All Inn Brewing Co managed to get brewing underway in mid-2013, around the time of the Queensland Homebrewing Conference. They fell off my radar shortly after but by the end of the year, their beers started popping up regularly around town.
The brewhouse in Brisbane’s mid-northern suburb of Banyo is reportedly quite popular and is slowly changing the beer purchasing decisions of the local workers. I haven’t been out there, partly because of its location and partly because of the following.
Whereas other breweries in SEQBeers have received a D when their beer’s identity wasn’t given a SEQ-wash, All Inn will be receiving flat-out fails for this component. Here’s why: I don’t like the way All Inn brand their beers. Neither does ammo. Neither does TheWestbender.
Each beer is given a sexy pin-up girl to be the anthropomorphism of the beer, which inevitably leads to incredibly clever double entendres from male consumers. It speaks of a time when women’s only role in the beer industry was to sell it with their tits and when men were stupid enough for that to work. I, personally, thought we had moved past that.
While it may not offend every woman, I don’t see the need to be crass to a whole gender for the purpose of selling beer. I could almost deal with it if this wasn’t one of the less disturbing examples of the way that women are portrayed by parts of the industry.
Or as Melissa Cole puts it more eloquently:
Beer is the most egalitarian of drinks, it’s the finest social lubricant around and the fact that big brands have marketed it in a way that is solely aimed at men, and so badly dumbed down their products in the process, has prevented whole swathes of women (and men) from discovering the amazing array of flavour experiences great beer can offer.
If beer is to move past its stereotypical image as the beverage of choice for the male blue collar worker and embrace its traditional role as a beverage for everyone, then it’s important to identify sexist or racist marketing imagery, lest such imagery convey the idea that the brewing industry is stuck fifty years in the past.
To wit, let’s look at the worst offender: Pocahontas American India Pale Ale. Described on the website as “Our probably politically incorrect play on words”, ostensibly, the beer was called Pocahontas to create the mildly racist pun of “Pocahontas American India[n]”. Compare the tap decal:
To the real Pocahontas:
With the distance of four centuries and the impact of that Disney movie, most people probably have difficulty reconciling the fact that Pocahontas was once a real human being who had thoughts and feelings.
Pocahontas was a Powhatan Pamunkey – note, no traces of European heritage, so not particularly appropriate to depict her as white – who was born at the end of the sixteenth century, saved the life of an Englishman at twelve, was kidnapped by Europeans at eighteen, suffered an acute bout of Stockholm Syndrome, converted to Christianity and spent the last few years of her short life being paraded around Europe as an example of a “civilised savage”. She died of, likely, a pretty horrible disease at twenty-two.
The fact that Pocahontas, a woman who’s life was defined by European racists, is now depicted as a white 50s pin-up girl solely because it makes an unfunny pun creates so many levels of horrible irony, I can’t quite get to grips with it. This is why I don’t look favourably upon All Inn.
Now, to the beer itself:
- American IPA
- Refreshment: C+
- Identity: F
- Taste: C
- Ancillaries: C
- SEQBeers Score: 48
I will admit that my previous Untappd check-ins for this beer have been very positive. 4-star positive.
However, this particular example tasted less pine-loaded hoppy and more toffee-based pale ale. It’s a bland but not unpleasant effort, which was served off tap at the Embassy after Fluid Festival. There’s a thin head and a slick body but it adds up to not much of anything.
We recently coined the term “invertebrate beer” to describe beers which have no discernible backbone, malt, hop or otherwise. This is a classic example.
- American pale ale
- Refreshment: C-
- Identity: F
- Taste: D
- Ancillaries: C
- SEQBeers Score: 35
Of the two beers named Penny in this town, this is certainly the lesser. I had this on tap at Newstead Brewing and was quite disappointed to be presented with an unattractive and flavourless drink. The NBCo glasses are etched to create nucleation points and the Penny pale ale was barely able to generate a head.
There isn’t much else to talk about. There was no aroma nor much in the way of flavour worth remembering. Perhaps it’s only saving grace is that it was served quite cold and in a tumbler, which is not the best glass for capturing aroma and flavour.
- Australian pale ale
- Refreshment: C
- Identity: F
- Taste: C-
- Ancillaries: B
- SEQBeers Score: 44
An offering from Fluid Festival, the Elle OzPA certainly presents a better look than it’s companions, with a pale yellow colour and a decent head on it. The aroma is promising, with strong notes of paw paw. However, that ends on the sip with the Elle OzPA showing a soapy complexion underlining a rotting fruit flavour.
Maybe it’s not fair to judge a beer based on a festival sampler but if you make an Australian pale ale loaded with Galaxy hops, that’s entering Stone & Wood Pacific Ale territory and it’s not a battle few, if any, will be able to win.
I’m reasonably confident I’ve managed to divorce my distaste for the branding from my tasting of the beer, although the language obviously doesn’t reflect that. Maybe the significant change in how I perceive Pocahontas is proof that I haven’t. It would have been a nicer result if I was able to find some redemption in the quality of the product. While the Kala Black IPA comes with significant recommendations, with so many options in Brisbane I don’t see a need to step up and order a woman-beer.
Your mileage will vary.