I’m a sucker for interesting packaging, and if you can throw in a pun, I’m sold. This evening, while browsing the craft-beer section of my local bottlo, I laid eyes on a brew that fit the bill, or should I say, parted the ocean.
On first inspection Murray’s Whale Ale encompasses all that a micro-brewery pale ale should: home-style packaging (the beers come in a quaint little four-pack), a catchy name, and a cheeky description on the label (encouraging us to have a ‘you-know-what’ of a time). So let’s get into it.
When I first cracked open the dark brown bottle I was immediately greeted with a sweet, yet subtle tropical fruit bouquet. I poured the light-gold liquid into a tall glass and allowed the airy head to settle. It quickly dissipated and I noticed the gentle cloudiness often found in wheat-based beers. It was almost as though the whale on the label had relieved his blow-hole to produce the effect. Obviously I dismissed the idea pretty quickly…
What I couldn’t dismiss, were the initial syrupy flavours which paired beautifully with the aroma. The ale’s creamy texture flowed through my mouth effortlessly and left me with a slight sticky sensation, much like a glass of cloudy apple juice would during a childhood summer.
As the liquid slowly sailed towards room temperature and I sunk to the bottom of the glass, I was able to deconstruct the individual flavours. I felt this is when the beer really started to come into its own. I grasped at hints of citrus, however my face didn’t pucker, as any extra bitterness remained happily in-check.
Murray’s beers are concocted at Bob’s Farm in the beach-side town of Port Stephens (about 15 minutes north of Newcastle). Drawing inspiration from American style wheat beers, the Whale Ale was created to help celebrate the brewery’s relocation to the summery holiday destination. And the owners, having been blessed with the sight of a pod of these majestic ocean mammals every year since, aptly named the beer after them.
Bob’s farm also plays host to a cosy little restaurant and winery, and I imagine they would serve the Whale Ale with a spicy ginger chicken dish, or even as a delicious dessert accompaniment to a big bowl of vanilla ice-cream.
Usually American style wheat beers are made for summer drinking, however I think the sweetness of this beer lends itself to that time of a winter’s evening, just after you’ve closed the doors and windows, and have a few moments to sit down and really enjoy your beer.