A Sassy New Drop From Burleigh Brewing

Burleigh Brewing Sass beer-imp

It’s hard to imagine that the Burleigh Brewing Company has only been going since 2006, because I seem to have been drinking their beers for a long time and when I’m in the bottle shop mesmerized by the staggering range of craft beers available, Burleigh often ends up being my choice. If you met the founders of Burleigh Brewing, Peta and Brennan Fielding, on the street you would never think that they own and operate a craft brewery because neither of them has a big bushy beard, although they do have the vision and commitment to produce some excitingly different beers, use local and Australian products and provide employment and support for the local Burleigh Heads community.

One of the beers that helped bring them to prominence was My Wife’s Bitter, a take on an English-style bitter ale, made with English malt, but with more hops and meant to be served chilled. I remember the guy in my local bottle shop telling me that after it featured in an Australian television program, lots of people were coming in asking for it. Apart from the fact that it’s a good beer, everyone loved the innuendo of the name.

Burleigh Brewing founders, Peta and Brennan Fielding.
Burleigh Brewing founders, Peta and Brennan Fielding.

For anyone who has read my beer stories, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of fruit beers – mostly they’re too sweet and designed for people who don’t drink beer. Often they’re not exactly beer. But I’d like to give a shout out for Burleigh’s Twisted Palm Pale Ale, a great blend of hops and subtle tropical fruit flavours with no sugar and no preservatives. It’s been both a gold and silver medal winner at the World Beer Championships and Brennan Fielding says this beer is ‘Burleigh Heads in a bottle’ (probably minus the surf and salt water). If you’re ever eating Moreton Bay Bugs – and I suggest you should, every chance you get – then you’ll find that the Twisted Palm goes very nicely.   

Talking about fruit and flavour, Burleigh has a new beer that is destined to be another winner.  It’s Burleigh Sass – Bright Ale x Ginger with ‘a fragrant ginger aroma and subtle spicy character’. I’d describe it not as an alcoholic ginger beer but rather as a beer with a subtle but distinct ginger flavour. Burleigh Brewing call it ‘ginger with attitude’. The first one I tried, I thought ‘yeah not bad’, but the second one I tried I thought ‘wow, this is bloody good’. That second one was with Asian food and I’d say that Burleigh Sass has just the right level of ginger spiciness to pair magically with Asian cuisines.

Burleigh Brewing Sass beer on ice-imp

The ingredients are listed as ‘malted barley, hops, ginger and water’, with the ginger, of course, being local. It is described as having ‘no sugar, no preservatives, is non-pasteurised, vegan friendly, lactose-free, and has no detectable gluten’, which is more or less what every beer should be. It’s a pretty standard premium beer at 4.2% ABV and Burleigh says each 330ml bottle contains only 100 calories (or about 418 kilojoules for those of us who aren’t American).

In keeping with its support of local artists and the local community, Burleigh Brewing has formed an association with pop artist Courtenay McCue who created the artwork for the Sass beer featuring a redhead girl on the label. That association started in 2019 when, for the third year running, Burleigh Brewing hosted an event called Brewery Local Artists (BLA) and McCue first painted the now famous redhead girl in the Taphouse. BLA is a Burleigh Brewing initiative that celebrates and showcases the work of emerging artists in the local community and aims to open up their work to a larger audience. Burleigh Brewing also hosts an artist in residence.

Burleigh Sass won a silver medal at the 2022 World Beer Championships in Chicago, but the big news for Burleigh Brewing was the gold medal won by its Burleigh Japan Black, a black lager with smokey chocolate notes, which prompts me to mention some of their other great beers. Their standard favourites include the Burleigh Big Head, a no-carb lager and Burleigh Mid-Tide, a mid-strength ale with plenty of flavour. Many of its beers, including the Burleigh Sublime, Razzle Dazzle and Fig Jam were created as Taphouse beers but proved so popular that they went into full production.

The brewery is nothing if not continually creative; its latest, Burleigh Bandit, a red IPA, is hitting the market this month.  Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of some other Australian craft breweries that got so popular they were taken over by the big multi-nationals. If you value Australian craft beer, then support the independent craft brewers and always look for the Certified Independent logo on your beer labels.


With thanks to Burleigh Brewing for sending us some samples of their new labels.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy reading about these other interesting craft beers.

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