Monday, 19 June 2017


Untappd Catchup

Another Good Beer Week has come and gone; and what a ride it was in 2017! This was billed as the biggest and best Good Beer Week ever and, in my mind at least, it certainly delivered on that promise! Kerry and the rest of the team deserve massive congratulations on the fabulous week they managed to put on.

Once again I had a very busy schedule organised for the duration of Good Beer Week. The event guide was so packed full of quality events, that I decided to give the showpiece GABS festival a miss! The idea of going a trying a heap of one off beers, most of them dessert styled, didn't have the same pull for me as it has in the past...

I'm reasonably sure that most of the events I attended are covered over the course of this Untappd Catchup, with maybe the odd exception of a Pint of Origin venue or two. Hopefully this post will not only shed some light on some of the fantastic beers I got to try during the week long celebration of good beer!

After skipping the Opening Night Party to finalize an assignment so I could enjoy the rest of Good Beer Week, my first badge arrived during Saturday lunch. Fields of Gold (Level 10) was unlocked by Naparbier's Oneka, a Belgian Pale Ale, at Ladro Tap - a pizza restaurant in Prahran with an impressive tap selection that was the Southern Europe Pint of Origin venue. The beer was pretty inoffensive and easy drinking, with a touch of Belgian yeast the only real distinguishing feature.

Paint the Town Red (Level 15) was unlocked at our next stop on what turned into an impromptu pub crawl; The Windsor Alehouse, in it's capacity as the Regional NSW Pint of Origin venue. The Hoppy Amber from 5 Barrel in Wollongong was the beer and I thought it was pretty impressive. It was packed with loads of caramel malts and almost as many hops, which provide plenty of bitterness. I'd be keen to re-visit this in a bottle down the track.

The Riding Steady will be dead any day now. Four different beers unlocked this badge throughout Good Beer Week. The Pinkening was impressive pink and packed with Hibiscus. Omnipollo's Onda was packed with fresh tropical fruits. The Rauchbier from Clifton Hill was a lightly smokey offering, whilst Lervig's Lucky Jack was a crisp Pale Ale with nice citrus characteristics.

      • Little Bang's The Pinkening (Level 45) @ Palace Hotel
      • Omnipollo Onda Mosaic Pale Ale (Level 46) @ Beermash
      • Clifton Hill Rauchbier (Level 47) @ Clifton Hill Brewpub
      • Lervig Lucky Jack (Level 48) @ Atticus Finch

Another beer at The Palace Hotel (South Australia's Pint of Origin venue) unlocked To the Port (Level 2). Robe Town's Solstice Baltic Porter was the beer, my first from them, and I had to say I was very impressed. The beer was perfectly to style, with heaps of sweet malts and was dangerously drinkable, belying its 8% ABV. As the weather keeps getting colder here in Melbourne, you'll be seeing plenty more of this badge.

The Grosvenor Hotel, the Queensland Pint of Origin venue, missed out on a badge - but my home bar didn't! We called the afternoon just before dinner and I thought one more would be prudent. That beer was Blackwolf Brewery's William Wallace, which unlocked Wee Bit of Scotch (Level 2). This was a traditional Scottish Ale with plenty of sweet raisin flavours. It went down pretty easily, considering I'd had quite a few I think that says a lot about it!

Beer Foodie (Level 2) was unlocked by a Feral Watermelon Warhead at The Royston at the start of a very long session with Coll & Dylan on the first Sunday of Good Beer Week. It was the perfect beer to kick off the session, with its usual spritzy, tart, watermelon flavour unique and pretty close to perfect! That said, the best beer I tried at The Royston was Feral's Biggie Juice - the best Australian take on a New England IPA that I've tried so far.

Two different venues unlocked 3 levels of the Verified Adventure badge throughout Good Beer Week. My first visit to Exit Brewing's Uitgang Bar was straight after the Royston and the Fresh Hop Californicator was tasting even better than the origial - no mean feat. Omnipollo's Selassie followed at Beermash, dangerously early in the day for an Imperial Stout... Before Amager's Kåååd, at Beermash later in the week, was impressive as most Amager beers are.  

      • Big Shed Fresh Hop Californicator (Level 5)
      • Omnipollo Selassie (Level 6)
      • Amager Kåååd (Level 7) 

Beermash was also the venue for the first Better Together badge of Good Beer Week. Sky Mountain Sour is a collaboration between To Øl & Buxton and combined lovely malt with mellow tartness - I really want to pickup a bottle of this and try it again soon. Another Scandinavian/British collaboration saw Lervig team up with Magic Rock to produce their Farmhouse IPA. This beer was packed with Brett, so much so that any hops that may have been in there were swamped. Accordingly I can't tell you if it's an IPA, however it is very tasty!
      • Buxton/To Øl Sky Mountain Sour (Level 21)
      • Lervig Farmhouse IPA (Level 22)

After quite a session at Beermash (I feel this is where most of my money went...) we walked around the corner to check out one of Melbourne's newest breweries; The Mill. The first beer that I tried on my tasting paddle was their Golden Ale, which unlocked Find the Source (Level 7). I'm generally not one for Golden Ales but this one was very nice, with a liberal hopping regiment helping it stand out from the crowd.

The Dark Side (Level 2) was unlocked by Clifton Hill Brewpub's Dark Ale at our next stop; the aforementioned Brewpub. My recollections of specific flavours are not as sharp as they may have been at another time, however from past experiences and my Untappd notes I recall this being a nice Dark Ale with plenty of roast and a bit of caramel sweetness.

Going back through it now, there were far too many beers after that point in time... Considering that, I felt really fresh the next day - maybe I was still drunk... Anyway, the next night at Stomping Ground, their Barrel Aged Saison unlocked Trip to the Farm (Level 23). The beer was spectacular, plenty of Brett with light Pinot Noir notes. The event was equally good, an Evening with Daniel Burns of Luksus fame. The food was excellent!

After a relatively disappointing tap list at The Rainbow, Coll and I ended up at Beermash again on Tuesday night. This time a Buxton & Omnipollo collaboration unlocked God Save the Queen (Level 41). It was another from the ice cream series, the Lemon Meringue Pie. This is one I'm looking forward to revisiting in bottle form. It had a really nice tart lemon flavour and a light creaminess.

Danish Delight arrived later in the week than I expected it would. Two Amager beers, both of which have already or will be talked about elsewhere in this post, unlocked the badge. The first was their Kåååd, an impressive IPA with lovely malt balance which was enjoyed at Beermash. Whilst the second was Brown Boobies Falling - an Imperial Porter that will be talked about in greater detail below.

      • Amager Kåååd (Level 16)
      • Amager Brown Boobies Falling (Level 17)

My first beer at home for the week arrived late Tuesday night. My parents got home from the Bahamas with some local craft beer. Pirate Republic is the number one craft brewery in the country and their Captain Kidd's Kölsch unlocked Respect the Kölsch (Level 2). I quite enjoyed the beer, although it was slightly sweet for the style. I can definitely see it working in a hot tropical climate!

Wednesday passed without a badge, as our planned rest day in the middle of Good Beer Week went off without a hitch. Thursday was always going to be a big night and I kicked it off with a Lagunitas IPA at The Great Northern. These guys have a relationship with Lagunitas and, I believe, are the only place that legitimately imports and sells their beers in the Southern Hemisphere. This one was a fresh tasting, clean IPA - but nothing to write home about.

Here Come the Vikings (Level 8) was one of a staggering 7 badges unlocked at the Pig vs Viking Beer event at Atticus Finch. Nøgne Ø's Imperial Brown Ale was the beer and it was quite impressive. The first sip was initially quite sweet, but as it warmed it developed into a wonderfully rich, malty beast of a beer. Various caramel notes were the dominant flavour, whilst there was also some dark fruit flavours which became more prominent as the beer warmed.

Another Imperial dark Scandinavian beer at Atticus Finch unlocked 2X (Level 22). Amager's Brown Boobies Falling is an Imperial Coconut Porter brewed in collaboration with Lervig. I found the coconut to be completely overpowering, with only the faintest hints of sweet malts coming through. Others at our table thought the coconut was very subtle, so whether this is bottle variation or perception is open to interpretation.

Nøgne Ø's Sunturnbrew is one of the first really out there beers that I remember trying. I still vividly remember being talked into it at Purvis and being told it would blow my mind. It certainly did that, as it's left an impression 5 or 6 years on! Strangely I haven't tried it since, until this wonderful event at Atticus Finch. It unlocked Down in Smoke (Level 4) as well as...

Sky's the Limit (Level 30)! The beer is unique, to say the least! Ostensibly a smoked barleywine; it's heavily smokey on the nose, although this (thankfully) doesn't translate fully to the taste, with nice hints making their way through the wonderfully sweet malts. It's a big, rich beer which hides its 11% ABV very well. It's brewed on the shortest day of the year every year in Norway and is a beer best suited for sipping during the cold winter months.

After nursing a monumental hangover through work all day Friday, I somehow pulled it together for Mega Dega 5 that evening. The first welcome beer (yes, there were multiple!) unlocked the American Craft Beer Week badge - which this year happened to coincide with Good Beer Week. The beer was Citrus Myrtle from The Commons Brewery, a Saison with reasonably tart citrus complimenting the typical yeasty characteristics.

The interesting outlier in all the beers served to us that nice was the Goose Island IPA, which unlocked it's own "Road to the Harvest - Cascade" badge. The Goose Island IPA has been recently launched by CUB in Australia and will be contract brewed in Australia very soon. The beer was tasting very fresh, had a nice earthy, caramel base and some fruity and floral hop characteristics. I really hope the CUB deal gets this into sporting venues in the not too distant future!

It's at this point that I should acknowledge just how lucky we were with out seating arrangement at this event. We were somehow seated in the midst of some true legends of the industry. To my left I had Matt & Andrea from Boatrocker, opposite them the Pambula Oyster team (the best oysters in Australia bar none!), directly opposite Tom Delmont from Fixation (formerly of Mountain Goat) and to the right Adrian from Firestone Walker. Lizzie and I really lucked out and it was an incredible experience sharing their own beers with them. One of those beers unlocked the Long Island Craft Beer Week badges and...

The Wine of Beers (Level 4) badge. The beer was Brooklyn's Hand & Seal, a highly coveted Barleywine here in Australia. The beer had plenty of the sweet malts you'd expect from the style, while raisins were the most noticeable of the fruit flavours. It was phenomenal, so phenomenal that I kept having more and more. At 13.3% ABV I'm not sure this was the best idea...

Almost a month on; I think I've just about fully recovered from what was a sensational week of beer, food and friends. I haven't been to a heap of other beer festivals around the world, but I've heard Good Beer Week is right up there. For those of you thinking of making the trip to the greatest city on earth next year/those of you who need to take time off in advance; May 11 through May 20, 2018!

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

Thursday, 1 June 2017


The Beer-thusiast Pack: April

Since the temporary demise of Tru Bru's Bear Club, I've been looking for a beer club to fill the void. Up stepped The Beer-thusiast Pack from one of Melbourne's finest craft beer establishments; Carwyn Cellars.

The Beer-thusiast Pack is delivered to your door monthly. It's composition is a complete mystery until it arrives - although it's likely to include a number of local offerings. Each month 12 beers arrive including 4 duplicates, after a recent format change. As many of you know I'm not generally one for duplicates, which is where Dylan comes in.

Dylan and I share a love of sport and have been playing indoor soccer together for a few years now. Dylan's love of craft beer has grown over the years to the point that he's now an avid Untappd user and works at a boutique bottle shop, with a large craft beer range. His tastes are not dissimilar to mine; with a preference for sours and hoppy beers over maltier offerings.

This is our seventh month doing this now and I think it's fair to say that the format has been pretty well received and seems to be working. We'll keep dividing the reviews this way unless we hear otherwise via the usual communication channels. With any luck I'll get these posts up on a more regular basis some time soon!

My initial thoughts on this lineup were mixed; nothing really jumped out at me as being amazing, besides the first release of Hawkers' Hop Edition - an IPA primarily hopped with Mandarina Bavaria. The two offerings from Bodriggy promised to be interesting, one comes with a phenomenal backstory, whilst I'm interested to revisit the 3 Ravens Black, a stout I used to rave about. Also of interest will be Oskar Blues Pinner, which will hopefully be more enjoyable than it's Passionfruit infused cousin of a few packs back...

New Belgium Fat Tire - American Amber Ale - 5.2%

First up is a beer that I reviewed in full way back near the start of this blog in 2012. New Belgium's Fat Tire is an Amber Ale that is well renowned. It's incredibly drinkable for the style although I think it lacks a little in flavour complexity that many good Amber Ales possess, although that could be just be palate shift...

"Not hard to see why this was a ‘gateway beer’ for many in the US craft scene. Reminds me a bit of something like Mountain Goat’s Steam Ale in terms of drinkability mixed with characteristics well apart from the major macro lagers. It’s an easy drinking red, light bodied and refreshing with mild grassy hop character. Slightly sweet and fruity malt/yeast flavour. It’s not the game changer it would have once been for many but is still a nice little beer, one I’d happily drink again if I saw it on a taplist."

Hawkers Hop Series IPA Edition 1 - American IPA - 6.0%

The only beer I was truly excited for in this pack. Hawkers have teamed up with BARTH-HAAS GROUP, the world's leading hop producers, to create the first, of hopefully many, beers in their Hop Series IPA range. As I understand it, it's a range of IPA's that will showcase hops that they love. Contrary to popular belief they are not single hop IPA's!

"I wasn’t as keen on this as I’d hoped I would be. The Mandarina hops are there in spades, lending it a lot of juicy orange flavour, but as a whole it just lacked a bit of spark for me and felt a bit muted. It’s one I’m looking to revisit down the line as Hawkers rarely miss the mark when it comes to aligning with my tastes."

Unlike Dylan I really enjoyed this beer. Since the one in the pack I've tried it a few times and think that it utilizes Mandarina Bavaria as well as any beer that I can recall. I'm really looking forward to seeing more beers in this series.

Murray's East Coast Lager - Lager - 4.8%

I was a bit confused when Murray's launched this new beer. Murray's have always preached about how they do things differently and don't brew bland beer. According to their own website they're known for "brewing exciting, quirky and sometimes just plain weird craft beers". Personally I'm not sure a straight up and down lager fits that bill...

"Nothing complex to remark on here — this is just a good, smashable lager. Very clean and the Kiwi hops used give it enough grassy and citric notes to brighten the beer as a whole. I’m often not great when it comes to discussing lagers but I’m always stoked to see more coming out of Australian craft breweries."

3 Ravens Black - Stout - 5.5%

I have fond memories of this stout! It was one of the first beers I checked into Untappd all those years ago. While it's not the 5-star beer that I rated it as then; it is a very easy to drink stout showcasing coffee and chocolate flavours. There is just enough bitterness to prevent this becoming a tad cloying. It's an excellent, locally made, example of the style.

"This is so easy to drink for a stout! Super smooth and creamy, no doubt helped along by the oats. Full bodied and flavoursome with nice roast, chocolate, coffee, nutty flavours. It’s a great example of a traditional, straightforward oatmeal stout. The colour is fantastic too, it’s pitch black and opaque which is always a good sign!"

Bodriggy Chuckaboo - White IPA - 5.5%

The closest brewery to my work (all of 150 metres away) is Bodriggy; located in the inner Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford. These guys have been producing some pretty good stuff and showcasing it at their bar (Dr. Morse) across the road. Chuckaboo is a White IPA, an IPA with a reasonably large percentage of wheat in the grist.

"White IPAs are something I’m not super keen on, even as I’m coming around more to wheat beers nowadays. This beer doesn’t do a lot to change that; the main issue I have is the wheat often gets covered up by big hops and that’s definitely the case here. Ignoring styles and classifications it’s a tasty beer though — Centennial, Melba and Mouteka is a great hop combination and there’s some witbier like spice that comes through after a few sips."

I have to agree with Dylan, the beer is nice, but doesn't do alot to stand out. There is nothing that wrong with it per se, it's just not particularly exciting. I've been of the opinion that this is the worst of their range for a while, which is a compliment in a way as this is perfectly serviceable and will appeal to some. With the brewery to open to the public at the end of this year or early next, I know where I'll be on Friday nights in the future...

Bodriggy Bruno Bitter - Cream Ale - 4.5%

Another Bodriggy beer; Bruno Bitter, was included in this pack. The beer is named after the former inhabitant of the site their brewery now sits on. Bruno was an Abbotsford legend, who ran the largest LPG converter shop in Australia. He emigrated to Australia in the 1950's and worked on Johnston St right up until a year or two ago. He recently passed away, and one of his last acts was signing his lease over to the Bodriggy crew. I'm sure Bruno would be thrilled (and possibly embarrassed!) by having a beer named in his honour,

"This beer has a good story behind it which Angus will hopefully elaborate on! This beer most resembles an ESB, with earthy malts and bitter, floral hops. I really enjoyed it and it seems like a great all-weather beer, smooth enough to go down easy with enough depth and body to stand up to colder weather too. It has a nice creamy texture to it that balances everything out nicely."

Oskar Blues Pinner - Session IPA - 4.9%

Oskar Blues are renowned for their hop forward beers, which is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with the Passion Fruit Pinner that was previously offered in this club. This regular version of the beer thankfully redeemed the brewery in my eyes. It was a lovely crisp Session IPA with nice tropical fruit and citrus flavours.

"After being disappointed by the passionfruit variant in one of the earlier Carwyn packs I think Angus and I were both a tad wary cracking this beer. We didn’t need to worry though, this beer is very enjoyable! Super drinkable and clocking in at a surprising 35 IBUs (there’s a heap of hop flavour in here), this is a nicely balanced session IPA with all the tropical fruit and citrus notes you’d expect. Typical session IPA characteristics really — slightly thin body, dry finish, bright and lively hop flavours cutting through the background malt. It’s all executed well and obviously made by a deft hand."

Wolf of the Willows Wolf Blood - Red IPA - 7.1%

Wolf of the Willows are a brewery that produce really good beers. They seem to be less prevalent on stores at the moment and so I was quite pleased to see this Imperial Red IPA in the Beer-Thusiast Pack. I loved this beer when it was first released on tap last year, and the artwork is top notch. Unfortunately, in my eyes at least, the beer hasn't lived up to expectations...

"This was a slight letdown, just because I’m usually so impressed with the beers WotW put out. The good to start with — there’s great hop presence here, they’re punchy and have real bite in terms of bitterness and flavour distribution. Lightly resinous too which I enjoy. The bad — there’s just not enough malt here to balance that out, especially for a red. I’m not sure if the bill needed to be bigger or if a richer variety should have been used but what was there wasn’t enough for me and took the whole beer down a couple of notches. I still enjoyed the bottle and it should satisfy any hop cravings, just overall lacked the body and balance to be a really strong entry in the crowded IPA field."

Overall I though this was a pretty interesting pack, with a good mix of styles. I'm slowly getting back on top of things on the blog and hopefully there will be plenty of new content soon! Dylan and I have both got stuck into the beers from May's Beer-Thusiast pack and with any luck that may be up towards the end of next week. Keep your emails coming in, I should be caught up on all of them by some point tonight.

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

Monday, 29 May 2017


Untappd Catchup

Once again I've fallen drastically behind on the blog updating front; in part due to the absurd number of public holidays we've had recently. One of the benefits of that however is that I have a bumper Untappd Catchup for you today, which should have a heap of different beers that have come out in the last month or so.

Going right back to the start of April - I visited Carwyn Cellars for a pre-footy couple of beers. One of those beers was Alvinne's Pays d'Erpigny, a Belgian Strong Ale that unlocked Sky's the Limit (Level 27) & Iron Man (Level 2). It was an interesting beer with lots of sweet malts and a touch of honey, although it finished strangely dry despite its 12% ABV.

BrewDog's Self Assembly Pope, a beer from their small batch range, unlocked the Highlander (Level 7) badge. These beers all have crazy out there artwork to match their recipe ideas; this one is no exception! This was billed as a Porter infused with vanilla and coconut; it certainly delivered on the Porter and coconut parts! If you don't like coconut avoid this beer like the plague, it's massively dominated by that sweet distinctly coconut flavour.

Dylan (sometimes Richo) and myself have finally made the jump into home brewing after years of talking about it! It was only natural that these beers were always going to end up on Untappd! With pretty sophisticated palates, honed by years of craft beer drinking, we're attempting some reasonably ambitious brews from the off. We're running with a cricket theme and plan to name the beers after former Test cricketer's,

The first beer to come out of Full Toss Brewing was The Krezja, an American Pale Ale liberally hopped with Topaz and Cascade hops. I'm not sure if was partly nepotism (beer can be a child right?) but I was actually pretty impressed with it for a first up offering. It unlocked New Brew Thursday (Level 32) & Home Brewed Goodness (Level 2), a badge I'm guessing you will be seeing a bit more of in the future.

The National Beer Day (2017) was unlocked by this years Bridge Road Dark Harvest. For those who don't know, National Beer Day is celebrated on April 7th each year to mark the day that prohibition was ended by the enactment of the Cullen-Harrison Act. Their fresh harvest Black IPA, initially brewed in collaboration with Mikkeller, is released annually after the Victorian hop harvest I thought this year's version was the best one for a few years and had a wonderful mix of fresh hop characteristics and roast.

After one of our brewing sessions Dylan and I had a few beers that had got lost in our collective cellars. One of those to come out of mine was the To Øl/Mikkeller collaboration; Sleep Over Coffee IIPA, which would have to be at least 4+ years old! The hops had completely faded, however the beer had held up really well with plenty of sweet malts complimenting the coffee mentioned in the title. It was almost like a coffee infused barleywine. Whilst I'm not sure either brewer would've been pro-aging this beer, I'm sure they'd be pleased to know it had morphed into a really tasty beer! Better Together (Level 19) was the badge.

Another clear out beer to unlock a badge was Holgate's Mt. Macedon Pale Ale, which unlocked Riding Steady (Level 40). It's a beer I've had in the past and quite enjoyed, although this offering was different... It was massively massively overcarbed! So much so that it destroyed any semblance of flavour that was there. It was so bad that we checked the dates and I'm sorry to report that it was well in date. Hopefully this is just a one batch issue, as this was a really enjoyable Pale Ale back in the day.

A beer from a small Italian craft brewery; Birrificio La Petrognola, located in the triangle between Genoa, Florence and Bologna unlocked Paint the Town Red (Level 14). The beer was their Ambrata al Farro; billed as a Red Ale, but certainly more reminiscent of a Pale Ale in both appearance and flavour - with fruity hops overlaying a light malt base. I wouldn't rush out of my way to find this beer again, but it certainly isn't awful.

Sierra Nevada Sidecar, their orange infused Pale Ale that featured in the last Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack, unlocked the NC (North Carolina) Beer Month - April (2017) badge. The NC Beer Month badge comes around most years, and is unlocked by checking into any beer from a list of breweries. As I said in the aforementioned post, the beer was boring and not up to the usual high standards that I have come to expect from Sierra Nevada. Maybe it'll appeal to others, but I thought it lacked flavour and didn't stand up to the many great Pale Ales produced in this country.

I and many other drinkers around Australia have a love/hate relationship with HopDog Beerworks. When their beers aren't infected they're often brilliant, unfortunately that doesn't happen all that often... The Taxidermied Pachyderm I had that unlocked Bravo for Brown (Level 9) was laced with Brettanomyces. Instead of ruining it though, I think it really lifted the beer combining nicely with the roastiness and rye flavours that were also prominent. Whether it was intentional is another question altogether...

Another beer laced with Brett, although this time completely deliberately, unlocked Trip to the Farm (Level 22). That beer was Crooked Stave's Colorado Wild Sage, a Brett Saison brewed with local sage and lemongrass. The flavours worked superbly, with the sage in the background whilst the lemongrass paired brilliantly with the funky Brettanomyces strain. This is one of the best beers I've had this year!

Cheers to You is a badge to commemorate the day that you first joined Untappd. For me that day was April 13th, 2013. A Colonial Draught at steak night at The Botanical was the beer that unlocked (Level 4). As I've mentioned before on Beer O'Clock Australia, the beer is light bodied and has a light citrus tinge. This is further exacerbated on tap and I found it to be a far superior beer in this format; it also paired beautifully with my steak!

Wayward's Charmer, one of their Red IPA's, unlocked Riding Steady (Level 41); I thought that qualifying for this badge was one of the things that really let this beer down. By that I thought that it was lacking in malt flavour and body, both of which could've been improved by a slightly higher ABV. ***I've been made aware that I've had, and thoroughly enjoyed, this beers bigger brother; Fat Charmer a 7.5% version of this beer!***

The same level of two badges that rarely come around was unlocked by Baird Brewing Company's Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale. The first question I had when grabbing this beer; what's a Mikan? The answer; a Japanese variety of mandarin. It's an unusually fruity citrus flavour that is complimented by some honey sweetness - and really works well on this light pale malt base. Those badges I mentioned at the start of this paragraph were Summer Fun (Level 6) & Fruits of Your Labor (Level 6).

Wolf of the Willows' Wolf Blood is an Imperial Red Ale that I enjoyed on tap around it's release in March last year. They've now bottled it and it unlocked 2X (Level 18). I have to say that I didn't enjoy it much at all; something I was very surprised about - I usually love beers from these guys! Maybe it was a dud bottle? Maybe they've watered it down a bit? But this certainly didn't taste like the wonderfully balanced, big, malty, hoppy beer I had on tap last year!

Birra del Borgo's beers are being seen fresh around Melbourne for the first time in years! A new one I noticed was their canned L.I.S.A. - or Light Italian Session Ale. The Gondolier (Level 13) is why you're hearing about this very tasty beer. It clocks in at 4% and packs really good bitterness considering the ABV, whilst the hops provide citrus and herbal qualities.

Back to the brewery that is fast becoming my favourite; To Øl & their Dangerously Close to Stupid. It's a massively hopped Imperial IPA that unlocked Danish Delight (Level 15). It's a beer that I'm well acquainted with, although haven't sampled for about 3 and a half years. The malts are strangely light for an Imperial IPA with no real caramel or sweetness, while the hops range from lemony citrus to passionfruit and other tropical fruits. Like most things To Øl do, it's pretty awesome!

Untappd Supporter (Level 3) & Rye it Up! (Level 2) were unlocked by Ryesing Tides from Siren in the United Kingdom. I love rye as an ingredient in beer, however beers are rarely categorized as "Rye Beers/IPA's" which they need to be to qualify for the badge. This was a genuinely nice beer, with that distinctive Mosaic hop flavour and good bitterness. That said; I thought it was actually lacking a little in rye, with little to no spiciness being imparted.

8 Wired's 2011 Barrel Aged Smoked Imperial Porter was the first beer to unlock the new To the Port badge for me. If you can't guess, the badge is for drinking Porters of all shapes and sizes. This was a seriously special beer! It had wonderfully smokiness and earthiness, which combined nicely with the chocolaty malts flavours you'd expect from the style. There can't be too many more of these floating around, but certainly don't pass one up if you come across it!

Richo, myself and the girlfriends headed down to the Mornington Peninsula for a weekend away a couple of weekends ago. Many beers, wines & spirits were naturally imbibed. One of those beers; BrewFist's Spaghetti Western unlocked Better Together (Level 20) & 2X (Level 19). This was a really good Russian Imperial Stout, packed with bitter coffee flavours and roast.

Later that evening we cracked a can of AleSmith's Speedway Stout that had only recently arrived in Australia (it's been here for almost a month now...). It's got all the malt complexity you'd expect of such a hyped stout and with a lovely coffee touch to boot. It's wonderful to see more and more really quality beers reaching our shores in the correct packaging to ensure maximum freshness - it really showcased itself well! Sky's the Limit (Level 28) is why you're reading about it now!

The following day we indulged in a pretty serious wine tour. Before embarking on another night of really big beers; Richo and I partook in a couple of palate cleanising; Kirin Megumi's. This looks like a re-brand of their First Press, but I haven't found any definitive information on this. The Japanese beer unlocked Riding Steady (Level 42) and was actually a pretty solid, inoffensive lager.

It's no so long since the Wheel of Styles badge was appearing on every Untappd Catchup post, often multiple times a post! It's quietened down in recent months however was brought out of retirement by The Bruery's White Oak; a Wheat Wine. What is a Wheat Wine I hear you ask? Simply put, it's a Barley Wine dominated by wheat in the malt bill. It's a really interesting beer with some orange, vanilla and woody flavours mixing really well with the sweet malt base. It unlocked Wheel of Styles (Level 22) if you were wondering.

The Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Ten Fidy Imperial Stout was one of the most hyped beers to arrive from the United States in Australia this year. It certainly didn't disappoint, unlocking 2X (Level 20) in the process. This beer is massive in every respect! Flavour wise it's packed full of caramel, chocolate, coffee & vanilla, which sit perfectly alongside some woodiness and bourbon. Clocking in at 12.9% ABV and in an enormous Imperial Pint sized can (568ml) it's a beast not to be trifled with!

Omnipollo and Buxton are regular collaborators, and bloody good ones at that! Their Original Texas Pecan Ice Cream, funnily enough from their Ice Cream Series, unlocked Swedish Brews (Level 4). The thing that gripped me most about this beer, besides the wonderful pecan nuttiness, was the creamy texture of the beer which was slightly oily - just like ice cream! The one downside of this beer was the overwhelming sweetness, it was just about fine to split with someone but I definitely couldn't finish a whole bottle by myself.

I'd be lying if I said I remembered all the intricacies of Kees' Caramel Fudge Stout; the beer that unlocked Sky's the Limit (Level 29) around midnight of a very very large day! What I do remember is that it tasted exactly like caramel fudge! It was phenomenal! It also hid it's 11.5% ABV particularly well, something to be admired in a beer of this size.

Untappd recently released a whole swath on new badges that you'll start to see popping up in due course. One of those was The Dark Side, a badge for drinking dark styles of beer that aren't covered by the Heavyweight badge. Their is quite a bit of cross over between this badge and two others that were released at the same time, something of a break from tradition for Untappd. In any case KAIJU!'s Cthulhu on the Moon, their phenomenal Black IPA that is coming out in cans any day now, saluted as the first beer to unlock The Dark Side badge - it definitely won't be the last!

One of those badges with some overlap with The Dark Side is Black as the Night; a badge dedicated to the devilishly underrated Black IPA. Mikkeller's relatively new Hop Geek Breakfast is a 7.5% Black IPA brewed with plenty of coffee. It was a particularly bitter beer, with the coffee and grapefruit hops both adding plenty of bitterness and flavour. I thought it was a really interesting take on the style, tending more towards it's stout origins, and worthy of unlocking Black as the Night for the first time.

Lervig and Boneyard Brewing's collaborative Red IPA,Viking Blood unlocked Here Come the Vikings (Level 7). I knew very little about Boneyard Brewing, but a quick check of Untappd showed over 60,000 unique check-in's - which is almost 6 times as many as Pirate Life and 4 times as many as Stone & Wood - making it a pretty big brewery! Enough of that; the beer was a real winner, with nice malt/hop balance and excellent bitterness. I can't help but feel a touch more malt would've added body and richness and really made it a top example of the style.

Fourpure Brewing Co.'s beers are popping up with more regularity in Australia now. I sampled their Tennessee Coffee Ale on tap at Dr. Morse a few weeks ago during a particularly dry work meeting. I really enjoyed this Brown Ale, with pronounced coffee flavours balanced by some earthiness and bitterness. This beer unlocked two badges; New Brew Thursday (Level 33) & God Save the Queen (Level 40), and would be a perfect companion by the fire on a cold evening.

Two venue badges were unlocked in one check-in by Stone & Wood's Garden Ale. Verified Adventure (Level 3), a badge recognizing good beer venues registered with Untappd - skipped to level 3 due to a venue recently registering, and Beer Foodie, for drinking beers at venues classified as restaurants. I've spoken about this beer many times before; it's a simple mid-strength that does the job and I enjoyed it in the beer garden at The Great Northern watching the footy.

One of the beers from the last Beer-Thusiast Pack; Oskar Blues Pinner was the next beer to unlock a badge; Riding Steady (Level 43). This beer thankfully was far better than the Passion Fruit Pinner that Dylan and I sampled a few months back. This clocks in at 4.9%, a bit higher than what Australian's would generally term a "Session IPA", however it drinks like one with nice punchy bitterness. I could definitely envisage myself drinking many of these if they were fresh one afternoon.

Another beer from Oskar Blues unlocked 2X (Level 21). That beer was Deviant Dale's, Dale's Pale Ale's bigger brother. For an 8% Imperial IPA this beer has never grabbed me. Sure it's got heaps of resinous pine bitterness, but it's a relatively single dimensional beer with sweet malts being the only other real flavour point of difference. For me; I think there are better beers on the market in this category.

Another To Øl beer to unlock multiple badges, these been a few over the last couple of months, was Gose North. This was a lovely example of the style; packed with citrus flavours and aromas as well a fruitiness that might be peach. There's also a good amount of wheat, tartness and salinity. Personally I don't think there's a lot more you could ask for in a Gose than what Gose North offers. The badges? What Gose Round (Level 7) & Riding Steady (Level 44).

Das Boot (Level 12) was unlocked by Gänstaller Bräu's Schwarze 90, a German brewed Russian Imperial Stout. Interestingly the bottle states it as an Imperial Stout Lager - something that requires further investigation when I'm less busy. The beer itself was quite tasty with licorice flavours combining nicely with traditional smoke and malt. The carbonation was on the low side, which suited the beer, whilst the body was a touch too thin for the ABV in my mind.

Finally we've reached the last beer in this Catchup! Cricketers Arms Spearhead unlocked a new badge for me; Big Game on the Big Screen. This is a badge for drinking at venues classified as Sports Bars. The pub; Courthouse Hotel in Sydney, the event; pre-match A-League Grand Final lunch. The beer; wasn't bad, the food; was pretty good, however the result at Allianz a few hours later didn't go our way... Still a phenomenal weekend regardless.

I can't believe this got as out of control as it did! I've already started work on the massive Good Beer Week Untappd Catchup that will hopefully be up in the coming days. I've somehow survived the week, something that appeared questionable at times. With any luck you'll see quite a few posts in the ensuing fortnight as I've got a little lull in my workload. In the meantime guys, I will get to all your emails sometime before the weekend!

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