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Bentspoke’s breezy summer beers

Tess Parisotto

Summer is now well and truly upon us, and these 30 degree days are starting to take a toll.

For a person who spends upwards of 50 hours a week inside an air-conditioned shopping centre, the outside heat can be a little overwhelming for me. So, come Sunday afternoon, after a long day of cafe hopping and caffeinating (which is how I usually spend my weekends), I find myself craving something cool and crisp to finish off the day.

Normally this would be a great opportunity to crack a cold beer. But, I’m really not a beer drinker. I just don’t like the taste, and I find it very difficult to drink even just a half-pint. So when the guys at Bentspoke told me they had some “non-beery beers” on tap for summer, I thought ‘why not give them a try?’.

Upon arrival, my friend and I pulled up a chair at the bar and talked with John, barman and PR Manager, about what we were going to be trying. He had four beers lined up for us, and out of a potential 18 choices, I was glad he had made the decision for us – so many beers, so little time!

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The first beer we tried was called Frenzy which was a wheat based raspberry flavoured beer. They were running it through Bentspoke’s ‘Hopinator’, infusing it with fresh summer berries

The first thing you notice when you take a sip is the mouthfeel. It’s particularly smooth and silky, which is partly attributed to the fact it’s a wheat based beer with a low hops presence (for the non-beer drinkers: wheat based beers tend to contribute less to the overall flavour of the beer while maximising a smooth and full mouthfeel). In terms of flavour, this beer was very pleasant with apparent notes of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. It was tangy, but not sour, with a nice balance of fruity sweetness. It definitely still tasted like beer, but with a positively effervescent twist.

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Next up was the Brindabella Cider – so not quite a beer but still in the same realm of familiarity. It was everything you’d expect from a cider; crisp, sweet and tasting exactly like granny smith apples. Delicious. It was a nice little palate cleanser for the two beers which followed…

Lucky number three was the G.F.G – gluten friendly ginger beer, brewed using sorghum and ginger root. This beer is not for the feint-hearted; it was extremely sweet with a syrupy consistency. The ginger was pleasant, well pronounced, and accompanied by treacle-like texture that coated your palate completely. Needless to say this beer is perfect for someone with a bit of a sweet tooth.

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To finish things off we were given the Puss in Boots which was a sour beer. John told us that apparently sour beers are quite the in-thing at the moment. Their menu proclaims it’s a “beer that puckers up the cheeks”, and boy did it deliver on that promise.

The first sip was refreshingly tangy and sour, which was a fantastic contrast to the sweet Ginger Beer we’d just tried. With notes of lemon and lime, the flavours were reminiscent of sour candy lollies (think Warheads), but without the tonne of sugar. It was an extremely easy beer to drink – coming from the girl who doesn’t even like beer, that’s a pretty high praise!

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All the beers on the menu are created and brewed by owner, Richard Watkins, who spent 17 years at Wig & Pen before opening up Bentspoke two years ago. If you’re familiar with Richard’s story you’d know he’s racked up multiple awards for his brews over the years and has been named Champion Australian Brewer – twice! He is now renowned across the country as one of Australia’s most notable beer makers.

At this year’s Australian International Beer Awards, Richard’s pale ale Barley Griffin won a gold medal. He also snapped up a silver for dark ale Big Nut, and bronze for Dick Tracy (another dark ale) and Pedal Pale Ale. All but Dick Tracy are available on tap at Bentspoke.

Without being pretentious and overzealous, Bentspoke pump out some seriously impressive beers which cater to a wide variety of palates. Richard knows what he’s doing when it comes to this stuff – so much so, he’s converted a non-beer drinker into an aspiring connoisseur. Trust me when I say that you’ll enjoy what Bentspoke has on offer this summer, so don’t be scared to pop in for a beer even if it’s not usually your thing.

The author dined courtesy of Bentspoke, however her opinions remain her own. 

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Tess Parisotto

Tess Parisotto is a 21 year old freelance writer and University student currently studying a Bachelor of Writing at the University of Canberra. Born and raised a Canberran, Tess loves her city and being a part of the Canberra community. She has a love for all things local, and is a self-confessed coffee nut, fiercely passionate about coffee and cafe culture in general. Follow @tessparisotto on Instagram for your daily dose of Canberra goodness and other pretty things. More about the Author

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