Saturday, 28 May 2016

HOTTEST 100 BEERS: PART 2

The Hottest 100 Beers


Part 2 of the Hottest 100 segment is upon us. I've tried at least 1 beer from each decade, for a second time, and have written short summations for you below. Assuming things go to plan, ie. I can find all the beers in time, I intend to complete this challenge in 10 posts. This post has been a little bit delayed by Good Beer Week, hope you enjoy!

#8 - 4 Pines Kolsch The honour of the longest Instagram post I've written to date, belongs to the Brookvale based brewery. It's a spritzy little ale, based on a German Kölsch which has nicely balanced flavours of cereal, floral hops and citrus. It's certainly better than what I'd heard it would be, but top 10 material? I'm not so sure...

#11 - Pirate Life Throwback IPA Due to my recent medication issues, I've become very familiar with this beer. It's far and away the best Australian mid-strength that I've tried. It's got the citrus and bitterness of a full strength IPA, just with a slightly thinner body and wonderful dry finish. I could drink these all day! They're also very reasonably priced, from memory my last slab set me back sub $70.

#22 - Boatrocker Ramjet Ramjet has very quickly rivaled Nail's Clout Stout for most hyped stout in the country. I have to say the hype is justified - and there's a reason why I have a few aging away in my cellar. After sampling Boatrocker's Roger Ramjet's Breakfast, a coffee infused version of the Roger Ramjet {the bourbon barrel aged version of Ramjet}, at the Boatrocker Rarities event at Carwyn Cellars I had to try the original again. Damn it was good! It's so silky smooth, there's slight hints of warming booze to accompany the vanilla, oakiness and chocolate. I don't think you can call yourself an Australian stout lover if you haven't tried this beer.

#36 - Rocks Brewing The Hangman This beer is one I'm familiar with. I've had it a few times, including at the source and it's never blown me away. That said it's a serviceable Pale Ale with nice, if understated, tropical fruit, pine and grapefruit flavours from the hops intertwining with the plentiful malts. I've always thought this beer to be a little on the sweet side and today's tasting did nothing to change my opinion, as it was a little cloying by the end. I can see the appeal to macro drinkers, but I wouldn't have it anywhere near as high as #36 on my list...

#49 - Murray's Fred Murray's Brewery is located in Bob's Farm, one of the best suburb names in Australia (for those wondering, it's up near Newcastle.) It was a really tasty American West Coast IPA with pine the dominant flavour from the hops. Citrus and tropical fruits are also there, whilst the caramel malt base provides good balance. I rate this very highly, I'd have it in the calculations for a Top 10 IPA in Australia spot, I clearly don't drink it enough!

#54 - 
Feral Watermelon Warhead I honestly think that this beer has the potential to be one of the defining beers in the evolution of the Australian craft beer scene. If/when Feral work out how to package this beautiful little Berliner Weiss in bottles, or preferably cans, I think it will bring sours into the mainstream Australian drinkers repertoire. It's an incredibly refreshing beer with tart watermelon and lactic acid the dominant features. I had this at Boilermaker House during Good Beer Week - and can't wait for the day I can sample it on Australia Day in the scorching sun!

#68 - Six String Dark Red IPA I first had this beer just over a year ago and I've been captivated ever since! It's wonderfully malty at first, with earthiness and nuttiness coming to the fore, before citrus, particularly grapefruit comes through. At 51 IBU's I think it could be a touch more bitter, but overall it's a wonderfully balanced beer. Further distribution this year will see this beer fly up the countdown next year, for those of you who haven't tried it yet - find some!

#75 - Colonial Draught This was the first Colonial Brewing Company beer I've ever had, they've only recently (mid last year, I think) been packaged and made their way over to this side of the country. It's the second beer in this part of the Hottest 100 that is based on a Kölsch. For my palate this beer is a little light on. There's a little citrus zing, some bready grain and a nice crisp finish - although that's about it. The white can is quite striking and I can quite easily see a few of these going down nicely on a warm afternoon.

#86 - Moon Dog Splice of Heaven Over the years I been a staunch advocate that the good Moon Dog produces outweighs the bad. This may be slightly different to popular opinion, but in my mind this beer justifies my position. Last year this beer won the Best Australian Draught beer award in my Golden Pints. It's wonderfully creamy, slightly less so out of the bottle, but packs this wonderful lime flavour - that tastes uncannily like a Splice ice cream. It's a beer I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to people.

#91 - Newstead - 3 Quarter Time The second very tasty mid-strength beer in this Hottest 100 post came in the form of Newstead Brewing Co.'s 3 Quarter Time Session Ale. It was particularly impressive as the body seemed fuller than that of your average mid-strength beer and, if not for the menu stating it, you'd have no idea that it was only 3.4% ABV. Citrus, stonefruit and melon flavours were all present, whilst there were enough hops to leave a nice dry and slightly bitter finish.

So guys, I hope you all survived Good Beer Week and enjoyed this post. I've already got a start on the next decade of beers for you. You can follow me along live on the Beeroclockau Instagram page. There will be a big Untappd wrap up of Good Beer Week, and the following week, in the next couple of days - and there may even be a Macro Lager if things go to plan. Until next time guys, keep enjoying good beers!

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

Saturday, 14 May 2016

GABS PREVIEW 2016

 GABS PREVIEW


It's nearly that time of year again; how quickly a year can go by... Good Beer Week has already kicked off and I have got a packed schedule all the way through until GABS the following weekend. I've been hanging out for the release of this years program so I could get planning, and finally it's here!

Just like last year the idea 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, an unmissable brewery or something that sounds so insane I have to try it!

Section 1 is the best it's been for a couple of years. For me there are 4 must try beers; Iago's Revenge - a Black IPA from Akasha, Bacchus Brewing Co's Peanut Brittle Gose - who can go past Ross' offering any year, Batch Brewing Co's Marrickville Pork Roll - I work for a Vietnamese person in the heart of Melbourne's largest Vietnamese community need I say more, Beery Ripe Porter from Big Shed - it's a must for me because of my love for Cherry Ripe's and Big Shed. In only the first section I'm going to break my rule and offer 4 possible beers for your perusal. The first being 4 Hearts Brewing S'more Than a Feeling, I love s'mores and can definitely see this flavour working in a beer. 7 Cent's Belly Button Beer, fermented with yeast captured from the brewers own belly buttons, the beer has gained international fame and would be hard to turn down. I always like trying the Australia Homebrewer of the Year's beer and this time Hop McStuffins is a huge Double IPA - in a field lacking heaps of hops this could be worth a go. Finally, Canberra's Bentspoke Brewery's Tour De Brune sounds like it's packed full of Belgian Chocolate and could be a real winner with the GABS crowd, which has a penchant for sweeter beers.

Section 1 - Must Have: 8, 12, 17, 20 
Maybe's: 2, 5, 11, 19

The second section has fewer standouts for me. Hendo from Brewcult always produces wonderful GABS offerings and I can't see Gingerbread Maniac being anything less than that. I don't believe BrewDog have produce a GABS beer before; so their B-Side: Sour Red Ale is a must for me. Whilst the 3rd standout for me is the Doctor's Orders Mutagenic Cephalopod - a Gose infused with seaweed, smoked mushroom salt, chipotle oil and squid ink! It's from the Doc, it'll be a cracker - guaranteed! I had 5 maybe's in my initial reading through; Blackman's Snake Bite IPA - think Cider crossed with a big IPA, Brisbane Brewing Co have produced Pavlova-Lova - which I hope is self explanatory, I have a thing for Schwarzbier's and so Castlemaine Black gets a tick for me, Chur (Behemoth) from NZ's Golden Pineapple Head IPA stands out for it's hops, whilst Clifton Hill's India Weizen appeals to me for style reasons as well.

Section 2 - Must Have: 25, 26, 40
Maybe's: 23, 29, 31, 34, 35

Again Section 3 tosses up 3 standout beers to me. The first is from Tasmania's Double Head Brewing, who if I'm honest I've never heard of, their Leather Kottbusser is one I have to try, as I've only heard of Kottbusser as a style a couple of times previously. From what I understand, a Kottbusser is like a sweeter, nuttier Altbier. Ekim's No Compassion IPA is a must for me, as I love their hop forward beers. Midnight In Bombay is a Dunkelweizen from Hawthorn Brewing brewed with plenty of cardamon and other spices, it's a style I love and I think the Hawthorn boys can pull it off. In my maybe category are; Feral's Phunkn Cat - a Brett beer from Feral, Forhorn's No Sleep 'til Nelson RIS - because I haven't had a beer from them yet, Garage Project's Marvellous Madam Mahvash - because it's from Garage Project, I've marked down HopDogs beer; Electrostatic Graff, for the same reason as well as Kaiju's Belgian IPA called Compendium. It's possibly the most difficult Section to pick from....

Section 3 - Must Have: 41, 45, 52
Maybe's: 46, 47, 49, 55, 59

In saying that, Section 4 always delivers; there are just so many fantastic brewers that fit into this alphabet range. I'm keen to try the Kooinda Inkblot Stout 2: Turbo Edition, the La Sirene Biere Henri a Biere de Garde, Liberty's Alpha Obsididan is going to be a crazily impressive Black IPA, Little Creatures Loomi Gose is a must, while I think the Mildura Substitution IPA will be quite an interesting beer, based on what an IPA would look like if global warming ruins traditional beer crops. It's always hard to turn down Modus Operandi, and a Stout from them will be interesting. Moon Dog have take the piss again and produced Duke St Draught, I assume in honour of their close neighbour CUB. Mornington, Morrison, Mountain Goat, Nail and Newstead's offerings are also going to be good by my estimations. Section 4 is going to be hard to find misses in...

Section 4 - Must Have: 65 
Maybe's: 62, 63, 64, 67, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 80

Section 5 goes back to normal with 3 standout beers and 4 maybes. Nomad's Without a paddle, funnily enough is a Kriek, and one I'm certainly looking forward to. Pact is the brewery launched by last year Hombrewer of the Year and their Pact with the Devil is a Belgian Ale which promises a blend of fruitiness and hops. The last of the certainies is from Pirate Life, these massive hopheads have produced a 14% Imperial IPA - it's going to be incredible! As more the iffier selections; Prancing Pony has brewed an Imperial Pilsner called Imperial German Sledgehammer, I'm not sure how their fire brewing technique will work with a pils... Riders Brewing have brewed what seems like a run of the mill Brown Ale called Charlie Brown. Shenanigans have done an Oatmeal Stout, which should be nice and creamy, while Sixpoint have brewed a Saison with lactobacillus and Galaxy hops which promises to be a real treat.

Section 5 - Must Have: 81, 83, 87
Maybe's: 88, 94, 97, 99

Just two beers got a definite tick from me in the sixth and final section, while I've got a large number that I'm considering trying. Interestingly both definite ticks are dessert beers; Willie the Boatman from Sydney have produced The Great Aussie Pav, while Wolf of the Willows from Melbourne have come up with Tiramibru. I've actually got 7 beers in consideration, and it will all come dow to what I feel like on the day. Stockade's Fallen Angel appeals to me because it's a Pale Stout, which are always interesting to drink - your brain can't quite comprehend that what it's tasting looks wrong. Stomping Grounds Piquant Beere Weisse should be a good palate cleanser, while it would be hard to go past Stone's Ramble Scramble, a Brown Ale packed with fruit. Stone & Wood's Jean-Claude Flan Slam appeals because of the name, and that it's a Belgian Strong Pale Ale - a wonderful style if done well. Two Birds Jam Donut should speak for itself, while Wayward have done a Brett IPA called Funky Pineapple Hand Grenade. Last but not least the Young Henry's team have done a deconstructed campari, blended with an IPA called Downstairs Mixup.

Section 6 - Must Have: 116, 117 
Maybe's: 101, 102, 103, 104, 109, 113, 120

This years selection has two very clear themes running throughout; sour beers and dessert beers. The recent GABS successes of numerous dessert inspired beers has seen, by my count, 18 brewers try their hands at some - that's 15%! I hope you guys found, at least part of, this preview helpful in creating your own paddles. It promises to be the biggest and best GABS yet, and I personally can't wait to get there and get into some of these new festival beers!

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

Monday, 9 May 2016

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 36

Untappd Catchup

With preparations for Good Beer Week in full swing, I've had to abandon the reviewing every Untappd badge beer in full that I've had going for the last month. Here we have 6 beers, from 4 (5 if you count Mikkeller's involvement) different countries for your perusal.

Since my medically imposed drinking break; Pirate Life Throwback IPA has become a staple in my house. It's got plenty of citrus characteristics and nice bitterness, if you didn't know - you wouldn't pick it for a mid-strength. Untappd Supporter (Level 2) is the reason you're hearing about it.

Magic Rock is one of the higher profile English craft brewers. Some of their packaged stuff is making its way to our shores, after kegs made it this way last year. Their High Wire Grapefruit unlocked God Save the Queen (Level 30). It was a really impressive American Pale Ale with plenty of grapefruit and nice balanced bitterness.


One of my favourite beers unlocked Hopped Up (Level 34). The beer; 8 Wired's Hopwired IPA. This is one of the best IPA's in the southern hemisphere. It's got all the big hop flavours you'd expect; pine, citrus (lime and grapefruit) and tropical fruit. It's wonderfully balance by some earthy undertones and some sweetish grains (think scones). I've spoken to a number of people who say they pass this by because it doesn't stand out on the shelves - DO NOT BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!

Another 8 Wired beer to unlock a badge was their (relatively) new Sour Poppy, a sour version of their Tall Poppy Red Ale. It's a really interesting beer, with some slight hop bitterness complimenting the light sourness very nicely. There was a hint of smokiness, which I found quite unusual - it was almost roasty. This is quite an interesting beer. Pucker Up (Level 31) was the badge.

Bridge Road & Mikkeller's collaborative beer; Dark Harvest, is one of the best collaboration beers year on year. Better Together is a badge that is making my Golden Pint awards, well at least one category, that little bit easier to keep track of; this beer unlocked (Level 11). It's one of the juiciest Black IPA's on the market, with grapefruit and tropical fruit notes jumping out of the glass. There's also plenty of roast characteristics, with chocolate on the back end as it warms. I would say this is the bench mark for the style in this country - shame it only comes out once a year!


The Land of the Free badge is drawing to a close for me, Lagunitas IPA unlocked (Level 49). I could've sworn I've tried this beer before, but Untappd says otherwise... In any case I thought that the beer was either a little past it's best. It was dominated by sweet malts with bitter pine hops and just a hint of citrus towards the back end. I would quite like to try this beer fresh and see if this is a true representation of what they were trying to do - if it is, it's not for me.

So there we have it guys. Please let me know if any of you have tried any of these and what you thought of them. There's a couple of posts in the pipeline, with that glassware post I've been promising just awaiting some photo's - so maybe this weekend... Good Beer Week kicks off this Friday so posts may be a little sporadic for the next two weeks, although I will definitely get my GABS preview up for you in time.

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

Monday, 2 May 2016

REVIEW: NxS IPA

Untappd: Brewery Madness Champion (2016) Badge


STATS
  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Serving Type: 650ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
When I heard about a collaboration between Stone & Sierra Nevada, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on it. It's an Imperial IPA, that was brewed in two batches. The first batch was split in two, half spent time in gin infused bourbon barrels. while the second half lived in rye whiskey barrels. They were then blended with a fresh batch to produce NxS.

This badge is for the winner of the first Untappd Brewery Madness Winner; Stone Brewing. The 64 most consumed brewers in the U.S. were pitted against each other, in much the same way as the March Madness NCAA Basketball tournament, with Stone eventually being declared the winner. You've got until the end of April to check-in to any Stone beer if you want to unlock this badge.

Firstly, apologies for the photo - this whole reviewing every badge is proving difficult to predict when I need to pull the camera out. The beer pours a light orange, deep golden colour which is partially cloudy. The head is pours a cream colour, with several large bubbles present from the off. Despite this, the head retention is reasonable with a thin quarter finger of head covering the beer for the duration of drinking with moderate lacing left behind.

Onto the nose and naturally it's packed with hops. Citrus is the most prominent, while pine also plays a significant role. There is a noticeable woodiness, while whiskey undertones are also detectable as the beer warms up. The malt base is predominantly caramel malts and appears to be slightly sweet.

At first there is plenty of pine and citrus flavours from the hops, and plenty of bitterness that compliments a slightly sweet caramel malt base. The woodiness is muted at first and becomes more prominent as the beer warms. For me the gin element is far more evident to taste than the whiskey.

This beer is never going to be brewed again. I'd bought it purely because of how much I rate both breweries. I would encourage any of you that come across it to do the same. It may be losing it's hops by now, but this beer has much more going on than other IPA's - it's so much more than a hop bomb! It's far more complex than my review would indicate.

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