Monday, 22 August 2016

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 40

Untappd Catchup

Once again we have a bumper Untappd Catchup here for you. I've been drinking a little more than usual as I try and complete one of the worst assignments I've ever tried to complete, whilst juggling work's accreditation. We've got 6 new pieces of badge artwork for you in this post - check it out and let me know your thoughts on any of the beers in this post.

I had a few pints of Fixation IPA after work at The Gertrude a few weeks ago. This is right up there as Australia's best IPA; it has assertive bitterness and wonderful resinous and juicy hop characteristics. The Wheel of Styles badge has now been leveled - so you will be seeing a lot of this badge for a little while. Fixation unlocked (Level 11).

Another hoppy Australia beer unlocked two badges later in the week; IPA Day (2016) & New Brew Thursday (Level 21). That beer was Venom's second beer; their Black IPA. Black IPA is such a fantastic style when done well and Venom have done very well! The malts were lightly roasted and didn't overpower the palate. That task was left the hops, with a big citrus hit cutting through the roast as well as hints of tropical fruit flavours. I will definitely be buying this beer again soon!


I was clearly enjoying Black IPA's that week, as Garage Project's Lack of Faith unlocked Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 32). This was everything you'd expect from a Garage Project Black IPA - it had wonderfully complex malt flavours, with roast leading the way. The hops were citrusy and provided wonderful bitterness. If you love Black IPA's you have to try this beer! If you love beer you have to try beers from Garage Project! These guys may well be the best brewers in the Southern Hemisphere!

Stella Artois is a beer I almost never drink. That changed because they launched their own badge... Host One to Remember is unlocked by drinking one Stella Artois before September 18. This checkin also unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 12), I told you you'd be seeing a lot of this badge! I assume most of you are acquainted with Stella - it's actually a reasonably palatable lager. You always know what you're going to get with Stella; it's remarkably consistent with slightly sweet malts and some grassy hops.


Respect the Kölsch is badge that was released in early January, quite why it has taken this long for me to unlock it I'm not sure... Reissdorf Kölsch is one of the oldest Kölsch beers in the market, with the brewery opening in 1894. The beer had slightly sweeter bready malts than I am used to for the style. There's a small amount a citrus flavours, from some lightly bitter hops. As per the style; it's a crisp clean tasting beer and one that would be particularly sessionable.

We are getting close to the end of the Heavy Weight badge, Dainton Family's Black Sheep Coffee Oatmeal Brunch Stout unlocked (Level 46). This was a reasonably impressive beer. The flavour was predominantly of dark chocolate and was quite enjoyable. The flavour was relatively one dimensional however. It had a light creamy mouthfeel, although it was certainly less creamy than other Oatmeal Stouts. There's certainly better examples of the style out there, but it's by no means a bad beer.

Duvel is one of my go to beers. It's a quintessentially Belgian beer that is world renowned. It's a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, although it almost straddles the Tripel category. This beer naturally has some sweet malts, and even some reasonable hop character, but the real star is the yeast. There's some estery spiciness, a bit of aniseed (or something similar) and some fruitiness. It's a beer that every beer lover has to try at least once! Belgian for a Day was the badge.


Sky's the Limit (Level 18) was unlocked by the Murray's Wild Thing Coffee version. This beer is Murray's regular Wild Thing Imperial Stout which has had 1000 espresso shots added to the batch. As you'd expect this stout was big on coffee. It was still sweet, like the regular Wild Thing, but also had this wonderful roastiness and coffee flavour as well as impressive bitterness.

Benediktiner Weissbier Dunkel unlocked Das Boot (Level 10). Das Boot is the badge for drinking German beers and has had an artwork update, as you can see below. The beer was a nice example of the style with plenty of chocolate from the malts complimenting the distinctly wheaty banana flavour. There's a touch of cloves there as well, which is a nice addition. It's on the sweeter side of the style, and this would make me less likely to buy it again.

I've been waiting to try some of the beers from the Parrot Dog Flora Series for a while - their label artwork is awesome! Kowhai, the "Double IPA", unlocked 2X - a new badge that you will be seeing heaps of in the future. Any beer with Imperial or Double in the style counts towards this badge. It was a wonderfully fresh tasting IPA, packed full of resinous pine flavours. It's a wonderful example of a West Coast IPA!


The third time the Wheel of Styles badge has appeared in this post was thanks to Pacific Radler. It's CUB's attempt at a Radler and it was truly disgusting! For those who aren't aware; Radler's are a 50:50 mix of beer and lemonade, originating in Germany. I've had many in Europe and they can be quite refreshing. This one was as bad as anything I can recall drinking. It was disgustingly sweet, and what little beer flavour there was was horribly skunked, probably due to the clear glass bottle! Don't do it to yourselves!

Last Saturday I decided to work through the 5 different Nomad beers that had accumulated in my fridge. Naturally a few of those unlocked badges, the first of which was The Wild Mongrel. The name is fitting given the nature of the beer. It is their Cruisin' Ale which has spent plenty of time on Shiraz grapes. It's gathered a wild yeast strain somewhere along the way and has some nice vinous character and light sourness. If it were either a little more sour, or a little more vinous, or a little fruitier - it could've been very special! Pucker Up (Level 39) is why we're talking about it.


So-Cal-Iente, the collaboration between Nomad and Stone Brewing, was the other Nomad beer to unlock a badge; Better Together (Level 14). This was a wonderful Black IPA! There's roast and a hint of rye in the malt - before citrus, both added orange zest and from the hops, come to the fore. The orange is very prominent while the Anaheim chilies, that were also added, only give the faintest hint as the beer warms up. It's definitely Black IPA season, so jump on this one while it is still around!

My Marketing Management assignment may have gotten the better of me judging by the length of this Untappd Catchup... The subject is dead and buried come Thursday night, and I hope that will allow me to get some content posted this weekend! I've got a very big Untappd milestone coming up soon and have a beer I'm pretty excited for lined up for it. I would also expect to have Part 4 of The Hottest 100 up within the next week. Until next time guys!

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

Sunday, 14 August 2016

THE THIRST #1

The Thirst



I don't only drink beer and write about beer; I also read about beer - A LOT! The idea for this post came to me on holidays, basically it's going to be a quick list of beer related articles/books that I've enjoyed since the last post. If you, like me, have a thirst for beer knowledge; The Thirst is where to find it!

I'm forever looking for new beer articles and have loved a few similar posts on different blogs to what I'm trying to create here. Hopefully you all enjoy it, please send me interesting beer articles if you find them! I'm going to kick it off with a piece I was involved in, and that I also mentioned the other day.

THE BIG ISSUE: GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL - Kerry McBride of The Crafty Pint (Part 1 here - Part 2 here)

These two pieces explored the relationship between social media and the craft beer. It's a really interesting read and one that I was more than happy to be apart of. It canvasses a wide variety of industry people; the consumer (yours truly), the retailer (Ben from Carwyn), the facilitator (Tim from Untappd) and brewers (Mazen from Hawkers & Ryan from Little Bang). If you're an Untappd user this is a piece worth checking out.

SIMPLE AND TRUE - THE STORY OF SAISON DUPONT - Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting (Link here)

If you are just going to read one article, make it this one. When I first thought about this blog post I spent over an hour looking for this piece. I love everything about it; the writing is complimented by excellent photos and a video which primarily interviews Oliver Dedeycker, the 4th generation Master Brewer of Dupont, and has great shots of the meld of old and new brewing techniques, which help to produce one of the most famous beers in the world.

RAISE A GLASS... YORK'S TASTIEST MEDIEVAL TRADITION - Gavin Aitchison of The York Press (Link here)

I loved this piece because it taught me a new piece of beer history. I'd never heard of the Assize of Ale before. and I'm guessing very few of you are across it either. The piece above focuses more on the modern iteration - however I found the history far more interesting. Basically this was the first regulatory system for the weight (size), quality and price of beer.

HOPPORTUNITY COST: CRAFT BREWERS BRAWL OVER CATCHY NAMES AS PUNS RUN DRY - Sara Randazzo of The Wall Street Journal (Link here)

A interesting look at the American craft beer scene and in particular the trademark issues that are becoming more and more common. For an example you need to simply look in our own back yard at the recent Stone & Wood vs Thunder Road dispute over the term Pacific Ale.

JOURNEY OF THE HOP; FINDING GOLDILOCKS ON THE 49TH PARALLEL - Chenda Ngak of Weather.com (Link here)

If you guys weren't already aware; I love hops! Hops are cool on a number of levels, one of my favourite's being that many varieties able to grow over half a metre in height a week! Hops are, almost always, the part of your beer that imparts the most bitterness, aroma and - depending on the style - flavour. Make sure you watch the video's as well as reading the article, it'll give you a fascinating insight into a hop production facility; Elk Mountain Farm.

THE BREWMASTER'S TABLE - Garrett Oliver

Depending on the frequency of these posts; I'll try and put in a beer book in each of these posts. I read this book on the plane up to Cairns for my recent holiday. Garrett Oliver's books are always a great read and this one was no exception. Some of his suggested food pairings had my mouth watering, so much so that I head straight to the supermarket and Dan's and bought our first two meals - straight from his book. It's an old book (published 2003), but it's a wonderful resource.

There we have it guys, I hope you like the first edition of The Thirst. I think this will be a semi-regular post so please give me any feedback that you have about it. I'd love to see some articles that you guys find interesting - so please hit me up; gus.norris7@gmail.com or on the Beer O'Clock Instagram page. Hopefully I will knock over my marketing assignment tomorrow and then I will be able to get some content out for you!

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

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

REVIEW: KALIK CRISP

Macro Lager


STATS
  • Country: Bahamas
  • Style: American Adjunct Lager
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Inexpensive
Here for you tonight I have a lager that is popping up around Melbourne. Kalik Crisp is a lager from The Bahamas, a country I've never had a beer from. The clear glass bottle that houses this beer has certainly raised my concerns, but I'm still willing to give it a go. First though, some background.

The Bahamas are a group of approximately 700 islands off the South East coast of Florida. Their population is around 400,000 and is mostly Christian. Like many Caribbean nations their economy is massively dependent on tourism; with more than 60% of their GDP being attributed to tourism. They are a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and subsequently have Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch. Naturally, given it's location, it has a hot, tropical climate - which is what is sparking my concerns about the bottle.

Kalik Crisp poured reasonably well. The colour was certainly on the lighter side, with light yellow being the nicest way I can think of to describe it! The head is brilliant white and initially is of a decent size. It quite aerated, with quite a few larger bubbles almost from the outset, and accordingly fades to a film quite quickly. This film hangs around for the duration and even leaves behind some lacing.

The real test of the glass bottle is often the nose. I'm quite surprised, and thankful, to report that there was very little, if any, signs of skunk in this bottle. I'm also pleased to report that I don't have to invoke the lager rule; Kalik Crisp has a reasonable nose. There was some light cereal grain malt aromas as well as some floral hop notes. The hops didn't seem particularly strong/bitter, but they were definitely there on the nose!

It tastes exactly like what the nose indicated. Kalik Crisp has a light malt base, which is slightly on the sweeter side, but not off-puttingly so. Like I thought, the hops don't provide much bitterness, but they do provide some interest; with some floral flavours and more prominently lemon. There's a tiny bit of corn at the end, but it's not really noticeable if you're not looking for it. The carbonation was quite high, but it was strangely light on the tongue - it's an odd, but pleasant, feeling.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how this lager tasted. It's not of the same quality as something like the Pilsner Urquell that I had the other day (which was magnificent!), but nor would you expect a tropical lager of this nature to be. It's light, it's refreshing, it's quaffable and it actually tastes like a beer; not skunk. It would be a particularly easy beer to put away multiples of on a tropical beach. In Australia, you've obviously got better options - but if it's still as cheap as it is now come summer, there would be worse options to stock your fridge with for your mates.

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

Monday, 1 August 2016

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 39

Untappd Catchup


Many weeks have passed since my last Untappd wrap up. Like with the Hottest 100 post - work, uni, I.T. issues and holidays have got in the way of this... Accordingly it's bigger than usual - hopefully it's still just 15 badges when I've finished writing this post!

One of the beers I look forward to every year is the Duvel Tripel Hop. Normally Duvel is brewed with just two hops, Saaz & Styrian Golding. Once a year they brew this beer using a third hop; this year the experimental variety HBC 291, which has now been named Loral. This hop provided a wonderful lime and pepper flavour, which suited Duvel brilliantly! Belgian Holiday (Level 28) was the badge.

The ever confounding New Brew Thursday badge, (Level 20), was unlocked by Uinta's Dubhe Imperial Black IPA. It was a lovely Black IPA, clocking in at 9.2%, packing a bitter punch - which is listed at 109 IBU's. There's also this very interesting licorice flavour that compliments the roasty flavours you would expect from the style. Despite not being the freshest offering; I was very impressed with this beer.


Beers that unlock 2 badges are pretty rare for me these days. Funk Estate's Gose Town did just that; unlocking Pucker Up (Level 37) & What Gose Round (Level 3). For those missing the reference; Gose is a sour style of beer, originating from Goslar in Germany. I got my hands on this through Tru Bru - it's their GABS beer from this year and, as far as I know, it's keg only. It's a good example of the style; with a sour sweet base, plenty of coriander (avoid if you're not a fan) and light saltiness on the back of the palate. If you are unsure of what Gose's are, this would be a good starting point.

A couple of weeks ago Dylan and I shared a number of beer whilst watching the footy. As usual, we dotted several lighter sours throughout the night to cleanse our palates; which has the fringe benefit of making sure we can both get stuff done the next day! Swedish brewer Dugges provided three of those sours; with their Black Currant the only one to earn a badge. It was my least favourite of the 3; I thought the lacto was a bit too strong and the black currant was subsequently detracted from. It was a perfectly acceptable beer, but was overshadowed by Bow Tie Daddy (an aggressively tart Berliner Weiss) & Tropic Thunder (reminiscent of sour breakfast juice - spectacular). Swedish Brews (Level 2) was the badge.

Bad Shepherd's new one; New World IPA, is absolutely on point! This is one of the best Australian made examples of a straight up and down American IPA. Hopped Up (Level 42) is richly deserved for this beer, clocking in at 74 IBU's, utilizing Australian, American, New Zealand and even French hops. It's a wonderfully bitter beer and also smacks you in the face with pine resin and tropical fruit flavours. I loved this beer and can't wait to go back and grab a 6-pack!

 

I do find it interesting that Scottish beers count towards both God Save the Queen & The Highlander badges... Obviously I understand why, but it is interesting nonetheless. The beer that spawned that little muse was Harviestoun's American IPA, which unlocked God Save the Queen (Level 33). It's not a beer I distinctly remember; other than thinking it was very bog-standard for the style. My notes don't help much either - other than to confirm it was a passable, if forgettable, IPA.

Almanac's Elephant Heart de Brettaville was anything but forgettable! This was plain and simply one of the best beers I've had this year! The combination of the Elephant Heart (a type of Plum) flavour and the Brett was just superb! Pucker Up (Level 38) is why we're talking about it, although at another time this would've been reviewed in full! I'm doing a big Almanac tasting with Richo in the next month or two - which I will post a full wrap up of - so keep your eyes peeled Almanac fans!

I was really impressed with the beers from Kees, a Dutch brewery, that made it out here at the end of last year. There's recently been a second, more winter-friendly, influx of their beer's including the 1750 Export Porter. It was a really big Porter, clocking in at 10.5%, and was packed full of roast, some dark fruits and even some licorice. The only thing that detracted from it for me was a strong yeasty (almost Vegemite-like taste) that you were left with at the conclusion of each mouthful; I'm a big Vegemite fan, but even I found it too much. Possibly it was a bottle gone bad? Heavyweight (Level 45) was the badge.


I've finally unlocked the Beach Bum badge! It took a surprisingly long time as I'm quite partial to on beach drinking - although clearly I revisit the same beaches over and over again. Whilst on holidays; a very fresh Pilsner Urquell from the Dan's in Cairns was enjoyed on Thornton Beach, near Cape Tribulation. This offering was one of the best Pilsner Urquell's I've had outside the Czech Republic. It had that wonderful Noble Hop character that this beer is so renowned for. It's a wonderful beer when fresh - and if there's fresh stock in FNQ there has to be some near where you live!

On holidays the varied check-in locations always lead to a number of the location badges being unlocked. By the Campfire (Level 7) was unlocked at Cape Kimberley, one of few spots north of the Daintree River with phone reception. Lizzie and I made the journey down most nights to watch the Tour de France on the iPad, send some emails and (naturally) enjoy a few beers. On this occassion the beer was the Pirate Life IPA - a beer I muled several of up to FNQ. It's a spectacular example of an Australian brewed American IPA, with chewy caramel malts offsetting the hops which have a strong pineapple element accompanying the usual tropical fruit and pine flavours - as well as nice pronounced bitterness.

Port Douglas have recently got their own brewery; Hemingway's. Naturally while I was up there I thought I ought to pop in and check it out. The venue is awesome and situated in a particularly picturesque spot - if I have time I'll pop out a full review of the place in the coming days. As part of my paddle I had a Bicycle Beer from Temple Brewing in Melbourne, at this stage they don't have enough beers of their own to complete a full paddle. It tasted exactly as I knew it would; lightly wheaty, very effervescent, spicy hops and nicely refreshing. Blondes Do it Better (Level 5) is why you're hearing about it!


It's always a treat to try a new Mikkeller creation. Wit Fit is, strangely enough, a Witbier that unlocked Danish Delight (Level 5) - the badge for trying different Danish beers. It had all the elements you'd expect from a Witbier; light wheat flavours, coriander and some yeastiness. However, it was by no means a traditional Witbier with a bucketload of hops being added; imparting bitterness as well as citrus and fruity characteristics. It is also listed by Mikkeller as an "Imperial Witbier", which certainly was not evident throughout drinking!

Another trip to Hemingway's later in my holiday yielded another badge; Hopped Up (Level 43). Once again it was a guest beer, Yulli's Brew Louis Black IPA, that took home the prize. This was quite an interesting Black IPA, that changed dramatically as it warmed up. At first I thought it was disappointing;  a little thin and lacking in either roast or hop characteristics. As it warmed the roast became more pronounced, although still a little underwhelming for the style, and the hops provided a nice bitter bite. It's not a beer I'd be rushing back to - but iI certainly wouldn't turn down another.


Last but not least, Moa's 2015 Tripel Sauvignon unlocked Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My! (Level 5). It's a really interesting beer. The Candi Sugar that is usually so important in a traditional has been replaced by Sauvignon Blanc grape juice - clearly it worked well! I didn't know that before trying the beer; and actually thought the vinous characteristics were relatively mild, and were even slightly swamped by a traditional Tripel sweetness. Certainly there was some fruitiness that you wouldn't find in a regular Tripel, but I thought that it was close enough to a traditional example with just a tiny twist. I would definitely recommend picking one of these up if you still see one sitting on a shelf.

Finally I've finished this monster post! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed drinking the beers. Let me know your thoughts on any of the above. Also check out this post by Kerry McBride of the Crafty Pint that I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for. Part 1 here & part 2 here. It's a really cool piece exploring the impact that social media, particularly Untappd, has had on the beer world. Until next time guys!

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