Quaffers: US beer suits reveals paradox

Chris Shanahan
Brewcult Imperial Milk Stout 500ml and 4 Pines Brewing Co Indian Summer Ale.
Brewcult Imperial Milk Stout 500ml and 4 Pines Brewing Co Indian Summer Ale. 

Two US beer suits in the latter half of 2015 underscore a paradox: deceptive as it may be to present US-brewed "imports" as German or Australian, offering the real thing could mean drinkers get an inferior product.

In the first suit, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to refund cash to customers and to alter the packaging of its US-brewed Beck's beer.

Following the announcement, we arranged a masked tasting to compare Australian brewed Beck's with the real German brew. The fresh Australian product cleaned up the stale import.

In the latest suit, announced in December, New Yorker Leif Nelson filed a class action against Miller brewing, claiming he was misled into believing the beer was from Australia, despite being brewed in Fort Worth, Texas.

Good luck to him, as we deserve honesty in marketing. But be careful what you wish for. Or, before you buy, at least check the best-buy-before date on imported beer.

Brewcult Imperial Milk Stout
★★★★
500ml $14.90

Brewcult (Derrimut, Victoria) infuses its milk stout with "espresso and cold-steep coffee from our friends at Axil Coffer Roasters". The coffee-like character of most stouts comes from the use of dark-roasted barley malt. But by using real coffee, Brewcult turns its milk stout into an espresso double-shot, two-sugar lookalike.

4 Pines Brewing Co Indian Summer Ale
★★★½
375ml can 4-pack $15

4 Pines Brewing of Manly, NSW, brews a wide spectrum of styles. The lightest of the bunch, Indian Summer Ale, offers light body (4.2 per cent alcohol) and a vibrant, fresh palate, accentuated by a floral and resiny punch of hops. This builds the flavour, and gives a pleasantly tart, dry hoppy finish.