The Gazette's 12 Beers of Christmas: crafty additions to your festive feasts

​Over the last decade Australia has experienced a massive craft beer movement, where unique and boutique beers have gained popularity.

Beginning in major cities, in recent years it has spread outwards hitting places like the Hawkesbury.

So to celebrate Christmas this year the Hawkesbury Gazette is running its ‘12 Beers of Christmas’ series.

Getting started: The first four beers of our 12 beers of Christmas series. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Getting started: The first four beers of our 12 beers of Christmas series. Picture: Geoff Jones.

We had three local beer enthusiasts come to our offices and taste 12 craft beers that are available in the Hawkesbury area.

Our tasters were Cillian Coleman a recently graduated veterinarian and ex-bartender, Gazette senior journalist Krystyna Pollard and local bottleshop attendant Taylor Mattes.

Over the next three weeks we will be releasing the responses and opinions our enthusiasts had to the 12 beers. 

We had our enthusiasts try a variety of craft beers to ensure that they and our readers receive a complete craft beer experience.

Talking beer: From left, Finn Coleman and our trio of panelists Cillian Coleman, Krystyna Pollard and Taylor Mattes discuss the first part of the Gazette's 12 Beers of Christmas series. Picture: Geoff Jones

Talking beer: From left, Finn Coleman and our trio of panelists Cillian Coleman, Krystyna Pollard and Taylor Mattes discuss the first part of the Gazette's 12 Beers of Christmas series. Picture: Geoff Jones

The Hawkesbury Gazette wants to remind everyone to be safe and responsible when drinking over the holiday period.

Our tasters only had a small amount of each beer and were eating food throughout the tastings.

DrinkWise says that ‘Drinking responsibly is about drinking in moderation’.

For more information visit www.drinkwise.org.au

Be safe, be smart and enjoy yourselves these holidays.

The Beers:

In the first of our 12 Beers of Christmas series, the Gazette panelists discussed the following craft beers:

BentSpoke’s Crankshaft IPA:

An American style India Pale Ale from Canberra and has an alcohol percentage of 5.8.

Crankshaft has a bold orange/rust colour with a delicious bitterness and a floral nose, which includes some notes of citrus and pine.

It has a good punch that is full of hops but the nice malt finish provides it with diversity and a medium body.

Crankshaft was released just last year and has already ranked number three on the hottest 100 Aussie craft beers of 2017. 

A good food pairing would be a Indian curry as the beer will really bring out the spiciness and intensity of the curry.

The best: BentSpoke's Crankshaft IPA was the favourite of our trio of panelists from series one. Picture: Geoff Jones

The best: BentSpoke's Crankshaft IPA was the favourite of our trio of panelists from series one. Picture: Geoff Jones

Two Birds Sunset Ale:

An amber ale from Spotswood, Victoria, with a 4.6 per cent alcohol rating.

Don’t let this ale’s darker colour fool you, it has very tropical and citrus aromas. It has a touch of toffee and some rich malts.

It’s not for everyone but if you like toastie flavours with an easy and light finish this amber ale is perfect.

This was released in 2012 and quickly reached number 16 on the hottest 100 that year.

It is an ode to Western Australia’s ruby red sunset over the Indian Ocean.

This sunset ale goes great with traditional wood-fired pizza as it will heighten the crispiness and tomato bases.

Mixed opinions: Our panelists didn't really know how to feel about Two Birds Sunset Ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

Mixed opinions: Our panelists didn't really know how to feel about Two Birds Sunset Ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

James Squire’s The Chancer:

Squire’s golden ale is brewed at their Camperdown Brewery, and has an alcohol percentage of 4.5.

This golden ale lives up to its name as it has a rich orange colour.

The hops provide a tropical stone fruit aroma along with a restrained bitter finish.

Due to its toasted wheat and barley grains, the toastiness really rolls through from the first sip.

Upon its release the Chancer has been a very popular beer in the James Squire range.

It placed 28th in 2015 as the highest ranked golden ale for that year.

The Chancer goes great with slow cooked pork and especially pork belly as it will add to the juiciness of the dish.

In agreement: Everyone was pleased with James Squire's The Chancer golden ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

In agreement: Everyone was pleased with James Squire's The Chancer golden ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

Bridge Road Breweries Beechworth Pale Ale:

Brewed in Beechworth, Victoria and holding a 4.8 per cent alcohol content. 

Solid: Our panelists all enjoyed the Aussie classic, Bridge Road Breweries Beechworth Pale Ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

Solid: Our panelists all enjoyed the Aussie classic, Bridge Road Breweries Beechworth Pale Ale. Picture: Geoff Jones

Driven by piney, citrusy and tropical hops, this pale ale provides  a crisp and refreshing body along with a lingering bitterness.

It has become an Aussie classic and hallmark for Bridge Roads as they regularly alter the recipe to fit with the constantly changing Australian environment and availability of hops.

Beechworth pale ale can be paired nicely alongside Camembert cheese with garlic bread and prosciutto. 

It will really add to the strong flavours and the intensity of each individual food.

Check out what our panelists had to say about these beers in the video at the top.

Return next week and grab the December 12 issue of the Hawkesbury Gazette to see the second series of the 12 Beers of Christmas.

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