Author Archives: 2hopheads

Toppling Goliath ‘Fire, Skulls & Money’ IPA

Rating:

“Inspired by a trip to the West Coast, this brew was designed to capture the wild spirit of adventure and brewed to be enjoyed with friends. It’s a rich IPA for those with wanderlust in their heart and fire in their eyes. Join our Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, and Nelson Hops on a journey to the bottom of your glass.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Hazy light pastel orange with golden highlights. Sturdy two finger crown which holds together well. Seeing thick blotchy lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Definitely picking up the hop oils and citrus-laden Citra hops. Stonefruits i.e peach, melon, paw paw and mango. Passion fruit, lychee and pineapple also coming along for the ride. Some herbs and slightly dank pine/resins, diesel and vines with a mostly semi sweet and kinda husky malt profile.

Flavour: A bit of a mix of stonefruit and mildly pithy citrus upfront. The sharper pine and herbaceous notes doing their best to cut through. Somewhat grainy and husky malt profile taking a bit of a spell on the sideline while the finish is fruity sweet but also herbal and resinous.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and rounded with a hint of bitterness in the swallow. Medium body, 7.2% ABV shows its hand at times.

Overall: It goes to show how much better Aussie breweries are getting when TG hazy’s no longer excite us. This ain’t bad but it’s nothing special at the same time.

Toppling Goliath ‘DDH Light Speed’ American Pale Ale

Rating:

“Its bitterness flies under the radar as hops create hits of lemon and orange aromas. Double Dry Hop Light Speed is a medium-bodied pale ale that is out of this world. “

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Would be clear golden complexion if not for the fine suspended sediment. It conjures up a massive four finger head which takes ages to recede. Excellent lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Interesting. Very raw and husky initially but once she settles in we see classic WC IPA qualities kick in; orange, grapefruit, passionfruit, mango, peach, pineapple, grassy hops and cedar. A slight honey malt sweetness provides a nice backdrop. Some florals also in here. Pretty basic stuff but it’s good all the same.

Flavour: A little weak and watery to be brutally honest. Citrus-forward – lemon, grapefruit and orange mainly. Soft tropical fruits and grassy hops tucked in behind. Delicate honey malt sweetness midway moving in to slight cedar/woody notes then in to a grainy, straw-like finish which hangs on.

Mouthfeel: Kinda flat and uninspiring. A little thin. Some dryness with mild-moderate body. 6.2% ABV is pretty well kept.

Overall: Must admit we’re not that impressed and with expectations aside it still wouldn’t cut the mustard. The aroma is great but the flavour and texture really lets it down. Very meh.

One Drop DDH Oat Cream IPA – Version 1

Rating:

“Fluffy, lush, silky & smooth. A far reaching gossamer-like hop complexity with soft florets of tangerine, lime, tropical fruit, & coconut. Our Four Ways of Oat processing, together with creamy Australian lactose, help to take the density of feel and flavour to new heights. Softest of water and a novel yeast provide the upmost cushy comfort. All coalesce into the First Version of our exploration series of this style, and the lofty heights of where the fluff can go. Layers upon layers of creamy smooth mango and sultry ripe naval orange make for the most insatiable cloud drinking experience one could hope to float across.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid mustard/sandy yellow pour with a loosely packed three finger head. It quickly reduced but manages a thick soapy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Wow it invades the olfactory’s with its fleshy stonefruit, oatmeal, vanilla and mixed citrus. It feels really dense and doughy yet well countered by the direct citrus i.e lemon, grapefruit and orange blossom. Lactose-a-plenty, coconut, soft herbal/weedy notes, pine/sappy resins and hop oils also getting amongst it.

Flavour: Super resinous and herbal, a bit dank too. Sappy pine, mango, unripened paw paw, mixed citrus, creamy oatmeal, vanilla and toasted coconut. Hits a slightly pithy note midway then leads in to a dry and kinda yeasty finish with lingering herbals and resin on the back end.

Mouthfeel: As described perfectly on the can – “fluffy, silky and smooth”. Medium body, lightly sparkling Co2. 7.1% ABV is fairly well behaved.

Overall: We like it. Yeah it’s no Mountain Culture or Garage Project but it’s smooth and creamy AF. Nicely balanced flavours to boot. Solid.

Mikkeller ‘Beer Geek Breakfast’ Vanilla Maple Shake Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Imagine a huge imperial stout clocking in at 11.8% brewed with coffee and vanilla. Then add a shitload of maple syrup. Yes! This is a real treat.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours like sump oil with a thumb of brown head resting atop. It slowly recedes but works a reasonable lace down the glass.

Aroma: Hold the phone this smells bloody magnificent! Nice and rich, roasty, full of molasses, espresso and dark chocolate. Enter the adjuncts. Those sweet sweet (literally) adjuncts: maple, vanilla, butterscotch, marshmallow, brown sugar, oatmeal, lactose, subtle spice and burnt toast. Burnt toast with blackberry jam to be more specific. Soooo good.

Flavour: We were hoping it all transferred from the aroma and it does! Big and menacing yet so sweet and decadent. Robust coffee, charred malts, dark chocolate and molasses are countered by the hedonistic licorice, vanilla, maple, butterscotch, toffee, lactose and spice. Oats and burnt toast giving it that brekky stout quality. Superb!

Mouthfeel: Luscious, rich and velvety. Full body, moderate Co2. 11.8% ABV comes through intermittently.

Overall: This is 100x better than the Waffle Breakfast. Here we’ve got that in your face Impy Stout aggression with the soothing touches of maple, vanilla, toffee and the rest of the cabal. Sensational drop.

Range Brewing ‘Late Night Snack’ Imperial Blueberry Smoothie Sour

Rating:

“Late Night Snack is a beer for when you really want blueberry pancakes, but also really want a beer. It is packed to the brim with blueberry, blackcurrant, vanilla, maple syrup and lactose. It is rich, creamy, tart, full-bodied and zingy. The colour is nothing short of insane, pouring a deep purple, shining light on the truly ridiculous amount of fruit that went into it. It’s our favourite Imperial Sour to date.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Cloudy maroon with soft purple hues. A finger of pink-ish head forms but quickly retracts. It drags a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: Like a glass of macerated sour cherries and mixed berries. Really liking the subtle maple sweetness too. Lots of creamy vanilla and milk sugars, black and red currants, Pinot Noir-like dark fruits, artificial fruits and a certain dessert quality which we can’t quite put our fingers on….cherry pie maybe?

Flavour: Absolutely awash with every kind of berry, cherry and currant imaginable. The maple sweetness runs through it while the creamy vanilla and milk sugars take a back seat. It all shifts in to a tart and somewhat savory finish that lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, velvety and super smooth. Did someone say sour? It’s slightly tart but it sure ain’t sour. The 8.7% ABV is really well hidden though.

Overall: Much better than previous sours we’ve had from Range. The aroma and flavour profile is brilliant but the lack of sourness is disappointing. Still, an enjoyable quaffer.

Quiet Deeds ‘Knock On Wood’ Barrel Aged Pilsner

Rating:

“Dreams of doing a barrel aged pilsner have long bubbled in the background at Deeds. After lagering for a month in tank, we racked the whole batch into Chardonnay barrels and let it age on oak for 90 days. The result is a crisp, oaky experience that celebrates Spring!”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Transparent straw golden pour with a healthy three finger head nestled on top. Good retention and lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: Certainly has a traditional character. Mixed herbs, mildew, lemon and a subtle hint of Riesling. We must say the Chardonnay barrels don’t seem to offer a whole lot, maybe a wee hint of apple/pear and other sweet and delicate fruits. Just a flutter of vanilla and oak coming across. Not much happening here.

Flavour: Ok this is where it’s all at. It kicks off with a herbaceous Noble hop quality which is fused through the delicate fruits and oaky Chardonnay – the latter displaying soft buttery accents. Quite pithy late in the piece, finishing dry, mildly bitter and grassy with excellent length.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light. Smooth with a discernible bitterness post swallow. Mild-medium body, Co2 is spot on. 5.9% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: As soon as we saw this we knew we had to try it as we’ve never had a barrel aged Pilsner before. Did it excite? Well, no not really. We would have liked a bit more from the barrels but the base Pilsner was good.

Mikkeller ‘Beer Geek Waffle Breakfast’ Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Aromatic toasted coffee notes with hints of cinnamon waffle and rich maple syrup..”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown overlay. It all disappears bar a bubbly island which hangs around. It somehow leaves a beautiful cascading lace though.

Aroma: Smells absolutely amazing! The structural scent which we don’t even see on the label is chilli peppers but they’re perfectly passed off as cinnamon, licorice and paprika. We even get more subtle hints of nutmeg and cumin as well. Maple, coffee and oatmeal pale in comparison to the levels of spice going on. It’s incredible but we wish they dialled the spice back a bit.

Flavour: Hot damn. Like the aroma it’s definitely spice-driven but it’s backed up with robust coffee and lightly smoked malt. The cinnamon cuts through but the maple is unfortunately missing. Mixed spice continues in to a slightly bitter finish with charred malts going the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin for the style. Dry and kinda course texture. Low Co2. 7.5% ABV shows its hand a little.

Overall: Surprisingly unrefined for Mikkeller. Way too much spice and little balance on show. Thankfully we have the imperial version still to come. Let’s hope there’s more joy there.

Dollar Bill 2020 ‘Winter Parlay’ BA Wheatwine

Rating:

“Dark fruits, plums, layers of berries and almonds finishing dry and spicy. Flaked spelt and oats fill out this Wild Fermented Wheat Wine blended with sour ale and Mourverde pressed whole bunches.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Pours like dark Ribena! But with a creamy light purple head. Retention is ok…some patchy lace here and there. Looks intriguing!

Aroma: Trust DB to come out with something incredibly unconventional. Initially it’s all berries and tart dark fruits with subtle touches of raw nuts i.e almond, cashew and pistachio. Definitely picking up a vinous character…soft tannins and lees then looping back around to berries again. Cinnamon, yoghurt and complex oak also fused through.

Flavour: Not like any Wheatwine we’ve ever tried before. It kicks off with a discernible lacto sourness which quickly turns to wine. And we mean wine…it actually tastes like a good medium bodied red with its tannic qualities, spice, earthy-ness and almost salty/olive-like notes. This just goes on and on…and on!

Mouthfeel: Nice and sharp. Some acidity to it but the pucker rating still sits at a decent 3/5. Light spritzy Co2. The big one is the 9.3% ABV, ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: These guys continue to impress us. The edgy-ness and outright complexity of this beer demands respect. Kudos DB!

Range Brewing ‘This Time Last Year’ DDH Pale Ale

Rating:

“This Time Last Year is a double dry-hopped pale ale. Dry-hopped with Citra Cryo, Cashmere and Citra T-90. This beer is a beautiful light orange hazy gem that glows brightly in the sunshine. Fermented with a yeast strain with English origins, we get light stone fruit esters shining through. The dry hop intensity of this beer provides juicy passionfruit, pineapple and clean citrus zest. The finish is crisp and dry which makes for high levels of crushability. It takes us back to drinking pale ales from our favourite breweries in Bristol, Falmouth and London.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Hazy sandy yellow complexion. It serves up two fingers of light frothy head which slowly reduces. Not a lot of lace to speak of though.

Aroma: One of the first things that strikes us is this certain herbal scent. It’s quickly captured by the potent hop oils and raw myrcene until it smells like a glass of pure hop juice. Gorgeous grapefruit and lemon punching through. Raw onion, subtle catty notes, pine/resin, vines, green mango and white peach as well. Brilliant stuff.

Flavour: Wow this is smooth as silk. Displaying more of a fruit salad quality as opposed to the hop oils and herbs on the nose. Stonefruit, tropical fruits and citrus while the hop oils, pine and catty notes take a back seat. Really dry and crusty malt profile laying down for the dry, piney and resinous finish. Excellent length.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, fluffy and well aerated. Medium body. Very finely carbonated. 5.6% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Another impressive release from Range. Ultra smooth and silky, full flavored and totally crushable. Solid stuff.

Garage Project X Cigar City ‘Out Of The Woods’ Dark Sour Ale

Rating:

“Out of the Woods, inspired by and infused with the New Zealand forest. Ten different malts create a dark complex malt base, infused with totara rimu and manuka, fermented with a mixture of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Brettanomyces in an open topped wooden fermenter, then barrel aged for over two years, before being given another infusion of Kawa Kawa. The result balances tartness with rich malt notes and bursts with complex, earthy, herbal, woody character. An utterly unique beer, brewed in collaboration with Cigar City’s inimitable Wayne Wambles.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Dark brown…almost black! It forms a thumb of tan foam that holds its shape and weaves a fine lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Super complex and very unique. Out first thoughts are Galliano, dried eucalyptus and sour cola lollies. It just keeps on evolving too, offering up hints of nutmeg, oregano, pine, aniseed/fennel, forest floor, black tea, damp wood, rotting leaves and cardamom. Sheesh! The olfactory’s have been taken on a trip. We’d admit we’re a little envious as we can’t even leave NSW!

Flavour: Holy shit what have we got here. The palate is scrambling trying to isolate one certain flavour. Getting all types of licorice (aniseed, fennel, Galliano) and that’s the main taste. Behind it? Well let’s go: spicy black tea, damp tree bark, forest floor, nutmeg, vines, kombucha, gum nut and acorn. What the hell is this?!

Mouthfeel: Light on, mildly acidic, well rounded. Where is the 10.9% ABV?? Totally hidden.

Overall: We’re actually lost for words…we don’t even know what we’ve just drunk. Trust GP. And the fact they teamed up with a brewery as highly regarded as Cigar City also speaks volumes.

Mother Earth ‘4 Seasons’ BBA Barleywine

Rating:

“A big American Barleywine is something to behold and a style every respecting brewer seeks to perfect. We are bringing sexy back to a traditional English style with the addition of pecans and American oak. Expect a mahogany beer with a big body, buttery texture and caramelized pecan finish. Bourbon barrel-aged.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Attractive chestnut brown with two fingers of lightly tanned foam perched on top. Good retention and lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Displays rich caramel, toffee and butterscotch with the pecans adding a subtle yet defined nutty sweetness that ties in beautifully. Then there’s the hallmark bourbon accents that throw out vanilla, spice and somewhat floral tones. Aged oak also getting amongst it as well as sweet dark fruits as it warms. Superb.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with a wave of decadent caramel and toffee then spiked with a vigorous shot of bourbon which provides the quintessential spice, vanilla and residual sugars. The pecans are evident from the beginning, playing more of a structural role in the background. Slightly cloying as it finishes sweet, spicy and nutty. Excellent length.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, sticky and well rounded. Medium-full body. 12.1% ABV! Unbelievably well hidden.

Overall: Exceptional way to kick off proceedings with this Idaho-an (??) brewery. On point and very well executed. Gonna have to get our hands on more from these guys.

Newstead X Weihenstephaner ‘Luftschloss’ Pilsner

Rating:

“Old meets new in this modern interpretation of an unfiltered pilsner. Fresh malt from Voyager, malted in an Old-World fashion. Old-World bittering hops meet New-World flavour hops. While New-World mashing technique is balanced by Old-World fermentation scheduling. What results is a accumulation precision and flavour. The best of both Worlds!”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Fully transparent golden pour with a billowing four finger head. It takes an age to reduce and makes an absolute mess on the glass.

Aroma: Getting a direct candied lemon quality straight off the bat.. has that slightly herbaceous lemon strepsil thing happening. Slightly sulfuric, slight vegetal notes also coming across. Classic Noble hop qualities – spicy, earthy and floral with a faint hint of mildew. Not as refined as anticipated, especially when a name such as Weihenstephaner is involved.

Flavour: Can’t help but feel this has a touch of the New World applied to it. We get a mix of low alpha acid Aussie hops like Pride of Ringwood or Ella alongside the classic Noble strains like Saaz or Tettnang. Subtle florals, spice and candied citrus meet soft grainy notes and move in to an earthy, herbal and mildew finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, light and zippy. Mild-medium body. 5.1% ABV also nicely positioned.

Overall: Although it’s a good Pilsner at its core we were expecting a bit more from it…mainly because of the Weihenstephaner factor. Not a bad crack but we’ve had better.

Woolshed Brewery Scorched Almond Porter

Rating:

“Woolshed Brewery and Almondco are celebrating Almondco’s 75th year, with this one off specialty brew just for thr occasion. Almondco roast crushed almonds, brewed with organic cacao nibs, chocolate malt and lactose, for a creamy, roast choc nut beer experience!”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Kind of a deep garnet with light mahogany hues…not dark enough for a Porter. A finger of lightly tanned foam falls away and forms a halo. Nice wavy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Beautiful fusion of toasted almonds flowing through the somewhat lighter than expected Porter characteristics. We’re detecting a gentle roast, milky coffee and chocolate, caramel, mixed nuts and honey/maple. Slightly underwhelming.. it could actually pass as an Amber Ale.

Flavour: A bit of a watered down mess. The front palate hardly offers anything of note until it hits the nutty and sweet caramels early in the mid. Only then does it open up, albeit, conservatively. Dry nutty roast, milk chocolate, earthy hops and cocoa does linger nicely on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Too thin and slippery for the style. We’d be happy to overlook but it’s hard to ignore here. Low-ish Co2. 5% ABV is too tame.

Overall: Very pedestrian stuff from a highly regarded brewery in our opinion. It’s just lacking everything you’d expect from an adjunct flavoured Porter. Yeah the nutty-ness is there but there’s no depth or structure behind it.

St.Feuillien Quadrupel

Rating:

“St-Feuillien Quadruple is a very dark and dense beer. She is noticeably alcoholic. She distinguishes herself by a complex and finely caramelized aroma and with shades of Madeira wine and candied fruit and an intense touch of fermentation esters (banana type). A slight hoppy smell (English style) completes the whole. The mouth is long with a powerful body built on the density and generous apparent extract. The bitterness is present but sweet and blends harmoniously with the malty structure.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Muddy dark brown with a faint mahogany hue. It whips up a thumb of khaki foam which slowly peels back. Wet spotty lace clings as we imbibe.

Aroma: Jeez there’s a lot to unpack here! It’s interesting as we were expecting a big yeasty number but instead it’s throwing out massive toffee and treacle, sweet dark fruits like raisin, dates and plum, port and residual sugars, a touch of banana bread and earthy spice. Also picking up hints of ginger bread, musk/Candi sugar and very subtle roast. Absolutely pin point perfection!

Flavour: A little raw and roasty upfront then the wave of caramel/toffee, treacle, dark fruits, port, banana bread and baker’s chocolate washes over. Slightly tart plum and earthy figs develop late and then lay down for a lightly toasted finish but it certainly doesn’t end there. Sweet toffee, yeasty spice and dark fruits linger for an eternity!

Mouthfeel: Sticky, gelatinous, creamy and full bodied…liquid gold basically. The 11% ABV is ridiculously well concealed.

Overall: Holy moly this is the ducks nuts. Quite different to your typical Belgian Quad as it doesn’t just rely on the yeast profile. This thing is deep and complex and full of character. Bloody ripper.

Dollar Bill 2020 ‘Autumn Parlay’ BA Belgian Brown Ale

Rating:

“14 months of barrel aging has highlighted the toffee and caramel notes in this Belgian Brown ale, which was then rested on acorns and oak leaves. Gentle licks of acid lead you across the forest floor in this one!”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Gorgeous deep amber hue with a thin veil of fizzy head atop. Real stunner. Posts a neat set of rings as it subsides.

Aroma: One thing strikes us immediately…the magnificent balance. As the reasonably sharp lacto sourness greets the olfactory’s so does the light and sweet malts which bring a mix of caramel/toffee, woody notes and as the label sums up perfectly – forest floor. Getting mixed berries, dried leafy herbs and sherbet as well. Excellent depth and complexity.

Flavour: Oh wow this is interesting. It leans more on the brown ale side with the sweet and sticky malts just getting its nose in front. Acidic jabs of vinegar and lemon are nicely fused through. Sour apple, toffee and earthy dark fruit then move in to a kinda dry and funky finish with woody notes on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Well rounded, mildly acidic. A little sticky at times. Pucker rating hits a respectable 3/5. 7% ABV fairly well buried.

Overall: Unsure whether DB were late releasing this or we’re just late to the party. Either way we’ve missed the brilliance of Parlay over the past 6 months. Solid stuff, as always!

Range Brewing ‘Low Power Mode’ DDH IPA

Rating:

“Low Power Mode by name, high hop intensity by flavour experience. We have given this DDH IPA our heftiest dry hop to date. Packed with Citra Cryo, Cashmere Cryo, Sabro and Strata, this is one for the hop lovers out there. The colour is light golden and super hazy. Cashmere Cry comes out hard in the aromas with melon being at the forefront, followed by light hints of overripe mango. On the palate there is a bursting array of pineapple, melon and mango, with a distinctive bitterness that really lets you know you’re drinking a DDH IPA. Hop lovers only.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid mustard colour with a shade of pastel orange. It forms a short and loosely packed head which retreats to the rim. Spotty lace sticks as we go.

Aroma: Crammed full of ripe fleshy stonefruit and tropical fruits such as paw paw/papaya, rockmelon, peach, mango, pineapple and apricot. Definitely has the brekky juice character dialled in. Some fleeting hints of orange citrus, dank weedy herbals, nectar and coconut flakes. Grainy, cereal malt profile nicely woven through. Smells the goods!

Flavour: Starts fresh, juicy and full of stonefruit and other mixed fruits like pineapple, paw paw and passion fruit. Pithy citrus really comes to a head midway and continues in to a slightly dry and mildly bitter finish with dank herbals/weedy notes and hop oils on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth AF. Some bitterness in the swallow. Medium body, sparkling Co2. The 7.5% ABV isn’t without a little bite.

Overall: Hot damn fresh IPA is so freakin good. This bad boy is only 10 days old which is amazing considering it’s come from Brissy too. Cracking Hazy, Range really are one of the best in the business.

Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A big beer with intense malt complexity. Rich and velvety.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Light black with a short brown head. It holds up relatively well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Surprisingly light and quite muted for the style. Just like the whisky barrel aged version there seems to be a serious lack of depth. The prominent scents include a somewhat artificial dark berry sweetness, a cloying doughy-ness, toffee fudge, a flutter of molasses, licorice and Jaffa. Very ordinary.

Flavour: Ok there’s a bit more bottom end here. She’s a lot richer with an aggression unfortunately missing in the aroma. Slightly sweet dark roast and mild coffee, chocolate and dark fruits then a more defined coffee bitterness opening up late in the piece. Nice roasty finish with a slight sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dense and silky. Full body with low-ish Co2. The 10.3% ABV reveals itself a bit.

Overall: Another disappointing Impy Stout from Hawkers. It seems the darker styles aren’t their forte. Which is strange coz everything from their Pilsner to their darker Belgian styles are world class. Won’t be returning to these annual stouts again.

New England Brewing 2020 ‘Big Winter’ Belgian Dark Ale

Rating:

“We brew Big Winter once a year to celebrate frosts, snow flurries and the smell of wood fires – a New England Winter! A strong Belgian Dark Ale, Big Winter has an aroma of dark fruit, burnt sugar and toffee, before taking you to a body of rich malts, chocolate and lingering candy sweetness. Wait for a cold evening and wear a beanie.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep chestnut complexion with a short tan head. It steadily reduced and formed a halo with modest lace as we go.

Aroma: Hearty and warming. At first the Belgian yeast characters were a bit top heavy but as it settles the rich chocolate malts, earthy hops and sweet dark fruits pull them in to line. Even still we pick up heady notes of banana runts, clove, sourdough and fruit esters. Getting hints of other unique scents like ginger bread, chocolate bullets, honeycomb and carob. Solid.

Flavour: Rich, complex and nicely layered with mildly roasted malts, earthy fig and prunes, Belgian yeast esters and nuanced chocolate flavours. Something a little nutty in here too. Crusty pumpernickel and sweet brioche then moving in to a slightly cloying finish with a touch of roast to balance.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with medium-full body. Low-ish Co2. The 8.6% ABV is fairly well concealed.

Overall: Another impressive addition to their annual Big Winter series. The only criticism would be that it gets a tad cloying by the end. That’s it, other than that it’s a cracking winter drop (even though we just had it in spring!)

Mr Banks ‘Neon Dreams’ NEIPA

Rating:

“DDH IPA Hopped exclusively with 100% CRYO Hops. Double Dry Hopped heavily with Citra, Simcoe & Chinook Cryo.. Like shoving your face into a fresh bag of hops. Massive tropical fruit & Juice upfront, little to no bitterness & a soft palate that just falls away making way for that next sip.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Super hazy pastel orange with two fingers of sturdy head nestled atop. Good retention and lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: Man this smells fresh as a daisy. It literally is like sticking our shnozz in to a bag of fresh hop pellets. Citra is the most vigorous and brings those gorgeous hop oils, grapefruit and pithy orange peel. Quite a strong nectar scent too… passion fruit, peach and ripe mango in spades. Hints of herbal spice, florals, paw paw and lychee. Superb aroma.

Flavour: Certainly follows the nose…bright orange citrus, orange blossom, green mango then grapefruit and rind developing through the mid. Kind of a dry oaty malt bill in the background. It continues with the orange citrus dominance and finishes with a hint of herbal spice and hop oils.

Mouthfeel: Chalky. Nice density yet still so fluffy and aerated. 6.2% ABV is well positioned.

Overall: As we always find with Mr Banks Hazy’s they’re just one trick short of being master strokes. Appearance, aroma and texture is all there, the flavour profile setting it back just a little. Still, a bloody good crack.

Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout – WBA version

Rating:

“A beer with big roast and vanilla character. Beautiful and luscious.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with two fingers of well retained head resting atop. Good lace work as we imbibe.

Aroma: It has certainly piqued our interest. Initially we picked up a strange funky-ness but that tapers off and it now offers a touch of red wine barrels, vinous berries, vanilla, tart dark fruits, sauna room, Sherry and aniseed. What the?! We literally had to double check the label to make sure we were drinking a whiskey barrel aged Imperial Stout. Turns out we are.

Flavour: It’s acting a bit more like a WBA Impy Stout now. Still struggling to work out why we’re getting such strong red wine characteristics. We’re unsure of the barrels used here but our guess would be Starward’s wine cask barrels as the typical notes from that whiskey are red wine, vanilla and Sherry. Throw in a flutter of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee and that pretty much sums this up.

Mouthfeel: Has a reasonable weight to it. Full-ish with a slightly lifted Co2. 11.9% ABV is evident but well buried for its size.

Overall: Not feeling it. We had high expectations with this (can you blame us when it has a $44 a bottle pricetag). Unfortunately it doesn’t back up.. the whiskey component is muddled and this strange funky-ness doesn’t help either. Very meh.