Monday, 26 June 2017


The Beer-thusiast Pack: May

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 5 duplicates. 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.

For the first time in a few years I'm going to have a co-reviewer on Beer O'Clock Australia. The plan is that we'll divide the duplicates at soccer soon after they arrive. We'll both drink them individually and record our thoughts, before getting together to share the single beers in the pack (and possibly a few more!). The format is sure to change over these first couple of months as we work through some teething issues, so please hit me up if you've got any feedback.

This lineup looked really good on paper, even if it was a little heavy on Summery styles for this time of year. I was pretty excited for all the beers, particularly the Pikes which I hadn't tried before and the relaunched Fuller's' cans. I've also heard great things about the Blackman's Juicy Banger so am pleased to be getting a chance to try that, while it's always a treat to sample Exit's beers.

Fury & Son Grapefruit Summer Ale - American Pale Ale - 4.0%

I'm guessing that the guys at Fury & Son were inspired by 2016; the year of the grapefruit IPA, when constructing this beer. It's a relatively low ABV Pale Ale that has had 400L of unpasteurized Mildura grapefruit juice added to it. It's a beer I've had a few times and one I'm very pleased to see again!

"Do you like grapefruit? If the answer is yes, you’ll like this beer. Made with a huge amount of fresh grapefruit juice from Mildura, the bitter citrus totally dominates the beer. There’s a pale base and what I assume is a fair whack of hops in here too but it’s all about the grapefruit — lots of pithy citrus, some sweetness and a bright finish. I couldn’t drink a heap of them but I really dug this beer both times I’ve had it and I’d happily have one or two to mix up a session on a hot day."

Pact 42.2 Summer Ale - American Pale Ale - 4.2%

Coll has been calling for more Canberra beers on Beer O'Clock Australia and the Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack has delivered. Pact launched in 2015 on the back of Kevin Hingston being named Australia's best homebrewer. Their core range is brewed at Hawkers in Melbourne, something I didn't know before writing this. This beer is named after Canberra's hottest ever temperature; it's a beer that would suit that sort of weather!

"Probably not the best time of year for this style but good to finally try this! I’ve seen bottles floating around for a while but as a can lover I’m glad to get to try it for the first time in that form. Named after the hottest temperature recorded in the ACT, where Pact hails from, this is a solid light blonde ale with some tropical fruit flavour from the hops. Inoffensive is the word that springs to mind. Wouldn’t turn this down at a pub in the warmer months."

I think we tried this one up at your place Coll. It's certainly easy drinking, although is lacking a little in the flavour department. Like Dylan I'd quite happily drink it again!

Exit Milk Stout - Milk Stout - 5.2%

Regular readers would be aware of my love of Exit's beers. This Milk Stout was the third addition to their core range, and I believe it a reboot of their third ever beer; #003. The Milk Stout style is slowly catching on it Australia with the residual sweetness from the lactose, a sugar that the yeast is unable to consume, a real selling point.

"Exit have an excellent, well rounded core range and this milk stout fits in nicely alongside their amber, IPA and wonderful saison. There’s less lactose character in this than in some milk stouts but it works wonderfully well in terms of balance, resulting in a super smooth, roasty, earthy stout with very light bitterness and a creamy texture. At 5.2% ABV it’s a great weeknight stout too!" 

Pike's Sparkling Ale - Sparkling Ale - 5.2%

I was really interested to try this beer; as it's rare to find beers from Pike's on bottle shop shelves, and almost as rare to find a Sparkling Ale. Sparkling Ale is Australia's only indigenous beer style. The style is a delicate balance between malts and hop and is starting to be recognised in outside of Australia, particularly in America and Scandinavia.

"I never quite know what to expect when I read sparkling ale on a beer label — there’s only a few around and it’s a distinctly Australian style (the only uniquely Aussie one according to the BJCP). Generally my mind leans towards Cooper’s; a yeast driven, high carbonation pale ale with prickly bitterness and good balance. In essence that describes the Pikes sparkling, but much like Prickly Moses ChainSAW it definitely takes a lot of new world influence and creates a modern take on a very old school style. I really dug this beer, admittedly far more than I thought I would. It’s bottle conditioned, pours copper with sturdy malts and lovely fruity, piney hop character (from Chinook and Eureka hops). It’s well balanced, super flavoursome and easy drinking. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more."

Fuller's ESB - ESB - 5.5%

Fuller's Brewery has been operating at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London since 1845. The ESB was a relatively late addition to their lineup, launching 1971. At 5.5% the beer was revolutionary, as one of the strongest regularly brewed beers in the U.K. As Fuller's already had a Special Bitter - London Pride - they termed the beer Extra Special Bitter and a style name was born.

"This beer is probably the one that originated the ESB term on a wide scale and it’s easy to see why - I don’t think I’ve ever had a more ‘English’ tasting beer! There’s bitterness here but it’s very smooth (Target, Challenger, Northdown and Goldings are the hop varieties) and it pours beautifully out of the can, wonderful lacing and great biscuity nose."

Fuller's London Porter - Porter - 5.4%

The London Porter from Fuller's was their second beer to appear in this pack. Porter, as you may find out if I ever finish my Stout vs. Porter piece, was a very important beer style in the history of London. This London Porter was released for the first time in 1996 and is their modern interpretation of the style.

"As you’d expect, a classic proper English porter. Made with brown, chocolate and crystal malts and hopped with fuggles, the flavour profile is all smooth roast, chocolate and coffee with earthy undertones and a creamy, light texture. It’s an interesting companion piece to the Exit Milk Stout which is richer and deeper in flavour, but not quite as immediately drinkable. A pleasant surprise to see in the pack, especially in can form!"

I've been a fan of this Porter for a very long time! I think the thing that makes this beer standout is the creaminess that it packs, which combines beautifully with the dark flavours you'd expect from the style.

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta - Earl Grey IPA - 6.5%

Gunnamatta was the beer that really vaulted Yeastie Boys into my consciousness when it won the GABS People's Choice award back in 2012. Yeastie Boys now operates facilities in their native New Zealand as well as the U.K. & Australia. Gunnamatta is an IPA that has been infused with Earl Grey tea leaves and proved so popular that it is now regularly produced.

"I’ve had this beer a couple of times in the past and absolutely loved it, but was a tad worried by reports there’s a large amount of batch variance in terms of quality. Luckily we got another good batch! This is a cracking beer, ‘dry hopped’ with a heap of earl grey tea. There’s plenty of nicely bitter hops and sweet malts in the IPA base with floral bergamot and tannic dryness rounding it out very well. It’s just super well balanced and for what is essentially a novelty IPA it works extremely well. It’s easy to see why they keep making it."

Blackman's Juicy Banger - IPL - 5.8%

India Pale Lagers, more commonly referred to as IPL's, are a style that is struggling to gain acceptance - despite their popularity. Still not recognised as a style by the BJCP, IPL's are supposed to combine the crispness of a lager with the hop profile you'd expect from an IPA. This example of Blackman's in Torquay is seriously fresh and should be a ripper!

"Blackman’s are probably most famous for their IPA but they’re obvious big lager fans - they’ve got one in their core range and now with this beer, the first of 3 proposed lagers in the ‘lager collective’ series, they’ve got another. This is an IPL and definitely lives up to both the beer name and style, with super juicy, fruity hops all around and a smooth, easy drinking finish. The cans look fantastic too! IPL’s are still not my favourite style but this is a tasty beer, especially when it’s nice and fresh. Looking forward to the other two beers in this series."

It feels good to finally get this review out of the way, even if it hasn't flowed as well as some other posts. Dylan and I have both consumed all of June's Beer-Thusiast Pack and will hopefully get that review up shortly. Personally I thought May's was one of the better packs for a while, although I was surprised by a lot of the lighter styles included in the pack considering the cooling weather.

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

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!