Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Untappd Catchup

This has been a long time coming, but it's time to get back on track with some (at least semi-) regular reviewing. In order to do that we have to tidy up the Untappd badges since I arrived back from Europe (purely for my OCD...).

Getting back from a European summer towards the end of Melbourne's winter was always going to lead to a few Heavyweight badges unlocked. The first was (Level 34) and unlocked by 21 Feet 7 Inches from Newstead Brewing Co., it was a nice Porter that I would happily have again.

Noisy Minor ANZUS IPA is, hands down, one Australia's best IPA's. Hence it was the perfect beer to have on International IPA Day, which this year fell on August 6th and thus earned the IPA Day (2015) badge. It's got great bitterness, a lightish body and is particularly drinkable.

One of the beers I saw a lot on social media while I was away was the new Pinedrops from Deschutes. It's an IPA which I immediately knew I would love and was very pleased to be able to find it when I got home. It lived up to it's name, being packed with pine resin; but didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped it would. In any case it unlocked 2 badges - Land of the Free (Level 37) and Hopped Up (Level 17).

Next up was a beer that unlocked the next level of Hopped Up (Level 18). It also unlocked the infinitely confusing New Brew Thursday (Level 15). That beer was Heelch O' Hops from Anderson Valley, a brewery that provided the Gose I reviewed recently. I had this off tap from Tru Bru and thought at first the hops were brilliant, but the malt bill was a little bit too sweet for me by the end of drinking.

I couldn't quite believe that the wedding I went to in Ballarat was the first time I'd used the word wedding on Untappd! In any case, a post-wedding Coopers Original at Craig's Royal Hotel is the beer that finally unlocked Here Comes the Brew. I actually quite enjoy a Coopers and on tap and this was no exception, while we watched the footy and sank many more Coopers. Also congratulations to Hamish and Jade are in order, it was a lovely day.

Abbey Collaby is the now yearly offering concocted by Moon Dog, Matilda Bay and Carlton United. I'm pretty sure that this is the fifth year they've been doing it and this years offering was an Imperial IPA clocking in at 10.3%. It had quite nice tropical fruit notes, particularly pineapple, despite me waiting longer than I should've to consume it. In any case Sky's the Limit (Level 11) is why we are talking about it.

Two badges were unlocked by the same beer at the Palace Hotel in South Melbourme, while watching quite possibly the best sports story of the year (Dan Menzel's return from almost 4 years out with injury, and playing unbelievably well!). The beer was Cavalier's Imperial Stout, one of Australia's best Imperial Stouts and, even better, it was served on handpump! Heavyweight (Level 35) and Imperial Czar (Level 2) were the badges.

Better Together levels are coming along much quicker than I thought they would. (Level 4) was unlocked by one of my favourite IPA's of the year - Amager and Surly's collaborative effort Todd - The Axe Man. This beer was incredible! A very light malt base with citrus and tropical fruit flavours (think Mango, Pineapple, Passionfruit etc.) packed above it. It's a must try for IPA lovers.

Another beer that notched up two different badges was the excellent Awakening Pils from Epic in New Zealand. This was a quintessential example of a New World Pilsner with the hops providing an unexpected amount of citrus and fruitiness. The badges were pretty obvious, Drink Like A Kiwi (Level 22) & Crisp as Day (Level 14). This beer is one I'd highly recommend everyone trying.

Pucker Up (Level 23) also belonged to a Kiwi beer, clearly I missed them while I was away... The beer was 8 Wired's GABS offering, Hippy Berliner, which has since been bottled and released in livery fitting the hippy theme. It's much hoppier than I recalled from my GABS sample, but was still lightly sour and light bodied. This would be a brilliant summer refresher beer!

Hopped Up (Level 19), the third level of this badge unlocked in this Catchup, came courteous of Stone Brewing Company's 19th Anniversary Beer; Thunderstruck IPA. If this beer sounds familiar, it could be because I reviewed it barely 2 weeks ago. You can read that review here, if that's too hard for you it's big on tropical fruit flavours, fills out the 8.7% body well and is absolutely worth your money! Buy it if you come across it!

The Public Brewery, which I visited earlier this year, provided the beer that unlocked Summer Fun (Level 3) - a badge for drinking beers with the word "Summer" in the name. Their Summer Ale was the beer and while not particularly good, it was a more than serviceable Pale Ale in the garden on a nice warm afternoon. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it, but I would drink it if given it.

I was tossing up what beer I wanted to have first on my birthday. I knew it had to be hoppy and after much deliberation came up with Epic's Hop Zombie. It's a brilliant Imperial IPA! I won't link you to my previous review of this beer from 2012, it wasn't particularly good, but you can go searching if you truly are desperate. In any case Birthday Brew (Level 3) was unlocked by a cracking beer!

Prancing Pony India Red Ale is one of the best Australian beers. I absolutely love this beer, and it's very hard to find it outside of South Australia - one of a few reasons I don't mind the odd road trip to Adelaide for work. I picked up a couple more of these just last week in fact, at the new brewery site (which is a huge improvement on the old one!). I cracked into one of these last Friday, whilst recovering from a large pre-Grand Final Day public holiday and it earned Paint the Town Red (Level 3). You can read my review of this beer from February here.

Vieille Ville from Birrificio del Ducato was the final beer in this Untappd Catchup. It earned two badges, The Gondolier (Level 10) and Trip to the Farm (Level 11). Vieille Ville translates from French (note: not Italian) to Old Town, not sure of the significance but I remembered it from my holiday. In any case, it's a wonderful sour Saison, which seems like a contradiction in terms but really works well.

So now that we are up to date I can get into a few more regular reviews hopefully. There's still that big surprise I've been alluding to for a few months as well as a few beers lined up for full reviews and a Bear Club roundup. As usual suggestions for beers, general questions etc - email: gus.norris7@gmail.com , twitter: @Beeroclockau or just comment below.

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

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