Monday, 30 March 2015

REVIEW: ST BERNARDUS TRIPEL

Untappd: Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My! Badge


STATS
  • Country: Belgium
  • Style: Tripel
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
St Bernardus is a highly respected Abbey brewery in Belgium. Many people rate their Quadrupel (ABT 12) over Westvleteren's! Now I don't rate it quite that highly, but I'll tell you what it's a good beer! Amazingly though, I've never had this beer - I love Tripels and can't believe it's escaped me so long.

"Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My!" is a real mouthful to say! It is however pretty self explantory and even novice drinkers should be able to work out what this badge is for. For those of you who are still in the dark; to earn this Untappd badge check into 5 Dubbels, Tripels, Quads or a combination of all three.

So this beer pours a nice deep orange/gold colour. It has a nice big white head immediately after pouring, which has good retention. Tripel's take that little longer to drink and yet still at the end there was a nice, quite thick rim of foam left behind. This particular bottle has lots of "floaties" in it. This is something that many people get scared by, don't worry though all it is dead yeast. It's a natural by-product of, generally higher ABV, bottle conditioned beers.

The nose is packed full of fruit aromas, something that I don't often associate with Tripel's. Pear, plum and apple are all noticeably distinct aromas, and there are more less obvious ones in the background. It's also got this wonderful yeasty spiciness, which really takes the aroma to the next level!

St Bernardus' Tripel tastes almost as good as it smells. It's still quite fruity for the style, however pear and now apricot are far and away the most dominant. The yeasty spice is just perfect and there is a nice candi sugar sweetness, which isn't overstated.

I have to say this is a particularly drinkable Tripel. The flavours of this Tripel are more muted than many and I feel would be more (although still not very) friendly to people trying to get into the style. The balance of fruit, sweetness and spice is spectacular! Despite my earlier statement; I'd highly recommend this Tripel to all who appreciate the style but haven't had it. It's a beer that I can see becoming a staple in my fridge.

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

Monday, 23 March 2015

REVIEW: NINKASI TRICERAHOPS

Untappd: Land of the Free (Level 32) Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 650ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
Ninkasi's Tricerahops has been a beer that I've been wanting to try for years! "Tricerahops" was actually a candidate for the name of the segment that became Et Ceterbeer, way back in 2012 when I ran that competition. Ever since then Ninkasi's Tricerahops has been on my bucket list.

First some history/trivia; the brewery is based in Eugene, Oregon, a city of about 160,000 people with a number of breweries. The brewery draws it's name from Sumerian, an ancient civilization in what is now Southern Iraq, mythology. Ninkasi is the Sumerian goddess of beer and brewing, a god I could certainly see myself worship!

Enough of that, you're all here for the beer review! Tricerahops pours an orange colour with a 2 and a half finger head of off white. The head retention was quite good despite a number of large bubbles forming in the head quickly. The body of the beer is partially translucent and isn't too far away from the colour that my favourite Imperial IPA's tend to be. This is boding well for this beer.

Onto the nose and it had a pleasant surprise for me, an aroma I hadn't smelt in years; kumquats! We used to have trees and ferment them in brandy, it's a very distinctive aroma! Anyway, there's also plenty of citrus, stone fruit and pine in combination with some caramel malts.

Ninkasi's Tricerahops packs a big punch, much like I assume the dinosaur it is named after would have. It's got a big caramel malt backbone and even bigger hop punch. There's plenty of pine, some citrus and apricot. The mouthfeel is full bodied and yet it still finishes dry.

This beer is a really good example of an American Imperial IPA. For those who are huge hopheads, there is more than enough bitterness - whilst it will also appeal to those who like a more balanced beer with a huge caramel malt backbone. I'm glad to tick this beer off my bucket list, and even gladder that a beer I picked for it's name actually turned out to be a great beer!

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

Sunday, 22 March 2015

REVIEW: BACCHUS ATOMIC KAKADU

Summer Fruit Beers #16

STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Berliner Weissbier
  • ABV: 2.4%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Price
I was umming and ahhing whether to include this beer in the Summer Fruit Beers section. After all, Kakadu is a region not a fruit... That being said this beer uses 27 different fruit and spices found in Kakadu, none of which have been listed however.

Kakadu National Park is located in the Northern Territory, not that far from Darwin. The climate there differs vastly between the dry season, which as you may guess is very dry, and the wet season, which is very very wet. This would indicate to me that there would be a vast array of plants that could go into this beer, however it hasn't helped me narrow down what they might be...

To say Bacchus Brewing's Atomic Kakadu was an atypical looking beer would be an understatement! It looks almost like cordial, in that it's a relatively clear pinkish orange colour with no head even 10 seconds after pouring. For about 5 seconds there was half a finger of red tinged foam, although it was incredibly shortlived. It's a truly unusual looking beer!

Onto the nose and the most obvious element straight away is the unmistakable tart aroma of lactobacillus. This is accompanied by a berry-like aroma, not hugely dissimilar to blackcurrants. There appears to be a herbal, almost eucaltypus element as the beer warms but it is hard to be sure as the tart berry aroma is quite strong.

As the nose indicated this beer is lovely and tart, with this unusual fruitiness also quite strong. There's some herbal characteristics as well as the beer warms but mostly all you get it sourness and berry fruitiness. The berry itself tastes quite tart and is similar to blackcurrants or blackberries or riberries. I can't put my finger on what it is, but it's certainly interesting and makes for a lovely sour.

Overall I thought this was a really nice fruity sour. The distinctive lacto flavour was complimented nicely by the unusual berry flavour. At only 2.4% it's a beer that you could drink all day! I've got a few more of the Atomic range from Bacchus, so keep your eyes out for more Bacchus sour reviews in the not too distant future.

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

Sunday, 15 March 2015

REVIEW: 4 PINES PALE ALE

Et Cetebeer


STATS

  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.1%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
After this beer came in at #3 in The Hottest 100 Beers this year I thought I better revisit it, as I remember is as a decidedly ordinary beer. So here we are, lets see if the wider Aussie beer community know what they're talking about.

Since opening in 2008, 4 Pines has gone from strength to strength steadily out growing sites and seeing their beers spread nationwide. Their Keller Door range is widely reputed and sought after, their latest offering the Citrus IPA was really good! The Pale Ale is one of their core range beers and according to the bottle is hoped with Citra, Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe - all hops I enjoy.

The 4 Pines Pale Ale pours quite a deep colour for the style. It's a very deep golden, almost amber colour with a reddish tinged cream head on top. The head is maybe two fingers high and has a number of medium sized bubbles in it, however it has good retention and there is still some left at the end of drinking. It's a good looking beer.

Onto the nose and it's not particularly impressive. There is some grapefruit and pine aromas but they don't seem to be particularly bitter. This could be because the malt base is a bit overpowering on the nose. It's mostly a caramel malt base however I also get notes of breadiness and even some chocolate, which seems odd to me... Anyway, it's not offensive to smell but nor is it particularly alluring.

Much like the aroma I thought the flavour was a little underwhelming. It was quite malty with quite a bit of earthiness combining with the caramel and bready malts. There was no sign of the odd chocolate aroma I was picking up on the nose. Unfortunately there wasn't that much in the way of hop flavour either, with only light citrus and tropical fruit elements coming through. It does drink very easily though and before you know it, it's gone.

This revisit has just reinforced my initial thoughts about the beer, it's simply not as good as people make it out to be. It's a solid Pale Ale, but it is not fit to stand alongside the like of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Feral Hop Hog on the podium of the Hottest 100. Maybe it's the lack of hops that I'm not liking, I might give this to a few of my friends who are more used to macro stuff and see what their thoughts are. To the experienced craft beer drinker though, this isn't going to cut it.

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

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 21

Untappd Catchup


I TRIED! I really did, but a long weekend of drinking caught up with me very quickly. I've got one full review in the works, but in the meantime here's 9 (yes nine!) badge reviews. As usual if you want more detailed tasting notes, drop me an email.

When drinking a Panhead Vandal I wondered if I'd remembered to check-in the 5 specialty Panhead beers at the Tru Bru tasting the other week; I hadn't. Earle's Revolver was a Smoked beer and had a really good bacon flavour. Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 15) was the badge.

I'll be Bock, the badge bearing Arnie's resemblance below centre, took me far longer to acquire than I thought it would. Basically you need to drink 5 Bocks, or any of their sub types Eisbocks etc. Goodieson's Maibock from S.A. was the beer that got me over the line. It was interesting with plenty of bubblegum along with some spicy and floral hops. It's a beer that I certainly would have again.


The old 2 badges in one check-in occurred last Monday. I took the most of the public holiday to earn the Liquid Lunch badge, for drink 5 beers in a month between 12pm-2pm Monday-Friday, & the Pale as the Moon (Level 35). The beer was Riverside Brewing's 55, an American Pale Ale that I'd never had before. It had plenty of pineapple flavour coming from the hops and went down really well in the sun on the deck! The artwork is pretty cool as well.

Another Emelisse beer to earn a badge for me was the Porter. Heavyweight (Level 27) is why we're talking about it. The beer exceeded my expectations, it was an excellent Porter with good roast and creaminess. There was plenty of hops as well, with citrus and some interesting fruit flavours coming through. It drank beautifully, I will be picking up more of these and would advise you to as well if you are into darker beers.

I've been seeing alot of the Big Sky IPA tins around recently. They are quite distinctive with orange and yellow on a shiny silver background with a goat on it. It was a really nicely balanced IPA with apricot the dominant flavour. It left you with a slightly dry finish, which really made you wish you had another! Land of the Free (Level 31) was the badge.


A quick afternoon stop into Tru Bru in between meetings and I was offered a little tasting of the Lost Coast Great White. The infuriating New Brew Thursday (Level 12) is why we're talking about it. It was quite an unusual Witbier. There was limited wheat characteristics, with only a little bit of banana and spices coming through. The body was quite thin and combined with an odd yeast had almost a lagery feel to it... I wouldn't mind revisiting to evaluate another bottle. Don't buy it expecting a traditional Witbier though...

Regular readers of this blog will be away of my affinity for Imperial IPA's and in particular Sixpoint's Resin. Clearly this is the first time I've had one since the Hopped Up badge has been in place as it earned me Hopped Up (Level 4). It's a brilliant very piney Imperial IPA and one that everyone needs to try! I will refer you to my review from last year for further tasting notes.


A mystery Tru Bru bottle in my fridge was confusing me. It was unlabelled (I assume the label fell off) and I had no idea what it could be. I opened the bottle and knew immediately! Delirium Nocturnum! It's a beer I adore, and it's even better off tap! There's plenty of dark fruits and spices as well as a nice caramel malt base. Beer lovers, you all must try this beer! Belgian Holiday (Level 14) was the badge, which makes me really wish my own Belgium holiday (coming up this July) would get here quicker!

There we have a nice quick wrap up of all the beers that earned me Untappd badges in the past week. There's been some really good beers in this batch so I advise you check out whatever is most up your alley, As usual let me know your feedback/questions. I'm hoping to get 3 or 4 full reviews out later this week so stay tuned,

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

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

REVIEW: PANHEAD VANDAL

Untappd: Hopped Up (Level 3) Badge


STATS
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 1890ml Tap
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Vandal is Panhead's American Imperial IPA and it's a big one! It's a beer I've had a few times before and can't recommend highly enough. As an interesting aside; the fresh hopped edition of the Vandal was my first ever Bear Club beer, so it's somewhat fitting that a Tru Bru growler is in this reviews picture.

Hopped Up was released in the latest batch of new badges. To qualify for this badge the beer you are checking in has to have a minimum of 65 IBU's, for the uninitiated that means it has to be quite bitter; IBU stands for International Bittering Units (read more here). For everyone else, let's get into the review!

The pour is sensational and has that deep orange/golden colour that all of my favourite IPA's seem to pour, which augers well for the rest of this review. The head is relatively small, but a brilliant white colour. It seems to be quite a tight head and does have excellent retention despite it's small initial size. Vandal is a good looking IPA, but there are certainly better out there.

Onto the nose and this is one of the places that Panhead's Vandal really shines! It's got a really big fruity nose, with only the smallest hint of malt on the nose. Citrus and Passionfruit are the two most noticeable hop aromas, and there is excellent bitterness there as well!

The taste is similar to what the nose sets you up for. There's only a little malt with plenty of hops! I get plenty of pine, something I didn't get on the nose interestingly, as well as citrus and passionfruit. There is plenty of bitterness to the beer and whilst I wouldn't call it a balanced IPA, as far as hop bombs go it's pretty well balanced!

Panhead's Vandal very rarely makes it to our shores, so it's best to get your hands on as much of it as possible everytime it does! It's an Imperial IPA that gets better everytime I have it! A friendly hint to Michael and co. - send us more Vandal! If no one else will drink it I will! And as an aside I'd love some more Culture Vulture! If you're an NZ IPA fan, this is one to seek out!

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

Saturday, 7 March 2015

REVIEW: PANHEAD WHITEWALL

Untappd: Drink Like A Kiwi (Level 14) Badge


STATS
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
  • ABV: 4.3%
  • Serving Type: 2000ml PET Bottle (TAP)
  • Price: Inexpensive
Whitewall is the latest Panhead beer to reach our shores. It was pitched to me as a fuller bodied Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, a beer I adore! The fuller body is attributed to plenty of wheat in the beer. I simply had no option - I was always buying the beer, it was merely a question of how much I was buying!

I also believe that this is the debut of the Spiegelau American Pale Wheat glass on this blog! It's a fantastic glass that I've started using for a variety of styles, particularly sours. They will start infiltrating our shores soon so keep your eyes out for them. Fair warning though, they are the most fragile feeling of the Spiegelau range, so if you are someone who breaks them...

So the pour is, as expected. a cloudy light golden/yellowish colour. The head is surprisingly small, with maybe a finger and a half of white fluffy head. It's a very alluring looking beer, which makes you thirsty just looking at it! The Stone & Wood link is instantly apparent, with the light colour very similar to the Pacific Ale, albeit much cloudier.

The way this glass channels the aroma is simply sensational! There is a really nice citrus aroma, which isn't particularly bitter, coming from the hops, which is accompanied by a little grassiness. The wheat that was promised is definitely there and a nice light banana aroma indicates that.

Whitewall's flavour follows along the same lines as the nose indicated it would. The malt base is light and while there is wheat present, it's not overpowering at all. There's lots of citrus flavour coming through from the hops with the grassy element almost non-existent. There's good substance to this beer, while not detracting from the drinkability.

Whitewall is another sensational beer out of Panhead. This is the sort of beer that I could envisage spending all day drinking in a beer garden on a nice summers day. The wheat element of this beer is understated and doesn't make the beer cloying. All lovers of good sessionable beers should keep their eyes peeled for this!

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

OUT OF OFFICE: THE PUBLIC BREWERY

Out of Office


STATS
  • Location: Croydon, VIC
  • Tasting Paddle: NO
  • Food: YES
  • Branded Glassware: YES
  • Merchandise: YES
The Public Brewery in Croydon is one I only learnt of relatively recently. I actually found out about it through a Scottish beer reviewer, who does his stuff on Youtube, who was staying at a friend's house in Croydon. In any case we thought that we'd pop in on the way back from Yarra Glen.

The brewery is housed in an old brick warehouse in the back streets of Croydon. It's surrounded by veggie gardens out the front and the whole area has a really cool vibe. The old VW Bettle out the front really added to it in my opinion.

The garden vibe continues inside with a vine handing above the bar, see below right. The sight of plenty of stainless steel inside the brewery as you walk in is a pleasant sight after the distinct lack at Hargreaves Hill. To get to the bar and main seating area you have to walk past the whole brewing deck with light streaming in and catching it.

All that stainless steel leads me to one of my favourite things about The Public Brewery is that they let people brew on small systems at their brewery and provide brewing staff to help, for a fee naturally! It's a really good way to spread the craft beer bug, especially in an area of Melbourne not as well known for it's love of craft beer.

My first gripe with The Public Brewery was that they only had one, yes ONE (1)!, of their own beers on tap. The 6 taps were at least filled with Victorian craft beer and cider, with one from Hargreaves Hill (where we'd been earlier in the day), two from Two Birds, the always excellent Mountain Goat Summer Ale and the Kelly's Apple Cider, which often gets rave reviews from the cider drinkers I know.

Naturally, the first beer I settled on was the only offering from The Public Brewery on tap; the Red Falcon. The beer was brand new, less than a week old, and was a tasty American Amber/Red Ale. It had good hop bitterness to go with the maltiness you'd expect from the style. At 5% ABV it was very drinkable!

As time was a bit short before we had to be elsewhere, I only had one more beer. That beer was Two Bird's Wolf of the West IPA. It's a beer I'd been looking out for for a while, but seemed to keep missing. It didn't quite live up to the hype though, with a lack of bitterness letting down the lovely dry citrus flavour and texture. It did however go down very nicely in the sun!

Whilst we didn't have any food at The Public Brewery, having eaten less than an hour before at Hargreaves Hill, we did salivate a little looking at the food offerings being dished out around us. There was a burger that looked particularly appetizing, so much so that I think I will venture back out to Croydon at some point...

The onsite bottle shop is a nice touch as well and is well set up right as you walk into, and subsequently out, of the brewery. Naturally we stopped in on the way out and picked up quite a few Victorian craft offerings as well as 2 further beers from The Public Brewery, which I will endeavour to consume and review in the not too distant future.

I was incredibly impressed with atmosphere at The Public Brewery! It really felt like a craft brewery! You could hear the buzz of chatter from outside in the lovely sun splashed beer garden where we ended up finding a table. For a relatively cool day, 22 or 23 degrees, it was hot in the sun and I actually felt myself burning a little.

This was a much better brewery experience. The fit out is superb and really suits the warehouse vibe of the venue. I'm looking forward to sampling a couple of the other beers that I have. I'll also be making sure I make a longer visit to The Public Brewery, it was a great venue that I would love to spend more time at - hopefully next time they have more of their own beers on tap! If you're looking for a brewery out near Croydon, I'd highly recommend you vist The Public Brewery!

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

Friday, 6 March 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 20

Untappd Catchup


So many badges, so little time! That seems to be the moral of the story at the moment as I struggle to keep up... Anyway this is a really good set of 7 beers, through 9 badges. As usual let me know any thoughts on any of these you have had.

Pale as the Moon (Level 34) was the first badge that I missed. The beer was Panhead's Quickchange APA, incidentally I met the brewer the other day - top bloke! That said this beer is a really nice American Pale Ale with plenty of tropical fruit flavours.

The Früh Kölsch can, pictured right, is so cool to look at! The beer is also a spectacular example of Cologne's (Köln's) specialty beer. Das Boot (Level 8), the badge for drinking German beers, was why we're talking about it. I'm surprised I haven't review this in full before, I will aim to fix that soon. In short it's a good Kölsch to try if you haven't had one before.

 

I posted yesterday about my indifferent experiences at Hargreaves Hill Brewing yesterday. The beer that I thought was the worst of the bunch that day was the Hargreaves Hill Pilsner, funny it would be that beer that earns a badge. The badge was Crisp As Day (Level 10) and the beer was a little underwhelming. Probably avoid this, it was the worst beer I tried at the brewery, some of their other beers are worth a try.

Whilst rummaging through my fridge the other day I found a BrewDog Hoppy Christmas. Somewhat strangely after I checked it in I ended up with the Winter Wonderland (Level 3), a badge I thought had to have the word "winter" in the name or style. Maybe "Christmas" is now close enough to "winter"... Anyway despite now having a bit of age on it this is a very nice IPA, full of grapefruit and citrus flavours. If you see it in a Dan's clearance bin, grab it!

As always a Bear Club beer managed to work it's way into the Untappd Catchup; this time it was Sixpoint's Otis. It actually earned two badges Heavy Weight (Level 26) and Land of the Free (Level 30). It's a wonderfully creamy Oatmeal Stout and one that I can't recommend highly enough, especially if you've never had an Oatmeal Stout before!


Another beer I had last Sunday was 2 Birds' new IPA; Wolf of the West. I've been meaning to try this for a few weeks but have kept missing it around the traps. Of all the places I found it at The Public Brewery, new Out of Office review to follow shortly. The beer was brilliantly dry with plenty of citrus, but was unfortunately a little lacking in bitterness... Still in the blistering sun at The Public Brewery it was exactly the sort of beer I wanted!

I very nearly forgot about the Founders Year-Round badge! Luckily on Monday I remembered and had a Founders Pale Ale in the fridge. It's a really solid American Pale and one I'd recommend. It also surprisingly earned the Beer City, USA badge - a badge for drinking beers from two different breweries in Grand Rapids. I'm completely stumped what the other beer may have been... Oh well I'll take it!


I'm going to try really hard to write full reviews for my next 5 Untappd badges! These reviews are becoming ridiculous! Anyway, there were some really good beers in this little review. As usual let me know your thoughts on any of them or if you have any suggestions for beers I should review. Keep your eyes out for new reviews soon!

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

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

OUT OF OFFICE: HARGREAVES HILL

Out of Office


STATS
  • Location: Yarra Glen, VIC
  • Tasting Paddle: YES
  • Food: YES
  • Branded Glassware: NO
  • Merchandise: NO
Last Sunday Lizzie and I went on a bit of a drive and visited a couple of breweries in Melbourne's North. The first of which was Hargreaves Hill, a brewery whose beers I've enjoyed on the odd occasions I've had them. We decided on Saturday we'd head up this way and have a few beers and some lunch, called up, booked a table and then set off to Yarra Glen on Sunday morning.

Sorry for the iPhone photo
out of the moving car...
Yarra Glen is about 50 minutes North East of Melbourne. It was pretty much bang on midday when we arrived at this picturesque little town and located the nice white building that the brewery is located in. All good so far.

We walked in, they've got no record of our booking. Fair enough, these thing happen. The staff sort of stood there, quite standoffishly, didn't offer us another table - we had to ask. When we did ask, the girl audibly groaned and then asked another staff member to "deal with us". To say it was a bad first impression would be an understatement...

Anyway, we put that aside and were seated in the quite small main dining room by a nice Italian waitress. She ran through the food specials, almost forgetting to mention the drinks menu - something that seems odd for a somewhere marketing itself as a brewery!

After a bit of cajoling we finally got where we wanted to go. I ordered myself the standard tasting paddle, which is remarkably good value $8 for reasonable serves of their 6 core beers. It starts with their Hefeweizen, a very good Australian example of the style packed with banana and cloves. This beer almost made up for the poor service we'd received up to this point.

Beer #2 on the paddle was their Pilsner, which was remarkably forgettable. It ticked the lager box, but didn't have enough hops or crispness to tick the Pilsner box for me. The Pale Ale was third and brought me back to the good beers. It had great floral and citrus hops that provided adequate bitterness.

Hargreaves Hill's fourth beer on their paddle was one I hadn't had before; their AD. It's a take on a Belgian Dubbel and is actually a pretty good example of the style. There was lots of caramel notes and the Belgian yeast they've used was quite unique but worked really well!

ESB was next up and was the stand out beer of the 6 on the paddle. ESB's normally aren't my thing but the Hargreaves Hill hoppy version really stands out for me. True to traditions there's still plenty of malts, which provide caramel and biscuity flavours. The hops are earthy and floral at first before quite strong citrus flavours come through. This is my favourite beer they produce.

Last but certainly not least on the paddle was the Stout. It's quite a chocolatey stout with plenty of nuttiness there as well. It's got a great creamy mouthfeel and is one of their better beers. I still had some food left so finished off with a Zenith IPA, a previous Bear Club beer, which is a brilliant IPA and the sort of thing the Hargreaves Hill core range is missing.

The pork belly was perfectly cooked!
With the restaurant vibe this place was delivering, we were expecting really good food. Thankfully we got it! The arancini ball was excellent as was my pork belly - who can turn down pork belly and beer? Seriously it's the best combination out there! The salad had mangoes and chili in it, another great combo!

From a beer perspective, the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co. is a great spot. The food was also excellent. From an atmosphere point it's definitely more like a restaurant than a brewery. The little beer garden out the back seemed more like your average micro brewery, but it was along way from the taps, while the tables out front seem more suited to a cafe.

Maybe the staff member we first met was just having a bad day? I can accept that. Lack of recording of our booking? Shit happens. General rudeness? Is not really acceptable. It put a dampener on what could have otherwise been a good visit. The lack of visible brewhouse is a bit of a downer, but if you feel like lunch and a few beers north of Melbourne you could do worse than pop in to Hargreaves Hill. If you, like many people, are averse to rudeness, maybe stick to buying their beers by the bottle -they make some good beers, but some of the staff on last Sunday were a bit off... Not all I hasten to add, the Italian girl and the guy we dealt with at the end were both great!

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

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

REVIEW: AUGUSTINER EDELSTOFF

An Oktoberfest Special


STATS
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: Munich Helles Lager
  • ABV: 5.6%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
This is definitely the longest time between reviews in one section on Beer O'Clock Australia. This hasn't been neglected, it's more an availability thing with very few of the Munich brewers sending their Oktoberfest offerings out our way. Anyway, over three years is far too long no matter the reason.

Augustiner beers are rarely found outside Munich, let alone Germany. In recent times some of the Edelstoff and the Maximator have been making it to the U.S. and I assume some was probably imported from there. Augustiner-Bräu produces around 100 million litres of beer a year, and is the only brewery still serving it's Oktoberfest beers from the traditional wooden barrels at the festival.

The beer pours a quite a light colour for a lager, with the body being quite a light yellow/golden colour. The head is small and has disappointing retention. Thankfully there is some lacing, but otherwise it's quite a disappointing pour for quite a highly rated lager. I suppose that in the Oktoberfest beer market, a beer with a long lasting head is probably a little bit of a draw back - you want as little head as possible when hefting a Maß.

Onto the nose and it was relatively light and definitely inoffensive. The malts were bready and seemed to drive the beers aroma, which seemed a little sweet. There was also some nice floral hop characteristics coming through, although they were quite muted, and bitterness seemed restrained. My overall impression of the nose was that it was quite nice, there just wasn't quite enough of it! 

Thankfully the beer tasted better than the appearance and aroma led us to believe it would be. It was a nice crisp lager with good bready malts up front, which had a sweetness to them but weren't unpleasantly so. The hops were both grassy and floral and provided nice flavour, although very little bitterness was imparted. Augustiner Edelstoff finishes nice and dry and leaves you wanting more beer!

In summation, I think this beer would be perfect for Oktoberfest. It's a good example of the sort of thing you could drink all day, whether you're a craft beer lover or a regular macro lager drinker. While I feel it would be exceptionally quaffable; that doesn't automatically make it a good beer though... There's definitely other lagers I would drink ahead of this, although I'm quite happy to check it off my list.

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

Monday, 2 March 2015

REVIEW: EMELISSE CREME BRULEE

Untappd: Going Dutch Badge


STATS
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: Milk Stout
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
Emelisse are one of my favourite international brewers. I don't drink anywhere near enough of their stuff, but everytime I try one I think to myself "Why don't I drink more from these guys?". The answer to that I'm not sure, but this has been hugely hyped to me and I'm really looking forward to it.

I'd like to think that "Going Dutch" is a pretty self-explanatory badge name. For those of you who are a little slower on the uptake, it's a badge for drinking Dutch beers. Like most other badges now this is a leveled badge, and so every 5 different beers from The Netherlands I have you will see this badge pop up again.

On the off chance (read strong likelihood) that I haven't been clear yet, Creme Brulee is a Milk Stout. Accordingly this pours a very dark colour, which at first appears almost black but is in fact a very dark brown colour. The head is cream coloured and adequately sized for the style with 2 fingers of tight foam. The head has excellent retention and there is still a thin film covering the bottom of the glass at the end of drinking.

The nose is where this beer really begins to shine, it smells exactly like Creme Brulee! There was plenty of caramel, some chocolate, roast, milk sweetness and a bit of vanilla on the nose. It's definitely a sweet aroma that some people may put some off, although I didn't find it sickly sweet.

Creme Brulee tasted brilliant! It wasn't too sweet like a number of Milk/Sweet Stouts that I've come across. Caramel was definitely the main driving flavour of this beer with roast and coffee also playing a big part. There's a good bitter hop finish which really balances the beer out.

What a beer! This is one of my favourites of the year so far and absolutely lived up to the hype! All beer lovers should seek this beer out, it's truly sensational! The mix of sweetness and roast was just perfect for the style. I can't get over how good I found this beer, there will be more in my fridge very soon! I've definitely undersold this, it was amazing! I would love to hear anyone's thoughts who've had this beer or any other Emelisse beers, gus.norris7@gmail.com.

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