The boys at Endeavour Beer have a great philosophy. They noted that wines have seasonal variations, each vintage is cellared and savoured for its own idiosyncrasies, and yet this does not happen with most beers. So they are openly promoting the year of vintage, this being the year that the ingredients were harvested. Andy Stewart, brewer, prides himself in sourcing the best locally grown ingredients for his beers, after visiting and consulting Tasmanian hop and barley growers. A number of batches may be made throughout a year from the same harvest of barley or hops. They do not yet have their own brewery, but use their own ideas and recipes.
The recipes are chosen to enhance the cellar-ability of the beers, by using roasted malts and high hop levels. The beers are all bottle conditioned and have adopted a ‘Best After Date’ printed on the bottle.
Ben Barren from Endeavour Beer sent out some samples of the 2010 and 2011 vintages of their pale and amber ales. So, on a Sunday afternoon when it was raining and cold outside, I sat down to have a try of their beers. They came in a nice four pack similar to the ones that they sell at the local liquor shops. The elegantly shaped 330ml bottles have informative good-looking labels, enhanced by matching gold and brown neck labels.
2010 Endeavour Reserve Pale Ale (Super Alpha, Galaxy, & Amarillo)
Slight hoppy fruit aroma, it’s a lovely pale colour, with a small white head.
The beer has medium body and is quite hoppy. There is a fair bit of malt sweetness mid-palate but it finishes well. Nice, but just a little bit too sweet.
2011 Endeavour Reserve Pale Ale (Galaxy, Summer, & Cascade)
This is slightly darker in colour than the 2010 vintage, with a more generous white head. It has a lovely fruity aroma, but it is a sweeter warm apricot smell due to the Summer hops. The taste shows a more pronounced bitterness and is hoppy pale ale with a relatively high IBU for the style. The addition of some wheat malt is possibly the reason it has a less sweet finish and an improved head.
2010 Endeavour Reserve Amber Ale (Pride of Ringwood)
It’s a deep amber coloured ale, with a toasted caramel and malt aroma, with a buff coloured head. The taste has a slight earthy taste. I think that despite the recommendation to keep these beers for a few years, while not stale, this beer tastes like it has past its peak.
2011 Endeavour Reserve Amber Ale (Topaz)
Slightly redder than the 2010 vintage, it has a rich buff coloured head. Not much on the nose, but there is a little bit of caramel and molasses. It is a complex full flavoured amber ale but it does have a dry finish, and is my favourite out of the four.
Both the pale ales were fruity and easy to drink. The 2011 has a bit more body and is bit more enjoyable to drink than the 2010. The 2011 amber has a complex malty flavour and hoppy bitterness that would go well with some fuller flavoured cuisine.
Thank you Ben, Andy, and the others at Endeavour for making these delightful beers for us to enjoy. Judging by the beers you have produced so far, I’m sure we will enjoy your forthcoming endeavours.