They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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Little Creatures Pale Ale

Originally published in What’s Brewing February 2005

Origin: Fremantle, Western Australia
ABV: 5.2 per cent
Buy from Sainsbury, Waitrose, Oddbins, specialist suppliers

Aside from Coopers of Adelaide with their unique sparkling ales, Australia is a disappointing country beer-wise, awash with the sort of cheap and nasty lager that most discerning drinkers wouldn’t give a XXXX for. New brewpubs and micros are on the rise, however, and now one of their products has reached the UK.

The Little Creatures pub opened in 2000 on the fishing boat harbour at Fremantle, just outside Perth. The building was originally a boatyard and then a crocodile farm before being converted into a spacious modern brewpub.

Its original mission was to brew a well-hopped premium pale ale inspired by American examples. The resulting beer proved a major success with Australian critics and the public in a very short time, winning several trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards.

Australian malts are produced to the brewery’s specifications by a supplier in Ballarat. The beer is bottle-conditioned: in fact the name itself is intended as a reference to live yeast.

Hops figure highly in Little Creatures publicity: the brewery is proud of its large hopback. It is also the only brewery in Australia with a quarantine license allowing it to import and store whole hops from the USA. But rather than going for bitterness, the brewers have chosen to exploit the wide range of surprising flavours it’s possible to extract from the Cascade and Chinook varieties it selects for its pale ale.

The beer is a rich golden colour, with a light sediment and soft white lace. Take a sniff and you’re overwhelmed by aromatic fruit and flowers: honeysuckle, new mown hay, lychees and pineapple.

The refreshing palate is similarly rich in fruity hop notes: fruit salad, more pineapple, rosewater, fresh lemon and pine over a lightly syrupy malt backbone. More familiar bitterish hop resins become evident as the flavour develops.

Some bitterness does emerge on the swallow, slowly spreading in a long finish with more tangy flavours and a persistent honeysuckle and fruit lift. The hops become quite peppery, but always controlled and never overbitter.

Of course it wouldn’t take much to make a beer that looks good when compared with the desultory products of Australia’s megabrewers, but Little Creatures even stands up well in more international company: it could give some of its American inspirations a run for their money. Overall a light-hearted beer that gives this column a fresh and joyful start to 2005.

Try also ‘t IJ Plzeň (Netherlands, curiously similar to this beer), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (USA), Butts Barbus Barbus (GB)

Read more about this beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/little-creatures-pale-ale/7658/

2 comments to Little Creatures Pale Ale

  • AD

    “Aside from Coopers of Adelaide with their unique sparkling ales, Australia is a disappointing country beer-wise”

    Things have come a long, long way in 8 years. It would be worth trying a few more of our range now, and you’ll hopefully have a change of heart.

  • Des

    Agreed things have changed A LOT and if I was writing this today, it would read rather differently. But the review clearly states when it was first published, and it’s more of an archive thing to keep it here, so I generally avoid tinkering with the text.

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