Look over the old films and photos and there’s one thing that stands out; they comprise more than a single individual – there are no selfies! Instead frame after frame of family, friends and mates talking over and great beers such as this Pop Ale

ORIGIN. Woolooware Bay, New South Wales
ABV. 4.6%
SIZE. 375mL can
STYLE. Random

We all love to walk down memory lane, as evidenced by the almost four million results listed when entering those words in Google. And what’s not to love about looking back on when your dad wore Old Spice, your school teacher wore a tie, and chances are you wore a hyper-coloured t-shirt. But just looking around it seems that Peter Allen was right – everything old is new again. Sydney streets are once again crisscrossed by tram tracks, Rosanne is back on the box after a 21-year hiatus, and even the 1950s crock-pot (it’s a slow-cooker kids!) is back in fashion. And now to go with that slow-cooked lamb shank you can drink in some nostalgia with this new beer flavour.

The Pop Ale was the brainchild of a big kid himself, Andy Orrell, the founder and head brewer of Hairyman. Andy tells me that as a young lad he loved creaming soda so much that rather than doing his homework after school, he snuck out on his BMX bike a few times a week and rode down to the milk bar and knocked back a can or two. So, when channelling a flavour for a new beer, it was an obvious choice. But to throwback to that infamous 1977 episode of Happy Days, is this a ‘jump the shark moment’?

I’d suggest that moment has already come and gone with the rise of sours and gose ales (pronounced “Go-zuh btw), which if you ask me tastes like spicy sweat. But I’ll let you be the judge. Made from sixty per cent malted grain, Simcoe hops, a dash of New Guinea vanilla, and a few crates of 1.25L bottles of Kirks creaming soda, it’s not unforeseen that it smells like creaming soda and has the same mouthfeel. Perhaps without the bitter backbone, you could be mistaken into thinking it is a soft drink rather than a beer. When I asked Andy how best to drink it, he said ‘it’s good on ice like a cider, but it’s unbelievably good with a scoop of ice cream for a boozy spider’.

Given I’m an old fashioned, honest, and direct sort of talker (which I’m told isn’t the way I should be leading the millennials at work!) I’m happy to say that the Pop’s not for me. Though to be fair, creaming soda was never my thing. To its credit, it is drinkable, refreshingly different and comes in an old school, wait for it, 375mL can! Oh, for the days when life was simple.


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