Sunday, 23 October 2016


The Thirst

The amount of emails I've received about The Thirst have far exceeded those of any other section on this blog. With this in mind, I do apologise if I've used your article and haven't attributed it to you - it was purely an oversight. I hope you enjoy this mix of articles that range from (almost) scientific to relatively soft and visual heavy.

WHEN WAS BRETTANOMYCES DISCOVERED - Ronald Pattinson of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins (Link)

I stumbled upon this old blog post from Ronald Pattinson, one of the foremost experts in historical beer styles, whilst researching the next What's in Style post. In it he postulates that Claussen, at the Carlsberg Brewery, was not the first person to discover Brettanomyces, as history would have us believe.


I'm going back to Munchies' Craftwerk series for this one. I thought this was a really cool piece looking at their operation and the challenges they face by being in such an isolated area. Some of the innovations they've made to keep their brewery running are really cool, although I'd be interested to know how consistent their batches are considering the massive temperature swings... I'd be keen to get my hands on some of their beers when their bottling line is fully up and running.

THE MYSTERY OF OLD CHIMNEYS - Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey of All About Beer (Link)

Much like the Craftwerk video I'm venturing back to my last post and All About Beer, in particular Boak & Bailey for this next piece. Beer rating has become such a massive thing over the past 10 years - and Ratebeer's Top 50 List is, arguably, the highest pinnacle. This is the story about Britain's only entrant in the Top 50 - Old Chimney's Good King Henry Special Reserve - and it's relative lck of fame outside beer rating circles.

**This isn't the time to discuss the merits/follies of rating beers across styles and how this sort of rating system tends to favour Russian Imperial Stouts... That's for another day. 


The article talks about soon to be ratified changes to the excise tax on craft beer in the United States. The graph showing the increase in craft brewers after the last excise tax cut shows the benefit that it could have. Australia needs to take note! Our excise tax on craft beer is significantly higher than those in the United States, presenting obstacles for brewers & consumers alike. Credit to Dan for sending this one to me.


This link was sent to me by 3 or 4 different people. The author goes through pretty much exactly the same thought process that I did when first presented with Fruit IPA's. I still for the life of me don't understand why I didn't think they would work. Fast forward to present day and I think BrewDog's Elvis Juice is one of the best beers I've had this year!


The article title pretty much says it all. From the world's oldest brewery, to the world's highest brewery, to a brewery housed in a church, and one in a skyscraper. This is a straight forward article which got the nod because of the pictures that accompany it.

THE COMIC BOOK STORY OF BEER - Jonathan Hennessey & Mike Smith

This book is quite different to most of the other beer books I read... It's a comic book that tells the history of beer throughout the ages. It's really well researched and put together by Messrs Hennessey & Smith and presents the history of beer in fun bite sized pieces. It is also worth mentioning the wonderful job done by artist Aaron McConnell, who makes this book an excellent visual experience. If you're into comic books, this is well worth your money.

I'm going to leave you with a few extra links. First; a post about the language around Lambics. I found fascinating (Link). Secondly; a piece from Concrete Playground looking at the weirdest craft beer offerings from our Kiwi cousins this year (Link). And last but not least; this video from Societe Brewing Company talking about their new pumpkin beer (Link)

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

Saturday, 15 October 2016


Untappd: Better Together (Level 15) Badge

  • Country: Belgium/Spain
  • Style: Berliner Weissbier
  • ABV: 4.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
It's been over two months since I've reviewed a beer in full; that changes tonight! Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a collaboration between Brouwerij Alvinne and Laugar Brewery, a Spanish brewery that I hadn't previously heard of. This was part of a sour pack that I received from Richo & Eliza for my birthday, thanks guys!

Better Together (Level 15) is the reason we're talking about this beer. For those who don't know Better Together is the badge for drinking collaboration beers - something that is becoming more and more common. Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a Berliner Weissbier with a grain bill comprising, among others, 30% rye & 20% wheat. It then spends 8 months in oak barrels before raspberries are added for a further 4 months.

The beer pours an unusual orange-tinged pink colour, which is quite alluring. The head is slightly pink, about 2 fingers high and relatively short lasting. Large bubbles were present in the head almost from pouring and they only become more prevalent as the head dissipates over the first two or three minutes of drinking. The head disappears completely, leaving no lacing behind to show it had even been there. All of these characteristics are typical of a Berliner Weissbier, although the colour is extraordinary. It's  good looking beer.

Onto the nose and it was pretty much what I would expect given what I knew of the beer. The dominant aroma was of raspberry, although there was little fruit sweetness. There is plenty of tartness accompanying this as well as some light lemon.

Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a lovely raspberry Berliner Weisse. The flavour follows the nose; with pronounced tartness and plenty of raspberry, which is strangely lacking in sweetness despite it's strong fruitiness. As the beer warms there is this lemony acidity that becomes more apparent. It's a really wonderful example of a Berliner Weisse.

This was another wonderful Alvinne sour, they so rarely disappoint. I'm intrigued by how they've imparted the raspberry flavour with so little sweetness. I've been told I'm too positives with my review so I'm going to try and do some negatives. The carbonation is on the higher side. I think this almost works for this beer with it coming across as spritzy and accentuating the tartness, but it may not be for everyone. There is also no apparent signs of 8 months of oak barrel aging, although it has surely had an effect on the tartness. These are both very minor complaints; if you're into fruit sours, I would highly recommend seeking this one out.

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


Untappd Catchup

As usual I haven't managed to stick to one of my self imposed deadlines; at least I was close for once! When I intended to post this review there were 6 badges to talk about and somehow we finished with 12 badges across 11 beers... Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and find a beer you want to try!

I had high hopes of making the beer that unlocked Birthday Brew (Level 4) the first beer I've reviewed in full in months. Alas Grand Final Weekend intervened... The beer was, somewhat fittingly, Alpine's Hoppy Birthday. It was wonderful! With a cavalcade of citrus and tropical fruit flavours coming from the hops complimented by heaps of pine. It's one to look out for, although freshness would be key.

Levels of 2X, the badge for drinking "Imperial" beers, are getting knocked off very rapidly. (Level 5) was unlocked by Stone's 20th Anniversary beer, Citracado IPA. Like almost all Stone beers, this was incredible! It was naturally a big hop forward Imperial IPA, with plenty of citrus and floral characteristics coming from the Citra hops. There was a sweetness, that I later found out was from Avocado flower honey (hence "cado" in Citracado). It's both excessively hopped and excessively malty, but somehow pulls it all together into a well balanced, if quite big, finished product.

Regular readers would be aware of my love of Black IPA's. Moor's Agent of Evil ticked a lot of boxes for me and unlocked Hopped Up (Level 47) in the process. This beer had everything I'm looking for in the style; nice roasted malts and plenty of hops. The hopping was far more reminiscent of an American brewer than an English brewer, with plenty of pine flavour, some light citrus and assertive bitterness. I will have to go and seek our some moor (get it!) Moor beers, this was impressive.

Having had a Black IPA, I had to follow it up with another! BrewDog's Black Hammer, the first of the Jack Hammer spin-off beers I've come across, was even better than the Agent of Evil mentioned above! BrewDog don't do things by half measures and this beer was no exception. There was heaps of roasted malt and a wonderful intense mix of resinous pine and pithy grapefruit bitterness coming from the hops. I could happily drink this beer all day! God Save the Queen (Level 35) is why you're reading about it now.

A few sours on a Saturday afternoon with Richo, which you may read more about later, turned into much more than a few sours... Somewhere around midnight out came Garage Project's Sauvin Nouveau. This is a beer I've seen heaps of times but always passed on in the past. It's a pilsner that has had sauvignon blanc juice added to the wort. The result is very interesting, with a light vinous element coming through, as well as plenty of fruit. Accompanying this is plenty of hops, all Nelson Sauvin, which provides a nice bitterness and clean finish. It's a fascinating beer and one I would like to try on a fresher palate; Crisp as Day (Level 17) was the badge.

You're Extra Special (Level 3) is a badge that doesn't come around all that often for me. I'm not huge on E.S.B.'s but they are certainly growing on me. The Loch Brewery & Distillery Best Bitter was the latest one that I tried. It's not a beer that I'd drink regularly, although it's a relatively easy drinking beer. It's driven by a bready malt body with a distinctive yeast element as the beer warms. The hops are the real winners here with restrained citrus the most prevalent, while there is also a stonefruit flavour that I can't quite place. If you're into malt driven English beers, this would be one to investigate.

When I read that 8 Wired were making a Sour IPA I knew two things; 1) that I had to try it & 2) that it'd be awesome! Both of these things came true when I tried Palate Trip last night, whilst unlocking Pucker Up (Level 42) & Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 34). This was their GABS beer from this year and I was pretty disappointed I didn't get to try it on the day because I was too sick. It lived up to my expectations with nice tropical fruit and citrus hops being complimented by pleasant, not overpowering, tartness. I would highly recommend this to IPA lovers who are looking to get into sours; it would make an excellent transition beer.

Franziskaner's Here-Weisse Dunkel, is one of the best examples of a straight up and down Dunkelweizen that you can find. It's got all of the flavours you'd expect, banana, cloves, vanilla, a touch of green apples and chocolate malts. It's available at Dans nationwide and it's a beer that everyone who loves beer should try at least once. It unlocked that ever confounding badge, New Brew Thursday (Level 24).

Take a Dunk is the (relatively) new Untappd badge for drinking different Dunkelweizens. I was surprised it took me this long, over 6 months, to unlock it. Denmark's Hornbeer don't bring many beers out to Australia, but I did manage to get my hands on their Dark Wheat. It was quite a nice beer, although was it significantly lacking in the banana wheat flavour that characterizes the style. There was some nice malts, a bit of spice and a creamy vanilla mouthfeel.

We're in the midst of a canning arms race, where every craft brewer is trying to get their wares into cans. Six String, a brewery on the NSW Central Coast. have always canned their beers including their Hefeweizen, a style very rarely seen in cans. It's another good, if not excellent, example of the style with plenty of banana and cloves. It was perhaps a tad overcarbed, with the head taking a good 5 minutes to calm down. In any case; it drank well and that's what matters! Hefenista (Level 9) is why you're reading about it.

Saturday afternoon called for a something big and hoppy; Buxton's Nth Cloud was the beer to sate my needs. It did exactly what I was hoping it would! It's a wonderfully clean Imperial IPA, with plenty of pine and citrus - particularly grapefruit. The malts are predominantly caramel and provide more sweetness than flavour. It's an excellent beer! Buxton are fast turning into my favourite English brewery. The badge was Hopped Up (Level 48), it's time to start thinking 

I think I might have to make a no drinking new beers rule when I'm writing these Untappd Catchup posts; they have a tendency to get out of hand... In any case, it's finally done! I'm hoping to finish the new installment of The Thirst tomorrow, I've just got to finish going through my emails that I've received on the subject. My first full review for ages is partly written as well, so with any luck that will be up before my exam next Thursday. Keep the emails and questions coming guys!

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

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Untappd Catchup

Welcome to this special Untappd Catchup; this post is all about badges that unlocked country/region badges. A few weeks ago I was flicking through my badges and noticed about 10 of the country ones were one beer short of the next level. Naturally I took matters into my own hands and made it possible for 17 badges to be unlocked in a row...

With this in mind, would you be surprised that I stuffed it up? Nøgne Ø's Kriek of Telemark unlocked Norway's Here Come the Vikings! (Level 4), although it was two weeks before when I intended to drink it... (I may have been drunk). Anyway - it's a superb Kriek, brewed with naturally sour Norwegian Cherries.

The first of the consecutive beers was Wychwood Black Wych. It was a light bodied English Porter from Witney, near Oxford. It had the distinctive chocolate dominating roast flavour, with a touch of caramel, that so characterizes English Porter's. There were some light floral hops, accompanying some slightly stronger than usual carbonation. It's not a world beater, but a nice example of the style. God Save the Queen (Level 34) was the reason you're reading about it.

Scottish beers, somewhat strangely, still count towards the God Save the Queen badge even though they now have their own badge; Highlander. (Level 5) of this badge was unlocked by BrewDog's Ace of Simcoe, a single hop Session IPA. It's very easy drinking and has all the Simcoe characteristics you'd expect; Mango, Pine & Grapefruit. The malt base is lightly toasty, but doesn't have much substance to it.

After watching the To Øl Craftwerk video 6 or so weeks ago; I thought why don't I drink more To Øl beers. Since then I've had 4 of their beers and I've been impressed with all of them. First Frontier IPA was the beer that unlocked Danish Delight (Level 6). This beer was no exception, there was a light caramel base but the major flavour was of grapefruit hops with a bit of pine. It was slightly over carbonated, but that didn't effect the overall experience too much. It's a lovely American IPA and one that I'd recommend getting your hands on.

I honestly had no idea that The Full Irish from 8 Degrees Brewing was still in the back of my fridge. It's a single malt IPA, and works in much the same way as a single hop IPA would except with 100% Irish malt. It'd held up remarkably well considering it was god knows how old. There was a touch of pine hops, which I'm sure would've been stronger had the beer been fresher, and there was nice maltiness. Luck of the Irish (Level 2) was the regional badge, while it coincidentally also unlocked Hopped Up (Level 46).

Going Dutch (Level 4) was unlocked by Emelisse's Black Berry. It's a beer that came with a pretty poor reputation, but I honestly couldn't understand why. I thought the blackberry flavour was very impressive, with nice fruitiness and that inherent tartness of blackberries. Despite this tartness it was also quite sweet. The only thing I can think of is that tart-yet-sweet flavour has put some other people off, for mine it was quite an enjoyable beer.

One of the badges I unlocked for the first time was Brew of the Dragon, the badge for drinking Chinese beers. Lao Te was the beer that did the job. It's a beer that is apparently brewed with 100% Australian malted barley, not that you could taste any of it in the beer! That said the beer wasn't too bad as Asian lagers go. There wasn't that usual overt sweetness and there was even a touch of grassy/straw-like hop bitterness. As a beer to drink with dumplings you could do much worse, as one for the connoisseurs it's not so good.

Brasserie du Mont Blanc make one of my favourite beer glasses. Naturally when I came across their La Blonde, I had to try my glass out. It's a perfectly serviceable Blonde Ale, with light Belgian funk, mixing nicely with some reasonably bitter citrus hops. It's a beer that just screams warm spring afternoons. La Creme de la Creme (Level 4), incidentally the first level of this badge I've unlocked outside France, is the reason you're hearing about it.

Poland is a country best known for cheap lager and good vodka. When I came across the Brok Extra Stout, I knew this had to be the beer to unlock the new Polish badge; Pole Position. Over the 2 weeks prior, I forced my way through 4 Polish lagers, some of which were actually alright, and then cracked into this beer. The Extra Stout was a really unusual beer. It tasted more like a herbal tonic than a beer. It had this weird malty/cola, almost sarsaparilla, flavour with some other dark fruits that I couldn't place. It's certainly not a stout, maybe a Belgian Dark Ale. It's definitely worth trying, although I won't be rushing back to try it again.

Japan is a country who produce excellent craft beer. Unfortunately not that much of it makes it our way. Lizzie picked up Niigata's Canadian Pilsner at the Japanese grocery store that we sometimes get sushi from. It came in a blue glass bottle that I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately that's where the positives ended. It was a very murky looking beer, not something normally associated with a Pilsner. The flavour was very yeast dominant, it tasted like Vegemite, which again isn't something I'm keen on in a beer... I know Japan does better stuff than this, it might take me visiting to find it though! Rising Sun (Level 5) was the badge.

The beer I was most looking forward to in these 17 beers unlocked The Gondolier (Level 12). That beer was Duchessic Ale, a (sort of) collaboration between Birra del Borgo and Cantillon. Duchessic Ale is Birra del Borgo's Duchessa, a delicious fruity saison, that has had 20% 1 year old Cantillon lambic spliced into it. The result is this lovely sour saison, which is full of lemon and hay. I've tried both of the beers used to create this beer individually and can safely say that the combination is far better than either of it's individual parts.

Belgian Holiday (Level 29) was unlocked by Westvleteren 8. The Westvleteren 8 is probably the least well known of their beers. It's a Dubbel and one that I hadn't had the pleasure of trying before. It's a wonderful complex Dubbel, with this lovely mix of caramel malts, some spices, dark fruits, banana and a hint of bubblegum. It's a wonderful beer but considering the price, I think I'd rather have a 6-pack of the St Bernardus, which is brewed to the same recipe. Trappist Travesty (Level 3) was a nice little added bonus.

I am thrilled to be getting so many Omnipollo beers in Australia now! They always deliver the goods and it was their Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout, the double barrel aged version to be precise, that unlocked Swedish Brews (Level 3). This beer certainly lived up to the hype; in fact I would say it's one of the best beers I've had this year! It's got a big chocolate body with a reasonable amount of vanilla. Despite this the beer isn't overly sweet and there is a nice, although not overpowering, level of whisky influence.

A beer that I've had in the back of my cupboard for years unlocked the new badge for drinking African beers; Going on Safari. That beer, thankfully, was one that could hold up to the rigours of time. The beer was the Urbock from Namibia Breweries Limited, a 7% Bock that had held up magnificently! There's plenty of sweetness from something that smells like honey and some malts that have caramel and roasty characteristics. The mouthfeel was creamy and the beer drank beautifully. It also unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 17).

When I was first getting into craft beer Unibroue's beers were available pretty readily at craft beer shops. Within maybe a year they had all but disappeared; so it was with much surprise that I stumbled upon a Trois Pistoles about a month ago. This is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale packed full of candi sugar, dark fruits and spices. In my opinion it's one of the best in it's style and is certainly one to seek out! The Great White North (Level 4), the Canadian badge, is why you're hearing about it now.

Of all the Russian beers Anton has brought out my favourite has been a Russian Imperial Stout from Victory Art Brew. One of the latest to hit Tru Bru is a new RIS from Victory Art Brew; Pyotr. The beer had plenty of oatmeal, and it's associated creaminess, as well as a light smokiness. The overall taste of the beer was on the sweeter side, but not cloyingly so. I had no idea it was 11% until I looked at the bottle later... This beer unlocked Tovarisch! (Level 4),  and Sky's the Limit (Level 20) as an added bonus.

Rounding out the 17 country badges was Czech it Out (Level 2), naturally for drinking beers from the Czech republic. The beer was fittingly a classic Czech Pilsner; Kozel Svetly. While not a stand out beer for the style it's very pleasant and easy drinking. It's got a light Pilsner malt base with just a touch of hay thrown in for good measure. The hops are where the beer shines, with the nice spicy grass flavours of Saaz hops providing nice bitterness. It's crisp, finishes quite dry and at 4% you could drink them all day. This is a beer your non-craft drinking mates could easily drink this summer, whilst providing enough interest for a discerning palate.

It's fair to say that I missed my deadline of Thursday (almost two weeks ago!). The extravaganza that is my Grand Final Day celebrations got a little out of hand and then I needed to catchup on some uni work. Well done if you got all the way through this review, it was quite a long one... I've got a short Untappd Catchup, which I'm hoping to get done in the next day or so, and a 3rd installment of The Thirst in the pipeline. It's been over two months since I've reviewed a beer in full - so that's something I'm hoping to change soon.

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Untappd Catchup

It's time for work's accreditation once again, combine that with a law degree and a business degree and suddenly I'm drinking a lot of beer - and writing very little about beer once again. This Untappd Catchup has got a little out of hand... So please bear with me throughout this review, there are some wonderful beers hidden away in here.

Elysian's Dragonstooth is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout that has been aging in my cupboard for a couple of years. This beer pre-dates their 2015 sale to AB Inbev. The beer was beautifully creamy and unlocked Heavyweight (Level 47) & 2X (Level 2) - which for those who can't remember is for checking in beers with "Imperial" or "Double" in the style.

Bodriggy's Highbinder was my beer of choice before my exam at the end of August. New Brew Thursday (Level 22) was unlocked by this beer, which was a beautiful example of an American Pale Ale. It had lovely stone fruit characteristics, the specifics of which I can't remember, while having nice restrained bitterness. I remember thinking I could drink many many pints of this beer.

As a treat for smashing my exam, later that evening I delved into my cellar and picked out a collaboration between Amager & Hopping Frog. Frog Hops to Amager was an incredible example of an American Stout/Imperial Stout, with this wonderful velvety smoothness, which is apparently brought about by a significant amount of wheat in the grain bill. I can't recall having another stout with a significant amount of wheat in the grain bill, so this was quite a thing for me. Wheel of Styles (Level 14) is why you're hearing about it - although you probably would've anyway, I loved it!

La Sirene's Avant Garde series were three of the beer I've most looked forward to this year. It was always likely that one would unlock Trip to the Farm (Level 17). That honour fell to Long Table, the middle of the three. Dylan and I split all three, and a number of other beers, on a Friday night in front of the footy. I thought that the body on this beer was a little bit too heavy, maybe that was just in comparison to the Biere de Provision that preceded it. The beer was also less tart than the Biere de Provision but it was far funkier. Flavours of grassy hay, citrus, light pepper and some hints of cloves.

Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 33) was unlocked by the Tuatara ITI. Dylan brought this over as part of our tasting night, it's always good to have some low-ABV options. It had pronounced hop characters with floral and tropical fruit flavours and light malt characteristics. It was a seriously impressive mid-strength option, clocking in at only 3.3%, I reckon I'll be back for more. We compared it to Pirate Life's Throwback IPA, a beer I love, and it compared favorably. I would highly recommend trying this beer if you come across it.

The 2500th unique beer I checked-in was Stone's Enjoy After 07.04.16 Brett IPA. This beer was fitting I thought to bring in the Elite badge, and coincidentally Hopped Up (Level 44). Having lived in my beer aging cupboard for the best part of, if not slightly more than, a year I thought it was a fitting beer to bring up this milestone. It was a beer worth aging, with plenty of Brett character and some nice, albeit expectedly faded, citrus hops.

Prancing Pony's Amber Ale is a very underrated beer. This was strangely the first time I've checked it in since the Paint the Town Red came in; and accordingly unlocked (Level 9). Like all the Prancing Pony beers, this beer has this wonderfully pronounced caramelisation. This is accompanied by nice balanced pine hops. It's an Amber Ale that I need to drink more often.

The Brunette's Have More Fun badge, along with the Blonde's Have More Fun badge, has been killed off by political correctness and replaced with Bravo for Brown (Level 7). Croft Biscuit Blast Brown Ale was the first beer to receive this new badge. It was a low-ABV Brown Ale (3%), which had nice biscuity malts but was (probably expectedly) thin bodied. As far as a cold winter's day lunch beer goes - it's a good option, the flavour is lovely.

Red Duck are known for producing really interesting offerings. "Dude, You Smoked My Cherry!' is no exception to that rule. It was actually reasonably light on cherry, with a nice light smokiness. Accompanying this was a subtle tartness, which actually paired very nicely with the flavour. It wasn't at all what I expected, it far exceeded my expectations. Pucker Up (Level 40) was the badge.

It's been a long time since a Beer Connoissuer badge came along, over a year in fact. My first ever beer from Madagascar; Three Horses, unlocked Beer Connoisseur (Level 16). This was actually a pretty reasonable pilsner, with light pilsner malts punctuated with some grassy noble hops. There's much better, and probably fresher, pilsner's available in Australia - but if you're in Madagascar this would be a perfectly acceptable lager to drink,

Speaking of lagers; Paulaner's Original Munich Lager unlocked their own badge; The Original and Authentic Oktoberfest Biers. This is one of these beers that I often overlook, but really shouldn't! I have vague memories of this beer being one of our Grand Final kegs a couple of years ago. It's a phenomenal lager with nice bready malts and plenty of grassy hops. If you are one of those people who say they hate all lager, try this beer!

A good Pilsner can be as good as any beer! Crisp as Day (Level 16) was unlocked by Cernovar Svetle. It's a Czech beer, although it's not quite a traditional Czech Pilsner. It's much maltier, with hints of caramel, than a traditional Pilsner. The hops are grassy, and I also gets hints of citrus, although not particularly bitter. It's not a beer I'd rush back to anytime soon, but I certainly wouldn't turn it down if offered it.

Dugges are a Swedish brewery producing some pretty awesome stuff! Their new labels inspired me to dig out my Idjit, their Russian Imperial Stout, that has been aging away in my beer cellar for a couple of years. It was a really big RIS, with plenty of roasted malt flavours as well as a coffee forward element. Heavy Weight (Level 48) is the reason we're talking about this badge now.

Garage Project's Lupus the Wolf Man unlocked 2X (Level 3). I had this wonderful Imperial IPA after soccer a week or two ago. It was originally brewed as one of their "Bro's Freak Show" range at GABS. I didn't get to try it then - but god I'm glad I bought this bottle! It had a wonderful resinous pine hop flavour, and was nicely bitter to boot. It drank dangerously well for 9%. If there is still any of this lying around, it's well and truly worth the price!

I've been at Dr Morse at least twice a week for work over the past month. Thankfully these meetings are usually after lunch and I can sample their excellent tap offerings. Batch's Wardell Nut Brown Ale was one of the beers that got this treatment. It was a very nice English style Brown Ale, which had a lovely, albeit relatively restrained, nuttiness about it. The badge was Wheel of Styles (Level 15).

A beer I remember very little about; Mountain Goat's Swoop Season IPA, unlocked the Hopped Up (Level 45) badge. What I do remember is that I had this beer during the middle of a very long drinking session; and that this beer was at the Dan O'Connell Hotel. My Untappd notes say that this was an enjoyable, bitter IPA. Unfortunately this is all I've got to offer regarding this beer... I may have to seek this one out again.

Oskar Blues' have finally officially launched their beers in Australia. The market has had plenty of grey imports before but fresh Oskar Blues was a first. Their Gubna Imperial IPA unlocked Sky's the Limit (Level 19). It was a beer I brought out after finalizing my latest assignment and it was just what the doctor ordered. Despite's in 10% body, this beer drinks dangerously easily. There's heaps of citrus and pine hops accompanying some sweet malts.

Murray's Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep was a beer brewed in collaboration with James of The Crafty Pint in 2013 for a Beervana media award. It's billed as a "Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel & Oyster Stout", I can safely say it's the only beer I've ever had that falls into this category - funnily enough. The few years in the back of my cupboard have done it wonders; it's a beautifully mellow beer, which combines the aforementioned smokiness with the light saltiness of the mussels and oysters. I doubt there are many of these left in existence - if you come across one you have to try it! Imperial Czar (Level 4) & 2X (Level 4) were the badges that were unlocked by this beer.

Almanac launched their range in Australia in February this year. They've gained quite a following since the, despite their hefty price point - I shudder to think how much I've spent on their stuff... Their Citra Sour is the latest of their beers I've tried. It was a wonderfully constructed beer; a blonde ale, aged in white wine barrels and then extensively dry hopped with Citra hops. The result was nothing short of outstanding, and truly worthy of unlocking Pucker Up (Level 41). It's was quite tart, with vinous hints and plenty of citrus and lychee flavours - that are so synonymous with Citra hops.

Lizzie and I went to Estelle for our anniversary last weekend. They had a Boatrocker pairing option to accompany their degustation, that naturally I partook in. Their Epice, a wonderful Belgian Blonde Ale, was the beer that unlocked Field of Gold (Level 6), the badge that replaced Blonde's Have More Fun. For those who've been to Belgium, this beer should bring back memories. Epice is lightly funky, while it's got nice citrus elements. Accompanying this is a delicate carbonation, which tickles the tongue nicely, whilst star anise provides a distinctive finish.

Another Oskar Blues beer was responsible for unlocking Paint the Town Red (Level 10). G'Knight is an Imperial Red IPA and a beer that I've had years ago, as a grey import. It's a beer with plenty of big sweet malts. The hops aren't quite as big and are mostly pine driven, although there is also some citrus elements to them. Despite these elements all being quite nice individually, they don't quite gel in this beer. If you're looking for a Red IPA, look to better Australian examples (Modus Operandi or Prancing Pony both spring to mind).

I have to thank Dylan for the Vienna Lager that unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 16). Bridge Road's Posse beers are normally reserved for their Posse members, so I was very pleased to have a Posse Spring Lager delivered to me. This was a lovely lager, although personally I wouldn't have classed it as a Vienna Lager. It's much less malty than a traditional Vienna Lager and has some slightly bitter hops that provide wonderful light citrus and grassy flavours. This would be a wonderful beer to knock back a few of on a hot summer's day.

My pre-MBA exam beers at Dr Morse are becoming a bit of a recurring theme. The latest beer was the Watts River IPA, which happened to unlock New Brew Thursday (Level 23). It was a really well put together IPA. The caramel malt base was present, but firmly in the background, while the hops provided plenty of orange flavour and good bitterness. I was suitably impressed with this beer and will be keeping my eyes out for more of their beers.

By the Campfire (Level 8) was unlocked somewhere between Abbotsford and the MCG last Friday night. Our "walk beer" this week was a stubbie of Carlton Draught, a beer I haven't had in packaged form for ages. I have no idea how long these stubbies had been in the work fridge, but mine tasted reasonably fresh. I'd prefer a lot of beers to packaged Carlton (tap is a completely different story), but I'd quite happily have another one.

This post got a little out of hand... Thankfully it's finally done and posted. Some of these beers really surprised me - and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on them. In the meantime; I have a massive Grand Final Weekend party to host, but I hope to get my next special Untappd post up before then. Keep sending your emails in - I'm slowly working through the backlog! Cheers guys - hopefully October will be a more productive blog month than September (the bar hasn't been set high!).

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

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


The Hottest 100 Beers

It's taken me a little longer than expected, but I've finally put together Part 4 of this Hottest 100 segment. I've tried at least 1 beer from each decade (yes, it's correct - it's not just used for years.) and have written short summations for you below. Assuming things go to plan, ie. I can find all the beers in time, I intend to complete this challenge in 10 posts.

#9 - Modus Operandi Former Tenant Former Tenant is named after the "Former Tenant" of the brewery. He was an interesting character to say the least; and was particularly unfortunate to get apprehended when he did. If you want the full story, you'll have to check out my Instagram post on this beer; I think it's worth the read. The beer is particularly dank, with tropical fruit also playing a part alongside the superb caramel malts. This is as good as Red IPA gets and a worthy recipient of a top 10 placing in the Hottest 100!

#12 - James Squire Hop Thief 7 For all the bad press James Squire receives; their Hop Thief is probably the beer that is educating the most Australian beer drinking about craft beer. It may not pack the hop punch of almost any proper craft Pale Ale, but it does have reasonable flavours and showcases different hops with each edition. The seventh edition had Galaxy & Mosaic, there was some tropical fruit notes but this was lost under the malts. For me; either the hops had to be stronger or the malts less intense. For the average drinker? This could be the stepping stone to trying something else...

#25 - Prancing Pony India Red Ale If the Modus Operandi Former Tenant is as good as Red IPA gets, then Prancing Pony's India Red Ale is a very close second! The malt caramelisation is as good as in any beer I can recall, which the hops provide a wonderful range of flavours; with peach, apricot, passionfruit and a strange herbaceous quality all easily identifiable. This beer would be a strong contender for my desert island beer... I reviewed this beer in full at the start of last year; which you can check out here.

#34 - Colonial Small Ale This was a phenomenal little mid-strength! The citrus hops are punchy, while there is a reasonable amount of malt considering the ABV. The best part of this beer however is not the beer itself; it's the packaging! Instead of the little pull tab system, the entire top of the can comes out leaving a huge hole for you to drink out of - much like a glass. It's really cool and not something I'd seen before - it's as good of a reason to purchase a Colonial Small Ale.

#47 - Little Creatures IPA I've loved this beer since it first came out, however the sample I tried for this challenge was really disappointing. The bottle was relatively fresh, yet it was lacking the hop bite of previous version. The malt seemed a little less chewy than past iterations as well. I hope this was just a bad batch, something I wouldn't normally associate with Little Creatures, rather than a Lion forced downturn in quality.

#51 - 
Mountain Goat Fancy Pants I have loved this beer since it was first released in 2010. It was one of the first beers I had back in Melbourne after my European sojourn that inspired my love of beer. It's a nicely hopped Red Ale, which has plenty of caramel malt layers. There's also some hops, but not enough to excite my palate as much as they would've 5 or more years ago. This beer being available year round now is such good news! I love this beer!

#63 - Big Shed F-Yeah Big Shed is a brewery that I think we will be seeing a lot more of in the not too distant future. They're from Adelaide and continually improving their excellent range of beers, 3 of which made the cut for this years Hottest 100. F-Yeah is well balanced American Pale Ale with biscuity dominating the malt front. There's a light amount of spiciness, which I keep wondering if it's rye - but think it's not, while the hops provide mostly citrus characteristics. If you are after a Pale Ale you can do a lot worse than pickup this beauty from S.A.

#77 - Mornington IPA I can't for the life of me explain why it's been the best part of a year since I last sampled this beer. It's an excellent Australian IPA; which has heaps of stone fruit flavours and some pine bitterness. The malts are mostly biscuity although there is also some caramel malts present. As far as balance IPA's goes, this is as good as they come in Australia.

#83 - Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout One of my favourite Australian beers slotted in at #83. If Thirsty Crow was based in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane (instead of Wagga Wagga) this beer would be in the top 10 every year, without a shadow of a doubt! It's a luscious Milk Stout, with chocolate, roast, vanilla and lactose sweetness combining beautifully. Having this beer in their Brewpub in Wagga Wagga is one of the great Australian beer experiences, something I managed to experience, for the third time, on the way to Grandma's 90th in Canberra.

#94 - Hargreaves Hill ESB Regular readers will be aware that ESB's aren't really my thing. That is slowly changing, in part due to this fantastic beer from Hargreaves Hill. It's definitely not a traditional ESB, as it's been hopped with plenty of "New World" hops. There's this lovely orange flavour I get every time I try it that reminds me of marmalade, while there is also some passionfruit. There's a traditional ESB malt base with some nice earthy and fruity notes. It's a lovely beer, and one that too often gets passed over due to it's plain label.

It may have taken a little over 2 weeks to get this up, but Part 4 of The Hottest 100 Beers is done. I'm starting to run into some availability issues early than expected - so I've made a list and will be being more organised from now on. I'm aiming to get Parts 5, 6 & 7 done by the end of October, which would leave near enough to one month for each of the remaining three parts. You can follow me along live on the Beeroclockau Instagram page. Until next time...

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

Saturday, 3 September 2016


The Thirst

Since the first edition of The Thirst proved so popular with you guys, it's back for a second edition (and probably here to stay). I got sent heaps of emails with articles, so apologies if I have included an article you sent me and I haven't credited it.

There's plenty of variation in the articles posted this time. The articles range from quite in-depth pieces on the Australian Craft Beer scene, to an exploration of a rare Finnish style of beer, a look at North Korea's beer scene (yes, they have one!) and everything in between.


The story of a man's journey through North Korea following their craft beer scene. I knew that North Korea made beer, Taedonggang beer has a reasonable reputation, but had no idea of the others mentioned. It's a fascinating insight into their culture and their love of beer. I found the Steam Beer craze in North Korea to be particularly interesting - but it makes sense given the lack of electricity and therefore refrigeration.


It's rare to see craft beer crack the mainstream media in Australia; so this article from ABC News deserves mentioning. It talks about the decline in the overall consumption of beer in Australia, while we're experiencing a boom in the craft beer industry. It espoused the theory that Australian's are choosing to drink better, rather than more.

BEER LOVERS: IT'S TIME WE SOUR ON USE OF THE ADJECTIVE 'SOUR' - Justin Grant of The Tampa Bay Times (Link here)

Justin argues that sour beer styles are as diverse as any other beer styles and should be treated accordingly (ie. call a Gose a Gose, not a sour). I understand where the author is coming from - I'm just torn whether I agree or not... I think the word 'sour' has a place in the beer vernacular, it's a very easy to understand descriptor to use to the wider community. On the other hand, I really dislike talking to other beer people who instantly write off all 'sour beers' when they probably just don't like Flanders Red Ale's or Gose's. Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

TRACING THE HISTORY OF BEER GEEKS - Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey of All About Beer (Link here)

Speaking of the beer community, I thought this was a good read about my craft beer drinking forebears. I found the history interesting, it's not surprising that the Germans and Scandinavians were ahead of the trend here, and also found some books to track down; The Local by Maurice Gorham and Brew Brittania by the authors of this article.


Finnish Sahti is one of these rare styles of beer that has always intrigued me. It's very rarely produced outside Finland, and what little is isn't very good. The article explores the style and also explains the reasons behind why it's not found elsewhere in the world. Check it out if you know, or don't know, what Sahti is - it's a good read, with some good photos thrown in for good measure.


This was a well constructed piece about the Australian Craft Beer scene. I thought there were a number of sentient points, in particular the comparisons with America. I rarely get upset with things in the beer industry, but our tendency to dump on brands who "sell out" is frankly ridiculous. This piece handles that topics are others very nicely. It's probably the pick of the pieces in this post.


The Craftwerk series from Munchies is a must watch for any beer lover! Thanks to Dylan for introducing me to this series; I've wasted many hours watching them since you showed me! I've picked the To Øl one to showcase; it's the newest one and not only introduces their new Brewpub, but also their freeze-dried beer concept. It's such a cool idea, hopefully it's something that's come to fruition down the track.


James is the number one craft beer voice in Australia. Many people may not be aware that the man with the unassuming name is better known as The Crafty Pint. This is James' second book and is similar in style to the first; 150 Great Australian Beers. If you want to know a short summation of the history of Australian beer, with a slight craft beer leaning, I cannot recommend any source higher than pages 10-18 of this book. It's a wonderful resource for information on the best beers on the Australian craft beer scene; I certainly found a few that I'll be seeking out!

I hope you've enjoyed perusing these articles guys - keep sending them in via email; As soon as this post gets finalized I'm going to start on hopefully getting some beer content up for you. The camera is finally working again, so with any luck I'll get that glassware post up in the coming week or two.

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