Author Archives: 2hopheads

Mr Banks Brewing Co West Coast IPA

Rating:

70730364_1173945812789562_1692220202705485824_n“Our Take on a West Coast IPA. A little less Bitterness than traditional with a Lean body for the Hops to really shine through. Tropical Fruit, Citrus, Orange, Grapefruit, passionfruit with a touch of pine.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden orange. It forms a frothy two finger head which breaks down to a sudsy collar. Pretty decent lacing as we go.

Aroma: Packed with tropical fruity hops like pineapple, passionfruit, green mango and stonefruits. Layers of pine (and some resins), mixed citrus, soft juicy notes and a biscuity malt in support. Kind of confusing because there’s more NEIPA qualities than West Coast. Can’t say we’re totally sold on the nose.

Flavour: Our main gripe is that’s it’s lacking that crisp and sharp cut-through so synonymous with good West Coast IPA’s. Yes there’s fruity hops but they’re sweet and a tad juicy. The mid is smooth with delicate bitterness…some peach and mango coming through and leading in to the relatively mild finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly well rounded, smooth and approachable. The 6.2% ABV is well concealed and the 55 IBU neither nor there.

Overall: Were kind of struggling to get where they’re coming from. It’s called a West Coast IPA with descriptors of “fruity, piney and dank” but we see a hazy appearance with sweet juicy fruits and low bitterness. It’s not a bad beer by any means it’s just not really a West coast IPA.

Toppling Goliath ‘Scorpius Morchella’ Double IPA

Rating:

70102102_1173524992831644_7190176377679642624_n“Brewed each spring to celebrate our brewery’s annual day off to go morel mushroom hunting, this excitingly hazy double IPA is a tribute to our love of great hops and morels. Created with a combination of Pacific Northwest and Southern Hemisphere hops, Scorpius Morchella is meant to be shared with friends on a warm spring afternoon.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Extremely turbid mustard yellow complexion. It forms a fluffy two finger head which holds together well. Kind of a wavy lace pattern as it ebbs.

Aroma: One word…amazing! It’s bursting out with fruity hop character – we can’t find the hop profile but it’s a mix of Pacific Northwest (Citra and Ekuanot is our guess) and Southern hemisphere (Galaxy & Nelson Sauvin..again another guess). The list of scents in support is mind blowing: frosty fruits, Thai basil/aniseed, concentrated breakfast juice, ripe yellow grapefruit, gooseberry, pine needle and apricot/peach. Next level.

Flavour: So damn smooth it’s criminal! Fruit juice bomb on entry picking up some spicy accents, dank herbals, frosty fruits and pithy citrus (grapefruit, lemon, rind) as it approaches the mid. More cocktail fruits late in the piece (mango, pineapple, peach) and finishes with a little peppery spice and some warmth in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth and creamy. It feels really light and airy while still maintaining a decent body.

Overall: These guys are freakin masters. Nevermind the New England brewers the boys from the Midwest are taking over! This has to be one of the best NEIPA’s we’ve had to date. Brilliant.

Mr Banks brewing Co Oatmeal Stout

Rating:

70154272_1173017859549024_1044518196503117824_n“With Layers & layers of dark malt, American Hops & Smooth Oats. This Chocolate, Roasty & Slick Stout is a pleasure for all the sense’s.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Solid black with a short brown head on top. Reduction is Swift and eventually settles at the rim. Thin rings stick to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Roasty, savoury and even a touch sweet but it’s all a bit mild and a little shy. As we delve in we pick up further wafts of coffee, dark chocolate, lactose and rolled oats but we’re finding the same problem…it’s all just a bit lackluster. It’s a shame it couldn’t find that 2nd gear because at its core it’s a decent aroma.

Flavour: It’s slow off the mark but as it progresses we pick up gentle roast, coffee, dark chocolate, lactose, rolled oats and delicate licorice. There’s a very faint citrusy hop bitterness making its way through as well. The finish is again mild and lightly toasty with hop character and bittersweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin for a stout. We’ll concede a low-ish ABV (5.5%) could have something to do with it. CO2 is spot on though.

Overall: If anything we’d be calling this a borderline session black IPA. Nowhere near the body one would expect from a stout. It’s a big old meh from us.

 

Range Brewing India Brown Ale

Rating:

70460026_1172806389570171_2133216629931114496_n“For this hoppy dark delight we’ve dry hopped an india brown ale with a whack of Lemondrop hops. With a hint of roast from the darker malts and a pleasant citrus hop hit, this is a spring delight. A smooth balance and low back end bitterness make this one a real treat. Dark, but also hoppy.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut brown with a looseley held thumb of tan foam perched on top. The head retains well and sticks a thick sudsy lace to the glass.

Aroma: Very interesting. We haven’t tried many India brown ales before so this is somewhat exciting. In simple terms it’s just like a black IPA but with less roast and more nuttiness. The brewers have used “Lemon drop” hops here which is also very new to us…imparting obvious notes of candied lemon, herbal tea, mixed citrus and fresh rockmelon. Something kind of floral in here too. We dig it.

Flavour: Again, very similar to a black IPA just a lot less aggression with a smooth nutty malt character. There’s a very faint roasted note which hints at coffee and chocolate but it’s countered by the slightly fruity and herbal hops. It tapers off in to a mild finish which stops a bit short.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but bordering on watery…we’d have loved to see a bit more density there. CO2 is spot on and the 6.2% ABV is cleverly hidden.

Overall: Definitely has the fun factor but there’s questions over whether they nailed it. The aroma is great but it all seemed to go downhill (slowly, mind you) from there. Probably our least favoured out of the 4 SKU’s we’ve now tried from Range.

Black Hops ‘#100’ Continuously Hopped IPA

Rating:

70385558_1172419739608836_2028305585505566720_n“Our latest release is a big milestone for us, being our 100th unique beer we’ve brewed since Black Hops existed. To celebrate, our latest limited release, #100 is a continuously hopped American IPA crafted in the tradition of Dogfish Head’s famous 90 minute IPA. 100 minutes of continual hopping in the boil by the whole Black Hops crew, delivers a classic IPA with all American hop complexity.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Bold amber with excellent clarity. It builds a healthy two finger head which holds up pretty well and makes a total mess of the glass.

Aroma: Not getting a great deal off it to be quite honest. We’re picking up indistinct berries and dark fruits with a more obvious prominence on caramelised sweetness, toffee, malts, subtle toast and honeysuckle. We can see where they’re going with this…the beer is based on the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA and it’s not a bad overall attempt.

Flavour: Almost sweet enough to call it a red or amber IPA. Then again they would need a huge malt bill to counteract 100 minutes of continual hopping. Caramel, toffee, honey and mild roast balance a deep and pithy hop bitterness, pine and sappy resins. Maybe some burnt orange developing late. Raw and bitter finish really endures.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat sticky and gelatinous. The hefty 100 IBU flexes it’s muscles while the 7.7% ABV adds a certain warmth to it. Medium body and CO2.

Overall: Well, it’s no 90 minute but it’s a fairly unique IPA and we must say we like it. It’s well balanced yet punchy and full flavoured. It took us a bit to come round but we did in the end!

Cloudwater Brew Co ‘Soft & Juicy’ IPA

Rating:

70362532_1172051459645664_2521268651701567488_n“Juicy, soft, and full of ripe tropical fruit flavours from a blend of hops and aromatic yeast, this IPA is our modern take on a classic style. Showcasing hop flavours and yeast esters against a big body from high protein malts, to replicate the mouthfeel of tropical fruit, this beer finishes with a low bitterness to let the hop aromas and flavours linger on your palate.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Turbid mustard yellow with a sturdy two finger head which maintains its shape. Lovely lace work clings to the glass as we go.

Aroma: There’s a strong floral note cutting through the thick, syrupy and fruity breakfast juice (paw paw, orange, melon, apricot, mango, pineapple). Soft peppery rye, dried oats, botanicals, straw/hay and subtle grapefruit pith filling it out. Outstanding aroma…on par with some of the best NEIPA’s in the world.

Flavour: Proper juice bomb upfront – paw paw, mango, melon, orange, apricot, peach…you name it. Nice little addition of botanicals/herbals fused through with a late hit of peppery spice forming mid-palate. Quite pithy (grapefruit, rind etc) and a bit dank as it rounds off. Grassy hop, citrus and peppery rye drawing out on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, mineraly. Gassy vibrant CO2. Really well rounded. The 6.5% ABV is inconspicuous. Flawless really.

Overall: As we touched on before this surely has to stack up against the likes of Treehouse, Trillium, Other Half. It’s got everything one could ask of a world class NEIPA…in spades. Superb drop.

 

Dainton Brewery ‘Nutters’ Choc Peanut Butter Stout

Rating:

71108235_1171410759709734_3244479374128316416_n“Peanuts are rad, aliens told us so. Better than that, we’re going to show you so. Just watch your allergies, because we aim to please. This beer ain’t crap!”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Mat black with a healthy two finger head perched on top. Excellent retention…weaving a thick intricate lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Snickers eat your heart out! Tonnes of peanut, chocolate, caramel, nougat, coconut and honey-roasted cashews. The only downside to these novelty beers is that there’s not much more to uncover once we scratch through the first layer. Maybe a hint of cherry cola and strawberry gum getting amongst it…albeit conservatively. Nice though.

Flavour: It doesn’t follow through as well as we’d hoped. We’re detecting mild hints of peanut, chocolate and caramel but it tapers off pretty quickly. It leaves a somewhat doughy flavour to set up the nutty and semi sweet finish. Kind of pulls up a tad short on the back palate too.

Mouthfeel: Quite thin and slippery…hardly any body to it whatsoever. The upside is the 6% ABV is very well disguised.

Overall: We love a novelty beer. Especially when it mimics a chocolate bar or ice cream but this falls a bit short of the mark. The aroma has vigour but the flavour is muted and the texture is too lean for a stout. Had better from Dainton

Capital Brewing ‘Big Drop’ Double IPA

Rating:

69860822_1170859873098156_695371238335315968_n“This beer has been a long time in the works. We’ve been developing the recipe over the past couple of years, with plenty of tasting, testing, twerking & tweaks. We’re stoked to how it’s developed into what it is today.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Clear bright golden amber with a puffy two and a bit finger head. It slowly breaks down and leaves a proper smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Dank, piney and pithy. Kind of has a touch of that weedy/herbal thing going on. Oodles of citrus – mostly lemon, lime and yellow grapefruit, subtle jatz crackers, unripened stonefruit, sappy resins and a bit of warming booze tickling the nostrils. It’s sharp and punchy but quite well detained. Smells the goods!

Flavour: Doesn’t stray far from the aroma with heady notes of pine needles, unripened mango and rockmelon leading the charge. More subtle notes of dank weedy herbs, sweet sappy resin in to bitter citrus i.e yellow grapefruit and rind midway. The citric bitterness really kicks in to gear late in the piece leading in to a dry, piney and citric finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Fairly astringent to be honest. The booze (8.2%) is coming through quite aggressively. The 90 IBU has a lot of cut-through as well. Medium body and good CO2.

Overall: Can’t exactly say we’re fans of it but at the same time we don’t dislike it. How’s that for decisiveness! It’s just a bit rough around the edges and slightly unbalanced. This is probably the first time we’ve ever been critical of a Capital beer!

 

Cigar City X Cycle Brewing ‘Not A Single Feeling’ Sherry BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

69949393_1167819246735552_3420578655376506880_n“This Sherry Barrel-aged Imperial Stout evokes not a single feeling, but a myriad of feelings: happiness, gregariousness, exuberance, and the joy of teamwork. Brewed in collaboration with Cycle Brewing.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Engine oil with a sparsely populated head. Groups of large bubble reduce instantly and form a thin collar at the rim of the glass. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma: Totally pungent! Rich black strap molasses erupts out of the glass followed by heady notes of licorice, boozy Xmas cake, dark chocolate, vanilla, charred malts and dark fruits. The latter emphasized by the time spent in ex-sherry barrels which also adds a certain nuttiness alongside, of course, fine oak accents. That 13.9% ABV definitely tickles the nostrils too!

Flavour: Oohh wee she’s feisty! A proper belly warmer. We must say though it’s more tempered on the palate…there’s no single flavour that stands out it’s just a potent concoction of oak, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, sherry, charred malts, sweet dark fruits (prunes, dates) vanilla and raw cacao. It rounds off on a roasty, charred and boozy finish although the sting in the tail is softened…which is testament to the brewers.

Mouthfeel: Oily, dense and aggressive. Low CO2 with full body.

Overall: They call this “Not a single feeling’ yet we feel plenty! Admiration is one. Feeling a bit tipsy is another. In all seriousness this thing is off the charts. A little brash still but nothing a few years in the cellar couldn’t sort out. Kudos CC that is superb!

Range Brewing ‘Ekuanot & El Dorado’ IPA

Rating:

69647777_1167222093461934_3512695730961645568_n“We’ve made a few process changes to this latest West Coast IPA, giving a hint more bitterness on the front end, but balancing right the way through the palate. A deep orange, with a natural unfiltered hop haze, this beer is the perfect WC IPA colour. Filled with plenty of stonefruit, orange and mandarin – this bad boy is sure to please those who like their IPAs with a traditional full palate bitterness. Let us know what you think!”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Ultra deep orange with an apricot hue. It forms a healthy two finger head which persists and weaves a wavy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Not as vigorous as we’d anticipated but it still provides lovely wafts of paw paw, mango, overripe rockmelon and pineapple. We’re picking up some unique scents including canned peaches, rock candy, caramelised pear and a certain type of sensual oil which we just can’t quite put our finger on. Very interesting aroma.

Flavour: Mostly dominated by soft fleshy stone fruits and melon along with stewed paw paw, peach and apricot. Subtle hints of citrus here and there as well as a pinch of herbal spice and rind. This subtle citrus bitterness kicks on and leads in to a mildly bitter finish with orange citrus, peppery spice and stonefruit drawing out.

Mouthfeel: Fairly prickly. Can’t find an IBU but the bitterness is evident. CO2 is spot on as is the medium body. Very crushable for 6% ABV.

Overall: That’s a damn fine WC IPA. Pretty hazy for the style but then again we still are right in the middle of the haze craze. Another impressive drop from this largely unknown brewery.

Balter ‘Dazy’ DIPA

Rating:

032BCD4C-3D66-41CE-92CB-F4379B89909CGlassware: Poured into a pint glass to extract all the goodness of this 500ml can, and to get a good look as to whether this beer is ‘hazy’.

Appearance: Pours a lovely dark yellow, with a finger width white head that retains well at half a finger. It’s definitely hazy but not like a turbid NEIPA standard. There is plenty of carbonation seen. Thick lacing like soap is seen stuck to the glass.

Aroma: As the can says, “fleshy fruit flavours, spicy alcohol and an undercurrent of bitterness”. We can definitely smell stone fruits such as peach and tropical sweetness such as passion fruit and mango, with pine, red grapefruit, and citrus. There is a subtle spicy aroma also like pepper. Alcohol is well hidden amongst the fruity goodness.

Flavour: First sip reminds me that I’m drinking a tasty double IPA. The bitterness is low and intermixed with some caramels from the malt, a touch of booze heat but again well contained, and the backbone of more tropical fruit as described above, alongside some sweet grapefruit, orange peel and pine resin that gives it that spice like quality. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: for 8% alc vol it’s well hidden. Again bitterness is subdued allowing for a decent gulp, and the carbonation doesn’t hinder the experience. Great length on the palate. Body is moderate to full. As we near the end of the glass the alcohol is registering on the brain.

Overall: we tried at GABS 2019 and whilst we didn’t give it a 5/5, on a fresh palate, it’s a decent and enjoyable offering. We have been drinking so many NEIPA’s lately that to go back to a well brewed DIPA is refreshing. 1 is definitely enough on your own, otherwise a looming headache is likely. Another well brewed Balter beverage. P.S…apologies for crushed can.

Range Brewing Oatmeal Stout

Rating:

70597867_1166452346872242_1652343626090414080_n“This creamy oatmeal stout was brewed to be a smooth mid winter delight. We’ve used to massive quantity of oats in this batch, as well as editions of chocolate malt and roasted barley to the malt bill. It is jet black, with a creamy espresso coloured head. We get a beautiful balance between toasted notes and a light malt sweetness and a super smooth bitterness to finish.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a short yet finely beaded brown head emerging on top. It doesn’t hold together long, dispersing and settling at the rim. Fine rings stick to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: There’s a discernible savoury sweetness that we were detecting even as our glasses sat idle on the table. It’s somewhere between honeycomb and pistachio. And then there’s the delicate touch of cherry too! All the while that creamy, porridge-like oatmeal underlines it all. Subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate shavings and French toast just for good measure!

Flavour: It’s a bit slow out of the gates. Slightly watery with the oatmeal front and centre. Then the magic happens…it’s like an explosion of flavour goes off and sends coffee, chocolate, roasted nutty malts, dark fruits and earthy wood in each and every direction. This cluster of flavours reaches well in to the finish and goes for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Could have a little bit more weight but we’re not going to nitpick. Nicely rounded with the 6.1% ABV buried well.

Overall: Not as good as the pale ale but it’s still a cracking drop. Dead set…where did these guys come from?!

Range Brewing DDH Cashmere & Idaho 7 Pale Ale

Rating:

69505235_1165728240277986_3719183885808959488_n“This double dry hopped Pale Ale features two NW American hops – Cashmere and Idaho 7. The beer is bright orange and super hazy in appearance. We get strong mandarin and citrus aromas. A creamy mouthfeel and smooth body lead to sweet melon flavours on the palate, finishing juicy like we like it. Very easy to consume!”

Glassware: Shaker

Appearance: Good colour – deep orange to amber with a decent haziness. It constructs a thick and fluffy two finger head before settling to a wispy overlay. Soapy lace covers the glass as we go.

Aroma: We get a lot of stonefruit initially i.e apricot, rockmelon, papaya, peach. Lots of tropical fruit like guava, passionfruit and mango also coming through. Subtle orange citrus notes, pine, lemongrass, herbal tea and a semi sweet grainy malt at the base. Excellent depth and character.

Flavour: Beautifully balanced hints of stonefruit and tropical fruits against the subtle sweet and grainy malts. Tasting a bit more pink grapefruit on the palate…urged on by the soft hop bitterness surely. So incredibly juicy and ultra smooth though…rolling in to a fruity finish with a flutter of stonefruit on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, creamy and perfectly carbonated. Medium-full body adding that chewy texture. Well concealed ABV (5.8%).

Overall: Really really impressive. Full flavoured yet so streamlined and brilliantly balanced. Man if this is what Range can do with a pale ale then we can’t wait to see what they can do with their other beers! Top shelf stuff.

Goose Island 2018 ‘BCBS’ BA Imperial Vanilla Stout

Rating:

69268730_1162342700616540_3170632642743762944_n“This long time favorite makes a long-awaited return to the Bourbon County Stout roster. Utilizing whole grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar, Vanilla delivers on all the quintessential things fans love about this variant: aromatic vanilla, marshmallow, toffee, oak, and floral notes highlighting the creamy mouthfeel and enhancing the chocolate flavors that are ingrained in Bourbon County Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight! Hardly any head forms in the pour and whatever does vanishes almost instantly. No lacing whatsoever.

Aroma: It literally jumps out of the glass! The vanilla is so creamy and sweet that we just want to bathe in it. The sticky and rich molasses, the heavily charred malts and dark chocolate, the coffee…as big and menacing as they all are that vanilla still comes out on top. Then there’s the barrels imparting georgeous oak and subtle bourbon…good heavens!

Flavour: The progression of flavour here is off the charts. There’s a huge surge of bourbon, molasses and vanilla upfront which rolls in to further notes of licorice, star anise and brown sugar. There’s a tussle between vanilla and bittersweet chocolate that goes for days but it’s backfilled with hints of woody oak, toffee, charred malts, coconut and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Oily and viscous. Minimal CO2 with a belly warming 14.9% ABV. Yet for its size and immaturity it’s still reasonably well balanced. Incredible.

Overall: Taking the above in to consideration we still think this bad boy needs at least 5 years in the cellar. It’s still quite brash. We’re not taking anything away from it though…the BCBS range is still one of the best in the world.

Toppling Goliath ‘King Sue’ Double IPA

Rating:

69594648_1160550670795743_6982060258428452864_n“This lusciously hazy double IPA gains its hints of mango, orange, and pineapple from the use of the delicious Citra hop.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Turbid and pale orange juice looking affair with a healthy white crown perched on top. Good retention and lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Proper fruit salad juice bomb. Every kind of tropical and citrus fruit you can imagine. Stonefruits aplenty, melon, peach, apricot, even kumquats coming through. It holds that fresh white bready malt character so synonymous with top shelf American NEIPAs. Hints of botanicals, lemongrass, dank pine and peppery spice. Nailed it!

Flavour: Comes on with a burst of tropical fruit sweetness. Showing a bit of that 7.8% ABV early on too. A fair bit of peach and apricot which lays down for the slightly pithy grapefruit and citrus rind midway. An acidic bitterness pushes forward but settles down for a warming finish with additional herbal spice and dank pine.

Mouthfeel: Quite sharp and prickly. As stated previously the 7.8% ABV certainly isn’t shy. Neither is the 100 IBU for that matter! Fairly light on with good CO2.

Overall: Somewhat of a rendezvous between the east Coast, the Mid West and the West Coast. The Citra hop shines again here too…we’d say it’s more at home here as opposed to Pseudo (which is interesting because he’s more of a West Coast style). All in all a very decent offering.

pFriem 2016 ‘Frambozen’ Lambic

Rating:

69227710_1154945388022938_4202434583544725504_n“Inhale our raspberry Lambic-style ale, pFriem Frambozen, and huge perfumy aromas of fresh fruit will tease your nose. Take one sip and your taste buds will be embraced by the flavors of lavender and fresh jam, and the tart, prickly finish will make you long for another.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Kind of a pastel red hue with a hint of burgundy. It forms a short and super fizzy head which dissipates instantly. No lacing…as anticipated.

Aroma: Smells magnificent. Tonnes of juicy sour cherry, mixed red berries, sherbet, hints of oak and red wine vinegar. So well balanced…more than enough fruit sweetness to counteract the lambic sourness. Smells as good as Cantillon or 3F!

Flavour: Just like the aroma – amazing. It kicks off with a bit of lacto sourness and manky funk but the sour cherry and berry sherbet quickly takes hold. Subtle peachy/apricot flavours getting amongst it while the oak adds a gentle woody note. The finish is fruity and slightly vinous but it does pull up a little short.

Mouthfeel: Tight and spritzy with a lively CO2. Light-moderate body. The acidity is there but it’s approachable so the pucker rating gets a 3/5.

Overall: The aroma is nothing less than works class. The flavour, although delicious, seemed to lack a bit of intensity…considering this is a 2016 vintage the age could have softened it a bit though. That’s as far as any criticism will go because at the end of the day it’s an absolute corker!

Hope Brewing Semillon IPA

Rating:

69403323_1153851164799027_6773400087079944192_n“The 2019 release of Hunter Harvest is where grape meets grain; in a hopped up IPA. World famous Hunter Semillon from our estate adds zest and lemopn lime edge to this already piney and resinous imperial brew.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Lovely bold amber pour with a thumb of frothy white head perched on top. It falls away gradually yet still manages sufficient lacing.

Aroma: Not really picking up a whole lot of the Semillon on first smell. Getting a lot of dank pine resins, booze, sweet malts and stewed stone fruit though. As it settles some yellow citrus (grapefruit, lemon) and freshly sliced pear come through…albeit conservatively. The sweet malts become a little syrupy as well.

Flavour: A mirror image of the aroma – dank, resinous fleshy stone fruits and sweet stewy malts bolstered by a warming booze. Pithy grapefruit and lemon peel then rolls in to a dry and super bitter finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, prickly and somewhat astringent. Medium body and assertive bitterness (100 IBU). The 9.5% ABV is also quite evident.

Overall: One of us is a real big fan of Semillon so it’s a bit of a shame that the wine features were a bit subdued. The imperial IPA side of it was good though… dank, hoppy but well balanced with a sweet malt base. Not really memorable but a decent drop.

 

Stone & Wood/Counter Culture ‘It’d Be Rude Not To’ French Toast Stout

Rating:

68439605_1153780061472804_5667870016121339904_n“Prepare to salivate. Our delectable French toast stout, It’d Be Rude Not To is the third release of our limited Counter Culture range – and a beer for those times you just can’t refuse. Dark, decadent and oozing with patisserie goodness, we admit It’d Be Rude Not To is a little bit naughty.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short but finely beaded brown head. Reduction is slow and steady and leaves a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Definitely dominated by the winter spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice) but well supported by sweet and syrupy maple and caramel, melted chocolate, vanilla and milk sugars, toasty malts and sugary coffee. We can even pick up subtle hints of banana, toffee fudge and toasted marshmallow. Incredible aroma!

Flavour: Nice and creamy but jam-packed with rich maple and cinnamon, toasty malts and coffee, some dry bitterness, bittersweet chocolate and light black strap molasses. As it progresses it changes lanes again and finishes on a base of sweet caramel and maple, spice and toasty malt.

Mouthfeel: There’s a good weight to it but it’s still somewhat approachable. Slick texture and well concealed ABV (7.4%). Low CO2.

Overall: In our opinion this Counter Culture series is their best work yet. Even as avid IPA lovers we think it’s better than Fixation. They’re playing around with exciting flavours and it already enjoys a bit of a cult following. Can’t wait to see what they come out with next! Top drop.

Cigar City BA Imperial Milk Porter

Rating:

68454769_1150158711834939_8298541191478116352_n“So, what you’ve got here is a high gravity porter brewed with lactose. It tastes like “finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket” complemented by notes of “catching a foul ball at a baseball game,” while the finish is pure “that satisfying feeling of popping bubble wrap.” It’s good.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of loosely held tan foam resting atop. Gradual reduction before it settles at the rim. Laced pretty well actually.

Aroma: We can smell it as it sits idle on the table! A good swirl arouses a plethora of rich and dark aromas like molasses, melted dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, lactose, whisky, charred oak barrels, toasted coconut and earthy spice. The overall depth and complexity here is next level. Superb!

Flavour: Holy moly…it bursts on to the palate with incredibly rich yet smooth and dark malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and cocoa which rolls in to the oaky and whiskey-infused barrels. All the while that sweet and slightly sugary lactose character underlines it all. Definitely picking up hints of molasses before it wraps up with an enduring lactose sweetness.

Mouthfeel: So smooth and silky…hides the 8.5% ABV nicely. There’s a good density to it but it still feels light and accommodating.

Overall: Superior stuff really. Everything just fits together so well…the barrels, the lactose, the high ABV, even the rich molasses. It’s all so perfectly composed. Brewing at its finest.

Modus Operandi ‘Pangea’ IPA

Rating:

68613351_1150158351834975_3631560372512620544_n“Our latest national limited release merges your oral continental borders with a gobful of hops from gob smacking hop regions around the globe. Unfiltered with a distinct hop-driven haze care of six different hopping processes and a double dry hop, this international IPA will have your buds in a round-the-world frenzy. More hops than a roos honeymoon, break down borders and hop into Pangea International IPA.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Light amber to gold in colour. Very mild haze and a frothy two finger head emerging on top. Good retention and healthy lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Very green and grassy, lots of herbals and weedy notes, sappy pine resins and rainforest characters. Every time we smell it we get taken away to sphagnum-covered field in Scotland. Random AF! Nice impressions of stonefruit i.e mango, rockmelon and peach with a light biscuity malt tying it all together. Very nice.

Flavour: It offers a fair amount of dank pine resin, bitter citrus (yellow grapefruit, orange peel) herbal spice and gooseberry on the fore. The mid really hones in on the acidic citrus, hop bitterness and subtle warmth from the booze while the finish provides a bit of astringent bitterness but lovely citrus and herbal notes for days.

Mouthfeel: Quite sharp and prickly. Medium body with an aggressive bitterness. Just a small bite from the 6.5% AbV.

Overall: If you like your big and punchy west coast IPA’s then you’ll be all over this. Has a bit of old school flavour sidling up to some new world ideas (apparently the hop bill touches all corners of the globe!). All in all it ain’t a bad drop.