Wednesday, 26 February 2014

REVIEW: HELLO MY NAME IS VLADIMIЯ

Et Cetebeer


STATS
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
BrewDog are known for their out their beers and even further out there marketing. Some people are a little upset with this beer, or at least the way it's been marketed. I though feel that BrewDog are raising the issue of discrimination in Russia, during the Sochi Winter Olympics as well might I add, in their own sarcastic way.

I'm linking the beer launch page here, you need to read this! It's sooo good (It was better but it's been censored)! This lot arrived fresh from BrewDog yesterday, and I did order it on launch day, so there's every chance this is the first time it's been drunk in Australia! Pretty cool! In the spirit of the beer I was watching the Olympics on the TV when I sampled this last week.

Hello My Name is Vladimir poured a nice medium amber/orange colour, with red flitting through when held up to the light. The beer has a nice 3 finger head of off white foam, which has good retention although leaves minimal lacing. It's a really nice looking beer and has one of my favourite labels to match! Normally I don't take the label into account when scoring a beers appearance, but in this case it's hard not to! Putin with lipstick is hard to go past!

Like the most BrewDog beers the aroma was hop driven with tropical fruit and citrus the most obvious characteristics. As the beer warmed (only a little though, it's seriously drinkable), maybe aired is more appropriate, the caramel malt body began to impress itself more on the drinkers nose while apricot and passionfruit flavours also became more pronounced.

The first thing that struck me about this beer when I took my first sip was how fruity it was! It was brimming with grapefruit, passionfruit, other generic citrus, mango etc. The malt base was light in flavour, but had enough body to sustain the beer. It was quite a bitter IPA and as the beer wore on I got a distinct berry flavour, which I'm going to assume was the limonnik berries mentioned on the bottle, which really added an extra dimension to the drinking experience.

For the ABV this beer is dangerous! You would have no idea that this beer is 8.2% when you're drinking it and the mixture of the delicious flavour, relatively low carbonation and great mouthfeel make it very very drinkable. If you like big Imperial IPA's, this is one you need to try. Remember 50% of the profits from this beer is going to charity BUT it's #notforgays.

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

Saturday, 15 February 2014

REVIEW: HITE ICE POINT

Macro Lager


STATS
  • Country: South Korea
  • Style: American Pale Lager
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Can
  • Price: Inexpensive
Here today we've got the most popular Korean lager. Hite (pronounced height NOT he-tay) Ice Point. It's a lager made from rice, like Budweiser and most of the other Korean beers. Interestingly only 2 of the mass produced beers in South Korea are made with malted barley. This has led to criticism that the North Korean lager, Taedonggang, is actually a better beer and the subsequent ceasing of it's import to South Korea.

Whenever I go to the Korean restaurant near work this is my go to beer. Subsequently I'm quite familiar with this beer and can confirm that it goes very nice with spicy pork bulgogi and a few other Korean specialties. If you're around the Abbotsford area and not after Vietnamese check out Seoul Soul. Rumours are that this beer is soon to be sold at Dan Murphy's, watch this space.

The beer pours a deep golden colour with a nice frothy head of white foam on top. The head retention is normally good and this time was no exception either. There was good lacing for the style with one side of the glass covered in a nice even webbing of foam. Taking all things into account, it's quite hard to find where to take points off for this lager's appearance, it's excellent!

Unlike many lagers Hite Ice Point does have an aroma. The most noticeable element on the nose is the grassy hops, which appear to have good bitterness for the style. There are also some sweetish smelling malts, which I'm assuming must be rice with a bit of corn thrown in for good measure. While not necessarily pleasant. it's not an offensive aroma which is the main thing for me.

Hite Ice Point is a solid, easy drink lager. As with most macro lagers it's more a case of what defects aren't there as opposed to what's really a standout. The malt/rice/corn base is overall slightly sweet although there clearly are some sour grains in the mix. The hops are nowhere near as potent as the nose would have indicated and they provide minimal bitterness. The carbonation is maybe a little lower than you'd normally expect, but this just helps the mouthfeel and drinkability.

As far as Korean beers this is my favourite, although I have only had 2... It's a stereotypical Asian lager, with an overall sweet flavour with only the tiniest hint of hop bitterness. The carbonation is thankfully low and it's a beer that I think you could easily drink a lot of in a single sitting. If you're into other Asian lagers this might be one to check out when Dan's begin to stock it soon.

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

Friday, 14 February 2014

REVIEW: DOCTOR'S ORDERS TRANSFUSION

Untappd: Pucker Up (Level 5) Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Berliner Weissbier
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Serving Type: 1,890ml Growler
  • Price: Expensive
This past summer I've gotten into sours in a big way! Doctor's Orders make, in my opinion, the best Australian sour on the market in Electrolyte; their Gose. So I have very high hopes for their new summer seasonal; Transfusion.

Transfusion is a Berliner Weiss with a twist, it's got Rhubarb in it! Rhubarb is possibly the most underrated vegetable around, it's so good in pies and casseroles etc... but I digress. It's a traditionally made Berliner Weiss and has had both lactobacillus and brettanomyces added to produce a supposedly tart and refreshing beer. I can't wait to get into it.

"WOW! Look at the colour! What is that?" The words of a beer novice in my bar when I poured this beer. Don't adjust your screen contrast that cloudy pink colour is actually how the beer poured! It is one of the oddest looking beers I've ever seen, and I've seen a few! The white head on top was made up of tiny little foam bubbles and had little to no retentive qualities. Still on uniqueness alone I'd have to rate this beers appearance very highly.

Over a week after I actually drank this, my memory of the nose is almost as vivid as it was at the time! The nose was, unsurprisingly, sour with grapefruit and a vegetal aroma similar to rhubarb being the most prominent. As the beer warmed it also gave off an unusual salty aroma, which really intrigued me.

Doctor's Orders mid-summer seasonal for this year is simply sensational! It's a quintessential Berliner Weiss with rhubarb that has added an extra level of complexity to the beer, while there is also some grapefruit hop bitterness. The yeast flavours are not particularly dominant but are certainly there.

I had very high hopes for this beer and it certainly delivered! For something that is at time bitingly sour, it has a crisp mouthfeel and is remarkably refreshing. This is possibly the most sessionable sour that I've come across, with it's very light but spritzy carbonation making it very drinkable. Dad and I knocked this growler off within an hour... It's a very very limited release so if you see if grab some.

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

Friday, 7 February 2014

REVIEW: HOWLING PALE ALE

Untappd: Brew Bowl XLVIII Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.2%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Today I'm review a beer I had earlier in the week. It comes from one a brewery that creates as much hype as any in Victoria; Black Dog Brewery. I've visited the brewery, at a winery in Victoria's high country, and it's particularly picturesque and well worth a visit if you're up that way.

Brew Bowl XLVIII (or 48 for those who can't deal with Roman Numerals) was last Monday (Australia Time). This badge was simply for checking into a beer on Super Bowl Sunday. I can't think of an Australian beer that is hyped in the craft community as much as this one is. Black Dog constantly change the hop combination in this beer, seeking perfection, and so I was really looking forward to trying the current configuration.

So onto the pour and the Howling Pale Ale pours a deep golden/light amber colour with a huge off-white head on top. The head is clearly helped by the shape of the California glass, which is so incredibly nice to drink out of. Good lacing is left behind by the head which has excellent retention. It's a very nice looking pale ale.

Black Dog's Howling Pale Ale smells like I would expect a true American Pale Ale to smell like. There is a nice bed of caramel malts with some citrus and floral aromas coming from the hops. There's a lot to like about the nose of this beer.

And the flavour doesn't let down the appearance or aroma. It's got a nice light caramel malt backbone like the aroma indicated. The hops impart good bitterness for the style and there are some grapefruit and herbal flavours coming off them. The mouthfeel and carbonation is perfectly balanced. It's just a lovely beer!

This beer absolutely lived up to the hype! It's a sensational example of an American Pale Ale. Distribution is improving, Slowbeer in Melbourne now stock it, so there is no excuses not to go out and get yourself a few of these. You certainly won't be disappointed! Look out for more Black Dog reviews on Beer O'Clock Australia soon.

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

THE SESSION #84

STATS
  • Topic: Alternative Review
  • Session Host: Literature & Libation
  • Announcement: Here

For those new to the Session the idea is on the first Friday of every month beer bloggers from around the world unite and write a post on a common topic. Find more info here.

This month Oliver from Literature & Libations has come up with a topic that piqued my interest and made me end my unexpectedly long absence from The Session. Basically we are trying to review a beer, without reviewing a beer.

Now I know that makes close to no sense, so I'm going to try and explain that a little more succinctly. No beer terminology, no talking about different elements of the beer, just telling a story that explains what you thought of the beer. It certainly doesn't sound easy but I've been thinking about it all day and think I've come up with an idea.

First and foremost I'm reviewing Moon Dog's Mustafa's Dancing Helmet Apricot IPA. This is certainly going to be an alternative review! Instead of talking about the beer today, I'm going to try and tell the story of the beer through the label. So the guy in the picture above is Mustafa and this is the story of him and his dancing helmet.

Mustafa is a pretty stunning looking turkey! He struts around the forest like he's the coolest turkey around. That's probably because he is! With his big bold afro on top this turkey has all the hens (actual word for the female turkey) wanting a piece of him.

The forest Mustafa lives in was called the Apricot Forest. The forest was so named because of the abundance of apricot trees that it house underneath the taller trees. The subsequent aroma coming from the trees made everything in the forest smell slightly sweet despite the turkeys often digging up the wet earth in the forest as a mating call. Mustafa was particularly used to the earthy smell, rarely walking on unscratched ground due to all the hens flocking to him!

Late one night Mustafa ran into a dog howling at the moon. Mustafa asked the dog why he was sitting howling at the moon and disturbing the forest so late at night. The dog replied that he'd been busy gathering spices and got a little high and thought the moon wanted to fight him. The dog looked quizzically at Mustafa next and asked "Why are you wearing a dancing helmet?" Mustafa thought carefully before replying; "I think you might have had too much..."

The rest of the evening was a blur for all involved. Mustafa hazily remember the scratching of some earth, the spices that he had later shared with the moon dog and the apricots that were a part of his everyday life. He wondered what happened to his friend the dog. He never did see that moon dog again, but as an old turkey he did hear a story of the dog teaming up with a smart pig to teach people about lager.

I don't know if that piece does any justice to Moon Dog's beer but it is out there and now that I've finished it I may as well post it... It's certainly a beer worth checking out if you like IPA's with a bit of a difference. Also for those who the last paragraph is lost on (I assume everyone except my now quite drunk self) try Moon Dog's Love Tap 2, it's awesome! Cheers guys, more normal posts will return tomorrow!

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

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

UNTAPPD "ROADTRIP" CATCHUP 6

Untappd Catchup


The following post is a quick recap of the badges I got whilst on my recent roadtrip around Australia (and I think one from just before I left). Anyway hope you enjoy this quick little catchup.

The Hotel Hopper is a pretty self explanatory badge, basically turn up at 5 different venues (per level) Foursquare classifies as hotels and check in a beer. I earned Level 3 at one of my favourite pubs outside Victoria. The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay was the site and Carlton Draught the beer, should've bought the first round and it could have been Stone & Wood Pacific Ale... Ah well!

Carlton Draught was again the beer that unlocked Find the Source Level 2. Finnian's Irish Tavern in Port Macquarie was the venue. I assume they must make their own beer or this could have been an error in Foursquare. Find the Source is a location badge for checking in beers at breweries, 5 per level as usual.

Just before I left on my roadtrip I had possibly the worst beer I've had this year; Wanaka Beerworks Lake Town Beer. The beer was a horrendous mix of vegetable flavours and herbs mixed with Belgian yeasts. Didn't work for me at all. Anyway at least in earned me level 4 of Drink Like A Kiwi and the label and mug are pretty cool (see photo above right).

First day of the roadtrip that mystical New Brew Thursday badge turned up again, this time with it's 8th installment. The beer was Summer Wine Brewery's Barista Espresso Stout, which I had got a whistler from Tru Bru the day before to quick off the trip in style. Not surprisingly when you consider the name, there was plenty of coffee flavours while the body was quite thin and drinkable. If the body had been a little thicker this could have been a really excellent Stout.



The trip was pretty ordinary on the beer front, with mostly macro lagers imbibed. The highlights package is long but would have to include sinking tinnies of VB's as we floated down the Murray River on inflatable rubber thongs in 40+ degree heat! Having fresh Stone & Wood Pacific Ale in Byron Bay is always an experience not to be missed. However my favourite roadtrip beer is going to go to Black Duck Brewery's Golden Goose; a wonderfully hoppy pale ale that I got to sample in Port Macquarie. That just about wraps up this little catchup; hope you enjoyed it! Normal programming will commence again shortly...

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

Monday, 3 February 2014

THE GREAT BOTTLE VS. CAN DEBATE PART 9

The ninth installment: The Great Bottle vs. Can Debate


STATS
  • Country: Mexico
  • Style: American Adjunct Lager
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle/Can
  • Price: Inexpensive
Today I'm not only bringing you the 9th installment in The Great Bottle vs. Can Debate but I'm also bringing you an Untappd review. Today's beer is one of the most recognizable beers in the world; Mexico's Corona Extra. This beer is probably best known for being served on beaches in a clear glass bottle (one of my pet hates!) with a lime in it's neck. Today I'll be serving both the can, which I didn't know existed, and the bottle lime-less. God help me!

Somewhat unbelievably to me Corona is the top selling imported beer in the United States and in Australia we sold more than 600,000 hectolitres of it in 2011. That's over 3% of the entire Australian beer market! Anyway I'm going to put my personal dislike of Corona and it's stupid clear bottles to one side and review these, let's see what happens.

So, the appearance of both of these beers is pretty poor. The can had only a thin film of head on top of it's very light golden body, while the bottle had only a few white bubbles around the rim of the glass when poured. Even for the style it's very poor.

Corona actually smells like skunk. Both of the beers smell identical and both are fresh stock. It smells like sour grains, sulfur and metal. Truly an awful aroma, although it should be noted that Corona is very rarely poured.

The one thing Corona has going for it, is that it is incredibly easy to put away. This is a good thing as to me this is the worst kind of lager, it's sweet! And by sweet I mean almost sickly sweet with corn flavours and some very very light malting. There are almost no detectable hops in the bottle, while I do get just a hint of some in the can.

Personally I would put more effort into avoiding these beers than I would the plague. Putting that to one side, the object of this review was to determine which vessel keeps this beer fresher. Based on the slightly better appearance (at least it had some head!) and the tiny amount of detectable hops; I'm going to have to hand this chapter of The Great Bottle vs. Can Debate to the can.



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