Hobart Brewing Eisbock

Rating:

73372357_1200977143419762_3132942002618892288_n“Long ago, in a small German town in the depths of winter, a tired young brewer left some barrels of bock to the elements of the brew yard instead of rolling them in to the cellar. By morning the kegs had partially froze. Upon tasting the remaining rich liquid the brewmaster’s horror turned to delight and a legend was born.”

Glassware: Goblet.

Appearance: Dark brown which reveals mahogany hues when held near the light. Hardly any head whatsoever with little lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Super malty. Just full of booze-fuelled caramel, toffee, dark fruits and lightly smoked malts. As it settles in it opens up with figs, bakers chocolate, banana split, plum jam, ginger bread and yeast esters. Every now and then we get a fleeting hint of peated whisky. Holy moly that is one good way of opening up the nasal cavities!

Flavour: Proper malt bomb…everything from caramel and toffee to toast, roasted nuts, dark fruits, dark chocolate and smoke. Then backfilled with figs, choc-coated banana, espresso coffee, peated whisky and ash. And let’s not forget the sweet sweet taste of pure alcohol! The length on this bad boy…ooph it just goes on for days.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and almost like cough syrup. It would be rather smooth and silky if it weren’t for the burning booze (16% ABV) but hey at that number you have to kind of expect it.

Overall: A freakin massive beer but they’ve done a marvellous job of keeping it within reason. We reckon it would go well as an after dinner aperitif. It would also do well after quite a long stint in the cellar too. So if you have deep pockets and good patience the jump on it!

Revision Brewing Co ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ Double IPA

Rating:

74615474_1200699036780906_1418015141043109888_n“Citra, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops form a power trio of tastiness in this double dose of liquid goodness. No illusions here, see with your mind and flavour and aroma receptors what’s really going on. The answer is stoke.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Hazy pastel orange with pale straw golden highlights. About a thumb of tightly beaded foam on top which gradually recedes. A lovely cascading lace is left on the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: We get a nose full of Citra hops straight off the bat. That signature grapefruit and orange rind scent is easy to recognise! Oodles of tropical fruit mingling with pine needle, mango, fresh herbs and orange citrus (mandarin, tangerine). Detecting an almost Belgian-like yeasty sweetness and a doughy malt at the base. Can’t help but think how much this reminds us of a West coast IPA rather than a “North East-style”.

Flavour: Certainly acts more like a North East-style IPA now. Plenty of west coast hop flavour but it’s smooth and creamy with a focus on this kind of orange and vanilla fusion. It evolves in to stonefruits and tropical fruit then on to a sticky, resiny finish with fruit sugars and pithy citrus on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Well weighted while still feeling light and aerated. Mild bitterness (30 IBU) and a well concealed ABV (8%). Nicely done.

Overall: It’s a decent drop but we feel it’s just missing that knockout blow. The upside is it’s super dangerous drink-ability…they’ve smashed that out of the park.

Dollar Bill Brewing 2019 ‘Winter Parlay’ Australian Sour

Rating:

72651303_1199726660211477_8828860036378787840_n“Australian wild fermented botanical sour ale: 6mnth old barrel fermented wild ale rested on lindenflower, elderflower and chamomile, cypress and damiana extracts. Dry sour and botanical with intense aromatics. Suggested track: Anderson Paak – Come Down.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Bright gold with a mild haze. It forms a fizzy two finger head which quickly disappears. Minimal lace as we go.

Aroma: Quite floral with the chamomile coming out in front. Picking up lemon citrus, green tea, cracked pepper, nutmeg, weed, freshly cut wood and pot pourri as well. There’s so much going on that we’re most likely missing a lot of the scents but we simply can’t put our finger on them. It’s very Botanical we’ll say that much.

Flavour: Similar traits to champagne at times – lots of lemon citrus, pear, spiced apple and woody oak but with ten times more complex florals and spice. There’s a nice and subtle tartness to it along with a kind of sweaty and musty barnyard funk. Somewhat grainy with more mixed spice and florals in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Again quite similar to a champagne with it’s super spritzy CO2. Light on with gentle acidity. Only 4.6% ABV.

Overall: Tell ya what it’d be a lovely summer session sour…it’s bizarre that they’ve released this in winter. It’s half champagne half saison character would be perfect as a hot arvo quencher. Anywho, not our favourite parlay release but it ain’t bad.

 

Cigar City’ Power Of Friendship’ Brandy BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

74876762_1199344233583053_5167070734849146880_n“7venth Sun Brewery and Cigar City Brewing are friends. In fact, we talk on the phone all the time about how powerful our friendship is. What do friends do together? They brew Brandy Barrel-aged Imperial Stouts together, that’s what friends do. Here’s to friendship! Brewed in collaboration with 7venth Sun Brewery.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Thick black sump oil with hardly any head formation on top…just a gathering of loose bubble around the rim. Some wet streaky legs are all that’s seen as we go.

Aroma: Wow the brandy barrels play a significant role in this… letting off those classic nutty accents while still capturing the rich caramel and jammy dark fruits. As it settles the decadence is multiplied by the intense molasses and raw cacao then doubled down with pure dark chocolate, Vegemite, soy sauce, espresso coffee, licorice and leather. This is a biggun.

Flavour: Good God it comes on like a bull out of the gates. It literally smothers the palate with super rich molasses, leather, dark chocolate, Vegemite, licorice, burnt wood, espresso coffee, iodine and good ol brandy barrels. There’s also a flicker of vanilla in there and thank Christ coz it adds just just a bit of creaminess.

Mouthfeel: Oily, viscous and dense AF! Next to no CO2 with a hefty 12.3% ABV – which doesn’t mind letting us know.

Overall: This is one angry and in-your-face impy stout. It grabs a hold of the taste buds and slaps them around until they’re cowering in the corner. And we dig it! It’s so outlandish and aggressive that it’s hard not to respect it. What it needs though is a few years in the cellar…just to cool down a bit.

Alesong Brewing & Blending Kriek

Rating:

72952978_1199045880279555_4848807065440747520_n“It’s no secret that we take inspiration from Belgian Lambic brewers here at Alesong, and this quarter we’re sending a humble nod to their practices and releasing our own take on the classic Belgian Kriek.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Stunning strawberry red with soft pinkish hues. It constructs a short white head but it doesn’t take long for it to settle at the rim. Seeing OK lace despite the lack of head though.

Aroma: How good is Kriek?! It erupts with a kind of sweet yet kind of tart cherry. Loving the almost artificial berry sweetness which reminds us of either cherry or strawberry flavoured roll ups. Lots of tart plum and raspberry with more nuanced hints of cinnamon, vanilla and French oak barrels. Smells freakin amazing.

Flavour: Well tempered sourness initially which gradually moves in to the tart cherries and citric acidity. In and among all of that sweet and sour deliciousness is something a little earthy which really keeps it all nicely grounded. Not getting much from the oak barrels which is a real shame…just more cherry and raspberry in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light spritzy kind of thing going on. CO2 maybe just a bit too lifted for us. Good acidity with a medium pucker – rates a 3/5. The 7.8% ABV is really well disguised.

Overall: Not the best Kriek we’ve tried but it’s still pretty damn good. The one thing that sets it apart from the likes of say, Cantillon is the depth and complexity. That is literally the only weakness here. Other than that it ain’t bad at all.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Island Bend’ Pilzner

Rating:

72560377_1198118243705652_5216968900389896192_n“A refreshing full flavoured pilsner has a Rich golden colour with strong aroma of malt and traditional Czech Saaz hops, A traditional cold ferment gives a subtle buttery malt flavour to smooth out the assertive bitterness.”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Bright golden complexion with 100% clarity. Nice and healthy three finger head which holds up well. Thick and soapy lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Proper conventional. If we didn’t know any better we’d think this was coming straight out of the Czech republic. Absolutely brilliant balance between the semi sweet malts and herbal hops. Some grassy notes, subtle spice and mildew hand it that classic Bohemian character that is extremely hard to perfect. So on point. We’ve enjoyed many of these at the brewery and it smells just like it has come out of the keg.

Flavour: They’ve struck that perfect balance. As the semi sweet malts provide a hint of honey and cracker biscuits the hops come over the top with its herbal spice, grassy and dewy characters. They duke it out as a delicate bitterness comes though and carries it all in to a clean finish full of grassy hop and earthy grains which go for days.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, clean and light on. Exactly what we want in a pilsner. 5% ABV – neither here nor there.

Overall: Even if one of us completely takes the geographical bias out of the equation this is still a magnificent pilsner. As traditional as one could get it and we’d even go as far as saying that this is Australia’s best interpretation. Not quite the finesse of a Pilsner Urquell but damn close!

3 Ravens ‘Peak Hype’ Sour NEIPA

Rating:

72573498_1198104450373698_3220433548750094336_n“Is this it? Is this the logical progression? Should we, just because we can? Does the end justify the means? Is the end justified? 3 Ravens and Mr West contemplated these moral quandaries while brewing this “IPA” (Triple Cryo Dry Hopped Wine Grape Skin Contact Barrel Blended Milkshake Oat Cream Sour New England India Pale Ale) to celebrate Mr West’s second birthday – and answered yes to all of them. Happy birthday Mr West!”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Turbid AF! It has this kind of deep pastel orange hue which resembles apricot juice. Not much in the way of head…a small collar forms at the rim and struggles to produce much lacing.

Aroma: Straight up juice. Definitely dialling in on that frosty fruit scent along with concentrated brekky juice, papaya, pineapple, guava, apricot, peach and slightly tart lemon citrus, subtle creamy citrus, creamy oats and lactose, grain husks, piney/evergreen characters, we’re even picking up a super mild bubblegum accent. Jeez there’s a lot going on here but it all comes together quite nicely.

Flavour: Very unique… when there’s as many adjuncts as this beer offers it’s bound to be a little complex! Lovely fusion of fruit juice and pine with that subtle line of tart citrus cutting through. Hints of herbal spice and dry hop bitterness leads in to a reasonably smooth finish with a flutter of citric acidity and piney hops in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and moderately weighted with some gentle bitterness in the swallow. 6.5% ABV well enough hidden not to notice.

Overall: We love that these guys are having a dig at today’s tendency to abbreviate everything. But not only that they’ve backed it in with a really solid beer. The one thing we’d have liked to see more of is the sourness but hey the overall fun factor outweighs it. Decent!

To Ol ’19 Edition ‘Mr Blue’ Imperial Blackcurrant Stout

Rating:

71834800_1188235128027297_5586087125771616256_n“This year’s Mr. Blue has truly turned to the dark side. Dark, roasted malts merged with tart black-currants to create a rich and decadent Imperial Blackcurrant Stout with the body of a Greek warrior and the tone of a siren. To be drank on the beaches of Troy, whilst building a wooden horse and fighting the Trojans. Super full and complex delight.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Looks awfully menacing! Super dark and muddy brown with a purple-tinged brown head. Excellent head retention and a smattering of lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: My goodness what have we got here?! The first thing we pick up is a heady scent of crushed red grapes but a few more whiffs and that turns to blackcurrant pulp with a touch of rich molasses around the edges. it’s actually quite tart but this really deep earthiness to the fruit more than counters it. Nice and subtle charred notes underneath…letting all of those quirky aromas do the talking. Very eccentric but we love!

Flavour: Holy moly the second it hits the tongue it detonates with an unbelievable amount of flavour. It’s almost sour initially then ultra tart, bitter then on to a charred and roasty finish. All the way through is this delicious and at times tannic blackberry pulp which ventures off in to earthy, sweet and tangy territory. But the best thing is that it all works in together.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and acetic yet rather silky. The 10.1% ABV is ridiculously well buried. Medium body with mild-moderate CO2.

Overall: Weird, wacky and wonderful! There is no other beer like it this is in a category of its own. Pretty impressive stuff we must say.

Counter Culture ‘So Long Darkness?’ Invisible Stout

Rating:

71402995_1187517794765697_8533003894253420544_n“Not all is what it seems with So Long Darkness..?, our ‘invisible’ stout. Eyes closed, the generous hints of roasted coffee, chocolate and creaminess found in So Long Darkness..? might have you think it were a regular stout. But upon pouring, the way the light shines through this pale liquid might surprise you like an optical illusion. This is, in fact, not a dark beer at all.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Golden amber pour with a mild haze and flat CO2…somewhat explains the lack of head retention. It settles to a collar with surprisingly good lacing.

Aroma: We can definitely get the coffee straight off the bat. There’s also a distinct chilli pepper scent that we’re detecting as well. Plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla/lactose, fairy floss, white marshmallow and glazed cherry. It really feels strange listing those scents then looking at what would most likely be called a pale ale if one didn’t know any better. Very interesting…and fun!

Flavour: Like the aroma it kicks off with a robust hit of raw coffee bean with the vanilla and lactose sweetness in support. Delicious milk chocolate flows through and brings with it this almost Rocky Road-like flavour. From there it seems to drop off a cliff before a hint of lactose and marshmallow returns on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and aerated with some bitterness forming in the swallow. Medium body. CO2 a bit flat but it kinda works.

Overall: The fourth installment in what has become, in our opinion, the most exciting range of beers to come out of Stone & Wood. This release (although fun) doesn’t really stack up against the likes of sticky nectar. Still! It’s unconventional and they’ve pulled it off pretty well.

Vocation ‘Perfect Storm’ New England Pale Ale

Rating:

71701284_1186809348169875_5785431216702357504_n“Packed full of citrus aromas and a boatload of hops, this New England Pale is dank and juicy with full on flavours and low bitterness. Simcoe, Galaxy and Mosaic hops pile on the tropical, fruity, flavours with a touch of dank hop aroma from the Columbus.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Light amber with a fair haze. It doesn’t manage much head but what’s there does retain well and leaves a healthy lace trail on the glass.

Aroma: Absolutely LOVE the hop combination (Galaxy, Columbus, Mosaic and Simcoe). A proper nose-full of tropical fruity goodness with ripe grapefruit, pine, stonefruits and mild orange citrus and rind. The malt bill offers that classic semi-sweet honey and biscuity character. All in all its very similar to the IPA’s we brew here in Oz.

Flavour: Pretty much follows the nose – Passionfruit, mango, peach, mixed citrus, pine, herbal spice and something rather earthy. It develops more of a pithy and acidic grapefruit flavour late in the piece before it rolls in to a piney, grassy and slightly dry bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry with a rather assertive bitterness. The 6.6% ABV provides a bit of warmth as well. Medium body and CO2.

Overall: This is our first crack at Vocation and look, while it’s a fairly decent drop it’s nothing to shout from the rooftops about. It just does what it says without going over and above. Not bad.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Two Thousand’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

71086626_1184486888402121_3383049896863989760_n“To celebrate our 2000th brew we have created a beer that uses something old and something new. Blending whiskey and bourbon barrel-aged B2 Bomber Mach 7.0 ( aged 24 months on Brettanomyces) with a freshly brewed imperial stout. This challenging beer combines much of what we have learned from brewing the previous 1999 beers, whilst also trying something completely new for us.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Thing pours like sump oil – thick black and impenetrable with a thin collar. It posts little rings as we imbibe.

Aroma: Complex! Loving the subtle bretty character. Beneath that is a glimpse of Mach 7.0 with its pseudo black IPA fruitiness and charred malts. Enter the barrels…which provide spicy caramels and even a touch of tannic red wine. Delve even deeper and we pick up those young and aggressive imperial stout notes of licorice, molasses, dark chocolate and peat. Holy moly what an aroma.

Flavour: And we thought the aroma was complex! Deciphering this is gonna be like cracking the DaVinci code….roasty, funky, dank, oaky, somewhat savoury and spicy. Again we get a glimpse of Mach 7.0 with a bit of piney hop and citrus around the edges. Everything then seems to just pile in on each other to the point where it’s almost too hard to isolate anything. One thing we do know… it’s menacing!

Mouthfeel: Oily and dense…really coats the whole palate. Full bodied, low CO2. 10% ABV – not hard to isolate that one!

Overall: Look it’s an awesome beast but we’re undecided on whether it’s just TOO complicated. Loving the creativity though so here’s cheers to a milestone for Bridge Road. Brew #2000!

Goose Island ‘Bourbon County’ ’18 BA Coffee Barleywine

Rating:

71509204_1183449631839180_8071866205008297984_n“Working with our friends at Intelligentsia, we flew down to Guatemala to source some of the world’s best coffee to use as we release the first-ever Coffee Barleywine. The beer is an English-style Barleywine, meaning malt forward, and aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels before adding La Soledad coffee beans right before packaging to retain a bold coffee aroma and flavour.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: A real muddy brown kind of affair. It forms a wispy head which vanishes instantly. No lacing whatsoever…as expected.

Aroma: Seriously rich malt-driven number with the coffee and bourbon barrels taking centre stage. Nicely supported by the barrel adjuncts – vanilla, toasted coconut, spice. Lots of chewy caramel, molasses, toffee and butterscotch…even picking up distinct port and cognac traits which are driven in further by a heady presence of dark fruits i.e prunes/dates/fig. Exceptional.

Flavour: Like dropping a sweet malt bomb on the palate it explodes with rich and syrupy caramel and toffee fudge, burnt chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. The coffee gets involved nicely as does the bourbon barrels with its damp musty oak. She warms up nicely on the back end…showing a bit of that 15% ABV but also displaying toasted coconut, raisin/dates, burnt brown sugar and peated whisky.

Mouthfeel: Vigorous but no where near as full on as we were expecting (especially considering its size). Chewy as hell but at the same time smooth and luxurious.

Overall: We shouldn’t be surprised by the quality these guys have mastered the art of barrel aging extremely strong beers since way back when. We have to give special mention to the addition of coffee too…just enough to know it’s there without overdoing it. Absolutely flawless

Tallboy & Moose ‘Pillow Fight’ Oat Cream IPA

Rating:

72038510_1182077805309696_8881071690348494848_n“Like getting hit in the face with fluffy pillows of hoppy fruity goodness. A hazy IPA base with a double dry-hop treatment using El Dorado, Galaxy and Amarillo. From there we layer in lactose to build further body and sweetness, and grapefruit to lift the fruit character to another dimension!”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Super hazy dark pastel yellow with a short and impatient head atop. What little bubble is left settles at the rim with little lace to show.

Aroma: Soft creamy citrus, pink grapefruit and nectar are hitting the olfactory’s initially. The latter playing in to that frosty fruit character nicely. Sweet and sticky tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, further lactose and or vanilla sweetness along with very delicate hints of aniseed and tea. Quite unconventional and we’re digging it.

Flavour: Pretty similar to the nose but with a bit more emphasis on the tangy citrus and nectar with a line of grapefruit acidity underpinning it. If there were such a thing as grapefruit flavoured frosty fruits that’s what the mid palate would be all about as it finishes on a rather smooth, creamy and citrusy note.

Mouthfeel: Sleek and pretty damn creamy. There’s a really gentle bitterness while the 6% ABV is nicely tucked away.

Overall: This is our first entry for Tallboy & Moose and we must say we’re pretty impressed. The creamy texture and juiced up aroma and flavour is dialled in. The depth and overall balance also deserves a mention. Solid drop.

Bottle Logic ’18 ‘Fundamental Observation’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

71171203_1179507455566731_8832097144639848448_n“Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Vanilla Stout: Our chart-topping ”liquid brownie batter” was aged in a medley of Buffalo Trace, WL Weller, Heaven Hill, and Four Roses bourbon barrels with multiple additions of Madagascar vanilla beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown overlay. It quickly retreats to the rim and provides reasonable lace as it subsides.

Aroma: It never ceases to amaze us how unbelievably satisfying aromas of this calibre can be. When they’re this good words just don’t do it justice. This heavenly concoction of mild bourbon barrels, vanilla bean, licorice, espresso coffee, blackstap molasses, prunes/dates, melted brown sugar and spice is that good we’d happily spend every last cent on it just so we could have an endless supply! It’s outrageous.

Flavour: As expected…not one backward step is taken. It’s a mirror image of the aroma – chock full of bourbon barrel goodness, sweet vanilla, licorice, dark chocolate and or raw cacao, molasses, dark fruits i.e prunes/dates/raisins and espresso coffee. Don’t know how they manage such a smooth finish also. Wtf?!

Mouthfeel: Dense, rich and full bodied…but so god damn smooth! How can they hide the 13.2% ABV like this?? This shit shouldn’t be legal.

Overall: We don’t want to nitpick but…oh who are we kidding it was a 10 from the second we copped a nose-full of this infectious liquid. This is what it’s all about right here. Phenomenal drop.

Quiet Deeds ‘Hummingbird’ Hazy Double IPA

Rating:

71713853_1178778182306325_7492607633698848768_n“Some beers are truly a labor of love. I think I can say with confidence that Hummingbird falls into that category. To quote Ned from the brewery, “Most of the low hanging fruit in the pastry stout game has been picked long ago.” And with that in mind, we put on our thinking caps and started spitballing ideas for our winter pastry offering. We went back and forth and the conversation had just started to lean towards making a pastry IPA instead of a stout when the Hummingbird cake suggestion (also Ned) popped up.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Super hazy pastel orange sporting a loosely packed thumb of white foam atop. It quickly dissipates and settles to the rim with little lace tracking it down.

Aroma: Strange but in a good way. Straight away we’re getting freshly cut lime. Come to think of it we’re getting that smell one gets when they pop their lime in to a freshly cracked bottle of corona. Strong wafts of zesty white wine like Riesling and Sauv blanc, marzipan, spearmint, tropical fruit, mixed spice and musk in support. Somewhat nutty as well. As we said before…strange but kind of appealing.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose. May we say that we don’t mind the smell of fresh lime and corona but the taste of fresh lime and corona is the pits. It almost has traits of a mojito at times. Unripened pineapple, acidic apple cider and white wine come together late and lead in to a dry and zesty finish which really lingers.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and relatively approachable for its size (9% ABV). Good weight and CO2. Low bitterness.

Overall: Honestly…not sure about this one. Yeah it’s nice and summery and we’ll give it points for being unique and somewhat fun but really it’s one of those beers we’d rather forget.

Dollar Bill Brewing ‘Learning To Breathe’ BA Golden Sour

Rating:

70184517_1178404635677013_5060759324926672896_n“Learning to Breathe is brewed with Pilsner (65%), Wheat (25%), and Crystal Rye (10%) malts prior to fermentation and ageing in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay barrels. This golden sour has a round mouthfeel with a hint of brettanomyces and a deep lactic acidity that intertwines beautifully with the vinous notes from ageing in wine barrels. Complex, sour, delicious!”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Deep orange to amber with a finger of off white head. It slowly peels off and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Smells the real deal…it has that punchy and tart lacto sourness, subtle white vinegar and a brett/sweaty funk. There’s also a gorgeous fruity sweetness – mostly papaya, apricot and peach. Just that perfect amount of barrel complexity imparting oak and damp cedar which adds crucial depth that many Aussie sours are lacking. Brilliant.

Flavour: It’s got it all really…intense lambic-style sourness, stonefruits, musty barrel character, manky funk. It’s even got that sherbet-esque artificial sweetness that we LOVE in sours. Undertones of subtle earthy spice and green melon laying down for a rather dry and tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and zippy. Light on but enough body to hold it up though. She’s pretty sour so a 4/5 pucker rating sounds about right.

Overall: We’ve always believed these guys had something of this calibre in them. The Parlay series are great sours but this is on another level. We’re not going to say 3F or Cantillon level but it could certainly stack up. This would have to be in contention for Australia’s best barrel aged sour. Top notch stuff.

Black Hops ‘ABC Bomb’ Black IPA

Rating:

71835697_1178045479046262_2998842119931559936_n“This hoppy Black Ale is balanced by a strong citrus and pine hop aroma and a distinct roasty dark malt character. The use of American hops gives this beer a genuine IPA backbone with a unique spice flavour through the addition of rye. An American Black C-hopped bomb. One of our original 4 IPAs that comes in perfect time for winter.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Black with just the faintest amount of light cutting through. A thick and finely beaded crown slowly reduced and settled at the rim. Healthy lace clings as we go.

Aroma: Smells mighty fine…they’ve struck a lovely balance between the roasted malts and piney herbal hops. Sugar-sweetened coffee, nutty chocolate, treacle and damp earthy forest floor interweave with the piney and almost snow gum-like herbals. Definitely some grapefruit and orange peel alongside delicate savoury spice. Liking it!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose – charred malts provide those robust notes of coffee, dark chocolate and ash but the citrus and piney hops provide that crucial balance and bitterness. This harmonious marriage of flavour reaches well in to the finish and goes for days on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Dry and bitter…really coats the whole palate. Medium body and CO2. 6.5% ABV is well placed.

Overall: With all these new (but awesome) hops around these days it’s easy to forget the original ‘C’ hops which started the whole IPA craze. Citra, Chinook, Centennial, Cascade…these hops are to the IPA world what Elvis Presley was to rock n roll! They started the movement!

North Brewing X Other Half Double IPA

Rating:

71545955_1177342469116563_2769423555597697024_n“We are in awe of this beer! Super chuffed, humbled and proud! This is what it’s about, people coming together to create something great. During the madness of Hop City Leeds, Antony from Other Half Brewing Company squeezed us in his busy schedule to weigh in on how we should brew this beer together.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Pastel orange with a heavy haze. It manages a thumb of finely beaded white head which slowly recedes. Seeing blotchy lace as we go.

Aroma: Pretty conventional hazy IPA notes – bright citrus, stonefruits and pineapple supported by peppery spice, dank weedy herbs, pine and frosty fruits. There’s a really interesting scent which is hard to isolate…reminds us of kumquat and or mangosteen. A bit of warming booze giving the nostrils a tickle too!

Flavour: Remarkably smooth. It’s a total fruit salad upfront – everything from citrus and stonefruit to tropical fruit and melon. Nice hit of frosty fruits giving it that sugary artificial sweetness. Pine and herbal spice come through before a spike in warming booze tapers off in to a smooth and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth and somehow approachable for an 8.3% Double IPA. Medium body. CO2 is spot on.

Overall: This is our first crack at North Brewing however this is not our first crack at Other Half! We don’t have to cast our minds back too far to recall the masterstroke they collab-brewed with Garage Project…it’s obvious these guys can brew an epic NEIPA. And yes we think the one with GP was better!

Modern Times ‘Black House’ Coffee Stout

Rating:

“It’s so great that you like coffee. I just love that about you. Speaking of which, you’re holding an oatmeal coffee stout positively redolent with coffee aroma and flavor. It kind of tastes like a chocolate-covered espresso bean, only drier and more like beer. Nifty fact: we’re one of the only breweries in the world to roast our own coffee, which allows us to be extremely persnickety about which beans we buy and how we roast them. Taste the persnicketiness!”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Glossy black with a finger of light brown foam assembling on top. Reduction is swift and eventually it retreats to the rim. Healthy lace despite the lack of retention.

Aroma: We probably sound like a broken record but we LOVE COFFEE! So when we see a coffee stout brewed by one of San Diego’s finest we don’t hesitate! A twirl of the glass awakens that glorious coffee aroma along with cocoa, bakers chocolate, porridge, toast, lightly roasted barley and lactose. Maybe a flutter of molasses and nutty malt as well. Damn fine aroma.

Flavour: In short? MIA! It’s almost a completely different beer! All of that gorgeous coffee, chocolate and porridge has been watered down and is nothing but a shadow of the aroma. In its defence all of the flavours are here but they’re just weak as water. And it’s like this from start to finish. Gaahh!

Mouthfeel: Thin and slippery…no grip whatsoever. Only 5.8% ABV so it is in session territory. Far too lean for a stout though.

Overall: Such a shame. To inhale that dreamy aroma and then get let down so bad by the flavour makes us want to cry. That’s a rare strike out for MT.

Quiet Deeds ‘Long Days & Pleasant Nights’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

71472456_1175019932682150_6742894124082397184_n“Not long after I moved to Australia, I started using the phrase “Long Days & Pleasant Nights” to describe my new life to my parents. The phrase originally comes from the Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of books, which I read at university. Of all the adventures in those books, I always kept the phrase “Long Days & Pleasant Nights,” as they use it as a greeting in the series. We thought we could use the phrase as a greeting to the wonderful people out there that are enjoying our beers. And frankly if you want to say, “Hello, I’m an IPA,” you need to put a strong effort in that can.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Cloudy light orange to pastel gold…depending on which angle we look at it! A short white head doesn’t hang around long but manages a reasonable lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells nice and fresh. Driven by juicy notes of pineapple, grapefruit, passionfruit, peach, melon and gooseberry. There’s also a hint of dankness to it – evergreen, pine and forest floor with that slight weedy-ness also happening. The grain bill offers a dry, spicy bread crust character alongside a pinch of oats. A well structured aroma.

Flavour: Seems to have a stronger focus on citrus…pithy grapefruit and orange peel with the sweeter tropical fruits i.e pineapple and passionfruit taking the back seat. Tasting the kinda sharp pine cutting through then the warming booze and assertive bitterness rolling in to a dry and slightly astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Rather smooth initially then it turns harsh in the swallow. Medium body. The 7.2% ABV certainly adds a bit of sting.

Overall: We’re on a mission to find an Aussie NEIPA that can stack up against the likes of Treehouse, Monkish, Other Half etc. NEIPA’s like this are getting closer but we’re still so far off. The quest continues…