JOHN BOSTON PREMIUM BEVERAGES
Address: 66 Bay St, Ultimo, Sydney (office address) – originally – now re-branded under Pinnacle (Woolworths) Drinks
Type: Contract Brewer
Beers : ”John Boston” Premium Lager and “Boston’s (Mill)” Pale Ale BUT under the new ownership from mid-2014, “The Guard House” Golden Ale and “The Point” Pale Ale
www.johnboston.com.au (being updated)
This is the original John Boston, from the Wine Society in Ultimo, in 2014.
The John Boston beers made and sold by Pinnacle Drinks are completely different. I will report on these later.
The funny bits still apply. Please read on…
John Boston Premium Beverages produces two craft beers ; a Premium Lager and a Pale Ale. The company is named after John Boston, surgeon and apothecary, who arrived in Sydney aboard the “Surprize” in 1794. Losing no time, John immediately set up a salted fish works, then built a windmill to grind corn and soon went on to found a soap factory and a boat-builders. As if this wasn’t enough, he is said to have made the first beer in Australia in 1796, using maize ground in his mill, and with the bitter flavours derived from the local Cape gooseberry plant.
After this. everything seemed to go wrong. In 1804, John Boston sailed on one of his ships to Tonga, where he was set upon by the locals and killed. Apparently, they then cooked him and ate him.
Then to add insult to injury, history then records that James Squire, a convict, who later became a free man, started brewing beer sometime between 1790 and 1793, and he used real hops in his brew. This would mean that James Squire, not John Boston, was the first to make beer in Australia.
With the inaccuracies of early Colonial dates, it is not clear whether John Boston or James Squire gets the line honours for being first brewer. Both men have their supporters, especially as both have big beer brands named after both of them. James Squire definitely did go on to start Sydney’s first commercial brewery, in 1798.
So we may never be quite sure who was the first brewer in Australia, as we learn from this dubious conversation between the two men, noted early in 1796 ;
“’Now listen here, James, I was first’ ‘No, you listen, John…’”.
The other more recent mystery concerns the “Boston’s Mill” Pale Ale. This is clear, toffee-coloured and with an aroma of caramel and roasted hazelnuts. The taste is malty, with caramel and a hint of chocolate, followed by a pleasing hop finish. This is 4.9% ABV, and gets its flavours from a combination of pale and crystal malts.
I photographed the bottle when I’d finished (as you do), to prove to readers that the label on MY bottle clearly says it is “Boston’s” Pale Ale. No mention of a mill here, although the picture is still visible.
Anyway, John Squire…I mean John Boston would be proud of these two beers if he could taste them today. Only four pure and natural ingredients are used – water, hops, malt and yeast. John Boston beers are available in the larger retailers.
As stated above, from mid-2014, the John Boston label has become that of a more mainstream beer, under corporation ownership. The main ones are “The Guard House” Golden Ale and “The Point” Pale Ale. Farewell to the Windmill…and the original Wine Society beer.