Almanac Beer Review: Prancing Pony and Smiling Samoyed at the Normanville pub

Perhaps we should’ve been in Shit Creek.



For on the table were not one, but two paddles. Brett had one and I had the other, and both wooden planks held six glasses of craft beer. We’d soon be rowing at the Olympics.



I love a weekend away with a big group and down in Carrackalinga we had seven adults and seven kids. I like how some things are done together, but other excursions occur with just one or two. Earlier Max and I had swung by the Yankalilla bakery for a Cornish pasty and sausage roll before pulling in at the oval and watching the local B Grade cricket for half a dozen overs. We saw one wicket and some decidedly exotic swatting. The boundaries were long and the outfield, lush. Runs were scarce.



Following a walk down the beach it was suddenly late afternoon and six of us gathered in the Normanville pub’s beer garden. Having it to ourselves invested the episode with enhanced novelty and occasion.



The first craft beer was an XPA from the Prancing Pony Brewery. While we agreed that it included citrus, melon and berry flavours the tasting notes’ proposal that passion-fruit was present became controversial.



Claire tried it and said, ‘But there’s no actual passion-fruit!’ Someone retorted that it was only redolent of it, that it might simply be a metaphor, or point of sensory reference. Claire was insistent, if not incensed.



A few impassioned minutes on passion-fruit followed.



Built in 1851 the Normy is among the state’s oldest pubs and there by the verandah we all admired the beautiful tiling while inside each dining room was magnificent lead lighting.



Next up was the Germanic Kolsch which may have suffered from poor sequencing as someone, possibly Leonard, described it as having, ‘dreadful nanna fruit.’ I found it sharp. Its bitterness was like one of our group (Claire) missing out on being Dux of Year 12 by one point out of 500: lingering and irreconcilable.



However, Claire liked the mango beer that was a New England India Pale Ale. It had the fruitiness of a Carry On movie, but I found it undrinkable. If it illustrated the best of Boston then maybe we should’ve retrieved the tea (c.1773) from the harbour floor and had our own party. A voice from another chair pleaded that it had the generic characteristic of, ‘orchard fruits.’ I sipped again, my face deforming like I was on the rocket sled of a 1950s NASA experiment.



JB then told us of how, minutes before arriving at the pub, she’d been dumped by a large and uncaring wave. Happily her son, Oliver, showed an appropriate level of human concern while some of us nodded with nebulous sympathy, but quickly returned our attention to the paddles.



The 12 Paws Pale Ale was met with ambiguity. In an obvious attempt to make it into this story, Brett described the beer as being, ‘indistinguishable from most other pale ales’ regardless of the number of paws quantified in its name.



The afternoon galloped on and we’d a barbeque to ignite and charades to punctuate our evening so we adhered to the equine theme of this paragraph and tried the Prancing Pony Brewery’s India Red Ale which clocks in at a Phar Lap-sized 7.9%. The notes promised, ‘caramel characters’ but Claire was firm: no likey. Brett voted it champion beer of our session. I could see its appeal, but for me it mostly represented a disagreeable chore, like compulsory attendance at a death metal music festival.



A couple of punters joined us in the beer garden. In the front bar somebody laughed. A distant mobile phone buzzed: we need milk.



Our final refreshment was a dark ale from the Smiling Samoyed Brewery just up the hill in Myponga. It whispered of roasted dark chocolate and black Arctic nights and a plaintive, strummed mandolin, or maybe just beer.



Our convoy stretched up the hill towards our holiday house.




To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.




Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.




Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.




Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. Gives a whole new angle on having a day on the dogs and horses. The RSPCA should be called in given some of the names.

  2. PB- Do you recall Two Dogs Lemonade? And the accompanying joke?

  3. You forgot to mention Mickey, that after the convoy arrived back at the holiday house, barbecue ingnition ignited happiness in you. X

  4. Mickey and Someone happy as Two Dogs…………..

  5. “As fruity as a Carry-On movie”
    I need to remember that one!

  6. Rulebook says

    Entertaining as always,Mickey,the Claire dux line gets my 3 votes

  7. Daryl Schramm says

    Not wrapped in some of the boutique brewery fruity flavours and high AC. Disappointed the dark ale seemed not to impress. We have Tooheys Old on tap at the golf club. It’s definitely showing in my build but too nice to resist. Keep ’em coming Mickey.

  8. John Butler says

    Mickey, sounds like a couple of those drops should come with complementary beard wax and a subscription to Hipster Monthly.

    We complicate everything these days.

  9. But did they have Carlton or XXXX?

    Enjoying the one-liners.

  10. Daryl, Tooheys Old is a mighty fine drop. Highly recommend it.

    The other good dark beer is Carlton Black, but it’s getting like Hens Teeth.When Peter German had Harts Hotel in Footscray, they sold it. Peter left, the hipsters took over; end of that. Greensborough RSL stocked it, but post lockdown it was no longer sold there.Not sure where to find it now.


  11. Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.

    Dwelling on my behaviour with regard to trying craft beers: I enjoy the new styles and exotic names of the ales on offer and find the immediate context compelling, but have rarely returned to any I’ve sampled (apart from yours if you’re reading Luke!). For me they’re a bit like a forgettable excursion on a Gold Coast holiday, but I keep booking my flights! At the pub (any of them) I tend to stick with a few favourites only. I suspect I’m of limited interest to the marketers and advertising analysts etc.

Leave a Comment