Friday, 24 June 2016

WHAT'S IN STYLE: GRISETTE


Grisette


I've been thinking about the segment for the best part of a couple of years. The idea came to me when looking for some information on the subject of today's first "What's in Style?". For such a historically important beer style, there was very little information on Grisette available. That's changed slightly in the two years since, however none are as comprehensive as what I'm hoping to put together here.

Primarily I'm here to answer the question; what is Grisette? It's quite a change from my usual reviews only style, so I hope you all like it! As way of introduction; Grisette is a style originating from around the Hainaut province in Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium. Grisette is often referred to as "Table Saison", indeed if you were to submit a Grisette for judging under the BJCP guidelines this is what your beer would have to be classified as. To simply call Grisette a low ABV Saison is to do it an injustice. Like with most beer styles; there are a number of differences between the two styles;

Saisons have been inextricably linked to farming throughout their history. Saisons were an important part of Belgian farm life. The full-time farm hands used the quieter winter months to brew Saison to be consumed by, and refresh, the farming hands during the warm active farming months. A side benefit of brewing in winter, was that the spent grain could be used to feed the livestock, in months that their natural food would be less plentiful.

A statue of a Grisette in Paris
Grisette's are similarly linked to coal mining in the Hainaut province. The middle of the 18th Century brought about the start of the Industrial Revolution in Belgium. Charleroi, the major city in Hainaut province, was at the forefront of the revolution with coal mines springing up all around the region. The miners of Hainaut lived a physically demanding like. Like the farmers, the miners used beer as both sustenance and refreshment during the Summer months. Their beer was lighter in ABV and, as a product of Industrialization, "cleaner" when compared to it's more famous cousin.

The etymology of Grisette is not entirely clear. The most commonly accepted theories revolve around "gris", the French word for grey. Grey is the colour most commonly associated with mining, due to the dust the workers collected on their bodies and clothing. Others say the beer is name after the porphyritic stone that was mined in the Hainaut province, which is a distinctive grey colour. While some attribute the name to the colour of the beer, with it falling in between white (witbier) and yellow (saison). Phil Markowski in his book Farmhouse Ales has a different take, which I will reproduce verbatim; "Grisette is commonly said to refer to young women who worked in factories and wore a distinctive gray frock as a uniform. As one story goes, these young women, grisettes, would hold trays of ale to refresh the workers as the exited the mines." Almost all the available literature cites one of the above theories, or a version thereof. Some sources state that the beer was actually called Saison in this region at the time, and that the term Grisette was purely a marketing term which sprung up years after it's initial popularity.

The beers sold as Grisette today tastes nothing like what Grisette would've tasted like in the Hainaut province in the 1800's. This is in part due to improved production facilities and in part due to no one alive knowing what real Grisette tasted like. World War 2 and the subsequent downturn in the 1950's or mining in the Hainaut province, saw Grisette die out as a style completely by 1960. Beers brewed under the Grisette name have been popping up here and there since 2010(ish), but have really gained popularity in the last year or so - as brewers search for ways to differentiate their farmhouse ales from the rest of the crowd.

In that sense, modern day Grisette is more of a marketing term. Brewers are more and more commonly naming their low-ABV Saisons, Grisette to stand out from a market flooded with Saisons, both good and bad. While I understand the marketing element, I'm also a stickler for correctly naming beers. Ill-informed people shouldn't say I love Grisette's when really they've had a Saison. From the research I've done, Grisettes were more than just low-ABV Saisons - but to understand the difference between past and present Grisettes, it is important to understand the difference between past and present Saisons.

Much like Grisettes, Saisons have changed markedly since the 1800's. This needn't be as surprising as it may sound. Saisons by their very nature changed from batch to batch. Brewing on farms wasn't the most sanitary of practices and wild yeast would regularly have inoculated the beer. They also would've varied by vastly different grain bills from year to year; whatever grain was left from the previous harvest would make that years beer. Fast-forward to today and there is still huge variance in what different brewers call Saison; some are tart and funky and some are lightly fruity and have a cleaner yeast element. I've always though it strange how big the variation is in what's considered "Saison".

Grisettes were industrially brewed from the outset of the style. This is in part because the style evolved later, but also because of it's clear links to industrialization. This in-turn limited the variation between batches, through both infection and base ingredient change. While we aren't able to taste what 1800's Grisette tasted like, we have learnt that wheat made up as much as 10% of the grain bill. Earlier researchers spoke to people who had sampled 1940's Grisette, who were able to confirm that the style was similar but distinct to Saison. The beers were lower in alcohol, less tart, had a light hop character but were still dry and refreshing. The use of more controlled fermentation is, I think, one of the key difference between the styles.

In the 1970's Saison had almost gone the way of Grisette, with only Brasserie de Silly and the makers of the famous Saison Dupont still producing Saison on a commercial scale. The beer writer Michael Jackson is credited with helping save the most famous example of the style, Saison Dupont, from extinction by bringing the style to the attention of an English speaking audience for the first time. An American beer importer, Dan Feinberg, went to Dupont to import Saison Dupont to America and was told that they were actually thinking of discontinuing Saison Dupont as it only made up 2% of sales. Feinberg wouldn't take no for an answer and convinced the brewers to try exporting to America. The rest is history; Saison is one of the fastest growing styles in the craft beer world and Saison Dupont accounts for 40% of Dupont's sales, despite almost all of that being outside Belgium!

The popularization of commercial Saison production, a style that was not mass-produced historically, has seen a push towards a more homogenized product. The yeast used is all tightly controlled and their are very few Saison yeast strains available, leading to less variation. The same can be said of the malt bill - with Saisons trending towards a drier, cleaner finish. The beers no longer change from season to season depending on what grain was available. The mass-production of Saison, saw the product become more and more like historic Grisette.

My research has led me to conclude that modern-day Saisons, on the whole, are more similar to historic Grisettes than they are to historic Saisons. There are obviously exceptions; La Vermontoise, a collaboration between Hill Farmstead and Brasserie de Blaugies, was properly tart and funky and springs instantly to mind. Both styles were intended to be dry and refreshing, with the two main differentials being the cleaner, less wild, yeasts of Grisette and the ABV. The cleanliness of the yeast, and subsequent lack of tartness, appears to me to be the most important distinction, whether this is between historic and modern Saisons or between Saisons and Grisettes may be semantics, but is in fact why we are here.

As a stickler for beers being brewed to style; I would like to see all beers called Grisette to fulfill all of the following criteria.
  • ABV range (3.0-5.0%)
  • At least 5% wheat.
  • No noticeable tartness.
  • Light, but noticeable, hopping.
  • Dry, refreshing finish.
The first conclusion I drew from this exercise surprised me; it is modern day Saisons that are misnamed, more so than Grisette's. Both styles are noticeably different to what we presumed they would have tasted like when consumed by workers in the 1800's, with Saisons loss of tartness the most apparent. I understand the reasons behind the homogenization/cleanliness of Saison, with consumers demanding the same taste from their favourite beers all the time. I just wish we lived in a world where Lambic and traditional Saison were understood by a wider audience, and that people understood that beer can change and evolve in the same ways, if not even better, that wine can.

Marketing; a ubiquitous part of 21st century life and responsible for the revival of beer terms, like Grisette. In 1970, the people of the Hainaut province of Belgium may have been able to recall Grisette beers. By 2000, the term would have been gone from the memories of all but the most strident of Grisette fans, and certainly no one outside Belgium would know the term. 2016, sees a number of beers called Grisette not seen since the late 19th century and most of them being brewed outside of it's historical heartland. The rise of craft beer in America has seen many of these historic terms and styles resurrected from the dead, as brewers tried to make their beers standout from an ever more crowded market. I feel that how Grisette is used now, is inaccurate in many ways, but strangely that in most cases, it is a more accurate term than if the brewer had simply called their beer, the more popular term, Saison. This is a rare occasion, where marketers have put their spiel on a product and actually turned it into a more accurate descriptor of the product. The average consumer almost certainly doesn't care, but I think it's fantastic!

Finally, I've been trying to come up with a succinct sentence or two to sum up Grisette. I've been
churning it over in my head for a few days and find myself coming back to where I entered this post "Low-ABV Saison". After forming the premise that modern day Saisons are more like high-ABV historic Grisettes, I think the easiest way to explain Grisette to modern day drinkers is that; Grisette is like a low-ABV version of what you call Saison, whilst true/historic Saison is not what you think Saison is. I understand that this explanation won't be for everyone, or that many drinkers don't care about the evolution of the style, but I feel that this explanation will appeal to many of you who have finished reading this mammoth essay I've written. It certainly works for me, in a very wordy/nitpicky way.

I hope that piece has answered most of your Grisette related questions. As I'm not, currently, a homebrewer it's a little (read: very!) lacking from a technical side of things, but I hope gives you a base understanding on the history of the style. Some acknowledgements are in order. the works of Garrett Oliver, Phil Markowski, Stan Hieronymus, Jeff Alworth, Dave Janssen and other forum contributors have been used to form the ideas for post. I'd love feedback on what you guys thought of this post, whether you're a regular reader or someone who's found this post through your interest in Grisette/Saison. Please either email me (gus.norris7@gmail.com) or comment below. Hopefully there will be a further What's in Style post in the future, if anyone has a style they want to know more about let me know and I'll see what I can come up with.

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

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 37

Untappd Catchup


I thought I was going to get back on top of reviewing this week, as I'm still easing back into it after Good Beer Week. 10 beers later and I had 6 badges to write up... So, here we are again it's Untappd Catchup time!

Bacchus scooped the GABS People's Choice Award with their Peanut Brittle Gose, and their Red Bellied Black scooped Hopped Up (Level 38). I found this in the back of the fridge, it's a big Black IPA usually - but the hops had faded dramatically. What was left was a big, boozy black beer that was reminiscent of a Barley Wine - and it was pretty tasty!

With Grapefruit Sculpin mania sweeping Australia I thought it would be best to a few of the other Grapefruit IPA's on the market. My pick of the bunch was BrewDog's Elvis Juice. It had real grapefruit flavour, with some tartness as opposed to the overly sweet Sculpin flavour, to accompany nice bitter hops. Both are excellent beers, but if I had to pick one, I'd have the BrewDog version every day! God Save the Queen (Level 31) & Highlander (Level 3) were the badges.


Lizzie and I went out for dinner on Thursday to celebrate the end of my exams and that she's only got 2 to go. We went to Botherambo, a Thai restaurant in Richmond that used to only deal in South East Asian lagers. Much to my surprise they had Moon Dog's Mack Daddy, their new Dark Ale on tap - as well as a handy selection of other craft beer. It's got a nice light body, light roast flavours with hints of dark fruit, while it finishes nicely dry and surprisingly bitter. This is popping up quite a bit around town so you should have no trouble tracking some down. I can see fans of the White Rabbit Dark really enjoying this beer. Heavy Weight (Level 43) was the badge.

To Øl's Fuck Art - The Heathens are Coming, is not only one of the best beer names I can recall but also unlocked Hopped Up (Level 39), It's a crazy beer; a Grisette, brewed with rye, hopped to high hell and that's had Brettanomyces added! I only picked up a little rye spiciness, but the farmhouse elements and citrussy hops were both evident and complimentary. The real winner is the Brett though; it's prominent, without dominating any of the weaker flavours and provides nice sourness as well as that trademark dry finish. It's a wonderful beer!


Better Together (Level 12) was unlocked by IPA Four the Better, a collaboration between 4 (yes, FOUR!) New Zealand brewers. It was brewed by Liberty, Epic, 8 Wired and Hop Federation for their Australian distributors; Better Beer Imports. The beer was distinctly bitter, but the fruity hop flavour was strangely muted. I think my expectations may have heightened my disappointment, I felt this beer had huge promise. It's by no means a bad beer, but it certainly didn't live up to the hype in my head.

Shenanigans' Grisette was the first beer of quite a long public holiday Monday session and also unlocked Trip to the Farm (Level 15). Grisette is one of these styles I would love to write more about in the future (watch this space.). I'll truncate my explanation of the style to; essentially a light Saison, originating from Wallonia. The Shenanigans version exemplified this beautifully with a lightish body, lovely fruitiness, plenty of barnyard funk and a hint of creamy oats. I would definitely recommend this beer to people who like Belgian ales.

With the amount of Norwegian (read Nøgne Ø) beers that I drink, I was surprised that Ringnes Pils, a macro lager, earned Here Come the Vikings (Level 3). My Grandfather raves about this beer from his time in Norway (40+ years ago). Unlike some of the other beers he raves about; this one is actually not a bad Pilsner. It's slightly on the sweeter side at first, but there is some nice grassy bitterness at the back end. It's an easy drinking beer which you could do a lot worse than grab.


Paint the Town Red (Level 7) arrived somewhere in that same Monday tasting session. Hargreaves Hill's The Phoenix was a beer that I was always going to have to split; a 9.6% Imperial Red Ale that only comes in 750ml bottles isn't exactly conducive to the individual drinker... Dylan and I split bottle 324 in front of the footy and it was pretty spectacular! It's big and boozy with heaps of caramel malts, hints of dark fruit. I think this years version is almost quad-like at times. It's a pretty spectacular beer!

There we have it guys, another 8 beers wrapped up for you. Let me know if you've tried any of these beers before. I'm halfway through writing a number of pieces, including the Glassware piece that a few of you have been asking me for. Feel free to send me an email; gus.norris7@gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram if you've got any questions or suggestions.

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

Monday, 6 June 2016

REVIEW: ZUNDERT

Trappist Beer #12 Zundert


STATS
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Style: Tripel
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Expensive
It's been over a year since the last update in the Trappist Beer section. Today I have a beer for you that I brought back from Brussels last year; Zundert from the Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit (also known as Brouwerij Abdij Maria Toevlucht). I can't wait to get into it!

Firstly though, some background; The Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit started brewing in 2013. The Abbey had been a Trappist Monastery since 1900, but had mostly been involved in agriculture. Due to spiraling costs, various agricultural ventures were discontinued between 1969 and 2009 and the final plans concocted to open a brewery at the Abdij Maria Toevlucht. They produce approximately 5,000hL of beer a year and make only this one variety; a Tripel.

It's finally time to pour this beer and get into it! Zundert pours a deep amber, almost brown colour. The head was cream coloured, 4 fingers high and full of small bubbles. It has very poor head retention, with only a ring of foam and a tiny film remaining a few minutes after pouring. The pour of Zundert is certainly atypical for a Tripel, normally a very light coloured beer with a fluffy white head.

Onto the nose and again it doesn't seem like a Tripel. The nose is yeast and malt driven, with Belgian esters, cloves and malt sweetness most prominent. As the beer warms there is some dark fruit aromas that become evident, while there is also a spiciness that I can't quite place. Unfortunately there is also some latent raw alcohol present, which does nothing for the nose and detracts a little from the experience.

Zundert is an absorbingly tasting beer. At first it tastes like a relatively straightforward Belgian ale; with sweet bready malts, some banana, cloves and some dark fruits. Then it gets a little interesting; there's some lighter, bitterer fruitiness from some (not aged) hops, there's also a spice that I can't quite place. All of these flavours are a little light on, personally I'd like all of them to be turned up a notch or two.

The first conclusion I will draw on Zundert; it's not a Tripel. I would call it a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but it is certainly on the weaker flavour side of that style. That aside; what this beer is, is a nice easy drinking Abbey Ale. I would see this almost as an introduction to Trappist beers. It lacks the complexity of some of the more seasoned contemporaries, but it is by no means a bad beer. I can't recall seeing it around Melbourne, but certainly keep an eye out if this is your sort of thing.

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

Saturday, 4 June 2016

GBW 2016 UNTAPPD CATCHUP

Untappd Catchup


Good Beer Week has been and gone for another year. Once again it absolutely smashed it out of the ballpark; living up to the "Bigger than Christmas" hype. I got to the most events I ever have, met a heap of great people and had so many great beers!

This Untappd Catchup should give you a good insight into my week, I think all bar one event (and a Pint of Origin or two...) had a badge earned. I'd love to hear feedback from you guys about what you did, especially if you've got any unmissable events for next year!

Considering how many badges I've got for you, I've decided to reprise this Untappd Catchup posting style. I last used this after my Europe trip last year. There's not quite as many badges as that day, but there's certainly a lot! I'd love to know your thoughts on this, I'm considering moving to a monthly one of these to wrap up the badges I don't write full reviews for. Anyway, time to get into it!

My badge-whoring tendencies returned on first Friday of Good Beer Week. I'd been out at Brother Burger (South Yarra) for the regional NSW Pint of Origin event and a delicious burger. I knew I had Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen in the fridge and was aware that it was the last day to get the Hefe Day (2016) badge. Naturally I tried it, but for such a hyped Hefeweizen I was quite disappointed. It was bland and flavourless. It's possible it didn't travel well, but it did nothing for me.

After the success of last year, there was no way Lizzie and I were missing the Brew vs Cru event at Vue de Monde. This year's beer guest was Stone Brewing, a very big name and one of my favourite brewers. You know you're at a serious beer event when you get served a big Belgian Strong Pale Ale/Tripel to kick things off... The beer that unlocked Land of the Free (Level 50), was Drew & Steve's Imperial Mutt Brown Ale.

Drew & Steve's Imperial Mutt Brown Ale also unlocked Brewnette's Have More Fun (Level 6). I've always passed this beer by for a number of reasons including price. Getting to try this wonderful Brown Ale in the presence of Steve Wagner, who talked at length about this beer, was a wonderful experience. This is an unmissable event for me, the food is superb, as are the beers and wines - as evidenced by wine taking out the win this year,

Hopped Up is a badge that you'd all be familiar with considering how often I unlock it. Stone's Americano Stout, also at Vue de Monde, reminded us that most big stouts have more than 65 IBU's and unlocked (Level 35). Panhead's Weedeater a wet hopped rye IPA at Alehouse Project unlocked (Level 36), while Wolf of the Willows Homage IPA unlocked (Level 37) but had an unusual aftertaste that dragged it down a little for me.

After Vue de Monde we headed to Boilermaker House ostensibly to have some Feral Watermelon Warhead. Being there I couldn't help but try a few of the rarer Feral offerings. Feral's Rust, a Dubbel, unlocked Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My! (Level 4). I don't actually remember how this tasted, but going from my Untappd notes; it was quite malty, there was plenty of dark fruit, a little bit of orange peel as well as heaps of ginger - something I'm surprised about.

Pucker Up, the badge for sour beers is another one you should be familiar with. Two Metre Tall's Soured Wild Plum Ale Barrel Aged unlocked (Level 32) at a Two Metre Tall event at Fox in the Corn, which was incredible. Beavertown's Pom Pom Phantom (Level 33) followed at Dr Morse's sour tap takeover. Bacchus' GABS People's Choice winner Peanut Brittle Gose was (Level 34), while Brooklyn's K is for Kriek did for (Level 35). That is a beer I will take more about later, simply superb!

Another sour beer; Le Trou du Diable's Dulcis Succubus unlocked The Great White North (Level 3). Beer Deluxe Hawthorn had Pint of Origin Canada on, and as we don't get much Canadian stuff out here I had to check it out. This was a really interesting sour, with white wine notes dominating the flavour. I thought it was lacking a bit of acidity to be really exceptional, but I really enjoyed it. Ransack the Universe IPA from Collective Arts Brewing was my pick of the bunch.

Tuesday's Boatrocker event at Uncle, a modern Vietnamese restaurant in St Kilda, passed without a badge being earned. Wednesday rolled around and LoverBeer's BeerBrugna, a beer Cantillon brewmaster Jean van Roy recently said is one of five beers people should drink before they die, unlocked The Gondolier (Level 11). I didn't know much about this beer at the time, including was Jean van Roy said, and was in love with it! It had nice acidity, I couldn't quite place the fruit flavour at the time - plum makes sense on that front - and it was incredibly moorish! I'll be buying more of this!

Drink Like a Kiwi had two levels earned through GBW. Panhead's Weedeater, a beer I've already spoken about above, unlocked (Level 28). The second beer was Funk Estate's Red Renegade IPA (Level 29). It was a really interesting beer, with plenty of caramel malts, a hint of smokiness and plenty of tropical fruit hop bitterness. If it had a little more body, I think it would've been a truly spectacular beer! As it was; it paired beautifully with my homemade goulash!

Trip to the Farm (Level 14) was unlocked by Panhead's Greasy Monk at Alehouse Project. I thought this beer was more of a Belgian Strong Golden Ale rather than a Saison, but that's semantics I suppose now that the badge is unlocked. The beer was very tasty, with plenty of farmhouse funk and sweet malts. This was at the start of quite a big night so my memories of this are a little sketchy...
Beer Here's Dead Cat was the first beer at Atticus Finch's Viking Beer vs Pig event to unlock a badge; Paint the Town Red (Level 6). This was a seriously good event, they plied you with beers and wonderful meat - I'll be marking this one down for next year. It's a beer that is quite different to how I remember; it was slightly smokey with interesting herbal characteristics - no sign of the hops I remember this beer for.

One of the beers from the Amager collaboration series unlocked Down in Smoke (Level 2). The beer was "The Amazing Gotland Campfire Beer", a Smoked/ Rauchbier brewed with Malmö Brewing Company. Funnily enough it was wonderfully smokey, and it only improved as it warmed - it paired sensationally with the Wedding Sausage. It's a beer that I was very happy to try at an event like this, I would never have got through a 500ml bottle by myself.

As expected, Danish Delight (Level 4) was unlocked at the Viking Beer vs Pig event. Another Beer Here beer; Dark Hops, was the beer. It's a Black IPA, that I first tried years ago. I don't know why I don't drink this beer more ofter; it strikes a fantastic balance between roasty malts and citrus hop bite - all with this creamy mouthfeel that is just sublime.

In part due to my illness at GABS, the Heavy Weight badge only got unlocked twice throughout GBW. The honour of (Level 41) went to To Øl's By Udder Means, also at the Viking Beer vs Pig event. It was a milk stout with lovely sweetness and a little citrus. Boatrocker's Roger Ramjet's Breakfast, the coffee infused version,, was sensational and worthy of (Level 42).

The first beer I had at GABS to unlock a badge was Deep Creek's Green & Gold. I'd never heard of the brewery before, apparently they're a very small brewery from New Zealand. This was a a pretty straight up and down Gose, with citrus, salt and tartness all present, although a little light on. There is some hint of raw alcohol, that I'm guessing was from the added Tequilla. What Gose Around (Level 2) was the badge.

The Boatrocker Rarities event at Carwyn pitted Boatrocker against some of the most hyped beers in the world. They stood up surprisingly well, even coming out on top for me on a couple of occassions. The De Struise XXX Rye Triple Reserva Boubon Barrel Aged Quad was an incredible beer! It unlocked Belgian Holiday (Level 27) and had flavours of raisins, peppery rye and bourbon.

That same event also featured the famed Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS). When I saw this beer on the list, alongside Cantillon's Fou Foune, I knew there was no way I could miss this event. It's a monstrous 11.2% stout that is aged in bourbon barrels for a year after being brewed. This check-in unlocked the American Craft Beer Week (2016) badge.

My second KBS (I mean, I had to have more than 1!) also unlocked Beer City Brewsader, a badge you can still unlock if you have 5 beers from Grand Rapids based breweries before October this year, I'm guessing mine were all Founders beers. KBS was simply sensational! There was so much coffee and chocolate, as well as nicely warming bourbon and oak hints. This beer absolutely lives up to the hype!

Straight from Carwyn we staggered off to the Sydney Pint of Origin at The Rainbow. A pint of Ekim's Grapefruit Viking IPA, their take on Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin which is taking the country by storm, unlocked Taste the Music (Level 2). This was a nice IPA packed with Grapefruit, both sweet and bitter. The Rainbow is one of my favourite pubs, I'm not quite sure when someone changed the FourSquare info to a music venue, but I'll take the badge.

Post-GBW I popped into Tru Bru to sample a few of the De Molen offerings. That ever confusing badge, New Brew Thursday (Level 18) was unlocked by their Bloed, Zweet & Tranen, which I'm 90% sure means Blood, Sweat & Tears. It's a Rauchbier and it's more on the campfire smokey flavour side of the ledger than the bacon/meaty side of things. It'd be a really interesting beer with a cheese platter.

Anton and I also shared a bottle of Brooklyn's K is for Kriek. This is a beer I've had sitting in my cellar for over a year. It's a 10.1% Kriek and it's absolutely worth the $50 price tag! Sky's the Limit (Level 16) was the badge. The cherry flavour was wonderful, while some orange peel and hints of bourbon add a real complexity to the beer. It was also wonderful mixed with a little De Molen stout.


Trappist Travesty has recently become a leveled badge. (Level 2) was unlocked by Zundert, one of the newer Trappist beers from the Netherlands. In the next day or two I will get up a full review for you all. It's very dark in appearance for a Tripel, the flavours were on the lighter side of things, but were definitely tasty, while the ABV was well hidden.

Lizzie bought me a Niigata Beer from the Japanese grocery/take away shop that we sometimes get Sushi from. It's a Belgian Pale Ale, and if I'm being honest it's not great. It's clearly utilizes Belgian yeast, which imparts quite good flavour. The problems start with the latent sweetness and end with a slightly sticky/cloying mouthfeel. It certainly isn't the worst beer, it's just not very good either. Rising Sun (Level 4) was the badge.

It's taken a little longer than I'd hoped, but finally my wrap-up of Good Beer Week is complete! 23 different badges were earned, not counting levels, many more beers were had and I met a heap of great people. I already can't wait for next year's Good Beer Week! Let me know your thoughts on any of the beers in this post, Good Beer Week events or if you've got any beer related questions; gus.norris7@gmail.com. Cheers guys, keep an eye out for more content soon.

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