Friday, 30 January 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 18

Untappd Catchup

I was hoping not to have to do another of these Untappd Catchups for a while; but once again life, and far too many (can there ever be TOO many beers?) got in the way. Here's a wrap up of 9 beers that earned badges in less than a week!

If I'm being totally honest this wasn't all completed within a week, more accurately remembered within a week! I drank a Fosters, which they're really pushing here for the first time I can remember in my life, on my boys weekend last week. It was ice cold and drinkable. The badge; Lager Jack (Level 37).

Recently Untappd decided to make Sky's the Limit into a leveling badge. This badge is earned by drinking 5 or more beers over 10% ABV. The beer that tipped me over into Level 7 was Blaecorn Unidragon from Clown Shoes. This is, quite possibly, my favourite Russian Imperial Stout! It's huge (12.5%), as roasty as they come, has great hop presence and no sweetness whatsoever! Seriously it's perfect!


The firs of two badges earned at Ballarat Beer Festival was Brewnette's Have More Fun (Level 2). It's a badge for drinking Brown Ale's, like most Untappd badges leveling in 5 unique check-in increments. Savarain was the brewery, the beer their S'In Brown Ale. I was the first to admit to the guy there that I'd never heard of them before - apparently they're a tiny operation down near Sale that sell kegs to 2 or 3 venues only, which made me feel a bit better. That being said - this was quite a fine Brown Ale and one that I would definitely have again if I saw it.

Pale as the Moon (Level 33) went to Wayward Brewing's FUSAMI Victory IPL. Yes that's right - the badge for drinking Pale Ale's went to an India Pale Lager. This was towards the end of the day at BBF and all I can think of as an explanation is that Untappd was as drunk as I was! That being said; I loved it! IPL's are pretty much my favourite style to drink at the moment! I hope this one becomes more readily available as I'd love to try it in a less inebriated state.

Minimatta from Yeastie Boys was the beer I used to recover from Ballarat Beer Festival and in doing so picked up Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 13). It's a 4% tea infused Pale Ale and I have to say it combined the "hair of the dog" cure with the cup of tea cure perfectly. This one came from the Tru Bru Bear Club and you can read a little more about it the November/December pack review.


Lizzie and I headed up to Sydney a few days before the Asian Cup Final for a little bit of a break and surprise surprise we found ourselves in a number of fine drinking establishments. So many in fact that I earned 4 badges on the first day! Exit Brewing, my best new brewer of last year and now Ratebeer's best Australian new brewer, and their #003 was the beer to earn Heavy Weight (Level 25). It's a lovely, creamy Milk Stout! If you haven't managed to try any of the offerings from these guys yet, go out of your way to get some - they're all great!

333 Premium is a lager from Saigon, Vietnam. Normally I try and stick away from the Asian lagers but when at dinner at Miss G, a Modern Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney, it almost seems appropriate to drink one... It was quite sweet and a little bit nasty though, which was a real shame as the food was excellent! It always disappoints me when restaurants have such an extensive wine list and stock only a few bland very similar beers and don't even dignify them with glassware, beer goes just as well with food! Little rant aside, Lager Jack (Level 38) was the badge; the second time Lager Jack has appeared this post, probably avoid this; it's not great.

The Wild Beer Company from the U.K. are making some really lovely stuff at the moment. Their Sourdough - a collaboration with Hobbs House Bakery, using their 58 y.o. Sourdough yeast culture - is the latest in a line of beers that have impressed me. From my readings it's loosely based on a Berliner Weiss, but to me was a bit tarter than the average Berliner Weiss. Clocking in at only 3.6% it's a sour you could drink all day! It earned Pucker Up (Level 13).


My fourth badge of the day went to Woodchuck Hard Cider Amber. Yes there is a Cider on Beer O'Clock Australia! I was in Barny's Fine Wines and Ales is Roseberry (great bottleshop by the way!) today and saw a 6-pack of this. Remembering last year's Woodchuck Cider badge, that hung around forever, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and buy Lizzie some cider and me a badge. Little did I know that Land of the Free (Level 29) would be thrown into the bargain... Read more about the Cider if I get the Woodchuck (2015) badge.

I think I've probably just beaten my record for a

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

Thursday, 29 January 2015

BEAR CLUB NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

 Tru Bru Bear Club - November/December 2014


The November and December Bear Club packs have been combined into one mega-pack of 18 beers (with all extra's included). My fridge just about managed to accommodate all of them, so I've got to try and crack into them now!

Before we do that though, I'm really looking to the Garage Project's sour and getting to try the Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout again! Black IPA's are always awesome, so Ekim's HEL is another I'm looking forward to. Absolute classic examples of their styles Saison Dupont and Sierra Nevada's Torpedo are going to be great to try! In short this pack should be awesome! Now it's time to get into it!

I wasn't anticipating to start with the Weihenstephaner Festbier, however when I heard that we were having pork sausages and Sauerkraut for dinner, my mind was made up! On tap it's a different beast to when I reviewed it from the bottle in the first few months of this blog's existence! There's definitely more citrus than I remember but there's still grassiness and a good malt base, as you'd expect from a German lager designed to drink all day!

Beer number 2 was from Batch Brewing in Sydney's inner West. It was their American Pale Ale which is hopped solely with Cascade hops. It was a particularly drinkable Pale Ale with everything to you'd expect from Cascade hops; citrus, grapefruit and spiciness. It's the first beer I've had from them and I was quite impressed.

The first beer I've tried from Modus Operandi was next up. I've heard great things about these guys and was really excited to try Zoo Feeder. There was plenty of pine bitterness coming from the hops and chewy malts for balance. It was went down very well although it seemed bigger than 7.2%...

As mentioned above I'm a huge Black IPA fan! Accordingly I was particularly excited to try Ekim's HEL and it didn't let me down. It was brilliantly roasty with plenty of hops, mostly pine but with some floral and citrus characteristics, for good measure. At 9.2% this is an incredibly dangerous beer as there are no signs of this ABV anywhere, it's impeccably hidden. This is the best beer I've had from Ekim - and they make some really nice stuff! Keep an eye out for them.

Sierra Nevada's Torpedo is an iconic beer. It's significant to me as it's the first IPA I ever had. Yet despite all of that I'd never had it on tap; well until now! It didn't let me down either with that same grapefruit and pine flavours that are so prominent in the bottled version. It's a beer that all IPA-lovers have to try!

It's that time of year when Doctor's Orders release their summer seasonal; Zephyr an Imperial Witbier. It's exactly what you'd expect from an Imperial Witbier - coriander, citrus, cloves, some other spices and some warming alcohol. I also had it through the Randall at The Wheaty in Adelaide, stocked with cherries and plums! I'd highly recommend that combo, add's a lovely fruitiness.

Renaissance's Enlightenment series has brought me alot of joy throughout it's existence. Basically it's their Brewer's chance to experiment and try new things. The latest offering to reach me is the Mocha Milk Stout. I have to say I loved this beer! There was enough coffee up front without being overpowering, before a sweet almost creaminess kicked in. It was just a really nice easy drinking stout, not one for the real roast fans though...

Steelhead is Mad River Brewing's Double (Imperial) IPA. It's also the name of their Pale Ale, Porter and Extra Stout. I'm not 100% why a brewery would choose to go down that route, but each to their own... This incarceration of Steelhead is a nice IPA with good amounts of pine and citrus as well as plenty of malt. It's not your typical American IPA but it is a good one.

The Biere de Garage from Garage Project is the sour that I was really looking forward to! It was so close to being brilliant, but unfortunately didn't quite get there. It wasn't quite sour enough, and it didn't have quite enough cherry flavour. So close, but it's very odd for a Garage Project beer to be lacking in flvaour intensity...

The third New Zealand beer in this Bear Club pack was Tuatara's Ardennes. This one is a Belgian styled Golden Ale and was a nice break from all the lager I was drinking on my boys weekend. I really enjoyed the orange notes in this beer, that really stood out from the other citrus flavours. It was lightly spicy, as you'd expect from the style, and nice and refreshing. It's a beer that I intend to revisit further down the track.

BrewDog Hardcore is another IPA that I'm quite familiar with in bottle form yet haven't managed to have on tap. This one is a monster! As I found out after drinking the whole Bear Club bottle rather quickly and definitely lives up to the name Hardcore! It's big on all fronts; malts, piney and citrus hops and ABV (9.2%). Those who like this in the bottle have to go out of their way to find it on tap - it's a different beast altogether!

Bloody RIPA was the second beer from Renaissance's Enlightenment series to feature in this bumper double month Bear Club. It's a red rye IPA and was a really interesting beer, with malt initially dominating before the hops get to have their say. The spiciness from the rye is, to me, the standout flavour, it blends so well with rich caramel flavour upfront. It's safe to say that the beer lived up to it's name; it's a Bloody Ripper!

Garage Project's Aro Noir was next up and was another goodie! It's a lovely stout, with artwork that really does it for me as well (see below). The beer is packed full of roasty goodness with some chocolate hidden away in the back. I really like the amount of hops that come through in this beer, bitter without being overpowering, and the slightly lighter mouthfeel makes it very drinkable! For me it's one of my favourite low(er) ABV stouts on the market - and on tap it's even better!

Bridge Road really impressed me over December with #beerdvent, Sour Sumami is a beer that wasn't in that pack and one that I'd never heard of before. Some googling showed it's their Umame (Shiitake mushroom beer) aged in whiskey barrels with brettanomyces for 8 months! Now Umame I love and Sour Sumami was no different. There was very little in the way of mushroom flavour and I thought the beer resembled more of a Gueuze and a pretty fine one at that!

Yeastie Boys Minimatta is a 4.0% Pale Ale brewed with Earl Grey tea. It's Gunnamatta's, a beer I distinctly remember disliking at GABS 2012, little brother. Either my palate has changed quite significantly or this is just a much better beer as I really quite enjoyed this beer. There was a light flavour of orange coming from the hops as well as quite a herbaceous flavour, not dissimilar to eucalyptus but which I assume could be tea... It's a beer I'd use again as a recovery beer - it's very light.

I was so interested by this next beer that I'd already had a couple of squealers of it by the time it arrived in the Bear Club pack. Dennis Brewing Co. always offer up interesting brews and Obi Wan Shinobi was no exception! It's a ginger infused Witbier and has this really interesting Saison yeast which gives it a bit of funk. The level of ginger is just about perfect, with enough to show there is ginger without it being overpowering. It's definitely a beer for the more adventurous drinker but it is great!

If you were looking for the stereotypical Saison it would be hard to go past Saison Dupont. It's a beautiful beer, yet this was the first time I've had it on tap! On tap it has more citrus and fruitiness and I think loses a bit of the cloves and peppery spices, but that could just be the fruitiness taking over a bit more. I did pick up the apple that so many people rave about in this beer for the first time though. Saison lovers - if you haven't already; you need to try this beer!

I know I said that I wouldn't leave a stout for last... yet I did deliberately. They always say leave the best for last and so here is Thirsty Crow's cult offering; the Vanilla Milk Stout. I've only had this beer twice before, but it's absolutely worthy of the hype it generates. It's a lovely creamy stout with plenty vanilla character, something I've picked up before but never this strongly. Thirsty Crow is a great story for craft beer in regional Australia (based in Wagga Wagga), I really hope I can get there one day to try this beer at the source!

It's been over 2 months in the making but this monster Tru Bru Bear Club pack is finally done and dusted! Hopefully somewhere in this huge slab of text you find something you're interested in trying. A lot of different styles were included in this pack - so there should be something that appeals to everyone. If this sort of thing appeals to you, give Anton a call at Tru Bru and say I sent you. If you love beer you won't be disappointed - it's Australia's best beer club!

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

Saturday, 24 January 2015

REVIEW: STONE ENJOY BY 02.14.15

      The World's best beer contender?


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 9.4%
  • Serving Type: 640ml Bottle
  • Price: Special Occasions Only
Today we have a real treat - the latest in the Stone Enjoy By series. Lovers of craft beer will know what this beer is; for those who don't - This series has always been labelled with an "Enjoy By" date in this case: 02.14.15 or in easier to understand language Valentines Day (Feb 14 this year). Stone Brewing put a 5 week date from bottling on each of these Imperial IPA batches.

In typical Stone fashion this is a little different, instead of a tiny best before date under the bottle or on the cap, these guys include it in the name of this IPA. They say that they specifically brew this beer not to last, which is why I was particularly excited when I heard that an Experience IT had agreed a deal with Stone CEO, notorious stickler for freshness Greg Koch, to air freight this beer to Melbourne! Price wasn't an objection; I just had to have this beer!

The pour is perfect for the style with a brilliantly clear golden body topped by a tight head of a slightly cream coloured white head. Possibly the head is a little small, but it does leave good lacing on the glass and has good retention. I'm starting to notice a trend among the Imperial IPA's that I've been drinking that the clearer they are the more I seem to like them... No idea why that is, but it certainly bodes well for Stone's Enjoy By!

As expected the nose was dominated by hops, with citrus being far and away the most dominant of those hop characteristics. The citrus element was spearheaded by a very strong grapefruit aroma and was backed up by a more bitter citrus aroma, which I can't quite decide what I think it is... Maybe lime? As the beer warmed up a bit a resinous pine became more apparent on the nose, as did a caramel malt backbone.

Right from the first sip I was in love with this beer! It had a much stronger than anticipated malt backbone, that managed to just about balance the cavalcade of hops - quite a feat! The pine flavour is much more noticeable to the taste and the grapefruit is fresh and juicy. Accompanying these flavour are some mango and apricot, which really just add to the overall juiciness of the beer. You'd have no idea this beer was 9.4% either, a particularly dangerous combination.

Often the beers in this section are so over hyped that I am left feeling slightly disappointed after drinking them, despite them being truly excellent beers. Not so with Stone's Enjoy By 02.14.15 thankfully! It's a brilliant American Imperial IPA, just so hoppy and juicy yet somehow still balanced. In other fantastic news it was announced that the deal to bring this beer out also includes a further shipment of Stone beers, in both bottles and kegs, to follow in March! I can't wait to get my hands on more fresh Stone!

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

Monday, 19 January 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 17

Untappd Catchup


This was an inevitable Untappd Catchup. With Christmas and then preparing for a big work trip to Adelaide I was never going to have time to keep on top of all of these Untappd badges.I didn't think there'd be 12 (yes twelve!) badges between Christmas Day and now.

My Merry Brewmas (2014) badge came along earlier than mosts. It was about 9:00am and I was BBQing our chipolata's for Christmas Lunch. It was pretty hot at 9am by the BBQ and a can of Mornington Pale Ale went down brilliantly. Amazingly I haven't review that yet so watch this space...

The second beer to earn me a badge on Christmas Day was Ska Brewing's Modus Hoperandi. It earned me New Brew Thursday (Level 11) - possibly the most confusing badge on Untappd. The beer was a lovely example of an American IPA with earthiness combining well with piney hops.


Many more beers and a lot of red wine was under went under the bridge before Land of the Free (Level 27) came around. The beer was Golden Road's Back Home Gingerbread Stout, which I thought was suitably Christmassy - and incidentally matched very well with Christmas Pudding! I really enjoyed this beer - it was a big Russian Imperial Stout which smelt exactly like Gingerbread! The Gingerbread aroma didn't translate as well to the flavour but there certainly was a nice collection of spices to taste.

Crisp as Day (Level 9) went to a German Pilsner from Samoa; Vailima. It's actually their national lager and considering it's a relatively small group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean it's a pretty good beer. The main take away point is that there is no sweetness at all and the hops provide just enough bitterness. If you want to read more about Vailima follow this link to my full review.

I recently found out that Camden Town, a London based brewery producing some very tasty beers, is run by a couple of Aussies! Which is pretty cool! Anyway their Pils is an unfiltered lager and comes with some pretty spiffy packaging. It had nice citrussy hops and I thought was a particularly enjoyable pilsner. God Save the Queen (Level 24) is why you're hearing about it, if you like lagers this is one I'd recommend.


Happy Brew Year (2015) was brought up with not the most auspicious of beers. In fact it is probably the most recognised beer in the world - Heineken. It was all that was cold when I finished setting up our New Year's party and if I'm being honest I was a bit disappointed about that. After tasting it though, it was quite a hot Melbourne's afternoon, I was quite impressed. It's a crisp pilsner and showed why this lager has gained such traction.

The honour of earning Pale as the Moon (Level 31) fell to the good guys of Melbourne's craft beer industry; Cavalier. These guys allow start-up brewers, and bigger breweries, to brew at their Derrimut facility. I struggle to believe that this is my first Cavalier Pale Ale; but that's what Untappd says... Anyway it's a Pale Ale that I've always enjoyed with heaps of fruitiness, there's also quite a bit of malt. It's a good example of an American Pale Ale.

It's rare that it takes this long for a Tru Bru Bear Club beer to take this long to pop up in an Untappd Catchup. New Zealand's Renaissance Brewing's Enlightenment Series has been fantastic! The latest offering is the Mocha Milk Stout, which didn't let the standard down. Drink like a Kiwi (Level 12), for drinking beers from New Zealand, was the badge and was also not let down by the very smooth, creamy stout. It's a lovely beer!


My first ever visit to The Wheaty was certainly memorable, yet there was only 1 badge earned that night; Pucker Up (Level 12). The beer was The Wheaty's own Black Lime Gose, a Gose soured with Black Limes (limes boiled in brine and then left in the sun for weeks) rather than the more traditional lactobacillus. Science aside - it was a really nice Gose with plenty of citrus and saltiness. At 40+C outside, and not alot cooler inside the pub, it was pretty close to perfect!

Another badge earner from my South Australian work trip was Birbecks' The Merchant. It earned Pale as the Moon (Level 32) and was the second Pale as the Moon entry in this catchup. It was billed as an Imperial Pale Ale (7.2%), it's a style I've never been hugely fond of... This beer did little to change my mind with a really odd aftertaste bringing down what was otherwise an OK beer. This is not one I'd go out of my way to find if I was you.

Hot on the heels of our first double up in this review, we have our second. Land of the Free (Level 28) was the badge. The beer was actually a sampler at Tru Bru, normally I don't check these in but I really enjoyed this beer! It was Lost Coast's 25th Anniversary beer, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale - which wasn't particularly dark... That aside it had plenty of orange and banana flavours with very little dark fruit to speak of. I'm looking forward to my full whistler of it to see what other flavours come out in a bigger glass.


I had hoped to kick my boys weekend, which had a surprisingly high number of girls attending, off with a badge. The beer I had planned was Murray's Whale Ale, which I thought was a Witbier but is actually an American Pale Wheat... This was all sorted though when I got back and had the very enjoyable Wicked Elf Witbier, which has plenty of coriander for the style. It's one of the first craft witbier's I recommend to people who say they like Hoegaarden and one I highly recommend!

This is another review that got far longer and took much more time than I would have hoped for. These things can't be helped though so I hoped you like the short little summations of each beer. There's nothing particularly special in any of the badge artwork, although the new "Keep your Wits about you" badge is quite cool. I'm hoping to get the first full reviews for 2015 up soon.

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

HOUSEKEEPING

Hi Guys,

Welcome to 2015 on Beer O'Clock Australia! It's hard to believe that this is the fourth full year for Beer O'Clock Australia and I'm sure it's going to be the best yet! Anyway, here's a quick update of where all of your favourite segments are at.

European Beer Challenge - Unfortunately there's been no progress in the European Beer Challenge since July 2013! Armenia, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan and Liechtenstein are the countries still evading me, if you know where to get any of them please let me know!
Et Ceterbeer - Et Ceterbeer has since less reviews since the introduction of the Untappd segment, although it is still the most posted in segment on Beer O'Clock Australia.
EURO 2012 - This segment finished with the culmination of the 2012 European Championships. The 2014 FIFA World Cup didn't eventuate and the upcoming/on-going Asian Cup won't either... 
Macro Lagers - Lager lovers take note; I've got 4 lagers lined up for you and the reviews will be trickling through shortly.
The Dark Side - I've been trying to think why this segment, mostly for stouts, gets neglected so often. I haven't been able to work it out - but I'm going to make a concerted effort to not let that happen this year.
Summer Fruit Beers - We're up to 15 Fruit Beers that I've reviewed, I'm running out of unique options for this segment.
Beer O'Clock on Tour - Beer O'Clock on Tour will be making it's return in June/July this year! A couple of the country's I've reviewed before, but inevitably I'll find something new to write about.
Great Beer Styles - I really love this segment, it's a great place to find information about some of the less talked about/made styles of beer from around the world. This year I really want to find a Lichtenhainer or Grodziskie, but we'll see how we go...

True Brew - The most comprehensive review of the Australian macro scene anywhere (I'm not 100% sure that's a good thing)! There will be an update here soon.
Fridge Regulars - This segment has struggled a little with the introduction of the Untappd segment, as beers like Sixpoint Resin (which is always in the fridge) often get neglected...
Trappist Beer - Still holds the title as the first completed challenge on Beer O'Clock Australia. I have plenty of Trappist beers in the cupboard to be drunk (and hopefully reviewed) soon.
World's Best Beer Contender - Beers that are hugely hyped find there way into this segment. I'm hoping to have something up in this segment very very soon. Hint - It's an American Imperial IPA that's recently found it's way (air-freighted no less!) to our shores!
The Great Bottle vs. Can Debate - One of my favourite segments to do, this will definitely return when I find the appropriate beer.
Oktoberfest Beers - Clearly this is still a segment that has been/is neglected. I hope to review the Augustiner Oktoberfest beer shortly - although it is over 3 years since the last post!
Abstrakt - With Richo and I both getting busier and busier it's been far too long since we sat down and had a proper wanky beer session. Will have to try and fit in a few Abstrakt's this year. Finger's crossed we'll get some done.
Out of Office - Roadies has run it's course; but never fear it's still here just in a new guise. Out of Office is it's name and already has it's first post! Some of you may have noticed the Prancing Pony review from earlier this year...
Untappd - One of the largest segments on Beer O'Clock Australia now. Untappd is my favourite beer app and I try and review every badge beer I get, whether it be in full or catchup form. There will be plenty more of these to come!
Alphabet Challenge Revisited - After a long hiatus while Gambrinus was proving hard to find, the Alphabet Challenge Revisited will be back with a vengeance in 2015! Halida from Vietnam is next up! 
Bear Club - The segment devoted to Australia's best craft beer club, Tru Bru's Bear Club will continue in 2015. Beer O'Clock Australia is still the only place where you can find musings on every beer ever offered to the Bear Club!

There we go, this took far longer than I would have hoped - but life (and too many beers!) got in the way. Now it's time to really kick start 2015, hopefully this answers all of the questions that you guys have had about your favourite segment, I promise I'll get round to replying to all of your emails soon! That said keep any questions and suggestions of things you'd like to see coming to gus.norris7@gmail.com and I'll do my best to answer them.

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

Thursday, 8 January 2015

OUT OF OFFICE: PRANCING PONY

Out of Office


STATS
  • Location: Mt Barker, SA
  • Tasting Paddle: YES
  • Food: YES
  • Branded Glassware: YES
  • Merchandise: YES
Welcome to the relaunched Out of Office segment on Beer O'Clock Australia. This segment has oft been neglected in the past, but this year I've made a New Years resolution to try and write up a few more of the great experiences I have around the traps. Hopefully this New Years resolution doesn't go the way of so many others in a few month's time...

Once again we travel outside of my home state of Victoria for this brewery review. I was the sucker who volunteered to drive over to Adelaide so I and my colleagues who are flying over could have easy access to a car and save on rental costs for the week we are over here. How was I to know it would be 30+ degrees and bushfires would be raging around Adelaide?

Anyway heat and bushfires aside; Prancing Pony Brewery is located in an industrial area in Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills around 30km's from the city. It's a really nice little spot and Lizzie and I decided to brave the heat and sit out in the sun in front of their brewery with our beer and food.

Not many, if any, Prancing Pony beers get to Melbourne. The only one I can remember having was their GABS offering this year, a Weizenbock, which wasn't fantastic. Undeterred by that one beer Lizzie and I ordered our beer and some food (which we'll get to later) and headed out into the South Australian Summer sun.

As I try to everytime I visit a brewery, I started off with a paddle. Beer number one on the paddle certainly vindicated the decision to come to Prancing Pony. It was, at least termed, a Blonde Ale. The beer was certainly light in colour, but was incredibly light and refreshing with Noble German hops very prominent. It was quite unlike any light summer ale that I've had before - so unique that I ended up buying a 6-pack to take home!

The Prancing Pony take on an Amber Ale was the second beer on the paddle. It was again quite different to the norm with quite a light, but strangely not thin, mouthfeel. The flavour had good caramel malt flavour with a nice amount of pine coming from the hops.

If you refer to the picture on the right of this post, the Pale Ale is the golden coloured beer (3rd from the right) with the big white head. I really enjoyed it - there was plenty of citrus and tropical fruits flavours coming from the hops and the light malt base was lovely. This beer paired brilliantly with one of my favourite foods (more on that later).

Beer 4 on the paddle was their Copper Ale. It was an English style IPA, which surprised me a bit. The malts really came on strong in this one and were really caramelly. There was a bit of floral and apricot flavours coming from the hops, which were initially quite light in flavour but the bitterness lingered for a long time. It was really quite a refreshing beer.

Prancing Pony's India Red Ale was fifth and it was far and away the pick of the bunch! This beer has everything; huge amounts of malt, heaps of tropical fruits. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the best Red IPA I've had! The balance between the hops and malt is superb! It clocks in at almost 8% ABV but you'd have no idea, as it's almost unnoticeable. I grabbed a couple of take-away bottles of this as well - so with any luck I'll review it in full in the not too distant future.

The Black Ale was the last beer on the tasting paddle. It was somewhere in the gap between Black IPA and Stout/Porter. That said, it was a very interesting beer with malt taking a front seat and some citrus hops coming in at the end. Saying I loved it would be an overstatement - but it's certainly an interesting ale to try.

I know I've been hyping the food up alot, but it was seriously good. The meat and cheese platter, pictured left, was superb - that blue cheese and the India Red Ale was a spectacular match. But the real winner was the currywurst! Ever since I went on exchange to Berlin I've loved currywurst and always wondered why the best beer snack I've ever had is so hard to find in Australia. Not only did Prancing Pony do currywurst; they did a bloody good one!

The one thing I forgot to mention up the top is that Prancing Pony is Australia's only Fire Brewers. It differs from regular brewing in that the brewing kettle itself is heated to extreme temperatures (rather than steam inside the kettle). They say this leads to more caramelization of the malt and hence more flavour. I'm not sure if it's the fire brewing that does that, but the guys at Prancing Pony are making some very fine beers. If you're in the Adelaide Hills it's a great spot to stop in for lunch and a few beers.

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