Fremont 2017 ‘Barrel Aged Dark Star’ BA Imperial Stout


“This year’s release is a blend of 18, 12 and 8-month old bourbon barrel aged Dark Star in 12-year old Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The roasted and chocolate malts copliment the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of bourbon barrel aged warmth.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impassable black with a short dark brown head emerging on top. It snaps back to the rim and leaves some spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: Phwoar! This is seriously intense. The oaky bourbon barrels certainly play a big part in it.. throwing spice, vanilla/coconut and dark fruit sweetness at us. Behind it is a freaking vicious mix of heavily roasted malts, molasses, raw cacao, espresso, booze, salty dark chocolate, licorice, cigars and burnt toast. Brilliant.

Flavour: Oh man…mirror image of the aroma. Jam packed full of bourbon oak and adjuncts but still so palate friendly which is insane! Especially considering the list of extras – dark chocolate, espresso, licorice, burnt toast, molasses, raw cacao, dark fruits and kind of smoky charred wood. It keeps on carrying on the back palate too.

Mouthfeel: Dense and oily. Full body, low Co2. 14% ABV is absurd but unbelievably well behaved.

Overall: Kind of difficult to put in to words how God damn good this is. So vicious but so beautifully balanced and down right delicious. If only it were more readily available in Australia. World class drop.

Spencer Trappist Brewery ‘Monks Reserve Ale’ Quad


“Spencer Monks’ Reserve Ale is a classic Trappist Quadruple (“Quad”) in the Belgian tradition. This Quad is fragrant, robust and full-bodied, mahogany in color and crowned with a dense, tan, frothy head. Its malt-forward profile yields to a warm finish, with an ABV of 10.2%.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep Chestnut brown with a finely beaded two finger mocha head. It slowly peels off and settles to a wispy overlay with little lace on the glass.

Aroma: Smells the goods! Truck loads of banana and clove, cola syrup, molasses, apple pie and Asian spice. Dark fruits galore as well – raisin, dates/prunes, fig and plum jam. Kind of has this sourdough note to it which comes off as toasted pumpernickel. Also rocking some fruitcake and port notes along with pink peppercorn, brown sugar/toffee and licorice. Holy moly! The depth and complexity is incredible!

Flavour: Jeez where do we start?! It’s quite strong and boozy upfront but that’s OK because it gets it all out of the system. What proceeds is an index of complex flavours ranging from yeasty clove and banana, molasses, dark fruits, jammy sweetness and toast to peppercorn, fruitcake, herbal spice, licorice and earthy/nutty gritty-ness. The length on it is just ridiculous too.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous. Medium-full body. Low Co2. The 10.2% ABV is noticeable but tempered.

Overall: Very impressive Quad. The last few beers we’ve tried from Spencer have all been traditional with a very subtle new world twist. Not this. This is straight down the line traditional Belgian Quad. Love it.

Tumut River Brewing ‘Bad Mofo’ West Coast IPA


“The Bad Mofo is our take on a West Coast IPA. A big, American style ale which is fairly bitter at 80 IBUs and with large amounts of dry hops in fermentation for a crisp aromatic citrus hop hit which is balanced out by strong malt backbone. In brewing this beer, we mainly used Munich from Voyager Craft Malt in the Riverina region of NSW and some locally grown Rye corn for a unique rye malt taste. Predominant hops are US Mosaic and El Dorado. If you’re into big, traditional IPAs – this is the bad mofo for you!”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Quite a deep amber with soft candy red hues. It forms a sturdy two finger head which holds together well. Excellent lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: Rather malty for the style but at the same time it offers up a gorgeous mix of caramel, gritty toffee and nutty residual sweetness. The hop profile is a little shy but does provide subtle piney additions alongside some sappy resin, mixed citrus, canned fruits, overripe stone fruits i.e lychee and melon. Not bad for a malt bomb!

Flavour: Certainly acts more like a West Coast IPA now. It opens with a burst of hop bitterness, acetic citrus and pithy rind but it’s offset by those sweet caramelised malts. The bitterness and pithy citrus surges through the mid and leads to a dry piney finish with old fruit hanging around on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and silky with the 80 IBU’s kicking in post swallow. Medium body. Mild-medium Co2. 7% ABV is somewhat evident.

Overall: We wouldn’t say it’s the best example of a West Coast IPA but it’s punchy and has some depth to it. Hardly memorable though.

Woolshed Brewery ‘AAAmber Ale’ Australian Amber Ale


“Woolshed Brewery AAAMber Ale has been named after the AAAM brand which is given only to the finest Merino wool once a sheep is shorn. So, having selected what Woodshed believe to be the best Australian hops, and combine this with the rain water collected from a sheep shearing shed roof, the brewers at Woolshed figured that it’d be an appropriate name for their Australian amber ale.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep amber with faint strawberry highlights. It constructs a big and rocky three finger head and takes an age to reduce. Not a great deal sticking to the glass though.

Aroma: Not your typical Amber Ale aroma’s for one. It has this weird earthy-ness which we can’t get past. Also picking up old floral hops and a slight chemical-like note. Yikes! Bad start. Tried to find a bottling date but to no avail. This is why cans are so much better!

Flavour: Slightly over carbonated. Very little in the way of flavour initially but some semi sweet malts bring out hints of nutty toffee, honey and very subtle maple. The hops don’t do it any justice…they have this earthy and floral character that kind of clashes with the malt sweetness. The finish is just dirty and earthy.

Mouthfeel: As touched on before it’s slightly over carbonated. Somewhat thin with little body. The 5.4% ABV is well hidden but then again it is only 5.4%.

Overall: We’re thinking this is either really old or it’s infected. It just doesn’t smell or taste right. The over carbonation points to age and poor storage. We won’t name the bottle shop but we’re certainly a little peeved.

Bentspoke ‘Descent 20’ Russian Imperial Stout


“Starting a downhill descent into the unknown requires a level of composure to make it to the bottom in one piece, Descent 20, like its five predecessors requires plenty of composure, a little birthday magic and a nice warm fire to get you to the bottom of this beer!” 

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with two fingers of well retained brown foam resting atop. Excellent lacing as we go.

Aroma: Kind of like D19 where there’s not a whole lot that screams RIS. Sure, it’s big and boozy and there’s a solid base of charred malts and inky astringency but it seems something is missing. Maybe we’re being harsh as it does begin to open up as it settles – rich and complex notes of dried dark fruits, baker’s chocolate, bourbon oak, slightly fruity hops and sweet coffee come forward. Not half bad in the end.

Flavour: Like the aroma in the sense that we get a real messy intro of ink, muddled dark fruits and syrupy sweetness. But it somehow seems to correct itself and the yummy roasty characters kick in… charred wood, raw coffee bean, dark chocolate, licorice and gritty earthy-ness. Nice shift in to a roasty, mildly bitter and chocolatey finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Oily yet well carbonated. Medium body. The 10% ABV is pretty well behaved. Slightly timid for the style though.

Overall: Not the most mind blowing beer we’ve had from Bentspoke but it’s pretty good all the same. Not gonna be sweating on D21 though, if you catch our drift.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Fruitopia #1’ Berry Smoothie Sour


“Fruitopia is an ongoing speciality series in which we explore the how far we can take the addition of fruit to beer. Drinkers are given an exclusive look into the brewing process, with varieties, additions and time frame listed on the can label. Number one is a 7.5% Fruited Sour. A smoothie style sour ale, with the additional of Blackberry, Raspberry, and milk sugar.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: One of the hardest colours to explain…kind of like a creamy Scarlet/deep magenta with a tonne of suspended sediment. It holds a frothy two finger head long enough to leave some patchy lace here and there.

Aroma: Like a boozy berry flavoured frozen yogurt. Mostly dark berries like blackberry and blueberry with some creamy strawberry thrown in the mix. Super creamy lactose/milk sugars in spades. The sourness is light and funky…the type you’d find in one of those wanky probiotic yogurt drinks. Very unique we must admit.

Flavour: Pretty much follows the nose – dark berries dominate but the typical tartness you’d find from them is offset by the milky creaminess and yogurt-like funk. Getting a late hint of fruity hops which ushers in a slightly dry bitterness that quickly lays down for a creamy and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and well rounded. Very light on and aerated. Mild-medium body. Tell you what the 7.5% ABV has been very well concealed.

Overall: We’re proper fence-sitting here. On one hand it’s really unique and rather tasty but it looks like shit and doesn’t really have the amount of sourness we’re after. Not bad.

New England Brewing ‘Pecan Coffee’ Milk Stout


“So we increased the size of the team for this year’s Coffee Stout! Artisti Coffee Roasters has supplied its premium beans & Stahmann Farms at Moree in NSW has loaded us up with pecans. The aroma is black coffee with a creamy body of malty chocolate and refined coffee amongst a layer of nutty goodness. Roaster, Farmer & Brewer!”


Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of lightly tanned foam perched on top. Decent retention and good lace following it down.

Aroma: The coffee component has a real bite to it…we love it! Smells like raw Arabica coffee bean with heavily roasted pecans in support. The sweet creaminess of the lactose opens up as it settles as does the lovely chocolate and cacao notes. There’s just this gorgeous overall roasty character to it which we’re really digging.

Flavour: Doesn’t have as much intensity as the aroma but there’s still a plethora of flavour kicking off with robust coffee and roasted malt, chocolate, toasted pecans and sweet creamy milk sugars. There’s a light 2nd wave of roasty-ness through the mid which leads to a mildly charred, chocolate and coffee finish. Good length on him too.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, relatively smooth with mild bitterness. Low-ish Co2 with the 6.2% ABV well buried.

Overall: Lovely drop here from New England. It’s meaty and crammed full of flavour yet very pleasant and easy to put back. Let’s just say it’s matching this chilly winters night perfectly.

Jervis Bay Brewing ‘Bay Swell’ IPA


“Conditions have to be perfect for the rare bay swell to enter Jervis Bay. Much easier to hunt are the waves of flavour in our Bay Swell IPA. Hints of passionfruit, pineapple and stonefruit are balanced by an undercurrent of bitterness, and mango shines through as the brew warms up a little. Surf report be damned, enjoy our Bay Swell IPA at any time.”

 Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Pours quite a deep amber with two fingers of khaki head. Reasonable retention and patchy lace as it subsides.

Aroma: As expected (from the deep amber complexion) there’s a distinctly sweet caramel malt backbone which is further emphasized by sweet tropical fruits and sappy pine resins. Subtle touches of boiled candy, toffee, weedy herbals and candied citrus. She definitely straddles that line between malty sweet and diacetyl but we feel they’ve balanced it well enough. Pretty damn fine aroma.

Flavour: OK, definitely no diacetyl! They’ve struck a magnificent balance here. Beautifully sweet and sugary but the tropical fruits, sappy pine resin and this subtle line of bitterness really pulls it in to line. Herbals, grapefruit and boiled candy develop late and form a kind of bittersweet finish which probably pulls up a bit short.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, gelatinous, mild bitterness. Medium body and Co2. Only 5.7% ABV so pretty light on for the style.

Overall: We dig these malty IPA’s, but only when they’re done right. And yes this one has been done right. Pretty similar to Ekim’s Viking IPA and Beerfarm’s IPA with their big and sweet malt body but generous hop profile. Not bad.

Your Mates Brewing ‘Donnie’ Dark Ale


“Donnie is the dark horse, the strong and silent type. He may seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you crack a beer with him you’ll find that he’s a smooth operator with a heart of gold. If you’ve got a mate like #donniedarkale, you’ve got a mate for life.”

Glassware: Deep cola pour with a short tanned head on top. Steady reduction and reasonable lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Nice and smoky. Really gritty and peaty and chock full of charred malt, ash, burnt wood, chocolate, tobacco and raw coffee bean. Really packs a punch for its size. Maybe just maybe a hint of smoked almonds and lightly burnt toffee rocking up late to the party. Nice!

Flavour: Just keeps enough meat on its bones. The smoky flavours are the most dominant, bringing other adjuncts like ash, charred wood and raw tobacco. Lightly roasted malts, chocolate and coffee, maybe a touch of earthy hops peeking through too. Finishes roasty and toasty with a little dryness to clean it all up.

Mouthfeel: Just a tad thin for our liking. Mild-medium body. Co2 and ABV are spot on.

Overall: Not bad. The aroma is its strongest attribute but it went ever so slightly down hill after that. Look, it’s a decent drop, love the smoky notes – very unexpected. It just didn’t wow us in the end.

Mikkeller ‘Inked’ Hazy IPA



Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Opaque mustard yellow with two fingers of well retained head on top. Beautiful cascading lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Quite interesting. Very dry and musty, almost funky. The doughy, white bready and oaty malts take centre stage and the pithy citrus hops are working in the background. Sweeter tropical fruits like green mango, unripened pineapple and orange coming through with a leafy/herbal component hinting at vines and shallots. Certainly different we’ll give it that.

Flavour: Much more of the fruit profile coming on – sweet citrus, unripened pineapple and mango. This herbal and leafy character is rather prominent too. White bread, oats and wheat grains getting amongst it as it finishes on a dry, herbal/leafy and semi sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but chalky and mineraly texture. Medium body, finely carbonated with that 6.6% ABV very well concealed.

Overall: Kind of in two minds with this one. It’s nice and smooth but the aroma and flavour profile is just…well…strange. We’re putting it down to this combination of musty dryness and leafy herbals. Not sure if they work in our opinion.

Red Hill Brewery Kolsch


“Do you know what a Kölsch is? Our Golden Ale is one! A style famous in Cologne, Germany for its brightness, clarity and easy drinking style. Fermented with ale yeast, then finished with cool lagering. The result is the best of both worlds: A light easy drinking pale that finishes crisp and clean. This new name for our fave brew will provide enlightenment for the craft beer lover about the style they are enjoying.”

Glassware: Tumbler.

Appearance: Pale straw golden body with a thumb of finely beaded foam resting atop. The head reduces slightly but manages a decent lace as we go.

Aroma: Bright, crisp, light citrus and spice coming off initially. Some herbaceous notes there in the background along with soft florals and straw/hay. Further grainy-ness opening up as it settles in. Very subtle yeasty tones showing up late as well. Very pleasant and matching this unusually warm winters arvo.

Flavour: Spot on for the style – lots of fruity and spicy hops, herbals and grainy straw/hay. Yet so beautifully crisp and clean. Semi sweet/ light honey malts fill it out. Smooth transition in to the light fruity and grainy finish.

Mouthfeel: Approachable is the name of the game here…crisp, clean and perfectly balanced. Co2 is spot on, offering just that right amount of spritz. 5% ABV is right on the money too.

Overall: We knew this would be a good drop. Red Hill are one of the best in the business when it comes to traditional European styles and this fits the bill perfectly. Solid offering.

Coastal Brewing ‘Grandis’ BA Imperial Stout


“Our latest barrel aged release, and our first barrel aged release in cans, is named after The Grandis, the tallest known tree in NSW which is located on the western edge of Myall Lakes National Park, just off Pacific Highway, north of Bulahdelah (on the road to Forster). The Grandis is an Imperial Stout, brewed with cacao nibs and local Forster Little Street Roasters coffee (coffee added both in the boil and cold brew) and then aged in Bourbon (JD 150th Anniversary Limited Edition), Ex-Bourbon Maple Syrup and Vanilla Extract (ex-Bourbon) barrels. The barrels have been blended together to give a super smooth barrel aged imperial stout sitting at the very drinkable 8.2%.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a finger of brown foam perched on top. Good retention with a wet lace dragged down the glass.

Aroma: From first glance it smells superb…oodles of roasted malt, coffee, Bourbon, vanilla, delicate hints of maple. But once we get our noses in there we pick up some nasties (let’s be clear though, they’re only subtle). We get that slightly metallic and chemical-like aroma which hints at blood and rusty coins. Damn shame because it truly has the bones.

Flavour: It all turns in to a bit of a mess here. Way too much bitterness for a barrel aged stout for one. The slighty metallic/chemical notes come through again and finally the barrel characters are almost completely lost in it all. We’re left with a somewhat decent base of bitter espresso, chocolate and charred malt.

Mouthfeel: Harsh, bitter and warming. Medium-full body. The 8.2% ABV barely gets it to imperial level yet still shows.

Overall: Quite disappointing in the end. From what started promisingly totally crashed. We kinda need to add the acetaldehyde factor too…just a hint of that green apple/pear coming through. Really unfortunate because it appears the brewers have put a lot of effort in to sourcing JD barrels (wow!), maple bourbon barrels and then blending.

Mountain Culture ‘Harvest Months’ Marzen


“A Märzen with soft malt, hints of honey and spice, a soft water profile and, umm… Look, to be honest, the beer is still fermenting but thanks to ~logistics~ we need to have a description for the can before we’ve tasted it, meaning anything we say here is a guess. Or a lie, really. Maybe you could review it and then, when we brew it again next year, we might use some of your descriptors?”

Glassware: Stein.

Appearance: Fully transparent bright amber with a rapidly vanishing head. All that’s left is a bubbling island in the middle. Scarce lace as we go.

Aroma: We’ll be honest, Marzen’s are one of those styles we’ve rarely gone for so we’ll keep it somewhat basic. Definitely malt driven…caramel, nutty, doughy/bready and a well balanced Noble hop spiciness. Picking up very delicate hints of black tea, honey, earthy apricot, grass/mildew and a soft floral bouquet. Pretty complex in the end!

Flavour: It comes on sweet and ultimately smooth. Again, malt driven with a delicate hop profile – caramel, honey, bready/toasty with earthy, spicy and floral hops taking the back seat. The malt sweetness kind of intensifies through the mid and moves to a semi sweet finish with delicate toasty malt and spice on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little sticky but really well rounded. Low-ish Co2. The 6% ABV is nicely disguised.

Overall: We thought it was so left field to see MC go from a Hazy, to NEIPA, to West Coast IPA to Stout and then….Lager. But in true MC fashion they’ve made a usually boring beer fun while still keeping it conventional. Big ups to MC they’re absolutely killing it.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #5’ Double IPA


“Number 5 is designed for these crazy times which we find ourselves inside more than usual. This 8% double dry hopped Hazy Double IPA features Strata, Azacca and Azacca Cryo. Layered with mango, passionfruit, melon grapefruit.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Light straw golden complexion with a fluffy two finger head. Good retention and healthy lace work on the glass.

Aroma: It’s got really good uplift initially. Picking up a tonne of what we thought was Citra but the hop combination of Strata and Azacca is more than making up for it. Super dank and citrusy, herbal, lots of mixed tropical fruit i.e passion fruit, ripe mango, rockmelon, candied lemon and guava. It has some serious resin going on as well. Light malt body. Cracker of an aroma.

Flavour: It opens with another huge burst of fresh hops bringing heady citrus, dank weedy herbals, pine resin and a smorgasbord of fruit including passion fruit, mango, guava, grapefruit, unripened pineapple and rind. The middle shows a bit more grapefruit acidity which carries in to the dry, slightly warming and herbal finish. Nice duration on it.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, crisp and with a little warmth from the 8% ABV. Mild-medium body, Co2 is spot on. Medium bitterness.

Overall: That’s certainly a nice bounce back from their last release (some kind of messy summer IPA from memory). This one has backbone and bucket loads of fresh hop character. We dig it.

Boatrocker ‘Life Is Peachy’ Sour Session Ale


“The times may not be, but one sip of this beer will hopefully make you hark back to a time when life was peachy…We added a shedload of Australian peach puree and some Italian bergamot puree to a delightful kettle sour, bringing you a refreshing sour session ale.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Slightly hazy light orange body with a wispy white head. It slowly breaks up and leaves spotty lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Super mild. Picking up the subtle peach scents but we’re getting more orange citrus and earthy apricot if anything. Very delicate hints of kumquat and bergamot as well. Just the slightest flutter of tartness in here and that’s about it. We were definitely hoping for a bit more out of it that’s for sure.

Flavour: Very gentle touches of orange citrus, peach and apricot with even softer notes of bergamot in support. A faint hint of Bretty funk, straw and breakfast juice leading in to a slightly underwhelming finish of mild peach and apricot which pulls up well short.

Mouthfeel: Light, tangy, mildly bodied. Nice spritzy Co2. Hardly any sourness – pucker rating is a measly 1/5. Only 4% ABV.

Overall: The one and only upside is the approachable nature of it…very light and crushable. But the lack of flavour intensity and general excitement around it is pretty poor.

Pirate Life ‘Loose Lips Sink Sink Ships’ Triple IPA


“First brewed for GABS back in 2016, Loose Lips Sink Ships is so gargantuan, you can’t say its name after drinking a pint of the stuff… To brew this 12% ABV Triple IPA, 2,000 kg of premium malted barley, wheat and oats (combined) are pumped into a 5,000 litre mash tun.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Bold amber with full transparency. It forms a fizzy three finger head which takes an age to reduce. Not much of it sticking to the glass though.

Aroma: Pow! Jeez it hits the olfactory’s like a freight train. Quite the malt bomb actually (don’t remember it being this sweet at GABS). The booze and malts combine and give off that real syrupy note initially and the sharp, piney and citric hops do their best to cut through it. Almost eye watering booze here. Holy moly.

Flavour: Nothing much changes unfortunately. It’s super sweet and malty – like it’s old or something – the hops are hardly evident. Extremely hot and bitter, pithy grapefruit rind through the middle shifting to a dry and warming finish with syrupy malt and burnt toffee on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Prickly, slightly astringent. Bitter AF! Well in excess of 100 IBU. Medium body with low-ish Co2.

Overall: Not liking it at all. Totally unbalanced, syrupy, harsh and boozy (OK we can forgive them for the latter…being 12% and all). What happened to the 2016 recipe? The one that was entered in to GABS?! Completely different beer.

The Bruery ‘Cafe Cocoa’ BA Imperial Stout


“Imperial Pastry Stout with Ancho Chiles, Coffee Beans, Cinnamon, Milk Sugar, and Vanilla.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of brown foam emerging on top. Good retention and healthy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Amazing…as expected! The only and we mean ONLY criticism would be that it’s very similar to Meemaw’s Sticky Bun with the main difference being the ancho chillies. But once again The Bruery hit it out of the park as that base sweetness is so perfectly counteracted by the chilli. Cinnamon, espresso, brioche, vanilla, melted milk chocolate and a very faint hint of agave. Superb.

Flavour: Loving the subtle warmth from the chilli upfront. Cinnamon, espresso and vanilla follow on with subtle brioche doughy-ness , lactose and further cinnamon through the mid. A really mild roast comes to the party and ushers in more vanilla, mild lactose sweetness and coffee for the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and textured. Not overly big for the style and the 9.7% ABV is well concealed. Low Co2, medium-full body.

Overall: Another impressive pastry stout from the original pastry stout brewers. No where near as good as Meemaw’s though. The ancho chillies offer a point of difference but it’s all a bit too similar in our opinion. Still, an excellent beer though.

Modus Operandi ‘Espresso Martini’ Dark Lager


“Remember not so long ago when you could sit at a bar, bunched up with your mates feeling regal when you ordered an Espresso Martini? We’ve brought back this high society of the past back with this jubilation shaken into 500ml cans using the freshest beans from our mates at Allpress Espresso. Bringing you a silky mouthfeel that ripples long after your first sip, its all class minus the martini glass. Then just wait for the rich coffee hit overlaid by dark chocolate and caramel aromatics. Put your best kit on, stretch out within your 1.5 metres and enjoy a regal memory of yesteryear.”

Glassware: Stein

Appearance: Cola pour with a monstrous four finger head. It peels off quickly and settles to a wispy film. Very little lace in its wake.

Aroma: Let us just say that for one of us the trusty old Espresso Martini is a favourite cocktail so to cop this slightly weak and watered down version of it is a bit depressing. Sure, the coffee aromas are here albeit very subtle…too subtle. Some nice roasty-ness going on though, dark chocolate, coconut and burnt toast as well. Getting this weird Kalamata olive accent to it which is super strange.

Flavour: Gaaahhh…mirror image of the aroma. Watered down coffee and roasty malt but with a nice surge of chocolate, burnt toast and gritty earthy-ness through the mid. A flutter of spicy/piney hops peek through before it punctuates on a nice coffee roast, chocolate and toasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly metallic but it holds up well enough for the style. Mild-medium body. Medium Co2. 6% ABV is absorbed nicely.

Overall: Kinda undecided. It’s slightly lackluster but it has some good traits. Unfortunately not enough to save it though.

Ocean Reach Brewing ‘Painkiller’ Sour


“Our twist on the Painkiller cocktail. We’ve combined 4 parts pineapple, 1 part toasted coconut and 1 part orange. … Best served with some freshly grated nutmeg and a wedge of pineapple.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Murky pastel orange with a short fluffy white head. Decent retention allowing a streaky lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Super tropical. Oodles of sweet and tart citrus i.e orange, lemon and lime, ripe pineapple, coconut, sherbet, orange power and vanilla. As it settles the creaminess real begins to take shape, emphasising the coconut, vanilla and creamy pineapple. Really unique and summery…yet we’re drinking it in the middle of winter 😝

Flavour: Nice transition on to the palate. It brings over all of that sweet and tart citrus, pineapple and creamy coconut and vanilla. Super tangy…the orange citrus is really dominating. Getting more of the lemon and creamy lime late in the piece as it finishes fruity and slightly tart.

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp and clean. Mild-moderate acidity with reasonable pucker. 8% ABV! Very well concealed.

Overall: Far better than the train wreck we had a few weeks ago (oatmeal stout). This is punchy and full flavoured and definitely has the unique factor. We could only imagine how well this would go down on a stinkin hot summers day. Solid.

The Bruery ‘Meemaw’s Sticky Bun’ BA Imperial Stout


“A heavenly aroma from Meemaw’s kitchen fills the house and your nose guides you to a pan of piping hot, golden brown sticky buns, oozing sugary cinnamon deliciousness topped with roasty pecans. This imperial stout serves up a delectable tribute to these famous treats, brewed with grandma-approved helpings of maple syrup, cinnamon, and pecans. Don’t be shy, take a bite into this freshly-baked stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a finger of finely beaded brown foam perched on top. Steady reduction, eventually settling at the rim. Spotty lace sticks to the glass as go.

Aroma: If there was a liquid version of pure decadence it would be this. The fusion of caramel, butterscotch, cinnamon, maple and toasted pecans is heavenly. It’s extremely sweet but so well balanced…we could literally bathe in it. Unfortunately we don’t have sticky buns in Australia (as far as we know) so the closest comparison would be a caramelised cinnamon scroll dipped in maple and topped with crushed pecans. Salivating yet?!

Flavour: Literally liquid dessert! Conventional impy stout base with everything on the front of the can making an appearance. Not only that it’s the way the flavours gel together to create one big old palate-gasm. But from start to finish that’s the best way to explain it.

Mouthfeel: Thick, oily, viscous. Medium-full body, low Co2. The 9.2% ABV is ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: We’ve probably said it a few times already so we’ll just get straight to the point – if you see this then grab it. World class stuff.