Wednesday, 30 October 2013

REVIEW: BREWDOG DEAD PONY CLUB

Untappd: Untappd 3rd Anniversary Badge


STATS
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 3.8%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
This is the beer that I specially held back from the big review the other day. BrewDog's Dead Pony Club is a beer I first had in Amsterdam this year and I think it's really special as it debunks the myth that low alcohol beers tastes bland.

So as soon as this badge was announced I knew I would have no problems at all getting it. All you had to do to get this badge was check into a beer last week, in honour of Untappd's 3 birthday. It's already been retired so anyone looking to get it, I'm afraid your time has passed.

The beer pours really nicely, and the BrewDog Teku glass looks seriously good as well! The beers quite a deep amber, almost reddish, colour. It appears to have a fair amount of sediment in the bottom floating in it and relatively little carbonation. Despite this the head has quite good retention but relatively poor lacing for the style. Overall it's a pretty average looking beer.

BrewDog's Dead Pony Club has a nice hop driven nose. There's plenty of citric and fruit flavours but they are note hugely dominating, think Stone & Wood Pacific Ale/Oakham Citra's nose. As the beer warms there is a some malt but it's very very light and had a biscuity aroma. A really nice understated nose.

For the moment I will put aside that this beer is a mere 3.8% and review it as if it's a full strength pale ale. There is heaps of citrus hop flavour as well as other tropical fruits; everything from peach to pineapple and grapefruit. Nice subtle malt backbone is understated but certainly important to the overall balance of the beer.

Dead Pony Club is the perfect beer for craft beer drinkers who need to drive home. At 3.8% you could have 1 or 2 at a BBQ and be absolutely fine to drive. As far as my experiences of light beers go, this is unique as it actually showcases flavour. This is a favourite of mine, I actually bought a 4-pack today, and I can highly recommend this one to all ale lovers.

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

A IS FOR AMSTEL

A is for Amstel


STATS
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: Euro Pale Lager
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Before I begin this review I'm going preface it with that these were all chosen at the beginning of my beer journey. Obviously I could have picked better/craftier beers, but for the most part I didn't. I'm going to compare what I said last time to what I think now. First up is Amstel, let's do this!

Here's what I said last time: "This was quite disappointing, I'd looked at it for a while and thought it might be worth a try, but really don't waste your money! It's nothing special, sort of a cross between Heineken and Corona. It's quite weak in flavour and does nothing for the reputation of Dutch beers." I clearly wasn't a huge fan of this beer when I initially did this challenge and I'm almost certain this is the first time I've had it since! Here goes nothing...

Despite the disgusting clear glass bottle (I HATE clear glass bottles!) the beer actually looks quite good for a lager. It's a nice clean golden colour and has a brilliant white head. The head had a number of large bubbles in it and dissipated quite quickly although my Amstel glass has alot of lacing left in it so it clearly laced the glass well.

Most importantly here the aroma is not skunked! I repeat this clear glass bottle has absolutely no skunky aromas! To me this is incredible for a beer actually imported from Holland. In fact it had almost no aroma at all. There was a small hint of malt on the nose but there were no hops detectable at all! This beer was remarkable for it's complete lack of aroma.

O.K. despite a positive start I remember why I wrote what I did last time. This really is not a great beer. In terms of flavour it is very very light on! What little flavour there is is not great; there's some mild sweetness early which fades into a nasty metallic flavour. The flavour of this beer is more like soda water than anything else, really not good at all.

So I think I was pretty close with my initial short review of Amstel. The beer is very light in flavour and I honestly wouldn't recommend anyone spending their money on it. I was once told that this beer should be served with a slice of lemon, like Corona, so I did try it and didn't think it improved it that much; although it did mask the nasty metallic flavour. There is no way I'd recommend this one to anyone, but look if you have to try it please let me know below what you think.

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

Saturday, 26 October 2013

UNTAPPD CATCHUP

Untappd Catchup


A combination of work and uni coming towards the end of the year have limited my reviewing over the past couple of weeks. When you add to this all the new badges Untappd have added and then the badges that have been leveled I would have a huge backlog of reviews to do. So this post will just be to knock off a few of them.

The picture to the right gained me the Photogenic Brew, one of the new Untappd badges. God it's a good beer! Mountain Goat's Summer Ale jumped my Down Under badge up to level 10, while Punk IPA bumped God Save the Queen up to level 7.

Kujukuri Ocean Pale Ale earned me the Rising Sun badge, achieved by sampling 5 Japanese beers. Just as the Down Under and God Save the Queen badges are acheived by having 5 beers from Australia and the U.K. per level.

Land of the Free is another of the new badges and like the aforementioned badges is achieved by having 5 beers from a country. This country is obviously the United States of America. Alaskan IPA was the beer that got this one done, it's a really nice IPA from a brewery that I know predominantly for dark beers. I also love the lime green label, which was a bit of a theme on Sunday; I also Clown Shoes' Galactica, also with a lime green label (unfortunately though it was a disappointment.)


The beer that got me my most recent badge was not a particularly rare one, a simply Hoegaarden. What wasn't so normal about this Hoegaarden was that it was in a can! Has anyone else seen Hoegaarden in a can? It tasted just like a regular Hoegaarden but was a bit flatter. The other thing that surprised me was that this was only my 20th Belgian check-in on Untappd!


So that was a little rambling, but I've smashed this review out in under 10 minutes so I'm pretty happy with it. I've held one of the badges I've got recently back as it's a beer that I've wanted to do a full review on for quite a while. Anyway until next time...

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

REVIEW: MADNESS IPA

Et Cetebeer


STATS
  • Country: England
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.8%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
I'm trying to get some reviews done at the moment while I've got a bit of a lull in uni and at work. This beer is Madness IPA from The Wild Beer Co. based in England. For the most part these guys do different Saisons and from what I've been told this is their first real venture into hoppy beers.

Everywhere that I've seen this recently I've been told to try it because people want to know what I think. Apparently this beer divides opinion like no other, you either love it or hate it! I'm always happy to offer my opinion on things, particularly beer, so let's see what I think.

The beer pours quite a cloudy orange colour with a big fluffy cream coloured head. The head's size was very impressive and despite the large number of bubbles in the head it had excellent retention and left good lacing. It's certainly not your average looking IPA but it is a good looking beer, if the head is not maybe a little too large.

Wild Beer's Madness IPA had one of the most gorgeous noses that I can remember. It was just jam-packed full of tropical fruit flavours; pineapple, melon, grapefruit etc.. And these fruity hops were complimented by a late pine hop aroma. There was also some sweetish malts as the beer warms and there is a distinct yeast aroma, maybe this is a homage to their saisons?

In terms of flavour Madness IPA is certainly unique. It has great hop flavour and bitterness, with tropical fruits and pine the most prevalent flavours. The malt takes a more pronounced position than many west coast IPA's, especially as the beer warms. What makes Madness IPA stand out from the crowd though is this pronounced almost earthy yeastiness. It's certainly not a textbook example of the style.

After careful consideration, over a month and 2 more of these since I started this review, I'm going to come down on the side of loving this beer. Wild Beer's Madness IPA is certainly not your typical take on an American IPA but I think it is a good one. I reckon this one is worth a go for all IPA lovers, even if it's just to see which side of the fence you sit on.

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

Thursday, 24 October 2013

REVIEW: RENAISSANCE BROWN TOWN

Untappd: New Brew Thursday (Level 5) Badge


STATS
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Style: American Brown Ale
  • ABV: 8.5%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
The latest in a line of Enlightenment beers from Renaissance is Brown Town; a collaboration with Liberty Brewing. They've termed it an India Brown Ale, which from what I understand is basically a hoppy new world brown ale, I'm really looking forward to seeing what this tastes like.

I'm stealing this from last time I wrote a New Brew Thursday review: New Brew Thursday is one of those badges that I've never fully understood. Basically you get this if you have 3 beers you haven't checked in before on 3 Thursdays in a 30 day period. Basically it comes around every month and surprises you every time..

Given the name of the beer, there are no prizes being handed out for guessing that the body of the beer is a deep brown colour. After the pour the beer seems quite flat with very few bubbles rising to a small khaki head. The head has very little retention and I don't recall there being any lacing of note. For the style it's pretty much what I'd expect, brown ale's aren't particularly interesting beers to look at...

Onto the nose and this is where the "India" in India Brown Ale first comes into play. There's plenty of grapefruit and even some piney elements. Despite the strong hop presence there is still the malty nuttiness that you would expect from a brown ale. It's a beautifully balanced nose.

Brown Town tasted exactly as the nose indicated that the beer should taste. It had a lovely nutty malt base with quite resinous hops providing bitterness. There's significantly more pine than the nose indicated and the grapefruit flavour is also strong. This is definitely not a brown ale for the purist.

Overall it's a really interesting beer that I'd recommend to people who like hops. Although brown ales typically aren't known for their hops this one certainly packs a bunch of them; if you buy this expecting a normal brown ale you will be severely disappointed! It's so much more than that! Hopefully soon I'll manage to find some time to pump some more reviews out as I've had alot of great beers recently.

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

Sunday, 13 October 2013

REVIEW: WEIHENSTEPHANER HEFEWEISSBIER

Untappd: Heffenista (Level 3) Badge


STATS
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: Hefeweizen
  • ABV: 5.4%
  • Serving Type: 570ml Tap
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Generally I review beers that I've had at home, so this Untappd segment could throw up some interesting situations and subsequently photos. Coll and I were at Alehouse Project last week when I unlocked this badge, considering that I'm pretty impressed with the iPhone photo.

Heffenista is a pretty easy and straight forward badge to get, simply sample 5 Hefeweizens. It's a style I really don't drink enough of considering how much I like them, only 15 out of 800 and something check-ins... Normally I would either need to buy a bottle of a beer that I've had on tap to review, or rely off my crappy iPhone notes; not this beer though, I know this one just about off by heart!

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier pours the expected cloudy golden colour that almost all Hefeweizens pour. Seeing as this is a 500ml glass that they were trying to squeeze a pint into the head was relatively small, but what was there certainly hung around for quite a while. The half finger of head that you can almost make out in the photo, lasted until right at the end and laced the glass very nicely.

Onto the nose and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier has one of the most distinctive nose of all wheat beers. It smells very strongly of banana, cloves and what I like to call rock-melon but have heard called everything from vanilla to bubblegum. On tap I picked up a little more yeast character than I do out of the bottle.

I was blown away how good this tastes on tap. On our Europe trip earlier this year I had a number of different Hefeweizens on tap and while all of them were refreshing none of them tasted as good as this! It was just perfect fully of banana and clove spiciness, it's very close to, if not, the perfect Hefeweizen!

Simply this beer is everything you could possibly want from a Hefeweizen. For anyone who likes Hefeweizens and hasn't tried this; it is an absolute must! I'd also highly recommend this as an introductory beer for those wishing to get into wheat beers, it gives you an indication of all the different flavours you can expect from the style in a relatively approachable form. Anyway in short, awesome beer - go buy some!

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

Thursday, 10 October 2013

ALPHABET CHALLENGE REVISITED


Alphabet Challenge Revisited


I've got lots of good news today guys. Firstly today I'm launching this new segment on the blog and secondly with a big announcement from Untappd.

With this segment I'm going back to the challenge that spawned Beer O'Clock Australia. A few people I've been speaking to thought this would be really cool to see how my palate, and hopefully writing, has developed/improved. It'll be interesting to see if I can all of them again! I hope it'll be possible but I certainly won't be doing it in 26 days again that's for sure!

Onto the second piece of business; the Untappd announcement. It's not my thing normally to post on news but this made me really excited. Untappd have today announced 12 new badges, which you can see below, for more information check out the Untappd blog post here and wait for me to start unlocking some of them soon!


I'll also let you know that I'm working on a few reviews at the moment and hopefully soon I'll be back up to date. I think there's an Abstrakt review (just waiting on Richo), an Et Ceterbeer review that's almost done and a couple of Untappd reviews still to write. Is there anything anyone wants to see done on the blog soon? If you've got an idea or a question hit me up at gus.norris7@gmail.com.

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

Saturday, 5 October 2013

REVIEW: MOONDOG BOCK NAKED

Untappd: Birthday Brew Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Doppelbock/Chili Beer
  • ABV: 7.7%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Last Sunday was my birthday and while nursing a surprisingly mild hangover after Grand Final Day I sat down and tucked into this; MoonDog's Bock Naked. It's described as a Chipotle Dark Lager which could be brilliant and at worst could be interesting.

This is the first beer in a long time that I've been unsure what to classify it as. I ended up not being able to decide so picked both styles. It's a 7.7% Bock - ergo a Doppelbock; but it's also Chipotle infused, in my mind a Chili beer. Anyway semantics aside, this is one of 3 new releases from MoonDog and the other 2 have been great so I'm expecting good things.

As expected Bock Naked poured a very dark brown colour with a tan head. The head dissipates quite quickly and has a number of large bubbles not long after first pouring. When the head finally settles there is almost a finger of foam left and this leaves a real impression on the side of the glass. It's a really nice looking beer to go with a typically 'kooky' MoonDog label.

The nose is where the Chipotle is first noticed. By no means is it the dominant aroma but it holds it's own against a bed of dark chocolate, surprisingly sweet malts and even some dark fruits, particularly dates (random; but I'm pretty sure that's what I'm smelling).

Bock Naked from MoonDog is a really interesting beer. And not interesting in the bad way I was alluding to at the start. There's plenty of chocolate and sweet malt initially before a hint of alcohol and Chipotle spice comes through. As the beer warms the spiciness becomes more pronounced. It's a nicely crafted beer.

Just like in their Mummy Have A Bite, another recently released beer, MoonDog have shown flavour restraint; something that is often forgotten in craft beer. Bock Naked is a simple yet complex beer at the same time, I think I'm going to need to sample a few more to come to a final conclusion on this beer, but for the moment I really like it and would recommend it to all craft beer lovers.

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

Friday, 4 October 2013

REVIEW: MOUNTAIN GOAT SUMMER ALE

Untappd: Summer Fun Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Can
  • Price: Inexpensive
This is one of the beers I've been most excited about in ages. Mountain Goat's Summer Ale. They've canned it ostensibly so that the brewers have something to bring to Meredith Music Festival. Seems like as good an idea as any!

So the Summer Fun badge is a pretty easy on to get, or so I thought. It's taken me a very long time to acquire it. All you have to do to get this badge is have 3 beers with the wood "Summer" in the name. My three; Mikkeller's Vesterbro Summer Pale Ale (at the Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen), Hix Summer Ale (at the brewery in Dromana) and now this beer Mountain Goat Summer Ale (in my bar).

I've had a few of these but this is actually the first one I've poured into a glass. The beer itself is a very light yellow colour with a wispy white head. As the picture shows quite well the head was rather short lived, with a number of large bubbles causing it to dissipate quickly without leaving a trace of lacing. That being said, although the beer looks almost lagerish I doubt this will put many off as it's not a beer many will pour into a glass.

The nose is jammed packed full of tropical fruit flavours, and they are strong! It's just a beautiful crisp nose, that totally belies that it looks like a lager! I could go into specifics on this nose but I'd be here all day, this is one you need to smell to understand.

Mountain Goat Summer Ale tastes just like it smells. There is plenty of fruit flavours from the hops, however very little bitterness appears to have been imparted. The other thing that I've taken away from drinking these is how dry this beer is. It's a great example of the Australian Summer Ale.

I love this beer! It's going to be one of my favourite beers this summer. The nose alone is worth buying this beer for. I think that the Summer Ale could, and maybe should, be a style in it's own right. This one is excellent, it's refreshing as any I've come across, the flavour is excellent and it's almost bone dry! What more could you ask for? If you see this one around guys, grab as many as you can! You won't regret it.

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