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Rick Besserdin » Beer Reviews » Review – Hawthorn Brewing Beers

Review – Hawthorn Brewing Beers

Recently I mentioned the Hawthorn Brewing Discovery pack and how it was like a tasting paddle, but in a box. Not long after that Hawthorn’s Andrew McCall dropped by with a sample box of the Discovery Pack for me to try. I have tasted all of these beers over the year. But it was good to get to try all the beers at once, including the latest recipes and contract brewing company.

There are still a few Discovery Packs available in retailers, but in any case you can still buy most of the regular brews at your favourite retailer. The pack has the advantage of including food paring, bitterness and colour levels of the beers, along with the tasting notes that are already on the bottle labels.  So here are my thoughts of the five regular brews and the one-off New World Lager.


  • Appearance – It pours a clear light gold colour, with an inviting fluffy white head.
  • Aroma – Grassy and citrus notes from the hops.
  • Flavour – Malt, grain, and oranges with low bitterness in the finish.
  • Summary – Pleasant modern style Pilsner without much bitterness.

Golden Ale

  • Appearance – This is a cloudy gold colour with a fluffy white head.
  • Aroma – It smells like fruit salad.
  • Flavour – The taste is of a tropical fruit drink, with a bit of orange peel in the finish.
  • Summary – Beautifully balanced beer, with delightful new world hoppy flavours of tropical fruit. The pick of these beers.

New World Lager

  • Appearance – Golden, with a white head and cloudy dregs.
  • Aroma – It smells of Kiwi fruit.
  • Flavour – The taste is of Kiwi and orange juice.
  • Summary – It seems to have less flavour than I remember from tasting it when it was new. Perhaps it simply lost the fresh hop flavours quite quickly.

Pale Ale

  • Appearance – It pours an amber colour with an off white head. There was some yeast sediment on the bottom of the bottle.
  • Aroma – There is a smell of sweet caramel.
  • Flavour – It tastes like sweet honeycomb with a tart dry finish.
  • Summary – Quite sweet and malty for an Australian pale ale.

Amber Ale

  • Appearance – It has an intense amber colour with a tan head that has coarse bubbles.
  • Aroma – The aroma is of sweet malt.
  • Flavour – It tastes of caramel toffee with low bitterness and a dry finish.
  • Summary – Delightful beer, but a bit drier than its aroma indicates.

Australian IPA

  • Appearance – It is slightly cloudy, with a deep gold colour and a fluffy white head.
  • Aroma – It smells like mango and pineapple, with a bit of passionfruit.
  • Flavour – The flavour is of passionfruit, pineapple and grapefruit.
  • Summary – This is an excellent example of a New World IPA, that is well balance and has those tropical fruit hop flavours.


It was great to be able to taste all the Hawthorn Brewing beers at once. It makes such a difference to be able to compare techniques, styles, tastes and flavours back-to back. So if you can still find the Discovery Pack it’s a great buy. In any case, all of the Hawthorn beers are lovely to drink. However, there is no doubt that the Golden Ale is the best of the current brews, followed closely by the Australian IPA (or is it the other way around?). When the Discovery Pack stock runs out, you will need to buy the beers individually and enjoy them on their own merits.

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P.S. Another nice point about the new Hawthorn brews is that they no longer have the tagline “Imported From Hawthorn.” Instead they highlight being Australian flavour merchants.

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Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

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