Monday, 21 December 2015

#CRAFTBEERCOUNTDOWN (PART 4)

#craftbeercountdown (Part 4)


After the success of last year's beer advent calendar, it was only a formality that I would do it again this year. It's the pretty much exactly the same as last year, just a little better executed - with a box with pull outs (just like a real advent calendar!).

The idea is exactly like an advent calendar, but instead of getting a little unsatisfying chocolate each day - you get a different beer! This year Bridge Road have teamed up with a few other brewers to produce this pack. I can't wait to see what's in this pack. If you're keen to get in on this, they are still available from Dan's.

I'm really excited about this pack and naturally I'll document my findings here. I intend to post this wrap up in 5 parts so you can follow along only a few days behind me. I'm hoping it'll be a great journey and I'm looking forward to trying some beers that I haven't had a chance to sample yet. It's time for the second last post of #craftbeercountdown.

Day 16 - Bridge Road Chevalier Saison - I was really excited and surprised to see this beer come out of the pack, my understanding was that these were only available in 750ml bottles. 330ml bottles make it a much more appealing option for summer beers by the pool.

You'd be hard pressed to find a better Australian example of a Saison than this offering from Bridge Road. There's citrus, there's banana, there's a bit of grass and there's Belgian funk; in other words there's everything you want in a Saison. It's a Saison that's very easy to drink, despite it's relatively high carbonation. If you're into your Belgian's this is one to look out for over Summer.

Day 17 - Bridge Road Chevalier Biere de Garde - I didn't end up trying the Biere de Garde until the 19th due to some other commitments. I had it out by the pool on a 40 degree day and despite it's appearance it was incredibly refreshing. Biere de Garde is French for "beer for keeping(aging)", it's also another beer that I though only came in 750ml bottles...

As I mentioned above it's quite refreshing despite it's dark colour. It's pretty malty, with caramel and bread both distinguishable. It's slightly sweet, but this is overpowered by some grapefruit bitterness and some Belgian funk. The body is quite thin and the carbonation is low, which makes it quite quaffable all things considered. All things said, I don't think I'd buy another...

Day 18 - Feral Hop Hog - Australia's best IPA has been rebranded as an American Pale Ale! I'm not sure I agree with this decision, it's very hoppy for a Pale Ale... Style aside, this is a brilliant hoppy beer normally that I don't know why I've only had 22 of since I joined Untappd a few years ago.

This bottle was no exception. It has an incredibly pungent nose with tropical fruit, particularly passionfruit and grapefruit, and pine particularly prominent. The taste follows similar lines, with tropical fruits dominating while pine takes a backseat. If you want to read my full review from 2012, you can find it here.

Day 19 - Murray's Fred - Murray's produce a number of really good beers up in Bob's Farm (NSW). It's with great surprise that this is the first time I've tried the Fred IPA. It's their take on a West Coast IPA and is supposedly packed full of citrus, pine and tropical fruits.

Fred lives up to hype, it's very West Coast! There's plenty of pine and citrus at first, while tropical fruits come through as the beer warms a little. There is a light caramel base, which balances the beer well whilst still allowing the hops to shine through. I really want to try this on tap now, this was delicious!

Day 20 - Van Dieman Stacks Bluff - This is, as far as I can recall, the first beer that I've tried from Van Dieman Brewing. They are a Tasmanian brewery, supposedly producing some pretty good stuff. This beer is an Oatmeal Stout, a style that I love and that is perfect now that this cool change has come through!

It's actually a really nice beer. There's plenty of sweetness from toffee flavoured malt, before some dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavours become more apparent. Despite all the very stouty flavours, it has great creaminess which is my favourite Oatmeal characteristic. I would drink this all the time in winter if it were readily available.

I think getting to try 3 new beers out of 5 is definitely a win in my books. The two I've had before however were probably the pick of the bunch, however as both are excellent this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of the new beers, I'd definitely go looking for the Stacks Bluff again, I thought it was a great Oatmeal Stout. I hope to find more stuff from Van Dieman Brewing soon.

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

#CRAFTBEERCOUNTDOWN (PART 3)

#craftbeercountdown (Part 3)


After the success of last year's beer advent calendar, it was only a formality that I would do it again this year. It's the pretty much exactly the same as last year, just a little better executed - with a box with pull outs (just like a real advent calendar!).

The idea is exactly like an advent calendar, but instead of getting a little unsatisfying chocolate each day - you get a different beer! This year Bridge Road have teamed up with a few other brewers to produce this pack. I can't wait to see what's in this pack. If you're keen to get in on this, they are still available from Dan's.

I'm really excited about this pack and naturally I'll document my findings here. I intend to post this wrap up in 5 parts so you can follow along only a few days behind me. I'm hoping it'll be a great journey and I'm looking forward to trying some beers that I haven't had a chance to sample yet. Without any further ado, let's get into Part 3!

Day 11 - Bridge Road Enigma Pilsner - Bridge Road's Enigma has been a favourite of mine since it was launched. As far as I can recall, this is the first beer I had that had Enigma in it. It's fast become a favourite hop of mine, in part because of how good this beer tastes!

Enigma is a brilliant looking Pilsner, the pristine white head is textbook! It's also nice and crisp. That is where the similarities with a traditional Pilsner end. The Enigma hops packed a very distinctive rock melon flavour and aroma as well as some other tropical fruit flavours and a very light malt base. This is a beer that I don't drink anywhere near enough of!

Day 12 - Bridge Road Galaxy IPA - Another beer utilizing just one hop is the Bridge Road Galaxy IPA. Galaxy is Australia's most famous hop export, with it's fruitiness really lending itself to light beers for our hot climate. I've always like the colour of this beer, despite it not being the clear golden colour I usually like my IPA's to be.

This beer does everything you'd want a Single Hop beer to do; showcases the hop! It's got a nice, if possibly a little too sweet, malt base with some caramel and biscuit flavours. They are certainly in the background to the citrus and tropical fruits that Galaxy is known for. I just wish it was a little bitterer.

Day 13 - Bridge Road Vic Secret IPA - Three single hops on the trot; the Vic Secret IPA from Bridge Road made it's appearance on day 13 of #craftbeercountdown. I've made numerous mentions on this blog, and in person to some of you, about my severe dislike of Vic Secret as a hop.

It's nothing against this Single Hop beer, but I don't like it. I think it's because it also does it's job well and showcases Vic Secret well. The earthiness and peppery spice and relative lack of fruitiness just doesn't do it for me at all! I did get a little bit of pine this time, but it didn't do enough to save this beer for me. I know others love it, so don't let me put you off! Try it for yourself!

Day 14 - Hargreaves Hill ESB - I'm not the world's biggest Hargreaves Hill fan. One thing they do that I am a fan of is this ESB. The brewery has been operating since 2004 and my understanding is that the ESB was one of their first beers.

It's not a traditional ESB, well what I understand a traditional ESB should be, we don't have a lot of them in Australia and most of the ones we do are often quite old from England. It's very strong on biscuit and caramel malt flavours before hops take over, with earthiness changing to citrus, mostly grapefruit. over the course of drinking.

Day 15 - Fortitude Anzus IPA - I'm glad that Fortitude got to chance to redeem themselves after the debacle that was their Golden Ale on Day 8. Anzus IPA is a fantastic example of the style and finished in the Top 10 (I think 7th) of the Hottest 100 beers last year. If it came from Victoria it'd easily be Top 5!

It's just a brilliant IPA! It's relatively light bodied for 6% and drinks incredibly easily. There's some nice pine notes to go along with a fruitiness which is dominated by stone fruits. I almost always have this beer on tap, thanks to Anton at Tru Bru, so to see it hold up so well in the bottle was pleasing. Hopefully distribution will become wider and I'll be able to have it more often!

I think this was the best collection of 5 beers so far in #craftbeercountdown. I'd highly recommend you guys all try the Enigma, the ESB and the Anzus IPA. The single hops are both worth trying as well. I'm looking forward to what's still to come; we've got guest beers from MoonDog, Murrays and Van Dieman's still to come! I don't think I've ever had something from Van Dieman's so that's one I'm really looking forward to seeing what is!

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

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

SUMMER BEERS 2015

Summer Beers 2015


Every year I get questions about what is the best summer beer and which of these beers are going to appeal to my non-craft beer drinking mates and me? I've done my best to assemble nine of the best for you and will give you a quick run down. I'm limited the ABV at 4.7%, so I could get the Mountain Goat in, with the idea being you always want to have 1 more on a hot summers day. In true summer style these have all been enjoyed straight from the vessel, be it can or bottle.

Pirate Life Throwback IPA - First up was South Australia's Pirate Life and their Throwback IPA. Clocking in at just 3.5% you could drink these all afternoon. These Adelaide based guys make my favourite Pale Ale, which unfortunately was too high for the ABV limit I set. I've only tried this beer once before, in Austria of all places, so I'm looking forward to trying it again.

I was quite impressed with this beer. There was good citrus hop characteristics and a reasonable malt base, considering the low ABV. It's actually quite a full bodied beer for the ABV and I'd find it incredibly easy to knock off a few of these on a nice afternoon.

Mountain Goat Summer Ale - First released 2 years ago, the Mountain Goat Summer Ale has slowly but surely gained a foothold in the Melbourne drinking scene. It seems like it's stocked at every even slightly crafty venue you go to these days, Find my full review from back then here.

The can design may have changed a bit, but the beer is still eminently drinkable. There's still plenty of tropical fruit flavours, with relatively low bitterness. It finishes very dry and just leaves you wanting more! This particular can had a slightly unusual aftertaste which I couldn't quite put my finger on; it was either wheaty or yeasty. It wasn't particular unpleasant though and certainly wouldn't stop me drinking more in the future.

4 Pines Indian Summer Pale Ale - The latest release from 4 Pines is also their first foray into canned beer. The Indian Summer Pale Ale is (a mouthful to say!) I think trying to work off IPA and get the faux-craft market interested (think James Squire/Yenda drinkers). At only 15 IBU's it's certainly not anywhere near bitter enough to be mentioned as an IPA.

It's definitely got less fruitiness than the two beers mentioned above. The hops were more reminiscent of a pilsner than a pale ale. There's melon and grass aromas and flavours. This one is definitely going to appeal more to lager drinkers. At only 4.2% I can see these going down quite nicely throughout the warmer months.

Little Creatures Dog Days - Another relatively new release, Little Creatures Dog Days Summer Beer is one I held high hopes for. These guys consistently brew quality, hop driven ales and are popular with both craft and macro drinkers alike.

Dog Days was definitely the hoppiest of the bunch so far. It had great fruitiness, with peach particularly strong. It's got a lingering bitterness, that is strong enough to excite the tongue, whilst not overpowering the delicate wheat body that this beer possesses. The mouthfeel is nice and light and makes it incredibly easy to down.
Cricketers Arms Scorcher Summer Ale - I actually wanted to get their Spearhead Pale Ale in this review, although at 5.2% it was above the allowed ABV. Walking through my local Dan's I stumbled across this and suddenly it was in this round up.

I'm not sure if it suffered by being after the Little Creatures, but it seemed the sweetest of the lot. It was pretty light on both flavour and aroma, not that that's terribly surprising. What little there was wasn't overly offensive, with some nice fruitiness, mostly passionfruit, coming through from the hops. It could do the job on a hot afternoon, but it's not great.

Matso's Session Ale - Broome is not exactly the first place I'd think of that would have a craft brewery. Matso's is that brewery however and this is a beer I'd never heard of from them before. At only 3.5% this is the lowest ABV of the gathered assortment, so you should be able to knock these off all day.

Whilst you could knock them off all day, I would recommend you pick something better. This was a pretty poor beer, The body was very light and a little skunky, whilst there were no hints of the galaxy hops that they claim were used in brewing. It tasted more like a disappointing lager in a clear glass bottle, than an mid-strength Australian Pale Ale...

BrewDog Dead Pony Club - How could any low ABV Summer Beer/Pale Ale list be complete with one of BrewDog's offerings? Simply it couldn't be! Before this experiment I would have said Dead Pony Club if asked for my favourite sub-4% beer, hopefully it stood up to this billing. Read my full review, from October 2013, here.

Thankfully it did! It tastes like a full strength American Pale Ale flavour-wise, with the beer certainly not lacking in hops. It's packed full of citrus and tropical fruit flavours in both aroma and flavour, with good, yet not overpowering, bitterness also imparted. The malt base is light but certainly important to the overall balance and body of the beer.

Gage Roads Single Fin- Single Fin is also a new addition to the Gage Roads beer portfolio. Since their re-brand a few years ago I've been quite impressed with some of their stuff, so I'm quite looking forward to trying this beer. It claims to have both Galaxy and Enigma hops on the back, only time will tell...

It's actually a really tasty Blonde Ale. I can taste both Galaxy and Enigma hops, which is a pleasant surprise. I get the very distinctive rock melon flavour that Enigma gives me everytime, as well as the citrus and passionfruit that Galaxy has become famous worldwide for. Dollar-for-dollar this may be the best buy in this review...

Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose - Now this one is probably a little out of left field, however having tried it on a few people I think it has some merit. Gose is one of the most refreshing styles of beer available, if people can handle the sourness this beer will be a real summer winner!

The Blood Orange Gose tastes exactly like what you'd expect it to. It's got a citrus, blood orange, flavour with a bit of saltiness. It's wonderfully refreshing and it's a style of beer that I really think could take off. The addition of Blood Orange in this one makes it's more palatable to the uninitiated, with sweetness from the citrus over powering some of the sourness.

Most of these, with the exception of the Blood Orange Gose and the Pirate Life, are available from Dans. Result time, I think the best fit for the "Summer Beer" category comes down to 3 beers; Mountain Goat Summer Ale, Little Creature Dog Days & BrewDog's Dead Pony Club. All of these had lovely fruitiness, whilst not being too bitter. They also descend in ABV from 4.7%-4.4%-3.8%, something that could influence which one you pick. Bar the Matso's I don't think you could go wrong with any of the first 8 beers. Only pick the Gose if your mates are particularly adventurous!

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

Friday, 11 December 2015

REVIEW: NØGNE Ø SOURWEISSE

Untappd: Here Come the Vikings! Badge


STATS
  • Country: Norway
  • Style: Berliner Weissbier
  • ABV: 3.5%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
Today I've got a Norwegian brewed German style sour beer for you. Nøgne Ø is, in my mind, one of the best brewers in the world. Simply flick through the Norway tab to see some of the many beers of theirs that I've reviewed and enjoyed. A Berliner Weissbier, is a sour wheat beer which has been inoculated with a lactobacillus culture. This should be a real treat.

Here Come the Vikings may have taken the mantle of my favourite Untappd badge artwork. This badge is awarded for drinking beers from Norway, a country which produces a large amount of craft beers that make it to our shores. Alongside Nøgne Ø, we also get great stuff from HaandBryggeriet, Lervig and I'm sure there's others. You'll be seeing plenty more levels of this badge in the future.

Sourweisse pours quite an interesting light hazy yellow colour. The head is small to start with, maybe just over a finger high, and fades to nothing within minutes. While it isn't a traditional looking beer, it is perfectly within the style guidelines and looks enticing. The lack of head would normally indicate lack of carbonation, but with this one I can see lots of tiny bubbles rising to the surface.

Onto the nose and at first I didn't get many aromas at all. There was a little bit of lacto tartness, a touch of lemon and some very light wheat and biscuity malts. As it warms up all of these become a little stronger, but no new elements become obvious.

The beer tastes surprisingly balanced for a sour, there isn't enough tartness for me. The wheat and lemon flavours are complimented by some other citrus flavours, orange peel in particular, and a little bit of malt. But the really noticeable element missing here is the tartness. The carbonation is slightly above average and it has quite a spritzy mouthfeel.

I can't recall a Nøgne Ø beer ever underwhelming me before this one. It wasn't a bad beer, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't a particularly good beer either. I think I can see a role for it for a hot summer's night, but I can also think of a number of other similar beers I'd prefer over it. Don't let this put you off trying it; if you go in with an open mind you may find you enjoy it, after all beer opinions are all subjective! Cheers guys, keep the emails coming! I hope I will have got back to you all by the end of the weekend!

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

REVIEW: FERAL WAR HOG

Et Cetebeer


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Tonight I'm reviewing one of the most anticipated Australian beers of the year; Feral's War Hog. It's a re-brand and slight re-jig of their fantastic tap only release Feral Cat IPA, a beer I loved the few times it made it over to Melbourne!

At 8% I'd have it in the Imperial IPA category despite Feral just classing it as an American IPA. In any case, it's a beer that I've been looking forward to since I heard about it's impending release. It's been described as Hop Hog on steroids, so we better get into the review for you.

First impressions are great! The beer pours a wonderfully clear deep golden colour with a fluffy, yet strangely still solid head of white foam. The head retention was quite good with a full finger still left after 5 or so minutes and a film lasting throughout the duration of drinking (which admittedly wasn't that long...). There was only some light lacing on the glass, but that isn't unusual with these Spiegelau glasses.

Where War Hog really shines is the nose, which is quite simply wondrous! It's packed full of citrus and tropical fruit flavours, with passionfruit and grapefruit the most prevalent on the nose. There's nice hints of pine resin as well and seems to be well balanced by the malt base, which is giving off very little sweetness. It smells like my kind of IPA!

As the nose indicated this is a particularly juicy tasting IPA. It's full of citrus and fruit flavours, with citrus, pineapple, peach and passionfruit all being clearly distinguishable. The pine becomes more prominent as the beer warms. Towards the backend it's a little spicy. The malt base is perfect for this type of IPA, with very little flavour counteracting the hops, whilst doing enough to balance the beer and not let the IBU's tear your tongue up. This is a dangerously drinkable IPA for 8%, you'd have no idea if you didn't read the bottle!

It's taken me the best part of a month, and a significant chunk of Melbourne's War Hog stocks, to finish this review. Subsequently these could be a little hard to find around town at the moment... Never fear though, there are rumours going around that this is going to become part of the Feral core range/at least be released semi-regularly. I would go as far to say that this is a better beer than Feral's bi-yearly Tusk release, making it Australia's best IPA! If you see it, but it! Even if just to on sell it to me!

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

#CRAFTBEERCOUNTDOWN (PART 2)

#craftbeercountdown (Part 2)


After the success of last year's beer advent calendar, it was only a formality that I would do it again this year. It's the pretty much exactly the same as last year, just a little better executed - with a box with pull outs (just like a real advent calendar!).

The idea is exactly like an advent calendar, but instead of getting a little unsatisfying chocolate each day - you get a different beer! This year Bridge Road have teamed up with a few other brewers to produce this pack. I can't wait to see what's in this pack. If you're keen to get in on this, they are still available from Dan's.

I'm really excited about this pack and naturally I'll document my findings here. I intend to post this wrap up in 5 parts so you can follow along only a few days behind me. I'm hoping it'll be a great journey and I'm looking forward to trying some beers that I haven't had a chance to sample yet. Without any further ado, let's get into Part 2!

Day 6 - Bridge Road Celtic Red Ale - Last year this beer came out on Day 19. I didn't much care for it then, and I think I like it even less now! The pour is pretty nice, with a great deep amber body and quite a large khaki coloured head. This is unfortunately where the nice things I have to say about this beer stop...

The nose is far too sweet! It gives off aromas of butterscotch and caramel to go with a nice enough bisuity base. There are no hops evident on the nose or on the tongue and it just comes across as overly sweet. I'm not one for bagging beers that people work hard to produce, so I'll leave it at that. It's just not for me.

Day 7 - Mountain Goat Hightail - As I alluded to in Part 1 of this series, Mountain Goat is one of the founding fathers of the Melbourne craft beer scene. Their Hightail Ale, an amber ale, is the beer that started it all, first commercially released in 1997.

As always, the Hightail Ale delivered! It has this wonderful citrus aroma that belies it's colour. The flavour is a brilliant mix of these very hops, alongside with some floral and pine elements, that blend brilliantly with a caramel and chocolate malt base. Some amber ales can get a little cloying, not the Hightail from Mountain Goat! There's a reason this is still their flagship beer!

Day 8 - Fortitude Golden Ale - Fortitude are one of my favourite Queensland craft breweries. I've actually never tried this beer from them. I've never been a fan of the term Golden Ale but hopefully this one proves to be an exception. If their IPA is anything to go by, I hope it's got a bit of hops!

I'm sorry to report that this beer was clearly infected. This concerns me a bit, I've never had a bad beer from these guys before, in fact I love their Anzus IPA and RSVP, so I hope this is just a one of problem. Disappointing for them that their first (I think at least) national exposure has been a bit of a let down. The sweetish-sour orange flavour was unique to say the least.

Day 9 - Bridge Road Robust Porter - Last year this beer really opened my eyes. It came out on Day 14 last year in #beerdvent. In #craftbeercountdown it's come out on Day 9 and it's had a face lift, like many of the Bridge Road Brewer's beers. This one's new label is fantastic!

The beer looks brilliant and tastes even better! It's not sweet, it's just roasty and chocolatey. It's one of my favourite Porter's full stop, let alone just Australian! The mouthfeel is just perfect, it's slightly creamy and not too thin, my only concern with this beer sometimes. The dry finish just leaves you wanting more and more of this fantastic beer!

Day 10 - Feral White - I don't think I could've asked for a better post-Soccer beer than Feral's White. It's a witbier, a Belgian style of beer made with a predominantly wheat base. Something I didn't know until recently; White was Feral's first beer, and is far and away their biggest seller in their home state of Western Australia.

This took a while to sink in for me, this beer out sells Hop Hog in W.A... When I though about it for a while, it almost makes sense. This has a relatively low ABV (4.6%) and is very refreshing. There's plenty of citrus, mostly orange, as well as some spices and coriander. The carbonation is very light and I could easily see myself knocking off 4 or 5 of these on a hot afternoon.

After a further 5 days of #craftbeercountdown I'm much happier with the selection that's been included. The Fortitude Golden Ale being infected was a big disappointment, as I was really looking forward to it, hopefully their Anzus IPA is coming in the days ahead. Mountain Goat and Feral's first beers delivered the goods as expected, while I've already made a note in my phone to buy some Bridge Road Robust Porter in May next year! Bring on the next 5 days!

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

Monday, 7 December 2015

#CRAFTBEERCOUNTDOWN (PART 1)

#craftbeercountdown (Part 1)


After the success of last year's beer advent calendar, it was only a formality that I would do it again this year. It's the pretty much exactly the same as last year, just a little better executed - with a box with pull outs (just like a real advent calendar!).

The idea is exactly like an advent calendar, but instead of getting a little unsatisfying chocolate each day - you get a different beer! This year Bridge Road have teamed up with a few other brewers to produce this pack. I can't wait to see what's in this pack. If you're keen to get in on this, they are still available from Dan's.

I'm really excited about this pack and naturally I'll document my findings here. I intend to post this wrap up in 5 parts so you can follow along only a few days behind me. I'm hoping it'll be a great journey and I'm looking forward to trying some beers that I haven't had a chance to sample yet. Without any further ado, let's get into it!

Day 1 - Bridge Road Golden Ale - The first beer in #craftbeercountdown was the Bridge Road Golden Ale. I went back and checked and last year this beer came out on Day 8. It's not a world beating ale by any means, but it's a perfectly respectable beer to kick off #craftbeercountdown.

My expectations were pretty much bang on the money. The Golden Ale is a little less sweet than I recall it being, definitely a plus, whilst still being quite light and refreshing. There's a bit of grass and some stonefruit flavours there, but nothing to get particularly excited about. This is a beer for those starting to venture into the craft beer world.

Day 2 - Mountain Goat Steam Ale - After hearing that Mountain Goat were involved in this pack; I'm not surprised at all to see this beer find a home. Mountain Goat Steam Ale is one of the most important brewers in the Australian craft beer scene, having effectively started Melbourne's love affair with craft beer almost 20 years ago!

The Steam Ale is a California Common, a unique American style of beer brewed with lager yeast that functions better at a higher temperature. I'm very well acquainted with Steam Ale on tap, but can't remember the last time I had a bottled version. What I can say it's that the bottled version is noticeably yeastier and fruitier. I really like the look of the new packaging as well. I'll be getting more for over summer.

Day 3 - Murray's Angry Man Pale Ale - Murray's is a brewery located in one of the best named towns/suburbs in Australia; Bobs Farm. They produce a really wide variety of beer, including some rippers like Punk Monk (see previous full review here). The Angry Man Pale Ale is what came out of the box on Day 3, a beer that I've had mixed results with in the past.

Today's beer was a beautifully balanced Pale Ale. The malt was lightly biscuity, while the fruity hops provided peach, mango and grapefruit aromas and flavours. Angry Man and I have a love/hate relationship. On some days, like today, it's a lovely fruity ale; whilst on others it can be a mess. If it all tasted as nice as this one did I'd drink it far more regularly!

Day 4 - Bridge Road Beechworth Pale Ale - The second Bridge Road beer to appear in this pack was their Beechworth Pale Ale; named after the picturesque town the brewery is located in. This is another beer that's had a face-lift, with the new label (not that the photo shows it well...) nice and striking with hop cones in the background.

This beer appeared twice in last years pack and I'm glad it's making another appearance this year. The hops are very flavoursome, with tropical fruit and citrus characteristics very prominent. It's not particularly bitter but some of the citrus provides almost the illusion of bitterness. The malt base is light on flavour, but interestingly has quite a full body for the style.

Day 5 - Feral Karma Citra - I was pretty pleased to see something a little different come out of the box on Day 5. Karma Citra is Feral's latest addition to their core range. Having had it a few time, both as a limited release and as a core beer, it's a Black IPA that utilizes my favourite hop, Citra, to great effect and one that I can't wait to try again.

Karma Citra is a brilliantly balanced Black IPA, which offers enough to true connoisseurs of the style whilst still being approachable for newcomers. It's lightly roasty and smoky, whilst not being too chocolatey. The hops are unmistakably Citra, although I do feel they've been dialed down a touch for this core release. For those of you who haven't tried a Black IPA, this is as good a place as any to start.

Five days into #craftbeercountdown and I've been impressed with the freshness of the beers, particularly the Angry Man, if not necessarily the range. Four ostensibly pale ale's, yes I'm aware California Common's are lagers, is not the most awe inspiring start but on the plus side things can only get better from here. Hopefully in the next lot we'll get a little more variety!

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

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

BEAR CLUB SEPTEMBER 2015

Tru Bru Bear Club - September 2015


For the first time in a while; the September Bear Club pack was ready close to on time. This issue has I think now been addressed and we should be seeing the Bear Club released on a more regular basis and with better communication.

This is definitely the most Australian Bear Club Pack that I can remember. Out of the 9 beers we only 2 from overseas, including one from our nearest neighbour; New Zealand. The beer I'm most looking forward to however is the Rasputin, also known as Disputin in the United States after a lawsuit with North Coast who produce a stout called Old Rasputin, from De Molen in the Netherlands.

Dainton Family Brewing is one of the more interesting players in the Victorian craft beer scene. Dan, the head brewer, has a love of Rye as shown in the first Bear Club beer this month; Samurye. It's a Rye Lager and it's everything you'd hope it would be. It's got that wonderful rye spiciness and there is plenty of citrus coming from the hops. I've had this beer a few times on tap and normally have one everytime I see it, it's great!

The next beer I actually muled back from South Australia after a work trip. Prancing Pony's Black Ale is a Black IPA, which is definitely towards the more sessionable end of the spectrum. It's not hugely roasty, but has nice hop bitterness. Definitely worth driving the keg 800-odd kilometres to try.

Clifton Hill Brewpub is, I'm pretty sure, the closest brewery to work (CUB might just edge it...). This said I'm quite familiar with their range. In this month's Bear Club we got to sample their GABS beer, The Dark Hill. It's a coffee infused, barrel aged version of their regular Dark Ale. It's packed full of coffee with sourness flitting in and out of the picture, although that sourness is quite demure.

I was beyond pleased to see De Molen's Rasputin in the club this month. This is a Dutch brewed Russian Imperial Stout that I've been lucky enough to have a few times before - but never on tap. It didn't disappoint! As I said the other day in the Untappd Catchup, it's a brilliant combination of chocolate and roast with this wonderful creamy mouthfeel. At 10.7% I think it was a wise call to split the 750ml bottle over 2 nights...

8 Wired Saison Sauvin is a beer that I have loved and hated at different times. Nelson Sauvin, the hops used in this beer are some of the most divisive in the beer industry. On this occassion I loved the Saison Sauvin, I had it with some excellent sushi and I think this really brought out the best in it.

Black Dog Brewery is one of my favourite breweries to visit in regional Victoria. Their flagship IPA is called Leader of the Pack and was included in the September Bear Club. The has excellent bitterness, with pine and citrus flavours dominating. It's got a good solid malt backbone, without being overpowering. If you ever get the chance, go sample this beer at the source in Taminick.

The GABS beer from Bright Brewery was next up for me. Lord Helmet Schwartz was the name of the beer and it was great. Schwarzbier's don't get enough love in this country and this licorice infused offering will hopefully encourage more brewers to dabble in the style. I've heard this beer is going to be released seasonally now, which, if true, would be a great result!

Dilletante Brewing Company is a relatively new Melbourne microbrewery. Robots vs Dinosaurs is a roasty porter with nice chocolate and coffee notes. There's also hints of dark fruit, possibly cherries, and a nice citrus hop presence. This went down brilliantly on an unseasonably cold Melbourne November night. Now having sampled this beer I've had all of their releases to date, but know very little about them. If someone has any information on these guys hit me up via the usual channels.

Last but not least for this Bear Club pack is Kaiju's GABS offering; Betelgeuse. This beer, even by Kaiju standards, is a monster! It's making it's second Bear Club appearance and is just as good as I remember. It's such a full on beer with malt and hops perfectly balanced, but in an enormous way! At 10% it's dangerously drinkable as the ABV is so well hidden. As is my recommendation for all Kaiju beers, buy it!

So there we have it guys, another selection of beers that really showcases what the Bear Club is about; hard to source beers. I'd really encourage people to join this club, if you like different beers (seriously why are you reading this post if you aren't even a little bit interested?). If you think this may be you, call Anton at Tru Bru and tell him I sent you. Cheers guys.

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

Monday, 30 November 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 31

Untappd Catchup

That break from these didn't last as long as I was expecting... Between Friday night and Sunday lunch-time, 5 badges rolled around and so here we are again... Hope you enjoy guys, there's a few crackers in here!

A beer that I forgot to write about in the last Catchup was Stone's Go To IPA. It's a session IPA, only clocking in at 4.5% ABV, that's packing a great citrussy hop punch. The body is a little thinner than I'd like, but it does a pretty good job considering it's low ABV. It's 65 IBU's were enough to unlock Hopped Up (Level 25).

Thanksgiving isn't celebrated much at all in Australia, although I'm happy to get around the 'Beer-giving' (2015) badge. The beer was an English IPA from House of Nicholas, a subsidiary of Epic Brewing, in New Zealand. I've spoken numerous times about my lack of appreciation of English IPA's and this was no exception. It had nice flavours, just not enough of them! I don't understand why you would drink that over a local US-style IPA.


A beer I've been hoping would arrive in Australia for months earned Pucker Up (Level 25) and let me down a little bit... The Blood Orange Gose from Anderson Valley is a Blood Orange infused version of this beer, that I reviewed a few months ago. I had high hopes and the Blood Orange flavour was perfect, slightly sweet, citrus that just nailed it. The beer still had the saltiness of the original Gose but was lacking a little in sourness. I'd like to try it a second time, good thing I bought a 4-pack, now that my high expectations have been dampened somewhat. Don't get me wrong, it's still a really nice beer.

In my mind, Buxton are becoming one of the premier breweries in the world. Their Pic Tor, a sour passionfruit pale ale, unlocked God Save the Queen (Level 29). Pic Tor, very much like the Gose above, had excellent fruit characteristics with passionfruit the dominant flavour. It's very tart at times and leaves you with a wonderful dry finish. I actually didn't know this was a sour when I bought it, but good it works well as one!

Red Eye Rye is just one of the fantastic beers being produced by Dainton Family Brewery. Personally I would classify this beer as a Rye Beer, but in many places it's been called a Red Ale, including Untappd. This is why it's been able to unlock Paint the Town Red (Level 4) for me. I love this beer, there's plenty of rye spiciness cutting through, as well as ample tropical fruit flavours coming from the hops. It's a beer that I've always enjoyed with hearty food.


Tulsa Twister is a collaboration between Amager and Prairie Artisinal Ales from Oklahoma in the United States. The name Prairie alone should imply the style; for those of you unsure, they are one of the world's premier Saison brewers. I had this for lunch on a warm Sunday afternoon and it hit the spot. It was brilliantly dry with citrus, grassy and straw all prominent flavours. If you get the opportunity you have to try this beer! The badge was Better Together (Level 7).

It was a great weekend of beers. Hope you enjoyed this little wrap up of those that earned Untappd badges. The Red Eye Rye is the best of the locals to keep an eye out for, whilst the Tulsa Twister is definitely worth the coin if you come across it. I've got a pretty cool Summer Beers special coming in the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled. As usual hit me up with any feedback via email, twitter or in the comments below.

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