In keeping with this week’s theme, Queensland Beer Week, this week’s review is naturally for a beer heralding from the Sunshine State.
Burleigh Brewing began in 2007; fast track six years and you have an operation that currently brews seven regular beers and two limited releases. Over-achievers much!
Their My Wife’s Bitter was first brewed as a limited edition but its success soon earned it a place amongst their regular beers.
The website describes the beer thus:
“Inspired by the traditional English ‘session beer’ that’s been supped in pubs across England for generations… our coastal version of a classic English Bitter is brewedwith a unique blend of English specialty malts that lend a smooth, malty flavour – with a hint of nuttiness and a soft caramel character.”
It’s a dark golden brown hue that’s only the slightest bit cloudy and there’s a strong biscuit-y caramel aroma derived from the malted barley. For me it is kind of reminiscent of cow fodder – sweet and full-bodied. There’s a fairly decent head to it and more than I was expecting given the style. A generous amount hangs around and lashes the glass perfectly.
Let’s have a taste shall we? Wow, yeah, it’s bitter alright. It’s almost verging on sour; the smell is sickly sweet but the taste sure as hell isn’t! There are subtle malted biscuit flavours on the front with mild to medium sweetness which turns into a bitter, tangy finish on the back palate for a medium dry finish. The flavour is fairly light on though and is characterised by an overriding earthiness, so don’t be expecting big bursts of intensity.
Carbonation-wise it’s what I’d expect from an English Bitter – pretty mild. Nevertheless, it’s a medium-bodied brew that’s surprisingly refreshing and as a result quite sessionable.
If you’re looking for a beer after a hard day’s slather and pales and lagers aren’t your thing, this might just be the ticket. It’s not as crisp as either of these owing to its malt qualities but refreshing none the less due to the bittering finish. Expect something a bit heavier though than the above styles that Australian’s generally lean towards.
It does taste a bit like cow fodder smells though and there’s a subtle, elusive unpleasantness about it that I just can’t quite put my finger on. Then again it might just be me and my never having been a proponent of British beers. They just never were that great in the kitchen and maybe brewing’s not their thing either! (I’m expecting to cop some slack for that one).
At the end of the day though it’s true to the style but with some Aussie-inspired adaptations which is precisely how it’s described. While it’s not my favourite beer taste-wise, all the elements of a good brew are there and it’s no surprise how well it’s been received on the Australian market.
- Genre: Dark ale
- Regionality: Burleigh Heads, QLD
- Strength: 4.8%
- Rating: 1 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 3 / 5
- Plus: True to the style with an Australian bent
- Minus: Flavour-wise it’s a bit on the subtle side