Sunday, 26 October 2014

REVIEW: GUEUZE TILQUIN

Great Beer Styles #13


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Gueuze
  • ABV: 6.4%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
This review was inspired by a friend of mine who said; "you clearly don't like sours that much, you don't review many!" Those who know my drinking patterns would be aware that I'm very partial to sours and so Pat this is for you.

Oude Gueuze Tilquin a L'Ancienne, to give this beer it's full name, is my go to gueuze. In summer I drink this beer regularly. Gueuze Tilquin is a "Gueuzerie" they don't brew their own beer but rather buy wort from other brewers and then age them in various barrels. Fast forward a few years and they blend the different barrels together and create this spectacular gueuze!

Gueuze Tilquin pours a hazy golden/straw colour with quite a small white head. Despite the head's small size it has amazing retention, with a good layer of foam covering the beer throughout drinking. There are plenty of carbonation bubbles rising to the head, which must play a significant role in the excellent head retention. It's a lovely looking gueuze.

The nose of this one is not as tart as some gueuze's. The Belgian funk is quite prominent as is a green apple aroma. I get hints of other fruits on the nose as well as a grassiness that I would normally associate more with a pilsner. As the beer warms an oaky aroma also becomes noticeable, but it certainly isn't a strong or overpowering woodiness.

I could almost write the flavour notes on this beer from memory! It's more complex than the nose with funk and green apple again dominating. It's starts being very tart and then strangely mellows mid-mouth with a sweet citrus quality leading that mellowing charge. Grassiness from the hops is again present but not as strong as the nose indicates. I've never been able to pickup the oakiness in the flavour that appears in the nose, and this was again the case today.

Many people ask me "How can you drink that?" in relation to sours. Until maybe a year and a half ago I was one of those people, then suddenly my palate started to appreciate them - and now they are probably my go to styles! My advice to those trying to get into sours is buy 3 of these. Drink one now; drink one in six months; drink one six months after that. If you still don't like it then, you probably never will - this is a seriously good beer but it's not for everyone.

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

Saturday, 25 October 2014

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 13

Untappd Catchup


This Untappd catchup is more spurred my laziness than lack of time. That and that I've already review most of the beers that have earned badges recently. Anyway without further ado...

Every year the Birthday Brew badge rolls around. This year I was pretty sick on the day but still toughed out dinner with the family. A Little Creatures Pale Ale was all I could get down. It's a great beer and you can ready my previous review of it here.

Paulaner Oktoberfest beer earned me two badges; the special Paulaner Oktoberfest Badge and Das Boot (Level 7) - for drinking German beers. It's a wonderfully sessionable lager which I was almost 100% sure I'd reviewed this previously, but apparently I haven't... Something to look forward to in the future Oktoberfest beer lovers!


Untappd recently turned 4! To celebrate they released a special Untappd 4th anniversary, simply check-in to any beer before October 31 and this badge is yours. My beer was Palm's Hop Select, a beer that I will review in greater detail in this months Bear Club review. As someone who doesn't really understand Belgian Pale Ales I didn't think it had enough of anything to really stand out from the crowd.

Taste The Music is one of the location badges that has eluded me for a long time. Fitzroy's The Evelyn Hotel was the venue as part of a big pub crawl I did last Friday. To get this one you need to go to 5 venues classified as Music Venues. Carlton Draught was the beer, as it was many times on Friday. Those who are unaware of what Carlton Draught is can read about it here. In the meantime I'll just continue extending my lead at the top of the Untappd stats for Carlton... (Something I'm still not sure if I should be proud of or ashamed.)


So there we have a quick wrap up of my last month of Untappd stuff that hasn't already been detailed on Beer O'Clock Australia. There's plenty of reviews to look forward to over the next month, including a sour one I'm about to start writing for all of you who keep asking for more. As usual feel free to shoot me an email anytime; gus.norris7@gmail.com.

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

REVIEW: CHIMAY DOREE

Trappist Beer #9 Chimay


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Patersbier
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey

11 months to the day since my last Trappist beer review we are back with a rare beer from Chimay. Amazingly, checking in this beer unlocked the Trappist Travesty badge on Untappd! I don't know how this one has escaped me for so long...

Chimay Doree is a Patersbier, literally father's beer, it's quite a light style of beer and is normally reserved for the Trappist monks to drink. Chimay began selling it on tap at their monastery and demand became so high that it is now distributed in bottles from time to time. This is the first time I'm having it and I'm really looking forward to it.

The beer pours a hazy golden colour with about 2 and a half fingers of fluffy white head. The head has good retention and laces the chalice well. It's fueled by plenty of carbonation which rises to the head throughout drinking. I know I normally ignore the artwork on the bottle, but I really like the simplistic look of this Chimay bottle.

Onto the nose and Chimay Doree smells more like a witbier than I had expected. It smells slightly sweet with citrus and coriander aromas both present. As the beer warms a little, you get more candied sugar and barley coming through. Overall though the nose is quite muted.

Much like the aroma the taste of Chimay Doree is understated. It's a light, dry beer with plenty of subtleties. There is citrus, there is coriander, there is Belgian yeast, there is even a spiciness not dissimilar to cloves. I can understand why the monks at Chimay chose this as their table beer!

I really enjoyed this beer and am pleased that I have another few waiting for me in the fridge. It's very light both in terms of ABV (4.8%) and flavour. When I say the flavour is light, I don't mean it's lacking in flavour, it's more that nothing is overpowering. Every element is beautifully balanced. With it's lovely dry finish it's a beer you could drink all day, with food or without! Chimay Doree is not as readily available as the other Chimay's so if you find some pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

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

Thursday, 16 October 2014

REVIEW: BREWBOYS HOPPAPOTAMUS

Et Cetebeer


STATS

  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.0%
  • Serving Type: 650ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
South Australia is a state that seems to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to craft beer. It could just be a distribution thing though, as I'm aware of a few highly hyped beers. Brewboys Hoppapotamus is probably the most hyped of all and here I have a bottle to review.

Brewboys are one of the few South Australian craft breweries that are make it to Victoria. In the past I've had their Seeing Double and Ace of Spades, but that would have been years ago! I'm so pleased to see this make it out here though, I've got a few big IPA drinkers from South Australia on Untappd and this appears to be 50% of what they drink.

Hoppapotamus pours quite a dark copper/brown colour. The head is cream coloured and a good three fingers high in the Spiegelau IPA glass. The head retention is good and there is plenty of lacing left behind once the beer is all gone. I'm quite surprised by the colour of this beer but this has only made me more intrigued to try it for the first time!

The aroma of this beer is particularly resinous, with pine being far and away the most dominant flavour on the nose. There's also quite a bit of citrus on the nose and there's also pineapple, an aroma I'm picking up much more since the last BrewDog IPA is Dead - I think the beer was Exp 366 from memory... Anyway in summation, Hoppapotamus has a pine and citrus dominated nose if it tastes as good as it smells it will live up to the hype.

Brewboys' Hoppapotamus lives up to it's name, the beer is packed full of hops! There's initially an almost overpowering pine hoppiness before citrus and tropical fruit flavour, particularly mango and pineapple, become more prominent. There is quite a hearty malt backbone which has light caramel qualities. Despite this relatively big malt body the beer is still assertively bitter, which may not appeal to everyone but to me is pretty close to perfect!

I think the tasting notes from the Brewboys website say more about Hoppapotamus in one sentence than I could in the review. "Big Pale Ale with enough hops to choke a large African animal." That's all you need to know, there's plenty of hops in this beer and there's pictures of Hippo's on the beer. It's simple, it's succinct and it's a beer you Australian IPA lovers need to get your hands on!

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

Saturday, 11 October 2014

REVIEW: BELL LAGER

Macro Lager


STATS
  • Country: Uganda
  • Style: American Adjunct Lager
  • ABV: 4.0%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
It's been almost 2 months since a Macro lager review and judging from the number of emails I've been getting about the subject I'm guessing you've missed them. Today we've got Bell Lager, Uganda's best selling beer.

By my reckoning Uganda is the sixth African country I've reviewed a beer from. It's a large country in East Africa with a population of around 35 million. It's a very poor country with around 15 million people living on less than $1.25 a day! I'm expecting Bell to be a reasonable beer as it's owned by the same company that makes Tusker and Serengeti.

The pour is pretty standard across most lagers and this is no expection. The beer is quite a light golden colour with plenty of carbonation rising to a white head, The head is made up of quite large foam bubbles and dissipates quickly to nothing at all. At the top of the glass there is some lacing but as you get further down there is none. It looks like your typical cheap lager.

Onto the nose and Bell Lager has passed my usual lager test! The nose was weak but what was there was slightly sweet inoffensive grain aromas. I would be lying if I said I could smell hops distinctly, but there certainly is a bitterness to the aroma. The main thing is though, that this beer doesn't smell bad.

Bell Lager tastes much like you would expect it to after the aroma. It's got some light graininess which is actually quite nice, It does have a slight sweetness, which thankfully isn't overpowering, and there is some reasonably bitter grassy hops that balance it out. The carbonation is good and they provide a nice effervescence on the tongue. It's a crisp refreshing lager.

What to make of Uganda's national beer? Bell Lager on the whole is pretty good beer. It's certainly nothing special but it is a nice easy drinking lager. My conclusion on this one is that it's probably not worth seeking out, but if you come across it and are interested in trying a new lager it would be worth a go. Also there's not that many people who can say they've had a beer from Uganda.

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

Monday, 6 October 2014

REVIEW: MORNINGTON BROWN ALE

Untappd: Brewnettes Have More Fun Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: English Brown Ale
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Serving Type: 570ml Handpump
  • Price: Inexpensive
Last Friday we ventured to the Great Northern in Carlton for a uni trivia event. Not only did we win trivia, comfortably I must say, but we won beer. At the Great Northern jugs of Pacific Ale are the same price as Carlton! The rest of the tap range is excellent and complete with Mornington Brown on handpump we had a big night.

The "Brewnettes Have More Fun" badge was in the latest batch of badges added to the core Untappd range. Like most of these badges it's a nice simple one to get, simple check-in to 5 unique brown ales and you too can have this badge. It is a leveled badge, so expect to see plenty more of it in the future.

Apologies for the photo, it was the best of 4 or 5 that I tried to take... That aside Mornington Brown pours a reddish brown colour with a fluffy beige head. The head retention leaves a bit to be desired, with only a rim of foam left quite quickly, but you do get some nice lacing. This photo really doesn't do it justice, it's a nice looking brown ale.

Considering I was quite a long way into a pretty decent session most of my aroma notes are from memory. It's got an overall slightly sweet aroma of candied sugar with roastiness also coming through. There's hints of citrus hops as well, which is a nice addition for the style.

Much like the aroma actually it's quite light for the style. There's quite a lot of roast and only hints of the candied sweetness which is so prominent on the nose. There is a nuttiness to the flavour that I hadn't picked up before and there was plenty of bitterness, while still being light bodied for the style.

Some of Victoria's best are coming out of the brewery at Mornington. The year-round Brown offering is no exception. It truly is a beer that could turn macro drinkers into craft drinkers. It's incredibly smooth and somehow doesn't sacrifice flavour for drinkability. This one is just as good in bottles so if you come across it I really recommend trying it. It's a beer that will appeal to all from the most earnest CUB drinkers to craft beer fanatics.

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

Friday, 3 October 2014

BEAR CLUB AUGUST - 2014

Tru Bru Bear Club - August 2014


Bear Club is back for August! This is becoming one of my favourite reviews I do each month because the beer choice is always so varied. It encourages me to drink things that I sometimes otherwise wouldn't. This month we've got a bit of a surprise...

On top of this months selection of 6 beers we had the option to add any or all of 4 additional beers. Naturally I went with all four, which you'll find out more about as this review continues... Having 10 beers to review instead of the usual 6 I better get cracking now, as usual enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

First beer in this bumper Bear Club was Two Birds' Bantam IPA. It's the third addition to their permanent range and was pretty good. It clocks in at 4.7%, so is very much in that session IPA category. I was very impressed with the pour, perfectly clear - looked alot like Hop Zombie actually... The flavour and aroma was full of fruity hops, it's a beer that I'd certainly be keen to have again.

Exit Brewing's fourth offering was the next beer from the Bear Club that I got into. #004 is an IPA, and a really good one at that. The base is quite strong on caramel malts but the hops are the stars with grapefruit and pine the most forward. It's got a lovely resinous mouthfeel, which really made you want more!

Next up; Thornbridge Imperial Raspberry Stout, yes that's right - Raspberry Stout! This was one of the optional additional beers and one that came highly recommended, by me. It pours like your typical stout, dark and with a tan head. The aroma and flavour is where things become a little different... There is a strong tart raspberry flavour that accompanies roast and dark chocolate! I love this beer, although it is certainly one for the more adventurous beer drinker.

Beer 4 was a revisit to a GABS beer; Bright's Battle of the Bulge. At GABS I thought is was lacking enough hop bite to be called a Belgian IPA - although on this revisit that has certainly been put to rest. Certainly there is still a big malt backbone and plenty of Belgian yeast, but now it's got a big citrusy hop kick which really takes this beer up an extra notch. Get on this beer if you come across it!

Another GABS beer was next up in my bumper 10-pack Bear Club this month and it was none other than the People's Choice winner; La Sirene's Praline. This beer I didn't rate from my slightly flat offering at GABS, but this offering was simply superb! Check out my full review here.

Dennis Beer Company's Planet of the Hops has been termed a "Quad IPA". This beer clocks in at a mammoth 11.9%, but you wouldn't know it! This beer is incredibly well balanced with plenty of fruit flavours coming through in the hops along with good bitterness. It's amazing how well the ABV is hidden in this beer, it's seriously dangerous!

Exit Brewing makes it's second appearance in this months Bear Club with their first ever beer; #001 a Saison. There's not many brewers who are gutsy enough to launch their brand with a Saison, and even less who are good enough to pull it off! These guys seriously know how to brew! The Saison is an under brewed styled in Australia, but hopefully this slightly more accessible one takes off and people begin appreciating the style more.

A big pre- AFL Grand Final week and being sick for most of this week put these beers back a bit, but damn they were worth the wait. Wednesday was stout night for me and first up I cracked into MoonDog's annual Black Lung release. This year is number 4 and it was aged in virgin American Oak barrels. It was quite smokey but the real winner for me was how peaty it was! It's worthy to sit alongside the other 3 great Black Lung beers. Try out any of these if you find them!

Forrest Brewing's Block Splitter was the last stout to get a run in this Bear Club pack. I've had a couple of their beers before and never been blown away. This stout had a really interesting butterscotch flavour, which I've heard a few people also picked up and were wondering if it was an infection. That thought never crossed my mind though, it was so smooth and creamy that if it was an infection it was the most perfect thing that could have happened to this beer. I'd buy it again.

Last but not least, Dieu du Ciel's Solstice d'Hiver. Barleywines are a style I didn't use to understand at all, I always mean to try more but it seems to always never happen. So I was very pleased to find one in this months pack! I'm going to have to make good on my promise I think as I loved this beer! It was a veritable melting pot of flavours; with dark fruits, caramel malts, hops, chocolate and many more all getting a run. With all those distinct flavours it was amazingly well balanced!

August's Bear Club was a run away success. The pick of the bunch for me was the Thornbridge Raspberry Stout, with Praline a very close second. It was great to see heaps of Aussie beers make it this time around and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more in next months pack. As the weather is warming up here I'm predicting some lighter stuff, maybe a sour if we're lucky - in short I can't wait!

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