Wednesday, 19 February 2020

FALL & RISE BREWING

2019: The Year of Local


STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Brewed At: Cockies
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://www.fallandrisebrewing.com.au/
Petros Gygtopoulos & Yiannis Psimoulis are two young Greek guys, who recently emigrated to Australia & launched a brewing company. The duo met in Greece where Yiannis worked as a pro-brewer & Petros was a chemical engineer who dabbled in homebrewing. Both wanted to come & join the large Greek community in Melbourne, which is when the idea of starting their own brewing operation crystalized.

And so Fall & Rise Brewing was born, as a contract operation in late-2019 under the name Fallen Angel Brewing. Within months, I think it only lasted one batch, the name had changed and the bottles they launched with had been replaced with cans. The name of the brewing company comes from the mythology of their homeland.

“Once upon a time, Gods and Angels of Mount Olympus had only one goal; to rule over humans using their secret brew recipes. Though one of their angels was stepping in the way! Brewing with non-traditional brewing techniques he was a liability for the Gods! The Gods had no choice but to exile him. The Fallen Angel arrived furious onto earth and started sharing his unique recipes with humans! His only goal was to Rise once again!”

Their first beer is called The Rise, & it's a Hoppy Kolsch which is quite an interesting beer style to launch with. However upon my first sip I was sold. Kolsch tick, hoppy tick. It's actually quite bitter. There's a real whack of hops which give off floral aromas alongside tropical fruits. Really interesting beer - I'll be keeping an eye on these guys into the future.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!





Friday, 7 February 2020

CARWYN CANVENT 2019 (PART 5)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 5)



Carwyn Cellars is a name that every Australian Craft Beer lover should know. It's the preeminent bottle shops in the country. For their advent calendar, they've partnered with 24 Australian Craft Breweries to make an exclusive canned release for their "Canvent Calendar".

After the success of last year there was only ever going to be one Advent Calendar I'd buy this year! Once again this year I'll be cataloging the contents of the Carwyn Canvent Advent Calendar. The Carwyn Canvent Calendar is going to get the full treatment - and with any luck you'll have updates every 5 days. In the interim, let me know what Advent Calendar you've got this year and your initial thoughts on it so far.

Day 21 - Modus Operandi Margie - I was pretty surprised to see the Modus Operandi offering was a sour. I guess it's good that they're branching out and trying new things, however I would've expected they would produce something more hop forward. Anyway a Lime Gose sounds like the perfect beer to crack after a hot summer's day.

My tasting notes for this weren't particularly good... However I do strongly recall there being plenty of salt, plenty of lime & some nice acidity. I don't particularly remember the day, although I guessing it was cooler as my tasting notes mostly reference how refreshing it would've been in the day befores heat...

Day 22 - New England Imperial Chai Brown Ale - At the complete opposite end of the spectrum for beers I'd like to drink on a hot December's night was the offering from New England Brewing Co, from Uralla in Central NSW. I'm normally not one to complain about seeing a Brown Ale, but an almost 8% adjuncted version isn't normally what I'm after in December...

Thankfully, the beer was really good! There was plenty of sweet malts, which blended quite nicely with the chai. Chai is one of those things I find can very easily be overpowering, although I think they got the level right in this beer. I know some people were disappointed to find out that this beer had previously been released in 2018, which isn't really the point of the Canvent.

Day 23 - Otherside Tropical Imperial Sour - Otherside are making some really cool stuff at the moment, so I was really pleased to see one of their distinctive cans come out of the Canvent box on Day 23. Their offering is billed as a Tropical Imperial Sour. Honestly I'm not sure where I sit on Imperial Sours, often I don't think the additional alcohol is doing anything for the flavour of the beer.

I really enjoyed the flavour of this beer. There was heaps of tropical fruit juice flavours, not dissimilar to a breakfast juice, which was then paired with some acidity. The carbonation was spritzy and at sub 4% ABV I would drink many of these. Unfortunately it clocks in at almost 7% & I don't understand what the additional ABV is doing to improve the beer.

Day 24 - Boatrocker B.A. Humbug - This years Canvent had been relatively light on for Christmas related puns. Boatrocker have delivered a beauty with their Barrel Aged English Strong Ale; B.A. Humbug. Boatrocker are one of the best exponents of barrel aged beers in the country so I went in with high expectations!

I'm sad to say those expectations weren't met; although that's probably because I expect so much from Boatrocker. The beer was nice, just a little unbalanced. I thought it was overspiced. particularly with cinnamon & all spice, whilst it was also a little hot. In more positive thoughts, I liked the earthy malt based as well as the vanilla you get from whiskey barrel aging. I wonder if this would be better with some further age on it...

It's only taken until early-February, but my Canvent wrap up that I aim to have up around Christmas is finally done & dusted. Overall I think this years Canvent was a little bit down on the very high standard they set last year. At this stage I think I would probably get another one next year, although the door is slightly ajar in case something truly truly exceptional comes along.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

CARWYN CANVENT 2019 (PART 4)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 4)



Carwyn Cellars is a name that every Australian Craft Beer lover should know. It's the preeminent bottle shops in the country. For their advent calendar, they've partnered with 24 Australian Craft Breweries to make an exclusive canned release for their "Canvent Calendar".

After the success of last year there was only ever going to be one Advent Calendar I'd buy this year! Once again this year I'll be cataloging the contents of the Carwyn Canvent Advent Calendar. The Carwyn Canvent Calendar is going to get the full treatment - and with any luck you'll have updates every 5 days. In the interim, let me know what Advent Calendar you've got this year and your initial thoughts on it so far.

Day 16 - Hop Nation Sweater - I was really excited to see a Red IPA make it's way into the Canvent pack, particularly after the somewhat lacklustre offerings in the last set of 5. I was also pleased to see that Hop Nation were the brewery charged with the responsibility of producing this beer. They're a tricky thing to balance with the malt sweetness almost as important as the hop characters, despite the IPA name.

Hop Nation knocked this one out of the park. The balance between sweet caramel malts and quite sticky, resinous hop characteristics (a real throwback to a few years ago before Hazy/New England IPA's became all the rage) was perfect! I would love this beer to become a year round offering!

Day 17 - Edge Burnt Toast - Edge really hit onto a winner in 2018 with their Toast, an all-Australian ingredients take on a traditional European Pilsner. Following that success with Burnt Toast, a dark multigrain lager, as their Canvent beer seemed, to me at least, like a stroke of genius! Maybe it's because I love Dark Lager...

It was a really interesting lager. I was impressed with the malt complexity & the full, yet not heavy, mouthfeel. Carbonation was on the low side & there was just enough hop bitterness to balance out the residual sweetness. The real star of the show however was this subtle smokiness that permeated the entirety of the drinking. It was in no way overpowering but it really did add nicely to the experience.

Day 18 - Bells Beach G&T Gose - There were actually two different Bells Beach beers in the Canvent this year. Due to some unexpected losses at packaging the G&T Gose came up a few cases short, meaning some people ended up with a different Gose that the Torquay brewery were planning on releasing shortly along with a voucher for a drink at the brewery.

I got the original G&T version, which I quite enjoyed. It ticked a lot of boxes on the execution of the idea front. There was Juniper, there was salt, it was tart & there was some citrus acidity. What I found slightly strange was a spice that I couldn't quite put my finger on - which was possibly nutmeg.

Day 19 - Burnley Cucumber Mint Lager - Regular readers would be aware of my love of Burnley Brewing & particularly their lagers. A Cucumber & Mint Lager, seems like an ambitious beer to brew but that is what the Canvent is for! It seemed to me like it had the potential to be really refreshing although I have had mixed results with cucumber beers in the past...

After my first sip I knew this beer would be seriously polarizing! There is heaps of cucumber on both the nose & the palate! This masks most of the grain flavour components. The real star in the beer though is the mint, which comes in and the back end and provides a really refreshing minty hit leaving you wanting more. I was quite disappointed I didn't have another when my can was empty.

Day 20 - Sailors Grave How to Make Gravy - There would have been a collective gasp around the nation when a beer named "How to Make Gravy"came out of the box on Day 20 rather than 21! For those this reference is lost on, it's a lyric from the iconic eponymous song by Australian artist Paul Kelly.

It was also one of the most controversial beers of the Canvent owing to one of it's ingredients; bone broth, which naturally upset some vegetarians/vegans. I thought the bone broth actually added an interesting umami character as well as some salinity. There's a good amount of caramel malts as well as some floral hops. It was ambitious & for me worked

It feels good to be back writing after a few pretty shit weeks with an infected wisdom tooth, not much sleep or drinking. I'm hoping to bust out these last two Canvent posts, finalize the Golden Pints & then get back into The Year of Local posts. I thought this set of 5 beers was much better than the previous set, with ambitious beers more in keeping with what I think the pack is supposed to be about.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

CARWYN CANVENT 2019 (PART 3)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 3)



Carwyn Cellars is a name that every Australian Craft Beer lover should know. It's the preeminent bottle shops in the country. For their advent calendar, they've partnered with 24 Australian Craft Breweries to make an exclusive canned release for their "Canvent Calendar".

After the success of last year there was only ever going to be one Advent Calendar I'd buy this year! Once again this year I'll be cataloging the contents of the Carwyn Canvent Advent Calendar. The Carwyn Canvent Calendar is going to get the full treatment - and with any luck you'll have updates every 5 days. In the interim, let me know what Advent Calendar you've got this year and your initial thoughts on it so far.

Day 11 - Venom Hazy Christmas Snakebite - I really liked the idea behind Venom's beer in the Canvent; a play off the reason the brewery was named Venom & a traditional Australian pub drink. A snakebite is traditionally a 50:50 mix of lager & cider, however Venom's has used a truckload of raspberries in a Hazy IPA.

The idea may have been great, but the execution didn't quite work for me. There was clearly too distinct elements to the beer, with tart raspberry upfront before some tropical hop notes became more apparent. The flavours never quite meshed for me
Day 12 - Black Arts Santa's Little Helper - Black Arts received a very late call up to the Canvent pack after the sale of Green Beacon to Asahi. Carwyn has a strictly enforced independent only policy. This beer is quite similar to their Biere de Coupage; a blend of fresh Saison with some of their barrel aged stock.

And just like their Biere de Coupage, this beer is fantastic! There's this lovely bready malt base that combines with light Belgian funk. I pickup touches of wheat as well as plenty of stonefruit on the backend. If these were canned year round, I would drink them year round! Superb! This is a brewery that everyone should be keeping an eye on.

Day 13 - Tallboy & Moose Oat Deer - Tallboy & Moose is the closest brewery to Carwyn Cellars. It's a small brewpub, which have been releasing cans in the last few months. This is a blended Oatmeal Stout, which is a mix between barrel aged & un-aged stouts.

At 7.4% it's the biggest beer of the Canvent so far. As a mix of Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatwine & an Oatmeal Stout you'd expect the body to be luscious; Oat Deer doesn't disappoint. There is the vanilla you'd expect from the bourbon barrels as well as licorice & dark chocolate. It's a lovely beer, but probably not the most appropriate beer for an Australian Summer...

Day 14 - Helios French Oaked New World Pale - This is the first beer that I've ever had from Helios. They're a brewery based in the South Brisbane suburb of Yeerongpilly. I've heard little bits about them, although not much about the quality of the beer. I generally don't like the idea of adding Oak to a Pale Ale, but we'll see if this offering changes my mind on the idea...

I'm sad to report that it did not. It's just a Pale Ale, admittedly quite a nice one, that has some oak character. There's spicy citrus & pine hop aromas which was on top of a creamy cereal malt bill. It finishes with this vanilla character from the oak, but really it was oddly dry & I don't think it added to what otherwise could've been a nice Pale Ale.

Day 15 - Beerfarm Watermelon & Basil Sour - Beerfarm are a farm brewery from the Margaret River region, in the South West corner of Western Australia. Carwyn have been bringing their beers over for the last couple of years & I've been impressed with most of the things I've tried from them.

Their sour beers are the ones that have really caught my eye, with many utilising native ingredients. This sour uses locally grown basil & watermelon, two flavours that should work well together. The beer was nicely tart, with a touch of sweetness coming from the watermelon. There was just enough basil on the finish to justify its use in the name.

Only one of these 5 was truly exceptional. There were for the most part well executed beers, although some of the ideas behind them were a little flawed. On the most part the beers in this section of the Canvent were good without being exceptional. I was actually a little underwhelmed by these beers, which is one of the reasons I fell behind on this post...

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 12

Episode 12 - Show Notes 

A few technical issues led to us not quite making our goal of getting this episode out by the end of the year! We've got a few plans for the podcast in 2020, but we'll hold onto those for now until things are a little more concrete. One thing I can let you in on is that we've changed up the theme music for 2020 - any comments are always appreciated. A reminder; we now have a Facebook page where you can interact with us & get timelier answers than via email. We also, at the behest of Apple Podcasts, are now having to give our episodes names; so if you have any ideas on how we should name them we'd love to hear the feedback.

We're going to rotate some segments in and out, especially early on while we get into the swing of things - so if there is anything you love or hate, please let us know! The idea at the moment is that the podcast will be (roughly) monthly, and we'll try and keep that pretty regular - at least more so than I've kept the blog up to date recently... Basically every month we'll discuss some of the latest news from the beer world, we'll talk about some beers that we've been enjoying over the last month & we'll crack something interesting from my cellar.

This month we discuss we discuss a number of brewery takeovers, including the big one by Australian standards; Balter. We talk through some of the Victorian breweries we visited as part of The Year of Local & we attempt to slot beers from El Salvador, Thailand & Italy into our Ranking of Lagers. There was no Cellar segment this month as we were recording in the morning before a Tequilla, Beer & Cheese event. As usual we hope you enjoy the show!


 Show Notes

News Items (0:15)
  • Balter Sale Discussion
    • Investors, Independence, Hottest 100, CUB Portfolio
  • Ballast Point Sale to Kings & Convicts
  • Little World Beverages Buy New Belgium
  • Anderson Valley Becomes Craftier?

The Year of Local (18:20)

  • 3 Breweries To Visit (At time of recording)
    • Contract Breweries All Completed
    • I did manage to finish despite Alchemy opening!
  • Geelong & Surrounds Overview
  • The Worst Brewery of the Year?
  • Thunder Road & Temple
  • Yarra Valley

Ranking of Lagers (36:20)
  • This week we had to slot in Cantina (El Salvador), Singha (Thailand) & Birra Moretti (Italy)
  • The New Rankings are as follows:
    1. Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)
    2. Tennent's (Scotland)
    3. Carlsberg (Denmark)
    4. Quilmes (Argentina)
    5. Kingfisher (India)
    6. Gullmack (Norway)
    7. Sapporo (Japan)
    8. Birra Moretti (Italy)
    9. Corona (Mexico)
    10. Heineken (Netherlands)
    11. San Miguel (Philippines)
    12. Cantina (El Salvador)
    13. Tusker (Kenya)
    14. Tiger (Singapore)
    15. Singha (Thailand)
    16. Red Stripe (Jamaica)
    17. Vonu (Fiji)
    18. Cusquena (Peru)
There we have it for another episode of the Beer O'Clock Australia Podcast. As usual you can hit me up at gus.norris7@gmail.com or at our new Facebook page, if you have any questions or feedback. We're hoping to get a couple of special episodes out to you in the next few months, so stay tuned on the podcast feed for those. In the mean time I'm going to keep plugging away on The Year of Local posts, if there are any breweries you'd like to see prioritised let me know & I'll see what I can do!

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Monday, 13 January 2020

KOOINDA BREWERY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Northern Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: Heidelberg - Temporarily Closed
  • Food: N/A
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Websitehttps://www.kooinda.com.au/
Kooinda was started by a group of mates from a suburban garage in Heidelberg. They had a home made 400L which utilised the family pool to help cool the beer on the way to the fermenter. After years struggling to get licensed, they finally entered the market in 2008 as one of about 25 Victorian brewers at the time & the first residentially licensed brewery in the country.

Within two years the brewery had outgrown it's humble suburban beginings & relocated to an industrial warehouse in Heidelberg West. As the brewery grew the founders dropped off one by one, moving on to other projects some within the beer industry & some outside. By 2015 only one of the original founders, head brewer Mick Opie, was left!

Unlike most craft brewers, Kooinda have gone through a number of ownership changes. In 2014 the brewery was acquired by a group headed by Brian Hardie, a former BrewDog Operations Manager. They had plans to reinvigorate the brand, however by September 2016 they too had sold to another group.

That group made significant changes; with a major overhaul of the packaging the most externally obvious. They also made the decision to outsource the production of their core offerings to BrewPack in NSW, to hopefully eliminate the consistency issues that had plagued them in recent years. This allowed the brewing team in Heidelberg to focus on new recipe development.

In March 2019 Kooinda announced that their Heidelberg taproom would be closed indefinitely, but that the wholesale business would continue unabated. I'm not sure that's true, I've found it very hard to find their beers & I haven't been able to get a response from them despite attempting to contact them via a number of channels.

It took me until late-November but I finally found one of their beers! The Milk Porter was always one of my favourites of theirs & one of the few beers that didn't suffer from the re-brand. It's still a lovely Porter, with chocolate & lactose up front before some bitter roasted coffee notes take over. It finishes slightly creamy, leaving you wanting more. There's far less around than their used to be, but it's still a lovely beer.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

ODYSSEY CRAFT BREWING CO

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Bellarine Peninsula
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Brewed At: Cockies
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Websitehttp://odysseycraftbrewing.com.au/
Odyssey Craft Brewing Co, originally Odyssey Brewery & Tavern, launched way back in 2012 in Mount Duneed. It's a suburb about 15 to 20 minute drive South of Geelong. The brand was started by Grant Byrne, a Geelong local, who had dreamed about having his own brewpub for the best part of 15 years before biting the bullet.

His venue was revolutionary for the region, only Forrest Brewing Co being open in the region & that being the best part of an hour away. He knew he was onto a winner when he had local visit, initially disappointed by the lack of Carlton Draught, but after some samples ended up trying their first Imperial Stout later that evening!

Grant operated a small 200L brewery in a room behind the bar at The Odyssey Brewery & Tavern from 2013. They peaked on a national front when their flagship Calypso Pale Ale placed 61st in 2015 Hottest 100 Beers, which resulted in them beginning to package their beer. After being readily available for the best part of 2 years, the beers began to disappear.

This came to a head in June 2018 when Odyssey offloaded the venue to The Hop Inn after 6 and a half years. You're still able to find their beer at The Hop Inn, which is a realatively open wooden pub with a beachside feel, befitting the area. There's plenty of surfboards around & they apparently serve a mean burger!

It was at The Hop Inn that I came across my Odyssey beer for this post; their Apocalypso Double IPA. It's very much an old-school IPA with plenty of caramel malt sweetness upfront, almost to the point of being cloying, before some hop bitterness cuts through along with plenty of pine. It's a nice beer, but is somewhat of a relic from a bygone era - possibly something behind their fading in the eyes of the public.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

*I've received an update that Odyssey are currently on a short hiatus - with plans to relaunch soon.