Thursday, 22 May 2014

GABS PREVIEW

 GABS PREVIEW


What was meant to be a 6-part, week-long extravaganza of reviews has turned into a rush job 1 off post in the final hour leading up to the opening GABS session.

My Good Beer Week plans my have scuppered dreams of a grander GABS preview, but this will still be one of the most informative ones out there. So without further ado here are the beers I'm looking forward to when I hit up GABS on Sunday.

In Section 1, there are a lot of fairly easy drinking option. My choices would be the 8 Wired Rastafari Unchained (NZ) - a stout with Brettanomyces - it's probably not for everyone though. I feel it's always good to try the collaborator, this year between CUB, Feral and 2 Brothers, a 6% Kellerbier called Land of Plenty Lager. Behemoth's ROFLcopter sounds awesomely hoppy as does Bierbecks Kooringa and I'll probably finish off with Thirsty Crow "& J's" - I really enjoyed their stout the other night and that has swung me this way.

Section 2; Bright's Battle of the Bulge Occupied Belgium IPA is too good of a name to go past. Camden Town's Emperor Nero is a Black IPL, which is a style I think will really take off and I really like all their stuff so interested to give it a go. Croucher from New Zealand make some really nice beers and a Kiwifruit Pils sounds like a good easy drinking beer to hopefully cleanse the palate a little. If that doesn't do it, then I know the Electrolyte Forte from Doctor's Orders will! This is the sour that I would not miss at GABS! The Doc never makes bad beers and it's a Gose, which is always nice. I thought this section was a little light on but for my fifth have opted for Duckstein's Vanilla Bean Framboise, don't know why just have.

3 Beers in a row start section 3: 39-41. Evil Twin's Fitzroy Hipster Ale, from Mikkeller's brothers brewery should be a treat if the other Hipster Ale's I've had are anything to go by. My favourite Australian brewery; Feral's offering pHunking a Wild Ale with Brett aged in Chardonnay barrels is not one to miss. I've picked the Gage Road beer as I think I'll probably want something dark by this stage; A Cure for Mad Dog Bites and Other Maladies is certainly a mouthfull though... Holgate Midnight Cowboy - a sour cherry porter sounds awesome and then I'm tossing up between Illawarra's Resin Dog IPA and Hop Dog's Brett the Bloody Orange, we'll see what I'm feeling like on the day.

Onto Container B now and Section 4, which I think is probably the best section of the lot. I'm really keen on some internationals in this one - Magic Rocks Circus of Sour - Barrel Aged and Mikkeller's Super Hopped American Dream. Of the local stuff hard to go past the Little Creatures SS Menno or Morrison's IPAison - an IPA crossed with a saison. MoonDog and Mornington's beers are both going to be hard to pass up as is the offering from The Monk - a Belgian Black IPA. So many decisions to make in Section 4 - might just need to have 2 paddles....

Section 5 is again headlined by internationals with Sierra Nevada, Renaissance and Norwegian brewers Nogne O ones not to miss. I've heard some good things about Prancing Pony from South Australia so will definitely check out their beer the Frisky Pony. Riverside Brewing's Othello's Curse is an Imperial Black IPA and I've loved all of their beers that I've had so will definitely by checking out this one. (As a side note I think I've listed almost every Black IPA on the list...)

Finally as we're getting towards the end of the day it'll be time for Section 6. Sixpoint's 150% is sure to be amazing, when these guys say "Extra Super Special Hoppy IPA" you can be sure this will be crazy; if Resin and Hi-Res are anything to go by. I'll also be checking out the Stillwater She'll be Right and the Temple Scarlet Super which promises to be amazing! The UK's Thornbridge will have Valravn - Wild Raven's big brother - there and I'm sure that will be awesome, again a big Imperial Black IPA. The last selection I'm going to leave up to what I feel like on the day.

It promises to be a great year at GABS! I can't wait to get there on Sunday! I hope this helps some of you decide what you're going to sample, let me know what your favourites are/were and I'll hopefully have a chance to sample them as well. Always open for suggestions and inevitably I'll have far more than I've listed above, think I might just preemptively take Monday off. Cheers guys, enjoy GABS!

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

Monday, 19 May 2014

GOOD BEER WEEK 2014

Welcome to the 4th Good Beer Week in Melbourne, by far Australia's biggest celebration of what we all love; beer! Throughout the week there are over 200 beer related events for everyone from beginners to the most ardent beer connoisseur.

I'll chuck the link to the main page here, if you're in Melbourne there's plenty of events you can still get tickets to and lots of tap takeovers that you can just rock up to for free and try some of the best craft beer that Australia, and the world, has to offer.

I've already been to 4 events and the standard this year is even better than last year! The beer and cheese event I went to tonight was one of the best beer events I've been to! If you ever need cheese, go check out the guys at Milk the Cow, really knowledgeable staff and amazing cheese! Check out that event lineup! The Nail Stout and the Crozier Blue was one of the best cheese matches I can remember!

As amazing as that sounds, the culmination and normally highlight of the week is GABS. It's a word (acronym?) that all Australian beer lovers know. GABS - The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular - is Australia's largest beer festival, with over 110 beers brewed specially for the event all by different brewers. If you like beer or know someone who likes beer, this is THE event not to miss!

I've been speaking to a few people who like craft beer but have no idea what beers they would like at GABS - and that this is putting them off going. Don't let the fear of the unknown put you off - read Beer O'Clock Australia's round up of what GABS beers to drink, no matter what level of beer drinker you are. Yes, this years guide has a drinkability scale, but the Beer O'Clock wrap up will give you even more info and knowledge about the style of the beers/brewers and (hopefully) what you'll want to drink at GABS.

There's only 4 sleeps left til GABS, so I better leave you guys with this if I'm going to get through my thoughts on all these beers. I'll divide the posts up into the 6 sections that you can order from at GABS for yours (and my) convenience. Hopefully some of you get some use out of it. Let me know your thoughts if you go and this helps you.

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

Saturday, 17 May 2014

REVIEW: SIXPOINT HI-RES

Untappd: American Craft Beer Week 2014 Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 11.1%
  • Serving Type: 355ml Can
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
I was quite surprised to find out that I hadn't reviewed this beer yet, I must have just talked about it with about every beer person I know! This is the big brother of Resin, find my review here, and at 11.1% is an absolute monster!

American Craft Beer Week was May 12-18 this year. This badge is a simple one to get, and you've still got time to get it! Simply check-in any American craft beer before the end of tomorrow (May 18th). Surely you'll be able to find a quality American craft beer while you're out celebrating Good Beer Week!

Hi-Res pours the standard clear deep orange colour for the style. There is quite an impressive sized head of cream coloured foam, which is permeated by small bubbles. The top half of the head dissipates relatively quickly but the bottom two fingers has excellent retention. This beer also laces the glass really well - don't drink one from your IPA glass and leave it there for a few days, it's a nightmare to clean! It's a really nice looking beer.

The hops unsurprisingly drive the aroma of Hi-Res, but first there is quite a big sweet caramel malt base. The beer is loaded with hopes and there is plenty of pine, tropical fruit flavours and even some spiciness. I don't know the hop profile of this beer, but there's got to be a minimum of 4 or 5 different varieties in there.

Sixpoint's Hi-Res is a flavour bomb! The malt base is quite sweet and it's huge, with caramel being the dominant flavour. There's a touch of raw alcohol but it's pretty well hidden, before the hops really take charge. They provide good bitterness, without being over the top, and have almost every hop characteristic I can name! This is such a well balanced beer and at 11.1% is dangerously drinkable!

My thoughts on this beer should be pretty obvious by now! I really struggle to find faults with Hi-Res, it's that good! The only criticism I've ever heard is that some people think it's a bit too sweet. For me I think that's just people not understanding what a big balanced IPA tastes like. This is not one to miss if you are a hop-head, it's awesome!

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

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

F IS FOR FLOREFFE

F is for Floreffe


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 750ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
It's been a bit over a month since I last ticked off a letter in the Alphabet Challenge Revisited. Here today we have one of the first Belgian ales that I ever had, Floreffe Prima Melior. Lefebvre Brewery makes it and has been operating at the site of the Floreffe Abbey since 1876 and brews beers based on the abbeys traditions.

Last time: "This is a strong Belgian (not Southern) ale, which is particularly dark. It has a very thick and full bodied flavour, which is strangely caramelly in texture. The distinct aftertaste is inherently tangy. This beer sounds strange and is really strange. It's worth a try solely because of how different it is." Hopefully my palate and writing has improved a little since then! (What was that??) Let's crack into it then and put that to the test!

Frosted glassware can sometimes hinder seeing the appearance of the beer, however this Floreffe one is different. When the liquid hits the glass instantly the frosting fades and you can see the dark brown liquid quite clearly, reddish orange highlights included. The head is a tan/khaki colour with a number of quite large bubbles. Despite this the head had good retention, more than just a film left upon completion, although the lacing was minimal.

On to the nose and the main aromas are that of dark fruits and candied sugar. As the beer warms there are different flavours that begin to come through, there's some relatively nondescript citrus (maybe orange?) and strangely some star anise. As for the dark fruits, I'd say that figs are the most prominent while the beer is also lightly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon on the nose. There is a disappointing lack of Belgian yeast though...

Much like the nose there is a distinct lack of Belgian yeast when tasting Floreffe Prima Melior. The overall feel of the beer is sweet with the sugars taken centre stage initially. Dark fruits begin to have more of an effect as the beer warms, while the spices; particularly cinnamon and nutmeg, become quite significant. This beer gets better and better as it warms, it's definitely one I'd sit with for a long time. The carbonation is a little high which may upset some people.

At least in my mind this is a much more succinct review than my last effort. In summation; Floreffe Prima Melior is a good, but not exceptional, example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It doesn't have the Belgian funk that many people associate with the style, but the dark fruits that come across are exceptional. This would be a good starter Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but not a great beer for Belgian connoisseurs.

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

Saturday, 10 May 2014

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 9

Untappd Catchup


Been a big couple of weeks and so once again I've fallen behind in Untappd reviews. Here are the latest 6, which have also taken me beyond 200 Untappd badges (201 to be precise).

The first badge in this wrap up is Das Boot (Level 5). Erdinger Weissbier was the beer and it was at Coll's house as we literally watching Liverpool's title hopes slip away... At least the beer was good!

Next was another ripper from Tru Bru. A collaboration between Buxton (U.K.) and Birra Toccalmatto (Italy), Sir Dragonet is a Scottish Gruit - basically the beer is brewed with herbs and spices instead of hops. The flavour is intriguing and only gets better with food (see above), pair it with something hearty and you won't be disappointed. Be prepared for quite a thick mouthfeel!



Crisp as Day (Level 6) was awarded to me after drinking Stefano's Pilsner. The beer is brewed in Mildura and named after Stefano de Pieri - a famous chef and part owner of Mildura Brewery in Northern Victoria. It's a Czech style Pilsner and after given this beer so many chances I've finally enjoyed one properly. All quality control issues appear to have been sorted, it's now not a bad pilsner.

Monday  saw a day where 3 badges were earned with 3 distinct beers. First up was Red Duck's Wood Gnaume. I loved the concept of the beer, it was a lambic that was to be aged in oak barrels. For me it didn't quite work; there was plenty of wood flavour and a hint of sourness - but certainly not enough! The was also close to no carbonation which really detracted from the mouthfeel, at least I got a badge; Pucker Up (Level 6).

Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) was also Monday. Thankfully I still had a can of Corona in my fridge and used this opportunity to earn a badge, for checking in a Mexican beer on Cinco de Mayo (I assume it's a bigger thing in the U.S. than it is here). My nightcap on Monday was a beer that's going to get a full review in the next day or two so I won't say to much about it here. Floreffe's Prima Melior earned me Belgian Holiday (Level 9) - time to start thinking what my Level 10 one will be...



So there we go, 6 beers and 6 awesome looking badges wrapped up in a nice short review. As I said earlier there is a review for Floreffe Prima Melior coming in the next few days and hopefully I'll have some more stuff this week leading into Good Beer Week. In the meantime keep the questions and suggestions flooding in and I'll endeavour to get back to you quickly; gus.norris7@gmail.com.

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