Tuesday, 22 March 2016

REVIEW: PRANCING PONY HOPWORK ORANGE

Untappd: Leap Beer (2016) Badge


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
This post is almost three weeks in the making. Prancing Pony is a South Australian brewery I've visited a couple of times, their new digs are much nicer than the ones I reviewed last January. Hopwork Orange is their new Pale Ale that I've been looking forward to since September last year, before it was even ready for sale!

I would like to think that this badge is relatively self explanatory. I allowed myself one beer during my couple of weeks of no drinking to unlock the Leap Beer (2016) badge, I mean it only comes around once every four years! Anyway, onto what you're all here for the review.

Hopwork Orange poured a cloudy orange/amber colour with quite a few floaties. The head is off-white and has a few large bubbles appear not long after pouring. The head however remains at least a finger high throughout drinking and leaves quite a thick web of lacing. All-in-all it's quite an appealing pale ale and I couldn't wait to drink it.

Onto the nose and it has that distinctive Prancing Pony malt aroma. The caramel is very pronounced, as their beers always are due to their fire-brewing. As the name suggests, orange is the main aroma coming from the hops. They don't appear to be particularly bitter.

The flavour was very similar to what the nose indicated it would be. With relatively sweet orange, almost like a marmalade flavour, combining nicely with the caramel malts. There's also some light earthy hops, which were a welcome addition to the beer. It's quite light bodied, with good effervescence and is very refreshing.

Prancing Pony's Hopwork Orange unfortunately didn't quite live up to my hopes/expectations of it. Don't get me wrong it's a nice flavoursome Pale Ale, it's just not up to the standards of some of their excellent others beers like the India Red Ale or Black Ale. If you like Pale Ale's it's certainly worth a try, I wasn't blown away by it but you may well be. I don't remember writing a review that I liked less than this, so apologies for that!

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

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

REVIEW: COOPERS BIRELL

Et Cetebeer


STATS
  • Country: Australia
  • Style: Low Alcohol
  • ABV: <0.5%
  • Serving Type: 375ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
A couple of weeks ago I had to take a some time off the beers due to some medication I was on. I used this as an opportunity to try some of the alcohol free beer options available on the Australian market.

To say options were limited would be an understatement. I found a total of 3 beers! One Australian (Coopers Birell), one Czech (Budvar B-Free) and one German (Warsteiner Alcohol Free). I know there are others out there, but they just weren't presenting themselves to me. In any case; here is the review of the Coopers Birell, I will preface this with I went in with very low expectations!

It started out positively, with a clear deep golden liquid coming forth when I opened the bottle. The head was quite small, only a finger high and was comprised mainly of small bubbles. This contributed to the head fading quite quickly to nothing, subsequently there was next to no lacing left behind. Normally I judge appearance by adherence to the style, marking this against a lager (which I'm guessing it is) it's not too bad.

Onto the nose and this is where things began to go a little downhill. It was a touch too sweet, with caramel malts the only really detectable aroma. Thankfully the nose is quite weak and so it's not as off putting as it otherwise could be. I strained to try and get a hint of hops, but I honestly couldn't detect any on the nose...

Thankfully the beer tastes a bit better than it smells. The flavour is again quite light, with caramel and grainy malts dominating what flavour there is. There is a tiny bit of bitterness, just enough to make it refreshing, although there are no obvious hop flavours. It is, as expected, quite thin bodied although there is nice spritzy carbonation.

Coopers Birell certainly wasn't my favourite beer of all time. Given the right circumstances (ie. I can't drink alcohol for any extended period of time) I would have another one. It was relatively inoffensive if undistinguished. Of the three I tried this was the one that tasted most like a beer, the others were a little sweet and tasted like wort... If you are desperate for an alcohol free beer you could do worse than Coopers Birell, although regular ginger beer or water are probably better options.

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

Friday, 11 March 2016

REVIEW: BELL'S SMITTEN GOLDEN RYE ALE

Untappd: Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: Rye Beer
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Serving Type: 355ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
As my palate has evolved, I've begun to crave rye in beers more and more. Something to do with the spiciness is really striking a chord with me at the moment. Accordingly Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale stood out on the shelf, not just because of it's brightly coloured label but because it could also sate my rye cravings.

This particular badge was pretty easy to unlock, if you had access to a Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale... All you had to do was drink one of these beers in February.Thankfully I'd bought one a few weeks earlier at Acland St and so in late-February out it came...

The beer poured a deep orange, almost amber colour. Atop this body of liquid was quite a large, fluffy, off white head that became very aerated quickly. It eventually settled to about a finger of foam which remained throughout the duration of drinking. The pour surprised me a bit as the name indicates a golden colour, this is far darker than that - but still an appealing looking beer.

Onto the nose and you're immediately aware that this beer has rye in it, although it is not as prominent as I'd hoped it would be. There is also some nice citrus, mostly lemon zest, as well as some grassy elements from the hops.

Contrary to the impression the nose gave, there is actually plenty of rye in this beer. The peppery spiciness of the rye combines beautifully with the citrus from the hops. There's also some floral and earthy notes that come through. The beer is lovely and crisp and one that I think could be incredibly sessionable.

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale is a beer that I really enjoyed. I found it odd to think that a rye beer would be sessionable, normally I would've thought the slightly sweeter grain could become a bit cloying over time/the spiciness would become a bit much. Neither of these are the case in this beer, with the oiliness and citrus flavours from the hops helping to cut through any over the top sweetness or spiciness. I would highly recommend this beer if you are looking to get into beers brewed with rye or if you've never had one before.

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

REVIEW: FLYING COUCH DUDE

Untappd: Danish Delight (Level 3) Badge


STATS
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Serving Type: 500ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
Today's review is from one of the Danish brewers, who's beers rarely make it to our shores; Flying Couch. Dude is their flagship beer; an American Pale Ale that I don't believe I've had before. I honestly don't remember buying this but found it in the back of my fridge, it's still in date (just) so let's see how it goes...

As you guys can probably deduce, if you don't already know, the Danish Delight badge is for drinking beers from Denmark - leveled in 5's as usual. You'll be seeing plenty more of this badge in the future as I continue to work through the Amager collaborative series and a few Mikkeller's I have stashed.

Enough about other Danish beers, it's time to talk about Flying Couch's Dude. The beer pours a very murky orange colour with a think cream coloured head. The head faded to a ring, very quickly, and then disappeared completely not long afterwards. Accordingly there is almost no lacing left behind and the beer looks a little underwhelming.

Onto the nose and it's mostly driven by citrus hops, with orange far and away the most prominent and a bit of grapefruit towards the backend. There's also a fair bit of sweetish biscuity malts that provide balance.

Flying Couch's Dude tastes similar to what I expected after the nose. The malts were relatively light, with caramel and biscuity qualities both present. The hops were citrussy, with orange pith dominant and grapefruit in the periphery. There were hints of pine as the beer warmed up, whilst the beer finishes nice and dry.

Was this a sensational experience? No; it wasn't particularly memorable. Whether that was in part due to the age of the bottle I'm not sure. Don't get me wrong, this is certainly an above average Pale Ale, I just don't think it justifies the big price tag. Can people who've tasted this fresher please get in touch with me and tell me what you think?

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

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

REVIEW: KNEE DEEP SIMTRA

Untappd: Land of the Free (Level 46) Badge & Hopped Up (Level 31) Badge

STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 11.25%
  • Serving Type: 650ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
Simtra is a beer I've wanted to try for years! Naturally I was thrilled when I heard that new distributor Redwood were bringing them out here. The name is a mix of Simcoe and Citra, the two main hops used in this beer. Knee Deep is the brewery, who are famous for brewing big hopped up beers.

Two badges in one here today for you, Land of the Free (Level 46) and Hopped Up (Level 31). An exceptionally hoppy (131 IBU's) American beer, would've thought that was possible?!? This beer arrives on our shores with a seriously big reputation and I just can't wait to get into it; so without further ado...

Knee Deep's Simtra is marketed as a Triple IPA. The colour of the beer is exactly how I like my big Imperial IPA's to look. It pours a very clear, deep golden colour with a fluffy off white head sitting atop. The head has quite large bubbles in it from the off, but this doesn't stop the head having good retention. It's a bloody good looking beer!

Onto the nose and, not surprisingly in a beer this big there are plenty of sweet caramel malts. This is complimented by plenty of hops, which have predominantly citrus and tropical fruit aromas. There are times that some herbal qualities also come through, as well as a slight nuttiness. I can't wait to see what this tastes like!

Simtra tastes just as good as I was hoping! It's packed grapefruit, orange, mango and passionfruit flavours. There's a fair bit of sweetness from the malt, but it's not hugely over the top. There is a touch of raw alcohol on the backend, which is a little disconcerting for me, but I suppose it to be expected at 11.25%.

If not for that touch of raw alcohol this beer would be right up there with the best I've had this year! It's very fruity and has good bitterness. For the ABV it's dangerously drinkable, with a lovely slightly dry finish that leaves you wanting more. This is the first of my four Knee Deep beers that I've had and it certainly lived up to the hype. I can't wait to try the other three now!

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