Thursday, 29 January 2015


 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!

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