Monday, 29 September 2014

REVIEW: LA SIRENE PRALINE

GABS People's Choice 2014


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Belgian Dark Ale
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Serving Type: 750ml Tap
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Winning the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular People's Choice Award is one of the biggest honour in the Australian craft beer scene. It's a sign of ingenuity and excellent execution of all of the brewers skills.

La Sirene has typically been a brewer of Saisons. Based in the inner Melbourne suburb of Alphington, the brewery is only recognised by craft beer aficionado's. Praline was described as a Belgian Dark Ale with vanilla, chocolate and nuts. From reports of people who had it fresh at GABS it was incredible so I had high expectations.

Praline pours a very dark brown colour with a three finger tan head topping the liquid. The head had a few small bubbles in it but other than that had excellent retention. It laces the glass very well whether is was in the GABS glass, as pictured above, or the chalice I used the next night finishing off the bottle. It's a pretty looking beer.

Onto the nose and this is where Praline really began to show just how special it could be. The chocolate hit was immense at first with vanilla and nuttiness also having a strong presence. As the beer warms there is quite a bit of caramel sweetness hidden under that huge chocolate nose; while there are also hints of cherry and other dark fruits. If this tastes half as good as it smells it will be an incredible beer!

La Sirene's Praline tastes exactly like the sweet that the beer gains it's name from. The amount of chocolate and nuttiness in this beer is simply spectacular. It's definitely more prominent on the nose but the sweet caramel flavour is there. The mouthfeel is not in anyway cloying, but it certainly is a sweet thick beer. It won't be a beer for the masses; but for me it's a damn good beer!

With how well the beer was received at this years GABS there was no doubt that this beer would resurface again. It's taken four months but now Praline is back; both on tap and in bottles. If you come across a bottle of this I would buy it. It may not be your cup of tea but it is a truly interesting beer and one that may open your eyes to craft beer. If you do give it a go let me know your thoughts.

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

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

REVIEW: ABITA PURPLE HAZE

Untappd: Bayou Brews Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: Fruit Beer
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Serving Type: 355ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Here we are tonight with an American Fruit Beer. Abita's Purple Haze is the breweries best known beer and has raspberry puree added after filtration. To earn the Bayou Brews badge you need to check into 3 beers from the Bayou state; Louisiana. Purple Haze is my 3rd beer from Louisiana, so here we are.

When the Bayou Brews badge was announced in February none of the 10 qualifying breweries in Louisiana were exported to Australia. That all changed a few months later when Abita began being quite widely distributed in craft beer circles. I haven't been impressed by either of the two previous Abita beers I've had previously so hopes aren't high for Purple Haze...

Abita Purple Haze pours a hazy (pardon the pun) golden colour, with a brilliant white 3-finger head. The head diminishes very quickly, as in most fruit beers, but strangely leaves some lacing without much evidence of a ring of foam being left behind. I'm assuming the cloudiness in this beer comes predominantly from the raspberries considering it's been filtered, I do wonder though why there doesn't appear to be any coloration imparted by the raspberries?

Fruit dominates the aroma with raspberry, a bit of strawberry and grapefruit the most prominent. The base of the beer appears to be mostly wheat, but there isn't the banana-ey characteristics that normally characterize wheat based beers. There's a slightly off-putting alcohol aroma at the end as well.

Purple Haze surprised me a little with it's initial sweetness. This quickly subsides however and you are left with very little flavour. There wheat and grain combo is very weak and the raspberries taste slightly odd... The carbonation also seems very low. Maybe this beer didn't survive the journey over the pond?

Overall I thought that this beer was overhyped, whether it was old or not. It's not amazing by any stretch of the imagination; nor though is it abhorrent. It seems how I imagine a macro take on a fruit beer would turn out. Just because I'm not a huge fan of the beer shouldn't put you off trying it. I would hazard a guess that it would appeal to less experienced craft beer drinkers who don't mind fruit sweetness.

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

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

REVIEW: LINDEMANS FARO

Great Beer Styles #12


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Faro
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Over the last two weeks I've been busy with and then recovering from getting work ready for accreditation. Thankfully we passed and I can get back to focusing on the important things; you know reviewing beers and the like!

The Lindemans Faro I'm having tonight is actually the first Faro I've ever had. I had to acquaint myself with the style earlier as I wasn't sure what to expect. Basically it's a blended lambic which then has candied sugar added. This is supposed to dull the sourness and make it more palatable to the average drinker - sort of an entry beer into sours... I'm really interested to see what it tastes like.

Firstly; apologies for the picture quality. Not sure why none of them turned out well... The pour was an interesting colour, I'm not quite sure what to call it - deep golden, light amber, the same as my bar top... You get the idea anyway. The head was slightly off white towards the cream spectrum and was quite short lived. There did appear to be plenty of carbonation however, so why it is so short lived I'm not sure. Like most members of the lambic family it's not a great looking beer, but it is interesting.

Lindemans Faro has two vastly different elements on the nose, that somehow work together despite being polar opposites. The two elements are the sourness that you would expect from a Belgian lambic, although it is certainly muted, and very sweet candied sugar. It's an odd aroma - the sweetness is definitely dominant although the sourness comes in waves and is certainly present.

Having never had a Faro before I was unsure what to expect and how to rate this stylistically. There is plenty of sweetness throughout, coming from the candied sugar added to the lambic blend. I also pickup some fruitiness, although it is muted and almost indistinguishable. Hidden away amongst the sweetness was the barnyard funkiness that I was expecting more of. It's quite restrained and not as plentiful as I'd like in a sour - although being a Faro I suppose it's right for the style.

My first Faro was certainly an eye opener to the style. It's not something I particularly enjoyed, but neither was it something I detested. It's place is quite clearly as a gateway beer from more widely available Belgian styles of beer into the world of sours. The sourness is present but certainly not dominant or overpowering. I would recommend this to beer drinkers looking to get into sours, it's very moderate though - full-on sours are much more intense!

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