Sunday, 31 May 2015

GOOD BEER WEEK UNTAPPD CATCHUP

Untappd Catchup


Good Beer Week has been and gone. Many, many beers were consumed and subsequently a number of badges were unlocked. So here is a quick run down of all the badges I earned pre-GABS (that's a separate review in it's own right...).

This first one I believe was a glitch or a redefining of the venues that count. Bar Explorer (Level 50) was the badge, which I unlocked at home... Maybe it just had levels added to it? In any case for every 5 different "bars" you visit and check into you get a new badge level. Anyway Smoothbeard Sparkling Mead was the beer, well mead.

Prior to my first Good Beer Week event I started off with a Bacchus Atomic Lime. It was far and away my favourite of the series so far! The lime flavour was excellent and particularly tart. Like all of them that I've sampled, it was very refreshing and the base Berliner Weiss was excellent. Pucker Up (Level 16) was the badge.


We kicked off Good Beer Week proper with the Brew vs Cru event at Vue de Monde. It's price may put some off, but trust me it was a brilliant event! The food, beer and wine was all excellent. Now the reason we're talking about that is a very special beer, Boon's Geuze Marriage Parfait. It's a beer that I've definitely had before, despite what Untappd may say, and one of the first Gueuze's (indeed sours) that I truly enjoyed - how things have changed since. Level 15 of Belgian Holiday, for drinking Belgian beers, is what we've unlocked.

Later that night, after quite a boozy lunch, I thought it best to go on a Pint of Origin pub crawl! We started at The Terminus, quite possibly my favourite pub. Hopped Up (Level 11) was earned by Mornington's Continuous Daryl (it's a Summer joke, Daryl Somers...). Anyway the beer was excellent with Sorachi Ace quite prominent. If you haven't had Sorachi Ace before this would be a good introductory beer which won't overpower you.

Paint the Town Red is one of the latest badges to be released by Untappd. As the name suggests it's a badge for drinking Red Ales and Amber Ales, leveling in batches of 5 as usual. I unlocked this badge at lunch on Monday while having a Goat Burger and Goat at Beer Deluxe. The burger was good, if a little small but with a schooner of Mountain Goat Fancy Pants it was $15 well spent. Fancy Pants is one of the 3 canned offerings from Mountain Goat and is a very drinkable Red Ale.


I won a competition on Facebook put up by someone who works for a major beer importer and had to come to an Evil Twin Tap Takeover to pick it up. I won 2 x 4 packs of Evil Twin beer, which almost made up for paying $19.50 (yes $19.50!!!) for a glass (300ml or possibly 330ml) of Molotov Lite at Cookie! I know it's imported (and admittedly excellent) but that's an absurd price to pay for beer! I will report back on my findings after I've had it from the can, I was overcome by the price last time and didn't fully take it in... Anyway Land of the Free (Level 35) is why you're hearing about this.

Later on Monday night Brewnettes Have More Fun (Level 4) was the first of two badges earned at the South Australian Pint of Origin venue; The Palace Hotel. Frankenbrown from Big Shed Brewing was the beer and I was very impressed with it off the hand pump. It had lovely nutty flavours, which were well complimented by quite bitter citrus hops.  

Badge number 2 at The Palace was Heavyweight (Level 30). It was my last beer of the night, so my recollections aren't great... It's a beer from Wheaty Brewing Corps, the same brewing company setup at The Wheatsheaf in Adelaide. Wheaty-Bix was the beer and it was a wonderfully creamy Oatmeal Stout with plenty of roast character. It's a beer that I really hoe I can get my hands on again.




It wouldn't be an Untappd Catchup without a Tru Bru Bear Club beer making an appearance. This one was no exception with Renaissance's MPA getting a run. I sampled this on the Thursday night of GBW after a very boozy dinner celebrating our successful work accreditation. MPA stands for Marlborough Pale Ale, and this is a big NZ Imperial IPA. It's really well balanced though. For more tasting notes refer to April's Bear Club review, up in the next few days. Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 18) is why we are talking about this now.

I've been amazingly busy the last week so sorry for the delay. I'll try and get my GABS badges and review up in the next day or two as well as some Out of Office stuff. In the meantime let me know what you've been drinking and what I should be drinking. I always love hearing from you guys so hit me up; gus.norris7@gmail.com or @Beeroclockau on Twitter.

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

Monday, 25 May 2015

REVIEW: FIJI BITTER

Macro Lager


STATS
  • Country: Fiji
  • Style: American Adjunct Lager
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Good Beer Week is over and I thought I better bring myself back to earth with a lager. Fiji's national lager is now being brewed in the capital Suva again, after many years of it being brewed in Melbourne. Despite this, it will be the first time I've ever had it.

Fiji Bitter holds one of the biggest market share's I can think of in it's native country. Coca-Cola (their owner) states their market share in Fiji is over 90%, while other sources put the figure closer to 96-97%! They are insane numbers, but don't exactly fill me with confidence... With those sort of figures they don't really have a need to produce a quality product.

The pour actually allays my fears a little. The body of the beer is a nice deep golden colour with a thin head of white foam. This head initially dissipates quickly, before settling to a film that covers beer throughout drinking. In terms of appearance it would be pretty hard to fault this lager, it's a really nice looking beer.

Onto the nose and this is where it started to go downhill. I will start with the positives though, there were some relatively clean grains and some slightly bitter grassy hops. That's where the positives end though... There is this odd metallic aroma, which is exacerbated by this odd dead vegetal muskiness. If you think that sounds bad; there is also this odd sour apple aroma which just isn't doing it for me. Fiji Bitter certainly doesn't pass the inoffensive lager aroma test.

Thankfully Fiji Bitter tastes better than the nose indicated it would. It actually tastes like a reasonable pilsner. The grain bill is not overly sweet, always a positive, while the hops pack more than enough grassy bitterness. There are faint earthy and herbal qualities, but you have to be looking for them to notice them. It's got very low carbonation and is particularly quaffable.

If you were to drink Fiji Bitter from the bottle, I think the slightly off putting nose issue would be solely dealt with. Other than that it's a nice easy drinking lager, which I'm sure you could do much worse than if you were in Fiji. It's not a lager that I would drink regularly, but I also wouldn't turn it down if I were offered it again. Fiji Bitter is a beer that I could envisage myself knocking off many lying on a beach (probably in Fiji!).

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

Friday, 15 May 2015

GABS PREVIEW 2015

 GABS PREVIEW


After the very positive response I received to last years GABS Preview I thought we should try and roll it out again this year. Hopefully it'll help some of you who are undecided find something that will suit you.

The idea this year is to pick 6 beers from each of the 6 "sections". This should hopefully account for any late scratchings and still be able to construct a paddle of 5 beers from each section. I'll try and explain my reasons behind selecting each beer, whether it be a style I love or something that sounds so insane I have to try it!

We'll kick this off with Section 1. For me two beers were clear standouts - Bacchus' Atomic Lemon, Lime & Bitters and newcomers Akasha's Fire Within. The sours I've had from Bacchus have all been excellent and who could resist a former Riverside brewers Imperial Amber Ale (444 anyone?). 4 Pines have been impressing me of late, so I'm going to stump for their Brown Ale; Snickers. I'm expecting Bentspoke's Black 'n Sour to be exactly that, whilst 7 Cent's Beer Is So Over sounds like a hipsters paradise and something worth trying. The last spot was a toss up between 6 or 7 beers - but in the end I couldn't go past the AIBA winners from last year (CUB, Thunder Road and 3 Ravens) Girt by Three. I mean who doesn't want to try a 10% Pale Ale brewed by CUB!?! This section is packed with quality options, you can't go wrong here!

Every year when I pickup my GABS Guide, I flick through to find the Doctor's Orders beer. This year it falls in Section 2 and is an immediate selection of mine. Knowing the Doc, it'll be particularly sour and really refresh your palette. Boatrocker's "I Ain't Afraid No Gose" is another must for me (Gose is such an underrated style), whilst it would be hard to pass up Hendo's (Brewcult) Milk and Two Sugars Milk Stout. Schwarzbier's are a favourite of mine so Bright Brewery's Lord Helmet Schwartz will get a run. Byron Bay's Hefen and Hell has a great name and great style idea (Black Hefeweizen) ans finally Western Australia's Cheeky Monkey Brewery Devil Dancer, with it's 6.66% ABV and it's rye based "black red IPA" brewed with Belgian Abbey yeast, gets my final spot in Section 2.

Section 3 is again packed with quality options; two of which weren't certainties for me. The first being Queensland's Green Beacon Brewing Co.'s Cherry Oak Stout, I've heard nothing but good things about these guys (and incidently, or is that coincidently..., their cans have just landed in Melbourne...). Velvet from Homestead Brewery was the other, Cherry Ripe at 9.8% sounds too good to resist! It wouldn't be GABS if I didn't have the HopDog BeerWorks beer, so Taxidermied Pachyderm will get a run, while I'm a sucker for an odd beer style so the Altbier (Mumme) from Indian Ocean will be on my paddle. The last two spots I found impossible to split; pick from offerings from Ekim, Exit, Feral, Fortitude, Funk Estate or Garage Project. None of these brewers will lead you down the wrong path - leave it to what you feel like on the day!

For me, Section 4 was the hardest to pick and subsequently we are ending up with 7 beers in this section. There's so many unmissable brewers in Section 4! Kaiju's 10% Amber Ale, Betelgeuse is a must, as is last year's People's Choice Winner La Sirene Brewing and their Bebe Rouge - a fruity Belgian Red Ale. Moon Dog, Mornington and Mountain Goat are all locks for me almost every year. I'm particularly looking forward to the Russian Imperial Stout from Mountain Goat. For the last two beers I thought I best jump over the ditch to New Zealand for a couple of sour beers. First up is the Moa Feijoa Sour, with how much I enjoyed the 8 Wired Feijoa Sour I thought it was a must try, while Mike's Organic Brewery's offering, an Imperial Porter aged in Pinot Noir barrels with plums and Brettanomyces all added.

I had very few selection dilemmas in Section 5. With the hype surrounding new SA brewery Pirate Life at the moment, there was no way I was missing their Barbe Noire (a Belgian Black Double IPA). Another relatively newcomer on the scene, Nomad, have won me over with their "super hoppy dark IPA' called Massive Foo Fighter. Riverside is always sought after down in Melbourne and their Hefeweizen (Hop Hefner) is a must for me. Two of our buddies from across the ditch are getting a run, ParrotDog's Puffinus Huttoni and Panhead's Bourbon Old Fashion Cocktail Beer. Last but certainly not least is Brutus from Murray's, a 16% monster! It just wouldn't be GABS if I wasn't to try the offering from Murray's....

Three beers from Victorian breweries headline my Section 6. I can't turn down a Dunkelweizen, so Southern Bay's Wolfgang Chang is my first picked. Very rarely are their Pale Lagers at GABS so I'm going to try the Inception from Stomping Ground Brewing - more known for being the guys behind The Local Taphouse - and finally for something a bit different the Two Birds Pina Colada should refresh the palate somewhat. Vale's Pie Cart should be an interesting beer, split green pea and ham Porter..., whilst Yeastie Boys Not Kettle Black is one of those happy brewing mistakes which sometimes turn to gold! Finally I'm looking forward to Van Dieman Brewing's One Night in a Black Tent. I've never had a beer from these Tassie brewers and think it's time to change that.

So there we have it guys, a little insight into what I'm going to be drinking at GABS and how I pick different beers. Hopefully it helps everyone fill that last spot on their paddle. Let me know which beer/beers you're most looking forward to at this years GABS. I'll be there Friday arvo and then may be around later in the weekend, hit me up on Twitter and be sure to come have a beer with me if our sessions cross paths. Enjoy Good Beer Week everybody, it's going to be huge!

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

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

REVIEW: STONE DELICIOUS IPA

Untappd: American Craft Beer Week (2015) Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.7%
  • Serving Type: 340ml Tap
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Day three of reviews for this week is upon us. Here is a review of a beer that I drank on Monday night. It's another of the wonderful Stone range that made it's way, cold shipped no less, to our shores. Once again this particular check in was off tap from Tru Bru.

To unlock this badge, simply check-in to any American craft beer this before Sunday. You've all got time to get this one! It's got really cool artwork as well and as someone who likes to collect things, it was a must have for me - although it occurred completely organically. I had no idea this was a badge until I checked in the beer.

A combination of me being tired and a light being blown in the bar lead to me not having a usable photo of this beer, hence the file photo you see to the right. The body of the beer was crystal clear and a stereotypical golden IPA colour. It's got a big head, which lasts for the duration of drinking. Stone Delicious IPA is a great looking beer - such a shame I don't have a photo to share with you!

We move onto the nose at this point and we find plenty of citrus, particularly grapefruit, accompanied by some fruit aromas. There's also some pine resin, although not quite enough for my liking. The malt base is quite light and is hardly noticeable.

It is more noticeable to taste however; with Stone's Delicious IPA having some bicuity characteristics. This is before it's wonderful hops take over - citrus, pine, fruit (it's sounds weird but I think it's watermelon...) and some herbal qualities are all present. The bitterness may only be mild but the finish is wonderfully dry.

Stone's Delicious IPA lives up to it's name; it's delicious! It's also an IPA that I could see myself drinking all the time if it were consistently available fresh. The beer is wonderfully easy to drink and an IPA that I would encourage everyone to look out for when the next batch of Stone beers arrive later this month. A few weeks ago I spoke to some of the Stone brewers who said they thought we would be getting Ruination v 2.0 in that next shipment, definitely something else to keep your eyes peeled for!

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

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

REVIEW: PEARL RIVER

Macro Lager

STATS

  • Country: China
  • Style: Euro Pale Lager
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
First let me offer my apologies to my lager followers. I'm aware I promised more lagers this year and so here is the first of a few to follow. This one is from Guangzhou, China's third largest city and home to over 14 million people.

Pearl River Beer, also known as Zhujiang domestically, is one of the leading Chinese beer brands. It's named after the river that runs through the middle of Guangzhou and also provides the water, albeit from the spring before it gets polluted, for the beer. The Zhujiang Brewery is one of the biggest production facilities in the world, which lets them pump out over 1.5 billion litres of beer a year!

The beer certainly pours like a mass produced lager! The pour is a quite a light yellow colour with only a very light fluffy head. The head is brilliant white, but incredibly short lasting! After maybe 2 minutes there was no sign of the head left behind at all. There was also a conspicuous lack of carbonation rising to the surface which is a little odd. Pearl River is one that I'd keep in the bottle.

Onto the nose and it was better than I expected. There was actually quite a reasonable amount of grassy hops. It wasn't the dominant aroma though, that honour went to some quite sweet grains (potentially rice?). I also thought there was a slightly astringent quality to it as it warmed, letting it warm is definitely not something I recommend though! Not an offensive nose, but nor is it alluring.

China is known as one of the worlds biggest consumers of beer, in part due to their enormous population. With that in mind you'd imagine the beer would be quite drinkable. Pearl River certainly is; the body of the beer is thin and under carbonated, even by lager standards, while the flavour is slightly sweet initially and cloying by the end of drinking. There is some bitterness from the hops but it's minimal to say the least.

Pearl River is not the worst lager ever, however neither does it fit into the category of a good lager. The overall sweetness becomes a little cloying over the course of drinking. Although I imagine with food it would be OK. I suppose if you're stuck in China this may be an acceptable option, it's of a similar standard to Tsingtao. I wouldn't suggest anyone bothers to seek this out though, it's nothing overly exciting.

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

Monday, 11 May 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 24

Untappd Catchup

With accreditation coming up (again!) at work I've been too busy to write up all the badges I'm getting. Here's 5 different beers across 7 badges to ease you into the week. There's a few familiar ones and a few new ones for your perusal.

Carlton Draught has earned many a badge over the years, although this one was unexpected... Pale as Moon is normally reserved for Pale Ales, however at the footy the other night my first Carlton check-in ended up earning (Level 50). Whether it was a glitch or not I'll take it.

A beer I did manage to review in full; Nomada's Royal Porter, earned two badges! Sky's the Limit (Level 8), for drinking beers above 10% ABV, and Flamenco, for drinking Spanish beers. You can read my full review here if you haven't already done so, it's a beer I'd look out for.


Founders Brewing are long term supporters of Untappd, having sponsored a number of badges in the past. This time it's for their wonderful fruit beer, Rübæus. The mix between it's initial raspberry sweetness and then subsequent sourness is wonderfully refreshing. The badge is called "It's pronounced roo-bay-us", to my mind because so many people would wonder how to say it's name! It also earned a new core badge, Tea Time, a badge for drinking beers between 4-6pm.

I've been lovely the fresh beers from Stone Brewing that landed recently. Another one to earn a badge is their Go To Session IPA. Coming from Stone it was always going to be wonderfully bitter and was packed full of grapefruit and pine flavours. Like with many session IPA's the body of the beer is a little thin, however it doesn't hurt this beer as much as it hurts some others. The badge was Hopped Up (Level 9).


These Hopped Up badges really are coming thick and fast! Less than a day after Stone's Go To earned Level 9, Bacchus' Riwaka Single Hop IPA earned Level 10! It wasn't my favourite IPA from the Bacchus range, but it did showcase the citrus and spicy characteristics of the Riwaka hop very well. You can read about my adventures with the Bacchus NZ Single Hop IPA range here & here.

So there we have it guys, that's another Untappd Catchup knocked over. This week I'm going to endeavour to try and write something everyday to try and unwind after work. We'll see how that goes though... In the meantime let me know what you guys are drinking or any thoughts on any of the beers mentioned here.

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

Sunday, 10 May 2015

BACCHUS NZ IPA (PART 2)

STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey 
Hopefully you all enjoyed Part One of my look at Bacchus Brewing Co.'s New Zealand Single Hop IPA pack. If you haven't already read it you can find it here. If you can't be bothered clicking through to that here's a little bit about the pack, taken from my last review.

Much like the BrewDog IPA is Dead range, Bacchus' NZ IPA pack utilizes the same malt bill heavily hopped with the hop the beer is named after. Unlike the IPA is Dead reviews, this review will be done in 3 parts of the next month or so as I decided that 9 x 500ml bottles at 8.2% seemed like a bad idea in one sitting, especially if I was to try and write something somewhat coherent at the end...

Last time we looked at Rakau, a pine and stone fruit dominated hop, Nelson (Sauvin), the most unique hop that comes out of New Zealand and Wakatu, a hop that is normally used in lagers and has citrus and floral characteristics. In this review we are going to look at Waimea, Riwaka and Pacific Jade. Hopefully these are as impressive as the last three were.

I was so excited for the Waimea IPA that I kicked off with it. It's a relatively new hop, first released in 2012, but despite this I'm very familiar with it. Waimea normally is packed full of citrus flavours and has just a little bit of pine. I've previously tried Waimea in a Single Hop IPA in the BrewDog IPA is Dead (2013) review, it will be interesting to see how Bacchus' stacks up.

True to form for the series, this beer showcased the Waimea hop very well. It had good citrus characteristics with lemon and grapefruit the most prominent. There is also a some resinous pine, but it definitely plays second fiddle to the citrus. This one also seems to have a bit more malt presence, whether this is because Waimea is a less intense hop I'm not sure.

Next up I decided to keep it in the family and move to Waimea's grandparent; Pacific Jade. This hop was released in 2004 and is another hop that is more commonly used in lagers. Like it's younger relative it typically has good citrus characteristics and light bitterness, although Pacific Jade also has a peppery spiciness. 

Bacchus' Pacific Jade Single Hop IPA really surprised me; it's a much better IPA than the Waimea. The bitterness is again restrained and the citrus flavours are very similar. The real standout though is this peppery spiciness, which really adds a layer of complexity to the beer. Some earthy malts come through and balance the beer.

Riwaka is the oldest of the hops in today's review, having been released in 1997. It's a widely used hop and is known for it's strong grapefruit characteristics. It's also known as a particularly oily hop, which may not mean much to non-IPA drinkers, but to those who know their hops it's a wonderful characteristic when used correctly.

This IPA was packed full of grapefruit and was surprisingly oily. This was probably my least favourite of the IPA's I've had from this series to far. It wasn't quite balanced, the hops didn't gel with the malt base the way I would've liked. There was this light spiciness at the back end which was quite nice. It was still a 3.5 on Untappd, far from a bad beer - just not the best.

There we are guys; another 3 Single Hop IPA's from Bacchus. All of these hops came out of the same Hop Research facility in Riwaka and they share similar characteristics. Citrus and spices play a role in all of them, but particularly the Pacific Jade. We've got three beers left to complete this series, Motueka, Wai-iti and the Mixed IPA (all 8 hops combined in one). Hopefully you'll join me in a week or two when I get that up.

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

Saturday, 9 May 2015

REVIEW: FERAL BORIS

Untappd: Imperial Czar Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 9.1%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
I think by now everyone knows my feelings on Feral's beers - they truly are exceptional! Boris is an Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Oatmeal. Since the last time I've had this beer it's had a bit of a re-jig, in terms of both recipe and label artwork.

This is was one of my favourite beers in the past. I had a night at The Royston, when they had the old recipe on handpump, where I imbibed 6 or 7 pints of it! Hopefully the new recipe is just as good! The Imperial Czar badge is for drinking Russian Imperial Stout and has some of my favourite Untappd badge artwork. It's definitely time to stop talking about it and start drinking it though!

Just as I remembered Boris pours jet black with quite a small khaki coloured head. Despite it's small size and a few large bubbles the head has good retention. with a thin layer covering the body of the beer throughout. There is also excellent lacing left behind, which is not something you always associate with Russian Imperial Stouts. In the Feral glass it looks great!

Onto the nose and once again it's very similar to what I remember, with chocolate, roast and coffee all abundant and just a hint of that oatmeal creaminess. In the background there is also some floral hops, which don't seem to be particularly bitter. It's a very inviting nose.

The real test was always going to come down to the taste, and Feral's Boris delivered! It's so smooth, it's so creamy and it has so much chocolate and roast flavours. It's actually quite bitter and I confused if the bitterness is coming from the hops or something in roasted malts.

Having now had this again I can't understand why I didn't have one for so long! It's a brilliant stout and now coming into winter it will be a regular in my fridge again. If you are a stout fan this is one you have to seek out. The new 9.1% version hasn't lost anything in flavour, but is probably a bit more drinkable than it's 11.5% predecessor. Make sure you let this beer warm; the flavour difference at 8-10 degrees is amazing!

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

Monday, 4 May 2015

REVIEW: NOMADA ROYAL PORTER

The Dark Side


STATS
  • Country: Spain
  • Style: American Porter
  • ABV: 10.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Spanish beer has always underwhelmed me. With that in mind I approached with trepidation upon hearing that their most well known microbrewery, Nomada, was coming to Australia.

After having the very interesting Estepa around Christmas time, my expectations for this were greatly increased! Nomada's Royal Porter is viewed by many as Spain's best beer. Now that Winter is slowly beginning to take hold of Melbourne, it seemed the perfect time to crack into this and see if the hype is justified.

The pour is as close to pitch black as I've ever seen in a Porter. There's no translucency what so ever, even at the top of the stem of the glass. After the body of the beer, the head is a real disappointment; with barely a finger of khaki foam topping the beer. It's got quite large bubbles considering the small head and fades to barely a ring of foam around the edge of the glass after the first few sips. (Apologies for the iPhone photo, this badge was quite unexpected - and the label almost impossible to photograph!)

Onto the nose and there is plenty of roast and chocolate up front. This continues throughout, as the beer warms it also developes some dark chocolate aromas as well as some woodiness. I also detect a whiff of raw alcohol, which doesn't destroy the aroma as the rest of it is so strong, but does impact my overall feelings of the beer.

Nomada Royal Porter is wonderfully chocolatey up front, yet strangely isn't cloyingly sweet; it's barely sweet at all! There's enough roast, some caramel and even a hint of hops that manage to balance everything. This beer is particularly hard to describe! I'll leave you with this; it's chocolately yet not sweet, it's dry but still has an oily texture and it's delicious! Trust me you have to try it to understand what I've just said...

I have to say that this beer surpassed my expectations. It's a very nice American (Imperial?) Porter, It's an extremely drinkable beer for 10% ABV! I wouldn't advise having many of these though, it did knock me around a bit. If you are looking for good Spanish craft beer I would look no further than Nomada, the two beers I've had from these guys have both been very good. You'll be hearing more about this beer soon guys...

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

Saturday, 2 May 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 23

Untappd Catchup


Before last weekend I was considering writing full reviews of the first two beers in this review; then last weekend hit and we were in full Untappd Catchup mode! Here's a 9 badge post with a wide variety of styles, take a look below and as usual let me know your thoughts.

Brewnettes Have More Fun (Level 3) has been coming for a while. The cans of Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewery in the U.S. is a different beast to the drab offering I once had in the bottle. It's very malty and creamy with enough hops to keep it balanced. If you're looking for an easy brown ale, this is one to look out for (in a can only!).

Riders Brew Co's Loose Trucks was the beer that earned me the Heavyweight (Level 28) badge. It's a relatively new brewery, from the guy who hosts Ale Stars at the Local Taphouse. This is one of their core beers and is a straight up and down Porter. There's plenty of chocolate with nice roastiness to accompany it. It's a Porter that I could drink all day long, it's very easy drinking with great flavour.


Hopped Up is fast becoming the most popular badge I'm receiving, this is level 7 already. The beer was Bacchus' Nelson IPA. It''s hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops and is very passionfruit-y. You can read more about this beer, and some other New Zealand hopped Single Hop IPA's from Bacchus in Part 1 of my expose on them here. I highly recommend the Bacchus range if you're a looking to learn a bit more about different hops.

It's been far too long since I had a beer from NZ brewers Epic. Lupulingus is one of their latest offerings and is packed full of hops. Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 17) was the badge and it's a beer that I could drink over and over again! It's very resinous, which will obviously put some off, but for 9% it's dangerously drinkable!

The news that Stone Brewing Co.'s beer were going to be cold shipped to Australia was met with much excitement earlier this year. Their Cali-Belgique, a Belgian IPA, I've heard it's a sensational example of the style and the one I was most excited for. It certainly didn't let me down, with lovely citrus bitterness up front before the Belgian funk kicks in; it's awesome! The badge? Hopped Up (Level 8), I told you these were coming thick and fast!


Considering how much Irish beer (read Guinness!) I've been known to consume, I was surprised just how long the Luck of the Irish badge took to come round. That's probably been because of the lack of Irish craft beer available in Australia. Eight Degrees (8°) Brewing are the first I know of to be imported and their Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner earned this honour. It was a very impressive pils, with a lovely crisp body and nice spicy and grassy hops - which I do believe are true Saaz. I'm looking forward to trying more of their range over the next couple of months.

Heavyweight (Level 29) was next up and it was a beer I was very hyped up for; Cherry Bomb from Garage Project. It's a very chocolatey Imperial Porter that clocks in at 9%, which has had sour cherries added. At first I loved it, with the dark chocolate and sour cherries combining really well; however as the beer warmed I thought it became a little cloying.., It was still good but is definitely a beer to share, considering it comes in a bomber. It was a little underwhelming for me.

Modern Times is a brewery that I regularly see images of in various (US dominated) Facebook groups. Blazing World is their flagship beer, a hoppy amber ale which is bit different... I had this with dinner on Anzac Day and all I wanted after finishing it was more! The hops were very fruity and the malts slightly sticky and sweet! It was brilliant and something I'm going to buy heaps of! Land of the Free (Level 340 was the badge.


Recently Untappd added a way for collaborating brewers to be recognised for the beers they helped create. Naturally a badge, Better Together, followed. Dark Harvest was initially a collaboration between Bridge Road Brewers and Danish gypsy brewer Mikkeller. It's a Black Harvest Ale, for want of a better term, or ostensibly a Black IPA. It was initially brewed as a one off in 2012, but such was it's popularity that it's been brewed every year since and become a favourite of Victorian craft beer lovers; myself included! One day I will review this beer in full...

So there we have it - 9 beers very briefly reviewed. As usual let me know your thoughts if you've had any of these - a number of them really impressed me. Hopefully I'll get a bit more content up later this week, I have a few things that are half done but you'll all have to wait and see. In the meantime; questions, suggestions etc. can be directed to gus.norris7@gmail.com or @Beeroclockau on Twitter.

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

BACCHUS NZ IPA (PART 1)

STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey 
Bacchus Brewing Co. is a true craft beer success story. Initially tacked onto a home brew supplies shop in Capalaba, the brewery has gained such traction with the local community that the home brew shop (owned by the brewery) has been moved down the road to make room for a brewery bar.

They are different to almost every other brewery in Australia, as they only brew very small batches, often with many on the go at any one time. This subsequently means that these guys produce a huge variety of different beers every year. I only ever used to run into their beers at GABS; until late last year they released their beers in bottles! Naturally I bought a huge variety!

Which brings us to what we are here for; this NZ Single Hop IPA pack that they've released. Much like the BrewDog IPA is Dead range, Bacchus' NZ IPA pack utilizes the same malt bill heavily hopped with the hop the beer is named after. Unlike the IPA is Dead reviews, this review will be done in 3 parts of the next month or so as I decided that 9 x 500ml bottles at 8.2% seemed like a bad idea in one sitting, especially if I was to try and write something somewhat coherent at the end...

So with that decided I kicked off with Rakau. It's a hop that I'm not hugely familiar with, although I know a few home brewers who rave about it. That said I've never had it on it's own so am not 100% sure what to expect from this beer. 

What I got was an excellent IPA! There was this wonderful nose packed full of apricot with hints of pine. The flavour was similar with both apricot and pine flavours abundant as well as some other indistinct stone fruit flavours. It's a beer that I could easily see myself drinking quite a lot of, it's particularly sessionable for 8.2%.

Second cab off the rank is called Nelson, I'm assuming it's Nelson Sauvin. This, alongside Japan's Sorachi Ace, is one of the most distinctive hops. It's flavour is characterized by gooseberry and passionfruit flavours, with more than a nod to the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety from the same region.

Nelson Sauvin has never been, nor will it ever be, my favourite hop. This IPA however was surprisingly good. Passionfruit was the dominant flavour and I also picked up quite a bit of grape, or possibly gooseberry that I am not identifying correctly. It really does taste like a bitter, beery version of a Sauvignon Blanc!

Wakatu is one of the older New Zealand hops, coming out of the Research Centre in 1988. It's a Hallertau cross - so it's not a surprise to find that this hop normally produces plenty of floral and citrus characteristics. As far as I'm aware it's normally used in lagers, so I'm quite interested to see what it's like in an IPA.

So the nose was quite interesting with lime floral notes dominating. The flavour was similar with lime, some other citrus zestiness and hints of floral all present. There is also this wonderful juicy pineapple flavour, which I can't recall ever picking up from Wakatu before.

So that wraps up Part 1 of the Bacchus New Zealand Single Hop IPA series. Next time, hopefully in the next fortnight, we will get into Riwaka, Waimea (the second Single Hop IPA I've had with this hop, following on from BrewDog's IPA is Dead 2013 version) and Pacific Jade. If these first three are anything to go by I'm expecting some more excellent IPA's, particularly from the Waimea!

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