Anything but sweet

Jamieson Raspberry Ale


IF you’re ever starving in the African wilderness, I have a tip for you: be careful of things that look like food. Some are quite poisonous.  Fortunately there are some good tests you can use to check what’s safe. My favourite:  If a monkey is eating something, you can eat it too. However, if a baboon is eating it, your system might not be able to handle it and you should probably steer clear.


In places which lack monkeys and baboons, trial and error is another option. I like to imagine our ancient ancestors figuring out what was safe and what wasn’t – surely there was there a guy in each tribe whose job it was to taste things and see if he survived? If there was, somehow that dude must’ve passed his genes on before trying anything too toxic, and I now get to walk the streets of West End with those genes tingling in me. Hence my decision on Friday night, in a bar full of delicious local ales and lagers, to try a ‘raspberry ale’.

Not Safe

Generally, I’ve found that the best things that can be put into beer is hops and malt. Any more creative, and you risk creating an insipid non-beer that tastes like Pasito and must rely on gender marketing to garner sales. However, I coughed up for Jamieson both out of curiosity and the label’s  assurance that it is ‘anything but sweet’. It also has real raspberries, and the base is a tasty pale ale to which said raspberries have been added.

The result is actually one of the few truly novel beer experiences I’ve had lately. It surprises me a bit that the beer is a pale ale – it tastes very rich and biscuity. The raspberry taste complements this excellently, a bit like they would on top of a chocolate cake. They clearly didn’t lie about the real raspberries either, as the taste is quite sharp and any sweetness from the fruit is lost in the fairly malty finish of this beer.

If you’re a beer skeptic and do find yourself ordering rum or wine at beer bars, I urge you to give this a go. At $9 a bottle, it’s not the cheapest ale in Archive but it may be the one you can actually enjoy (plus it seems that the median price of a beer in that place is climbing towards about $8 anyway). It won’t taste like a bacardi breezer, but if that’s what you’re after I’m impressed that you can read this anyway.

If you’re a beer lover like me, particularly of darker beers, this is also for you. I find it a great refresher after a brutal stout or a particularly bitter pale ale. Get out there and give it a go – though be warned that Archive these days is becoming so crowded that it’s quite unpleasant on Friday and Saturday and you might be better off trying it on an off night.

Not Safe

PS – remember to point at the beer when you order it . The Mistress got given a shot of Jameson (also great) instead of one of these the other night.


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