Tooheys Old Dark Ale.
Tooheys Old Dark Ale.

BEER REVIEW: This old winter favourite is one of the best

With the weather turning cool and the longing for light summer ales dropping in concert with the thermometer, Hugh the Neighbour and I looked for solace in an old friend. Literally an "old” friend.

Yes, to celebrate the return of the dark beer season we reacquainted ourselves with the simple pleasure of drinking Tooheys Old Dark Ale.

Hugh's passion for this particular drop has been well documented in this column over the years, and I have to say that the more fancy dark beers I drink, the more inclined I am to agree with him.

Here is a beer that is almost ubiquitous on bottle shop shelves. And it is this commonness and the fact that it's reasonably priced that probably blinds us to just how good a beer it is.

I love the blacker offering from the likes of James Squire and Monteiths, and have waxed lyrical over some of the seasonals from Little Creatures - but Old is hard to ignore. It has a lovely toasty roasted taste - you can pick up a bit of biscuit and a nuttiness as well as undertones of coffee. It pours with a modest tan head and has a sweet maltiness on the nose.

It is not overly strong at 4.4 per cent alcohol, especially when compared to some of the more craft offering in the porter/stout end of the beer spectrum.

This is a beer to be enjoyed by the genuine dark beer aficionado. It is not something you are going to slip in front of a youthful cider drinker and expect them to start raving about it in glowing tones.

That said, for the drinker who enjoys their beer with complexity, without having to pay $90 a carton, this is a standout.