Saturday, 22 November 2014

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 14

Untappd Catchup


With the recent Untappd leveling update, those who've missed it can read about it here, I imagine there's going to be a lot more of these Catchup reviews. With the huge backlog this will be a bigger than usual review, hope you enjoy.

First up we've got a beer from Brewcult's master brewer, Hendo. Can't Fight The Funk earned me the Trip to the Farm (Level 5). The beer was, as most of Hendo's creations are, weird but very tasty. It's a heavily hopped saison and the mix of New World hop and Belgian funk is very alluring!

The Tru Bru Bear Club almost always throws up an Untappd badge for me. October's pack was no exception with Hot Water Brewing's About Time IPA delivering Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 10). In the past level 10 would have been the end of the badge for drinking beers from across the ditch. Now with the leveling update you can expect plenty more!


Woodend's Holgate Brewhouse provided what I believe is a first for me; 4 badges with one check-in. The beer was Mt. Macedon Pale Ale, a very sessionable pale ale which I don't buy anywhere near enough of! The badges were Beer Connoisseur (Level 12) - possibly another error with this badge, Down Under (Level 50), Pale as the Moon (Level 28) and Photogenic Brew (Level 50). So Down Under and Photogenic Brew are maxed out once again. I would highly recommend a 6-pack of Mt Macedon Pale, it's not the best beer you'll ever have but it's very drinkable.


Double Jack from Firestone Walker was the next beer that earned me some badges. I believe in IPA (Level 50) and Land of the Free (Level 25) were the ones ticked off. The beer itself was a little hot for my liking with raw alcohol a little too present, however the citrus, in particular grapefruit, flavours were excellent. It's an Imperial IPA that I would really like to try fresh!

I felt like a dark beer tonigh and Wicked Elf Porter happened to be the only one in the fridge (don't worry I've re-stocked now!). Heavy Weight (Level 22) was the badge that this one unlocked. It's a seriously good Aussie Porter. It's got chocolate and coffee elements with plenty of roast thrown in for good measure. There's a reasonable about of bitterness provided from some spicy hops towards the back end. I'll be certainly getting more of this, Wicked Elf's Porter really surprised me!


A pint of Carlton Draught at the Yarra Hotel, near work, saw me rack up Lager Jack (Level 35). As the name suggests this badge is for drinking different lagers. I've clearly knocked off a number of Carlton's in my time, still leading the Untappd count by about 50. I get knocked a bit for how much Carlton I drink, but it is what it is, if we hadn't all liked/tolerated that first macro lager we had we wouldn't be craft beer drinkers today.

Garage Project are one of my favourite New Zealand breweries. They've teamed up with New Zealand Hops & Plant and Food Research (NZ) to produce this soon-to-be series of IPA's; Hop Trial. Much like BrewDog's IPA is Dead, Hop Trial will be brewed with the same base and provide a platform for new experimental hops to break into the market. I have to say this beer was sensational and I can't wait for this hop to become a regular. The stunning yellow and white can really appealled to me and one of the reasons I'm glad it earned me Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 11).


La Biere de Belœil from Brasserie Dupont is quite an interesting drop. It's been billed as a Belgian Pale Ale, but definitely had hints of Saison - I assume in part to the Dupont yeast lineage. The reason I say it's quite Saisony, is that it's more yeast than hop/malt driven. In saying that, it is quite malty and it does work quite well. It notched up Belgian Holiday (Level 13) and this years Coast to Coast Toast badge. If you want this badge, you need to check into any one of the beers on this list before December 1st.

The second from last beer in this monster Untappd Catchup is another from October's Bear Club; Brooklyn's Weizenhammer. As the name hint's at it's a Weizenbock, basically a higher ABV Wheat beer. It's got plenty of banana, with hints of bubblegum and cloves peaking through. Thankfully it's missing the raw ABV that is known to destroy beers of this style. It's unlocked Land of the Free (Level 26) for drinking American beers, the second such badge unlocked in this review (you'll be seeing plenty more of this badge in the future.)!


The honour of Pucker Up (Level 11) went to Holy Snappin' Turtles from HopDog BeerWorks. Having immensely enjoyed knocking three off these off over the last few weeks, it seems right that this beer picked up a badge so I can talk about it a bit. It's an incredibly sour beer with nice fruit flavours that come through. You would never have any idea that this Wild Ale clocks in at almost 10% ABV - it's dangerously refreshing!

So there we have a quick wrap up of 10 of the beers I've had in the last week or so. It's a pretty eclectic mix so I hope you at least got one beer of interest out of it for you. As usual hit me up with any questions you may have, beer suggestions are also always welcomed, as well as any general beer comments you may have for me.

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

Saturday, 15 November 2014

REVIEW: BURLEIGH 28

Et Cetebeer


STATS

  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Tonight we have one of Australia's best pale ale's for you. It's made by Burleigh Brewing located on the Queensland coast right near the border with NSW. Queensland's craft beer scene is apparently growing very quickly and slowly we are starting to see more of their offerings appearing down here.

Burleigh 28 is inspired by the surfing culture of the 70's and named after the famous 28 day swell at Burleigh Heads in 1975. I'm not sure what is 70's about the beer, other than the label, but I'm prepared to go along with it as long as it tastes as good as I remember. Anyway, all that aside lets get into this beer.

The beer pours a quite deep golden colour, which is also quite clear. On top of the golden liquid is an off-white head filled with large bubbles. The retention is not great and there is little to no lacing left behind to show that the beer was ever there. Despite this I really do the like the colour of the beer though and so it gets points in my books for it's appearance.

Onto the nose and what a nose! From the moment Burleigh 28 is poured there are fruit flavours that abound; I get lychee, pear, passionfruit and citrus. It doesn't seem particularly bitter and there is a honey and caramel malt sweetness in the background of the aroma. It's a particularly enticing smelling beer, it always makes me want more!

I'm always surprised by the maltiness of the taste of this beer - the nose and taste just don't seem to marry up! The malts are earthy and also have plenty of caramel sweetness. As for the hops it's the citrus that cuts through the most but it, along with most of the other fruit flavours, are often lost amongst the malt. I know this sounds like it shouldn't work in a pale ale, but it really does!

Burleigh 28 is a really interesting pale ale. The above review doesn't really make it sound like it's that great but it drinks really really well. If you're are in Australia, particularly the craft beer wasteland that is everywhere in Queensland outside Brisbane, have a look for this one. It's not the best straight out American Pale Ale but it is an exceptionally sessionable beer that goes down beautifully in the warm weather.

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

Friday, 14 November 2014

REVIEW: BIG 'N BEARDY

Untappd: Stout Day 2014 Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 9.8%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
7 Cent's Big 'n Beardy has the honour of being the first bottled beer ever sold at Tru Bru. It's a highly limited Russian Imperial Stout (only 480 were bottled) from the boys down in Gisbourne. It also has some of the best artwork of any Australian beer I've ever seen - check out Putin's face in this link.

International Stout Day is an event that has been created in recent years to honour the great beer category that is Stout. Every year it's been held in early November and this year it was on the 6th. To get this badge all you had to do was check-in a beer on Untappd that came from the Stout family.

This one was poured into my Spiegelau Stout glass (if you love stouts you NEED one of these!). The pour is just perfect with a brilliant black body topped by a huge head of dark tan foam. It's retention is quite good with at least a finger there for most of the drinking. These stout glasses lace particularly well, yet Big 'n Beardy left the most lacing I've ever seen on this glass. It's a simply stunning looking Russian Imperial Stout!

7 Cent will be pleased to hear that the nose didn't let down the fantastic appearance of this beer. There's plenty of coffee and roast, as to be expected, as well as cherry and some other dark fruits. The most intriguing part for me though is this oaky whiskey aroma. Further research shows that this beer was aged in the same barrels as Aurora Borealis!

I was really impressed with the taste of Big 'n Beardy as well. The aroma was quite indicative of the flavour, with coffee, roast and dark fruits all prominent. The whiskey oakiness was quite in your face but was a good point of difference from a lot of the roast/chocolate bombs I've been drinking recently.

Big 'n Beardy is actually the first commercially released beer that these guys have bottled - what a spectacular debut! I highly highly recommend this beer, it's a big Russian Imperial Stout which really gained some welcome complexity from the month's it spent in the original Aurora Borealis barrels. It was a worthy beer to celebrate International Stout Day with. As mentioned earlier it's very very limited so if you find it, buy it!

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

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

REVIEW: WESTMALLE TRIPEL

 Trappist Beer #10 Westmalle


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Tripel
  • ABV: 9.5%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
I've been on this huge Belgian kick recently, probably my last 7 or 8 beers have been Saisons, Tripels or Gueuzes. With the weather warming up I think weather is almost perfect for Tripels. Tonight I'm reviewing a real classic; Brouwerij Westmalle's Tripel.

The Westmalle beers are brewed at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart monastery right near the town of the same name. Many experts credit the Westmalle brewery with inventing the modern day Tripel in 1934. Beers in this ABV range (typically 7.5-10%) existed previously, but would have been dark. Westmalle Tripel revolutionized this with the introduction of pale malts. Supposedly the recipe has only been reformulated once, in 1956, since it's inception.

Westmalle Tripel pours the distinctive golden colour that had become the standard of Tripels worldwide. On top of this fantastic looking beer is a relatively small head of white foam. The head has a relatively short lifespan once poured, which I found a little unusual, especially with plenty of tiny carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. Even without he head it's a pretty looking beer.

Onto the nose and it's quite clearly yeast driven, with the spiciness one of the dominant elements of the nose. There is also plenty of fruitiness with apricot and banana the main protagonists. It's a sweet smelling beer with candi sugar another quite prominent aroma. Westmalle Tripel has a very complex nose that this review has in no way done justice to.

I've always though that the Westmalle Tripel was a little light on fruit flavours compared to other Tripels. This proved the case tonight, although there were banana, apricot and peach flavours all present. The sweetness mostly comes from candi sugar, although again it is less intense than others from the style. The thing that makes Westmalle Tripel stand out is the spiciness with pepper and cloves both prominent. It's also one of the few beers where the relatively obvious booziness doesn't worry me - it's just so well incorporated with the rest of the beer that it doesn't feel out of place.

Westmalle Tripel is not only the original Tripel, but in my mind it is the best! The combination of fruitiness and yeasty spiciness is unsurpassed. No review could ever do justice to this magnificent beer, it's one that you really have to experience for your self! With summer coming round here I think everyone should grab at least one of these. Barring the high ABV Tripels are the perfect summer refresher; and Westmalle's is probably the best of the lot!

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

Thursday, 6 November 2014

BEAR CLUB SEPTEMBER - 2014

Tru Bru Bear Club - September 2014


September's Bear Club pack from Tru Bru is another bumper one, with 5 optional additional beers this month taking the pack number up to 11! There's 4 international beers this month, from 3 different countries. That means there are 7 local drops which is always good to see.

With spring now well and truly set in we've got a lot of lighter styles this month. There's plenty of pale ales and IPA's this month as well as the sour, Mikkeller's Show Me Cuvee, that I was hoping we'd see this month. The Tripel from the guys at Boatrocker is another one I'm really looking forward to. The amazing artwork you see below is from 7 Cent's Big'n Beardy - it's a very limited edition (only 480 bottles have been made) Russian Imperial Stout and are the first ever bottles sold at Tru Bru. It ought to be amazing!

First up this month I went with an IPA that I knew would be great: Sixpoint's Spice of Life - Citra. The Spice of Life range is much like BrewDog's IPA is Dead series. Each month Sixpoint release a new single hop IPA and Citra being one of my favourite hops I had high hopes for. It certainly didn't let me down! It's got that wonderful citrus characteristics that have made this hop so popular.

Second up was a rare one from Kooinda; Hop Transfusion. This one has been around the traps a bit recently, popping up in kegs at some of Melbourne's best craft beer bars, This beer has a strong malt body with strong piney hop presence. It's one I would bother to seek out again.

Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop was next up. The hops used in this beer are picked, dried and shipped from New Zealand within 7 days. It's a nice IPA packed with floral and tropical hop flavours. The beer is quite bitter without quite being bitingly so.

Hey Juniper is the latest offering from Melbourne Gypsy brewer Killer Sprocket. Currently these guys are based at Cavalier, a real hub for those attempting to break into the industry. It's ostensibly an American Pale Ale with Juniper Berries (known best for their use in Gin) to add additional pine bitterness. I didn't pick up a heap of Juniper, but I did get plenty of pine bitterness. It was very crisp and bitter though and was actually quite good. I'd have it again.

Riverside Brewing is located in Western Sydney. It's a brewery that highly sort after down here as they make excellent beers that rarely make it down here. I have heard that recently they've started bottling so hopefully some makes it down this way soon. For the mean time I'd be perfectly happy if Anton brought a keg of 777 into Tru Bru every week, it's an amazing Imperial IPA! I'd put it on par with Feral's Tusk as Australia's best.

Beer 6 in this month's Bear Club was Mikkeller's Show Me Cuvee. Ostensibly a Wild Ale, Mikkeller's first appearance in the Bear Club was a bit of a let down. It had a sweet overall feel with only a touch of sour at the end. It was quite dark in appearance for a Wild Ale and the ABV was also high. An interesting experiment but the dark fruits, sweetness and spices didn't quite do it for me.

Much like the previous beer Palm's Hop Select was not as amazing as some of the beers we've come to expect from the Bear Club. I'm not sure if it's this beers fault specifically or just that I don't really like Belgian Pale Ales in general. Anyway it was quite a refreshing beer on one of our first hot days of Summer, but there wasn't enough of either hops or malt to make it a really interesting beer.

7 Cent is a brewery I've heard a lot about but can't remember ever sampling one of their beers before. B4 is their Belgian Dark Strong Ale and is one of their core range beers. I have to say that I'm very impressed with this offering. The dark fruit flavours were excellent and although warm with booziness it wasn't overdone. This is a beer that I could honestly drink all the time!

The first of the two stouts in this months Bear Club pack was from Clown Shoes in the United States. These guys make awesome beers, normally with awesome labels (see above). This is a huge Russian Imperial Stout, clocks in at 12.5% and tastes pretty damn spectacular. It's got plenty of roast characteristics and even some hop bitterness (grapefruit?) with no sweetness present at all.

Boatrocker's Tripel was the penultimate beer for me in this months pack. I have no idea how it slipped through this far, it was simply superb! It was sweet, it was fruity, it was floral, it is Australia's best Tripel! There was a really good mix of spices - particularly cloves - honey and fruitiness. Interestingly there's also no hint of 9.6%. I am so glad I've got another 4 bottles of this in the fridge, it'll be good to see how the bottle compares to the tap version.

Finally we had the first bottle of beer ever sold at Tru Bru; 7 Cent's Big'n Beardy! I have nothing but good things to say about this beer, it's spectacular! It's got aggressive coffee flavours at first, while in the background there is dark chocolate, dark fruits (plums I think) and nut flavours. At first I thought it was a little hot with alcohol but it mellowed nicely through drinking and I think alot of the booziness comes through from the barrels this was aged it. Full review to follow, right here on Beer O'Clock Australia.

Another Bear Club pack is the bank - the next one coming up is going to be another bumper one filled with lighter styles as we edge closer to summer. It's also the clubs 6 month anniversary so I'm expecting it will be a really good. The Bear Club is looking to expand at the moment, if the opportunity to get some of these really rare tap offerings appeals to you drop into the store and say I sent you. Until next time...

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

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

REVIEW: BACH HOPSMACKER

Untappd: Witch's Brew (2014) Badge


STATS
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Serving Type: 945ml Tap
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Today's beer is one that is making a very rare Australian appearance. Bach Brewing from New Zealand have a really interesting story. The owner used to own Limburg Brewery, which closed in 2008, he retained the rights to recipes and relaunched in 2013 as Bach. Hopsmacker is a reinvention of Limburg Hopsmacker - a previous Brew NZ Pale Ale champion.

Witch's Brew (2014) was a pretty simple badge to get. All you had to do was check-in a beer around Halloween (between 31st October and November 2nd). A Friday night trip to Tru Bru sorted out which beer would earn this badge. With a great pedigree and story behind it I'm really looking forward to this beer; let's get into it.

The body of this beer pours an almost brown/amber colour. It's quite an unusual colour for the style but it is quite intriguing. The head is maybe 2-3 fingers of slightly off white head. The head is quite aerated with many small bubbles in it right from the get go. There are a number of bubbles rising to the head however which does help provide some retention.

From the nose I get the impression that this is quite a well balanced pale ale. There quite a bit of malt initially with some unusual herbal characteristics. It's after this that the hops begin to kick in and they are big, bitter and fruity.

Bach's Hopsmacker was everything the nose indicated it would be. There was only a little caramel malt up front before the fruit and slightly piney hops quicked in. The beer was quite bitter and as the beer warmed more and more citrus characteristics began to come out.

All in all I thought this was another really nice New Zealand Pale Ale. The story behind the beer is one of the best rising from the ashes ones that I've heard in a while and the beer really lives up to it. Hopefully a few more offerings from these guys make it this side of the Tasman, I'd be really interested to try them. Give it a go if you come across it.

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