Author Archives: 2hopheads

Central State Brewing ‘Gus’ Imperial Farmhouse IPA


50022274_1017372758446869_3800887920559128576_n“Named in honor of Indiana-born astronaut Gus Grissom who lost his life in the pursuit of taking a man to the moon, this IPA is aggressively hopped with Australian Galaxy and American Mosaic hops.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Super cloudy light orange-ish colour. Two fingers of fluffy white foam forms and holds together nicely. Seeing healthy lace work as we indulge.

Aroma: Tonnes of orange citrus qualities – mostly rind and pectin with a hint of marmalade. Peach, white pepper, banana and apple really coming through…among other usual estery suspects. There’s a bit of funk to it, not overpowering though which is good…just a suggestion of wheated grains and farmyard to bring it home.

Flavour: Big impression of pithy orange peel, grapefruit and dry acetic bitterness on entry. Hints of white pepper and warming booze accentuating it even further. It continues with this relentless bitterness and practically finishes how it begins – dry, bitter and citric. Not a whole lot of depth on offer.

Mouthfeel: Pretty aggressive. Dry and bitter. 9% AbV so it’s quite prickly as well. Can’t find an IBU which is annoying coz we’d like to know!

Overall: Can’t say we’re fans of it. Our main gripe is this incessant dry and pithy bitterness that grabs a hold of the palate and just wrecks it. It’s like they needed to add a sweeter base malt to balance it out a bit. Had better.

Against The Grain Brewery ‘Sacred Sacrum’ BA Belgian Ale


49556723_1014760908708054_6400027185490427904_n“All Funked Up- Wild Series. Belgian ale aged in red wine barrels finished with Brettanomyces.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Pecan to mahogany kind of affair with a loosely held finger of light tan foam atop. Some spotty lace sticking to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Surprisingly mild chocolate is one of the first to hit the olfactory’s…mixed with a dark fruity tang to make it all the more interesting. Yeasty spice and vinous tannins with a hint of oak following close behind. Really strikes us as more of a funky, barrel aged dubbel at this point. There’s some sourness but it’s more of a sweaty/barnyard funk if anything.

Flavour: Light tart red fruits and oak tannins build to bitter sweet chocolate, dry red wine and a sweaty/manky sourness early in the mid. Some earthy hop dryness kicks up toffee apple, subtle orange peel and a certain mustiness which moves in to a slightly fruity finish with subtle yeast esters and dark fruit sweetness on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Light on. Mild-medium body with low co2. Not a lot happening other than the unbelievably well hidden AbV (9%).

Overall: Can’t say we’re impressed by this. If you’re expecting a sour beer then prepare to be surprised. Expect more of a slightly funked up dark Belgian ale with more pronounced yeast character than sourness.

Toppling Goliath ‘Hopsmack’ Double IPA


49581102_1013149002202578_7465146583470833664_n“Giant aromas of pineapple and tropical fruit jump from this enticingly complex double IPA. True to its name, this brew delivers a heavy smack of dry hops and a double dose of bitterness in the finish.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Cloudy orange body with a sturdy two finger crown. It holds together nicely and weaves a fine lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Hopsmack by name, Hopsmack by nature! The medley of tropical fruits, citrus and stonefruits are captivating. Oodles of pine and berries, some dankness, we get a kind of sugar-crust from it also…almost like palm sugar. Undertones of green fleshy fruit such as honeydew and kiwifruit here and there. Brilliant aroma, very well layered.

Flavour: Carries on from the nose with a big helping of American hops upfront. Grapefruit, orange, pine, tropical fruits, stonefruit, citrus rind and mild peppery spice converge on the palate. It hits a brawny bitterness midway which stretches out in to the dry, piney and citrusy finish. Really good length on show as well.

Mourhfeel: Super bitter (100 IBU), drying towards the finish. Moderate co2 and body. The 7.8% AbV was really well concealed.

Overall: Another impressive offering from TG here. What they’ve done really well is they’ve taken the big aggressive bitterness out of a West Coast IPA and applied it to a NEIPA. Kind of offers the best of both coasts!

Mikkeller ‘Awful Gato’ Imperial Brown Ale


49664314_1012520355598776_3100128005800853504_n“Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Vanilla and Coffee.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Virtually black but revealing a cola hue at the base of the glass. A thumb of tan foam emerges but eventually retreats to the rim with a wet lace drag running down.

Aroma: Intense coffee and vanilla get things underway. A rather sweet coffee though – surely a cold drip as opposed to fresh coffee beans. The vanilla works very well in tandem we must say. It’s also getting great support from the nutty malts, milk chocolate, lightly roasted malts and cocoa. Very alluring!

Flavour: Getting that delicious sweetness from the vanilla but more of a roasted bitterness from the coffee (making us question our comments on the aroma). Bitter sweet chocolate, cocoa and burnt toast definitely adding to that. Some hop bitterness developing late as it finishes dry and roasty with a mild boozy burn in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Has a good viscosity to it. Weighs in at 8.9% AbV so some warmth is to be expected. No IBU to be found…we’d love to know where it lands because it’s quite bitter.

Overall: We’d also love to know whether the brewers intended on this being a kind of spin off of an Affogato. It has the ingredients but it missed a trick if that’s what they were after. Either way it’s a cracking brown ale.

Beachwood Blendery 2018 Vintage Kriek


49614625_1011958275654984_1101750551277731840_n” ‘Kriek’ starts out as a blend of one year old lambic-inspired barrels, combined with a mix of frozen tart cherries at a rate around 2 lbs per gallon. After two months of secondary fermentation and maturation the beer is sent to bottles and kegs for conditioning.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Hits the glass with a cloudy strawberry red. It forms a short cap on top which leaves spotty lace as it ebbs. Looks good!

Aroma: Heady notes of tart cherry, lactic sourness, lemon/lime juice, red berry sherbet, red wine vinegar and musty wine cellar. Oak and subtle wine tannins also getting amongst it. It has just that right amount of manky character to it as well. Smells fantastic!

Flavour: Ooph she certainly has some pucker! The sharp lacto sourness hits with ferocity then gradually softens enabling the acidic lemon, tart cherry, red wine vinegar and mild oak tannins to come through. The true cherry flavour presents midway and rolls in to a funky/manky finish with lingering tartness on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and acetic with lively co2. The 6.4% AbV adds a bit of warmth as well.

Overall: She’d certainly benefit from a few years in the cellar that’s for sure. To be fair it is the 2018 vintage so it’s still expectedly bitey. All in all though it’s a damn fine Kriek.

Perennial Artisan Ales ‘Saison De Lis’ Chamomile-infused Saison


48423410_1010008232516655_2458623259449491456_n“A straw colored Belgian-style Saison brewed with chamomile flowers. It is fermented with a traditional saison yeast strain that imparts fruity and spicy notes that dovetail perfectly with the tea-like quality of the chamomile. Finishes dry, tart, and refreshing.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Straw gold with a frothy three finger head which persists. It leaves a mess on the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Funky and floral perfumes initially. Tonnes of yeast esters and spice, candied citrus, banana runts, coriander, farmyard and wheat grains making up the bulk of it. The chamomile comes through in a herbal and sweet fruity kind of way, it’s a nice touch we’d admit this is the first time we’ve ever seen a chamomile-infused beer.

Flavour: The level of Co2 took us back a bit. Once that tapers off it delivers strong witbier-esque yeast esters, wheat grains and herbaceous chamomile. Getting just a flutter of black peppercorn and other earthy adjuncts rolling in to a semi-dry, spicy and yeasty finish which has legs.

Mouthfeel: Super fizzy…the Co2 could do with some scaling back actually. Fairly light on, mineraly and somewhat gassy texture. Only 5% AbV which was surprising.

Overall: This is our 2nd crack at Perennial’s range. It’s fair to say we had high expectations coming off our review of Abraxas. Although it didn’t wow us it was a decent little number…a solid summer quaffer.

The Rare Barrel ‘Home, Sour Home’ BA Sour


48377806_1006249729559172_1223156061121282048_n“Home, Sour Home is a blend of golden sour beers aged in oak barrels with peaches, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Notes of baked peaches, with hints of cinnamon spice and smooth vanilla will leave you craving some homemade peach cobbler. We originally released Home, Sour Home as our first Founders Club release. In its 2014 debut, DRAFT Magazine considered Home, Sour Home one of “The 25 Best Beers of 2014.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: A kind of milky off-yellow complexion with a wispy head which retreats to the rim. Laced fairly well considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: As far as sour aromas go this is right up there. The peach notes coming through are incredible! Also picking up tangerine, orange sherbet, sweet earthy spice, vanilla, peach skins, candied lemon and buttery flaked pastry. She certainly shines full of lacto sourness…almost has that yoghurt-like scent to it. Magnificent!

Flavour: Lovely focus on the peaches again…definitely front and center with strong support from the slightly acetic lemon juice, woody oak, creamy vanilla and subtle apricot. The peach flavour really carries through nicely, across the mid and in to the finish which reveals more stonefruits i.e apricot and rockmelon.

Mouthfeel: Frothy and nicely carbonated with good pucker. Medium body. A rather fine little quaffer.

Overall: Our only gripe with it is the lack of oak character and spice. Thing is there’s more than enough aroma and flavour already happening so we can forgive them for that. All in all it’s a respectable sour.

Beerfarm ‘Asam Boi’ Gose (Salted Plum Sour)


48413989_1005843906266421_6547743265557315584_n“True collaborations take the very best of those involved to create something very special. Looking for a true taste of Asia, our friends and collaborators at Smith Street Taps in Singapore suggested the unique sweet and salty character of Asam boi or salted plums to mix with our kettle-soured Berlinner Weiss. The resulting beer is a true taste of Asia in an Australian made beer. A redolent deep orange with a dense rocky head, sweet complex aroma and an evocative and intriguing sugary, sweet, salty, fruity and sour palate. Perfect for a humid Singapore afternoon.”

Glassware: Tumbler.

Appearance: Tiger orange with a mild haze. It forms a thumb of translucent head which allows the colour of the beer to influence it a bit. Laced well.

Aroma: The tart, salty and mildly sour characteristics of the Asam Boi (dried plums) fill the nose instantly. It’s then followed by a dry and almost powdered sugar-like sweetness which balances it right out. There’s also a subtle fusion of other fruits like mandarin, key lime and blood orange which gives amazing depth and uniqueness to it.

Flavour: It transitions from the nose exceptionally well. It’s like every taste of the flavour wheel is covered….sweet, salty, sour, fruity, tart. Even umami gets a run. It’s unbelievable. The way it progresses from sweet in to sour and fruity and then in to salty and savoury must be tried to be believed.

Mouthfeel: Light, salty, mineraly texture. Lightly sparkling co2. Super refreshing and insanely palatable on this hot summer arvo.

Overall: Very unique beer. As it’s quite complex and full flavoured one appears to be enough. But not only is it delicious it’s also acting as a brilliant palate cleanser as well! Fantastic drop.

Ironbark Hill Brewhouse Black Forest Stout


49125091_1005678916282920_4358488792860983296_n“This is an easy drinking stout that has been brewed with real cherries and dark chocolate. Brewed to harness the dry Irish stout style with a subtle back end reminiscent of black forest cake. A great after dinner beer or one for a cold winters night.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of lightly tanned foam perched on top. Good head retention and healthy lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Absolutely exquisite. The cherries really pop (pun unintended!). Behind them is a dense and luscious helping of dark chocolate, roasted malt, nutmeg, vanilla, fruit jelly and subtle coffee. We literally picture a big and decadent black forest cake everytime we take a whiff. Superb.

Flavour: Much drier and with a little less character as opposed to the aroma. Still getting that fruity line from the cherries with a distinct earthy cocoa and bittersweet chocolate weaving through. Tastes a bit grainy late in the piece but finishes with a soft coffee roast and a faint hint of black forest cake in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dry in essence but with a somewhat creamy texture to it as well. Would love to try this on nitro!

Overall: It took us a few sips to come around but eventually we did. The sweet and luscious nose then the dry and bittersweet flavour offers contrast and actually makes it a bit more fun. We’re liking what this brewery is producing.

Ironbark Hill Brewhouse American Pale Ale


48419333_1003984366452375_7050806355371753472_n“A pale ale using all American hops with flavours and aromas of pine, citrus and tropical fruits with a medium dry finish. Crystal malt imparts a light residual sweetness for mouth feel.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Hazy amber-orange pour with a mountainous four finger head emerging on top. It settles to a thick layer with blotchy lace work on the glass.

Aroma: A fair bit of uplift to it actually. Heady notes of tangy orange citrus, pine, florals, candied fruits, sugar-crusted grapefruit and a subtle honey and or caramel sweetness filling it out. Very nice. Very sweet but pleasant all the same.

Flavour: It bursts with orange citrus, tropical fruits, pine and semi sweet malt tones. A bit of hop bitterness mixing with some mildly acetic grapefruit through the mid then moving in to a dry finish which offers lengthy notes of pine, orange peel and grassy hop on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Vibrant and well rounded. A little light on but held up with a spritzy carbonation and a decent IBU (33).

Overall: This is our first crack at this brewery from Pokolbin. Another brewery/winery to add to the evergrowing list alongside the likes of Hope Brew house, CVBC, Cupitts, Prickly Moses and more. Quite a nice way to kick off proceedings.

5 Barrel Brewing BA Flemish Red


48389426_1001870636663748_7839580754299322368_n“My first exposure to a Flemish Red was one of intrigue. It was like no other beer I had ever had before. The depth of flavour evident in this beer comes from the blending of a mature 18-month old barrel with a younger, more youthful beer. The act of blending smooths out some of the rough edges and allows the rich malt character to develop on your palate with some familiarity. The acidic bite is strong, yet approachable and finishes with a lovely funky quality.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Works its way from burnt orange to a kind of rusted red/brown. Nice pillowy head which persists. Laced reasonably well.

Aroma: Tangy cider and vinegar notes with spicy pepper, cigar box, plums, woody oak, farmyard and tart berries/cherries in support. We’re getting a real manky cheesy character from it….hints at dirty old socks and sweaty horse blanket. So wrong but so right!

Flavour: More of a funky/tangy sourness upfront moving in to mixed berries, red fruits, cider and plums midway. A hint of caramel sweetness getting amongst it as well. Sharp-ish red wine vinegar develops late and helps shape the dry, tannic and fruity finish with lingering oak accents on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Rather light on with a somewhat soapy texture. Carbonation is mild-moderate. Just feels like it’s missing something though.

Overall: We’ve been impressed by 5 Barrel’s barrel aged sour range. At the moment the cherry sour is way out in front. This one hits its mark but fell short of wow-ing us. Not a bad offering.

De Moersleutel ‘Bounty Hunter’ Coffee & Coconut Imperial Stout


48362675_1000577843459694_1707930943966150656_n“Coffee & Cocounut infused Imperial Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy overlay. It quickly snaps back to the rim with random spots of lace in its wake.

Aroma: It practically jumps out of the glass. The intensity of the coconut hits the olfactory’s first followed by espresso coffee, vanilla, chocolate, medium malt roast, black peppercorns and toasted marshmallow. The strength of the aroma literally hides any trace of the 12% AbV. Remarkable!

Flavour: Exact mirror image of the aroma – the infusion of coconut is immense then the espresso coffee, vanilla and chocolate takes hold. At this point it is just a liquid Bounty bar in our glass. Getting touches of spicy peppercorns which exposes the warming booze in the finish. Brilliant length as well.

Mouthfeel: Thick, gummy and plenty of muscle. Full body with mild-medium co2. 12% AbV….as we said previously it’s unbelievably well hidden.

Overall: Another epic offering from these Dutchmen. It’s our 2nd entry and both have been top notch dessert stouts. It will be interesting to see if they have depth in their repertoire…we’re willing to find out!

Hawkers Beer Aquavit BA Dubbel


48272874_999382020245943_2557939735309844480_n“The term dubbel is rooted in a Belgian Trappist beer naming convention which can be traced back to 1856. This brown ale has been aged in Aquavit barrels to produce a complex beer.”

Glassware: Goblet.

Appearance: Muddy chestnut brown with a ring of loosely held bubble around the rim. Some soapy lace left behind as we go.

Aroma: Rich, sweet and chock-full of chewy caramels, toffee, Christmas cake, spice, carob, prunes, oregano and burnt oranges – the latter surely being products of the Aquavit barrels. It’s lovely how the aromas tie together though. Superb.

Flavour: Getting more yeasty notes…estery fruits i.e banana, pear and earthy clove-like spice. Loads of caramel and toffee sweetness, dark fruits and fennel set up for a nice and warming finish. Not overly boozy though, still showing plenty of spice and dark fruit on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as silk, chewy almost port-like texture. Full in body with low co2. The 11% AbV is incredibly well masked.

Overall: There’s only a small handful of Aussie brewers who’ve been able to pull off a brilliant Trappist ale. Hawkers have now placed themselves among them. This is a cracking Dubbel, kudos Hawkers!

Cooper’s Brewery 2018 Vintage Ale


48053019_998626710321474_5901788121338478592_n“One of Australia’s truly remarkable beers, Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale is made using carefully selected hops, barley malt, crystal malt and malted wheat. With nice levels of bitterness and fruity flavours, this fine ale will mature beautifully over the next two years.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Rusty/bronze kind of affair. It forms two fingers of well retained head and laces well as it subsides.

Aroma: Very malty, nutty and sweet…oh so English! Truck loads of caramel and toffee, white bread, earthy hops, dark fruits, raw almond, honeysuckle and brioche. There’s also something that we just can’t put our finger on…it smells a bit like buttery fairy bread. A classic Aussie delicacy!

Flavour: Follows the nose – it’s malt forward with a lick of earthy hop character. Quite toasty as well, hitting notes of brown bread along with toffee, dried fig and slightly burnt caramel. Estery yeast flavours in there which drag out in to the dry and mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a somewhat frothy and well rounded texture. A hint of the 7.5% AbV shows through but ultimately it’s well disguised.

Overall: Like all bottled Coopers beers there’s a little clump of settled yeast at the bottom of the glass, so watch your pour. We like this beer as it ages well so drinking it this early will have some pitfalls. Straight to the cellar the other 5 go!

Goose Island ‘Gillian’ BA Belgian Wild Ale


48270635_997945160389629_5143893609556213760_n“Inspired by an amuse bouche often prepared by the wife of one of our brewers, Gillian brings white pepper, strawberry, and honey to a harmonious blend. Partially aged in wine barrels, this Belgian style farmhouse ale is slightly tart and pleasantly sweet in a refreshingly effervescent body.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Honey golden complexion with a wispy overlay. It settles to a collar with little lace to speak of.

Aroma: Quite the fruit-forward nose with a strong bretty/funky sourness. Lots of berries, woody oak, white grapes, dried apricots, peppery spice, barnyard and a subtle sweaty note also present. It’s actually crisp and rather refreshing…prefect for this warm Sydney arvo.

Flavour: Damp wood/old sauna room notes with subtle apricot, pear and unripened strawberry upfront. Getting that distinct dry and spicy pepper note flowing through as well. It maintains the dryness through the mid and picks up the funky, sweaty and barnyard flavours late as it finishes dry and spicy.

Mouthfeel: Nice and spritzy with light-moderate body. Very little acidity – which we’ve only just realised! Very approachable for 9.5%.

Overall: We’d put it between Madame Rose and Lolita. The latter being the pick of the bunch so far…although we’re yet to try Halia. It’s a decent sour but the price tag would probably turn most people away.

De Moersleutel ‘Willy Tonka 3’ Tonka & Scotch Bonnet Imperial Stout


47681252_997562507094561_6338888794183303168_n“Imperial Stout with tonka beans and scotch bonnet peppers.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a finger of dark tan head. It gradually peels off to a collar with patchy lace work down the glass.

Aroma: To he honest we’d never heard of Tonka beans or scotch bonnet chilli’s before. Once a bit of research was done the aromas made a lot more sense! Wafts of juicy cherry, nutty malts, prune/raisin, molasses, spice, vanilla, peppers and cacao nibs are in absolute abundance. It hides the 11% AbV ridiculously well also.

Flavour: We can really taste the chilli…she’s much more prominent as opposed to the aroma. It’s short lived though as she rolls in to a dry and woody middle with those sweet dark fruits in the back seat. Just a pinch of cherry and spice leading in to a long, dry and warm finish.

Mouthfeel: Oily/slick texture, rather warming and dry once the peppers kick in. Medium-full body.

Overall: This is our first crack at this breweries range. Although we’re not blown away it was quite a fun stout…not to mention the fact that we now know what Tonka beans and scotch chilli’s are!

Van Dieman Brewing ‘Hedgerow’ 2016 Barrel Aged Sour


48218175_997337293783749_9005146397812457472_n“The release of our 2016 Hedgerow, is the third vintage of this award winning beer, and arguably the finest vintage to date. We’ve sat on it for long enough in both barrel and bottle, and are proud to finally offer it up for release for other beer lovers to thoroughly enjoy! For those that have tried our previous 2012 or 2014 releases, you’ll know what delight you’re in for. For those discovering this beer for the first time, or have developed an appreciation for sour beer since our last release – you’re in for one hell of a ride!”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: After an almighty battle with the cork we eventually get to see this brown coloured beauty. Pours with little head and hardly any lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Getting a nose full of oak barrel, vinous notes, strawberry/raspberry, candied lemon, red wine vinegar and mulled wine. The time spent in French oak barrels impart a flutter of vanilla and toasted coconut. Magnificent aroma.

Flavour: There’s a keen sourness that hits and lingers nicely. Surrounding it are the woody and at times musty oak tannins, vinous red wine vinegar, mixed berries, subtle earthy tones and dark chewy fruits. The finish is funky, fruity (in a weird yet wonderful way) and a tad vinegary. Fairly good legs to it as well.

Mouthfeel: Regrettably thin and slightly watery. Very little co2 adding to their woes. In view of that it doesn’t detract too much from the overall experience.

Overall: This is our first entry for this brewery. The aroma was fantastic but unfortunately it didn’t translate in to flavour as convincingly as we’d hoped. Not bad.

Hawkers Beer IIPA


47576488_996012953916183_7474055793046716416_n“It’s all about the hops. Big, fruity, flavourful. Unmistakably a huge IPA.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Amber with a slight haze. It holds its two finger head well and makes a mess of our glass as we go.

Aroma: Absolutely popping with dank pine resins, orange citrus, grapefruit, candied lemon and peppery spice. Nice presence of boozy and soft fleshy fruits i.e paw paw, rockmelon, papaya etc. Strong malt sweetness underlining it all.

Flavour: Amazing balance for a 9% IIPA. We get grapefruit, orange peel, mixed citrus and dank resinous pine mingling with the rich and sweet malts. The bitterness climbs but levels off nicely in to a warm and spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth with a bit of a tickle from the booze. Bitterness (100 IBU) developing in the swallow. Medium body and perfect co2.

Overall: It only occurred to us midway that we’ve already reviewed this beer. Well, that was last year’s edition and this is this year’s…and it’s now in a can! Any reason to drink a quality IIPA huh?! 😉

Grand Ridge Brewing ‘Midnight Madness’ Dark Ale


47573653_995664507284361_5767726128852631552_n“Dark, roasty coffee notes mingle with sweeter, well-balanced malt notes to create very easy drinking Dark Ale, even at 6.2%. Throw in some vanilla pods, chilli and cinnamon and you have yourself a stunning little beer.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Dark brown with a creamy two finger head perched on top. Excellent lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: There’s a wealth of it here but it’s a little shy early on! A vigorous swirl arouses the deep roasty characters, jaffa, coffee, chocolate, spice and rich toffee with more subtle hints of dark fruits and syrupy sweetness also there. It’s good just a little cagey.

Flavour: Pretty much follows on from the nose. Kind of sweet, kind of spicy with chewy notes of chocolate, dark fruit and discernible citrusy hop bitterness midway. As it progresses the coffee and malt roast really open up and land on a dry, bitter but roasty finish with lingering spicy notes on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Slick and rather oily texture. It’s light on yet the rich malts hold the body up. Medium body and Co2.

Overall: It has been close to five years since we’ve reviewed a Grand Ridge beer. Mostly because the beers simply haven’t been up to scratch but this one is a welcome surprise. Good depth, interesting flavours and aromas and most of all…. It’s crafty! Decent drop.

Shark Island Brewing ‘Voodoo’ IPA


47573540_994710834046395_6643960681995436032_n“A strong beer for a strong break. A more solid abv kick is balanced with the sweetness of NZ toffee malt before the mountain of US, NZ and Oz Hops attacks your palate first with tropical aromas then with a sharp bitterness that stays for a while and coats your cakehole.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Clear golden amber complexion. It tops off with a sturdy two finger head which retains well. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: We get a robust caramel malt sweetness with a tonne of citrus and resiny/piney hop character cutting through it. Fruit salad-like notes, herbs, vines, spice, berries and stonefruits offer quite the mixed bag…but a lovely mixed bag!

Flavour: Packs a nice little punch…or bite as the brewers like to call it. Mixed citrus, pithy orange peel, peppery spice and pine monster the slightly insignificant malts. Some booze astringency and assertive hop bitterness leading in to a dry and prickly finish.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and dry with some sharpness to the booze (6.5% AbV). Medium body and Co2.

Overall: It’s a no nonsense IPA this one. We’d like to see a bit more malt to balance out the flavour but other than that it’s quite a well structured IPA. Love the black can too, very unique!