Monday, 30 June 2014

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 10

Untappd Catchup


I know almost every time I write one of these Untappd Catchup reviews I say this will be the last. Lets stop kidding ourselves; in all likelihood there will be more! The World Cup is taking a fair bit of my drinking/writing time at the moment and so these are the badges I earned over the last week or two.

Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 8) is a beer I've discussed in one of my recent reviews; Garage Project's Pernicious Weed. It's such a good American IPA! Very bitter tropical fruit and citrus flavours and aromas come from the hops. It's just a beautiful example of the style.

Another beer from my Bear Club pack that earned a badge was St Bernardus ABT 12. The badge was Belgian Holiday (Level 10). I'm surprised it's taken me over 1000 unique beers to hit 50 beers from Belgium. Anyway this is a great Quad, one I would recommend to anyone, but especially to lovers of Belgian beers.


The World Pint badge arrived by surprise when I was having a casual pre-footy meal at the Baden Powell on the Queen's Birthday public holiday. The beer was a personal favourite; Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. I have reviewed this before, way way way back when I was starting my blog - you can find that review here. Be warned it's an awful review! I think as one of Australia's premier beers it needs a re-do at some point soon... Watch this space.

Last night I went badge whoring, I not afraid to admit that. Fat Tire was the beer and it earned not 1 but 2 badges. The Fat Tire Experience is a badge for simply cracking into a New Belgium Fat Tire before September 30th, one of America's premier Amber Ale (although it's not particularly amber...). You can find a previous review of mine here. Badge 2 was I (heart) Colorado, to get this one you need to drink 2 beers from the following list of breweries before  June 29th.


The best beer was yet another beer I've had before, Geuze Boon. Pucker Up (Level 9) was the badge, again I'm surprised that it's over 1000 beers for 45 sours but there you go... Oude Geuze Boon was the beer you can find a photo above and read about my previous experience of it here. I'm aware this will be a contentious opinion, but for me Geuze Boon is one of the best beers to have with dinner. The dryness really seems to add something, which I've never quite been able to place.

Another 6 badges have been given the short review on Beer O'Clock Australia. I'm really hoping that soon I'll be able to get back doing the full reviews that I love. I'm still on the hunt for the remaining few countries in the European Beer Challenge. As usual if you can help with any of the remainder please email me, gus.norris7@gmail.com , or if you have any suggestions/questions please drop me a line.

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

Monday, 23 June 2014

BEAR CLUB MAY - 2014

Tru Bru Bear Club - May 2014

South Yarra's very own craft beer destination; Tru Bru, has gained a strong and loyal following in the 7 or 8 months since it's opening. Dedicated to the finest products and the freshest possible beer, Tru Bru has fast become the go to place for Melbourne craft beer lovers. It's a growler only store (I lie, there's no bottles but a few cans) the concept coming from Anton's homeland, Russia, where takeaway tap beer is commonplace.

To capitalize on this popularity Anton, Tru Bru's founder, has launched the Bear Club, an invite only club for Australia's craft beer lovers. You can find further details here, but essentially for $90 a month you get access to some really rare tap beer that you can enjoy delivered to you door in convenient 750ml bottles.

Anyway I not here to spruik the Tru Bru brand, I'm here to talk about the beer. The first beer I cracked into from my Bear Club package was one I knew not much about; Panhead's Fresh Hopped Vandal. It's an American IPA from New Zealand and it really surprised me with how good it was. It had really good citrus hop bitterness. Honestly I would put it on a par with Epic's Hop Zombie and...

The Garage Project's Pernicious Weed! All the beers that these guys pump out are awesome and Pernicious Weed is one of my favourites of theirs. New Zealand make some brilliant hoppy IPA's and this is one of the best! There's lots of tropical fruit flavours coming from the hops and for an 8% IPA you barely notice it going down. Check out the artwork (left) as well, it's pretty cool.

Beer 3 in my Bear Club pack was Sixpoint's Global Warmer. American Amber Ale's have a time and a place but on the whole I'm not the biggest fan of them. This Amber is different; in a can I thought it was sensational, on tap it was even better! All the Sixpoint stuff is pretty incredible but this is definitely not a beer to miss.

The first Australia beer I sampled from the Bear Club pack was the Dainton Family Black Sheep Smokey Stout. It was probably the weakest beer of the bunch, but there was extreme competition! The flavour was nice and smokey, as expected, but the body was just lacking that bit of "oomph" that I like in my stouts.

The next beer I cracked into was an inspired choice in my opinion; Two Birds Taco. The brewery is run by two girls down in Spotswood and they make some really good stuff. Taco is brilliant, it's such a simple beer yet also complex at the same time. It's a hoppy witbier with corn, citrus elements, coriander, chilli and spice flavours all mixed together to make this very quaffable beer.

I deliberately saved the best for last; St. Bernardus ABT 12. This is a big Belgian Quadrupel - that I hadn't had in years! After this tasting I'll definitely be buying more! The flavour is very Belgian; sweet malts, dark fruits and Belgian funk. Trust me on this one, drink this with blue cheese - I had mine with a Crozier blue, which was just a sublime match!

Now if the idea of joining a beer club is the sort of thing appeals to you; as a special offer to Beer O'Clock Australia readers Tru Bru are offering an extra Tru Bru branded glass to every new Bear Club subscriber that mentions this post! There are still a few places left to join the club for June - so here you go guys; you're invited! Having seen most of the lineup for June, if you love beer you'd be silly not to drop Anton a line at anton@trubru.com.au or drop into the store to get involved. Spots are limited so get in quick to avoid disappointment!

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

Saturday, 21 June 2014

GABS ROUNDUP

 GABS ROUNDUP


This has been along time coming, but as promised here is my thoughts on what I was planning on drinking at GABS. A few of the standouts I can remember but the rest are coming from the notes I took on the day.

Section 1 - I thought that overall this was a pretty weak section. The loss of the 8 Wired and Birbecks' change really hurt an already weak section. Special mention to 2 Brothers Creme Caramel which was Lizzie's favourite beer.

8 Wired Rastafari Unchained (NZ) - Unfortunately a late scratching which was disappointing.
CUB, Feral and 2 Brothers Land of Plenty Lager - Not amazing, good hops towards the back end.
Behemoth ROFLcopter - Not bitter enough, good Belgian yeast characteristics.
Bierbecks Kooringa - Changed to Tart-Shaped Box, I was not a fan, it was very woody.
Thirsty Crow "& J's" - This was amazing! Tasted exactly like sour jelly. Was even better when combined with Bootleg's PB to make "PB & J".

Section 2 - Section 2 was a much better section. My favourite of this lot was the Emperor Nero from Camden Town in the U.K. with the Doctor's Orders a close second. I think how much I'd hyped this up made me a little more disappointed in it than if I knew nothing about it; great to have a 7.5% sour!

Bright Battle of the Bulge - Nice "Belgiany" IPA. Not much in the way of hops, definitely yeast driven.
Camden Town Emperor Nero - "Roasty hoppy citrusness" - that's actually what my notes say!
Croucher Kiwifruit Pils - Light pilsner with plenty of fruit, I'm assuming it was kiwifruit...
Doctor's Orders Electrolyte Forte - Not as good as I'd hoped it would be, still a very nice sour.
Duckstein Vanilla Bean Framboise - No noticeable vanilla bean, dominated by sour raspberries.

Section 3 - I rated nothing under 4 on Untappd in this section! I think I had 10 or 11 samples here and could have easily had more! Lizzie's favourite was Ekim's Slammer - a tequilla infused pale ale that was very very drinkable! The Garage Project's Umami Monster probably also deserves a mention - as expected from these guys it was weird - but smokey and shroomey; by the end I really enjoyed it.

Evil Twin Fitzroy Hipster Ale - Like the whole Hipster Ale range, a nice drinkable pale ale.
Feral pHunking - Wonderful! Plenty of sour fruit, everything it promised to be!
Gage Road A Cure for Mad Dog Bites and Other Maladies - Another scratching.
Holgate Midnight Cowboy - Exactly what it said it was, a porter with sour cherries. Delicious!
Illawarra's Resin Dog IPA - Nice bitter IPA, plenty of citrus and pine.
Hop Dog's Brett the Bloody Orange
 - Brettanomyces everywhere in this one!

Section 4 - This was such a good section! There were so many wonderful beers, Lizzie and I had everyone I think. The peoples choice winner of the festival came from this lot - La Sirene's Praline - I didn't think it was exceptional, I will look forward to giving it another chance if it comes out again. The Little Brewing Company's Breaking the Cardinal Rule was exceptional with heaps of passionfruit coming from the hops and the Tripel backdrop providing a fantastic base.

Magic Rocks Circus of Sour - Barrel Aged - Very similar to the normal one, little evidence of barrel aging. But still a very nice beer!
Mikkeller's Super Hopped American Dream - Pretty plain, not that hoppy. Definitely not Mikkeller's finest offering. 
Little Creatures SS Menno 
 - Great red colour, sour but not amazing flavour.
Morrison IPAison - Very good. More Saison than IPA. Fruity and dry. 
MoonDog Cold War Drip - Coffee and spices. 
Mornington R 'n' R Porter - Wonderful roasty Porter! Buy anything these guys make, I've never had a bad one!
Monk The Dark Monk - So good, I think the best in this excellent section. A Belgian Black IPA.

Section 5 - This was a pretty disappointing section. The only beer that stood out other than the ones mentioned below, was the Rocks Brewing Company The Pickpocket. Listed as an Apricot Wheat Beer, it was better than that, it was an Apricot Gose (sour wheat beer) and was particularly refreshing.

Sierra Nevada Koalafornia Dreaming
 - Plenty of hops for a brown ale, very nice.
Renaissance Export Pilsner - Bitter Pilsner! Beautiful!
Nogne O Triple Wood Knot Brown - Awesome brown ale, huge ABV unnoticeable!
Prancing Pony Frisky Pony - Really disappointing. Far too "bocky" for want of a better word.
Riverside Brewing's Othello's Curse - Pretty standard black IPA, nothing really special about it.

Section 6
 - My suggestions in section 6 probably couldn't have been less helpful if I tried. I only named 4 initially and with 2 scratchings I was only left with 2 beer suggestions for you guys - at least both were awesome. I finished my paddle off with True South's Spicemarket - funnily enough it was spicy - Tuatara's Lo-Fi because I was getting pretty drunk and finally Young Henry's Mothers Ruin which was very Kvass-like in texture and somewhat in flavour.

Sixpoint's 150% - SO BITTER! These guys never disappoint on the IPA front.
Stillwater She'll be Right - Scratched!
Temple Scarlet Super - Immensely sour! Exactly what I was hoping for.
Thornbridge Valravn - Also Scratched! Was really looking forward to this one.

There were many other beers that I managed to sample on the day. This on it's own was probably more than I needed to drink but coupled with going to the footy afterwards... and then to the Beer & Burger Lounge.... and then Alehouse Project. It's safe to say I was feeling quite ordinary the next day - and was probably a contributing factor in how long this write up has taken. Anyway - I wouldn't have had it any other way, GABS 2014 was the best yet!

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

Saturday, 14 June 2014

REVIEW: CANTILLON ROSE DE GAMBRINUS

Untappd: Extraordinary Badge


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Fruit Lambic
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Serving Type: 750ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
The big thousandth unique check-in on Untappd came up a couple of weeks ago. I knew it had to be something special and so was agonizing over the decision for weeks. I hoping I'll be happy with my selection; Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus.

One of Untappd's most respected badges is the Extraordinary Badge. This one is not a simple badge to get, it requires well over a years dedication to get this badge. To get it you must check-in 1000 unique beers. Beer festivals really help rack up the numbers and GABS left me just short of this one.

Rose de Gambrinus pours a really nice red colour. It's much more luminous than an amber ale, think more along the lines of a red soft drink. The head is also reminiscent of a soft drink, there is a pink head of maybe a finger or two which dissipates very quickly. For the style it looks spot on, you're not really looking for it to look like a stereotypical beer.

If you're not a lambic drinker, the smell of Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus could be enough to put you off. It's seems almost excessively tart at first before elements of raspberry, Belgian yeast and what appears to be hop elements of citrus and floral notes, which I was not expecting to be as dominant of an aroma.

What can you say about this beer? It's close to perfect! The tartness is bitingly strong yet somehow not overpowering. The raspberry flavour comes through well and there is just about enough Belgian funk to keep the real enthusiasts happy, while not enough to put anyone off. The carbonation level seems spot on.

My review of this beer in no way does it justice, it is simply sublime! All lovers of sour beers know of Cantillon's range - I would put this very close to the top of those I have had! I know it takes time for beer drinkers to come round to sours, but this beer is one of the reasons I'm so glad I did! So 1000 unique check-ins down, onwards to the next milestone 2500!

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

Monday, 9 June 2014

GOOD BEER WEEK UNTAPPD CATCHUP

Untappd Catchup


I'm sure my absence over the last couple of weeks has been noticed by some of you, I've been in recovery mode after a HUGE Good Beer Week! Here's a quick catchup of my Untappd badges from Melbourne's finest exhibition of craft beer.

First cab off the ranks was Beer Connoisseur (Level 10). There was a bit of confusion in Untappd circles a couple of weeks ago when this was dished out. I can only assume that it was made retroactive, so for every 4 (yes four) beers from different countries you had had you got a badge when you checked a beer in, mine was Hops Dropper Pilsner. Apparently I've checked in beers from at least 40 countries on Untappd... There you go.

Doctor's Orders GABS offering ticked off Pucker Up (Level 7). Electrolyte Forte was a supped up version of the Doc's brilliant Electrolyte Gose. It ended up clocking in at 7.5%, absolutely huge for a Gose, and I thought that the ABV was a little much for the body of the beer. My expectations were extremely high and so I was a tad disappointed in the beer, but it was still a very nice sour.



New Zealand's Garage Project was the brewery that provided beers for not 1 but 2 Drinking Like A Kiwi badges. Level 7 was their GABS beer, Umami Monster, my notes say smokey and shroomey so I'm going to assume that's what it tasted like. While Level 8 was Pernicious Weed; I got this as part of my Tru Bru Bear Club and on tap this is the best New Zealand Imperial IPA I've had, much better than the bottle.

Another beer from our friends across the ditch earned Crisp As Day (Level 7). Moa Triple Hopped Pilsner was the beer; a 7.5% Imperial Pilsner hopped with Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Pacifica hops. I thought at GABS that it was quite a well made, balanced Imperial Pilsner with the alcohol well hidden, which for me is the main thing in the style. Would I drink it again? Probably not, it's not my favourite style, but not bad.

Pucker Up (Level 8) was the last new badge I got at GABS. Magic Rock's Circus of Sour the Barrel Aged version was the lucky beer to achieve the latest honour. I'm quite familiar with the normal Circus of Sour and couldn't really detect any noticeable difference. It's still a really nice, flavoursome Berliner Weiss and I would highly recommend either beer if you come across them.


So there we go, hopefully now that I'm fully recovered from the drinking marathon that was Good Beer Week I will be able to pump out a few reviews this week. You'd think from this review that GABS and Good Beer Week were a sour and New Zealand beer affair, not that I didn't sample quite a few of them but I would suggest there were far FAR more Australian beers consumed. What a wonderful week of beer, can't wait for next year!

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