Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Untappd Catchup

It's time for work's accreditation once again, combine that with a law degree and a business degree and suddenly I'm drinking a lot of beer - and writing very little about beer once again. This Untappd Catchup has got a little out of hand... So please bear with me throughout this review, there are some wonderful beers hidden away in here.

Elysian's Dragonstooth is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout that has been aging in my cupboard for a couple of years. This beer pre-dates their 2015 sale to AB Inbev. The beer was beautifully creamy and unlocked Heavyweight (Level 47) & 2X (Level 2) - which for those who can't remember is for checking in beers with "Imperial" or "Double" in the style.

Bodriggy's Highbinder was my beer of choice before my exam at the end of August. New Brew Thursday (Level 22) was unlocked by this beer, which was a beautiful example of an American Pale Ale. It had lovely stone fruit characteristics, the specifics of which I can't remember, while having nice restrained bitterness. I remember thinking I could drink many many pints of this beer.

As a treat for smashing my exam, later that evening I delved into my cellar and picked out a collaboration between Amager & Hopping Frog. Frog Hops to Amager was an incredible example of an American Stout/Imperial Stout, with this wonderful velvety smoothness, which is apparently brought about by a significant amount of wheat in the grain bill. I can't recall having another stout with a significant amount of wheat in the grain bill, so this was quite a thing for me. Wheel of Styles (Level 14) is why you're hearing about it - although you probably would've anyway, I loved it!

La Sirene's Avant Garde series were three of the beer I've most looked forward to this year. It was always likely that one would unlock Trip to the Farm (Level 17). That honour fell to Long Table, the middle of the three. Dylan and I split all three, and a number of other beers, on a Friday night in front of the footy. I thought that the body on this beer was a little bit too heavy, maybe that was just in comparison to the Biere de Provision that preceded it. The beer was also less tart than the Biere de Provision but it was far funkier. Flavours of grassy hay, citrus, light pepper and some hints of cloves.

Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 33) was unlocked by the Tuatara ITI. Dylan brought this over as part of our tasting night, it's always good to have some low-ABV options. It had pronounced hop characters with floral and tropical fruit flavours and light malt characteristics. It was a seriously impressive mid-strength option, clocking in at only 3.3%, I reckon I'll be back for more. We compared it to Pirate Life's Throwback IPA, a beer I love, and it compared favorably. I would highly recommend trying this beer if you come across it.

The 2500th unique beer I checked-in was Stone's Enjoy After 07.04.16 Brett IPA. This beer was fitting I thought to bring in the Elite badge, and coincidentally Hopped Up (Level 44). Having lived in my beer aging cupboard for the best part of, if not slightly more than, a year I thought it was a fitting beer to bring up this milestone. It was a beer worth aging, with plenty of Brett character and some nice, albeit expectedly faded, citrus hops.

Prancing Pony's Amber Ale is a very underrated beer. This was strangely the first time I've checked it in since the Paint the Town Red came in; and accordingly unlocked (Level 9). Like all the Prancing Pony beers, this beer has this wonderfully pronounced caramelisation. This is accompanied by nice balanced pine hops. It's an Amber Ale that I need to drink more often.

The Brunette's Have More Fun badge, along with the Blonde's Have More Fun badge, has been killed off by political correctness and replaced with Bravo for Brown (Level 7). Croft Biscuit Blast Brown Ale was the first beer to receive this new badge. It was a low-ABV Brown Ale (3%), which had nice biscuity malts but was (probably expectedly) thin bodied. As far as a cold winter's day lunch beer goes - it's a good option, the flavour is lovely.

Red Duck are known for producing really interesting offerings. "Dude, You Smoked My Cherry!' is no exception to that rule. It was actually reasonably light on cherry, with a nice light smokiness. Accompanying this was a subtle tartness, which actually paired very nicely with the flavour. It wasn't at all what I expected, it far exceeded my expectations. Pucker Up (Level 40) was the badge.

It's been a long time since a Beer Connoissuer badge came along, over a year in fact. My first ever beer from Madagascar; Three Horses, unlocked Beer Connoisseur (Level 16). This was actually a pretty reasonable pilsner, with light pilsner malts punctuated with some grassy noble hops. There's much better, and probably fresher, pilsner's available in Australia - but if you're in Madagascar this would be a perfectly acceptable lager to drink,

Speaking of lagers; Paulaner's Original Munich Lager unlocked their own badge; The Original and Authentic Oktoberfest Biers. This is one of these beers that I often overlook, but really shouldn't! I have vague memories of this beer being one of our Grand Final kegs a couple of years ago. It's a phenomenal lager with nice bready malts and plenty of grassy hops. If you are one of those people who say they hate all lager, try this beer!

A good Pilsner can be as good as any beer! Crisp as Day (Level 16) was unlocked by Cernovar Svetle. It's a Czech beer, although it's not quite a traditional Czech Pilsner. It's much maltier, with hints of caramel, than a traditional Pilsner. The hops are grassy, and I also gets hints of citrus, although not particularly bitter. It's not a beer I'd rush back to anytime soon, but I certainly wouldn't turn it down if offered it.

Dugges are a Swedish brewery producing some pretty awesome stuff! Their new labels inspired me to dig out my Idjit, their Russian Imperial Stout, that has been aging away in my beer cellar for a couple of years. It was a really big RIS, with plenty of roasted malt flavours as well as a coffee forward element. Heavy Weight (Level 48) is the reason we're talking about this badge now.

Garage Project's Lupus the Wolf Man unlocked 2X (Level 3). I had this wonderful Imperial IPA after soccer a week or two ago. It was originally brewed as one of their "Bro's Freak Show" range at GABS. I didn't get to try it then - but god I'm glad I bought this bottle! It had a wonderful resinous pine hop flavour, and was nicely bitter to boot. It drank dangerously well for 9%. If there is still any of this lying around, it's well and truly worth the price!

I've been at Dr Morse at least twice a week for work over the past month. Thankfully these meetings are usually after lunch and I can sample their excellent tap offerings. Batch's Wardell Nut Brown Ale was one of the beers that got this treatment. It was a very nice English style Brown Ale, which had a lovely, albeit relatively restrained, nuttiness about it. The badge was Wheel of Styles (Level 15).

A beer I remember very little about; Mountain Goat's Swoop Season IPA, unlocked the Hopped Up (Level 45) badge. What I do remember is that I had this beer during the middle of a very long drinking session; and that this beer was at the Dan O'Connell Hotel. My Untappd notes say that this was an enjoyable, bitter IPA. Unfortunately this is all I've got to offer regarding this beer... I may have to seek this one out again.

Oskar Blues' have finally officially launched their beers in Australia. The market has had plenty of grey imports before but fresh Oskar Blues was a first. Their Gubna Imperial IPA unlocked Sky's the Limit (Level 19). It was a beer I brought out after finalizing my latest assignment and it was just what the doctor ordered. Despite's in 10% body, this beer drinks dangerously easily. There's heaps of citrus and pine hops accompanying some sweet malts.

Murray's Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep was a beer brewed in collaboration with James of The Crafty Pint in 2013 for a Beervana media award. It's billed as a "Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel & Oyster Stout", I can safely say it's the only beer I've ever had that falls into this category - funnily enough. The few years in the back of my cupboard have done it wonders; it's a beautifully mellow beer, which combines the aforementioned smokiness with the light saltiness of the mussels and oysters. I doubt there are many of these left in existence - if you come across one you have to try it! Imperial Czar (Level 4) & 2X (Level 4) were the badges that were unlocked by this beer.

Almanac launched their range in Australia in February this year. They've gained quite a following since the, despite their hefty price point - I shudder to think how much I've spent on their stuff... Their Citra Sour is the latest of their beers I've tried. It was a wonderfully constructed beer; a blonde ale, aged in white wine barrels and then extensively dry hopped with Citra hops. The result was nothing short of outstanding, and truly worthy of unlocking Pucker Up (Level 41). It's was quite tart, with vinous hints and plenty of citrus and lychee flavours - that are so synonymous with Citra hops.

Lizzie and I went to Estelle for our anniversary last weekend. They had a Boatrocker pairing option to accompany their degustation, that naturally I partook in. Their Epice, a wonderful Belgian Blonde Ale, was the beer that unlocked Field of Gold (Level 6), the badge that replaced Blonde's Have More Fun. For those who've been to Belgium, this beer should bring back memories. Epice is lightly funky, while it's got nice citrus elements. Accompanying this is a delicate carbonation, which tickles the tongue nicely, whilst star anise provides a distinctive finish.

Another Oskar Blues beer was responsible for unlocking Paint the Town Red (Level 10). G'Knight is an Imperial Red IPA and a beer that I've had years ago, as a grey import. It's a beer with plenty of big sweet malts. The hops aren't quite as big and are mostly pine driven, although there is also some citrus elements to them. Despite these elements all being quite nice individually, they don't quite gel in this beer. If you're looking for a Red IPA, look to better Australian examples (Modus Operandi or Prancing Pony both spring to mind).

I have to thank Dylan for the Vienna Lager that unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 16). Bridge Road's Posse beers are normally reserved for their Posse members, so I was very pleased to have a Posse Spring Lager delivered to me. This was a lovely lager, although personally I wouldn't have classed it as a Vienna Lager. It's much less malty than a traditional Vienna Lager and has some slightly bitter hops that provide wonderful light citrus and grassy flavours. This would be a wonderful beer to knock back a few of on a hot summer's day.

My pre-MBA exam beers at Dr Morse are becoming a bit of a recurring theme. The latest beer was the Watts River IPA, which happened to unlock New Brew Thursday (Level 23). It was a really well put together IPA. The caramel malt base was present, but firmly in the background, while the hops provided plenty of orange flavour and good bitterness. I was suitably impressed with this beer and will be keeping my eyes out for more of their beers.

By the Campfire (Level 8) was unlocked somewhere between Abbotsford and the MCG last Friday night. Our "walk beer" this week was a stubbie of Carlton Draught, a beer I haven't had in packaged form for ages. I have no idea how long these stubbies had been in the work fridge, but mine tasted reasonably fresh. I'd prefer a lot of beers to packaged Carlton (tap is a completely different story), but I'd quite happily have another one.

This post got a little out of hand... Thankfully it's finally done and posted. Some of these beers really surprised me - and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on them. In the meantime; I have a massive Grand Final Weekend party to host, but I hope to get my next special Untappd post up before then. Keep sending your emails in - I'm slowly working through the backlog! Cheers guys - hopefully October will be a more productive blog month than September (the bar hasn't been set high!).

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

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