Saturday, 24 February 2018


The Beer-thusiast Pack: November 

Since the temporary demise of Tru Bru's Bear Club, I've been looking for a beer club to fill the void. Up stepped The Beer-thusiast Pack from one of Melbourne's finest craft beer establishments; Carwyn Cellars.

The Beer-thusiast Pack is delivered to your door monthly. It's composition is a complete mystery until it arrives - although it's likely to include a number of local offerings. Each month 12 beers arrive, including 4 duplicates. As many of you know I'm not generally one for duplicates, which is where Dylan comes in.

Dylan and I share a love of sport and have been playing indoor soccer together for a few years now. Dylan's love of craft beer has grown over the years to the point that he's now an avid Untappd user and works at a boutique bottle shop, with a large craft beer range. His tastes are not dissimilar to mine; with a preference for sours and hoppy beers over maltier offerings.

For the first time in a few years I'm going to have a co-reviewer on Beer O'Clock Australia. The plan is that we'll divide the duplicates at soccer soon after they arrive. We'll both drink them individually and record our thoughts, before getting together to share the single beers in the pack (and possibly a few more!). The format is sure to change over these first couple of months as we work through some teething issues, so please hit me up if you've got any feedback.

I have no image of the box's contents to bring you for November as Carwyn didn't include them in our box! This box had a few new releases, both in the singles and the duplicates, as well as some long term favourites. I was pretty keen to try my first beer from The Beer Farm, a brewery a few hours south of Perth in Western Australia.

Hawkers XPA - American Pale Ale - 4.6%

Hawkers are the latest Australian brewery to join the canning revolution. They released three beers; a West Coast IPA, a Lager and this XPA - that were as on point stylistically as their core range offerings. The XPA has a slightly lower than normal for the style and indicated to me that the hopping would be increased instead.

"Hawkers have been on fire with their canned releases. Alongside the super punchy West Coast IPA and the super smooth lager comes this pale, slotting in nicely in the middle on the hop spectrum. It’s a very tasty beer, with the body on the thinner side of things to allow hop flavour/aroma to dominate. One of the more sessionable hop-heavy beers in recent memory."

Exit Pale Ale - American Pale Ale - 4.6%

Exit were brewery who produced beer number two in the November Beer-Thusiast Pack; and also the second who's inclusion was a 4.6% Pale Ale. I've been a big fan of these guys since day one and was really pleased to see that they were able to release their Pale Ale in cans.

"It’s a good beer, but it’s not a particularly easy one to talk about without sounding like I’m covering well worn territory. It’s a pale! And a nice one! Exit’s hop focus is reflected well here and the can’s Tron inspired art is cool."

Despite the lag in posting this review, I had this beer very very fresh and it really lived up to the hype I'd built up in my head. I also had it about two months later and was pleased to say that it was still holding up well. If you're into fruity Pale Ales this would be one to try!

Boatrocker Miss Pinky - Raspberry Berliner Weisse - 3.4%

I was so pleased to see Boatrocker's Miss Pinky make it into a Beer-Thusiast Pack. This is a beer that I think has the potential to be one of the most influential beers in the evolution of the Australian craft beer story. It's the first sour to crack a mainstream store (Dan's) - and it's survived far longer than many other beers. The popularity of this beer, a style about as far from typical Australian macro lager as you can get, will hopefully see more brewers produce sours.

"I’d wager this is both Boatrocker’s most popular beer and the most widespread sour in Australia, so there’s not a lot of revelatory information I can provide here. It’s still a really good beer though, the kind of thing I’m always happy to have a six pack of in the fridge. Lovely raspberry flavour, light enough tartness for those not accustomed to sours to enjoy, doughy wheat base. There are better raspberry sours around but not at this price, and not available at your local Dan’s. It’s a great low ABV option too."

Kaiju Cthulhu On The Moon - Black IPA - 6.5%

Kaiju do things differently to other breweries. I can't think of another Australian brewery which has a core range Black IPA in a can. The name references Cthulhu - a leviathan type creature created by H.P. Lovecraft, who died a virtual unknown but is now considered one of the most important authors of the 20th Century.

"This was the first black IPA I ever had and I have a bit of a soft spot for it, but what a great example of the style. Herbal, dense hops combine with this umami heavy malt base (thanks to the roast) to make a beer that is both complex but eminently drinkable. Even better now that it’s in cans - I feel like the brighter flavours of the hop varieties (think pine and light citrus) come through more than they did in the bottle."

Mornington Jiffy Squid - NEIPA - 4.9%

At the start of 2017 I would've been in the minority of beer drinkers in Australia who knew what a NEIPA was. In 2018 it's just about the most talked about style around! I think it's a well known fact by now that I'm a bit of a Mornington fan-boy, so I was pretty stoked to see their take on the cult style included in this pack!

"I feel like this would’ve gone down a lot better fresh at the brewery, but it’s still an admirable effort at an NEIPA, especially for under 5% alcohol (which occupies a bit of a hazy niche). It’s cloudy with a soft body, a little bit of prickly bitterness and some nice fruit flavours."

Founders Green Zebra - Gose - 4.6%

When I first heard about this beer from Founders - I had high hopes that this could fill the Watermelon Warhead shaped hole in my fridge (Feral; hurry up and can/bottle it!). It's a Watermelon Gose, from their Artist Series which is released yearly in August. The Artist Series gives the Founders Family a chance to create a piece of art, with the winner to grace the label.

"This was a genuine disappointment. I love watermelon generally and I especially love watermelon sours (blame Watermelon Warhead). I expected this to be on the lighter, more smashable side but...not like this. It’s just far too sweet, with a jolly rancher like watermelon flavour instead of anything resembling fresh. There’s tartness here, with any salinity getting lost amongst the rest. I’m planning on giving this another go down the line (Founders have earned the benefit of the doubt) but this can was closer to an RTD than a gose."

Dylan and I have shared a few of these, in quite different levels of sobriety, and I don't really have much positive to say about it either. It's so disappointing! It's far too sweet and doesn't live up to what it should/could be.

Beer Farm India Pale Lager - India Pale Lager - 5.2%

Beer Farm is one of a growing number of up & coming West Australian breweries. It's very highly rated out west, but we rarely see any of their offerings on the east coast. This is the first of theirs that I've had the pleasure of trying. It's very interesting to see a brewery having an IPL as their flagship beer, well done this style can be excellent - there just aren't that many good ones around Australia at the moment.

"I’m definitely coming around on IPL’s, probably due to my increased intake of hoppy lagers lately. This was a good effort at the style, coming across as a bigger version of an Aussie lager that was then dry hopped with some American varieties rather than a lagered IPA. I liked that about it though, it lent it a point of difference (and judging by its placing on the Hottest 100 beers, has probably made it more accessible!)."

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Scotch Ale - 11.1%

Backwoods Bastard is one of my all-time favourite beers. It's a Scotch Ale that is then aged in Bourbon barrels, something of a specialty of Founders! I had my first one of these about 4 years ago - and have had at least one, often more, aging ever since!

"I’m very picky with my scotch ales and the offerings from Founders haven’t ever been to my tastes. Backwoods is certainly better than Dirty Bastard, with some nice sweetness and a good, rounded body but I still find it quite muted in terms of flavour. The whole thing comes across as a little flat and uninteresting. I’m not entirely sure what separates a beloved Scotch ale I’m not particularly fond of (like this) to a beloved Scotch ale I enjoy (like Old Chub) but like I said, picky."

We've slowed down slightly on the schedule of reviewing due to various commitments on both our parts. We've completed drinking December's offerings (and I think most of January's) - so with any luck will have them up by the time February's Pack review is due! Let's see how we go... I haven't had much luck with my recent self-imposed deadlines!

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

Monday, 22 January 2018


Every year UK based beer bloggers Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg put out the cry for beer bloggers to produce their "Golden Pint Awards". Basically it's a celebration of best beers had during the year by people who know the most about beer, or at least think they do!

This is the sixth year I've done this now and it's getting harder rather than easier! It continually gets later and later by the time I get this post up. This year Dylan has also gone away and written his own version, which is included in Italics below my own. These were 100% blind! All awards that we both awarded the same winner was by pure coincidence, and probably just further legitimizes their win! So without further ado, let's get into the 2017 Golden Pints;

Best Australian Draught Beer - Boatrocker Roger Ramjet (2015) Dylan and I ventured to Ramjet Day this year, the first year I'd been able to go. Wow! What an event! One of many highlights was the 2015 Roger Ramjet, the Bourbon iteration of Ramjet, of this wonderful Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout. Amongst an array of wonderful BA Stouts this was right up there!

Feral Biggie Juice 

In amongst all the drama with Feral in the latter stages of 2017 it’s all too easy to forget how good their offerings were throughout the year. Biggie Juice was the pick of the bunch for mine - serving both as a precursor to the haze craze that was everywhere in the second half of the year and delicious beer in its own right. Stupidly fruity, looked the part and kicked off the 2017 good beer week for me. Could you ask for any more?

Best Australian Bottled Beer - La Sirène Forêt Sauvage That said, La Sirène's Forêt Sauvage; a spontaneously fermented Tripel that spent 18 months in French Oak barrels alongside King Valley cherries, was absolutely superb! Those who've had the privilege of sampling beers from La Sirène will understand the complexity that they've been able to extract in the past, this beer takes that to another level! This beer would stand shoulder to shoulder with any sour you would care to put it up against.

Boatrocker Orange Sherbet

What a spectacular, delicate example of how to make a good sour ale. The berliner weisse base, chardonnay barrels and bitter orange all lend their own piece of character, melding together beautifully into a whole. The name makes sense as there’s a heap of spritzy, bouncy orange up front which rounds out to an almost sorbet-like combination of smooth, round fruit and tartness. It blew me away and was in all likelihood a big contributor to the worrying amount I spent on sours in the following months of 2017.

Best Australian Canned Beer - Hawkers West Coast IPA This beer was only released in the last week of November, but really there could be no other choice. I very very rarely buy 4-packs or 6-packs, yet I think I've bought 4 of these since this beer was released. This is a beautifully clean example of a West Coast IPA, with plenty of pine and stonefruit flavours.

Exit Saison

What a year for the can! I’m such a massive fan of them and was stoked to see so many breweries jumping on board. It’s probably not much of a surprise that putting one of my favourite beers into my preferred drinking vessel took out the spot here, but it’s hard to argue with the extra peppery zest the can format gave an already excellent, yeasty, big bodied saison.

Best Cask Beer Red Hill Hop Harvest Ale I had one cask ale for the year, so I guess it wins by default! That beer was Red Hill's Hop Harvest Ale and thankfully it was really good! I had this over the Easter long weekend, naturally on cask, at the brewery. I remember it being particularly "green" with fresh hops, but in a good way. Next year I'm going to endeavour to drink more cask beer.

Morrison Brewery Industrial Estate Ale

Strangely enough I had a few IPAs on cask this year, with some working better than others. This was apparently a single batch brewed for the serving style and you could tell - the softer carbonation and creamy body worked nicely with the crazy amount of hops in here.

Best Overseas Draught Beer - To Øl Black Malts & Body Salts I was lucky enough to try one of my all-time favourite beers on tap for the first time this year when Grape & Grain had a To Øl & Lervig tap takeover towards the end of 2017. This beer has so much malt complexity that combines beautifully with the various hop flavours. If you love Black IPA's this is an absolute must try.

To Øl Sur Germs Are Coming Eating Our Pomegranate And Redcurrant! 

The pick of a very good bunch sampled during a European takeover at Grape and Grain. This is a Brett saison with what I can only assume is a crazy amount of pomegranate/redcurrant in it. The colour is beautiful, there’s plenty of funk (the good kind), the redcurrants add a nice subtle tartness and it finishes dry and bitter. Just a bloody well thought out and made beer - the type that you want to keep sipping to try to pick up everything it’s putting out.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer - Firestone Walker Parabola The highlight of my beer year, was imbibing far too much of Firestone Walker's Parabola with the brewer at Mega Dega 5! I was blown away by this beer, which was as good of a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout that I could ever have imagined.

Prairie Artisan Ales Funky Gold Citra  

This is how you do a hoppy sour. All of the flavours work to support the hops, enhancing the juicy citrus from the Citra with earthy funk, punchy tartness and a bracingly dry finish. There’s a deft hand with the overall balance as well as the look and feel of this beer - reminiscent of a good saison with the golden/orange colour and carbonation level. I came away from it with a better appreciation for Citra and that’s the gold standard for a beer like this.

Best Overseas Canned Beer - Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Ten Fidy Another big American Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout took out the Best Overseas Canned Beer. It was a superb melding of all the flavours you'd expect from the style; caramel, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon and woodiness. It's a beer which puts people off because of the price tag, don't be one of those people! If you're into big stouts, buy this beer it's worth every cent!

White Mischief Garage Project

Another big year for Garage Project, but one in which a very small beer stood out. Clocking in at under 3% ABV came this gose, one which is so delicious it’s difficult to put down. You can’t even rely on the little voice in the back of your head telling you to take it easy due to the alcohol level. There’s something so incredibly moreish about the combination of peach (and there’s a lot of peach here), salt and puckering tartness. The only issue I have is how quickly it always seems to sell in Australia!

Best Collaboration Beer - Black Rhino Cherry Lips 3 of the newer Australian breweries; Hop Nation, Big Shed & Exit, teamed up to make Black Rhino Cherry Lips. It's a Black Gose, which has had a heap of Morello (sour) cherries chucked in towards the end of fermentation. I don't think I can't do this beer justice in this short of a space; it was wonderfully complex with flavours ranging from salty & peaty through to sweet chocolate and cherry. I really hope this gets re-brewed down the line!

Mountain Goat Back to the Brewer

More of a reunion than a collaboration, this gathering of ex-Mountain Goat brewers (including people now residing at Two Birds and Hop Products Australia) with the current crop still fits the bill. Turning the ‘double steam ale’ concept into something close to an NEIPA was genius, with the soft, clean body of steam ale still there but ramped up to accommodate a silly amount of hops. The result was a big, juicy and dangerously drinkable send off to 2017.

Best Overall Beer - Boatrocker Ramjet (2014/2015) I couldn't choose anything else this year! It says so much about how the craft beer scene in Australia is developing that I preferred this Barrel Aged to any of the more fancied American ones. This was far and away the beer of the night, it's aged wonderfully over the last few years!

Boatrocker Ramjet (2014/2015)

You know when you’re tossing up between a Cantillion and something else and end up choosing the non-Cantillion option you’ve got something special. The 2014/2015 Ramjet was the best thing I tried on Ramjet day in 2017, somehow standing out amongst a group of world class imperial stouts (and local whisky...and a couple of sours). This was the best thing I drank this year and I think I knew that’d be the case from the first sip. There’s vanilla and oak up front, with the whisky having mellowed out into a sweeter backdrop for the waves and waves of cocoa and chocolate that come through towards the end. It’s a decadent stout that has aged just about perfectly.

Best Branding - Wolf of the Willows After going with down the eclectic route last year, I've settled on uniformity this year. Wolf of the Willows have this down pat. The labels are really stand out with their use of negative space. I find that their beers really stand out on a shelf when all lined up next to each other.


This one is in recognition of how intelligently CC marketed their beer with their artwork and style. They make excellent beer but they’ve established a foothold in a crowded scene, something I’d wager is in no small part due to their distinctive, striking art and sense of continuity across their range with their characters and colour coding.

Best Bottle Label - Bad Shepherd Russian Imperial Stout This year I thought was actually a bit lacking in really good label art. I ended up stumping for this lovely Russian Imperial Stout from Bad Shepherd (pictured below). The photo doesn't do the gold leaf justice, which really stood out. It was as striking as the beer was good!

Blackman’s Brewery Lager Collective

A bit of an under the radar award here - they’re not the most spectacular, or funny, or thoughtful pieces of beer artwork this year but they just look so damn good. My mind kept coming back to how much I dug the look of these three beers and it eventually wore me down. I love how they look like a series but also look great individually - from Juicy Banger’s floral, tropical chrome to Zinger Slinger’s graffiti inspired look to the jungle sunset of Citra Black Dynamite. They deserve some props.

Best Australian Brewery Boatrocker Defending their Best Australian Brewery title from 2016 is Boatrocker. The breweries barrel program is really starting to bear fruit with a wider array of their 500ml offerings hitting the shelves. The one criticism directed their way at times is the pricing of these offerings; I would imagine that these are relatively low margin considering the time that goes into a product like that, especially when combined with our ridiculous excise tax...

Hop Nation

Not only did Hop Nation make a lot of excellent beers in 2017, they were both consistent in quality and also took steps forward for the brewery as a whole. Their core range remained strong, with new members such as The Heart fitting in well and filling a gap. They built on their forays into sours by keeping The Punch in rotation as well as brewing beers like the hoppy sour Acid Head, the wonderful oud bruin Le Garnet and the bonkers smoked black cherry gose collaboration Black Rhino Cherry Lips. The Kalash and The Sturm were tasty bigger bottles and Jedi Juice was one of the best in the downpour of NEIPAs we saw. I’m really excited to see (and drink) what they do in 2018.

Best Overseas Brewery To Øl The title for Best Overseas Brewery 2017 goes to To Øl. I was already a huge fan of this Danish gypsy brewer before having the To Ølekalender in 2016, but that really sealed the deal in my mind. This year I haven't been able to walk passed a To Øl beer I haven't had, and struggle to walk passed ones I have had before. These guys make consistently excellent beers, across a vast array of styles and I can't recommend them highly enough.

To Øl

I’ve always liked To Øl, but 2017 was when I realised that I like all of To Øl. I literally haven’t had a bad beer from them and they remain the only brewery I automatically blind buy anything I haven’t tried from. The sheer diversity of beers they release, along with their weird and wonderful art and, most importantly, their high benchmark of quality is pretty nuts when you take it as a whole. I hope they never change.

Best New Brewery Opening 2017 - Wildflower This was the easiest category for me to answer this year; Wildflower is already a serious contender for the Best Australian Brewery title! Based in Western Sydney, Wildflower is more a blendery than a traditional brewery - with no on site brewing facility. They use excess capacity at other local breweries to brew their wort, which is then brough back to their site and aged in barrels before blending. Their two core range beers; Gold & Amber, have blown me away each time I've tried them! If you're into sours, check these guys out!

Wildflower Brewing & Blending

It’s a testament to how quickly Wildflower have become a part of the Australian craft beer scene that I almost forgot they opened up in 2017. Specialising in using native, local ingredients to make and blend various sour concoctions (and a straight up lager in there, because why not!), they caught the eye with their careful quality control, excellent flavour profiles and scheduled online/cellar door releases. They’re the kind of brewery where the quality will only increase over time and are a very welcome addition to the laundry list of breweries occupying our shores.

Pub/Bar of the Year Carwyn Cellars Carwyn Cellars is probably best known as one of Australia's best Independent Bottle Shops. What many don't know is that their bar out the back is also one of Australia's finest! I had a heap of great beers here during 2017, and the addition of their beer garden towards the end of the year sealed the Golden Pint for them.

Carwyn Cellars

Could it be anyone else? We’re spoiled with the amount of craft beer bars in Melbourne nowadays but Carwyn remains the holy grail - a place where weird and wonderful tap lineups are constantly rolling in, with a fantastic bottle lineup too. You could argue they belong in here as a retailer more than a bar, but every time I’ve gone down there it has been to partake in one of their many, many events so I’m giving them the nod here.

Beer Festival of the Year Good Beer Week For the second year running I'm awarding the title of Beer Festival of the Year to the Good Beer Week team. It is simply the best beer festival in Australia, if not the world. My beer highlight of the year was at their Mega Dega degustation dinner, where I was seated at the same table as some of the worlds best brewers! 

Good Beer Week

Again, a bit of a lay down misere, but a well deserved win for GBW. I love how it turns Melbourne into a beer lover’s dream for a week, with constant masterclasses and events for all tastes taken care of. All the events, pub crawls and tap takeovers I went to were fantastic, and the GABS weekend portion remains a big part of the Melbourne beer calendar every year.

Supermarket of the Year - First Choice This was a tough one this year, as both Dan's & First Choice did some good things and some bad things. Both I thought dropped the ball a little in terms of looking after their beer, however both increased the quality and quantity of craft beers that they stock. I'm giving it to First Choice because of the beer made by Deep Creek exclusively for them; Kombi. It's been priced very reasonably and is seriously tasty.

Dylan works part time for First Choice, so he skipped this question. I'm sure you can work out who he would've picked...

Independent Retailer of the Year Slowbeer The Golden Pint for Independent Retailer of the Year is becoming a little predictable. This is now an unprecedented third year in a row that Slowbeer have taken this title. Chris has the best curated range in Melbourne, across two stores that are both very conveniently located for me, with offerings that you often can't find elsewhere. A special mention to Otter's Promise is also in order - I'm sure Dan will be right up there again in 2018.

Otter’s Promise

I’m biased because of location here. That’s not to say that Dan doesn’t deserve this award though, with this cracking little shop that evolved into a genuine contender for the best in Melbourne over 2017, especially when they got their taps going. I mainly come here for sours and I’m never left disappointed (even if my wallet often is). Great rotating range, great service and lovely ambience.

Online Retailer of the Year Carwyn Cellars I've used Carwyn's online platform a number of times this year, and have been impressed with the service every time! Delivery is normally within 2-3 days with good tracking information provided. I've never had any issues with incorrect items and they're very upfront with any delays.

Online Retailer of the Year - Slow Beer

Slow Beer is a great place to go visit, but it’s also a great place to order from. You can shop their whole lineup online and it’s well priced and packaged. Always nice to order from a place where you know the beer will be well taken care of.

Best Beer Book - For the Love of Hops My beer related readings have significantly changed this year with my transition into home brewing. For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus is the perfect mix of technical information, whilst still being approachable to people without brewing degrees. If you're a homebrewer, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Make Some Beer: Small-Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg

This is a simple book, but I appreciated the focus on smaller batch sizes and the variety of recipes on offer. The food pairings are good too! It’s a great book to get ideas from.

Best Beer Magazine - Zymurgy Along the same lines, I'm selecting Zymurgy as the Golden Pint Winner of the Best Beer Magazine. It is "The Journal of the American Homebrewers Association" and it provides me with a lot of information, especially relating to recipe formulation and technical aspects to improve my own brewing.

Brew Your Own

Even if you’re not a homebrewer, BYO offers such a wonderful profile of styles and techniques from a historical and technical standpoint. There’s a lot of great information in here for a deeper appreciation of beer in general (and of course, it’s a wonderful brewing resource).

Best Beer Blog or Website The Crafty Pint I'm reverting back to James for this award. I haven't double checked but I'm sure he would have won this award before. The Crafty Pint is the ultimate website for Australian Craft Beer content, plus The Crafty Cabal has to be one of the best memberships, beer related or otherwise, out there.

The Mad Fermentationist

There are so many good blogs and websites focusing on beer nowadays that it really comes down to what appeals to you. While The Crafty Pint remains the king of Australian beer news, I love the Mad Fermentationist for his many bizarre creations, as well as recreations of old beers and love for alternative ingredients. Like above, I reckon there’s a lot of interesting stuff here even if you’re not a homebrewer.

This is going up far later than I would've liked, but at least it's done! 2017 was probably my favourite year in beer - there was just highlight after highlight! I'm already working on ways to try and make 2018's Golden Pints a little less arduous of a task. Thanks to Dylan for chucking up his own awards, we clearly shared a number of highlights this year, but I think the variety in explanation and winners of other awards really added to this post. Stay tuned for more posts in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

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

Friday, 29 December 2017


The Beer-thusiast Pack: October 

Since the temporary demise of Tru Bru's Bear Club, I've been looking for a beer club to fill the void. Up stepped The Beer-thusiast Pack from one of Melbourne's finest craft beer establishments; Carwyn Cellars.

The Beer-thusiast Pack is delivered to your door monthly. It's composition is a complete mystery until it arrives - although it's likely to include a number of local offerings. Each month 12 beers arrive, including 4 duplicates. As many of you know I'm not generally one for duplicates, which is where Dylan comes in.

Dylan and I share a love of sport and have been playing indoor soccer together for a few years now. Dylan's love of craft beer has grown over the years to the point that he's now an avid Untappd user and works at a boutique bottle shop, with a large craft beer range. His tastes are not dissimilar to mine; with a preference for sours and hoppy beers over maltier offerings.

For the first time in a few years I'm going to have a co-reviewer on Beer O'Clock Australia. The plan is that we'll divide the duplicates at soccer soon after they arrive. We'll both drink them individually and record our thoughts, before getting together to share the single beers in the pack (and possibly a few more!).

October's pack was a a strange mix of styles considering the improving weather, with a couple of Red Ales, a Smoked Beer, a Schwarzbier and a malty Strong Ale joining the more weather appropriate Pale Ale, Witbier and Lager. All but one of these beers are Australian (if you count Yeastie Boys Australian facility as Australian). One thing I like about these packs is when Australian breweries I've never heard of pop up, such as Left Barrel Brewing from the Adelaide Hills.

Green Beacon 3 Bolt - American Pale Ale - 4.5%

Green Beacon's 3 Bolt is regarded as one of the best examples of an Australian brewed American Pale Ale, recently taking out that segment of Getting Blind with Crafty. This is the first time I've been lucky enough to try this beer from the can, previously having it on tap at a Pint of Origin event during Good Beer Week 2015 - when I was pretty underwhelmed by it... Maybe it's improved in the ensuing 2.5 years.

"This beer recently won the Crafty Pint’s American pale ale blind tasting so my expectations were pretty high - I’ve liked Green Beacon’s stuff a lot in the past. I’m not sure if it wasn’t at optimal freshness but I was a bit underwhelmed. While certainly being a clean and well crafted pale with a fair bit of grapefruit and passionfruit coming through it didn’t reach any particularly noteworthy heights. You could do far worse if you wanted a straight up and down American pale though! "

I have to agree with Dylan on the freshness point, for a beer that is widely regarded this didn't really strike any chords for me...

Fury & Son Red Ale - American Red Ale - 5.5%

Fury & Son is a brewery based out in Keilor Park, a suburb to the north-west of Melbourne. I've been impressed with their new release beers of late and am quite looking forward to this new Red Ale. It's billed as a classic American Red Ale, with strong citrus and pine hop notes.

"Definitely more on the American red side of things with a good hop presence, plenty of pine and citrus. Sturdy body with a bit of caramel malt holds it all together. Not a heap to say about it but it’s well made and enjoyable. "

I don't have a lot to add to this, other than that the bitterness was slightly higher than you'd expect for a Red Ale. It work really well in this beer as it balanced out the sweetish malt bill well.

Yeastie Boys White Noise - Witbier - 4.4%

Yeastie Boys is a New Zealand based brewery, which also brews/contracts out of the UK and Sydney. Since the launch of their Australian operation we've seen a lot more of their beers around Melbourne. This is a Witbier, a style that I have a love-hate relationship with, and one I didn't have particularly high hopes for.

"I had really enjoyed the Yeastie Boys stuff I’d tried to date so I was excited to see this, even if I’m not particularly fond of witbiers. This is billed as a witbier with chamomile which seemed like a solid pairing. It worked quite well, with some sweet spice and floral elements coming through the light wheat base. I had a bit of an odd experience with this beer as I really enjoyed it on the first sip and then gradually liked it less as I went through it - whether it was undesirable flavours showing through more as it warmed or a buildup of the botanicals and sweetness I’m unsure, but I finished the can fairly down on the beer as a whole. "

Akasha Tradewind Lager - American Pale Lager - 4.4%

Akasha Brewing has been a favourite of mine ever since it was founded by the ex-Riverside Brewing head brewer, Dave Padden. Given that, I was really surprised that I hadn't tried this beer before. It's a lager that has been heavily hopped with Galaxy. This was apparently the first beer to come out of their own facility at the end of 2015.

"One of the best lagers I had in 2017. I assume the cans we had were very fresh because the hop profile was wonderful, big nose with mellow pine and tropical fruit upon taking a sip. It’s super clean, refreshing, balanced and packed full of flavour at 4.4% ABV."

Left Barrel Schwarzbier - Schwarzbier - 5.3%

Being completely honest; I'd never heard of Left Barrel before seeing this beer in this pack. I thought a Schwarzbier was a really interesting choice for a Winter Seasonal, until noticing the brewery's location barely 5 minutes from the German speaking town on Hahndorf, SA. These guys are really small and only launched at the end of 2016.

"I had vaguely heard of Left Barrel through the grape (or hop) vine but hadn’t had any of their beers before. This was a cool introduction as Noz and I both love dark lagers! A solid effort, roasty malt with a well rounded body. It was a very hot day when this was opened but it went down very well. Happy to have tried it."

As Dylan mentioned, I'm a massive fan of dark lagers - a category that Schwarzbier fits into very comfortably! I was really impressed with this, particularly its drinkability. Here's hoping that this is the start of a rise in the popularity of dark lager in this country!

Killer Sprocket Amber Ale - American Amber Ale - 4.8%

I was pleasantly surprised to see the first of two Killer Sprocket beers to appear in this pack. I hadn't seen any of their beers for ages and assumed they'd gone out of business. I used to really like this beer 4+ years ago when it was readily available.

"Killer Sprocket was another brewery that stirred some vague recognition within me without having tried any of their beers. Apparently their amber ale is their first commercial release and has won a couple of awards. I wasn’t a big fan. There was a strange menthol/mint note on the finish that really put me off and I found the body a bit too thin to support the nice malt flavours. I respect that they’re trying something a little different but it didn’t work for me."

Either my palate or this beer have changed. I'm sure I would've picked up the weird herbal/menthol flavour that put Dylan and I alike off!

Killer Sprocket Bandit - Smoked Beer - 4.8%

We're back to Killer Sprocket for this one as well. After a little bit of research I believe that Killer Sprocket is still brewing out of Cavalier Brewing in Melbourne's west. The second beer from them in this pack is a Smoked Beer, which utilizes Peated Malt - the most polarizing malt out there! It's sure to be interesting...

"I liked this a lot more than the amber. I didn’t get much smoke from it but there is a bit of weight and depth to the body that I think is partly because of the peated malt. It’s quite a drinkable and flavoursome beer. "

I'm a big fan of peaty whiskey, so I wasn't surprised to find that I liked this beer. I thought it was lacking a little in smokiness and the percentage of the Peated Malt in the grist must have been very low!

Arrogant Bastard Ale - American Strong Ale - 7.2%

Originally brewed by Stone, Arrogant Bastard Ale has spawned its own brewing company; Arrogant Brewing. Despite Stone's protestations to the term; they are a gypsy brewing company who brew Arrogant Bastard Ale (and it's variants) at some of the most high profile breweries across America & the World.

"One of those beers that every craft beer drinker has had at some stage and, most likely, underrates. It’s a beautiful strong amber ale, with a surprisingly big hop presence (clocking in at 100 IBUs) balanced with a heap of malt. It’s a full on flavour bomb in all facets, yet somehow still comes out wonderfully balanced. You’d need a bloody good team to pull off a beer this good and flavoursome in the quantities they produce while still retaining drinkability. I’m not normally a strong ale fan but polished this off very quickly; a cracking beer and one I’ll go back to."

We're slowly catching up! I thought this pack had an interesting mix of beers, without any real standouts. The one beer I would return to regularly is the Akasha Tradewind Lager, which was an excellent example of the style. The review of the November pack will hopefully be up in the first week or two of January, with December not too far behind! Keep your eyes peeled on Beer O'Clock Australia as there should be more contact over the next week or so.

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

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


The Beer-thusiast Pack: September 

Since the temporary demise of Tru Bru's Bear Club, I've been looking for a beer club to fill the void. Up stepped The Beer-thusiast Pack from one of Melbourne's finest craft beer establishments; Carwyn Cellars.

The Beer-thusiast Pack is delivered to your door monthly. It's composition is a complete mystery until it arrives - although it's likely to include a number of local offerings. Each month 12 beers arrive, including 4 duplicates. As many of you know I'm not generally one for duplicates, which is where Dylan comes in.

Dylan and I share a love of sport and have been playing indoor soccer together for a few years now. Dylan's love of craft beer has grown over the years to the point that he's now an avid Untappd user and works at a boutique bottle shop, with a large craft beer range. His tastes are not dissimilar to mine; with a preference for sours and hoppy beers over maltier offerings.

For the first time in a few years I'm going to have a co-reviewer on Beer O'Clock Australia. The plan is that we'll divide the duplicates at soccer soon after they arrive. We'll both drink them individually and record our thoughts, before getting together to share the single beers in the pack (and possibly a few more!).

This months pack saw our first discrepancy between the listed items and the packed items. We received two of the Little Bang India Red Ales instead of one, and none of the Little Bang Breakfast at Stepney. That error aside, we saw a lot of hops in this pack as well as some interesting new Victorian singles from Two Birds and Sailors Grave.

Stockade Chop Shop - American Pale Ale - 4.7%

I've said this many times recently, but Stockade make a number of really solid offerings that are true to style. Chop Shop is no exception, it's lovely earthy Pale Ale which is a bit different to a lot of others on the market. Plus it's got really nice label artwork.

"This is an intriguing little pale, with slightly more malt character and hops that lean towards the earthy and floral rather than big fruit/pine. It’s not everyday you have an Australian pale with Fuggles as one of the stars! It’s a nice pale at under 5% ABV, packing plenty of flavour in. Your mileage may vary in terms of how much it works for you but you’ve got to appreciate them trying something a bit different."

Fixation IPA - America IPA - 6.4%

I've been a massive fan of the eponymous IPA from Fixation Brewery since I had my first one in mid-2016. The brewery was founded by Melbourne beer identity Tom Delmont, with the sole purpose of producing IPA's and boy they can do that. The brewery is opening a brewpub in Collingwood next year, which is a venue that I may never leave!

"This is another really good IPA that I’m sure everyone has had more than a few of by now. When fresh it’s the easiest IPA around to recommend, with one foot in the slightly old school West Coast IPAs and one foot in the new world. It’s wonderfully balanced, firm and punchy with what is now a pretty classic IPA hop combo (Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra). It’s not as finely tuned to personal taste to be one of my favourites, but it remains objectively one of the best in Australia."

I would be one to argue that objective Dylan; it's definitely one of Australia's best IPA's, certainly the most consistent at least.

4 Pines In Season IPA - American IPA - 6.3%

Say what you will about 4 Pines and their ownership status, but they still produce damn good beer from time to time (particularly their Keller Door releases). This In Season IPA changes everytime they brew it depending on what hops are available, in a similar vein to the Luponic Distortion range from Firestone Walker.

"Number 5 is out now, which I suppose is evidence of us being a little behind on these Carwyn packs. Even if it was the tail end of number 4’s run I still found this very enjoyable, a great example of a sturdy IPA that doesn’t shy away from big hop character and bitterness. A bit of fruit, a bit of pine, all good stuff. I love the concept too."

Two Birds Spring Saison - Saison - 5.5%

I really like what Two Birds are doing with their seasonal releases; Saison fits the bill for Spring perfectly! Having had an earlier version of this beer previously, I'm glad that they've been tweaking it. It's still on the entry level side of Saison, but the bones are there. A bit more yeast character and this could be quite an impressive beer.

"I had this at the brewery a few months back now. I remember being thoroughly unimpressed, with little saison-wise present in terms of yeast and a dry finish. This one is still far from a traditional saison but a big step in that direction, with an intriguing herbal/citrusy hop mix and some sweet, yeasty funk. The sweetness was actually my least favourite thing about it - if it finished drier it’d be a very good beer. As it is it’s enjoyable enough, just don’t expect your usual saison."

BrewDog Pump Action Poet - American IPA - 7.5%

Pump Action Poet is one of the beers from the small-batch series produced by BrewDog. The small-batch series gives the brewers the chance to experiment and explore different techniques. This particular IPA had a heap of peaches and apricot added to it alongside the hops.

"Somehow this doesn’t have Mosaic in it! It’s somewhat of a testament to the wonderful flavours of that hop that it takes an actual addition of peaches and apricots to emulate the flavour of it alongside more regular IPA hops. That’s what BrewDog have done here, with the aforementioned fruit lifted up by Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops. It’s a tasty and supremely drinkable IPA, with the stonefruit lending it a certain juiciness along with waves of dried apricot flavour and zesty, yet fairly gentle, bitterness."

This beer was dangerously easy to drink considering the hefty 7.5% ABV. I had quite a few of these and was impressed at how long the stonefruit flavours hung around - much longer than if it was just hopped.

Little Bang Ira - India Red Ale - 6.0%

Little Bang is a brewery based in Stepney, Adelaide. They're probably best known for their Galactopus Barley Wine, which was phenomenal! This beer is billed as a mix between Red Ale and a pseudo-Scotch Ale. I assumed Ira simply stood for India Red Ale...

"Really enjoyable red. Big whack of hops with a lightish body that has notes of caramel and toffee. It all works well together and is definitely a beer I’d revisit in future."

Despite the interesting style description, I think this is a really well balanced India Red Ale - or Red IPA if you prefer. There was a bit more to the malt than many other examples, which could be where they are getting their "pseudo-Scotch Ale" bit from.

Sailors Grave Law of the Tongue - Oyster Stout - 5.8%

An Oyster Stout is exactly what is sounds like, a Stout brewed with Oysters. The history of the style is vague at best, with debate ranging from oysters initially being used as a finings agent to it being a myth that spawned the style. In any case, I'm quite interested to taste Sailors Grave's take on this style.

"It’s somewhat sacrilegious to say given how much of an old tradition it is but I always found oyster stouts to be quite a silly concept. Silly describes a lot of the more enjoyable (and less enjoyable for that matter) craft beer trends, but I’ve never had an oyster stout that made me go “yeah, I get why they do this”. There’s really light salinity here but to be honest it’s 95% a bog standard porter - nice and creamy mouthfeel, touch of smoke, but nothing else worth noting. Pretty enjoyable but falls a little short."

Due to my moving and foot operation we are a very long way behind on the reviewing front at Beer O'Clock Australia HQ. The review of October's Pack will hopefully be up by Christmas, with November and December to follow in the New Year. I'm completely u to date on emails, they were a good way to procrastinate whilst not doing that enormous Untappd Catchup, so keep them coming!

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


Untappd Catchup

It has been a crazy last couple of months for me. What with my thesis wrapping up, moving house and my foot operation. Couple that with Untappd increasing the maximum level for badges to 100 AND allowing them to be retroactive; you end up with an enormous number of badges to catch up on.

Giving the huge number of badges, I've decided to reprise the format I use for Good Beer Week rather than write a post longer than most novels. It's still going to be an enormous post, but this is a more manageable approach.

Some quick stats on this monstrous post for you before I get going. The post is 5,191 words long - I'm sure it's my longest ever! There are 80 different badges pictured and described, with 219 different levels across them!

I've spent the best part of 6 weeks trying to get this post completed and have slowly come to the conclusion that it's an impossibility; every time I sit down to write I just unlock more and more badges. When the number clocked over 200 - I gave up and reverted to the format you see below. This post will double as a good reference post if anyone out there is looking to understand how to unlock most of the different badges.

Home Brewed Goodness is the badge unlocked by drinking beers classified as Home Brews. Unlike most badges, this one is unlocked in levels of two rather than 5 beers.
        • Full Toss The Astle (Level 7)
        • Full Toss The Geeves (Level 8)
        • Full Toss Marylebrew (2017) (Level 9)
        • Full Toss Nets Sesh Tart Apple & Strawberry Cider (Level 10)
        • Full Toss The New Ball (Level 11)
        • Full Toss Nets Sesh Stringy Bark Mead (Level 12)
        • Full Toss The Reiffel (Level 13)
Middle of the Road is one of those badges that annoyed me endlessly when it was released. Literally every 6th or 7th beer I had would unlock this badge! Thankfully with Untappd finally allowing retroactive check-ins to count towards badges there were only four more of these! It's unlocked by drinking beers between 5.1%-9.9%ABV.
        • Brouwerij Roman Rebelse Strop (Level 16)
        • Mountain Goat Silence of the Rees (Level 17)
        • DouGall's Tres Mares (Level 18)
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 100)
Trip to the Farm is the badge for drinking different Saisons. Saisons are sometimes referred to as Farmhouse Ales, in honour of the the farms that these beers were traditionally brewed on in Belgium.
        • Brouwerij Roman Rebelse Strop (Level 25)
        • Ægir Sorachi Saison (Level 26)
        • La Sirene Saison (Level 27)
Drink Like a Kiwi is unlocked by drinking beers from Australia's nearest neighbour; New Zealand. It would be hard to pick four better breweries from NZ, than those that were unlocked by the badges listed below.
        • Epic Hysteria (Level 43)
        • ParrotDog DeadCanary (Level 44)
        • 8 Wired Cosmic Chaos (Level 49)
        • Garage Project Hazelnut Bruin (Level 50)

Verified Adventure is unlocked by checking into beers at venues that Untappd has "verified". Basically this means that Untappd has approved that the venue pours craft beer. These beers were unlocked at Hopscotch, Slowbeer Fitzroy & The Crafty Squire.

        • Stomping Ground Upside Down (Level 19)
        • Stone & Wood Pacific Ale (Level 20)
        • Ægir Sorachi Saison (Level 51)
        • James Squire Nine Tales (Level 52)
        • Stone Hop Revolver IPA #5 (Level 58)
2X is unlocked by checking into beers with "Imperial" or "Double" in the style name; ie. Imperial Brown Ale or Double IPA. As you can see below, I've had quite a few recently...
        • De Molen Rasputin (Level 26)
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 67)
        • Prairie Paradise (Level 68)
        • Amager Minor Axident (Level 69)
        • Brewski Donkeyboy (Level 70)
        • Brewski Mangofeber (Level 71)
        • Lervig Supersonic (Level 72)
        • Modus Operandi Future Factory (Level 73)
        • Amager The Mortician (Level 74)
Bar Explorer is a badge that commemorates the different locations that you've checked a beer in at. I'm not sure if this wasn't a bug in the system, but a VB at our new apartment unlocked the final level of this badge for me.
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 99)
        • Victoria Bitter (Level 100)
Retroactive badges was always an inevitability for Untappd, such was the community sentiment. One of the badges I was most happy to see retroactivated was Wheel of Styles; the badge for drinking different styles of beer.

        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 30)
        • BrewDog Abstrakt AB:23 (Level 31)
A badge I hadn't seen since my first few months on Untappd was Photogenic. It's very easy to unlock this badge, simply add a photo with your check-in.

        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 100)

Another badge that I'd long forgotten about was I Believe in IPA. This badge is also quite straight forward for the avid craft beer drinker; simply check into any five IPA's (and their variants - Black IPA, Imperial IPA etc.) and this badge is all yours.
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 100) 

Black as the Night is the badge for drinking Black IPA's. I was surprised by it's relatively low level, as Black IPA's are a style, albeit slightly out of fashion, that I'm very partial towards.

        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 21)
A badge that I don't really like due to the amount of overlap it has with other badges is The Dark Side. Dark Lagers, Black IPA's, Dark Ales and Belgian Strong Dark Ales are all styles that will allow you to unlock this badge.
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 35)
Down Under is the badge for drinking Australian beers. Naturally my first check-in of an Australian beer after retroactivity unlocked Level 100 of this badge.
        • Prancing Pony Hunt for Red Velvet (Level 100)

Collaborative beers are all the rage in the beer world at the moment. Naturally there is a badge to commemorate those beers; Better Together. The Sierra Nevada Beer Camp beers dominated this badge early on in the time period. My first South Korean craft beer also got a look in.
    • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Boneyard] West Coast DIPA (Level 32)
    • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Tree House] East Meets West IPA (Level 33)
    • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Duvel] Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Ale (Level 34)
    • The Booth [To Øl] Glowing Pig (Level 35)
    • Breakside [Lompoc & 10 Barrel] Passionfruit Sour Ale (Level 36)
    • De Molen [Omnipollo] SitiS (Level 37)

Hopped Up is a badge for drinking beers over 65 IBU's (International Bittering Units) and is normally unlocked by IPA's, Barley Wine's and big Stouts. That was certainly the case here!
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Boneyard] West Coast DIPA (Level 92)
      • To Øl Jule Mælk (Level 93)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Avery] Dry Hopped Barley Wine (Level 94)
      • Fremont Interurban IPA (Level 95)
      • Full Toss Marylebrew 2017 (Level 96)
      • Coedo [Fieldwork] Gattsu Pozu (Level 97)
      • Epic Double Geddon (Level 98)
I was genuinely surprised that Land of the Free, the badge for drinking American beers, wasn't instantly leveled up to Level 100 after it was made retroactive. Never fear however, Level 100 is not far away...
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Boneyard] West Coast DIPA (Level 91)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Ayinger] Dunkle Weisse (Level 92)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Kiuchi] White IPA with Yuzu (Level 93)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Surly] Ginger Lager (Level 94)
      • Revision IPA (Level 95)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Garage Project] Campout Porter (Level 96)
      • Almanac Tangerine de Brettaville (Level 97)
      • Founders Green Zebra (Level 98)
      • Prairie Vape Tricks (Level 99)
Pale as the Moon is another one that surprised me - has my palate moved on from Pale Ale's? All Pale Ale variants count towards this badge. Surely this should be a higher number...
        • Full Toss The Boult (Level 71)
        • Brewski Mangohallonfeber (Level 72)
        • To Øl Fuck Art This is Architecture (Level 73)
        • Deep Creek Kombi (Level 74)
The badge I used to whinge incessantly about, Riding Steady, thankfully did level up to Level 100 as soon as I had a qualifying check-in. For those of you still looking for it; beers under 5% ABV qualify for this badge.
        • West City Sunshine Ale (Level 100)

Lager Jack is one of the more straight forward badges to grasp. Simply check-in to different lagers and this one is yours. My lager consumption, or at least the variety, has clearly slowed down - I reached Level 50 in Liechtenstein in 2015...
        • Cerveza Zulia (Level 64)
        • Negro Modelo (Level 65)
        • Akasha Tradewind Lager (Level 66)
        • Hawkers Lager (Level 67)
The badge for drinking Central & South American beers is Amazon & Andes. Not a heap of beers from that region make it to Australia, so I wasn't surprised at all that Cerveza Zulia (from Venezuela) only unlocked Level 2.  
        • Cerveza Zulia (Level 2)

By the Campfire is for drinking beers in venues that FourSquare, and by extension Untappd, consider to be outside. A Cricketer's Arms Spearhead on the way to a mates going away party did for Level 15. 
        • Cricketer's Arms Spearhead (Level 15)

I thought Hopped Down was going to take longer to clock up levels than has proved the case. The badge is unlocked by drinking beers with under 20 IBU's. Breweries rarely advertise the IBU's on their lower ABV beers, something which is obviously changing...
      • Cascade Lager (Level 57)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [St Arnold] Dry Hopped Berliner (Level 58)
      • Boatrocker Asterix (Level 59)
      • Tuatara Weiz Guy (Level 60)
      • Boulevard American Kolsch (Level 61)
      • Breakside Passionfruit Sour Ale (Level 63)
      • Lucky Bay Wharton (Level 64)
      • BrewDog Prototype Blonde Ale (Level 65)
      • De Molen [Magic Rock] Magic & Tricks (Level 66)
I was genuinely shocked by the level of Paint the Town Red after it was made retroactive! Two of Australia's premier craft brewers provided the beers that unlocked this badge for Red Ales and Red IPA's.
        • Modus Operandi Former Tenant (Level 27)
        • Mornington Mimas (Level 28)

Similarly I thought Bravo for Brown was quite low, although I feel like there are far less Brown than Red Ale's around. Feral's F-15, a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Brown Ale, was phenomenal and worth picking up if you come across it!
        • Stockade HBA (Level 13)
        • Feral F-15 (Level 14)

Sky's the Limit is the badge for drinking beers over 10% ABV. The two commercial offerings were sensational - whilst the home brew offering has potential with a few more months on it.
        • Omnipollo Anagram (Level 35)
        • Full Toss Marylebrew (2017) (Level 36)
        • Boatrocker Banshee (Level 37)
        • BrewDog Abstrakt AB:23 (Level 38)

The badge for drinking Stouts and Porters is called Heavyweight. I finished this badge quite a while ago and I'm happy to see it return. You'll be seeing plenty of these when the weather starts to cool again.  
        • Omnipollo Anagram (Level 66) 
        • Angkor Extra Stout (Level 67)
        • Boatrocker Oatmeal Stout (Level 68)
        • The Bruery Share This Coffee (Level 69)
        • Full Toss QF772 (Level 70)

Swedish Brews is funnily enough the badge for drinking beers from Sweden. Thankfully we are seeing more and more Swedish breweries sending their beers to Australia now, as they are producing some seriously good beers!
        • Omnipollo Anagram (Level 5)
        • Brewski Donkeyboy (Level 6)
        • Brewski Three Fourteen (Level 7)
        • Omnipollo Aurora (Level 8)

Take a Dunk is unlocked by drinking Dunkelweizens, a German style of dark wheat beer. It's a style that isn't very popular outside of Germany and there are very few Australian examples. 
        • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Ayinger] Dunkle Weisse (Level 3)

One of the first international breweries to really grip me was Nøgne Ø, from Grimstadt in Norway. The badge for drinking Norwegian beers is Here Come the Vikings, and like most other badges, five different beers get you a level. 
        • Ægir Sorachi Saison (Level 13)

So Udderly Sweet is unlocked by drinking Milk Stouts & Sweet Stouts. These styles are characterized by sweetness, usually imparted by Lactose. They're an underappreciated style, which is slowly getting more recognition in Australia. 
        • To Øl Jule Mælk (Level 4)
        • Batch Elsie the Milk Stout (Level 5)
Danish Delight is, I hope obviously, for drinking beers from Denmark. There is a heap of quality Danish craft beer in Australia! I would hate to think how much money I've spent on To Øl & Mikkeller beers over the years...
        • To Øl Jule Mælk (Level 29)
        • To Øl Limon (Level 30)
        • To Øl Liquid Confidence (Level 31)

I think it's fair to say that 2017 was the year that sours really took off in Australia. Once the sole domain of the beer connoisseur, sours are slowly becoming accepted by the general populous. Pucker Up is the badge that commemorates check-ins to any style classified as a sour. 
        • Boatrocker Time Lord (Level 61)
        • Full Toss Slow Gose Rate (Level 62)
        • Breakside Passionfruit Sour Ale (Level 63)
        • Stomping Ground Gose Your Own Way (Level 64)
        • Mikkeller SpontanYuzu (Level 65)
        • Blackman's You're Turning Violet (Level 66)

One such sour style is Gueuze, a traditional Belgian Lambic style of beer created by blending freshly brewed Lambic with aged Lambic. Untappd recently released In With the Old, In With the New to celebrate this wonderful style!
        • Boatrocker Time Lord (Level 3) 

The intrinsically linked badge is Silence of the Lambics, a nice play on words. Lambics are a group of beer styles that are spontaneously fermented in the Senne Valley near Brussels, Belgium. They are wonderfully tart and often have fruit added to them during/post fermentation. 
        • Boatrocker Time Lord (Level 12)

Ich Bin Ein Berliner is the badge for drinking different Berliner Weiss'; a German style of sour wheat beers which are characterized by a lemony tartness produced by the lactobacillus used to sour the beer. In Germany it is not uncommon to find the style served with different syrups to sweeten them.
        • Sierra Nevada B.C. [St Arnold] Dry Hopped Berliner (Level 14)
        • Full Toss The New Ball (Level 15)
Regular readers of this blog would be aware of my feelings towards Golden Ales (hint: it's not positive!). Fields of Gold is the badge that is awarded for drinking these typically sweet and boring beers. 
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [The Bruery] Raspberry Sundae (Level 23)
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Duvel] Hoppy Belgian Golden (Level 24)
      • Western Ridge SummeRye (Level 25)

Checking into different Strong Ales is marked by the Iron Man badge. Strong Ale's fill the void between Pale Ales and Barley Wines in terms of ABV. They are maltier but less hoppy than IPA's that sit in the same ABV range.
        • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Fuller's] Vintage (Level 11)
        • Boatrocker October Beer (Level 12)

Imperial Czar is the badge for drinking Russian Imperial Stouts. Quite why only one level was unlocked in this period I'm not sure... The story of Russian Imperial Stouts dates back to the 1800's when English brewers began exporting strong stouts to Russia and the Baltic states.
        • Mornington Imperial Stout (2017) (Level 11)

Probably the most confusing badge on Untappd is New Brew Thursday. It appears to be randomly unlocked on Thursday - however there is apparently a criteria! Simply check into a beer you haven't previously had on three Thursdays in one calendar month.
        • Angkor Extra Stout (Level 37)
        • Amager Minor Axident (Level 38)
        • Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale (Level 39)
        • Stomping Ground Gose Your Own Way (Level 40)
        • BrewDog Prototype Tangerine Session IPA (Level 41)

Brew Traveler is ostensibly a measure of where you've drunk beer; with a level awarded for every 5 states or countries. It's always been buggy; I highly doubt that I've had a beer in 65 states and/or countries...
        • Angkor Extra Stout (Level 12)
        • Pirate Life Mosaic IPA (Level 13)

The Backpacker is a relatively new badge which is unlocked by drinking beers from a number of South East Asian countries. A Cambodian Imperial Stout, of all things, unlocked the first level of this badge for me. 
        • Angkor Extra Stout (Level 1)

To the Port is a badge commemorating the wonderful style that is Porter. The definition of Porter is highly contentious, when many believing that it's just a different name for stout. I'm sure most craft beer drinkers have their own take on this issue.
        • James Squire Jack of Spades (Level 20)

Biere de Garde is one of the few indigenous French beer styles. This style is similar to Belgian Tripels with high levels of yeast ester and flavours ranging from sweet honey to earthiness. Beer for Keeping, the English translation, is the name of the badge for this unique style.
        • Red Hill The Red Rooster (Level 1)

Regular readers of the blog would be aware that I'm not the biggest fan of ESB's (Extra Special Bitter's). That would probably explain why You're Extra Special is only up to Level 8 after all these years...
        • Old Wives Ales New Tricks (Level 8)

Spanish craft beer is ever so slowly making its way into Melbourne with beers from Naparbier and DouGall's starting to pop up from time to time. Flamenco is the badge for drinking different Spanish beers.
        • DouGall's Leyenda (Level 3)

Given that I was housebound for much of this period with my foot, it's not hugely surprising that Beer Foodie was only unlocked once. Beer Foodie is unlocked by checking into beers at venues classified as restaurants.
        • Batch Hopsy Mozy Nitro IPA (Level 37)
God Save the Queen. Not only the British national anthem, but also the Untappd badge for drinking beers from the United Kingdom. Interestingly - only Scottish beers unlocked this badge for me over the last few months. 
        • BrewDog Pump Action Poet (Level 44)
        • BrewDog Jet Black Heart (Level 45)
        • BrewDog Prototype Tangerine Session IPA (Level 46)

Speaking of Scottish beers, they have their own badge; The Highlander. Quite a few new ones from my BrewDog Advent Calendar has seen this badge climb faster than ever before! I'm guessing there will be at least one more before December is out... 
        • BrewDog Pump Action Poet (Level 15)
        • BrewDog Tokyo* (Level 16)
        • BrewDog Slot Machine (Level 17)
        • BrewDog Prototype Vienna Lager (Level 18)

I'm always shocked at how low my level on The Wine of Beers badge is. I genuinely love Barley Wines, but clearly I drink too many of the same ones over and over again. They also aren't the most conducive style of beer for the Australian summer.
      • Sierra Nevada B.C. [Avery] Dry Hopped Barley Wine (Level 5)

A style that is perfectly suited to the Australian summer conditions is the Pilsner. Its associated badge; Crisp As Day, was unlocked by two lovely yet very different examples of the style. These are both worth checking out if you're a lager drinker!
        • The Booth [To Øl] Glowing Pig (Level 31)
        • Dainton Draught (Level 32)

A style that is definitely not catching on in Australia is the Cream Ale - something I know has something of a cult following in the United States. Accordingly, I was genuinely surprised when this beer unlocked the first level of Cream of the Crop.
        • To Øl Limon (Level 1)

Respect the Kölsch is the badge to commemorate the wonderful local beer of Cologne in western Germany. It's a light, refreshing ale that is becoming more and more popular among craft beer producers.
        • Boulevard American Kolsch (Level 4)
A Wee Bit of Scotch is the badge for drinking different Scottish Ales & Scotch Ales. Both styles are malt driven with the Scotch Ale having a sweeter taste and higher ABV generally. One of my favourite beers unlocked this badge!
        • Founders Backwoods Bastard (Level 4)

The two beers to unlock Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My over these last few months are both Victorian. The La Sirene is quite possibly the best beer I've had this year and may yet feature in my Golden Pints - if I ever get this post finished!
        • 3 Ravens Little Raven Tripel (Level 11)
        • La Sirene Forêt Sauvage (Level 12)

To fully appreciate the name of the badge for drinking Gose's, the sour German wheat beer from Leipzig, you must understand that Gose is pronounced "Goes-UH!". What Gose Round was unlocked three times over the last few months.
        • Full Toss Slow Gose Rate (Level 9)
        • Saint Archer Peach Gose (Level 10)
        • Blackman's You're Turning Violet (Level 11)
Birthday Brew, should be one of the more self-explanatory badges out there. Yes, simply check-in a beer on your birthday and this one is all yours. For those of you who know me - this also gives a good indication of how long this post has taken to write!
        • 4 Pines In Season IPA No. 5 (Level 5)
500 Million Beers is one of the more apt beer badge names I could think of given the situation. Named after Untappd's 500 Millionth check-in, rather than the number of beers I intended to (and subsequently did) consume on Grand Final Day.
        • Stone & Wood Pacific Ale

Barrel Aged Beer Day (2017) was awarded for checking in a barrel aged beer from The Bruery or Bruery Terreux on the first Friday in October. The one I had, Quadrupel Tonnellerie, was simply superb!
      • The Bruery Quadrupel Tonnellerie 

One of my go to beers, Old Wives Ales' Hair of the Dog, unlocked the commemorative Untappd 7th Anniversary badge.
        • Old Wives Ales Hair of the Dog XPA
Another of my favourites, Pirate Life Mosaic IPA, was the beer that did for Daily Checker. I try and have at least two alcohol free days a week, but this doesn't always happen... This badge is unlocked by checking in at least one beer a day for 7 consecutive days.
        • Pirate Life Mosaic IPA

I wondered how long it would be before we saw a badge relating to the "Serving Style" of the beer after Untappd brought the feature in. For the Can is one of 3 badges released for the "Serving Style" and is simply unlocked by drinking 5 beers from cans.
        • Pirate Life Mosaic IPA (Level 63)
        • BrewDog Pump Action Poet (Level 64)
        • Blackman's Juicy Banger (Level 65)
        • Moon Dog Beer Can (Level 66)
        • Yeastie Boys White Noise (Level 67)
        • Garage Project Loral Royale (Level 68)
        • Garage Project Pernicious Weed (Level 69)
        • Mikkeller SpontanYuzu (Level 70)
        • Pirate Life IPA (Level 71)
        • Wolf of the Willows XPA (Level 72)
        • Wolf of the Willows XPA (Level 73)
        • Mr Banks Wheeze the Juice (Level 74)
        • Sailors Grave Peach Melba (Level 75)
        • Prairie Vape Tricks (Level 76)
        • Lervig Lucky Jack Extra Hard (Level 77)
        • Arrogant Bastard Ale (Level 78)
        • BrewDog Slot Machine (Level 79)
        • Kaiju Krush! (Level 80)
        • Hawkers West Coast IPA (Level 81)

Similarly, 99 Bottles, is the badge for drinking beers with the "Serving Style" as Bottle. I was slightly surprised that this badge, with retroactivity, was immediately unlocked - however it didn't take terribly long to rectify that.
        • Morrison Batch 400 (Level 94)
        • Brewski 50 States of Freedom (Level 95)
        • Seven Sheds Mole Kriek (Level 96)
        • Coopers Best Extra Stout (Level 97)
        • Hawkers Imperial Stout BBA (2017) (Level 98)
        • 4 Pines Keller Door; Australian DIPA (Level 99)
        • Red Hill Imperial Stout (Level 100)
Witbier's are a style I go through phases of loving then loathing. Accordingly, levels of Keep Your Wits About You often come in waves. Both of these beers were quite palatable and I could see myself having them again.
        • Lucky Bay Wharton (Level 10)
        • Yeastie Boys White Noise (Level 11)
I went out of my way to ensure Czech it Out was as up to date as possible. I love Czech beers; particularly their lagers, both pale and dark. Kozel's range of lagers generally travel pretty well, are available at Dans and can sometimes be just what is ordered. This was a nice, crisp lager.
        • Kozel Premium Lager (Level 8)
I had a lot of beers in Austria not long before Trekking the Alps was released. I thought I would struggle to unlock this badge, until I remembered that Trumer Pils comes from Austria originally! Level 5 was slightly lower than where I thought I'd be...
        • Trumer Pils (Level 5) 
Witch's Brew is the badge that commemorate Halloween every year. The (2017) version was unlocked by a beer from the style of the year; N.E. IPA. Lemon Juicy was a variant of 3 Ravens very successful Juicy.
        • 3 Ravens Lemon Juicy 
Draft City is the last, for the time being at least, badge for "Serving Styles". To unlock this badge simply check-in 5 draft beers. I think it's pretty obvious what I was drinking during the Adelaide Test Match...
      • Stomping Ground Gose Your Own Way (Level 47)
      • To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid Amounts of Guava (Level 48)
      • Wolf of the Willows Homage (Level 49)
      • Full Toss The Boult (Level 50)
      • XXXX Gold (Level 51)
      • XXXX Gold (Level 52)
      • XXXX Gold (Level 53)
      • XXXX Gold (Level 54)
      • XXXX Gold (Level 55)
      • James Squire Tall Tales (Level 56)
As usual on Stout Day I like to crack out something special that I've been holding onto for several months (sometimes even years!). Stout Day 2017 was no exception! Thankfully I decided do as the bottle said and shared it with dad - it was a monstrous stout!
        • The Bruery Share This; Coffee
Not enough beers are deemed Fruit Beers. It's one of my pet hates that people don't classify beers correctly on Untappd. In any case, Fruits of Your Labor was unlocked by two very similar beers; our own raspberry wheat beer and one from Scottish brewers Fierce Beer.
        •  Full Toss The Carberry (Level 9)
        •  Fierce Beer Cranachan Killer (Level 10)
I've spoken many times about my love of Rye Beers, sadly there just aren't that many of them because rye is such a pain to brew with reportedly. In any case Rye it Up is unlocked by drinking beers classified as Rye Beers or Roggenbiers (which funnily enough is German for rye beers...).

        • Bad Shepherd Amber Rye Ale (Level 6)

Session Life is a badge that I guess you will be seeing a lot more of in the future. This badge is for checking into beers classified as Session IPA's, another style that is under represented compared to how many brewers state that their beers are that style. The new Fixation Obsession is an absolutely brilliant beer, which I will be drinking plenty more of!
        • Black Dog Aussie Terrier (Level 10). 
        • Fixation Obsession (Level 11)

Schwarz-buckler is the badge for drinking different Schwarzbiers and Dark Lagers. I'm a huge dark lager fan, it's so unfortunate that none of the really good ones make their way down here - probably as the climate isn't as suited for it.
        • Monteith's Black (Level 7) 
I love Dutch beer now, something that makes me questioned why I spent to much time in Amsterdam (years ago!) in an American Craft Beer Bar... Going Dutch is the badge for drinking beers from the Netherlands. The two IPA's that unlocked this badge were probably the two best Dutch beers I've had. Probably because they were both really fresh!
        • Kees West Coast IPA (Level 8)
        • De Molen [Magic Rock] Magic & Tricks (Level 9)
Thanksgiving is one of these American holidays that we don't really celebrate in Australia. The closest I get o thanksgiving is the badge they release every year, in this case Beer-giving (2017). It had to be unlocked over the thanksgiving weekend.
        • Wolf of the Willows XPA
Winter Wonderland is unlocked by drinking a beer which has the word "winter" in its name or style (ie. Winter Warmer). Some other words, such as celebration, also seem to trigger this badge. It's a confusing one, and one that seems to pop up randomly.
        • Left Barrel Schwarzbier (Level 8)
As part of my trip to Adelaide for the Test Match, we dropped in on Coopers Stadium, the night before the cricket started, to take in some A-League soccer. Tailgater, a badge for checking into different sporting stadia, was unlocked by a full strength Coopers Pale Ale - something I'd like to see at more sporting venues!
        • Coppers Pale Ale (Level 3)
Bocks are a style of beer that I've never really warmed to. I'll Be Bock is the badge that celebrates all types of Bocks. This includes Eisbocks, like this 22% offering from BrewDog that was big, bitter and boozy! It's one of the most unique things I've tasted and is something I couldn't pass up if I see it again.
        • BrewDog Hop Shot (Level 4)

I'm not 100% sure, but I don't believe I've unlocked Hella Delicious since it's been released. Retroactivity ensures that doesn't matter any more. Hawkers' new lager is classified at a Helles Lager, the type of lager that you need to drink to unlock this badge.
        • Hawkers Lager (Level 6)
Hoppy Hanukkah (2017) was released, like it is every year, to commemorate the 8 days of Hanukkah. Simply check-in to any beer during this time to unlock this badge - with any luck you'll still have a day or two after I finally finish this post!
        • BrewDog Elvis Juice

Wailing for Wales is the badge for drinking Welsh beers. Like almost all other badges, simply check-in 5 different beers from Wales and this badge is all yours. Tiny Rebel is really the only Welsh brewery that has beers regularly available in Australia - hopefully we see more in the not too distant future.
        • Tiny Rebel Mojito Sour (Level 2)
After what seems like months, possibly because it has actually been months, this blog post is finally going up! The sheer number of Untappd badges these days, especially coupled with retroactivity made the task of writing the post in the normal manner almost impossible. I apologise for the formatting on this post - it just had to go up, so hopefully I'll fix it shortly. I've got a lot of stuff I want to get up in the next 5-6 weeks and I hope to be posting more regularly next year now that my studying is finalized. Thanks for your support guys, I'm hoping to get 2-4 posts up before the New Year so stay tuned!

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