Saturday, 30 January 2016


Tru Bru Bear Club - October 2015

October's Bear Club packed is here and it's packed full of summery, mostly Australian, offerings. I had meant to get this review up around Christmas/New Year but life got in the way. Work is finally quietening down after a ridiculously busy January and I am able to get this finished - conveniently just before the next pack is about to go out.

I kicked off this Bear Club pack with the latest offering (at the time) from Exit; their #011 American Red IPA. This was the last beer they brewed down at Cavalier before their move to join Kaiju in their own brewery in Dandenong. This is exactly what I want in a red IPA, with a big caramel malt base packed full of piney hops. I really hope they do this beer again!

Riverside's 2014 GABS beer, Othello's Curse, an Imperial Black IPA was the second beer I got into in this pack. I loved it back then and I still love it now with roast combining with big citrus and pine hop flavours. The mouthfeel is lightly creamy and there's even a touch of vanilla flavouring at the back end. I can't name a better Australian Black IPA!

As a precursor to our work Christmas party I had Boatrocker's excellent (and recently released in bottles!) Miss Pinky. It's a 3.3% Berliner Weisse packed with 100kg's of local raspberries, which gives it this distinctive light pink colour. It's a wonderfully complex considering it's ABV. Fruity sweetness combines beautifully with some lacto sourness and the finish is dry. It's a beer that I would love to drink all afternoon on a hot summer's day. Can't wait to get some bottles of it!

The first of the internationals was Wolf Among Weeds from Golden Road Brewing from San Francisco. It's an Imperial IPA that I'm quite familiar with, having had some cans when they first came out here in 2014. It's got heaps of tropical fruit flavours, plenty of citrus and some pine. It's a very, very juicy IPA!

Continuing with the hoppy beers, Kooinda's new Sun Hunter IPA was next up. This IPA tasted very very fresh and the hops were pungent citrus, particularly orange. There was a little bit of passionfruit and apricot that I could make out, as well as a hint of pine right towards the end. This is going to be released in bottles soon and I'm looking forward to trying it again soon.

Fortitude was a brewery that I had never had a bad thing to say about until the awful infected Golden Ale in #craftbeercountdown. Their RSVP (Rum Smoked Vanilla Porter) brought everything back into the positive for me. It was excellent, with vanilla dominating but smokiness and oak both also evident as well as rum notes. I really hope I can get my hands on some more of this!

South Australia's finest beer; the Prancing Pony India Red Ale was next for me as a replacement for Riverside's 777, which had unfortunately run out. I think I came out on top though as the Prancing Pony is a beautiful beer! It's perfectly balanced, with Prancing Pony's distinctive use of malt (see Fire Brewing) on full show, whilst tropical fruits from the hops play a huge part in the flavour.

Another very fine South Australian offering followed. Brewboys' Hoppopotamus is quite possibly the finest IPA in the land. It's a beer packed full of tropical fruit, citrus and pine hops. It's got a big malt backbone and is subsequently beautifully balanced. If you want more details check out my review here.

I was so pleased to see Garage Project's Death from Above in this months pack. Off tap this beer is even better than the bottle! This batch I felt had more mango and less chili, although there was still enough to tickle the tongue. Read my 2013 review here.

Before November I don't think I'd ever had BrewDog's Russian Imperial Stout; Cocoa Psycho. This somewhat surprised me as I have loved BrewDog for years! It had quite bitter roast coffee flavours up front, which were in turn surpassed by deep rich chocolate. There was even a hint of vanilla and oak towards the back end. It's velvety smooth and hides the 10% ABV dangerously well - this is a RIS that will find it's way into my fridge over winter. 

Blackhorse Brewhouse is a brewery I had never heard of until Tru Bru stocked their stuff. They're a brewery from Western Sydney and their Steam Ale was the last beer I sampled in the October Bear Club. It's a very easy drinking beer, with relatively low carbonation making it go down very easily. Having said that it's a bit bland and doesn't really stand out from other similar beers. I'd happily drink one at a BBQ if handed one, but won't be seeking it out.

I haven't heard when the next Bear Club pack is being released, but can assure you that some of the selections are really top notch! Those of you who are still yet to sign up, this would be a great month to start! Thanks for reading again guys, hopefully there will be a bit more new content up tomorrow - I've got lots of partly written things that should hopefully all get posted in the next week or two.

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

Friday, 22 January 2016


Et Cetebeer

  • Country: United States
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.3%
  • Serving Type: 355ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
Today is a good day as I'm finally getting my first full review of 2016 up! This beer first came to my attention in 2013, when the name was changed from Hop Notch to it's present Hop Nosh after a dispute with Notch Brewing. The label caught my eye then, and when I saw it in the shop the other day I had to have it!

Uinta is a brewery from Utah, a state known more for followers of the Mormon faith than for beer. I have a feeling this could be my first beer from Utah. Whether that is the case or not, I'm definitely looking forward to finally getting to try this beer on a nice Saturday afternoon.

Hop Nosh pours a fantastic looking deep golden colour that is semi-transparent. The head on top of the beer is slightly creamy and voluminous. It has wonderful retention with a finger of foam sticking around throughout the duration of drinking, whilst even the Spiegelau glass - notoriously not a glass that collects lacing - has quite a bit of evidence left behind by this beer. It makes a great first impression!

Onto the nose and citrus is the dominant aroma, with orange the main culprit with some assistance from grapefruit in the background. There's quite a light biscuity grain aroma as well as some sweetness, possibly a honey aroma. As the beer warms some pine resin also becomes evident on the nose and the beer smells distinctly more bitter, something I can't recall experiencing with temperature before... I'm seriously intrigued how this beer is going to taste.

Thankfully, Uinta's Hop Nosh tastes excellent. Despite the relatively understated malt on the nose, and indeed when it comes to taste on the palette, it's a well balanced beer with just enough graininess cutting through the hop flavours. The flavour of the hops follows the nose, with orange and grapefruit up front before some pine comes through towards the end. It's got good, if not overpowering, bitterness. 7.3% ABV is well hidden.

What is there left to say about this IPA? It's a really good example of the style. At 82 IBU's it's got more than enough bitterness to satisfy someone like me, while it won't be too extreme to people with a tacit understanding of the style. The hops have held up remarkably well for a beer that was shipped over a while ago, I will be going back to get more of these and I think you should pick some up if you see them.

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


Untappd Catchup

Here we are again with another Untappd Catchup post... At least this time I have a good excuse; it's December! December seems to get busier and busier every year, and this year has been no exception! And then it became January... And then more and more badges kept coming along. In any case, here is one of the longest Untappd Catchup's I can recall.

The first beer was Bridge Road's Beechworth Pale Ale, a beer from #craftbeercountdown that I've already mentioned here. It's a beautifully balanced Pale Ale and is one that I'd recommend for people looking for a new Pale Ale to try, Happy Hannukah (2015) was the badge.

I don't go to the movies very often anymore, but when I do I aim to go to Gold Class; beers make everything better! Blondes Do It Better, a badge for drinking Blonde Ales, was unlocked by my Leffe Blonde. It's certainly not the best example of the style it's perfectly serviceable; but for a movie beer it's pretty spectacular!

Founders recently released "The Bastards" badge on Untappd. To unlock this one you had to check-in to either a Dirty Bastard or a Backwoods Bastard. I pulled one of my Backwoods Bastards out of the cellar, I've got another 2 still aging away. I think the year and a half in the cellar has done this beer wonders, the ABV has mellowed dramatically (as in, it's not hot anymore!), whilst the caramel, vanilla and bourbon flavours have all seemingly increased. You can read about my full review from the beginning of last year here. It's a special beer!

As usual a Tru Bru Bear Club beer made it's way into the Untappd Catchup post. This one was a new IPA from Kooinda; Sun Hunter. It's a fantastically balanced IPA with malt and hops both being well represented. It is quite bitter and finishes beautifully dry with some nice pineyness. As expected the badge it unlocked was Hopped Up (Level 26).

Les Trois Mousquetaires' Porter Baltique is a beer that I've been a fan of for years. This one was over 3 years old and right in the suggested age range for sampling it. It's packed full of roast and molasses characters. This beer clocks in at 10% on the nose and therefore is able to unlock Sky's the Limit (Level 13). I reckon there are a number of you who would enjoy this Canadian drop.

Two Metre Tall is one of Australia's most exciting breweries at the moment. It's a long way from Ash's feelings a few years ago when he thought about quitting. His sour program is producing incredible results! Richo and I had a night a few weeks ago sampling some of his finest including the Raspberry Wild Cider. This is far and away the best cider I've had! It finished beautifully dry, had great raspberry flavour and was plenty sour. Johnny Appleseed (Level 3) is why we're talking about it.

Another beer from that night earned Fruits of Your Labour (Level 3). Dainton Family Brewery released Santa's Cheery Sack Attack, a beer with a fantastic label in time for Christmas. Ostensibly it's a kriek, but in reality it didn't really deliver. It didn't have enough of either cherry or sourness. A little more of either could've made this a much better beer.

The final beer from our sour and cheese night earned two badges; Pucker Up (Level 26) & Danish Delight (Level 2). The beer was from my favourite Danish gypsy brewer; Mikkeller - and the beer was his Spontandoubleblueberry. This was simply incredible! It's got as intense of a fruit flavour as any other fruit beer I can recall. That flavour is distinctly blueberry and it coupled with massive tartness! I would love to know how they get a spontaneous fermentation to 7.7% ABV! I assume it's not completely spontaneous...

Anton from Tru Bru has recently been back to his motherland and brought out a few more choice offerings. Ivan Kozhedub from Victory Art Brew is 13% Russian Imperial Stout that unlocked two badges; Heavy Weight (Level 38) and Hopped Up (Level 27) - many people don't release that most Imperial Stouts clock in around 80 IBU's... In my opinion this smokey stout was the best Russian beer he's brought out so far. I'm hoping to get a full review done with my other bottle of it, stay tuned.

I will always have a soft spot for Sierra Nevada and never resist an opportunity to try a new beer of theirs. Their collaborative Oktoberfest beer with Brauhaus Riegele, a German microbrewery, earned Land of the Free (Level 42). It was a very impressive Marzen with that distinctive German malt base, while the hops are slightly more new world with a fair bit of citrus and a bit of grass. Apparently Sierra Nevada are going to release an Oktoberfest beer in collaboration with a different German microbrewery every year going forward, which is a nice touch,

Another Russian offering, this time on tap, was a collaboration between Bakunin Brewery and Tru Bru. It's an 11% Imperial Black IPA brewed using Australian and New Zealand hops called Black Kangaroo, the artwork for which you can see at the top of the page. You'd have no idea about the ABV whilst drinking it. Black Kangaroo is very balanced, with roast characters and hops mixing beautifully. I think the keg is dead, but I still have about 3 litres left... Tovarisch (Level 3), for drinking Russian beers, is why you're hearing about it now.

What Gose Round is one of the new badges that were released in October. For those of you who haven't already guessed; it's for drinking Gose's - a specialty German style of sour beer. Nomad, Leonardo from Birra del Borgo's Australian brewery, had the honour of being the first beer to unlock this badge for me. Their Freshie Salt & Pepper is a great example of the style with nice saltiness, a bit of wheat and plenty of citrus. I've been meaning to review this beer in full for ages...

Whizz Bang is one of the newer canned offerings from NZ's Garage Project in collaboration with Modern Times from San Diego in the U.S. It's an IPA brewed with gunpowder (tea)! It's a got big fruitiness, I think it's mango, and is super clean and easy drinking. I'm going to try and stock up on this as I think it'll be great on the hotter days this summer. Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 25) is the reason for this appallingly written little paragraph, that horrendously undersells this beer!

My first beer on Christmas morning had to be in the spirit, as it was going to earn Merry Brew-mas (2015). I ended up settling on Hop Dog Quincemas Baubles, a quince flavoured sour to kick off the day. It was a really nice beer with plenty of tartness and a dry finish. It was also possible to detect the quince, although it wasn't a particularly strong flavour. There was a bit of spice as the beer warmed as well.

Later on Christmas Day BrewDog's Hoppy Christmas unlocked Highlander (Level 2), for drinking Scottish beers. Getting this beer fresh makes such a difference! The flavour is great with plenty of tropical fruits coursing through this beer, I'm picking up more pineapple than I have in the past. The bitterness is relatively restrained by BrewDog standards, although it is more bitter than Punk IPA. If you're looking for a Christmas IPA, you could do a lot worse than track some of these down.

One of the last beers I had on Christmas day was Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. How this qualified for Winter Wonderland (Level 4) I'm not sure... In any case, it's one of the best Red IPA's on the market with great colour, great malts and great hops. This beer is designed for the American winter, but in a sign of how good it is, it still works in our Summer conditions! For those of you who haven't tried it, go track it down!

New Year's is one of few times in the year when I get very drunk on average beer. This year we stepped up the quality a little and accordingly; Little Creatures Pale Ale brought in the Happy Brew Year (2016). This is one of the best readily available Pale Ale's on the market in Australia, with it's fruitiness and light floral qualities making it endlessly drinkable.

Nomad is a brewery that has really surprised me with some of their stuff. To mark their 1st Birthday they have released Supersonic, an Imperial version of their core IPA - Jet Lag. It's brilliantly balanced with good caramel malt flavours combining with plenty of citrus, particularly grapefruit, and a bit of pine. It's a brilliant double IPA with good bitterness and almost no hint of the 8.6% ABV. It's a beer that I really hope they make again! Hopped Up (Level 28) was the badge.

A weekend at Somers somehow ended up having two beers that Crooked Stave collaborated on, purely by accident. All Brett's are Off is brewed by Siren Craft Brew in the U.K. with help from the aforementioned American brewer and unlocked Better Together (Level 8). The beer is marketed as an English Bitter that has had Brettanomyces added. That's what it is - it's got a bit of a sweet orange flavour at first, before the Brett takes over and overpowers everything else. I never thought I'd say this, but I think this is a little too Bretty...

Abita Golden earned the eternally confusing New Brew Thursday (Level 17). Making Thursday an AFD most of the year means this badge is thankfully turning up less and less. The beer was part of a mixed 6-pack my brother got me for Christmas. I think there was a reason I didn't buy this myself. It was a pretty disappointing lager; it was thin, sweet and pretty bland. I wouldn't recommend buying it...

Boatrocker are one of the most talked about brewer's in Victoria at the moment. Their new Saison, Gaston, unlocked Trip to the Farm (Level 13) for me. I was sensational! It was aged in Chardonnay barrels, which was quite noticeable and there was a nice amount of Brett. There was also a bit of apricot coming through. Gaston finished beautifully dry and at 9% was dangerously drinkable!

What I really hope is the last beer in this MONSTER Untappd Catchup was the collaboration between Brother Burger and Murray's; USEB. As you might have guessed it's an ESB brewed with plenty of American hops, the perfect beer for a burger restaurant. It had plenty of caramel malts with grapefruit at the back end and good bitterness. You're Extra Special, a new badge for me, is why you're hearing about it - I'd recommend getting down to Brother Burger to try this beer and their awesome burgers, they're bloody good!

Finally I have managed to complete this ridiculously long review! If you've got to the end, well done! There were heaps of new badges that I've never unlocked before and a few old favourites. Considering it's length, I'd be surprised if anyone can't find a beer they'd think they like. Hopefully there will be some more content over the next couple of days! Cheers guys!

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

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


#craftbeercountdown (Part 5)

After the success of last year's beer advent calendar, it was only a formality that I would do it again this year. It's the pretty much exactly the same as last year, just a little better executed - with a box with pull outs (just like a real advent calendar!).

The idea is exactly like an advent calendar, but instead of getting a little unsatisfying chocolate each day - you get a different beer! This year Bridge Road have teamed up with a few other brewers to produce this pack. I can't wait to see what's in this pack. If you're keen to get in on this, they are still available from Dan's.

I'm really excited about this pack and naturally I'll document my findings here. I intend to post this wrap up in 5 parts so you can follow along only a few days behind me. I'm hoping it'll be a great journey and I'm looking forward to trying some beers that I haven't had a chance to sample yet. I'm not quite sure how this post missed going up earlier... In any case here are the last four beers in #craftbeercountdown.

Day 21 - Bridge Road Little Bling - Little Bling has been around for almost a year now, and is Bridge Road's attempt at filling this session IPA movement that the market seems to be craving at the moment. For a mid-strength, it's a very tasty little IPA usually and I was quite looking forward to getting to try it again.

This beer is quite well balanced with nice floral and citrus hops contrasting with, but not overpowering, some caramel malts. It is a little but thin, but considering the ABV it's easy to understand why. At only 3.4% you could knock these off all afternoon relatively comfortably, while still drinking a nice tasting beer.

Day 22 - Bridge Road Bling - I wasn't at all surprised to see Bling follow on from it's little brother. This beer appeared on Day 1 of #beerdvent last year (2014) and is one that I'm now well acquainted with, having previously not had it before that pack.

Bling is one of the nicer Victorian IPA's out there. It well balanced with plenty of earthy and caramel malts balancing the tropical fruit and citrus from the hops. There is good, if not extreme, bitterness and grapefruit becomes more and more prominent as the beer warms. The only thing I don't like about this beer is how creamy the mouthfeel is, I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.
Day 23 - Moon Dog Haunted Sword - The Moon Dog offering was a beer I'd never even heard of before. I was pretty happy to see a dark ale in this pack, as I've found they are one of the easier broad styles to convert people to craft beer. Knowing Moon Dog, I wasn't sure whether this would be a traditional take or something a little more left field...

It wasn't as crazy as some Moon Dog offerings, but nor was it a straight up and down dark ale. There was a bit of coffee, some chocolate and some dark berry flavours. In addition to this Haunted Sword was a  little bit over carbonated and had just a hint of sourness, possibly an infection, but it didn't detract from the experience for me. I would quite happily have another.

Day 24 - Bridge Road Fat Man Red Suit Big Sack - I was saying to Lizzie before I opened the box that #craftbeercountdown had to finish with this beer. So it was no surprise when Day 24 rolled around and the distinctive red label of Fat Man Red Suit Big Sack came out of it's window. This beer was in the pack twice last year (on days 11 & 24).

This is fast becoming one of my favourite Bridge Road beers. It's a great Red IPA with plenty of slightly sweet malts that compliment the mango and grapefruit flavours perfectly. There's also this lovely spiciness to the beer, which just adds an extra layer of complexity. Fat Man Red Suit Big Sack is hard to find, but if you do definitely give it a try. It's a fitting way to end a another great advent calendar from Bridge Road.

Such a shame this had to finish, but probably best for my liver not to be drinking everyday. Once again I've had a great time doing this advent calendar and really hope there's another one next year - I'll certainly be a customer! I can't quite explain the delay in this post going up... In the coming days there will be a monster Untappd Catchup post, which had some excellent beers in it, as well as a Bear Club review. There'll hopefully be some more full length reviews shortly, although I am back at work from today and this first week back can be tough...

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

Saturday, 2 January 2016


Every year UK based beer bloggers Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg put out the cry for beer bloggers to produce their "Golden Pint Awards". Basically it's a celebration of best beers had during the year by people who know the most about beer, or at least think they do :P.

I'm back doing this for the fourth year now and I have to say it's not getting any easier! I've got some notes from throughout the year but that seemed to have stopped in August... Note to self; take better notes next year!

This year I've had beers from 41 countries in 10 different countries. As expected more than half of them were from Australia, while France, Belgium, New Zealand and the United States were also well represented. It's been a great year in beer and I've complied the best in the post below for you, hope you enjoy!

Best Australian Draught Beer - Moon Dog Splice of Heaven. Moon Dog polarizes opinion like no other brewery in Australia. I'm all for their boundary pushing ways, which allows for brilliance like this beer! It's an American IPA, which tastes exactly like a Splice ice cream even down to the creamy texture. It's boundary pushing and one of the most innovative beers I've had in a long time, while also still tasting great!

Best Australian Bottled Beer - Feral War Hog. War Hog was a late entry, but having arrived it was the clear winner of this award. It's one of the juiciest IPA's that I can recall having in a bottle, with the tropical fruits, particularly pineapple, and citrus flavours from the hops incredibly pronounced. For those of you after more detail, find it here.

Best Australian Canned Beer - Pirate Life Pale Ale. Since having won a case of these cans I've always tried to have at least a 6-pack in the fridge. Pirate Life have absolutely exploded this year and their flagship Pale Ale is fantastic! It's fruity....

Best Cask Beer - Bridge Road One Thousand. This beer is the beneficiary of me not having many beers on handpump this year. That said; it's a brilliant beer and fitting to celebrate Bridge Road's 1000th brew. Quite why I tried an 11.2% Imperial Stout on handpump in Adelaide on a 42 degree day I'm still not sure...

Best Overseas Draught Beer - Panhead The Vandal. Bar Carlton Draught and Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, I think The Vandal from Panhead would be my most consumed tap offering of the year. It's a brilliant IPA, that Anton at Tru Bru conveniently has available pretty regularly now. There's plenty of pine and citrus flavours, which imparts great bitterness. You can read my full review of this beer here

Best Overseas Bottled Beer - Cantillon Fou' Foune.
Fou' Foune has been at the top of my beer bucket list for years! Quite often when I really build a beer up in my head, the beer doesn't live up to the hype. This time was different; the beer was spectacular! It was beautifully dry and sour whilst having plenty of apricot flavour. It just blew me away with how good it was!

Best Overseas Canned Beer - Sixpoint Resin.
Sixpoint's Resin has done what no beer has done before; defended it's Golden Pint title on Beer O'Clock Australia. Added to the core line-up in 2012, Resin has gone on to spawn Hi-Res, an even bigger version of it! If you love hops you have to try this beer, it's a cracker! Find my full review from 2014 here.

Best Collaboration Beer - Amager/Surly Todd The Axeman.
 This beer is just too good to miss out on a Golden Pint award! This year I had a lot more collaborative beers to choose from, the new Untappd badge was a god send for recording them! This is one of the best IPA's I can recall ever having - it's packed full of juicy fruit flavours and has an understated caramel malt base that compliments it superbly.

Best Overall Beer - Cantillon Fou' Foune. Normally I pick another beer for this award. This year I had to pick this. I'd massively hyped it up in my head and this beer still delivered. I couldn't fault it! Having this beer in Belgium was my beer highlight of the year.

Best Branding - Nøgne Ø. This is a new category and one I didn't think too hard about. The first thing that popped into my head was Nøgne Ø. I really like the consistency and simplicity of all their branding with just different coloured Ø's on each bottle. 

Best Bottle Label - Big Shed Californicator. As usual I really struggled with this award. In the end I stumped for Big Shed's Californicator, I mean who could go passed two bears on a surfboard fornicating? I'm going to do better with my notes for this award next time...

Best Australian Brewery La Sirene. This was the toughest call for me. La Sirene ended up edging out Feral, Boatrocker & Mornington to name just a few of the other contenders. Costa and co. are producing some absolutely phenomenal Farmhouse ales in Alphington in inner northern Melbourne. They really shot to prominence with their GABS winning Praline in 2014 and have just gone from strength to strength this year. 

Best Overseas Brewery Cantillon. My visit to Cantillon was one of my beer highlights of the year. I've known for years about how good their beers are, but actually going there seeing how/where they're produced and getting to try some of the rarer stuff was really eye opening. If you get a chance you have to go and visit these guys in Brussels!  

Best New Brewery Opening 2015 - Pirate Life. These guys released their first beers in Adelaide in January, and started making their mark in Melbourne around Good Beer Week. I called their Pale Ale the Best Australian Canned Beer with good reason and their other beers are equally as good, the Imperial IPA in the pint can is one of the most dangerously drinkable beers in Australia! I can't wait to see what these guys produce next year.

Pub/Bar of the Year - The Wheatsheaf. January marked my first visit to this iconic venue. It's Adelaide's best known craft beer destination and is quite an eclectic venue, those who've been will know what I mean. Despite the first time I visited being over 40 degrees and the pub having no air conditioning I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, sampling some great beers and meeting some great people. I'd highly recommend a visit if in Adelaide.

Beer Festival of the Year Ballarat Beer Festival. I never thought I'd see the day where GABS got knocked off in this category. GABS was still brilliant this year but Ballarat was one of the best days of the year. It's an absolute must visit for any Victorian beer lover! Check out my full wrap up of the day in this post from back in February.

Supermarket of the Year - Dan Murphy's. Slowly but surely Dan's are lifting their game. Their craft range is improving, as is their storage of beer (apparently less and less beer is being left out in the sun...). Still if I had the option I'd go somewhere like our next award winner.

Independent Retailer of the Year - Slowbeer. Just down the road from Purvis, Slowbeer is fast becoming my go to bottle shop. Their range is second to none and they are one of the few places that stock Omnipollo. Accompanying their fantastic range is 4 taps, that you can sample in store while you browse or just have a few beers outside in the sun.

Online Retailer of the Year - Beer Cartel. I don't buy much beer online anymore. The few times I have this year have been pretty easy transactions. These guys are based in Sydney and have a really good range of beers and some pretty interesting glasses from time to time. Their prices are a little bit steep at times, but the service is really good.

Best Beer Book - Food + Beer. I was tossing up a number of books for this award, but ended up going with Ross Dobson's excellent book. It's more a cooking book than a beer book, with some of the beer stuff needing a little more work. The reason it gets the award is because of how simple and tasty the food is, and while he doesn't express the beer part that well - the food pairs beautifully with beer. If you like cooking this is a great book to pickup!

Best Beer Magazine - Froth. Melbourne's own craft beer magazine launched in late-October and has to get my nod for Best Magazine. The magazine is free and can be found at all good pubs around Melbourne. There's been two issues so far and I'm looking forward to what Emily and co. will put out next year.

Best Beer Blog or Website - Crafty Pint. No Australian beer website comes even close to The Crafty Pint. It's the first port of call for information about new beers, brewers, beer events, jobs in the beer world. You name it, it's the place to go! James has recently setup the Crafty Cabal, where for a yearly fee you get access to great offers from brewers and bottle shops and in turn support the best website about Australian craft beer. 

Best Beer Twitterer - @Beardface151. Scotty gets the nod here for his great beer reviews from in and around Melbourne. He takes some good shots on his Instagram as well. He's definitely worth following and always good to have a beer with if you see him around. 

I'm sorry this took me until January to get up, but this difficult task was even more onerous than previous years! I've already had far too many beers in 2016 and am really looking forward to what this year will bring in the Australian beer world. I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we'll hopefully have you back here soon.

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