It does seem to me that (though the traffic in both directions is still painfully slow) the Australians are having better luck at getting good New Zealand beer available over there than we are with the vice-versa, over here. We do manage to get some goodies at work, though, and have more in the pipelines…
Matilda Bay are one of those little-sibling operations owned by one of the giants (Foster’s, in this case), though it as originally an independent West Australian operation — its founders went on to start my beloved Little Creatures (itself part-owned by the giant Lion Nathan). It’s a hotly-disputed brewery in Australian beer geek circles when the “what is — and what is not — ‘craft’ beer, anyway?” definition comes up, as it cyclically does. And when we got this on tap at work, the local beer geeks were typically not massively enamoured of it, to say the least, usually finding it too mild. But I think you have to remember that the hoppy-hoppy end of the pale ale spectrum has been less explored in Australia than over here, and that Cooper’s Pale Ale exerts a massive gravitational effect on the term. So this exists as a Gateway Beer, and is very well suited to that admirable and necessary job — especially when you remember that the same company produce a “proper” APA, ‘Alpha’.
Which reminds me that I really should upload the entries from my October 2008 & April 2009 Melbourne trips; those were my introductions to all sorts of lovely Australian beers.
Verbatim: Matilda Bay ‘Fat Yak’ Pale Ale 10/1/11 on tap @ MH. Fairly sure I had it as part of my paddle @ Taphouse. Not popular with the Nerds — too mild. But I like it since it’s more Aussie stuff making the trip. And it’s inherently worthy enough as Baby’s First APA, which is necessary over there, given Coopers’ gravitational pull on the term. Plus, there’s always ‘Alpha’.