Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout


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

Glassware: Snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

New England Brewing 2020 ‘Big Winter’ Belgian Dark Ale


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

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Banks ‘Neon Dreams’ NEIPA


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

Glassware: IPA

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

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

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

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

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

Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout – WBA version


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

Glassware: Snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

Naparbier ‘Aesthetics’ WBA Weizenbock


“Whisky Barrel aged Weizenbock is the second beer comming out of our barrel program. Full of banana, caramel, oak, clove and vanilla notes. You may not think about it but autumn is almost here and this is the perfect beer for it!”

Glassware: 500ml Stein

Appearance: Kind of a burnished copper pour with a short head which rapidly disappears. Not a skerrick of head is left so lacing isn’t a thing.

Aroma: Totally dominated by decadent caramel, toffee and sweet doughy malts. There’s a fairly strong yeasty presence too – clove, pear/apple, subtle banana bread. Something a little off-putting though…we want to say apple cider vinegar but we think it may be the whisky barrels clashing with the yeast profile. Pretty bloody average to be honest.

Flavour: Fortunately there’s a bit more harmony here. Still not 100% right though. The whisky and the yeast are a bit better isolated but they just don’t work together. The apple cider vinegar quality it creates isn’t pleasant. Good thing is the sweet caramels, toffee and doughy malt save it from being a total disaster.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous. Medium body, spritzy Co2. 9.1% ABV is reasonably well behaved.

Overall: Not the best way to kick off proceedings with this Spanish brewery. Poorly thought through and average execution. Would have been better off without the barrel ageing. No likey.

Garage Project X Modern Times ‘Easy As’ NEIPA


“Home & Away, a series of rebrews bringing some of our funnest overseas collaborations back to the Garage. For this release we bring you Easy As, originally brewed with our good friends Modern Times at their Dankness Dojo in downtown LA. Brewed using a hop free boil, cryo hops in the whirlpool and massive double dry hop of Mosaic, Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops. Bringing home the goodness.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Proper turbid mustard-like complexion. It forms a thumb of off white head which slowly retracts and weaves a fine lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: NEIPA town! It erupts with massive juicy-ness and kept in check with that hallmark dry bready malt and subtle peppery spice. This one is displaying big passion fruit overtones as well as mango, apricot, peach, paw paw, green grapes and nashi pear. Some citrus fused through, a bit dank and resinous, vines and frosty fruits also getting a look in. Supoib!

Flavour: It’s like a juice bomb has been set off in the mouth. We get stonefruit, tropical fruits and citrus hitting us from every angle. Then there’s a lovely touch of peppery/herbal spice, some pine resin and a splash of white grape or gooseberry (classic Nelson Sauvin character). Frosty fruits, crusty white bread and oats shift in to a dry and fruity finish with good legs.

Mouthfeel: Light, creamy and aerated texture. Nice fluffy Co2. Mild-medium body with the 6% ABV completely hidden.

Overall: Could we expect anything less than perfection from arguably the best Antipodean NEIPA brewers and one of the best in the trade from the States? There’s no surprise either that they’ve smashed this out of the park. Top shelf stuff.

Rusty Penny ‘Nostalgia’ Stout


“The oldest beer in our collection. We have been brewing this beer since 2007 and nailed it so early on it has hardly changed. Very very malty with coffee, burnt toast, and bread flavours. It has a healthy amount of English hops to balance the beer out perfectly. If you’re a dark ale fan, and always chasing those big flavour beers, this one’s for you.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of light brown foam perched on top. Kind of a wet lace being dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Shy at first but once it settles the subtle smoky notes, earthy/roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, metal, toast and even a fresh grassy note (or is that coz I mowed the lawn this morning?! Ha ha). It’s a reasonable aroma it’s just lacking a bit of depth. It’s almost light enough to be a dark ale.

Flavour: He’s packing a bit more heat here, thankfully. There’s a nice roasty-ness up front then mild coffee bitterness, chocolate, toasty malts and a delicate hint of earthy hops. The roast kicks up again late in the piece and leads in to a rather smooth finish with coffee and burnt toast on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A little too lean for a stout. Slightly tinny, moderate Co2. 5.7% ABV neither here nor there.

Overall: Pretty stock standard and nothing really memorable about it. The artwork on the strip is a bit tacky, kind of reminds us of a poorly executed tattoo on the arm of a confused teenager. We’ve had better.

Urbanaut ‘Beer Blender’ Salted Caramel IPA X Baked Pear Sour


Our latest release in the Beer Blender series! Each Beer Blender contains 2 x 250ml cans of beer, packaged together and designed to be enjoyed on their own or blended together for a third flavour experience!

1 – Taste Can A

2 – Taste Can B

3 – Blend together


Glassware: IPA

Baked Pear Sour: Straw golden pour with a short fizzy white head. It forms a halo and drags a wet lace down the glass. Nose is light and sweet. Caramelised pear, spice, candied lemon and a hint of apple cider. A flutter of vanilla floating around too. Jeez you could barely call it a sour. Watered down pear and apple cider with subtle spice and vanilla on the palate. Texture is thin but somewhat refreshing. A bit meh.

Salted Caramel IPA: Holy moly it’s dark AF! Almost black with a short tan head. Retention is ok and it laces fairly well. The aroma oozes decadent caramel and butterscotch along with more subtle hints of maple and caramelised sugars. Almost a hint of dark spiced rum coming through. More of the same on the palate; smooth, sweet and delicious. Luxurious texture, gelatinous, medium body. Slightly flat Co2. Much better than the sour.

The Blend: Deep brown with a fizzy two finger head. The two main features (baked pear and salted caramel) pair up really well.. it’s no surprise the two are meant for one another. Together they create a dark fruit quality that’s hard to pin down…reminds us of maple drenched raisins. If that’s even a thing. The sourness actually comes through more now than it did just on its own. It cuts through the rich sweetness and leaves a sweet and sour finish.

Overall: Another fun and super quirky release from these creative Kiwi’s! The baked pear sour on its own left us wanting but the salted caramel IPA was good and the blend was probably the best part. We dig it…maybe not as much as the Black Forest Stout/Espresso Scotch Ale though, that was epic.

Willie The Boatman ‘Hop Storm’ NEIPA


“This Tropical New England ipa brings you right into the eye of the hopstorm. Bursting with tropical flavours and aromas, the three hops used are all new world and experimental hops that have only recently burst onto the scene. They give off a fresh fruit salad feel with hits of pineapple, canned lychees, coconut, passionfruit and freshly peeled citrus. The lower bitterness and juicy mouthfeel helps this neipa to be extremely approachable and dangerously sessionable.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Straw golden complexion with a fairly mild haze. Nice fluffy head swelling to a finger and a half before retracting a smidge. Webbed lace sticks to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Has this kind of cocktail vibe going on. Piña Colada anyone?? Definitely chock full of pineapple, mango, coconut cream, vanilla, orange citrus, passion fruit and fresh leafy herbs. We get a bit of Margarita mix off it too. Nice doughy malt there in the background giving off the white bread notes. Pretty good.

Flavour: The cocktail vibe drops off and is replaced by the classic NEIPA juiciness. A bit of a fruit salad really.. everything from pineapple, mango and melon to orange citrus, peach and pear. Leafy green herbs are nicely fused through with the subtle bready malts at the base. Quite a juicy/fruity finish that lingers.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, aerated and fluffy. Nice sparkly Co2. 6.7% ABV is well hidden.

Overall: Pretty tidy offering here from Willie’s. It’s not a must have NEIPA by any means but it definitely holds its own. Kudos to big Pat!

Rusty Penny ‘The Penny’ IPA


“The one of the hop heads. The malt that is used to reach the higher ABV and give this ale its heat and full bodied mouth feel, is hidden behind those massive additions of big floral hops late in the brewing process. It finishes sweet with lingering flavours of passion and grapefruits and a moderate level of spice from the american hops coupled with the esters from the carefully chosen house yeast.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Nice and clear golden amber pour with a finger of sturdy off white head. Good retention and lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: Doesn’t blow our minds but it goes along doing its thing reasonably well. First whiffs reveal a hint of florals, mild resin and spice with the delicate citrus and candy playing 2nd fiddle. Quite a hefty and semi sweet malt profile which really fluffs it out. As we touched on earlier…nothing life changing but it’s decent.

Flavour: Follows the nose. Kinda sticky and resinous, piney, spicy, light florals with the fruity hints of citrus, green melon and grapefruit punching through the middle. Semi sweet honey malts develop and continue in to the dry and bitter yet mildly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: A little sticky, mild-medium body and Co2. 7.2% ABV offers a little bit of warmth but it’s generally well concealed.

Overall: This is our first entry for Rusty Penny but not our first time trying their beers though. This IPA is pretty run-of-the-mill but at the same time it’s not too shabby.

Sauce Brewing Imperial & Barrel Aged Stouts


“Indulge yourself with our very latest and best barrel-aged imperial stouts! Four, yes FOUR, to choose from!
– Whisky BA Imperial Stout 11%
– Rum BA Imperial Stout 11%
– Bourbon BA Imperial Stout 11%
– non-BA Imperial Stout 12%”

Glassware: Snifter.

Straight Imperial Stout: Solid black with a finger of brown foam. It steadily reduced and laced well. Nice and meaty with prominent roasted malts, espresso, soft smoky notes, baker’s chocolate, gritty earthy-ness and a flutter of vanilla. Again, a lovely charred malt flavour profile with espresso, dark chocolate and burnt wood. Dense, sticky and full bodied. Low-ish Co2. 11% ABV is evident but pretty well behaved. Decent base to work off. Very keen to try the barrel aged variants now!

Starwood? ( I think they mean Starward 😂): Looks slightly more menacing that the straight impy Stout; solid black but with a darker shade of brown foam. Similar retention and lacing. Instantly getting the effect of the Starward barrels. They impart a rather deep vinous character alongside the classic Sherry-based sweetness and subtle fiery notes. Flavour offers a mirror image of the aroma but with added Port sweetness and sticky toffee and caramel. Nice plump body with well balanced Co2 and booze (also 11% ABV). Certainly a step up from the straight impy Stout.

Beenleigh Rum: Almost a step up again…black with a dark brown head but with an almost deep reddish tint. Reasonable lace as we go. Not as intense as the Starward expression. There is a subtle sweetness, mostly spice and caramel/toffee, maybe a touch of molasses creeping in. Pretty subtle nuances in flavour too. Not that dissimilar to the impy stout just a little smoother with the spicy and caramel-esque sweetness separating them. Nice full body like the rest, slightly silky texture with mild Co2. Booze about the same too. We’d probably be putting this one last at the moment.

Buffalo Trace: Similar appearance to the Starward expression – solid black with a dark brown head. Steady reduction and reasonable lace. Huge difference here.. the American bourbon characters jump out immediately. We get the classic vanilla, caramel and spice but with unique scents of black ants, brown sugar and kinda spicy rye. So so smooth, laden with vanilla and peppery rye, caramel and toffee, dark fruits and brown sugar. Warming yet super smooth. Full body and mild Co2. This easily sits at the top for us.

Overall: Excellent release from Sauce. Such a great idea and uber fun to review. The pick of the bunch had to be the Buffalo Trace expression then the Starward, the straight impy Stout and then the Beenleigh Rum last. Big ups for this release. Sensational stuff.

Hargreaves Hill 2019 ‘R.I.S’ Russian Imperial Stout


“A black, velvety imperial stout with characters of licorice, coffee and molasses. Roasted malts and a rich alcohol presence drive the palate, with a lingering bitter finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of brown foam resting atop. Good retention and excellent lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Rich and hedonistic. Displaying those heady licorice, molasses and dark chocolate notes with a good helping of heavily roasted malts, raw coffee bean and subtle alcohols/acetone. Something a little fruity in here too – comes off as macerated cherry or figs. Delicate smoky notes opening up as it settles. Bang on!

Flavour: It hits the palate with complete disdain. And we love it. Big warming booze couples with charred malt, molasses, dark chocolate and the faintest touch of cherry. It intensifies midway and really doubles down on the bitter dark chocolate, espresso and licorice. Finishes big and robust with lengthy roast and mild smoke on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dense, sticky and warming. Full bodied. Low-ish Co2. The 11.2% ABV is evident but can be forgiven considering its size.

Overall: Tidy stuff. 2020 has seen a massive influx of Russian Imperial Stouts but we must admit this one certainly stands out as one of the better non-barrel aged ones. Big ups to HH here this is decent.

Bright Brewery ‘Off The Wagon Wheel’ Chocolate Porter


Off The Wagon Wheel pays homage to the beloved chocolatey/ marshmallowy after-school snack that most Aussie kids were raised on. The iconic flavours of the Wagon Wheel are recreated with chocolate malt, vanilla beans, coconut flakes and fresh raspberry puree.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Dark mahogany with a finger of fizzy tan head assembling on top. It quickly recedes but still manages a lovely cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Wow the resemblance to an actual Wagon Wheel is pretty spot on. Lots of milk chocolate, raspberry puree, creamy vanilla, coconut, cereal grains, profiteroles, biscuity malt and even a cheeky hint of creaming soda. Oh man we could literally take this aroma in all day. Superb.

Flavour: Juuuust lacks a bit of intensity. All of the delicious Wagon Wheel flavours are here though; raspberry puree, milk chocolate, creamy vanilla, coconut and biscuity malts. It is a bit of a one trick pony though and this can sometimes be the downside with these novelty beers…if there’s no back up flavours it can be a little one dimensional.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and at times watery. There’s a vibrant Co2 which gives it a much needed lift though. Mild-medium body. 5.8% ABV neither here nor there.

Overall: It started really strong but gradually the faults started to show up. As we said it’s a bit one dimensional which is a shame. We still rate Bright as a really good Aussie brewery though.

Currumbin Valley ‘Breakfast Juice’ Hazy IPA


“Breakfast Juice is our Hazy IPA packed with juicy US hops. Hopped at 32 g/L with Citra, Simcoe, Cashmere and Mosaic.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Bright golden amber pour with close to 100% clarity. A thumb of off white head emerges and holds its shape. Laces brilliantly as we go.

Aroma: Fairly stock standard apart from the somewhat fruit salad nature of it. Getting strong wafts of passion fruit, melon and ruby grapefruit with an array of other fruits in support; pineapple, blood orange, peach, mango, red apple and paw paw. Kind of a semi sweet biscuity malt that adds to the generally pleasant character.

Flavour: The fruit salad features prominently again with technically the same fruits coming forward – ruby grapefruit, passion fruit, unripened pineapple and green mango. Pithy orange rind and acetic citrus follows. The hop bitterness surely adds to that as well. Pretty dry, bitter and pithy finish which kinda tapers off a bit.

Mouthfeel: Slightly prickly and bitter in the swallow. Medium body and Co2. 7.3% ABV shows up a little.

Overall: A little confusing to be honest. It’s sold as a Hazy IPA but there’s hardly any haze. It looks and tastes more like an Australian version of a West coast IPA if anything. Not a bad drop. Just, yeah….confusing.

Batch ‘Juicy Boys’ DDH NEIPA

“From three brewers at our Small Batch brewery this hazy & full bodied, juicy IPA is doubly packed full of Amarillo, El Dorado & Citra Hops. Tropical fruit salad flavours abound and are enhanced by the soft German Kolsch yeast.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid deep mustard-like body with a thumb of fizzy white head. It gradually recedes and forms a collar with reasonable lacing.

Aroma: Off the first few whiffs it smells magnificent. Juicy, a little peppery, loads of herbal spice and ripe stonefruit i.e apricot, peach, mango. Pineapple, lychee and other mixed tropical fruits also coming through. Some dankness to it. That classic dry and white bready malt also filling it out. Solid!

Flavour: Tangy citrus hitting the taste buds initially. Followed by your typical brekky juice characters; stonefruit, tropical fruits and soft yeasty notes. Herbal spice and dry doughy malts in the mid leading to a juicy/fruity finish which reveals a touch of pithy citrus.

Mouthfeel: Nicely weighted. Smooth texture with a gentle spritzy Co2. Creamy, a little chalky. 6.6% ABV well positioned.

Overall: Look it’s a good interpretation but like most other Batch beers we’ve tried it’s good without being great. Not a bad drop though.

Quiet Deeds Doppelbock


“While you were going about your day this past winter, drinking hazies and delicately balancing the thermostat – heavy sweater equation, we put something in tank and left it there. Something big and bold, but also traditional. And it needed time, a lot fo time. But now as winter comes to an end here in Australia, we think our first foray in the bock arena is ready. Allow us to introduce you to our Doppelbock. A darker hued, double lager, that will truly thaw your heart for spring.”

Glassware: Stein.

Appearance: 100% transparent deep amber complexion. A loosely packed three finger head surges to the rim of the glass before rapidly receding. Blotchy lace clings as we go.

Aroma: Hitting everything from the traditional toasty malts and dark fruits (prunes, raisin, dates etc) to salted caramel, plum jam, grape juice, chestnut and a strange hint of either blackcurrant or blackberry. That quintessential bready character we find among most German styles is also here too. Promising start.

Flavour: Malt forward…leaning towards the classic toasty, nutty and bready Munich malts. A slight hint of herbal hops shifting in to the sweeter and almost cloying notes of toffee apple, plum and grape juice midway. A bit of a dry patch late in the piece as it finishes with a bit of a syrupy sweetness which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, a bit syrupy but it dries out mid swallow. The 9.5% ABV comes through a little but it’s otherwise well behaved.

Overall: Gotta hand it to Deeds here…we are a bit over their flooding of Hazy beers so it’s great to see them break the mould with this complex and somewhat left field Doppelbock. Not a bad crack either.

Bad Shepherd ‘Brew Crew Series’ Sticky Date Stout


“Jas is our go-to gal who’s been behind the bar (and in front of it!), in the brewery, in the warehouse and out on the road delivering tinnies and kegs all around Melbourne. But it turns out SuperJas has a weakness. Sticky Date Pudding. Fortunately for us all, this Kiwi’s fave sweet treat makes for an awesome dessert beer! Creamy and full-bodied with rich, indulgent, butterscotch caramel tones and just a hint of vanilla. It’s not your average stout, but Jas isn’t your average wahine!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of finely beaded light brown foam resting atop. Good retention and lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Super sweet and gooey. Proper laden with sugary lactose, vanilla, melted caramel, butterscotch and toffee fudge then further emphasised by rich chocolate cake, marzipan, caramelised dark fruits and mixed spice; cinnamon and nutmeg. Bloody hell.. type 2 diabetes here we come!

Flavour: Holy moly this is dangerously delicious. The taste buds are overloaded with sweet and sugary caramel, butterscotch, lactose/vanilla, milk chocolate, dark fruits and mixed spice. A flutter of coffee and gentle roast around the mid moves to a super sweet and kinda creamy finish with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: So smooth and silky. Medium bodied. Creamy and somewhat aerated Co2. 7.5% ABV very well concealed.

Overall: We’re unsure how much of this flavoring is real and how much is syrup but if it’s all real then they must be commended. Our guess is syrup coz to extract this much aroma and flavour would be incredible. Either way it’s a light yet decadent type of beer.

Mountain Culture ‘692’ West Coast IPA


“We were sent some experimental hops from the USA creatively titled HBC 692 and DJ took them and caressed them gently into a West Coast IPA. It’s clean, refreshing and has heaps of flavours but we don’t know what they are because we haven’t tried it yet. We’ve been told to expect grapefruit, stonefruit, pine, wood and resin.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Nice bold amber complexion with full transparency. It forms a sturdy two finger head which slowly retracts. Reasonable lace sticks as we imbibe.

Aroma: Really cool back story here…a new experimental hop from the USA is used and it’s so new that even the brew team aren’t even sure what characters it will impart! Ha. We dig it though, this is true craft brewing. We pick up super clean pine needle, candied citrus, guava, honeydew/melon, subtle mandarin peel, soft herbals and a kind of treated pine wood note.

Flavour: Follows the nose – ultra clean, piney, got a touch of those semi sweet green fruits; honeydew, guava etc. Nicely balanced by a tempered honey malt profile. A bit of edgy citrus bitterness through the mid leading to a nicely poised finish of pine, orange citrus and herbals.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean. Medium body with mild-moderate Co2. 7.8% ABV comes through intermittently.

Overall: The experimental hop is nicely suited to the style of beer. But as well as say Citra, Mosaic or Simcoe? Maybe not. The beer itself is good too but again probably doesn’t beat Back To Cali…that was next level.

Mountain Goat ‘Rare Breed’ BA Blended Porter


“The cold winter nights have arrived and so has our new Rare Breed Barrel Aged Blended Porter! Aged in rum barrels, this porter is rich and full-bodied, with deep malt aromas, and delicious chocolate and rum flavours.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with very faint deep ruby red breaking through at the foot of the glass. It forms a big three finger head which holds up. Excellent lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: To be honest we weren’t quite sure what to expect but expect a nose full of slightly sweet and spicy rum, dark fruits i.e raisin/dates/cherry, chocolate, subtle oak, cola, hints of vanilla and lightly burnt caramel and toffee. Nicely poised yet with good depth and complexity.

Flavour: Interesting. It’s a real tussle between the traditional Porter notes and the rum barrels. The upside to this is the superb balance they’ve struck. Beautifully fused flavours of chocolate, coffee, spiced rum, caramel, oak, vanilla and dark fruits with a nice toasty finish.

Mouthfeel: The only thing letting it down is the slightly lean texture. Although they’ve hidden the 9% ABV well. Plus the Co2 is spot on.

Overall: It’s strongest attribute is the dangerous drinkability…it’s so smooth and palatable for its size. The weakness is the thin-ish texture and lack of oomph. Jeez we’re hard to please! 😉

Pirate Life Imperial Breakfast Stout


“Ploughing through at a colossal 11% ABV, this Imperial Stout is brewed with pale malt, wheat and a variety of specialty grains. A blend of US and German hops lend bitterness and spice, while kettle additions of lactose help to keep it sweet. In the pint, it’s raisin black with a honeyed edge – like recirculated engine oil. The aroma conjures imagery of pancakes doused in maple syrup; and the tastebuds largely concur. A treacle like viscosity enhances the offering, along with lashings of coffee liqueur, molasses and dark chocolate. Its unabashedly decadent and tremendously well balanced for its size.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with two fingers of tanned foam resting atop. It slowly recedes and leaves a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. One of the first things we pick up is chilli peppers. Definitely get a residue note of red capsicum then the more classic coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oats, a hint of booze, mild smoky notes, charred malt and cooked red meat. We guess you could loosely call it a brekky stout!?

Flavour: Another one of those beers where we get a shit load of nothing… lots going on but no clear or distinctive flavour. We’re getting some vanilla sweetness and that balances out the kinda gritty and belly warming roasted malts and coffee and just as we see a glimpse it finishes with a burning booze and sharp licorice-like notes on the back.

Mouthfeel: Oily, mild-medium body, thin-ish texture. Somewhat flat Co2. 11% ABV fairly noticeable.

Overall: Pretty ordinary. We see “breakfast stout” and immediately think KBS. Do not make this mistake it doesn’t even come close to it. This is messy, boozy, unbalanced and lacking inspiration.