Monday, 30 November 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 31

Untappd Catchup

That break from these didn't last as long as I was expecting... Between Friday night and Sunday lunch-time, 5 badges rolled around and so here we are again... Hope you enjoy guys, there's a few crackers in here!

A beer that I forgot to write about in the last Catchup was Stone's Go To IPA. It's a session IPA, only clocking in at 4.5% ABV, that's packing a great citrussy hop punch. The body is a little thinner than I'd like, but it does a pretty good job considering it's low ABV. It's 65 IBU's were enough to unlock Hopped Up (Level 25).

Thanksgiving isn't celebrated much at all in Australia, although I'm happy to get around the 'Beer-giving' (2015) badge. The beer was an English IPA from House of Nicholas, a subsidiary of Epic Brewing, in New Zealand. I've spoken numerous times about my lack of appreciation of English IPA's and this was no exception. It had nice flavours, just not enough of them! I don't understand why you would drink that over a local US-style IPA.


A beer I've been hoping would arrive in Australia for months earned Pucker Up (Level 25) and let me down a little bit... The Blood Orange Gose from Anderson Valley is a Blood Orange infused version of this beer, that I reviewed a few months ago. I had high hopes and the Blood Orange flavour was perfect, slightly sweet, citrus that just nailed it. The beer still had the saltiness of the original Gose but was lacking a little in sourness. I'd like to try it a second time, good thing I bought a 4-pack, now that my high expectations have been dampened somewhat. Don't get me wrong, it's still a really nice beer.

In my mind, Buxton are becoming one of the premier breweries in the world. Their Pic Tor, a sour passionfruit pale ale, unlocked God Save the Queen (Level 29). Pic Tor, very much like the Gose above, had excellent fruit characteristics with passionfruit the dominant flavour. It's very tart at times and leaves you with a wonderful dry finish. I actually didn't know this was a sour when I bought it, but good it works well as one!

Red Eye Rye is just one of the fantastic beers being produced by Dainton Family Brewery. Personally I would classify this beer as a Rye Beer, but in many places it's been called a Red Ale, including Untappd. This is why it's been able to unlock Paint the Town Red (Level 4) for me. I love this beer, there's plenty of rye spiciness cutting through, as well as ample tropical fruit flavours coming from the hops. It's a beer that I've always enjoyed with hearty food.


Tulsa Twister is a collaboration between Amager and Prairie Artisinal Ales from Oklahoma in the United States. The name Prairie alone should imply the style; for those of you unsure, they are one of the world's premier Saison brewers. I had this for lunch on a warm Sunday afternoon and it hit the spot. It was brilliantly dry with citrus, grassy and straw all prominent flavours. If you get the opportunity you have to try this beer! The badge was Better Together (Level 7).

It was a great weekend of beers. Hope you enjoyed this little wrap up of those that earned Untappd badges. The Red Eye Rye is the best of the locals to keep an eye out for, whilst the Tulsa Twister is definitely worth the coin if you come across it. I've got a pretty cool Summer Beers special coming in the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled. As usual hit me up with any feedback via email, twitter or in the comments below.

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 30

Untappd Catchup


A few hectic weeks have once again interrupted my reviewing, how rude of life to get in the way! I've had some awesome beers in that time with some awesome people! Here's a wrap up of those that have earned Untappd badges.

Wookey Jack from Firestone Walker is my favourite Black IPA in the world! It's a big call I know, but it's just spectacular! The malts are nicely roasted and compliment the predominantly piney hops. The real star is the rye spiciness, which cuts through everything beautifully. Hopped Up (Level 24) is why I'm telling you about it.

Yet another 2 badge earning beer was Abita's Andygator. It's a Maibock, an interesting German style of lager. It was quite a sweet malty beer with some floral and cherry characteristics to finish it off. Abita: Normal is Nothing and Land of the Free (Level 41) were the badges.


Bach Brewing from New Zealand are making some excellent beers, although they rarely reach our shores. Their All Day Ale unlocked Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 24) for me. It's a mid-strength beer and has good flavour considering. There's good malt flavour, despite the thin body of the beer, and just enough hops to keep me interested. I'm not really a big fan of English Bitter's but this one was one I could quite easily see myself drinking again.

I went to a Beer Thread catchup at Tru Bru over the weekend just passed. It was a great afternoon, which for a few of us extending to Foresters finishing around 2 in the morning. BrewDog's Cocoa Psycho was one of the beers I tried. It was a really nicely balanced Russian Imperial Stout, it was everything you expect from BrewDog, big on flavour roast and coffee and ABV. It unlocked Heavyweight (Level 37) and was bloody delicious!

I very rarely drink new German beers these days, why I'm not sure. Weihenstephaner's Dunkel is a beer that I know I've had before, but clearly not since I joined Untappd... In any case it unlocked Das Boot (Level 9). It's a Dunkelweizen, a style I love but don't drink anywhere enough of. This is a lovely example of the style with the banana wheat flavour complimented by hints of clove, brown sugar and dark fruits. It's a Dunkelweizen I'd recommend to those looking to try one, it's also probably the easiest to find in Australia.


So there we have it, hopefully next week I'll get a chance to get some reviews out. I've got lots of stuff that I want to review in full. Keep the suggestions for beers to try coming in, I've got heaps stashed away but more never hurts. I'm attempting to get to all of your emails over the next day or two so don't fret. Gus.norris7@gmail.com if you want to send more and add to my list of emails to reply to or @Beeroclockau on Twitter. Thanks guys.

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

Sunday, 15 November 2015

REVIEW: ARCTIC SUNSTONE

Untappd: Danish Delight Badge


STATS
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
It seems like all the beers I'm reviewing at the moment are collaborations. Arctic SunStone is brewed by Amager and Three Floyds from the United States. At 6% it's on the higher end of the ABV scale for an American Pale Ale. Considering the two brewers involved, I'm sure this will be good.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of you can work out what the Danish Delight badge is for. If you guessed it's for drinking beers from Denmark, then you are correct. The Danes make some of the best craft beer in the world, led by the likes of Mikkeller, To Øl, Beer Here, Flying Couch and today's Danish brewer Amager. Enough about the Danish beer scene, it's time to sample their wares.

As I poured the beer I noticed that it looked quite murky. That was still true when it settled in the glass, with this opaque orange colour lasting throughout. The head was big, fluffy and short lasting; although in fairness it did lace the glass nicely and there was a ring of foam left right at the end of drinking. Not my personal favourite looking beer, but there are plenty worse out there.

Onto the nose and the malt base immediately seemed unusual to me; being quite bready and earthy. There was a touch a caramel sweetness as the beer warmed as well. The hops gave off aromas of massive amounts of tropical fruit, some citrus and even a few floral notes.

The hops were exactly as I expected in this beer, with tropical fruits and citrus dominant. Mango, tangerine and grapefruit being the most prominent, while a floral element was also quite noticeable. The malts are well balanced and more bready than the nose indicate, the earthiness is almost non-existent.

Arctic SunStone was a wonderful example of an American Pale Ale. It's wonderfully balanced and has this strangely light body that tastes full bodied. I can't quite explain the body, it feels wonderfully light on the tongue, but is quite malty for the style. I really suggest people who enjoy pale ale's try this one, it's not massively bitter, it's a lovely example of the style that I think most people would enjoy.

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

Monday, 9 November 2015

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 29

Untappd Catchup

This next Untappd Catchup came a bit quicker than expected. Melbourne Cup week seems to be a big drinking week every year and this year proved no exception. Sit back and have a read through this run through of 6 pretty distinct beers.

Renaissance's Enlightenment Series is one of my favourite series of limited release beers. Sencha Saison was a French Saison brewed with some Japanese Green Tea. It was quite a light saison and I didn't pickup much green tea flavours. It was quite gingery and had plenty of spice. Trip to Farm (Level 12) is why you're reading about it.

The only badge I unlocked on Cup Day was Land of the Free (Level 40); Jester King Ol' Oi! was the beer. This is a sour brown ale (an Oud Bruin if you will) from one of America's most well known producers of farmhouse beer. It was fantastic, it was quite tart with cherries, nuttiness and malt all present alongside a wonderfully oakiness. This could have become my new favourite Jester King beer...


Everyone who loves Danish beer knows about To Øl. For the last year or so I've been hearing people rave about their Black IPA; Black Malts and Body Salts. WOW! Upon tasting I immediately understood the hype; this beer is incredible! Big coffee, big chocolate, big malts, big hops - this beer is big on everything! This beer earned Hopped Up (Level 23) and deservedly so; it's a 120 IBU's of pine, citrus and herbal hop goodness! This is the best Black IPA I can recall having.

Big Shed is one of the growing numbers of South Australian craft brewers. F-Yeah is their American Pale Ale, and one of their beers that I haven't tried yet. The ever-confounding New Brew Thursday (Level 16) badge was unlocked by this beer. It's quite an interesting pale ale with citrus and pine the dominant hop flavours, something I'd usually associate with an IPA, but were perfectly balanced by biscuity malts. I was really impressed by it and look forward to trying it again.

International Stout Day this year landed on November 5th. Every year I pull out something I expect to be good on this day and Deschutes' The Abyss was no different. This beer comes seriously hyped, and after tasting it I can see why! It was spectacular! The Abyss is this wonderful mix of licorice, molasses, chocolate, roast, dark fruits, bourbon and oakiness. There's hints of vanilla and cherry as well and the whole thing is brilliantly smooth. Oh - and it clocks in at 11% ABV. I'm so glad I have another one of these, I think I'll put it away for a year or two.


My first Belgian Holiday badge that I've unlocked since my trip was Level 25. The beer I had was from St. Feuillien's and though their range of beers may be called Abbey beers, they are in fact a secular brewery - using the former Abbey's name. The beer that unlocked this badge was their Brune, a Dubbel. It was pretty true to the style with plenty of candi sugar and some dark fruit flavours, however it was just a little too sweet to be a great Dubbel.

And there we have it, another Untappd Catchup is in the bag. There were some seriously good beers in this batch; particularly the To Øl Black Malts and Body Salts, and The Abyss from Deschutes. Both of these are absolute must try beers. I'm working on getting back to all of you who have emailed me. Nils - you'll be pleased with the next review to follow, stay tuned. Got questions? Email me, gus.norris7@gmail.com or tweet me @Beeroclockau.

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

Friday, 6 November 2015

REVIEW: STAMM/AF BLACK CURRANT

Untappd: Tovarisch (Level 2) & Better Together (Level 6) Badges


STATS
  • Country: Russia
  • Style: American Black Ale
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
I've been particularly excited about this beer ever since I picked it up a week or two ago. It's a Black IPA brewed in collaboration between two Russian breweries, which has had loads of Black Currants added to it.

Just after I said the other day that 2 badges in one check-in was becoming a rare occurrence; it happened again. Here we have a collaborative effort from Stamm Beer and AF Brew, both Russian breweries and once again courtesy of Anton at Tru Bru. Naturally this beer unlocked both Tovarisch (Level 2), for drinking Russian beers, and Better Together (Level 6), for drinking collaborative brews. Anyway onto the beer.

As expected, this beer pours a lovely dark colour with a big active head. At first the cream coloured head looked wonderful and tight, but in the time it took me to take the photo it developed a number of large bubbles and reduced considerably in size until it was no more than a rim around the edge of the glass. The colour of the beer was really interesting, with it appearing black from a distance, but a very deep red/brown up close.

Onto the nose and an unmistakably dark fruit is the dominant aroma. I can't say for certain it's black currant, but I'd hazard a guess that it is... There is only light roastiness on the nose, which is a little unusual for the style, but the hops seem to deliver on bitterness. I can't wait to see what this beer tastes like!

The beer tastes sensational! There is some roast, but it's no where near as prominent as you'd expect from a Black IPA. Instead the dominant flavours are of the dark fruit, probably Black Currant, and the hops, which provide excellent bitterness to go along with a bit of tartness from the fruit.

Stamm Beer and AF Brew have produced a really nice beer. It's not the most traditional example of a Black IPA that you'll ever see, but the addition of Black Currant was a masterstroke. I'd be very keen to get my hands on a few more beers from these guys (I'm pretty sure I've got a few more Stamm ones in the fridge...)

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

Sunday, 1 November 2015

REVIEW:MORNINGTON SACCHARIFEROUS STOUT

The Dark Side


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Milk Stout
  • ABV: 4.1%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Can
  • Price: Inexpensive
Mornington Peninsula Brewery is one of Australia's foremost brewers. This is the first in their range of one-off cans in the #tinnage series, all of which we've been promised will have equally quirky artwork. It's a shame there's only 300 cases of this can, I'm sure there are heaps of can collectors out there who would love it!

I was slightly surprised that no one had come up with the name Sacchariferous Stout for a Milk Stout(sometimes also called a Sweet Stout). For those of you who are unaware, Sacchariferous means containing sugar. Great pun names for beers are a dime a dozen, what matters are if Mornington are able to make a beer that stakes up to the name.

The beer pours a very dark brown colour with an almost khaki coloured head. The head is close to three fingers high with some large bubbles in it. It's got pretty good retention with around a finger of head still remaining after 5 or so minutes, and a layer of foam covering the beer throughout drinking. It's a very enticing looking stout.

Onto the nose and the aroma is quite distinct. There is plenty of roasted coffee notes alongside a milky, creamy sweetness. As it warms chocolate becomes more pronounced but other than that there's not really a lot going on aromatically. As far as complexity goes - the nose is right near the bottom of the tree, yet despite being to simple it's strangely intriguing. (I hope that makes sense to you guys...)

Mornington's Sacchariferous Stout is everything you would hope of a beer with this name; it's both sweet and dark. The coffee is definitely more muted when it comes to the taste, but it is there - particularly as the beer warms. The chocolate is much more pronounced as is a milky sweetness, it's almost like drinking dairy milk chocolate at points. Yet it's not sweet enough to put me off, it's just a brilliantly drinkable beer.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again; everything Mornington touches seems to turn to gold. Sacchariferous Stout is no exception, it's a fantastic example of a Milk Stout and I have absolutely no doubt that this beer will be repeated, despite what Mornington have said... I really hope I'm right and they back flip on this being a one off - it's a wonderful example of a style we see very little of.

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

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 28

Untappd Catchup

I've had a heap of commitments over the last few weeks that have unfortunately kept me from reviewing these beers in full. I hope you guys enjoy this write up of 7 beers I've had recently, from 6 different countries.

A weekend away with family friends produced a few badges; the first being Land of the Free (Level 39). The first thing I noticed about Abita Amber was that it wasn't an Amber Ale, it was definitely a lager. Further research revealed it's a Munich Lager - it's got great fruity hops on a caramel malt base. It's a beer I'd be keen to have again.

It seems everytime I write one of these Catchup posts a Hopped Up Level (or two) is unlocked. New Zealand's Kereru Resinator was the lucky beer this time (Level 22). I've never seen beers from these guys before and was suitably impressed. Resinator had really good pine characteristics as well as some tropical fruit flavours.




Another running theme is that a Tru Bru Bear Club beer always seems to unlock a badge. This time Clifton Hill Brew Pub's The Dark Hill was the lucky beer. I was really pleased with this beer. It's a barrel aged version of their regular Dark Ale. As you'll read in the Bear Club post, it's roasty and lightly sour. It's a really interesting beer. Heavyweight (Level 36) is why we're talking about it.

3 Fonteinen is one of the world's leading sour brewers. If you look through the top rated Lambic's on Untappd you will find just Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen in the top 13! The 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek unlocked Pucker Up (Level 24) for me. This is one of my favourite Kriek's, it doesn't have that really in your face cherry sweetness that destroy a number of the style for me. There is still some less intense cherry sweetness, but it is more sour than most. This would be my go-to Kriek, if there was such a thing.

Another very highly respected brewery is De Molen from the Netherlands. I've been lucky enough to sample lots of varied stuff from these guys and their Rasputin, an Imperial Stout, is probably my favourite. I was thrilled to get to try it again in the latest Bear Club pack. It's a brilliant stout with chocolate and roast the prominent characteristics of this slightly sweet with a beautiful creamy mouthfeel. I'd highly recommend this beer to everyone, it's a ripper! Sky's the Limit (Level 12), for drinking beers above 10% ABV, is why we're here.


From time to time Untappd release a badge relating to one beer or one breweries beers. Normally these are for the American-market and not possible from anyone over here to get within the date. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Adnams Ghost Ship pop up with one, a beer I just happened to have in the fridge at the time. It's a very English Pale Ale with nice, light biscuity malts paired with only mildly bitter citrus hops.

It's rare these days that I get two badges in one check-in. I've recently found the beers from Kees and I've loved the two that I've tried, including this Pale Ale Citra. As the name suggests; it's an American Pale Ale which utilizes Citra hops - and importantly did it brilliantly. There was a pungent grapefruit aroma, which followed through into the taste which also included some passionfruit. I need to get more of this beer, it's going to be brilliant in summer! Witch's Brew (2015) and Going Dutch (Level 3) were the badges.


So there we go guys, 8 badges, 7 beers, 7 different styles, 6 countries and 1 more Untappd Catchup post completed. One day I hope I have so much time that I won't need to do these, but until that time comes, I'm sure it won't be too long til you all see another one... As usual hit me up by email; gus.norris7@gmail.com or twitter: @Beeroclockau. Until next time!

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

REVIEW: SPONTANBASIL

Untappd: Untappd 5th Anniversary Badge


STATS
  • Country: Belgium/Denmark
  • Style: Fruit Lambic
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Serving Type: 750ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
The Spontan range from Mikkeller are beers I always look out for. They are a range of spontaneously fermented sour beers utilizing different fruits. When I heard about the latest release I knew I had to try it! Brewed in collaboration with lambic brewers Lindemans, SpontanBasil promises to be one of the most unique beers I can recall trying.

Mikkeller is the world's most famous gypsy brewer. No matter which side of the gypsy brewing debate you sit on, you must be able to admit that Mikkeller make some of the most interesting beers out there. That a brewery of Lindemans standing, is allowing him to brew on their equipment shows the level of respect which is held for him within the industry. Enough of this, time to taste this!

SpontanBasil pours a translucent orange colour. The beer is slightly hazy and has bubbles rising up the sides of the glass to a smallish head of off white foam. The foam is quite aerated and dissipates to a ring very quickly. For the style it's exactly what you'd expect the beer to pour like, it's a really enticing looking beer and I can't wait to get into it!

Onto the nose and it's pretty straight forward. As you'd expect from a beer called SpontanBasil; it's packed full of basil! This is complimented nicely by some lemon zestiness and reasonable, if not over the top, sourness. It's an aroma that really intrigues me...

Well, where to start... It's certainly weird, but I think in a good way! There is a lot of basil and some citrus as the nose indicated. It's very similar in flavour to a nice pesto. The sourness certainly isn't extreme, but it is somewhat tart. SpontanBasil is highly carbonated and finishes very dry.

I should also add that one of the reasons I'm talking about this beer is the Untappd 5th Anniversary badge. I think the hype around this beer meant I was left a little disappointed by it. It's possibly a little young now, so I intend on putting my other bottle away and re-visiting it in about a years time. I'd really love to hear your thoughts about this beer, I'm still formulating my final feelings on this beer.

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