Author Archives: 2hopheads

Hope Estate F 11.1% BIIIPA

Rating:

imageGlassware: Poured into a goblet glass.

Appearance: Jet Black as so aptly named. Slight ruby tinge when held up to the light. There is a creamy 10mm head that retains really well, and basically doesn’t budge. It leaves a sticky wall of lacing whatever head does recede. There is tiny carbonation seen bubbling up to the surface maintaining the bottom of the cream head.

Aroma: It’s a lot more subdued out of the can or from the glass than we imagined for this strength of beer. Almost a watery aroma, combining sweet caramels/almost toffee like, some mild honey, roast, mild chocolates, mild coffee, with remnants of juicy tropical hops.

Flavour: Much more intense and rich. Immediate flavours of roasted malts, ash, strong bitterness, espresso, and dark chocolate. As we imbibe we get stewed dark fruits, some raisins, prunes almost. There is even a cognac or port like liqueur hit. The bitterness is now slowly easing after the onslaught at the start. After researching we note the IBU is a measly 111… the same as the alcohol volume. The spirit like alcohol flavour dominates but certainly does not overpower. The fruity hops combine with the roasted malts and booze well enabling a balance that is very palateable.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with good length. Not overly oily on the lips. Certainly some stickiness. Carbonation not overly high..like an ale. As stated the alcohol vol is 11.1%. Again the balance is a real testament to the brewers.

Overall: Very tasty black IIIPA. It’s boozy but very contained. We havn’t had a lot of excellent Hope Estate brews, but we can say that this drop can finally be added to that category. One is definitely enough in a setting. Good beer.

Firestone Walker 2017 ‘Helldorado’ BA Blonde Barleywine

Rating:

56938243_1071409749709836_9124575698713837568_n“Part of the adventure of aging beer in retired spirits barrels is the synergistic interaction of different malt flavors with the oak and spirit flavors from the barrel. Darker beers like stouts and darker barley wines have typically been the favored candidates for barrel-aging, due to their deeper caramel and roasted flavors. Helldorado breaks that mold with a deep golden color from being brewed solely with English and American pale malts.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Burnished orange to amber complexion with a short yet reasonably well retained head. Eventually it settles to the rim with patchy lace as we go.

Aroma: Straight away we detect the bourbon barrels, vanilla and sweet buttery malts…it’s a trait that FW carry through almost all of their barrel aged range and we absolutely love it! Underneath it are rich caramel malts, toffee, ripe stonefruits, raisin, apple pie and cinnamon. Certainly get a flutter of doughy short crust pastry as well.

Flavour: Again lots of bourbon character, barrels and vanilla but with a balanced sweetness. The warmth from the booze (12.8%) predictably playing a role. Getting a floral aspect that’s fused through the sugary dark fruits and ripe stonefruit i.e apricot and melon. Finishes with warming bourbon, woody oak vanilla and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Not as dense and chewy as your typical barleywine but it’s still full and well rounded. Low co2.

Overall: Brash yet elegant. The use of pale malts definitely helps to create this light and delicate texture so uncommon to the style. Love the creativity and impulse to push the boundaries. Kudos FW!

Cascade Brewing 2016 Project ‘Blackcap Raspberry’ BA Sour

Rating:

57038321_1070834643100680_7552629479537901568_n“This NW style sour blond ale was barrel aged for 28 months before spending an additional two months on 300+ pounds of Black Cap Raspberries: think Nouveau Beaujolais with raspberries.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Dark ruby red/mahogany colour with a light pink head. Retention is poor as it retreats to the rim but still manages to weave a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Divine! It’s like opening up a fresh punnet of raspberries. So tart and juicy. There’s also a hint of fire engine in there…instantly taking us back to our childhood when we were allowed to load up on sugary drinks at restaurants. Love the presence of oak too, gives the aroma that added depth and structure around the lacto sourness. Absolutely brilliant.

Flavour: Where do we start? The progression of flavour is next level. Super sour lacto acidity initially moving to tart raspberry, pomegranate, lemon, blackberry. Lovely oak tannins flowing through. A quick cameo of red wine vinegar before candied raspberry and lemon roll in to a musty/oaky finish which goes the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Tart, sharp and acidic. Pucker rating hits a full 5/5! Still somewhat light bodied with the 7.1% AbV well buried.

Overall: Holy moly what an absolute ripper of a beer. Been trying to get our hands on this for a while and thank god we finally did. Totally lives up to the hype. Phenomenal drop.

Boatrocker 2019 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

57008983_1070232043160940_5364499072797376512_n“Pretty much everyone knows our infamous Ramjet STARWARD whisky barrel aged imperial stout. It’s a big luscious beast of a beer, with lovely whisky notes, and delicious aromas and flavours of dark chocolate, coffee, and malt. Inspired by some classic overseas versions of Bourbon BA coffee beers, we wanted to create a uniquely Australian version, using the wonderful whisky barrels of STARWARD. So we decided to up the natural coffee character that is present in Ramjet by infusing the beer with whole dark roast coffee beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of brown foam emerging over the top. It holds together well and weaves a decent lace down the glass.

Aroma: Holy moly this bad boy packs a punch! It honestly smells as good as the KBS with a certain emphasis on the coffee. It has this bourbon-bbq sauce scent to it which makes us want to throw it all over our next meat lovers pizza. Then there’s the added molasses, toffee, tree sap, licorice, vanilla, marzipan, coconut and tobacco. Brilliant!

Flavour: It comes on quite slow but it definitely intensifies. Initially bourbon and charred malts, coffee, booze and toasted coconut moving to campfire, molasses and vanilla sweetness. It keeps creeping forward with smoke/peat, charred earth and coffee finishing on a deep roasty note with subtle vanilla sweetness cutting in late.

Mouthfeel: Dense and meaty. Full bodied with that 11.2% AbV quite direct. Pure indulgence!

Overall: Without a doubt this is Australia’s best barrel aged stout. Up there with the likes of KBS, Bourbon County etc. Sensational.

Belching Beaver ‘Phantom Bride’ IPA

Rating:

57154197_1069186946598783_355669600446185472_n“Deftones are joining the ranks of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Megadeth and many others in releasing their own signature beer. The California natives have teamed up with San Diego’s Belching Beaver Brewery for a beer they are calling Phantom Bride IPA, named after their recent single.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Surprisingly light straw golden pour with a fluffy two finger head neatly perched on top. Solid retention and healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Really interesting, it has a strong malt structure to it…grainy straw/hay with wheaty accents. The hops blend in to it really well with the lemon, pine and orange peel from the citra
and simcoe dominating. Picking up a spicy undertone as well – peppery and almost rye-like in its delivery. We dig it.

Flavour: Tasting a bit more dank hop and weedy notes on the palate. It still offers a lot of that grainy straw and wheat malt alongside pine needle, peach, orange citrus, earthy herbs and subtle onions. The peach carries through in to the dry and grassy finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Thin and crispy but never watery. It holds a medium weight with the 7.1% AbV nicely tucked away. 55 IBU – spot on.

Overall: Can’t say we’re totally blown away but there are some real strong, and let’s say unique, attributes to it which definitely stand out. Solid drop.

Cascade Brewing 2015 Project ‘The Vine’ BA Sour Ale

Rating:

56770686_1068160163368128_6516453324999360512_n“This Northwest Style Sour Ale is a blend of soured Triple, Blonde Quad and Golden ales that have been refermented with the fresh pressed juice of white wine grapes. The beer spent more than six months of lactic fermentation and aging in small oak barrels.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Hazy golden orange complexion with a fast fading head. It fizzes away completely with no lace to be seen.

Aroma: Smells super fruity…lots of lemon and lime, pomelo, unripened apricot, rockmelon and white grapes. The latter forming more of a vinous accent as it settles in the glass. There’s also a lovely crisp and tart funk which is balanced extremely well by the musty oak tannins. Just a subtle hint of that candy-esque sherbet coming through too. Superb!

Flavour: Sharp, zippy and bursting with a tart and acetic line of sourness. Quite vinous like a young Sauv blanc with its lime and green apple characteristics. A hint of candied peach developing late as it finishes with mildly tart citrus and subtle musty oak on the close.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, fairly light and mineraly. The 10.1% AbV is incredibly well hidden. Pucker rating…a sturdy 4/5.

Overall: We truly believe these guys are America’s answer to Cantillon. What an exquisite drop! So well balanced yet absolutely jam packed with flavour and aroma. Sensational.

Badlands Brewery ‘Malekula’ Spiced Porter

Rating:

56236317_1065968786920599_7712010716550529024_n“Malekula Dark is Badlands Easter Offering. A London Porter spiced with single origin Cocoa from the Vanuatuan island of Malekula & Daintree Rainforest Vanilla soaked in “Dead Mans Drop” a spiced rum from award winning Bathurst distiller Stone Pine. The porter is brewed with 7 malts and is enriched by the chocolate and spicy rum flavours – then smoothed and mellowed by the world’s strongest vanilla grown in the Australian tropics.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Cola coloured pour with a short tan head resting atop. Retention is quite good and so it works a healthy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: With all of those wonderful ingredients on display we were hoping for a bit more vitality. We certainly get the cocoa…it’s absolutely divine. The vanilla is a little harder to locate but it is there. Our main gripe is the lack of spiced rum which is the ingredient we were most excited about! Picking up a subtle peaty note along with tobacco, fresh leather and beef jerky as it settles in.

Flavour: It opens with chocolate, lightly roasted malts, subtle vanilla and tobacco. A flutter of peat and ash here and there as it rounds out on a mild roast with chocolate, toasted nuts and vanilla on the rear.

Mouthfeel: A somewhat thin, metallic texture. Low AbV (4.9%) and mild-moderate body.

Overall: If this was advertised as a straight up London porter it would be superb but the feature flavours…specifically the spiced rum are muted and leave a lot to be desired. This bottle is quite old though so that could have something to do with it. Shame…could have been so much more.

Green Beacon ‘Red’s Dead’ Red IPA

Rating:

56225938_1065798476937630_8767704173144702976_n“Blackcurrant, plum, pine and vanilla with citrus hop bitterness.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Gorgeous mahogany colour with a sumptuous two finger head. It slowly falls away and leaves a wavy lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Waves of blood orange, ruby grapefruit, pine resins and sweet plum supported by a rich, toasty and chewy toffee malt. As it settles the malt sweetness becomes much more caramelised and brings out hints of jam drop biscuits, berry compote and fruit chutney. Excellent aroma with real depth to it.

Flavour: It comes on with a hefty hop bitterness fuelled by acidic grapefruit and citrus rind. All the while that caramel malt sweetness builds in the background. The mid is all toffee and caramel with a gentle roast which meets more citrus, pine and spice in the drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: There’s a bit of chew to it and the 50 IBU provides a hefty dryness. Medium body with the 6.5% AbV relatively well concealed.

Overall: Balance is the key with red IPA’s and they’ve struck it nicely here. A fine offering from Green Beacon.

Barossa Valley Brewing NAIPA

Rating:

56443029_1065651740285637_4053793139889012736_n“We apologise for adding to the growing list of craft styles, but we’re excited to present our NAIPA – Native Aussie IPA. With help of local native food supplier Creative Native, Davidson Plum (100x the vitamin c of oranges) adds balancing acidity and depth to the vast amount of juicy hop, typical of NEIPA’s. Hoppy, refreshing, with loads of character. We hope you enjoy as much as we do.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Offers a unique peachy hue with a finger of loosely held bubble atop. Looks good despite all of the suspended sediment floating around in there.

Aroma: Smells like a fruit salad…orange, peach, mango, pineapple, lychee, melon…all the usual suspects you’d find in a good NEIPA. There’s a subtle musky scent to it which we love! Just a hint of tartness too so the Davidson plums have been applied nicely. Lovely aroma.

Flavour: Nice transition from the nose. That fruit salad component really shining with its citrus, tropical fruit and melon notes. Midway we pick up a tangy and slightly tart Kombucha-like effervescence leading to a mild finish which offers a bit of the tart plums and delicate citrus bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Quite approachable for 6.5% AbV. The texture has this soda water feel to it with very little bitterness. Moderate body.

Overall: Decent drop this! Apart from the unsightly sediment floating around. We’ll just imagine that it’s all little pieces of the Davidson plum…all that vitamin c has to be good for us right?!

Hope Brewing Raspberry Sour

Rating:

56165165_1065518716965606_319702878589550592_n“Hope Estate Raspberry Sour is perfect for a Summer’s day. Lovely and fresh with a decent amount of raspberries and a light sourness.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Hard to say actually! It’s like a blend of pink, orange, red and a bit of amber. It hangs on to a wispy overlay which leaves a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Super refreshing and fruity with an initial blast of tart raspberry followed by cereal grains, orange citrus and a sweaty gose-like salinity. If we didn’t know any better we’d almost say it was raspberry soda!

Flavour: Very light tart raspberry upfront. Maybe hinting at other red berries like strawberry and gooseberry with subtle rose hip florals and cereal grains. Getting mild hints of orange citrus (mandarin mostly) rolling in to the light finish which displays more raspberry on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Light on, mineraly texture. Moderate co2. Mild-medium tartness and low AbV – 3.7%. A mid summer beer that’s for sure!

Overall: Good raspberry flavours and aromas, it’s light, tart and crush-able as a Berliner should be. It hits its mark really. Tough to criticise when it’s doing all the right things.

Northern Monk X Against The Grain ‘Kentucky Shire’ Breakfast Stout

Rating:

54730296_1057502374433907_3598156676684840960_n“When looking to brew with our good friends from Against the Grain, we looked to brew an American classic but with a decidedly Yorkshire twist; and like our previous collaborations together, with a touch of Southern hospitality! The result? This delicious Anglo-American inspired stout!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of creamy brown foam emerging on top. It holds its shape and weaves a fine lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Dark, roasty charred malts, coffee, peppers, nutmeg and chilli-infused dark chocolate. Definitely getting raw and almost bitter cacao working in to the mild campfire and peaty notes. Just a flutter of fresh vanilla bean hidden deep in there too.

Flavour: Nice transition from the nose. Big impressions of bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate and cacao are brilliantly balanced by sweet vanilla and hints of chewy treacle. All the way through is this interesting spicy accent – best described as red peppers or some version of peppercorn – which carries in to the warming finish. Superb length on offer.

Mouthfeel: Not as meaty as were anticipating but still it holds up on the palate with a mild warmth from the 7.3% AbV. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: It wasn’t just the potential KBS factor that led us to try this…it’s also the incredibly eye-catching artwork on the can that naturally stands out on the shelf. Definitely isn’t on KBS level but it’s still a worthy drop.

Tumut River Brewing ‘Bounty Hunter’ Choc Coconut Porter

Rating:

54419845_1056848724499272_4390768654661189632_n“Take a walk on the Dark Side with Bounty Hunter, our Choc Coconut Porter. It’s everything you’d expect – chocolatey, coconutty, dark, rich and full bodied. This is a surprisingly easy to drink beer that hits you with coconut and chocolate aromas from the minute you take that first sniff. Balanced with our fantastic Voyager malts and enough bitterness to keep it feeling like a beer. Take a walk on the dark side..”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep cola pour with an ultra fizzy thumb of tan foam disappearing in front of our eyes. It fizzes away to a ring which provides no lace whatsoever.

Aroma: Very alluring. Definitely getting that wonderful fusion of chocolate and coconut lifting out of the glass. Behind that we’re finding much more traditional porter qualities like rich leather, subtle beef jerky, toast, dates, glazed cherry and vanilla. An all round lovely nose.

Flavour: Picking up some cherry notes on entry followed up by the delicious coconut, chocolate and vanilla. A very mild roast forms late in the piece giving rise to a hint of coffee then eventually landing on a toasty finish with coconut on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Thin but not watery. Somewhat metallic texture with the co2 spot on for a porter. Only 5.1% AbV so staying quite true there as well.

Overall: Without a doubt it’s TRBC’s best offering so far. It’s fun yet it still sticks to a pretty traditional porter recipe. Perfect for this fence-sitting Autumn weather!

Offshoot Brewing ‘Hop Luck’ IPA

Rating:

53863031_1056559284528216_5953728827296317440_n“Homemade SoCal IPA, featuring Simcoe, Mosaic, Amarillo and Centennial hops. Brewed with 2 Row, Vienna and Wheat malts. Fermented with California ale yeast. Released with thanks (and Friendsgiving) on November 13, 2017.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Bright amber with a mild hop haze. The pour raises a thumb of finely beaded foam which is well maintained. Seeing healthy lace on the glass as we hook in.

Aroma: It certainly has a west coast approach to it. Kicking off with clean pine needle, cocktail fruits i.e lychee, pineapple and mango, orange citrus, berries, grassy/herbal hop and boiled candy/palm sugar. The sweetness is further accentuated by the honeyed caramel malt base as well. SoCal indeed!

Flavour: West coast eat your heart out! Crisp notes of pine, orange citrus, tropical fruit and a hint of grapefruit developing late. We get that delicious caramel malt sweetness to balance out all the hops. Nice aggressive dryness to finish with bitter citrus, pine and palm sugar on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Firm, zippy texture with good co2 and moderate body. 7.4% AbV – fits in like a piece in a puzzle.

Overall: It’s encouraging to see that the old favourite still sees some love from a few breweries. Call us old fashioned but the west coast IPA is and always will be a staple beer for us! Top drop.

Offshoot Brewing ‘Friends Giving’ Double IPA

Rating:

54413267_1056265371224274_1553478735976464384_n“Hazy DIPA with Galaxy, Mosaic, Motueka, and Cashmere hops and CMC Superior Pilsen and 2 Row malt, unmalted wheat and oats.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Super hazy golden orange hue with a creamy three finger head. Excellent retention and lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: Those punchy American hops are showcasing tonnes of uplift here. Laden with pine resin, grapefruit, orange peel, guava, pineapple, mango and peach. We see our very own Aussie Galaxy hops have been used as well so that explains the stonefruit and passionfruit notes. Very little malt but that’s fine…let those hops shine!

Flavour: Fairly juicy. Upfront it’s all dank citrus and warming booze but that all eases in to the hallmark brekky juice flavours of papaya, mango, peach, guava and apple. Apricot and other stonefruits come to the party late and roll in to the dank and slightly warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium-full body. The 8.1% AbV reveals its hand throughout. Low bitterness.

Overall: Solid offering. We don’t want to say it was expected but coming from the same brewers of The Bruery it’s no surprise. “Offshoot” is literally just an offshoot – hence the name – of their main headquarters in Orange County, CA.

Tumut River Brewing ‘J.W’ Czech Pilsner

Rating:

54423225_1055178997999578_8914199829664497664_n“Our Mid-Strength J.W. Pilsner is a refreshing beer best suited to a hot summers day, bitter enough to to be refreshing but smooth and easy to drink. Legend has it that there was once a man with the initials J.W. who inspired and even insisted on this creation and as a tribute J.W. Pilsner was born.”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Light golden colour with 100% transparency. It forms a fizzy three finger head which slowly collapses. Healthy lace sticks to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Quite restrained. Mild scents of sweet honey and grains, earthy hops and subtle fruity yeast esters. Very soft hints of spice i.e pepper and anise here and there. As a whole it’s different but it’s very pedestrian.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with very delicate impressions of earthy hop spice, grainy malts and bready/doughy sweetness. It hints at some citrus midway but it reverts back to a light grainy malt flavour which carries through to the short finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery – slips off the tongue too easily…suffering from the ultra low AbV (3%) perhaps. Mild-moderate body and co2.

Overall: We get that it’s a mid-strength but in our opinion there is some serious lack of appeal here. It would be optimal on a hot arvo…as designated driver. But really, that’s about it.

Wilkadene Woolshed ‘Firehouse’ Coffee Stout

Rating:

54727683_1054729138044564_1649706236997795840_n“The Riverland’s only coffee roaster comes to the brewery once a year to produce each batch of Firehouse Coffee Stout. Arrosto coffee use a unique cold extract method to produce a clean and fresh coffee flavour, using single origin Colombia beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with two fingers of loosely packed foam atop. It slowly deconstructs leaving a healthy lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Luscious coffee emanating off the nose! It’s underlined by rich notes of chocolate, toasted marshmallow, mild roast, vanilla and toffee. We’ve noticed that the coffee drops out as it warms and is replaced by the sweetness of the vanilla and marshmallow. Love an evolving aroma!

Flavour: It seems that as it warms the coffee drops out in flavour too. It’s all roast upfront with a pinch of vanilla to balance it out. Hints of the marshmallow are there in the background as it picks up some coffee late in the piece. Nice finish with lingering roast, chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Rather light for a stout. There’s a lifted co2 that adds a bit of vibrancy to the texture. 5.6% AbV so she’s definitely on the milder side.

Overall: Look it’s a good drop but it’s a little too approachable in our opinion. We would have loved to see more body, more coffee and definitely some more roast. If someone was looking at taking their relationship with stouts to the next level then this would be a good option. Not bad.

Tumut River Brewing ‘Squealing Pig’ American Pale Ale

Rating:

53810963_1054633001387511_1215779386070925312_n“Our Squealing Pig APA is a fairly traditional American Pale Ale. Big hops, Big Bitter and a balanced malt profile. If you like big American Beers this should be right up your alley.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Bold amber with a massive four finger head assembling over the top. It takes an age for it to reduce to a thick foamy overlay and makes a mess on the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: First impressions are sweet, candied, almost artificial musky notes with a hefty caramel malt sweetness, berries and orange citrus in support. Not really a lot else on offer but some more adjunct sweetness and a hint of pine. Slightly uneventful.

Flavour: Again quite malt-forward with the caramel and toffee sweetness in the front seat. Very mild suggestions of stonefruit and citrus introduced midway with the citrus carrying through to the finish where it’s met with more malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well rounded texture. 5% AbV. Medium body and co2. All very inoffensive…some would say a little insipid.

Overall: Slightly disappointing. It’s drenched in malt sweetness with very little hop character to offset it. We were hoping to be impressed with our first crack at the TRBC range but not to be. Can’t win em all!

Crooked Stave ‘Vieille’ BA Saison

Rating:

53701910_1054120004772144_1295575871226118144_n“Translated from French as “old-tradition”, Vieille is our barrel-aged classical saison. Using time-honored techniques, our saisons employ traditional methods to restore complexity and the rustic character lost in modern day saison. Saisons were the original wild ales, brewed for the farmhands to be a refreshing and sustaining beverage.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy pale straw colour with two fingers of light puffy foam perched on top. Slow reduction settling to a fine overlay with spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: Classic Saison notes of wheat grains, straw, florals, leafy herbs, dry musty farmyard, oak, delicate citrus and peppery spice. There’s a subtle brett character but it’s more about the estery Belgian yeast than the funky wilds. Very pleasant nose…and very traditional.

Flavour: Tasting a bit more funk now. Super mild brett sourness on entry alongside tangy lemon, straw and herbal hops. Subtle orange peel, spice and peach through the mid and leading in to a dry and musty finish. Maybe a flutter of lime on the rear but it’s pretty restrained.

Mouthfeel: Light on, effervescent texture. We were surprised to see the low AbV (4.2%) but then again that plays right in to the beers traditional nature.

Overall: We must give credit where it’s due – they’ve crammed a tonne of flavour and aromatics in while keeping the AbV low. It’s a tidy, well balanced and well structured offering.

Hanssens Artisanaal ‘Schaarbeekse’ Kriek

Rating:

54434929_1053473178170160_340618755140747264_n“Fresh sour cherries macerated in young lambic in oak barrels with fermentation in the bottle.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Gorgeous colour…she pours a dark purple almost Ribena-like hue with minimal head. It forms a ring which leaves wavy lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: It doesn’t even need to be close to our nostrils to smell it. Incredibly potent cherry notes alongside red wine vinegar, blueberry and walnut. Kind of has this grape flavoured bubblegum accent to it. A bit of that lacto astringency here but it’s softened by hints of fresh pear and apple. Brilliant.

Flavour: It comes on with vigorous pucker…boosted by super tart cherries, plum and astringent red wine vinegar. Quite salty, really gets the saliva glands flowing. A sharp acidity grabs the back of the throat but eases in to a tart, funky yet fruity finish which goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Super sour! Our pucker-rating is a full 5/5. Mild-moderate body. 6.5% AbV showing through a little bit.

Overall: There’s one subtle yet crucial aspect that we totally ignored in this beer…and that’s the oak. It provides an essential balance, not to mention the soft woody aromas and flavours. Phenomenal drop which almost tuns to wine when it warms up. On par with Cantillon easily.

Mikkeller ‘Koppi’ Hazy IPA with Coffee

Rating:

54516489_1052953714888773_9024502410961223680_n“Hazy IPA w. Koppi coffee & Citra & Simcoe Hops.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow with a foamy 1cm cap forming on top. Gradual reduction sees the head settle to a wispy overlay which still manages healthy lace work on the glass.

Aroma: It reeks of citrus, pine, lemon tart, yellow grapefruit, unripened pineapple and spicy herbs. We’ve let this bad boy settle and still we get hardly any coffee from it. That being said there’s still plenty going on…a cheeky spice-driven rye and the subtle citrus from the yeast. A solid aroma considering the lack of feature coffee!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with punchy citrus, pine needle, mild grapefruit, spicy hop and a kind of delicate earthiness. It hits a bit of a herbal note mid-palate and goes on to reveal a flutter of the coffee in an underwhelming finish of mild citrus and spice on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied. Good co2 levels. The 6.9% AbV has been concealed really well.

Overall: It’s just a big old meh! The coffee is totally MIA which is the most disappointing part. It’s not a bad drop by any means but we have to say it…we were expecting a lot more from Mikkeller!