Drunken Speculation

SEQBeers – Burleigh Brewing

BurleighBrewingAfter covering the behemoths yesterday, today’s SEQBeers is going to look at a smaller scale brewer on the up and up: Burleigh Brewing.

With national distribution through Dan Murphy’s, Burleigh has kicked a number of goals in the last twelve months. They’ve picked up gold medals for FIGJAM IPA (and silver and bronze for others), won small business awards and, most importantly, Black Giraffe was one of my favourite beers of 2012. A pretty good year by anyone’s standards.

Founded in 2007, Burleigh sum up their philosophy and history more succinctly than I can:

Our Brewmaster, Brennan, is also a surf-loving Hawaiian who grew up darting around exotic islands on his parents’ boat.

Brennan’s wife, Peta, jumped ship from a career in corporate law to get the brewery up and running (and now gets to boss him around on a daily basis).

When it came to setting up our authentic, European-style brewery, the laid-back beach town of Burleigh was the perfect match for our unrushed approach to beer making.

So here we are, Queensland’s premium brewer and the Gold Coast’s only craft brewery.

I, for one, am increasingly appreciative of Burleigh’s offerings, which demonstrate what Queensland brewing can achieve, even if we had to rope in an expat American brewer to make it happen. Let’s see how well they’ve capture the spirit of the land:

burleigh pale ale 2828 Pale Ale

  • American pale ale
  • 4.8%
  • Refreshment: B
  • Identity: A
  • Taste: B-
  • Ancillaries: A
  • SEQBeers Score: 81
  • Previous review

Burleigh’s 28 Pale Ale is at serious risk of falling into the fizzy grapefruit juice category of American style pales ales and IPAs. In my book, that’s not a bad thing – I like the citric bitterness and the green aroma.

The body on the 28 is a bit too heavy in my view to be a solid refreshment contender. While a great way to cool off, I don’t see myself getting this down in three mouthfuls. That said, it looks pretty smashable.

The identity on this one stacks up well: the bottle copy doesn’t even make reference to the beer, just hot summer days at Burleigh of a time gone past. Perfect.

burleigh ipaFIGJAM IPA

  • American IPA
  • 7.0%
  • Refreshment: D
  • Identity: D
  • Taste: C+
  • Ancillaries: B
  • SEQBeers Score: 53

I apologise in advance to Burleigh for selecting this beer. At 7%, it was too heavy to ever really be in contention for high marks. ammo suggested My Wife’s Bitter and I should have listened. The label is adorned with an elephant on a skateboard, which contrary to popular belief, is not a common sight in the south-east, so low marks for identity too.

Interesting to note that my previous experience with this beer suggested heavy overtones of pineapple. That was absent on these – presumably – much more fresh samples. There’s a strong grassy aroma. The flavour runs more to the sweet side of the IPA spectrum with less bitterness than expected.

burleigh hefHef

  • Wheat beer
  • 5.0%
  • Refreshment: A-
  • Identity: D
  • Taste: B
  • Ancillaries: A
  • SEQBeers Score: 74
  • Previous review

Hef smells like bananas and looks like a cloudy thirst killer. Unlike the 28, I have managed to down a bottle of Hef in less than two minutes and I had no regrets about doing so.

The aroma is classic hefeweizen, with mostly banana esters coming to the fore. The taste for me is a bit off, especially compared to a Franziskaner, with less creaminess and more acerbic flavours coming through.

The identity score is low, which is unsurprising, given that Hef is not marketed in a way specific to a geographic location. If Burleigh decide to repackage Hef as “Gold Coast Hefeweizen”, put a picture of the beach on the label and, most importantly, send me a bottle, it’d get up into the 90s.

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