Wednesday, 5 December 2018

CARWYN CANVENT 2018 (PART 1)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 1)



Carwyn Cellars is a name that every Australian Craft Beer lover should know. It's one of, if not the, preeminent bottle shops in the country. For their advent calendar, they've partnered with 24 Australian Craft Breweries to make an exclusive canned release for their "Canvent Calendar".

I'm not 100% sure why I didn't document my BrewDog Advent Calendar this time last year - I wonder if it got lost with moving in and recovering from surgery... In any case; I'm not going to make the same mistake this year!

The Carwyn Canvent Calendar is going to get the full treatment - and with any luck you'll have updates every 5 days. In the interim, let me know what Advent Calendar you've got this year and your initial thoughts on it so far.

Day 1 - 3 Ravens Juicy Brut - First up we had a really interesting offering from 3 Ravens. Juicy Brut is billed as a Brut NEIPA. From my understanding they've taken the juiciness from a NEIPA and utilised the enzymes and filtration more common to the Brut IPA style to come up with this beer.

The beer is crystal clear and has a very short lived white head. The first thing I noticed was the nose, which smells exactly like a piece Juicy Fruit gum.There is plenty of fruit up front, before a bone dry finish kicks in. I don't think I've ever had a beer that finishes as dry as this one does! Something I didn't notice is the 8% ABV! It's dangerously well hidden in such a smashable beer! This is the first Brut IPA to really grab me & I wondering if it's because of the additional fruit that this one packs; the dryness really suits it!

Day 2 - Kaiju Mutation Program Main Squeeze - Day two saw the boys from Kaiju step up to the plate. Their beer is a Session Ale packed with Guava & Passion Fruit that comes in at 3.2%. There's not a lot of information out there about this beer yet, however the #0001 on the back of the can gives me hope that they may be releasing more experimental stuff in the not too distant future!

Up front I get a big whack of passionfruit, which has a bit of tartness about it. There's limited Guava, although this is probably to be expected - as I don't think it'd be particularly easy to brew with. The beer would go down beautifully on a stinking hot day! For 3.2% they have packed a lot of flavour into this little beer.

Day 3 - Mr Banks Sticky Bandits Hazy IPA - It was inevitable that NEIPA's would play a significant part in the Canvent experience. I'm glad that Mr Banks is one of the brewers to take on the style. Mr Banks is based in the outer Melbourne suburb of Seaford and are producing some consistently excellent stuff.

Sticky Bandits is no exception! This is a superb beer! The first big tick is that they've produced an Australian NEIPA that is actually hazy! The second big tick is the wonderful aroma & taste of tropical fruits! While finally, it doesn't pack that unnecessary bitterness that many Australian examples tend to. All-in-all a superb beer and one that I hope they release again!

Day 4 - Brouhaha Cherry Sour - As you may be able to tell from the picture, I'm not going to be at home for the next couple of days. Never fear I enlisted Lizzie's help to ensure I could get this post up on time. Day 4 brought a 4.2% Cherry Sour from Brouhaha in Maleny, QLD. I've heard quite a lot about these guys, but this is the first beer I've had from them.

The beer itself is pretty interesting. It pours with quite a white head for such a pinkish-red beer. There's some sourness, although it's certainly not overpowering. The fruit flavour isn't distinctly cherry, but it's definitely one of those red fruits, although not one I can name right now...


Day 5 - Exit Next Level Beer - I'm a self confessed Exit Brewing fan-boy - there's simply no point hiding that fact. These guys burst onto the scene in 2014 and haven't looked back since. I was shattered when I couldn't try their 4th Anniversary Beer "Better Late Then NEIPA" earlier this year and am so pleased that I get the opportunity to try an Exit NEIPA now.

I may have waxed lyrical about the Mr Banks NEIPA above, but this is even better! There is so much to like about this beer. There is so much pineapple, mango and even citrus notes on top of really well rounded base beer. There's perceptible bitterness, although it certainly doesn't feel out of place in this beer. Please, please, please Exit; brew this beer again!

Five days in, I'm so glad that I've stumped up for the Carwyn Canvent Calendar! All five beers are beers that I would happily buy again if they were to be reproduced down the track. As expected Victorian breweries are well represented, with four of the offerings so far from Carwyn's home state. It will be interesting to see if that changes as the Canvent continues. I will say that I think this is a wonderful example of the state of Australian craft beer; long may it continue to improve!

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

Thursday, 22 November 2018

BRIDGE ROAD BEER SCHOOL HOP PACK

STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey 
I've been asked in the past why I haven't give the Bridge Road Hop Pack the same treatment as the old BrewDog IPA is Dead series. It's a question that I could never give a good answer to, I'd mutter about freshness or the beers being too malt forward; however today I'm righting that wrong!

Bridge Road are a brewery that I've waxed lyrical over so many times that I don't feel the need to rehash that here. They're one of the few breweries in Australia who could position themselves to sell a mixed 4-pack of Single Hop IPA's to the masses.

Basically this 4-pack showcases the finest varieties of Australian hops. They use a method very similar to the BrewDog method, which I'll let them explain further below.

"Bridge Road Brewers located in Beechworth, Victoria, have a strong relationship with one of Australia’s few remaining hop gardens, Rostrevor. This garden is located in the nearby Ovens Valley and has a long history of hop production in North East Victoria. Our brewery is a proud advocate of Australian hops, and promote the continued development of new and unique varieties. Each of the four beers in this pack use the same malt recipe, and have the same alcohol percentage, it is the Hop Variety that is different in each beer. This Beer-School pack of single hop India Pale Ales has been created to offer beer drinkers the chance to identify the unique characteristics of each hop variety, we call it beer’d-ucation!"

I'm not sure how Bridge Road have managed to position themselves as this beacon of beer knowledge in this country - maybe it's down to their founder Ben's desire to better the understanding of beer in this country. But I digress, without further ado let's get into these fresh Single Hop IPA's all hopped with different Australian varieties.

Galaxy is the golden child of the Australian hop industry, developed throughout the mid-90's before being commercially released in 2009. The hop is highly sought after, both in Australia & overseas, and acreage is increasing year on year.

As this is the first beer I think it's important to discuss the malt of the beer, that allows the hops to shine. It's lighter than previous years with slightly sweet biscuity notes the only real characteristics. The Galaxy was really interesting in it, there was some of the usual passionfruit, gooseberry & lychee notes that the hop is so well known for, but there was also heaps of grapefruit - something I normally don't associate with Galaxy.
Vic Secret is a hop that I haven't had the greatest relationship with in the past. This hop was developed in 2000 and had a long trial period alongside it's sister hop, Topaz, before it's commercial release in 2013. Bridge Road actually released the first beer utilizing this hop with their Harvest beer in 2011 - in it's trial phase.

The Vic Secret Single Hop IPA has the same slightly sweet biscuit base, which is good for the point of the exercise. There is a light floral spiciness coming from the hops as well as cantaloupe notes, accompanying the citrus and pine that this hop is known for. The hop may have beer poorly utilized in the beers I've previously had, as this is tasting lovely!
Bridge road were again one of the pioneers in brewing trials for Enigma, with their Enigma New World Lager probably the best known beer predominantly utilizing this hop. The hop was released in 2013 before being massively upscaled in 2015. It's parentage includes Swiss Tettnang and it is believed to also have an American parent - although it's exact origins are not widely publicized.

This was another hop that showed a different side of itself that what I knew of it. This Enigma Single Hop IPA packed plenty of pine resin alongside the citrus notes that it's more well known for. I was also pleased to detect the raspberry note that this hop occasionally gives off, as the beer warmed.
Ella has been grown in commercial quantities since 2010, with significant production ramping up in 2013. The hop was previously known as Stella, however this was changed after a similarly named macro lager decided that they had a problem with this...

I've traditionally not been a big fan of Ella over the journey. One of the few beers I've enjoyed it in is previous iterations of this IPA. Once again I actually thought that this beer was the pick of the bunch. It's got wonderful bitterness with plenty of grapefruit & some spicy floral notes. If I had to drink one of these regularly this would be the one.

I meant to have this post up in late August, within the week of drinking these. Part of the reason it didn't get up for so long is that I thought I'd finished it! In any case, better late than never! I hope you enjoy reading this post - it's always worth picking up the Bridge Road Beer School Pack if you find them. There's more content coming soon including a big idea for next year...

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 4

Episode 4 - Show Notes 

In an almost unbelievable turn of events, Dylan & I have got the podcast up on time again! As regular readers would be aware punctuality and deadlines aren't exactly a strong suit at Beer O'Clock Australia.

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

We recorded this episode not that long after the last one, so the news segment was a little shorter than in some previous episodes. Despite that we ran well over time - as we got sidetracked a couple of times. There were no new segments this month but we did manage to fit a lot into the episode. Hope you enjoy it guys!


 Show Notes

News Items (0:30)
  • Boatrocker's New Can Releases
  • Molly Rose's new home in Collingwood
  • Fermentum's new venture: Forest For The Trees
  • Flagged shortfall in Malt
  • Great Barrier Beer 2.0
  • Stomping Ground Movember Donation
  • Garage Project - New Hop Development
Scouting Report (8:36)
  • Brendale Brewing Co.
    • 2/62 Kremzow Rd, Brendale, QLD, 4500
What We're Brewing (11:37)
    • ESB 
    • Maris Otter, Two-Row, Dark Crystal, Light Crystal, Belgian Biscuit Malt
    • 5.3-5.5%
    • EKG, Fuggles
    • Batch split 4 ways; Staight, Barossa Shiraz Oak Chips, Johnnie Walker Double Black Oak Chips, Raspberry & Cherry (replacing the Tea discussed) 
Matilda Bay Redback Original - A Tribute (14:58)
  • Firstly a huge thanks to listener Tim who sent these in for us.
    • Redback is a Kristallweizen that is over 30 years old!
    • This beer should be more widely available & respected.
    • AIBA Grand Champion Beer in 1993.
  • This merged into quite an interesting wider discussion on Matilda Bay and its history/downfall
What We're Drinking (28:34)
  • May Day Hills Tasting
    • Beer Deluxe Event - $30
    • 7 Beers with matching canapes
      • Apple, Yuzu, Sour Amber, Grape, Breakfast, Elderflower, Jam
  • James Squire The Wreck Preservation
    • 200 year old yeast reportedly cultured from a ship wreck
  • Carwyn NYC Cold Freight Showcase
    • Cold Freighted NEIPA Tasting
    • Finback, Interboro, Sand City, LIC Beer Project, Equilibrium
      • Equilibrium Straight Out of the Laboratory
  • Chur/Behemoth Hop Diggity Dog
    • Best New World NEIPA that I've ever had!
    • 100% Citra Hops
  • Pike's Choc Hazelnut Porter
Desert Island 6-pack (45:34)
  • Australian Brewed IPA's.
    • Straight IPA
      • No Red, Black, White, Brown IPA's etc. 
    • 4.0-7.5% ABV
    • No Fruit
  • There were NO cross overs this month!
  • Dylan's individuals;
      • Modus Operandi Sonic Prayer, Mornington Peninsula IPA, Pirate Life IPA, Mountain Goat The Zymurgist, Bruny Island Cloudy Bay IPA, Kaiju Robohop    
  • Noz's individuals;
      • Fixation IPA, Hawkers West Coast IPA, Feral War Hog, Pirate Life Mosaic IPA, Moon Dog Sun Cat, BrewBoys Hoppapotamus  
  • Honourable Mentions
      • Noisy Minor ANZUS, Feral Hop Hog, Green Beacon Scrimshaw, Hop Nation The Chop, Big Shed Fresh Hop Californicator, Fixation Obsession, Brewcult Thanks Captain Obvious
Noz's Cellar (1:08:23)
  • Rulles La Grande 10 (2013)
    • Their 10th Anniversary beer, which has been rebrewed multiple times
    • Belgian Strong Golden Ale - 10%
    • Bought in Belgium and lovingly cellared since 2015. 
So there we have it guys, we may have gone a little over time but (I think at least) it was was areally good episode. As usual flick any questions, comments, suggestions etc. through to gus.norris7@gmail.com and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. In the meantime there will be a few new posts up on the blog in the coming days so stay tuned!

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

REVIEW: SIP OF SUNSHINE

        The World's best beer contender?


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 473ml Can
  • Price: Special Occasions Only

For as long as I've been into craft beer I've wanted to try this beer! Sip of Sunshine from Lawson's Finest Liquids, one of the great names in brewing, has always been on my bucket list. I'm not 100% sure why, I'm guessing it had something to do with the striking predominantly yellow can.

I always thought I would have to travel to the U.S. to try this beer. Lawson's have a tiny distribution footprint in just 7 North Eastern States (Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New York & New Hampshire). Then magically up stepped Sydney's premier beer store, Bucket Boys, with their 2nd Anniversary sale. They got a heap of hyped stuff in super fresh and put it on sale. Demand was understandably high, but I managed to secure what I wanted.

Lawson's Finest Liquids' flagship beer, Sip of Sunshine, pours a deep golden colour and is slightly hazy. The beer pours with a big off white head, maybe 3 and a half fingers high. The top of the head dissipates quickly however at least half a finger of head is left covering the beer throughout the course of drinking. This is aided by the continual rising of a number of fine bubbles from the bottom of the glass.

On to the nose and the beer smells like a tropical fruit bomb. There is heaps of mango, pineapple & papaya up front, before stone fruit & citrus flavours take over with nectarine, peach, grapefruit & orange peel all evident. It's one of the most complex mix of hop aromas that I've ever smelt. There is very little malt on the nose, with a touch of bread noticeable.

The flavour follows on from the nose - there is plenty of tropical fruit & citrus flavours with only the faintest hints of bready malts, which provides balance. The dominant flavours I pick up are mango, grapefruit & peach. The hop flavour is reminiscent of a NEIPA, with plenty of juicy fruit notes, however it has a good whack of bitterness, which is a wonderful change up in this age of juice dominant NEIPA's. Given the ABV, this beer is dangerously drinkable.

Sip of Sunshine was one of those beers that I'd hyped up so much that I was almost sure it would let me down. Thankfully I was wrong for once! This beer is superb & absolutely worth the small fortune I paid to get it. If you get the opportunity to try this I highly recommend you  do. It's a superb beer and a nice change up in this age of NEIPA that we seem to be living in! #makeIPAbitteragain

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

Friday, 2 November 2018

THE BEER-THUSIAST PACK: JUNE 2018

The Beer-thusiast Pack: June 


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.

June's pack had only 3 Victorian beers, which seems unusually low for the normally particularly state-riotic Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack. They were joined by two beers from Otherside, a Western Australian brewery I'd never heard of, as well as beers from the United States (Sierra Nevada, Scotland (BrewDog) & New Zealand (Liberty), although the latter is contract brewed at Hawkers. 

Exit Milk Stout - Milk Stout - 5.2%

Regular readers of the blog would be aware of how much I admire what Exit do. Their core range includes the almost compulsory Pale Ale/IPA combo, followed by an Amber, a Saison & this their Milk Stout. It's a phenomenal style that doesn't get anywhere near the love it deserves in this country. This is a truly excellent example to boot.

"I’m always happy to see more stouts in cans! This is a beer I enjoyed a few times during winter. It’s toasty, lightly roasty and quite creamy with some chilled out coffee and sweet milk chocolate notes. A really reliable beer if you want something dark and easy going."


Sierra Nevada Otra Vez - Gose - 4.9%

Semi-recently Sierra Nevada change their Gose, Otra Vez, to include lime & agave at the expense of grapefruit & prickly pear. Quite why I'm not sure - the original was a great beer. I'm going to be honest; I'm not a fan of the switch. It's still a nice Gose, but it doesn't have this unique character that the prickly pear imparted. I'm also not sure if they've dialed back the tartness...

"The new Otra Vez switches out prickly pear and grapefruit for lime and agave, and the results are...inconclusive? It’s quite different for mine and I think it’ll come down to personal preference. I enjoyed the intriguing vegetal notes in the original, plus I feel like the tartness is scaled back here. On the flipside, this may work better as a gose; there’s a good whack of lime flavour, followed by the agave, which leans the beer as a whole towards a pleasant Margarita-style flavour area. I’d be keen on seeing more variations in the future."


Stomping Ground Laneway - Lager - 4.7%

Stomping Ground is the brewery from the team behind The Local Tap House. They have one of the best approaches to beer education in the country and this beer is, in my mind, the manifestation of that ethos. It's a Munich Helles Lager with nice floral and herbal notes - it's not too far from the realms of someone who doesn't like craft beer whilst still offering enough for seasoned craft beer drinkers.

"Clean, inoffensive. Not a heap needs to be said really. It has a bit of bready malt and gentle bitterness. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here - it’s a solid lager, one I’d happily drink again."

I also think that this is a seriously solid lager. It does everything you want in the style; it's particularly quaffable and has enough malt to keep hardened craft drinkers interested.

Liberty Yakima Monster - American Pale Ale - 6.0%

This was one of the first New Zealand beers to really grip me, when I tried it 6 or 7 years ago. It's so long since I first had it that it isn't on my Untappd! Liberty are having this contract brewed at Hawkers now, to ensure that this beer wows people the way it wowed me all those years ago!

"A staunch, pungent, punchy pale. Drippy, resinous fruit and a big enough body to stand up to it. Somehow it remains super drinkable too! Liberty make good stuff but I hadn’t gotten around to having this one until the Carwyn pack came along - the praise I’ve seen heaped on it definitely makes sense."

3 Ravens Moussey Juicy - NEIPA - 6.0%

3 Ravens are known for pushing boundaries under Brendan's brewing stewardship; Moussey Juicy may have been a step too far. Billed as a New England Black IPA, or NEBIPA, It's hard to see the haze due to the colour of the beer and I don't really understand why they thought it necessary to take it to this point. In saying that, it was their GABS beer this year...

"The endless juicy variants have wrapped around to being endearing again, especially when they’re doing fun stuff like this. Unfortunately astringent on the back-end, this is very creamy and chocolate driven initially. The overall product is good fun, but probably not something I’d hurry back to. It’s certainly not at the same level of high concept execution as something like their more recent Salted Caramel Shake."


BrewDog Kamikaze Knitting Club - Stout - 7.5%

BrewDog are a brewery that seem to covet the spotlight, normally this is a result of their deliberate, outrageous behavior. This beer I feel may have unintentionally found the spotlight. The can artwork depicts the Rising Sun & Kamikaze pilots and was received very poorly in Japan and the majority of Asia. The beer itself is a Stout with Maple Syrup added.

"I wasn’t super keen on this. It might have been a bit of palate fatigue on the day, or just not being quite in the right mood, but it seemed instantly forgettable. Light in body for over 7% ABV, with this fairly subtle maple/smoke character that didn’t elevate it to any particular heights."


This didn't taste like a 7.5% Stout, the body is far too thin. As Dylan said the Maple Syrup flavour didn't come through anywhere near enough. I don't think they'll be re-brewing any time soon...

Otherside Harvest - Red Ale - 5.4%

Otherside began their brewing life as a gypsy brewing operation based out of Fremantle in Western Australia. Things really kicked up a notch for the group of mates who met in the music industry with the opening of their brewery in Myaree in early 2018. Their "Harvest" beer is a Red Ale and is packed with fresh hops.

"A brewery I’d heard very little about from WA had two beers in this month’s pack - I enjoy when Carwyn get their hands on a couple of releases from an upstart brewery and pop them in a pack. This was definitely the better of the two in my eyes, pouring a wonderful orange/bright red with some nice piney hops and sturdy, but drinkable, malts."

Otherside Festive - Session IPA - 4.2%

The second beer from Otherside to be included in the June Beer-Thusiast Pack is their Session IPA; Festive. Festive was apparently their first release back in 2016. It comes in at only 23 IBU's, which I would suggest is not enough for a Session IPA. Only tasting will tell...

"Noz and I both picked up a fair bit of Pride hopping in here. Whether or not that’s actually the case, it’s not usually one of the more sought after flavours in a session ale. That grungy, ‘dirty’ bitterness certainly has a place, but I was hoping for something a touch fruitier. Still, I didn’t hate it. The overwhelming impression I had was “yep, this is a beer”."


"Yep, this is a beer." That's a fitting summation of this beer. I didn't get any of the supposed citrus, pine & stonefruit that was flagged.

One week in & we're still on track to be caught up by Christmas with these Beer-Thusiast reviews. I think this pack turned out to be a little underwhelming, with the Exit Milk Stout & Liberty Yakima Monster being the clear standouts. Hopefully July provides better beers & that Dylan & I continue our uncharacteristic timeliness.

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

Thursday, 25 October 2018

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 3

Episode 3 - Show Notes 

For the second month in a row we are almost releasing the podcast episode on time! This is almost unheard of on Beer O'Clock Australia, as regular readers would be aware.

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

This month we're debuting two new segments - Scouting Report & a special tribute to one of the most important beers in the history of Australian craft beer. These segments are joined by our four "core" segments; News Items, What We're Drinking, Desert Island 6-Pack & Noz's Cellar. Please keep the feedback coming on what you like about the podcast, we're thoroughly enjoying doing it and tailoring it to what you guys like!


 Show Notes

News Items
  • New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards - A Downturn in Results
  • The Downfall of Australian Wheat Beer - An Equipment Issue?
  • The Black Hops "Incident"
  • Willie Smith wins Awards
  • Rocks Brewery has bought & re-branded
Scouting Report
  • The Incubator - Fixation's Collingwood Taproom
    • 414 Smith St, Collingwood, VIC, 3066
What We're Drinking
  • Cantillon Zwanze Day
    • Carwyn Cellars
    • Manneken Pisse + (6 Cantillon regulars) 
    • 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston
  • Noz's Vietnam Trip
    • South East Asian Macro Lager
    • More Craft Beers than expected
Feral Hop Hog - A Tribute
  • 10 Years of Hop Hog
    • A really important beer in the history of Australian beer.
    • "An Australian Sculpin" - Dylan Toune
Desert Island 6-pack
  • Saison - The rider this month was that almost anything funky counts - we only ruled out the La Sirene Farmhouse Red. Whether it's fruited, sour, highly Bretty - if it's funky it's in. 
  • The cross overs this month were:
    •  Saison Du Pont
    •  Hill Farmstead Arthur (despite Noz saying Anna - he meant Arthur!)
    •  Exit Saison
  • Dylan's X individuals;
      • La Sirene Saison, To Øl Sur Germs Are Coming Eating Our Pomegranate And Redcurrant!, Brasserie de Blaugies/Hill Farmstead Le Vermontoise, 
  • Noz's X individuals;
      • La Sirene Super Saison, To Øl Roses Are Brett, Almanac Saison de Brettaville
  • Honourable Mentions
    • Boatrocker Gaston, Bridge Road Chevalier, Moon Dog Saison Du Punt, Almanac Mandarina, Goose Island Sofie, Brew by Numbers 18|05, Crooked Stave Colorado Wild Sage, Hawkers Saison, Boatrocker Saison, Stomping Ground BA Saison, Brasserie Thiriez La Petite Princess, Trois Dames La Joyeuse
Noz's Cellar
  • Stone Old Guardian (2012)
There we have it guys, hope you enjoy Episode 3 of the Beer O'Clock Australia podcast. As usual send any questions, feedback or comments to gus.norris7@gmail.com. We took on board the couple of emails we received last time around and thank you guys for taking the time to give us some feedback. Please let us know if you think we've improved in this episode. The next episode will hopefully be up in mid-November. With any luck I'll have a few more posts up before then! In the meantime...

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

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

THE BEER-THUSIAST PACK: MAY 2018

The Beer-thusiast Pack: May 


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.

This month we get to sample 7 Australian offerings & one classic from the United States. The weather was getting colder in May - so we saw some maltier offerings than in previous months; with a Red Ale, Red IPA, Imperial Red IPA & an Oatmeal Stout all making the cut.

Mismatch Session Ale - American Pale Ale - 4.0%

This beer joins the ranks of beers that have been duplicated in the Beer-thusiast Pack; sitting alongside the luminary Rodenbach Original. Dylan & I both really enjoyed this beer back in December 2017 and so weren't displeased to see it again.

"This is a really clean, tasty little session IPA/lower alcohol pale/easy drinking Indian ale/whatever you want to call it. Lots of stonefruit from the hops - bright peach flavours that pop and dissipate quickly. Super drinkable."

Founders All Day IPA - Session IPA - 4.7%

Another low(ish) ABV hop driven beer arrived next; the Founders All Day IPA. Somewhat surprisingly I've never reviewed this beer in full - despite foreshadowing an upcoming review in February 2014...This is the beer that really put Session IPA's on the map for me. The fact we get them really fresh certainly helps that!

"One of those beers that I’d basically forgotten about after being a mainstay in the past. This was the first time I’d had it out of a can and it’s really the perfect format for it, a smashable little hop package. It’s more balanced and sessionable than something like Stone’s Go-To IPA (which I’m also fond of, mind you). It’s the kind of thing I’d drink a lot more of if we got more reasonably fresh cans into the country. As it is, it was a nice beer to revisit."


3 Ravens/Ballistic Dick Tracy's - American Red Ale - 5.6%

The story behind this beer wasn't publicized anywhere near enough, for which I'll defer to The Crafty Pint; "The year was 2011. Three fellas called Brendan, Lachy and Darcy had more time on their hands than a clockmaker. They brewed a beer together like witches over a cauldron: a hoppy red ale. And they’ve been thinking about it ever since. Waiting for the day they’d brew it again. Waiting for Brendan and Lachy to become head brewers. Waiting 'til now."

"Full bodied red - the ‘robust’ in the name is apt. Nice biscuit notes from the malt with good balance in flavours between malt and hops. Hops lean more in the floral direction than anything and aren’t particularly punchy, but suitable for the style. Touch of sweetness. Well crafted."


Mr Banks Oatmeal Stout - Oatmeal Stout - 5.5%

Mr Banks' winter seasonal is a classic style of choice for the colder months; an Oatmeal Stout. This beer is one of the few survivors from the original Mr Banks releases, with almost all the others superseded. Strangely, this will actually the first time I'll have had this beer and I'm really looking forward to it.

"Roasty and creamy, very smooth. If there’s hop bitterness in here it’s well hidden! One of those really drinkable little stouts which I’m occasionally really in the mood for. Sidenote: the cans we got were probably some of the last in the old packaging. While I quite liked the old art style Mr Banks had going, I must say the new core range packaging is some of the cleanest and nicest to look at on the market at the moment (along with Wayward and a few others). Kudos to them."


I have to second what Dylan said about the cans. I was a massive fan of the old cans, but I imagine they cost a fortune to produce! The new ones are so clean and are going to sell seriously well!

Six String Double Dark Red IPA - Imperial Red IPA - 10.0%

Six String is a brewery on the New South Wales Central Coast that is not that well distributed in Melbourne. That is with the exception of their flagship "Dark Red IPA", not many brewers can say their flagship beer is a Red IPA! For IPA Day last year their brewers decided to have some fun and supersize their flagship and the result is this 10% beast.

"Really big bodied, punchy red. Lots of earthy caramel from the malt and a good whack of hop bitterness. Lightly resinous. Drinks nicely for 10% - it’s big, but there’s no perceptible alcohol heat."

To sum up quickly and succinctly; a seriously well done Imperial Red IPA!

Edge Fruit Salad - Berliner Weiss - 4.0%

Edge have slowly morphed from this niche brand that leveraged Adam's distribution brand to do some collaboration brews with world renowned brewers. This is the supposedly the first in a series of Fruit Salad Berliner Weiss's. This one has had 6 different fruits added to a simple Berliner Weiss base.

"It’s fruity without really tasting like any specific fruit - I guess it lives up to the name in that regard! Very light bodied, not too tart and refreshing. Perfectly enjoyable little berliner."


I thought this had a distinct smell of apple & strawberry baby food although, like Dylan, I wasn't able to pick out a specific fruit when tasting this beer. All-in-all, this is really well done little beer.

Mornington Squid Rising - NEIPA - 6.5%

Squid Rising was the second release in Mornington "Squid Series". Yes, Dylan & I are that far behind that the third beer in the series has been released! This is one of the best NEIPA's in Australia; it's so juicy & unlike most Australian NEIPA's it isn't unnecessarily bitter.

"I liked this a lot more in cans than on tap weirdly enough! Waves of sweet, juicy tropical fruit, with that slightly too high but not a dealbreaker level bitterness that is ever-present in Australian NEIPAs. It’s a worthy entry into the style."
MoonDog Thunder Lips - Red IPA - 6.3%

I remember the days where I used to hang out for Moon Dog's limited releases. For at least a 2 year period I would buy them, every time they released new ones, which seemed to always come in twos. Those days may be gone - but with the addition of their new production breweries, maybe they'll return? This is a Red IPA which has had heaps of Yuzu added to it - it should work on paper! But, as was the case with many past Moon Dog limited releases, the taste will be in the pudding (or beer?).

"I liked the idea of this but thought the flavours clashed quite a bit sadly. There was a malty richness that just didn’t gel with the sharp citrus like I thought it would. You end up with a beer that has nice individual elements that don’t meld at all, creating a muddle on the palate as the end result. Probably not one I’d revisit, but as always I love that Moon Dog are willing to try things."

This just didn't work! The malt & citrus really clashed. But this is why you have to love Moon Dog - they have a go at everything; some work, some don't!

So there we have it guys, May's pack review is finally up; it's only taken until late October! Dylan & I have a rough plan of trying to be up to date by Christmas. Most of you probably know by now how timeline promises on this blog go, so I wouldn't hold your breath... In the meantime there will be a new podcast episode up any day now & with any luck there will be some other new content soon.

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