Barons Lemon Myrtle Witbier

Picture of Barons wheat beer bottle

Pretty much every time I see a new wheat beer I haven't tried, I buy it and give it a go. Barons is a pretty new little brewery in Sydney but I've been very impressed with their pale ale and ESB, both of which are cropping up more and more around town, on tap in pubs like the Strawberry Hills.

This one, however, was absolutely disgusting. I love wheat beers. The twangier the flavour the better. This tasted like dishwater, when you've used one of those lemon scented dishwashing liquids. Vile.

The lemon myrtle gives a really nasty, artificial lemony flavour, while adding nothing. A squeeze of fresh lemon is a fairly common addition to wheat beers, and perfect to take the banana flavour out of those wheat beers that have been fermented at too high a temperature. The lemon myrtle is nothing like fresh lemon, or even the better lemon imitations. They call it cloudy too. It isn't.

A real opportunity missed. I suspect Barons is going for the export and tourist markets by incorporating bush foods into their beers, but they won't be getting many repeat sales with this one.

I think Australians are starting to learn about wheat beers with real flavour, as opposed to wheat lagers like Redback. They're perfect for the hot Australian Summer, with plenty of depth of flavour without being cloying, and they're hugely refreshing.

The best local one I've found has been Snowy Mountains Brewery's Charlotte's Hefeweizen which is pretty commonly available in the big liquor chains. Incidentally, this brewery is actually based in Crows Nest, Sydney: nowhere near the mountains, but with beer this good I wouldn't complain.

If only James Squire would bring back their spectacular Colonial Wheat!