James Boag’s Draught by the James Boag brewery (or Lion Nathan as it is now) has produced a quite spectacularly dull beer which is neither a bitter nor a lager, but an annoying hybrid of the two. Ant ‘n Dec. Chaz ‘n Dave. Assault ‘n battery. This beer is Lager ‘n Bitter. And fails at that.
James Boag used the St George emblem as a reminder of the challenge that presented him when making the highest quality beers in the Tasmanian wilderness. One can only presume Mr Boag’s competitors were ham-fisted rednecks brewing moonshine in their baths, if this is a highest quality Tasmanian beer.
The standard Aussie beers (this is one of those) have not modernised their bottles for a long time. As a consequence, James Boag’s Draught looks tired and uninteresting on the shelf.
Draught beer fits the long-standing Australian beer template. Fizzy orange beer with all the same hops, colour and presentation. James Boag’s Draught looks like any other supermarket beer, it is yellowish brown, with a large amount of carbonation producing a frothy head. The head is not smooth, or long-lasting, but hey this is the boring Australian beer template.
This beer smells OK for what you would expect for a cheap bottleo beer. It does not have any harsh overtones, or oily characteristics, but there are aromas of wood chips and plasticine all wrapped up in the tiniest waft of hops. It does not shout out from the glass, but rather this beer was designed to be drank ice-cold during the height of the Tasmania summer, so there would not be much flavour or aromas to it anyway.
First of all, you get an impression of flat cardboard when you drink it. There is virtually no body to this beer, and the flavours that come off it initially are very bland with that tiny waft of hops. The middle flavours and body of the beer are equally dull with no body again as you drink it. This beer may have been produced in the Tasmanian wilderness, but this is more like the mining abomination of Queenstown with its moon-like wasteland rather than swathes of rolling forest. When you do get an aftertaste, there is a speck of bitterness that sits at the back of your throat like an oily smudge on the nipple of the Venus de Milo. Distracting and out-of-place. Hold on, please don’t make the comparison of this beer with the Venus de Milo. No, it’s more like a squeaky chair in the middle of a library. This beer is bland and boring, and the faintest of hops are distracting and annoying. Be a bitter, or go home.
Summary. Beer for bogans. Not a bitter, and not a lager. This is bland and boring like a 10-hour car ride through a supermarket car park.