Sunday, 23 October 2016

THE THIRST #3

The Thirst


The amount of emails I've received about The Thirst have far exceeded those of any other section on this blog. With this in mind, I do apologise if I've used your article and haven't attributed it to you - it was purely an oversight. I hope you enjoy this mix of articles that range from (almost) scientific to relatively soft and visual heavy.

WHEN WAS BRETTANOMYCES DISCOVERED - Ronald Pattinson of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins (Link)

I stumbled upon this old blog post from Ronald Pattinson, one of the foremost experts in historical beer styles, whilst researching the next What's in Style post. In it he postulates that Claussen, at the Carlsberg Brewery, was not the first person to discover Brettanomyces, as history would have us believe.

CRAFT BREWING IN THE ALASKAN WILDERNESS: CRAFTWEEK WITH 49th STATE BREWIGN COMPANY - Munchies (Link)

I'm going back to Munchies' Craftwerk series for this one. I thought this was a really cool piece looking at their operation and the challenges they face by being in such an isolated area. Some of the innovations they've made to keep their brewery running are really cool, although I'd be interested to know how consistent their batches are considering the massive temperature swings... I'd be keen to get my hands on some of their beers when their bottling line is fully up and running.

THE MYSTERY OF OLD CHIMNEYS - Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey of All About Beer (Link)

Much like the Craftwerk video I'm venturing back to my last post and All About Beer, in particular Boak & Bailey for this next piece. Beer rating has become such a massive thing over the past 10 years - and Ratebeer's Top 50 List is, arguably, the highest pinnacle. This is the story about Britain's only entrant in the Top 50 - Old Chimney's Good King Henry Special Reserve - and it's relative lck of fame outside beer rating circles.

**This isn't the time to discuss the merits/follies of rating beers across styles and how this sort of rating system tends to favour Russian Imperial Stouts... That's for another day. 


THE US CONGRESS FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING IT COULD AGREE ON: CRAFT BEER - Chase Purdy of Quartz (Link)

The article talks about soon to be ratified changes to the excise tax on craft beer in the United States. The graph showing the increase in craft brewers after the last excise tax cut shows the benefit that it could have. Australia needs to take note! Our excise tax on craft beer is significantly higher than those in the United States, presenting obstacles for brewers & consumers alike. Credit to Dan for sending this one to me.

ARE PEOPLE WHO BREW FRUIT IPAS DIRTY ROTTEN CHEATERS - Will Gordon of Vine Pair (Link)

This link was sent to me by 3 or 4 different people. The author goes through pretty much exactly the same thought process that I did when first presented with Fruit IPA's. I still for the life of me don't understand why I didn't think they would work. Fast forward to present day and I think BrewDog's Elvis Juice is one of the best beers I've had this year!

17 OF THE WORLD'S COOLEST BREWERIES TO VISIT IN YOUR LIFETIME - Sophie-Claire Hoeller of Insider (Link)

The article title pretty much says it all. From the world's oldest brewery, to the world's highest brewery, to a brewery housed in a church, and one in a skyscraper. This is a straight forward article which got the nod because of the pictures that accompany it.

THE COMIC BOOK STORY OF BEER - Jonathan Hennessey & Mike Smith

This book is quite different to most of the other beer books I read... It's a comic book that tells the history of beer throughout the ages. It's really well researched and put together by Messrs Hennessey & Smith and presents the history of beer in fun bite sized pieces. It is also worth mentioning the wonderful job done by artist Aaron McConnell, who makes this book an excellent visual experience. If you're into comic books, this is well worth your money.

I'm going to leave you with a few extra links. First; a post about the language around Lambics. I found fascinating (Link). Secondly; a piece from Concrete Playground looking at the weirdest craft beer offerings from our Kiwi cousins this year (Link). And last but not least; this video from Societe Brewing Company talking about their new pumpkin beer (Link)

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

Saturday, 15 October 2016

REVIEW: ICH BIN EIN BERLINER FRAMBOOS

Untappd: Better Together (Level 15) Badge


STATS
  • Country: Belgium/Spain
  • Style: Berliner Weissbier
  • ABV: 4.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
It's been over two months since I've reviewed a beer in full; that changes tonight! Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a collaboration between Brouwerij Alvinne and Laugar Brewery, a Spanish brewery that I hadn't previously heard of. This was part of a sour pack that I received from Richo & Eliza for my birthday, thanks guys!

Better Together (Level 15) is the reason we're talking about this beer. For those who don't know Better Together is the badge for drinking collaboration beers - something that is becoming more and more common. Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a Berliner Weissbier with a grain bill comprising, among others, 30% rye & 20% wheat. It then spends 8 months in oak barrels before raspberries are added for a further 4 months.

The beer pours an unusual orange-tinged pink colour, which is quite alluring. The head is slightly pink, about 2 fingers high and relatively short lasting. Large bubbles were present in the head almost from pouring and they only become more prevalent as the head dissipates over the first two or three minutes of drinking. The head disappears completely, leaving no lacing behind to show it had even been there. All of these characteristics are typical of a Berliner Weissbier, although the colour is extraordinary. It's  good looking beer.

Onto the nose and it was pretty much what I would expect given what I knew of the beer. The dominant aroma was of raspberry, although there was little fruit sweetness. There is plenty of tartness accompanying this as well as some light lemon.

Ich bin ein Berliner Framboos is a lovely raspberry Berliner Weisse. The flavour follows the nose; with pronounced tartness and plenty of raspberry, which is strangely lacking in sweetness despite it's strong fruitiness. As the beer warms there is this lemony acidity that becomes more apparent. It's a really wonderful example of a Berliner Weisse.

This was another wonderful Alvinne sour, they so rarely disappoint. I'm intrigued by how they've imparted the raspberry flavour with so little sweetness. I've been told I'm too positives with my review so I'm going to try and do some negatives. The carbonation is on the higher side. I think this almost works for this beer with it coming across as spritzy and accentuating the tartness, but it may not be for everyone. There is also no apparent signs of 8 months of oak barrel aging, although it has surely had an effect on the tartness. These are both very minor complaints; if you're into fruit sours, I would highly recommend seeking this one out.

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

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 43

Untappd Catchup


As usual I haven't managed to stick to one of my self imposed deadlines; at least I was close for once! When I intended to post this review there were 6 badges to talk about and somehow we finished with 12 badges across 11 beers... Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and find a beer you want to try!

I had high hopes of making the beer that unlocked Birthday Brew (Level 4) the first beer I've reviewed in full in months. Alas Grand Final Weekend intervened... The beer was, somewhat fittingly, Alpine's Hoppy Birthday. It was wonderful! With a cavalcade of citrus and tropical fruit flavours coming from the hops complimented by heaps of pine. It's one to look out for, although freshness would be key.

Levels of 2X, the badge for drinking "Imperial" beers, are getting knocked off very rapidly. (Level 5) was unlocked by Stone's 20th Anniversary beer, Citracado IPA. Like almost all Stone beers, this was incredible! It was naturally a big hop forward Imperial IPA, with plenty of citrus and floral characteristics coming from the Citra hops. There was a sweetness, that I later found out was from Avocado flower honey (hence "cado" in Citracado). It's both excessively hopped and excessively malty, but somehow pulls it all together into a well balanced, if quite big, finished product.


Regular readers would be aware of my love of Black IPA's. Moor's Agent of Evil ticked a lot of boxes for me and unlocked Hopped Up (Level 47) in the process. This beer had everything I'm looking for in the style; nice roasted malts and plenty of hops. The hopping was far more reminiscent of an American brewer than an English brewer, with plenty of pine flavour, some light citrus and assertive bitterness. I will have to go and seek our some moor (get it!) Moor beers, this was impressive.

Having had a Black IPA, I had to follow it up with another! BrewDog's Black Hammer, the first of the Jack Hammer spin-off beers I've come across, was even better than the Agent of Evil mentioned above! BrewDog don't do things by half measures and this beer was no exception. There was heaps of roasted malt and a wonderful intense mix of resinous pine and pithy grapefruit bitterness coming from the hops. I could happily drink this beer all day! God Save the Queen (Level 35) is why you're reading about it now.

A few sours on a Saturday afternoon with Richo, which you may read more about later, turned into much more than a few sours... Somewhere around midnight out came Garage Project's Sauvin Nouveau. This is a beer I've seen heaps of times but always passed on in the past. It's a pilsner that has had sauvignon blanc juice added to the wort. The result is very interesting, with a light vinous element coming through, as well as plenty of fruit. Accompanying this is plenty of hops, all Nelson Sauvin, which provides a nice bitterness and clean finish. It's a fascinating beer and one I would like to try on a fresher palate; Crisp as Day (Level 17) was the badge.


You're Extra Special (Level 3) is a badge that doesn't come around all that often for me. I'm not huge on E.S.B.'s but they are certainly growing on me. The Loch Brewery & Distillery Best Bitter was the latest one that I tried. It's not a beer that I'd drink regularly, although it's a relatively easy drinking beer. It's driven by a bready malt body with a distinctive yeast element as the beer warms. The hops are the real winners here with restrained citrus the most prevalent, while there is also a stonefruit flavour that I can't quite place. If you're into malt driven English beers, this would be one to investigate.

When I read that 8 Wired were making a Sour IPA I knew two things; 1) that I had to try it & 2) that it'd be awesome! Both of these things came true when I tried Palate Trip last night, whilst unlocking Pucker Up (Level 42) & Drink Like a Kiwi (Level 34). This was their GABS beer from this year and I was pretty disappointed I didn't get to try it on the day because I was too sick. It lived up to my expectations with nice tropical fruit and citrus hops being complimented by pleasant, not overpowering, tartness. I would highly recommend this to IPA lovers who are looking to get into sours; it would make an excellent transition beer.

Franziskaner's Here-Weisse Dunkel, is one of the best examples of a straight up and down Dunkelweizen that you can find. It's got all of the flavours you'd expect, banana, cloves, vanilla, a touch of green apples and chocolate malts. It's available at Dans nationwide and it's a beer that everyone who loves beer should try at least once. It unlocked that ever confounding badge, New Brew Thursday (Level 24).


Take a Dunk is the (relatively) new Untappd badge for drinking different Dunkelweizens. I was surprised it took me this long, over 6 months, to unlock it. Denmark's Hornbeer don't bring many beers out to Australia, but I did manage to get my hands on their Dark Wheat. It was quite a nice beer, although was it significantly lacking in the banana wheat flavour that characterizes the style. There was some nice malts, a bit of spice and a creamy vanilla mouthfeel.

We're in the midst of a canning arms race, where every craft brewer is trying to get their wares into cans. Six String, a brewery on the NSW Central Coast. have always canned their beers including their Hefeweizen, a style very rarely seen in cans. It's another good, if not excellent, example of the style with plenty of banana and cloves. It was perhaps a tad overcarbed, with the head taking a good 5 minutes to calm down. In any case; it drank well and that's what matters! Hefenista (Level 9) is why you're reading about it.

Saturday afternoon called for a something big and hoppy; Buxton's Nth Cloud was the beer to sate my needs. It did exactly what I was hoping it would! It's a wonderfully clean Imperial IPA, with plenty of pine and citrus - particularly grapefruit. The malts are predominantly caramel and provide more sweetness than flavour. It's an excellent beer! Buxton are fast turning into my favourite English brewery. The badge was Hopped Up (Level 48), it's time to start thinking 


I think I might have to make a no drinking new beers rule when I'm writing these Untappd Catchup posts; they have a tendency to get out of hand... In any case, it's finally done! I'm hoping to finish the new installment of The Thirst tomorrow, I've just got to finish going through my emails that I've received on the subject. My first full review for ages is partly written as well, so with any luck that will be up before my exam next Thursday. Keep the emails and questions coming guys!

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

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

UNTAPPD CATCHUP 42

Untappd Catchup

Welcome to this special Untappd Catchup; this post is all about badges that unlocked country/region badges. A few weeks ago I was flicking through my badges and noticed about 10 of the country ones were one beer short of the next level. Naturally I took matters into my own hands and made it possible for 17 badges to be unlocked in a row...

With this in mind, would you be surprised that I stuffed it up? Nøgne Ø's Kriek of Telemark unlocked Norway's Here Come the Vikings! (Level 4), although it was two weeks before when I intended to drink it... (I may have been drunk). Anyway - it's a superb Kriek, brewed with naturally sour Norwegian Cherries.

The first of the consecutive beers was Wychwood Black Wych. It was a light bodied English Porter from Witney, near Oxford. It had the distinctive chocolate dominating roast flavour, with a touch of caramel, that so characterizes English Porter's. There were some light floral hops, accompanying some slightly stronger than usual carbonation. It's not a world beater, but a nice example of the style. God Save the Queen (Level 34) was the reason you're reading about it.


Scottish beers, somewhat strangely, still count towards the God Save the Queen badge even though they now have their own badge; Highlander. (Level 5) of this badge was unlocked by BrewDog's Ace of Simcoe, a single hop Session IPA. It's very easy drinking and has all the Simcoe characteristics you'd expect; Mango, Pine & Grapefruit. The malt base is lightly toasty, but doesn't have much substance to it.

After watching the To Øl Craftwerk video 6 or so weeks ago; I thought why don't I drink more To Øl beers. Since then I've had 4 of their beers and I've been impressed with all of them. First Frontier IPA was the beer that unlocked Danish Delight (Level 6). This beer was no exception, there was a light caramel base but the major flavour was of grapefruit hops with a bit of pine. It was slightly over carbonated, but that didn't effect the overall experience too much. It's a lovely American IPA and one that I'd recommend getting your hands on.

I honestly had no idea that The Full Irish from 8 Degrees Brewing was still in the back of my fridge. It's a single malt IPA, and works in much the same way as a single hop IPA would except with 100% Irish malt. It'd held up remarkably well considering it was god knows how old. There was a touch of pine hops, which I'm sure would've been stronger had the beer been fresher, and there was nice maltiness. Luck of the Irish (Level 2) was the regional badge, while it coincidentally also unlocked Hopped Up (Level 46).


Going Dutch (Level 4) was unlocked by Emelisse's Black Berry. It's a beer that came with a pretty poor reputation, but I honestly couldn't understand why. I thought the blackberry flavour was very impressive, with nice fruitiness and that inherent tartness of blackberries. Despite this tartness it was also quite sweet. The only thing I can think of is that tart-yet-sweet flavour has put some other people off, for mine it was quite an enjoyable beer.

One of the badges I unlocked for the first time was Brew of the Dragon, the badge for drinking Chinese beers. Lao Te was the beer that did the job. It's a beer that is apparently brewed with 100% Australian malted barley, not that you could taste any of it in the beer! That said the beer wasn't too bad as Asian lagers go. There wasn't that usual overt sweetness and there was even a touch of grassy/straw-like hop bitterness. As a beer to drink with dumplings you could do much worse, as one for the connoisseurs it's not so good.

Brasserie du Mont Blanc make one of my favourite beer glasses. Naturally when I came across their La Blonde, I had to try my glass out. It's a perfectly serviceable Blonde Ale, with light Belgian funk, mixing nicely with some reasonably bitter citrus hops. It's a beer that just screams warm spring afternoons. La Creme de la Creme (Level 4), incidentally the first level of this badge I've unlocked outside France, is the reason you're hearing about it.


Poland is a country best known for cheap lager and good vodka. When I came across the Brok Extra Stout, I knew this had to be the beer to unlock the new Polish badge; Pole Position. Over the 2 weeks prior, I forced my way through 4 Polish lagers, some of which were actually alright, and then cracked into this beer. The Extra Stout was a really unusual beer. It tasted more like a herbal tonic than a beer. It had this weird malty/cola, almost sarsaparilla, flavour with some other dark fruits that I couldn't place. It's certainly not a stout, maybe a Belgian Dark Ale. It's definitely worth trying, although I won't be rushing back to try it again.

Japan is a country who produce excellent craft beer. Unfortunately not that much of it makes it our way. Lizzie picked up Niigata's Canadian Pilsner at the Japanese grocery store that we sometimes get sushi from. It came in a blue glass bottle that I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately that's where the positives ended. It was a very murky looking beer, not something normally associated with a Pilsner. The flavour was very yeast dominant, it tasted like Vegemite, which again isn't something I'm keen on in a beer... I know Japan does better stuff than this, it might take me visiting to find it though! Rising Sun (Level 5) was the badge.

The beer I was most looking forward to in these 17 beers unlocked The Gondolier (Level 12). That beer was Duchessic Ale, a (sort of) collaboration between Birra del Borgo and Cantillon. Duchessic Ale is Birra del Borgo's Duchessa, a delicious fruity saison, that has had 20% 1 year old Cantillon lambic spliced into it. The result is this lovely sour saison, which is full of lemon and hay. I've tried both of the beers used to create this beer individually and can safely say that the combination is far better than either of it's individual parts.


Belgian Holiday (Level 29) was unlocked by Westvleteren 8. The Westvleteren 8 is probably the least well known of their beers. It's a Dubbel and one that I hadn't had the pleasure of trying before. It's a wonderful complex Dubbel, with this lovely mix of caramel malts, some spices, dark fruits, banana and a hint of bubblegum. It's a wonderful beer but considering the price, I think I'd rather have a 6-pack of the St Bernardus, which is brewed to the same recipe. Trappist Travesty (Level 3) was a nice little added bonus.

I am thrilled to be getting so many Omnipollo beers in Australia now! They always deliver the goods and it was their Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout, the double barrel aged version to be precise, that unlocked Swedish Brews (Level 3). This beer certainly lived up to the hype; in fact I would say it's one of the best beers I've had this year! It's got a big chocolate body with a reasonable amount of vanilla. Despite this the beer isn't overly sweet and there is a nice, although not overpowering, level of whisky influence.


A beer that I've had in the back of my cupboard for years unlocked the new badge for drinking African beers; Going on Safari. That beer, thankfully, was one that could hold up to the rigours of time. The beer was the Urbock from Namibia Breweries Limited, a 7% Bock that had held up magnificently! There's plenty of sweetness from something that smells like honey and some malts that have caramel and roasty characteristics. The mouthfeel was creamy and the beer drank beautifully. It also unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 17).

When I was first getting into craft beer Unibroue's beers were available pretty readily at craft beer shops. Within maybe a year they had all but disappeared; so it was with much surprise that I stumbled upon a Trois Pistoles about a month ago. This is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale packed full of candi sugar, dark fruits and spices. In my opinion it's one of the best in it's style and is certainly one to seek out! The Great White North (Level 4), the Canadian badge, is why you're hearing about it now.


Of all the Russian beers Anton has brought out my favourite has been a Russian Imperial Stout from Victory Art Brew. One of the latest to hit Tru Bru is a new RIS from Victory Art Brew; Pyotr. The beer had plenty of oatmeal, and it's associated creaminess, as well as a light smokiness. The overall taste of the beer was on the sweeter side, but not cloyingly so. I had no idea it was 11% until I looked at the bottle later... This beer unlocked Tovarisch! (Level 4),  and Sky's the Limit (Level 20) as an added bonus.

Rounding out the 17 country badges was Czech it Out (Level 2), naturally for drinking beers from the Czech republic. The beer was fittingly a classic Czech Pilsner; Kozel Svetly. While not a stand out beer for the style it's very pleasant and easy drinking. It's got a light Pilsner malt base with just a touch of hay thrown in for good measure. The hops are where the beer shines, with the nice spicy grass flavours of Saaz hops providing nice bitterness. It's crisp, finishes quite dry and at 4% you could drink them all day. This is a beer your non-craft drinking mates could easily drink this summer, whilst providing enough interest for a discerning palate.


It's fair to say that I missed my deadline of Thursday (almost two weeks ago!). The extravaganza that is my Grand Final Day celebrations got a little out of hand and then I needed to catchup on some uni work. Well done if you got all the way through this review, it was quite a long one... I've got a short Untappd Catchup, which I'm hoping to get done in the next day or so, and a 3rd installment of The Thirst in the pipeline. It's been over two months since I've reviewed a beer in full - so that's something I'm hoping to change soon.

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