Thursday, 22 November 2018


  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle
  • Price: Slightly Pricey 
I've been asked in the past why I haven't give the Bridge Road Hop Pack the same treatment as the old BrewDog IPA is Dead series. It's a question that I could never give a good answer to, I'd mutter about freshness or the beers being too malt forward; however today I'm righting that wrong!

Bridge Road are a brewery that I've waxed lyrical over so many times that I don't feel the need to rehash that here. They're one of the few breweries in Australia who could position themselves to sell a mixed 4-pack of Single Hop IPA's to the masses.

Basically this 4-pack showcases the finest varieties of Australian hops. They use a method very similar to the BrewDog method, which I'll let them explain further below.

"Bridge Road Brewers located in Beechworth, Victoria, have a strong relationship with one of Australia’s few remaining hop gardens, Rostrevor. This garden is located in the nearby Ovens Valley and has a long history of hop production in North East Victoria. Our brewery is a proud advocate of Australian hops, and promote the continued development of new and unique varieties. Each of the four beers in this pack use the same malt recipe, and have the same alcohol percentage, it is the Hop Variety that is different in each beer. This Beer-School pack of single hop India Pale Ales has been created to offer beer drinkers the chance to identify the unique characteristics of each hop variety, we call it beer’d-ucation!"

I'm not sure how Bridge Road have managed to position themselves as this beacon of beer knowledge in this country - maybe it's down to their founder Ben's desire to better the understanding of beer in this country. But I digress, without further ado let's get into these fresh Single Hop IPA's all hopped with different Australian varieties.

Galaxy is the golden child of the Australian hop industry, developed throughout the mid-90's before being commercially released in 2009. The hop is highly sought after, both in Australia & overseas, and acreage is increasing year on year.

As this is the first beer I think it's important to discuss the malt of the beer, that allows the hops to shine. It's lighter than previous years with slightly sweet biscuity notes the only real characteristics. The Galaxy was really interesting in it, there was some of the usual passionfruit, gooseberry & lychee notes that the hop is so well known for, but there was also heaps of grapefruit - something I normally don't associate with Galaxy.
Vic Secret is a hop that I haven't had the greatest relationship with in the past. This hop was developed in 2000 and had a long trial period alongside it's sister hop, Topaz, before it's commercial release in 2013. Bridge Road actually released the first beer utilizing this hop with their Harvest beer in 2011 - in it's trial phase.

The Vic Secret Single Hop IPA has the same slightly sweet biscuit base, which is good for the point of the exercise. There is a light floral spiciness coming from the hops as well as cantaloupe notes, accompanying the citrus and pine that this hop is known for. The hop may have beer poorly utilized in the beers I've previously had, as this is tasting lovely!
Bridge road were again one of the pioneers in brewing trials for Enigma, with their Enigma New World Lager probably the best known beer predominantly utilizing this hop. The hop was released in 2013 before being massively upscaled in 2015. It's parentage includes Swiss Tettnang and it is believed to also have an American parent - although it's exact origins are not widely publicized.

This was another hop that showed a different side of itself that what I knew of it. This Enigma Single Hop IPA packed plenty of pine resin alongside the citrus notes that it's more well known for. I was also pleased to detect the raspberry note that this hop occasionally gives off, as the beer warmed.
Ella has been grown in commercial quantities since 2010, with significant production ramping up in 2013. The hop was previously known as Stella, however this was changed after a similarly named macro lager decided that they had a problem with this...

I've traditionally not been a big fan of Ella over the journey. One of the few beers I've enjoyed it in is previous iterations of this IPA. Once again I actually thought that this beer was the pick of the bunch. It's got wonderful bitterness with plenty of grapefruit & some spicy floral notes. If I had to drink one of these regularly this would be the one.

I meant to have this post up in late August, within the week of drinking these. Part of the reason it didn't get up for so long is that I thought I'd finished it! In any case, better late than never! I hope you enjoy reading this post - it's always worth picking up the Bridge Road Beer School Pack if you find them. There's more content coming soon including a big idea for next year...

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


Episode 4 - Show Notes 

In an almost unbelievable turn of events, Dylan & I have got the podcast up on time again! As regular readers would be aware punctuality and deadlines aren't exactly a strong suit at Beer O'Clock Australia.

We're going to rotate some segments in and out, especially early on while we get into the swing of things - so if there is anything you love or hate, please let us know! The idea at the moment is that the podcast will be (roughly) monthly, and we'll try and keep that pretty regular - at least more so than I've kept the blog up to date recently... Basically every month we'll discuss some of the latest news from the beer world, we'll talk about some beers that we've been enjoying over the last month & we'll crack something interesting from my cellar.

We recorded this episode not that long after the last one, so the news segment was a little shorter than in some previous episodes. Despite that we ran well over time - as we got sidetracked a couple of times. There were no new segments this month but we did manage to fit a lot into the episode. Hope you enjoy it guys!

 Show Notes

News Items (0:30)
  • Boatrocker's New Can Releases
  • Molly Rose's new home in Collingwood
  • Fermentum's new venture: Forest For The Trees
  • Flagged shortfall in Malt
  • Great Barrier Beer 2.0
  • Stomping Ground Movember Donation
  • Garage Project - New Hop Development
Scouting Report (8:36)
  • Brendale Brewing Co.
    • 2/62 Kremzow Rd, Brendale, QLD, 4500
What We're Brewing (11:37)
    • ESB 
    • Maris Otter, Two-Row, Dark Crystal, Light Crystal, Belgian Biscuit Malt
    • 5.3-5.5%
    • EKG, Fuggles
    • Batch split 4 ways; Staight, Barossa Shiraz Oak Chips, Johnnie Walker Double Black Oak Chips, Raspberry & Cherry (replacing the Tea discussed) 
Matilda Bay Redback Original - A Tribute (14:58)
  • Firstly a huge thanks to listener Tim who sent these in for us.
    • Redback is a Kristallweizen that is over 30 years old!
    • This beer should be more widely available & respected.
    • AIBA Grand Champion Beer in 1993.
  • This merged into quite an interesting wider discussion on Matilda Bay and its history/downfall
What We're Drinking (28:34)
  • May Day Hills Tasting
    • Beer Deluxe Event - $30
    • 7 Beers with matching canapes
      • Apple, Yuzu, Sour Amber, Grape, Breakfast, Elderflower, Jam
  • James Squire The Wreck Preservation
    • 200 year old yeast reportedly cultured from a ship wreck
  • Carwyn NYC Cold Freight Showcase
    • Cold Freighted NEIPA Tasting
    • Finback, Interboro, Sand City, LIC Beer Project, Equilibrium
      • Equilibrium Straight Out of the Laboratory
  • Chur/Behemoth Hop Diggity Dog
    • Best New World NEIPA that I've ever had!
    • 100% Citra Hops
  • Pike's Choc Hazelnut Porter
Desert Island 6-pack (45:34)
  • Australian Brewed IPA's.
    • Straight IPA
      • No Red, Black, White, Brown IPA's etc. 
    • 4.0-7.5% ABV
    • No Fruit
  • There were NO cross overs this month!
  • Dylan's individuals;
      • Modus Operandi Sonic Prayer, Mornington Peninsula IPA, Pirate Life IPA, Mountain Goat The Zymurgist, Bruny Island Cloudy Bay IPA, Kaiju Robohop    
  • Noz's individuals;
      • Fixation IPA, Hawkers West Coast IPA, Feral War Hog, Pirate Life Mosaic IPA, Moon Dog Sun Cat, BrewBoys Hoppapotamus  
  • Honourable Mentions
      • Noisy Minor ANZUS, Feral Hop Hog, Green Beacon Scrimshaw, Hop Nation The Chop, Big Shed Fresh Hop Californicator, Fixation Obsession, Brewcult Thanks Captain Obvious
Noz's Cellar (1:08:23)
  • Rulles La Grande 10 (2013)
    • Their 10th Anniversary beer, which has been rebrewed multiple times
    • Belgian Strong Golden Ale - 10%
    • Bought in Belgium and lovingly cellared since 2015. 
So there we have it guys, we may have gone a little over time but (I think at least) it was was areally good episode. As usual flick any questions, comments, suggestions etc. through to and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. In the meantime there will be a few new posts up on the blog in the coming days so stay tuned!

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


        The World's best beer contender?

  • Country: United States
  • Style: American Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Serving Type: 473ml Can
  • Price: Special Occasions Only

For as long as I've been into craft beer I've wanted to try this beer! Sip of Sunshine from Lawson's Finest Liquids, one of the great names in brewing, has always been on my bucket list. I'm not 100% sure why, I'm guessing it had something to do with the striking predominantly yellow can.

I always thought I would have to travel to the U.S. to try this beer. Lawson's have a tiny distribution footprint in just 7 North Eastern States (Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New York & New Hampshire). Then magically up stepped Sydney's premier beer store, Bucket Boys, with their 2nd Anniversary sale. They got a heap of hyped stuff in super fresh and put it on sale. Demand was understandably high, but I managed to secure what I wanted.

Lawson's Finest Liquids' flagship beer, Sip of Sunshine, pours a deep golden colour and is slightly hazy. The beer pours with a big off white head, maybe 3 and a half fingers high. The top of the head dissipates quickly however at least half a finger of head is left covering the beer throughout the course of drinking. This is aided by the continual rising of a number of fine bubbles from the bottom of the glass.

On to the nose and the beer smells like a tropical fruit bomb. There is heaps of mango, pineapple & papaya up front, before stone fruit & citrus flavours take over with nectarine, peach, grapefruit & orange peel all evident. It's one of the most complex mix of hop aromas that I've ever smelt. There is very little malt on the nose, with a touch of bread noticeable.

The flavour follows on from the nose - there is plenty of tropical fruit & citrus flavours with only the faintest hints of bready malts, which provides balance. The dominant flavours I pick up are mango, grapefruit & peach. The hop flavour is reminiscent of a NEIPA, with plenty of juicy fruit notes, however it has a good whack of bitterness, which is a wonderful change up in this age of juice dominant NEIPA's. Given the ABV, this beer is dangerously drinkable.

Sip of Sunshine was one of those beers that I'd hyped up so much that I was almost sure it would let me down. Thankfully I was wrong for once! This beer is superb & absolutely worth the small fortune I paid to get it. If you get the opportunity to try this I highly recommend you  do. It's a superb beer and a nice change up in this age of NEIPA that we seem to be living in! #makeIPAbitteragain

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

Friday, 2 November 2018


The Beer-thusiast Pack: June 

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. 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.

June's pack had only 3 Victorian beers, which seems unusually low for the normally particularly state-riotic Carwyn Beer-Thusiast Pack. They were joined by two beers from Otherside, a Western Australian brewery I'd never heard of, as well as beers from the United States (Sierra Nevada, Scotland (BrewDog) & New Zealand (Liberty), although the latter is contract brewed at Hawkers. 

Exit Milk Stout - Milk Stout - 5.2%

Regular readers of the blog would be aware of how much I admire what Exit do. Their core range includes the almost compulsory Pale Ale/IPA combo, followed by an Amber, a Saison & this their Milk Stout. It's a phenomenal style that doesn't get anywhere near the love it deserves in this country. This is a truly excellent example to boot.

"I’m always happy to see more stouts in cans! This is a beer I enjoyed a few times during winter. It’s toasty, lightly roasty and quite creamy with some chilled out coffee and sweet milk chocolate notes. A really reliable beer if you want something dark and easy going."

Sierra Nevada Otra Vez - Gose - 4.9%

Semi-recently Sierra Nevada change their Gose, Otra Vez, to include lime & agave at the expense of grapefruit & prickly pear. Quite why I'm not sure - the original was a great beer. I'm going to be honest; I'm not a fan of the switch. It's still a nice Gose, but it doesn't have this unique character that the prickly pear imparted. I'm also not sure if they've dialed back the tartness...

"The new Otra Vez switches out prickly pear and grapefruit for lime and agave, and the results are...inconclusive? It’s quite different for mine and I think it’ll come down to personal preference. I enjoyed the intriguing vegetal notes in the original, plus I feel like the tartness is scaled back here. On the flipside, this may work better as a gose; there’s a good whack of lime flavour, followed by the agave, which leans the beer as a whole towards a pleasant Margarita-style flavour area. I’d be keen on seeing more variations in the future."

Stomping Ground Laneway - Lager - 4.7%

Stomping Ground is the brewery from the team behind The Local Tap House. They have one of the best approaches to beer education in the country and this beer is, in my mind, the manifestation of that ethos. It's a Munich Helles Lager with nice floral and herbal notes - it's not too far from the realms of someone who doesn't like craft beer whilst still offering enough for seasoned craft beer drinkers.

"Clean, inoffensive. Not a heap needs to be said really. It has a bit of bready malt and gentle bitterness. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here - it’s a solid lager, one I’d happily drink again."

I also think that this is a seriously solid lager. It does everything you want in the style; it's particularly quaffable and has enough malt to keep hardened craft drinkers interested.

Liberty Yakima Monster - American Pale Ale - 6.0%

This was one of the first New Zealand beers to really grip me, when I tried it 6 or 7 years ago. It's so long since I first had it that it isn't on my Untappd! Liberty are having this contract brewed at Hawkers now, to ensure that this beer wows people the way it wowed me all those years ago!

"A staunch, pungent, punchy pale. Drippy, resinous fruit and a big enough body to stand up to it. Somehow it remains super drinkable too! Liberty make good stuff but I hadn’t gotten around to having this one until the Carwyn pack came along - the praise I’ve seen heaped on it definitely makes sense."

3 Ravens Moussey Juicy - NEIPA - 6.0%

3 Ravens are known for pushing boundaries under Brendan's brewing stewardship; Moussey Juicy may have been a step too far. Billed as a New England Black IPA, or NEBIPA, It's hard to see the haze due to the colour of the beer and I don't really understand why they thought it necessary to take it to this point. In saying that, it was their GABS beer this year...

"The endless juicy variants have wrapped around to being endearing again, especially when they’re doing fun stuff like this. Unfortunately astringent on the back-end, this is very creamy and chocolate driven initially. The overall product is good fun, but probably not something I’d hurry back to. It’s certainly not at the same level of high concept execution as something like their more recent Salted Caramel Shake."

BrewDog Kamikaze Knitting Club - Stout - 7.5%

BrewDog are a brewery that seem to covet the spotlight, normally this is a result of their deliberate, outrageous behavior. This beer I feel may have unintentionally found the spotlight. The can artwork depicts the Rising Sun & Kamikaze pilots and was received very poorly in Japan and the majority of Asia. The beer itself is a Stout with Maple Syrup added.

"I wasn’t super keen on this. It might have been a bit of palate fatigue on the day, or just not being quite in the right mood, but it seemed instantly forgettable. Light in body for over 7% ABV, with this fairly subtle maple/smoke character that didn’t elevate it to any particular heights."

This didn't taste like a 7.5% Stout, the body is far too thin. As Dylan said the Maple Syrup flavour didn't come through anywhere near enough. I don't think they'll be re-brewing any time soon...

Otherside Harvest - Red Ale - 5.4%

Otherside began their brewing life as a gypsy brewing operation based out of Fremantle in Western Australia. Things really kicked up a notch for the group of mates who met in the music industry with the opening of their brewery in Myaree in early 2018. Their "Harvest" beer is a Red Ale and is packed with fresh hops.

"A brewery I’d heard very little about from WA had two beers in this month’s pack - I enjoy when Carwyn get their hands on a couple of releases from an upstart brewery and pop them in a pack. This was definitely the better of the two in my eyes, pouring a wonderful orange/bright red with some nice piney hops and sturdy, but drinkable, malts."

Otherside Festive - Session IPA - 4.2%

The second beer from Otherside to be included in the June Beer-Thusiast Pack is their Session IPA; Festive. Festive was apparently their first release back in 2016. It comes in at only 23 IBU's, which I would suggest is not enough for a Session IPA. Only tasting will tell...

"Noz and I both picked up a fair bit of Pride hopping in here. Whether or not that’s actually the case, it’s not usually one of the more sought after flavours in a session ale. That grungy, ‘dirty’ bitterness certainly has a place, but I was hoping for something a touch fruitier. Still, I didn’t hate it. The overwhelming impression I had was “yep, this is a beer”."

"Yep, this is a beer." That's a fitting summation of this beer. I didn't get any of the supposed citrus, pine & stonefruit that was flagged.

One week in & we're still on track to be caught up by Christmas with these Beer-Thusiast reviews. I think this pack turned out to be a little underwhelming, with the Exit Milk Stout & Liberty Yakima Monster being the clear standouts. Hopefully July provides better beers & that Dylan & I continue our uncharacteristic timeliness.

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