenty-four? Surely, that’s too much choice of packaging for one type of beer.
Sad to say, none of the XXXX Gold stock seemed to be marked as the “Origin edition” which probably tells you all you need to know about a) Lion’s internal coordination of marketing and distribution; and b) Dan Murphy’s rollover of stock.
Not wanting to risk my craft beer street cred any further, I picked up a six pack of cans, because that seemed appropriate, and a six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, just to even things out.
According to Wikipedia:
XXXX Gold is one of the many beers manufactured in the Australian state of Queensland by Castlemaine Perkins and is one of Australia’s most popular beers. Victoria Bitter held the highest market share of all beer sold in Australia for more than two decades. However in 2012 this mantle passed to the Lion Nathan’s Queensland XXXX Gold.
And has subsequently gone back to VB. Note that sales are more important to the character of the beer than the actual character of the beer. XXXX Gold is an Australian golden lager, just like the rest on the market, except mid-strength. Who knows why Australia’s second favourite beer is mid-strength.
I finally summoned up the courage to crack the can. In true Queensland tradition, I cooled the can in the freezer because it’s faster and, even in winter, the fridge just isn’t up to the task getting it to near freezing temperatures. There’s nothing worse than a tepid can of Gold.
I’d tell you about the colour and aroma but that would require putting it into some sort of glassware and we all know that only pussies drink beer from glass. What do you think I am? Some kind of nerd? Nah, mate, it’s stayin’ in the caaaann.
And the taste? XXXX Gold tastes like victory. Like a winter’s evening, crammed into a noisy stadium with 50,000 other people, cheering on a multi-ethnic team of large men chasing a ball around a field. Like a soakingly humid summer’s day, half an hour before the afternoon thunderstorm rolls in and knocks your power out for three days. Like strutting your stuff down Cavill Ave during Schoolies and king-hitting some little shit because he looked the wrong way at your blonde, tanned, surgery-enhanced girlfriend from Miami. In short, it tastes like Queensland.
XXXX Gold also tastes like crappy beer and water.
The “full flavoured, lower carb” approach wasn’t as terrible as I expected but, you know, Gold is still mid-strength swill. It’s bitter, not at all hoppy, has bugger all body and a disturbing maltiness that doesn’t taste right.
Some would argue that’s not the point and in the face of Queensland’s most recent win/loss (delete as appropriate), we should get behind the state’s emblems. Those people can suck a dick. XXXX, a brand owned by a multi-national company based in Japan, shouldn’t be the rallying cry of Queensland. Queensland needs to be Queensland.
(Christ, I have four more cans to drink)
- Genre: Lager
- Regionality: Milton, QLD
- Strength: 3.5%
- Rating: 0.5 / 3 taste + 0 / 2 ancillaries = 0.5 / 5
- Plus: Queensslandderrr!
- Minus: The beer.