The next beer from my epic list is from the Two Metre Tall brewery in Tasmania, Australia – Forester Real Ale. Well, kind of – officially the beer on my list is the Forester Pale Ale; the Beer I drank was labelled Forester Real Ale; and to complicate matters further, the Two Metre Tall website is showing the Forester Bitter Amber Ale…WTF?!
In my confusion I turned to Twitter to ask the brewers themselves for clarification. Their official answer was that the beers are essentially the same, give or take some slight variations. The reason for these variations is alluded to on the bottles label; the brewers proudly use only the freshest available ingredients sourced from local farms, resulting in each batch being different from the last. The beers name remain the same from batch to batch, being named after a major river in the region from where the ingredients are sourced (the Forester Ales are named after the Forester River region of Tasmania, since the hops for these beers are grown on the last working hop farm in the region) Either way, I’m counting it…beer number 92 of the epic list is Forester REAL Ale.
The bottle says:
The bottle has a look of sophistication that wouldn’t be out of place alongside a fine meal. Beer geeks already know that beer and food match beautifully, but the presentation of this beer advertises the fact for any curious passerby to see. The ‘neck’ label runs vertically from one side to the other, creating a seal over the cap – a classy touch that makes the bottle stand out. One side of this label advises the drinker of the flavours to expect, correct serving temperature and even some suggested food matches. The other side has the date the beer was brewed, bottled, a bottle number (I had Bottle No. 496) and a comprehensive ingredients list, including a breakdown by percentage of the different types of malts and hops used. The only thing that’s missing is the exact species of yeast, but I guess they need to keep some secrets.
The label on the body of the bottle is also packed with information (including a map of Tasmania)…just grab yourself a bottle and have a good read.
The body is dark brown with a dense, off white head. There’s not much on the nose when it’s cold; definitely no hops, just a little toffee. The flavour is very malty; crumpets and muffins, with just a hint of bitterness at the end. There’s also a flavour that I can only describe as very Australian – I assume this has something to do with the Pride of Ringwood hops. It’s surprisingly tasty while cold, considering the recommended serving temperature is 8-10C.
There’s still no noticeable hop aroma, but the toffee is much sweeter. That sweetness is also now in the taste, but it disappears in a wave of freshly toasted crumpets – it’s no wonder the label suggests serving this beer with smoked meat, hard cheese and crusty bread. The Pride of Ringwood hops then assert their uniquely Australian flavour into the bitterness; it’s herbal, and there’s also just the faintest hint of Vegemite (my favourite crumpet topping!) The bitterness disappears in the aftertaste, leaving some very fresh toasted crumpet crusts to finish things off.
This Real Ale certainly mimics its English cousins, providing a smooth, rich and malty experience. The malt was much more savoury than I’ve had before; up to this point I’ve never really understood ‘bread’ flavours in beer, but the Forester’s has a fresh baked taste that’s hard to ignore. I was expecting something a little more hoppy and refreshing, but that’s because I was originally expecting a pale ale.
I’ve always said that winemaker’s make the best beer…the team at Two Metre Tall brewing are helping to prove me right.