By The Gentleman
After sampling several rather good looking and extremely tasty New Zealand beers I challenged myself to find more Australian beers that could go toe-to-toe based on style and flavour. I was sure there was some out there just waiting to be found. Lo and behold there were and the first one that I found comes from Burleigh Brewing Co.
Burleigh Brewing Co is a Burleigh Heads, Queensland based brewer. It is the Gold Coast’s only craft brewer. Burleigh Brewing have built their brewing philosophy on marrying the brewing traditions of the past with a sense of adventure that allows them to experiment with new combinations and styles. They push this philosophy to the limit with their ‘A Bit On The Side‘ line of beers. Nothing seems off-limits here with interesting flavour combinations released in small batches. It was one of these Bit On The Side beers that really caught our attention, the Dream Date.
As you can imagine the Dream Date features dates. Crazy I know. The story on the bottle goes, the Burleigh Brew crew sampled a rather delicious, smooth, sticky date liqueur and just had to have more. Doing what they do best they married that sweet date flavour to a dark ale. The beer blends a shed load of dates with select medium and dark malts, as well as aromatic hops, into a big 5.7% ABV, 50 IBU package.
The label is very cool. It’s right up my alley, mixing comic book style artwork with some crazy, vibrant colours. The bottle shows a classic image of two lovers, but the bright colours make it modern and fun. It also has a very Roy Lichtenstein, pop art style to it. The Lady and I could imagine the label hanging on our wall. Coupled with the whole narrative of falling in love with the date liqueur and having their breath taken away, the name and art all really work well together. It certainly makes an impression and plays well with the idea of being different and experimental.
The Dream Date, as expected, pours a quite dark amber colour. The Lady showed off her beer pouring skills and was able to get the Dream Date to pour with a good sized head, which had a slightly caramel tinge to it. I couldn’t pick up much in the aroma, just some faint sweet notes and the undertone of malt. I was also expecting it to be a heavier beer than it was. The other day I had the Little Creatures White Rabbit Dark Ale, which was a very heavy, intense sort of beer. This was a lot lighter and didn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. By virtue of being lighter it was actually quite refreshing, like going on a blind date and realising the other person is actually a normal human and not all the crazy things your mind thought up during the day. The beer tasted sweeter than I expected, but The Lady felt this was an appropriate level of sweetness and I’d have to agree. It had a really nice caramel and toffee flavour from the dates, with a few hints of vanilla and spice that finished with some hoppy bitterness. This left a rather pleasant bittersweet aftertaste, but I’m not going to relate that to dating because The Lady may get angry with me. The Dream Date gave off some interesting flavours, but those accustomed to dark ale may be a tad disappointed by the lightness, sweetness, and freshness of the Dream Date. Personally, The Lady and I were a fan of this experimental blend of dark ale.
It’s early days but already my quest to find cool, good looking and interesting Australian beers has been a success. The Burleigh Brewing Dream Date Dark Ale was not what I was expecting at first, lighter and sweeter than other dark ales, but very tasty and draped in stylish Lichtenstein-esque design. Dream Date? Close enough.