Gage Roads: 'fussy' brewers makes for good drink

HUGH the Neighbour and I were watching the rugby league on Sunday last weekend courtesy of free-to-air TV.

Usually the end-of-the-weekend brew would be enjoyed alfresco, but as the winter chill crept into the evening, the call of a comfortable chair out of the breeze became irresistible.

The Cronulla-Roosters game was one in which neither of us was particularly invested, indeed it was one of those matches where it was hard to decide which team one wished the most ill upon (for mine, Paul Gallen in a team is reason enough to barrack for the other side but that is a story best kept for Origin)

So the scene was set for the enjoyment of a strong winter ale, in this case the Gage Roads Sleeping Giant India Pale Ale.

Gage Roads is actually a little strip of Indian Ocean between Rottnest Island and Fremantle on the coast of Western Australia just to the south of Perth.

Established about 10 years ago, this craft brewery produces a suite of really enjoyable beers which are available on this side of the continent.

The label on the bottle states that it is brewed by "fussy bastards", Gage Roads Brewing, and it is true that the brewery is producing a stable of really drinkable ales, lager and a pilsner.

We tend to get mainly American-style IPAs in the major outlets these days, so it is refreshing to enjoy an English-style IPA in Sleeping Giant.

The beer is pleasantly hopped with malt overtones coming through on the aftertaste.

HTN enjoyed the fruitiness and the bitterness, neither of which are overpowering to the extent that you sometimes find in the eastern Pacific examples.

It is a golden colour in the glass and keeps some bubbles from the pour to the drain while the head is there without being noticeable.

At 5.4% alcohol volume you can tell you are drinking them - as with most IPAs it is not the sort of beer you would look for if you were taking a carton to a party - but on a coolish night it is the perfect stimulant to encourage discussions about which team is playing badly enough to lose rather than which deserves to win.

All-in-all an enjoyable drink and well worth a try when you want a couple of something special.

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