Last weekend on the 2009 Winery Walkabout I tried all four bintara beers in the order they were recommended by the bartender. All four beers were presented nicely in small half-sized glasses at $2.50 each.
1. Crystal Wheat - The first beer was both a surprise and a disappointment. It smelled like a wheat beer should, but tasted far too fruity, as if they had mixed white wine in with it. I've poured out entire batches of wheatbeer that tasted better than the Bintara Crystal Wheat, and I doubt I could finish a 6 pack without feeling sick.
2. Pilsner - The second beer was the pilsner, and it wasn't very enjoyable either. It wasn't particularly hoppy like I hadhoped, and tasted like they may have fermented it at ale temperatures resulting in many off flavours. Having recently taste tested over a dozen different commercial pilsners, this one was undoubtedly worse than anything you can buy at the shops. At this stage I was considering asking the barkeep to sample his beer. Perhaps it was an infected batch and they hadn't noticed?
3. Pale Ale - The best of the Bintara range. I quite enjoyed the smokey complexity of this beer. It was interesting enough to be appreciated as something special that you can't buy at the local bottle shop. It reminded me a bit of an irish red-ale in taste, but without the colour.
4. Black Beer - I was truly amazed with this beer. They say the darker the beer, the harder to stuff it up. Bintara found a way. My first sip invoked curiosity and disbelief, and the second sip brought on my gag reflex. This is undoubtedly "the worst" beer I have ever tasted. I felt sorry for the guys at the table next to me who had bought full sized schooners. I honestly couldn't finish this beer and left it on the table.
I'm very glad I visited the bintara brewery. It was certainly a learning experience and I left with the distinct impression of "WTF"? Am I overlooking something amazing that a more experienced beer connoisseur could appreciate? Should I be embarrassed for them, or myself? Is it jut coincidental that bintarra makes 3 of the worst beers I have ever tasted or is it deliberate?
Also of note, I shared the experience with 3 others who drank the 4 bintara beers with me. One of which is a long-term home brewer, another who has travelled the world testing beers and I had a hard time naming a beer he hadn't tasted (and enjoyed). They had much the same opinions as I did.
Sorry Bintara, I really wanted to enjoy your beer. You have a lovely atmosphere in there, but terrible beer.