Author Archives: 2hopheads

Boatrocker ’23 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout


“Ramjet 2023 is even more special than ever, signifying 10 years of big, bold and boozy brilliance.  As always, this incredible stout is carefully cellared, integrating the flavours beautifully.  Dark roast malts, low carbonation and the signature whisky hit are all best delivered at around 8c.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a short brown cap forming on top. The head slowly dissipates and leaves a beautiful cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Ooft. Smells big, rich and burly. Lots of that rich intensity is coming from the whiskey barrels but there’s also a massive push from the molasses, licorice and Vegemite. Dark salty chocolate also adds to the complexities. As usual the Starward whiskey barrels impart old damp wood/oak alongside the vinous red berry-infused apera notes.

Flavour: Right off the bat it’s too young and fiery. It could certainly do with a little time in the cellar. That aside, there’s still a tonne of flavour on offer – good integration of vinous barrel-infused whiskey into the base elements of molasses, licorice, salty dark chocolate and espresso coffee. It finishes with strong espresso bitterness, molasses and dark chocolate and draws out nicely on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Rich, heavy and sharp. Medium-full body, low Co2. The 10% ABV is more noticeable than we’d like.

Overall: 2023 marks 10 years of this brilliant series. We remember trying one for the first time back in 2015 and being blown away. We must say, other breweries like Deeds and Hawkers have caught up (and even surpassed) but Boatrocker will always be an OG in the BA Imperial Stout department in our opinion.

Bowden Brewing ESB


“We invited a bunch of the brewery’s regulars to help make the beer they’ve all been asking for; a beer for the people, by the people… an extra special bitter. The brewing style is known for its’ balance and interplay between hop and malt, with this being no exception. A hint of fruit on the aroma, followed by a drop of sweetness on the palate, this medium-bodied local has plenty of rich flavour to give. What truly makes this Bitter extra special? The hands that helped create it.” 

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Moderately hazy amber pour with a big and frothy three finger crown. The head gradually recedes and leaves healthy lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Mostly sweet, bready and biscuity. Dominated by the chewy caramel malts but nicely checked by the fruity hops. Delicate toasty and nutty tones mingle with the overwhelmingly savoury notes beautifully. Good depth and overall character to this aroma, even if it is basic.

Flavour: They’ve certainly got the bitter side of things dialled in. Upfront there’s a moderate caramel sweetness then the hops barge in and practically reach all the way into the finish. They also provide a distinctly citrusy yet mildly spicy and herbaceous quality while a biscuity and nutty malt profile develops late and draws out in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick and a tad chewy with a substantial hop bitterness in the swallow. Medium body with good carb. The 5.1% ABV is about bang on for the style.

Overall: This was our first crack at this South Australian brewery. When we hear Bowden we immediately think of Billy Bowden (the quirky cricket umpire known for his hook-fingered dismissals). Unsure if there’s a connection but this ESB is somewhat like old Billy boy – no nonsense and full of character.

Toppling Goliath ‘Dorothy’s’ New World Lager


“Mild in body, easy-going, and clean in taste. Each sip charms the senses with a distinct flavor and refreshing simplicity. Named after our founder’s grandmother, our unfiltered lager is forever dear to our hearts.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Slightly hazy pale golden pour with a fizzy one finger head that gradually peels off. It settles to a fine overlay with patchy lacing here and there.

Aroma: Nice and crisp, well balanced hop to malt ratio yet a subtle citrusy quality just edges out ahead. Hallmark old world hop aromas of floral bouquets, herbals and pot pourri meet the grainy/wheaty corn flake malts. Just the slightest touch of honey sweetness, fresh dough and a flutter of peppery spice in the background. Quality Lager aroma this.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose well…super clean, tidy and exceptionally balanced. Not really feeling the ‘new world’ vibe though, it’s acting much more like a traditional Lager equipped with all the bells and whistles i.e spicy and floral/herbal Noble hops, cereal grains, mild honey sweetness and a hint of DMS and vegetal notes.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, snappy and fairly clean. There’s a tad more chewiness than your typical Lager with its mild-medium body. The 5% ABV is nicely integrated.

Overall: It’s fascinating to see TG put out such a conventional beer. We’re so used to drinking their charged up, hoppy, boozy monsters that it’s impressive to see they have the restraint in them to pull off a Lager of this quality. Great drop.

Bridge Road ‘B2 Bomber – Mach 13’ Imperial Belgian Black IPA


“2023 marks 18 years of Bridge Road Brewers crafting beer in Beechworth. To celebrate we’ve created yet another edition of the fabled anniversary ale, the B2 Bomber. The 13th edition of our annual birthday beer maintains the unmistakeable combination of complex dark malts, fruity Belgian yeast characters and big punchy hops. Mach 13 sees us going all-in with a Spectrum hop combo and an ABV of 10.4. An artful balance of these familiar B2 elements with layers of Spectrum hops makes this a beer to savour. What do we call it? A Black Belgian Double Spectrum IPA. This is an exceptional beer, nothing less will do for our 18th celebration.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours an opaque light black with a two finger crown perched on top. Good head retention and lots of intricate lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Ooft! Stings the nostrils. Over the years we’ve realised that each release in this monstrous yet brilliant series benefits from a little bit of age. As this year’s edition has only just been released its still quite fierce, coming at us with vigorous phenols, warming booze and sharp piney hops. Some citrus acidity also peeking through. Loving the subtle Belgian candi sugars, roasted malts, cocoa, musk and fennel too.

Flavour : Noticeably smoother which is surprising. Usually it’s the other way around. Sure, it still has some fire but the depth and complexity balances it out. An explosion of flavour on entry – Belgian yeast/phenols, candi sugars, roasted malt, pine, herbal and citrusy hops then a more accentuated citrus quality through the mid. It gets a bit harsh and acrid late in the piece as it finishes roasty and piney with a fair sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Big and warming. A slightly lifted Co2 yet still a tad oily. Medium-full body and the 10.4% ABV is evident.

Overall: It’s certainly a fun beer to review. Lots going on, aggressive and very multilayered. The spectrum hopping method is also really cool and we’d love to go into that more but to keep this from turning into an essay we’ll touch on it another day. Solid offering.

Garage Project X Humble Sea ‘Fogbound’ Triple Hazy IPA


“The Hāpi Sessions 2023, a hat-trick of collaborations from three breweries at the absolute top of their game, each showcasing a different hop forward beer in a playful ‘freestyle’ interpretation of the style that put them on the map. All round good humans Humble Sea, from surf city Santa Cruz make the haze roll in with what they lovingly call a foggy IIPA.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid AF. Really dark too…looks akin to fresh squeezed apricot juice. It has a thumb of finely beaded foam which gradually peels off. Nice wavy lace on the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Biiiig breakfast juice notes emanating. Frosty fruits, sweet nectar-filled fruit and that black peppery spice which we find in all the best NEIPA’s and Hazy’s. A tonne of stonefruit like mango and rockmelon along with equal parts fresh squeezed orange juice and ruby grapefruit. Much more delicate green and vinous kiwi hop qualities in this edition. Brilliant aroma though.

Flavour: Proper fruit salad vibes. Orange, melon, passionfruit, pineapple, grapes and guava. The piney accents are coming through as well. Smooth and grainy oats provide the finest platform possible for the fruity, piney and herbal hops to slide effortlessly into the slightly dank, citrusy and peppery/spicy finish. Length for days.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, chalky and well rounded. The body is nicely aerated with light-moderate weight. Finely carbed. The 10% ABV was incredibly well hidden.

Overall: The last of 3 editions in this year’s Hapi Sessions. Although we weren’t completely thrilled by the collaborators this time around each beer was fantastic. Immense World for the win and this comes an easy 2nd. Already looking forward to what they can put together next year.

Banks ‘Whats The Word’ BA Imperial Pastry Stout


“Barrel aged Imperial Whiskey Stout. Need we say more? Aged for 18 months in Starward Whiskey Barrels and conditioned on toasted Hazelnuts, Organic Cacao Nibs & Tahitian Vanilla, it’s like childhood Hazelnut Spread Nostalgia mixed with the good parts of being an adult (drinkin Whiskey) Contains Lactose.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: An unsurprisingly dark and ominous pour meets our gaze. It forms a thumb of brown head which gradually reduces. Minimal lace is left behind though.

Aroma: Jeez this bad boy was aged in Starward whiskey barrels for 18 months! That’s a substantial amount of time. We’re not the world’s biggest fans of Starward whiskey but we are hoping we could be swayed. Right off the bat we’re getting a hint of ammonia and ink. Not a great start. The adjuncts do eventually begin to creep through which is good but the base Stout seems like it’s a little weak. Hhmm.

Flavour: What we like about it initially is that the adjunct flavours shine through a lot more opposed to the aroma. The nuttiness, the sweet vanilla and bittersweet cacao own the front palate and only start to loosen their grip around the mid where the kind of cheap, tacky fruit notes from the whiskey/barrels merge. It improves a bit in the finish as the barrels taper out and the toasted nuts, vanilla and chocolate return to punctuate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, hefty yet kind of oily and smooth. Low-ish Co2 and the ABV (10.6%) hides in plain sight.

Overall: Maybe Banks have the same issue as Mountain Culture – can brew the best Hazy IPA’s in the country but struggle with Stouts 🤷 average at best.

Madocke Belgian Style Quadrupel


“This Belgian Style Quadrupel is a dark coloured beer with plenty of fruity aromas. It strikes a delicate balance of bitterness and sweetness, providing a smooth well rounded chocolatey flavour, with a hint of burnt toffee.” 

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: A rather dark Quad – uber dark brown, almost black with a ray of light peeking through at the base. Two fingers of tan head forms then retracts. Healthy lacing clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Quite a conventional interpretation which is what we like about these guys. Belgian Trappist ales are some of the hardest styles to perfect so to go traditional is ambitious. The standout character is the yeast profile – it’s nicely integrated with the sweet and rich dark fruits, banana split, clove, anise, fig. Hints of apple pie, gingerbread, Christmas cake and phenols. Diggin’ it.

Flavour: The dark fruit aspect and mild toasty malts get things underway. The spicy yeast and phenols come to the party early on too. A very subtle hint of orchard fruits in the background as it hits a sweet note through the mid. A soft bitterness and warmth from the booze as it sets up for an ultimately rich yet well balanced finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, velvety, a little creamy. Medium-full body, nicely carbed. The 9.5% ABV was very well behaved.

Overall: By far one of their best offerings. Fairly true-to-style but most importantly it’s balanced and well executed. We like it.

Garage Project X Cloudburst ‘Welcome To Cloudland’ West Coast IPA


“The Hāpi Sessions 2023, a hat-trick of collaborations from three breweries at the absolute top of their game, each showcasing a different hop forward beer in a playful ‘freestyle’ interpretation of the style that put them on the map. With Cloudburst founder Steve Luke in town for the NZ hop harvest and Hāpi Symposium, we jumped at the opportunity get on the brew floor together. For Hāpi Sessions Vol. 10, Jet City brewers Cloudburst bring the Seattle sound with a blended take on what they call a North-West IPA.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Bright golden pour with almost full clarity. It constructs a three finger head which is retained well, leaving a proper smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Again, much like the Pilsner collab with Highland Park, the Kiwi hop combination provides a luscious green character which is refined further by a real weedy and resinous note. It has a super oily, cryo-like intensity which is superb. Fresh herbs like basil, aniseed and lemon myrtle then filled out by a semi sweet honey malt. Beautifully balanced aroma.

Flavour: Like a true old-school West Coast IPA minus the bitterness and enhanced by the unique Kiwi hops. It’s actually quite remarkable how smooth and silky it is. We’re getting pine forest, weedy resins and fresh green herbs on entry. That mild honey sweetness comes along for the ride as well. Subtle green fruits like kiwifruit, grape and honeydew helps form the rather vinous finish that lingers.

Mouthfeel: So unbelievably smooth for the style. It feels like it’s missing something without the bitterness though. Flat-ish Co2, medium body and a nicely hidden 7% ABV.

Overall: Not bad. We don’t rate it that highly due to its slightly cloying nature and flat-ish carbonation. Other than that it’s a pretty well structured beer that drinks effortlessly. Good but not great.

3 Ravens X Carwyn Cellars ‘BAPIOS Conspiracy’ BA Imperial Stout


“Aged in American oak rye whisky barrels that had previously held our 18% peated imperial oatmeal stout – this beer has continued fermentation in barrel (due to the enzyme/yeast blend used in the previous beer) resulting in a drier, stronger beer that features characteristics from both previous contents – the sweet oak, spice and spirit character of the rye whisky as well as the smokiness and almost port-like qualities of the BAPIOS.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a fine light brown overlay. It quickly forms a collar and struggles to produce any lacing.

Aroma: It appears quite weak and tired. The package date was November ’21 so it does have some age already on it. There’s a very delicate hint of Vegemite which is a sign that a BA Stout is on its last leg. Basically, it means the yeast has died and the resulting flavour is that of Vegemite/Marmite and sometimes even soy sauce at its worst. The whiskey/oak notes are still hanging around so…not all bad.

Flavour: My oh my. This isn’t getting any better. It’s straight into an acrid, face-wincing astringency further emphasised by an unchecked booze burn. The subtle whiskey really is the only aspect that is offering something in this transaction. The base Stout also seems a touch too weak to handle the complexities of the whiskey and oak. Also the finish is overly bitter and pulls up short. Sheesh.

Mouthfeel: Not bad, holds up ok. It’s oily and sharp with medium-full body. The 11.5% ABV is too noticeable though.

Overall: It’s clear this has passed its BBD. But even tasting it in its current form it’s hard to say that the fresh product would’ve been much better. It’s just not an enjoyable beer. Period.

Madocke ‘Reynard’ Strong Amber Ale


“STORY SERIES — This Belgian Style Strong Amber Ale has a complex, intense and sneaky character, just like Reynard the Fox. With fruity aromas, medium malt intensity and yeast derived herbal and peppery flavours, it makes this beer the flagship of our range.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Slightly hazy peachy/orange hue and a light, fluffy two finger crown. Excellent retention and lots of lace being deposited on the glass.

Aroma: Getting real strong Belgian vibes from it. Very interesting…it gives off half Saison half Tripel characters with its spice-driven yeast profile, semi-sweet malts and herbal/earthy old world hops. Heady wafts of pepper-crusted orange, apricot, floral peach, a kind of dusty caramel and a subtle zesty lime. Some very distinguishing scents here. Really diggin’ it.

Flavour: A lot of that quirkiness has doubled down here. Especially the spicy yeast/phenols, tangy orange and the floral peach/apricot. Really good support in the form of herbal hops and that strange dusty caramel sweetness. Super complex and multi-layered finish of floral stonefruit, peppery spice, orange citrus and a dry, rounded bitterness to balance.

Mouthfeel: Quite chewy, smooth and gelatinous. Medium bodied and the 8.5% ABV is positioned favourably.

Overall: There’s a lot to like about this. It’s a tad mysterious as we can’t really classify it. Yeah, the label says it’s a strong Amber Ale but it’s much more intricate than that. It’s yeasty, spicy, semi-sweet, fruity, warming. Ooft. Got it all.

Garage Project X Highland Park ‘Immense World’ West Coast Pilsner


“The Hāpi Sessions 2023, a hat-trick of collaborations from three breweries at the absolute top of their game, each showcasing a different hop forward beer in a playful ‘freestyle’ interpretation of the style that put them on the map. Hāpi Sessions Vol. 12 sees LA wunderkinds Highland Park come to the Garage to breathe new life into an old style with their hop fuelled West Coast take on the classic pilsner.”

Glassware: Footed Flute.

Appearance: Bright golden pour with a slight hop haze. Two fingers of tightly beaded foam sits neatly on top and leaves a tonne of soapy lacing in its wake.

Aroma: The only thing better than a finely brewed old world Pilsner is a NZ-hopped Pilsner. Hops such as the two used in this brew (Riwaka & Motueka) along with others like Nelson Sauvin and Wai-iti are made for the style. Not only due to their Saaz ancestry but because they impart this uniquely green and luscious pine forest quality. There are also strong floral notes, green mango, passionfruit and spruce.

Flavour: So damn tasty. So crisp and clean you’d almost be fooled into believing it’s good for you! Just the mildest brush of pine/resin, unripened nectary fruits and herbals upfront. Candied lime and passionfruit through the mid which sets up the ultra fine and green finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and incredibly clean. Perfectly rounded. Light-moderate body and the 6% ABV is very well disguised.

Overall: Insanely delicious. Seriously, if we were told we could only drink one beer for the rest of our lives this would be in the toss up. It’s just all-round perfect beer. Magnificent stuff.

Good Land ‘Jazeker – BA Edition’ Coffee Imperial Stout


“Yeah sure! Conditioned on a blend of coffee beans roasted by our mates at Fat Cat Roasters and some thick as vanilla beans for good measure. Jazeker is what Good Land is all about, daring yet refined with this warming, intense imperial stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a loosely packed two finger head which slowly peels off. Hardly any lace sticks as we go.

Aroma: The heavenly marriage of coffee and vanilla tantalises the olfactory’s. Buffalo Trace is our most favoured Bourbon cask for Impy Stouts to be aged in so we would’ve loved for that to be amplified a bit more. This could also just be our love for that (rather cheap 😬) Bourbon talking. Nice and robust Stout base as well – dark chocolate, molasses, cacao, light char. Smells the goods!

Flavour: Ok, they were saving all that Buffalo Trace for the palate! Big helpings of coffee, vanilla, molasses, treacle and leather but the Bourbon comes through with that orchard fruit, caramel and brown sugar. A really nice woody oak is fused through it all as a warmth from the booze peeks through then a roasty, bittersweet and coffee-laden finish punctuates it.

Mouthfeel: Dense, full and muscly. Co2 seems low but the hop bitterness takes its place. The 11.7% ABV is pretty well concealed.

Overall: Pretty damn good. If Ramjet and Deeds’ Into The Fray series are class A then this release fits comfortably into a class B Aussie-brewed BA Stout. Well integrated Bourbon oak, well balanced, rich and aggressive. Quality stuff.

Sierra Nevada ‘Bigfoot ’23’ Barleywine-style Ale


“The beast. The beer. The legend. After the workday grind, reconnect with your wild side through our untamed barleywine-style ale. This classic lives up to its namesake: massive malt body, sheer hop intensity, standing at 9.6% ABV.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Attractive pour – deep burnished copper/red, slightly muddy but translucent on the edges. Two fingers of finely maintained head perched on top. Good retention and thick blotchy lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Arguably one of the world’s most recognised iterations of the “Barleywine-style”. It’s not big and hedonistic but more mellow and exquisitely balanced. It’s rich with those hallmark residual sugars, caramel and toffee but it has a line of tangy orange/rind and dark fruit that runs through it. Subtle yet notable scents of fortified wine, pine forest, tree sap and earthy spice in support.

Flavour: Quite similar to Dogfish Head’s 120 minute IPA in the sense that it’s rich and malty sweet but there’s a distinct hop profile to it. It’s hard to say where the Barleywine begins and where the Imperial IPA ends. It hits a crescendo with a grapefruit acidity before the rich malts once again smooth it out for the well drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, gelatinous then dry and acidic post swallow. Medium body and a slightly recognisable 9.6% ABV.

Overall: A cracking drop. It just exudes class at every step. May have to buy a whole lot more for the cellar!

Madocke ‘Celebration’ White IPA


“The perfect marriage of two distinct beer styles; the American IPA with its high hop character and the wheat-based Belgian Wit with its refreshing and spicy presence. A creamy refreshing beer with lots of lemon and spicy characters combined with the tropical flavours of carefully selected hops creating a perfectly balanced beer with smooth bitterness and a subtle herbal profile. This White IPA will have you dancing the night away.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: We were quietly hoping for a whiter, creamier pour but the slightly hazy, pale golden-yellow complexion will have to make do. It forms two and a bit fingers of rocky white head which gradually deconstructs. Healthy lace trails as we go.

Aroma: There are very few styles out there that are as underrated as the old White IPA. We remember Hitachino Nest’s interpretation as being one of the best. Wafts of tangy orange/rind, mandarin, lemon/lime, meringue and all sorts of spices – pepper, clove, cardamom and aniseed. The American IPA aspect could do with a bit more representation in our opinion.

Flavour: It’s definitely not short on it. Is it White IPA-worthy though? We’re not totally sold. Tonnes of citrus upfront…lemon, lime, mandarin, orange and rind. Peppery and herbal spice woven through. Slightly harsh bitterness kicking up across the mid. A little acrid in parts too, then into a rather dry, acidic finish with a slight sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Prickly, dry, a little rigid. The body is mild-moderate and the 6.8% ABV burns a tad in the finish.

Overall: Hhmm, well it definitely wasn’t the White, creamy and fluffy IPA we’d hoped for. Quite the opposite. It’s tough to even call it a White IPA to be honest. Pretty disappointing.

Resin ‘Sweet As’ Brown Ale


“Chur Bro, pop on your jandles and make your way down to Resin HQ to try our newest brew: Sweet As! This one is our take on a classic American Brown, switching up the usual roasted bitterness for a sweet chocolatey flavour profile. We’ve used New Zealand hops exclusively in this brew, with Motueka, Riwaka, and Kohatu. Plus, the addition of lactose increases the sweetness and gives off that sought after silky mouthfeel.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep mahogany pour that shows ruby edges when held to the light. It constructs a light and fluffy two finger head which retains well and laces even better.

Aroma: Extremely fruity and sweet which screams an American influence. We’re picking up this jammy raspberry and or strawberry-like quality from it. We wouldn’t say chocolate but it definitely has a cocoa or carob accent happening as well. It has a certain herbal character which is totally throwing us…don’t get us wrong we like it, it’s just unique. Pine, red grapes and candied lime also peeking through. What the?!

Flavour: We’re sat here looking at each other waiting for any type of signal. Nothing comes until that good old look of acceptance comes over us. Clean and crisp pine, florals and fresh herbs cut through the nutty and toasty malts but it’s the assertive bitterness that removes all doubt. Hints of dank herbs and cigar box shift into a dry, bitter, fruity and mildly floral finish that lingers.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth, silky and moderately bodied. A rounded bitterness post swallow and a well placed 5.3% ABV.

Overall: It’s a well brewed American Brown Ale but we’re just not totally sold on the aroma and flavour profile. It’s not really gelling. Good but not great.

Banks ‘Cake Eater – Citra & Mosaic’ DDH Hazy DIPA


“Cake Eater Citra & Mosaic. DDH Oat Cream Double IPA. The 5th instalment to the Cake Eater series.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Looks damn fine. Pours a light and turbid deep pastel yellow-orange with a well manicured head on top. Good retention and equally as good lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: Wooww! This is literally giving off 2017 Treehouse vibes. The Citra and Mosaic blend together so freakin well it’s amazing. It’s these combinations of citrus and tropical fruits, pine and herbals, ripe stonefruit and green mango etc. The main trifecta for NEIPA’s is here too – white pepper, chalky oats and frosty fruits. All of this is built upon a solid base of smooth oats creamy vanilla/lactose.

Flavour: This is literally on U.S level. The balance is perfect and the dry peppery spice and chalky characters offset the sweet and juicy fruits to a tee. Getting a hint of dank/weedy resin, aniseed/Thai basil, pine, ruby grapefruit and green mango which pulls through the mid as well. It’s intensified by a real oily and or Cryo-esque sharpness which is softened by a sweet, fruity yet peppery finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth AF for 8% ABV. Creamy, dries out slightly in the swallow. Medium body and perfectly carbed.

Overall: World class stuff here from Banks. This series has improved exponentially since the last time we tried one. We’d say without hesitation that this is on par, if not better, than MC. We now officially have two Aussie breweries that can match the best NEIPA breweries in the USA. Magnificent drop.

Mountain Culture X Bottle Logic ‘Imperial Logic Imperial Pastry Stout’


“How do you begin to describe a beer as special as this? A beer that, during recipe formulation with our friends Wes and Stephen from Bottle Logic, we very quickly realised was going to be the thickest, sweetest, creamiest stout we’ve ever produced. By a long shot. Using twice as many adjuncts than our regular stouts, we had to source specialised equipment in order to fit them in the beer. A whole pallet full of shaved coconut, freshly roasted coffee beans and cinnamon have been added to a rich, dark malt stout base that meld together for a syrupy, velvety and decadent finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours like engine oil. We always get a little excited when we see a big Stout pour this dark. It forms a finger of tightly held brown foam which holds its shape. A wet spotty lace falls down the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: The way we see it this collab is taking arguably the best Australian brewery and (maybe even more arguably) the best American brewery and putting them together to produce one of our most favourite styles of beer – an Imperial Pastry Stout. That all equals an instant purchase on our end…no matter the cost. So now, because we’ve waffled on so much already let’s move to the flavour profile.

Flavour: Ooft! Thicc, luscious and indulgent. It has a rather sharp booze burn upfront but it’s saddled with a tonne of dark chocolate, charred malts, espresso coffee, burnt spices, toasted coconut and licorice so you don’t actually realise how pissed you’re getting. It gets real harsh, almost acrid through the mid but thankfully it settles a bit and finishes charred, spicy and bitter with a significant sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dense, muscly and warming. Full body, low-ish Co2. The 10.7% ABV doesn’t try and hide.

Overall: We’re unsure about it to be honest. Started real strong but the harsh and ferocious nature was left a little unchecked. It’s slightly disappointing coz we’re left wondering what it could’ve been.

Principle ‘Sequoia’ Smokey Red Lager


“Beechwood smoked barley, oak smoked wheat. Great autumn/winter beer. The smoke is entirely on the nose with sweet bacon & BBQ coming through. A malt forward, clean lager with a finish of cinnamon & caramel.”

Glassware: Half Stein.

Appearance: Bold amber colour, good clarity and a short white head which gradually forms a collar. It deposits wet spotty lace which drags legs down the glass.

Aroma: These lightly smoked malty numbers are our jam right now. Well, for one of us at least. It’s offering up a hearty fusion of ham hock, cured meats, smoked malt and umami but it’s wonderfully balanced by a sweet red malt, toffee apple, cinnamon and earthy hops. We’re getting dizzy from taking this aroma in too much.

Flavour: Mirrors the aroma really well. The smoky notes are subtle and offset the naturally sweet and syrupy qualities of what we personally think is a Vienna-style Lager. Dark caramel, toffee, prunes, cinnamon and cumin provide a rich and emphatic impression while a soft bitterness that clings on contributes to a dry yet well balanced finish.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth initially but ultimately dry post swallow. Medium body and a nicely positioned 6.5% ABV.

Overall: Once again Principle nails a European classic. We’re starting to think these guys should just do away with the American/new world stuff and focus on old world beers as everyone we’ve had from them so far has been remarkable.

Resin ‘Peggy’s’ Pilsner



Glassware: Footed flute.

Appearance: Pale straw golden pour with an observable haze. It holds a finely beaded thumb of white head which retains well and laces the glass with thick suds on its way down.

Aroma: It’s certainly giving off new world vibes. The brewery gives zero specs but our olfactory’s tell us it’s a mostly NZ hop bill with maybe a helping of Galaxy or Sabro. Distinct green qualities, slightly vinous, gooseberry, tomato vines, earthy spice, florals and unripened stonefruit. Very gentle pine and coconut also coming through. Clean and grainy malt profile. Pretty decent.

Flavour: Very nice. Clean, snappy and everything is in fine formation. Getting a somewhat weedy/resinous character initially which morphs into pine and eventually green mango and dried coconut. A short cameo of old world Pilsner comes through in the form of herbs/florals before a clean and well drawn out grassy finish.

Mouthfeel: It does have a real crispness to it but it also provides a bit of weight. Almost a chewiness like an ale would. 4.6% ABV which is punching well above.

Overall: Wow, impressive stuff here from Resin. They’ve managed to cram a truckload of aroma and flavour into a style that usually requires simplicity. They’ve done well to spruce it up the way they have. Thumbs up all round.

Vocation ‘Imperial Affogato’ Coffee & Vanilla Stout


“An opulent double mashed coffee and vanilla imperial stout, brewed with coffee beans from Halifax small batch coffee roasters, Antonia & Panesar. Deep, dark malt flavours with full-bodied roast espresso aromas, notes of sweet vanilla, and a creamy finish from a touch of milk sugar.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a thumb of brown foam nestled in on top. The head is retained rather well but only manages a sparse wet lace on its way down.

Aroma: Those that have been following us for a while would know that we’ve embarked on a mission to find an Affogato Stout that actually tastes like Affogato. Years into this quest we’re still to find one. Already we can tell that there’s hardly any similarity to the elusive dessert here. Yes, we get bittersweet coffee, spicy vanilla, burnt sugars, chocolate and marshmallow but it doesn’t smell like Affogato!

Flavour: Very sweet. Lots of caramelised sugars and dark fruits which kinda steal the limelight away from the milk-sweetened coffee. Delicately roasted malts… we’d even say not enough roast as the sweetness is too dominant. Enhanced even further by creamy vanilla also. It all just slides off a cliff and hardly produces any discernable flavour in the finish, other than a mere residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky, medium bodied. Too light for 10.7% ABV but we must say the booze is concealed incredibly well.

Overall: Another complete strike out in terms of an Affogato Stout. You’d be hard pressed to even call it a Pastry Stout. It’s just too sweet, timid and lacking any kind of cut-through. Disappointing.