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Why I love Resch’s: Sommelier of the Year, James Hird

June 23, 2015
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James Hird

Resch’s Draught might seem an unlikely beer of choice for one of Sydney’s leading sommeliers, but James Hird, of Wine Library and Pinbone, says it is easily his favourite beer.

Hird, the current Good Food Sommelier of the Year, is somewhat of an unofficial brand ambassador for Resch’s on social media.

“I went on Twitter and Instagram just as a joke and got them all – I’m @Reschs on everything,” he told Australian Brews News.

Commenting on a possible comeback for the brand, Hird said it speaks volumes that these usernames were freely available for Resch’s, which does not even have its own website.

“It’s just the beer itself doing the marketing. All the adverts for it in pubs are those posters from between the 1920s and 1960s that you see,” he said.

As with Melbourne Bitter’s recent resurgence, Hird believes the total lack of any marketing of Resch’s is part of its appeal.

“It’s the best beer slogan ever, ‘it’s the beer we drink round here’,” he said.

“When I went to Sydney Uni, I moved to New South Wales and it was the beer I first started drinking. I guess I blooded my teeth on it, so I’ve sort of got a soft spot for it.”

However, he also nominates drinkability as a key factor. “It’s obviously not the most interesting beer for some, but it’s always been relatively low in alcohol – on tap I think it’s 4.2 [per cent ABV]. It’s got quite low sugars and low carbs. Whilst those things are not things I would look for in a beer, that adds to the drinkability of it.

“It’s still got that really bitter unique flavour that Carlton and [Tooheys] New don’t tend to have,” he said.

Too much flavour in craft beers
Hird says there are exceptions, but he finds many of the new wave of craft beers to be overpowering.

“Craft beer’s an interesting one for me because it’s kind of like wine was in the 80s and 90s. People are turning up flavour a lot. I definitely like lambics and sour beers, but I guess with craft beer I like the ones that are trying to be less in your face,” he said.

“I think that eventually craft beer will come around, like wine did, from having so much power and flavour to becoming more subtle and ‘nuancey’ and clean.

“Beers that you want to drink a few of rarely have a lot of flavour. If there’s too much fruit and oak in wine you can only drink a couple of glasses.

“I generally like beers that you can have at least three or four of, as a gauge.”

'Old man' reputation: Reschs Dinner Ale

‘Old man’ reputation: Reschs Dinner Ale

Best place for a Resch’s
Asked to name his favourite venue for a Resch’s, Hird is not short of inspiration.

“The best Resch’s in Sydney is the Nelson Hotel in Bondi Junction. It’s one of their biggest selling beers, so it’s always a fresh keg,” he said.

“Mary’s is another place I’ve had really good Resch’s. The Lord Dudley [in Paddington] does a good Resch’s. Pagewood Hotel [in Maroubra] does a good Resch’s.”

Hird acknowledged Resch’s has a reputation in Sydney of being an “old man beer”, but he is certain it is making a comeback after being relegated to the back taps of many pubs in years gone by.

“I’ve noticed a real resurgence – places like Mary’s and on-trend bars around town are starting to pour it,” he said.

While he knows it is now brewed in Victoria, Hird still likes the idea of supporting a brand with a history that is tied to the local area.

“It’s a really sad thing I think with beer that it’s gotten nationalised. The New South Wales Rugby League side is sponsored by VB,” he said.

Read more:
Resch’s the quiet achiever for CUB
Melbourne Bitter continues stealthy rollout
Australia’s newest microbreweries
Foster’s on tap: Where to find it

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