On The Shelf – Liberty Brewing Company Yakima Monster APA

By The Gentleman

Yakima

My fondness for interesting looking labels is well known and for my birthday I was lucky enough to receive a wide variety of beers with interesting labels from The Lady. One of those beers was another New Zealand number, the Yakima Monster, this time from Liberty Brewing Company. I’m starting to think these New Zealanders are on to something when it comes to pairing good beer with cool labels.

Yakima

Liberty Brewing, like most good craft brewers, started from a passion for beer. There was also the added caveat of not having ready access to good beer in some of New Zealand’s more out of the way locations. Home brewing was the first course of action before the unexpected opportunity to take over a home brewing supply company, Liberty Brewing. In a move to show how much Liberty trusted the gear they were selling, and to stand out from the crowd, they started brewing beer made with the supplies they sell to showcase how good it was. The Liberty stuff was so good that it was soon in demand all across New Zealand, and made it’s way across the Tasman to Australia.

Yakima

The Yakima Monster is an American Pale Ale made with hops from Yakima, Washington. Yes I know, I was also conjuring up the very images of Japan and all sorts of Godzilla-esque monsters the label specifically warns you against. It’s not an overly bitter beer, with a 45 IBU, but it’s listed as their ‘Strong APA’ at 6.0% ABV. I’d actually been eying up another beer in the Liberty range, the Sauvignon Bomb, based purely on the label. Most of the labels we have featured on here are stylish, elegant pieces of design, but the Yakima Monster is just downright cool. It brings back all sorts of memories of zombies, monsters and ghouls from old TV shows and video games that I used to watch and play as a kid. It also gets bonus points for the dripping blood font. Everyone knows the best monster films, shows etc use the dripping blood font. It’s the calling card for awesome monster horror. The Yakima Monster is just a cool, fun label.

Yakima

The Yakima Monster was also a bit of a special tasting as I finally got around to buying some proper beer glasses. I feel like less of a failure as a drinks blogger now that I have more glassware. Pouring it out it had a relatively small head and a rather hazy orange, gold colour. The aroma was not as strong as I was expecting but you still got a good hint of fruity flavours, quite a tropical scent really. The taste was very fruity with a bit of pine herbal flavour as well. It provided a slight numbing sensation although not as strong as I’ve had before. Liberty certainly weren’t lying when they said they’ve created a beer that anyone can go ‘Wow that tastes fruity’, but there are some other more complex and intriguing flavours. The overall herbal flavour was really interesting after the really bitter beers I’ve been drinking and provided a nice contrast to the sweet fruits. The aftertaste was slightly bitter but not overwhelming. It quickly went away to give a sweet finish. It also didn’t feel like a heavy or overly strong beer. That finish and the lack of an overly bitter taste made the Yakima Monster a really drinkable beer.

Yakima

On The Shelf has had a decidedly New Zealand flavour recently, and will hopefully continue in the future with the Sauvignon Bomb, but as an Australian this experience is concerning. We can never let New Zealand do anything well, ever. So, this means I’m going to have to try extra hard to find some awesome looking and tasting Australian craft beer to set things straight. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to sit back and enjoy Liberty Brewing’s Yakima Monster.Cheers!

 

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On The Shelf – Sixpoint Brewery Sweet Action

By The Gentleman

 

After sampling the Bengali Tiger the next Sixpoint Brewery beer on the list to try was the Sweet Action Ale. The Sweet Action is another of Sixpoint’s core ales and in fact the Sweet Action was the original beer brewed by Sixpoint back when they were founded in 2004.

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Again the Sweet Action follows the same design style as the Bengali Tiger. Putting the Sweet Action and Bengali Tiger next to each other they look good, similar yet with their own identity. I think I prefer the bold orange and tiger design on the Bengali but the Sweet Action still looks nice. It has what I think is a wheat plant as its logo, so not quite as impressive as a tiger, but as it is done in the same style as the tiger it still looks cool. I also love the name, ‘Sweet Action’ and it’s made even better by the fact that sweet action has an entry on Urban Dictionary.

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The beer itself is quite tasty. It is lighter in colour than the Bengali Tiger, less of an orange and more of an amber. It is quite hazy though and not as clear as I was expecting. Sixpoint describe the beer as “hard to define, but perhaps that’s why people love it. Part pale ale, part wheat, part cream ale- all Sweet Action.” The flavour is certainly hard to define. It is not as bitter as the Bengali and not as heavy either. I found it easier to drink as it had a nice dry crispness to it. I couldn’t really pick up on exact flavours quite like I could with the Bengali, maybe a bit of citrus and a sort of caramelly/butterscotch, but for me it starts out sweet then goes bitter with the aftertaste and then as it lingers it goes kind of sweet again. I can’t really describe it but I do like it.

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Two down and so far I’m liking what Sixpoint have to offer. I could probably drink more of the Sweet Action because it is that bit lighter than the Bengali and a bit easier to drink but both boast powerful and interesting flavours in stylishly large cans. Any beer drinker would be happy.

 

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On The Shelf- Acme California Pale Ale by North Coast Brewing

So after running the On The Shelf section of the blog for a little while now you’re probably starting to notice a trend, girls. I like hand-drawn pin-up style girls. I have a Bill Ward and Gil Elvgren book as well as a set of original Vargas girl playing cards. For the most part they are tastefully done, classic images of a different age. It’s just a style I’m a fan of, so whenever I see a bottle that uses that style of label I’m going to buy it or someone is going to buy it for me which was the case with North Coast Brewing’s Acme California Pale Ale.

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For starters it was a really nice beer. It has won a bunch of awards at beer events, if that means anything to you when selecting a brew. The site describes it as easy-drinking and clean-tasting beer and that is certainly true. Normally that is the sort of hyperbole I don’t buy into with beer, but it was surprisingly so with the Acme California Pale Ale. I also find few beers refreshing, but the Acme was. In fact, I think I’m fast discovering that Pale Ale’s are my favorite sort of beer. The beer had a great color and it wasn’t too heavy to drink, particularly as I had with a meal.

The Acme label itself, according to the North Coast website, is one of the oldest with a heritage dating back to the 1860s in San Francisco. It’s cool to see a label acknowledging the history in that way. There are actually two beers being made under the Acme brand at North Coast, the California Pale Ale and the California India Pale Ale.

Down to the label. The focus is the Acme girl. Classic marketing girls get me every time. There’s also a great reason to use it given the heritage nature of the Acme label. She’s got a great smile and I love the way her hair flies out as she’s swinging through the air. It’s quite an odd picture when you think about it, why is she swinging on a rope drinking a beer? Then I think to myself, why haven’t I swung on MORE ropes while drinking a beer?

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I like the way she swings and drinks so easily, and in one of those weird marketing ways it signifies how easy the Acme California Pale Ale is to drink. It goes down so well you could drink it while swinging on a rope.

This is a seriously good package. Not only is the label eye-catching and well designed, particularly given the heritage nature of the label, but what’s inside the bottle is just as good.

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