Garage Project X Trillium ‘Hapi Sessions’ NEIPA

Rating:

64416730_1112988788885265_1718207383366270976_n“Hāpi Sessions Vol. 1 Trillium X Garage Project The Hāpi Sessions – four collaborations, four breweries at the top of their game, four beers – each showcasing a different hop forward style in a playful ‘freestyle’ interpretation of one of each brewery’s flagship beers. Boston heavy hitters Trillium join us to create Aro Street – a big, juicy, hazy East Coast classic with a kiwi twist, creating a tropical fruit burst with specially selected US Mosaic, and harvest fresh Motueka from Freestyle Hop farm.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Turbid mango juice affair with a short white cap over the top. Steady reduction, settling to a wispy film with healthy lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Hot dam! It almost has this concentrated fruit juice character to it. Plenty of those botanicals, orange peel and spicy notes we get from all of the top American NEIPA’s. Hints of rotting leaves, dank pine resins, pithy grapefruit, apricot, rockmelon and pineapple. The malt offers doughy white bread and crusts. Trillium really showing their colours here.

Flavour: The progression of flavour is next level. It kicks off with fleshy stonefruits then the citrus jumps on board. It takes on more of a fruit juice angle through the mid. Some dankness there but the grapefruit and orange peel cuts through then moves in to an ultra dry, bitter, grassy and fruity finish. The length on this baby is incredible!

Mouthfeel: Dense and viscous yet really smooth with the assertive bitterness forming late in the swallow. Medium-full body and moderate co2.

Overall: We see this (and the other three releases under Hapi Sessions) as GP really flexing their muscles. A collab with the likes of Trillium further cements their position at the top of list of NZ breweries. Heck this could even be the best NEIPA in the southern hemisphere! Just watch them fight off the acquisitions now!

Modern Times ‘Fortunate Islands’ Hoppy Wheat Ale

Rating:

64407186_1113052415545569_3175144733521477632_n“Fortunate Islands combines the bangin’ hop aroma of an über-tropical IPA with the crisp, deeply quenching drinkability of a killer pale ale. We achieve this magical result by starting with a mild, nutty malt backbone, then dry-hopping the bejesus out of it with Citra and Amarillo hops. Restrained bitterness and vibrant notes of mango, tangerine, and passionfruit combine to form a sessionable crusher of mind-bending proportions. It tastes like wizards.”

Glassware: Shaker

Appearance: Nice and bright golden amber with a very mild haze. It holds a thumb of tightly beaded foam which retains and works a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Super tropical. Tonnes of mango, lychee, pineapple, orange citrus, stonefruits, passion fruit and a touch of boiled candy. The malt profile actually plays a big role in the aroma…hinting at grain husks and raw almonds. Maybe even a slight bready note, no doubt due to the base wheat malts?? Very tidy.

Flavour: Those wheat malts we just mentioned in the aroma play an even bigger role on the palate. It’s got that dry and grainy aspect but with a certain zing that we find so synonymous with wheat beers. There’s also an accentuation on grapefruit and orange citrus…especially through the to the dry finish. Again dry and husky as it draws out.

Mouthfeel: Light on, creamy, not going to say chewy but it’s certainly got a gelatinous texture happening. Moderate IBU (40) and AbV (5%).

Overall: It’s an interesting one because we’re not really fans of wheat beer but as it’s only 60% wheat and spruced up with Citra and Amarillo hops it’s actually not a bad drop. They’ve struck a nice balance here.

Hargreaves Hill ‘AD’ Abbey Dubbel

Rating:

64225058_1108521519331992_7902258556374614016_n“Drawing inspiration from the Abbey brewing tradition, we use Belgian Special B malt and a funky Belgian yeast, to create notes of raisins and sarsaparilla.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown revealing mahogany hues when held to the light. The head is loose and rocky, eventually retreating to the rim. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: The first thing that hits the olfactory’s are these intense caramel and toffee overtones. Butterscotch and cocoa then morphing in to more yeast-driven notes of candied banana, honey, nutmeg, caramelized pears, raisin and prunes/dates. Getting an uber rich maple and or treacle sweetness from it once it settles…borderline cloying.

Flavour: That super rich sweetness transitions to the palate. There’s a hint of bitterness but it does little to stem the wave of caramel, toffee, honey and maple sweetness that follows. Very fine hints of toasty malt, cocoa and apple pie forming late as it finishes dry, fruity and spicy. Some good length on it though.

Mouthfeel: This is where it goes down hill a bit…it’s too thin for the style. It also feels kind of saturated from the low co2 and minimal balance.

Overall: Definitely not convinced but in saying that it’s still not a bad attempt. The big difference between this and something like a Westmalle or even our very own Mad Abbot is the balance. Even though it’s not really there it still isn’t a too bad a drop.

Brasserie Cantillon ‘Fou Foune’ BA Lambic w Apricots

Rating:

64403007_1108095409374603_7241212731028668416_n“Blend of lambics aged 18 to 20 months and of Bergeron apricots. Very fragrant gourmet beer which perfectly brings across the flavours of Bergeron apricots.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Golden amber with a mild haze. It whips up a frothy white head which swells to a cm before it settles to a wispy overlay. Excellent lace as we go.

Aroma: One word pops in to our head…exquisite! The apricots stand out but it’s nicely balanced by a strong musty oak and light floral perfumes. The sourness has been really well disguised – softened by the subtle earthy notes, candied lemon and tart white grapes which give it a champagne-like character. Hints of brown leather, peach and aniseed deep down in there too. Absolutely superb!

Flavour: It kicks off with quite a dry lactic sourness…displaying lots of barrel character along with the hallmark white wine and sour apple. The somewhat sweet yet tart apricots constantly there in the background. Peach and other unripened stonefruits then carry a lovely barnyard funk in to the dry, spicy and oaky finish.

Mouthfeel: Sparkling texture…boosted by a vibrant co2 and a relatively lean body. Nicely balanced acidity so the pucker rating sits at a doable 3/5. It’s a rather approachable number!

Overall: Well Fou certainly carries on the Cantillon tradition of faultless sours. Once again displaying feature fruits with pin point precision. Top shelf stuff.

8 Wired Brewing ‘iStout’ Affogato Imperial Stout

Rating:

62216818_1105067969677347_3053648324990074880_n“The “i” might be in lower case, but beware – this is a capital beer. Brimming with luscious roasted coffee and chocolate malt flavours drizzled over a scoop of velvety ice cream. iStout Affogato is balanced by a brisk bitterness and bold, hoppy freshness, remixed by the addition of lactose, coffee, and vanilla in the brew.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a finger of brown foam which quickly deconstructs. Still seeing a healthy lace as it ebbs though.

Aroma: Smells of deep roasted coffee, vanilla, licorice, molasses, ash, chocolate, treacle, burnt toast, earthy truffle and booze as it comes up to room temperature. For one of us this is our all time favorite desert and as much as it is brilliant we can’t really get the actual true Affogato character. It kind of gets a bit diluted in this dark forest of aromas. Still a bloody top notch aroma though.

Flavour: It kicks off with an assertive espresso bitterness paired with a bit of warming booze, raw cacao, dark chocolate and a subtle line of vanilla sweetness. The coffee enjoys a 2nd wind through the mid and as it surges toward the finish it picks up burnt toast and slight smoky notes then lands on bittersweet chocolate, coffee and charred earth.

Mouthfeel: Dense and muscly…yet rather silky. Pretty well carbonated for the style with the 10% AbV poking through at times.

Overall: It’s a superb stout but we can’t help thinking why they didn’t just keep it simple? An Affogato only require three things: coffee, vanilla ice cream and Frangelico (my preference anyway). Not going to complain it is a really solid offering.

Wicked Weed ‘Recurrant’ BA American Sour Ale w Blackcurrants

Rating:

61889463_1104406616410149_8138964481913913344_n“Recurrant begins as a deep amber sour ale and is blended onto copious amounts of black currants. It is then laid to rest in 500L cabernet puncheon barrels. The larger, red wine barrels lend a delicate complexity to the final blend.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Deep crimson with candy red highlights. It struggles to hold on to what little head it produces…retreating to the rim yet still managing a wet lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: The sourness is almost enough to wake the dead! Extremely high acidity underlined by lemon, white vinegar, tart cherry, unripened plums, black currant roll ups and pretty much every vinous red berry under the sun! A musty barrel accent opens up as she settles as does a barnyard/horse blanket funk. Plenty of depth on show here.

Flavour: It comes on like a lemon warhead…with the eye-twitch and all! What’s so good about it is the background sweetness which makes the insane sourness bearable. We’re noticing a little less lemon and vinegar and more tart cherries and berries as it rolls in to a fruity finish which reveals traces of a good vintage red on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Acidic and ultra sour…the pucker rating hits a full 5/5. Some dryness with moderate body and co2. 7.7% AbV well positioned.

Overall: It’s an absolute corker but we feel it needs to be laid down for a considerable amount of time. It’s a bit brash and in-your-face how it is now. That’s in no way a criticism though…just an observation. Top drop.

Basement Brewhouse Pale Ale

Rating:

62120973_1103745453142932_4210572365454639104_n“Lighter bodied than its bigger American-style brother, our Australian-style pale ale is a great beer that will please all palates. Pale in colour, it presents a fresh hop profile imparting a medium length of bitterness, enough to keep the seasoned craft beer drinker interested, but not too overpowering for those just starting to branch out.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Crystal clear golden amber pour which tops off with a loosely packed overlay. It eventually forms a halo and struggles to produce much lace.

Aroma: Subtle yet very pleasant florals, lemon citrus, spice, ruby grapefruit, orange, pine needles and lemon verbena. Something a little sweet in there…reminds us a bit of gummy bears. The malt structure is thin and crispy, crackers, grains and mild-moderate sweetness. Decent aroma…really well balanced.

Flavour: Somewhat muted. We can only pick out the most distinguished and broad hop characters such as citrus, light florals and pine needle. The mildly sweet cracker malts are much the same – very hard to draw flavour out of…they’re just there. Nice smooth and nonchalant finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, light and super approachable. Co2 is spot on. 4.8% AbV – entry level stuff.

Overall: We’re sure there’s plenty of first time craft drinkers out there that would enjoy this and fair enough! It’s clean and very palate friendly. The lack of vigorous aroma and flavour was the main let down for us. That being said there’s nothing wrong with the beer we just need something a bit more adventurous.

Bacchus Brewing ‘Salted Caramel’ Imperial Porter

Rating:

CF9CDC4B-5584-4CBD-A9BE-E2C3AE66E756Glassware: Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Lovely mahogany/deep ruby coloured body with a bubbly tan coloured 10mm head that fizzes out after 10-15seconds showing a high degree of carbonation that almost tries to form another head but it just swirls around. Interestingly, there is a faintly detected slick on the top of the brew where the head isn’t. We note that this brew was bottled only 2 days ago! This may explain the carbonation. It’s almost too carbonated.

Aroma: Full sweet caramels, almost butterscotch like, with molasses, mild chocolates and a velvety, almost lactose nose. Has a bit of liquor like heat to it.

Flavour: The toffee/butterscotch like sweetness mixes with a slightly briny finish, hence salted caramel. We get a lot of booze heat, sitting with more molasses, and a touch of vegemite like yeast. Roasted malts give it that slightly ash like character.

Mouthfeel: We thinking due to recent bottling, this brew would do wonderfully opened and left to breathe for a bit to ease of the booze.. it is 8.9% alc vol. The bitterness cuts in and leaves a nice finish on the palate, alongside a creaminess or oiliness on the lips. Has great length due to the sweetness and saltiness that matches beautifully. Carbonation dies off 2/3rds way through. Medium and full bodied given the imperial nature.

Overall: So rich and aromatic, yet sweet and velvety in the mouth. This bottle was a bit boozy but we know that it’s likely that it’s due to it being bottled literally 2 days ago. Give it a bit breathe and enjoy the desert like qualities it has.

Old Wives Ales ‘Old man yells at cloud’ Double NEIPA

Rating:

imageGlassware: Poured into a schooner glass.

Appearance: Beautiful Orange Juice turbidity. A sudsy 10mm off-white head recedes moderately quickly leaving just a rim of lacing. Now this looks like a ‘NEIPA’. Not a hazy look, and no obvious evidence of carbonation. As we drink there is very mild/if anything lacing down the glass…basically it just slides down like its oily.

Aroma: Breakfast juice. Basically take a pick – orange, guava, passion fruit, some pineapple and spice. Bang on.

Flavour: Virtually mimicking the aroma. Possibly a hit of green mango in there? Light on the booze which is a credit to the Brewers, being an imperial. Just a big boozy (restrained) fruit bomb. Touch of creaminess also.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth and balanced for 9% Alc vol. Despite the fruits being used the bitterness is so contained. Mouthfeel is moderate to full with great pithy aftertaste but it’s not that grapefruit bitterness. It’s sweeter and spicier. It’s dense like a proper double NEIPA should be, and we can think of only a few Australian double NEIPA’s that match this currently on the market.

Overall: Top Shelf. Has all the qualities of this type of brew. It’s thick as thieves but surprisingly drinkable, tastes like you could it for breakfast (that would be interesting), and undeniably smooth and balanced. We had some cracking double NEIPA’s in the USA last year and this would be not that far off them. A leader of the pack of this style that’s for sure. Kudos.

 

 

Stockade Brewing Co ‘Berries & Cream’ Double NEIPA

Rating:

imageGlassware: Poured into a schooner glass.

Appearance: That ubiquitous Hazy golden look with a 15mm white fluffy head that fades slowly and eventually stops leaving a sudsy, roughly 10mm  carbonated head clinging to the glass.

Aroma: Very dominate strawberry, almost like strawberry jam you eat at buffet breakfast, with deeper aromas of a frosty fruit ice-block (pineapple, and sweet sugars). This is literal.

Flavour: Strawberry again straight up, with less tropical fruits, intermixed with booze, sweet caramels, vanilla, and lactose sugars give it that milky effect, like having ice cream. It’s very sweet. Any more sweetness and it would be cloying. We feel like a moment away from developing type 2 diabetes!

Mouthfeel: Given the Alc vol of 8.6% it’s light to moderate bodied, with moderate length on the palate. All your left with is a stickiness on the lips and lingering jam sweetness. Bitterness is light on with carbonation just a bit more in the mouth. Again it’s a tad creamy due to lactose sugar, but not velvety. It’s certainly balanced well in the mouth making it easy to take big gulps

Overall: It’s basically a hazy milkshake IPA. Very strawberry dominant. Our idea of a double berry NEIPA would be a turbid orange colour with some tinge of pink. This has none of that. Again it’s sweet but so are strawberries. Look it’s a nice brew…we just take umbrage at this hazy IPA vs NEIPA category. It’s like the XPA vs Pale ale debate. It’s craft beer semantics but it’s misleading. Enough of our rant. It’s worth a try.

New England Brewing ‘Big Winter’ Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Rating:

61471487_1098857756965035_4241056140651134976_n“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: Black with a sturdy two finger crown resting atop. Good retention and wavy lace work clinging to the glass on its way down.

Aroma: Lots of heady dark fruits like raisin, dates, fig and blackberry hitting the olfactory’s initially. Well supported by rich and earthy spices i.e clove, nutmeg and licorice then nicely filled out with a heavy sweet malt structure. Getting more yeast-driven esters as it warms…revealing shades of chocolate-coated banana, toffee apple and honeycomb. Superb aroma.

Flavour: There’s a big impression of rich sweet malts underlining the dark fruits and mild warming booze on entry. Lots of spice and yeast esters leading in to the chocolate-driven mid palate. Slight roasty note developing late…providing a good balance to the Belgian Candi sugars, toffee and spicy phenols in the long finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick but chewy with a really good viscosity. Held up by a lively co2 though. Medium-full body…not too muscly which is good.

Overall: One of the best ways to beat those winter blues is with a big dark beer like this. If you’re longing for a roaring wood fire like me then don’t fret…the beer jacket this bad boy provides will keep you nice and toasty. And at 8.6% AbV it’s no wonder why!

Wicked Weed ‘El Paraiso’ BA Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

61475601_1098524066998404_5320470005836414976_n“For those who think paradise cannot be improved upon, we offer this liquid of extreme repose. Bourbon Barrel Aged El Paraiso is decadence encapsulated. Madagascaran vanilla layers with the bourbon barrel flavor in a flawless and intoxicating wave. Dark cocoa nibs and obsidian coffee lend a roasted indulgence fit for an island king. Transform your paradise, and slide in to the warmth and wonder that is Bourbon Barrel Aged El Paraiso.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thumb of tan foam perched on top. The head holds together well and draws a nice lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Don’t know how many times we’ve said this over the years but the combination of coffee and dark beer makes for one of the best aromas known to man! Then add cocoa nibs to the mix and it’s a feast for the senses. It’s further complimented by a direct vanilla sweetness, woody oak and a distinct bourbon character from the barrel aging process. Caramel/toffee, maple syrup and coconut also creeping in as it warms. Good god!

Flavour: Plenty of bourbon, warming booze and woody oak tannins but where has all the decadent coffee, caramel and vanilla sweetness gone?! We can detect a bit of it but the intensity has completely dropped out. Some of the coffee tails in late but it’s more of a bitterness that pairs up with a hearty roast to finish things off. Good length on offer though.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and aggressive…the latter spurred on by the 11.5% AbV. Carbonation is low and the body is as full as a goog.

Overall: Brilliant aroma…not so brilliant palate. Which is such a shame because there was so much potential. That’s the 2nd one in as many weeks! We found the Dark & Stormy had the same issue. Thankfully we still have the Milk & Cookies to come – let’s hope it can break the cycle.

Murray’s brewing Co ‘Rumble’ IPA

Rating:

61101891_1098258093691668_410206773048246272_n“Rumble IPA is a celebration of a hop that deserves its own beer. Comprising of a light malt profile which lets the hops do their thing. As the name suggests Mosaic delivers big aromas and flavours of many classic American hop characters; Pine, Melon, Mango and Citrus to name a few.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Gorgeous bright amber-golden complexion with 100% clarity. Highly active co2 streaming up to the frothy two finger head which retains and drapes a sheet of lace down the glass. Looks the goods!

Aroma: Mosaic hops would have to be in our top 5 favourite hops so when we realised this was a single hop IPA using them we bagged it instantly! From memory it’s derived from Simcoe so its naturally high alpha acids provide beautiful fruity, floral and at times grassy notes. Here we’re also picking up orange citrus, berries, pine needle, mango and pineapple. Dead set one of the best aroma hops getting around.

Flavour: They’re also a match made in heaven for IPA’s as they double up as a bittering and a flavour hop. Covering everything from pine and orange citrus to berries, tropical fruits and ruby grapefruit. This one has all of the above with a bit of dank herbals, grassy and weedy notes tying up the finish. Nice and drawn out on the back end too.

Mouthfeel: Really well balanced even with the lack of malt. Some assertive hop bitterness and a touch of warmth from the 7% AbV but it’s all held together quite nicely.

Overall: We can always trust Murray’s with a west coast IPA. Even over the years with changing head brewers they’ve always consistently released top notch IPA’s. This is a prime example. Solid offering.

Wicked Weed ‘Milk & Cookies’ BA Imperial Milk Stout

Rating:
61329725_1099127483604729_6003428281880150016_n“Crafting the ultimate comfort beer was a winter challenge we happily embraced. Our Milk and Cookies Stout is a cold weather classic, and this version cranks up the comfort through barrel aging. We entrusted our Imperial Milk Sout with Golden raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla into the warming embrace of Kentucky Bourbon barrels to carry us home for the holidays. Relax. Drink up. You’re home.”
Glassware: Snifter.

 

Appearance: Dark brown/black with a 10mm dirty looking head that has plenty of fizz but recedes rather fast, leaving a tiny rim around the glass, made up of similar minute carbonation. Thin sets of rings left behind as it ebbs.

Aroma: The first thing that springs to mind is raisin toast! Just without the cholesterol building layer of melting butter on top. Big impressions of the bourbon barrels, cookie dough, Vegemite, Anzac biscuits, brown sugar, vanilla and booze. As it breathes a bit we detect the cinnamon spice, some chocolate alongside some lactose sweetness. Pretty lush. We can really get this Imperial Milk Stout that’s brewed with golden raisins, vanilla and cinnamon…hope to really detect golden raisin.

Flavour: We’ve recently found that the intensity of Wicked Weed’s big barrel aged pastry stouts have been lacking in flavour. This does not! This one follows on with the this delicious beer version of raisin toast. Booze heat which is not overbearing, moreish cookie dough, vanilla, Anzac biscuits, sweet cinnamon, roasted caramels and a biscuity cookie dough malt, milk chocolate, stewed fruit but it’s hard to detect golden raisins per se. The bourbon barrels really drive this bad boy all the way through to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Ridiculously smooth to taste. It’s 11.3% Alc volume! It’s hidden so well. Stickiness on the lips roughly half way through but not an overpowering sweetness. Minimal bitterness makes it so easy to keep gulping down. Full bodied with great length…namely that bourbon barrel heat. Carbonation minimal as expected.

Overall: Such a tasty stout. The highlights are the bourbon barrel aging that gives it a mustiness as well as the drinkability given its pretty hefty in alcohol volume. It’s rich, but not too sweet, nice use of the cinnamon…prominent but not overdone. Bloody delicious and hard to fault. Would love a tad more raisin but sheesh don’t want to be picky!

Offshoot Beer Co ‘Relax’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

61142082_1097014970482647_8180263147970494464_n“Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA] embraces the new way to enjoy IPA – unfiltered, fresh and full of hop flavor and aromatics… without the bitterness to stand in the way of kicking back with a juicy beer. It features a combination of Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo hops, imparting fruity, tropical and citrusy notes to complement the round, soft mouthfeel of a hazy IPA.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Hazy off-yellow with a faint orange tint. It forms a short and frothy white head which retreats to the rim. Lace is wet and streaky as we go.

Aroma: With a hop bill reading like Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo it’s no wonder it’s a proper fruit salad! Super juicy notes of pineapple, mango, melon, mixed citrus, guava, peach, paw paw and lychee just to name a few. We’re also getting that palm sugar sweetness which is becoming more and more frequent these days. Maybe just the slightest touch of vanilla and or lactose there in the background. Lovely stuff!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with that fruit salad character – tropical, mixed citrus, stonefruits, subtle apple, maybe even a hint of white grapes. The malt bill provides good balance along with notes of rolled oats, straw-like grains and a slight creaminess as it moves in to the dry and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth with a soft creamy texture. Mild-moderate body and co2. Very well concealed AbV (6.8%). Super approachable for its size.

Overall: Well it ain’t a groundbreaking hazy IPA but it’s tidy, super fruity and highly palatable. One of those beers that’s good but unfortunately not very memorable. Not bad.

Wicked Weed ‘Dark & Stormy’ BA American Strong Ale

Rating:

61261887_1096550957195715_3048479842950447104_n“Dark and Stormy emerges from the confluence point of two brewing seas. One beer surges from the south with smooth molasses and exotic spices in Caribbean rum barrels, while the other blows in from the north with bright ginger and Turbinado sugar. These two brews crash together to form the perfect balance of dark and stormy.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Kind of a light chestnut brown affair. It caps off with a loosely held finger of tan foam which settles at the rim. Thick and foamy lace sticks to the glass as we hook in.

Aroma: The trusty dark & stormy was an old favourite of one of ours back in our hey day. The best thing about it was that all you needed was a bottle of rum and a couple of bottles of ginger beer! So naturally this takes me back with its distinct ginger and subtle spicy rum characters. Certainly picking up the rich and sweet molasses along with more delicate notes of coconut, palm sugar and angostura bitters.

Flavour: Wow it’s very close to an actual dark & stormy. The ginger and rum are obviously front and center with intermittent angostura bitters, zesty lime and subtle vanilla and coconut. All underpinned by this rich and chewy molasses. The finish is tangy, spicy and unsurprisingly dominated by ginger and bitters.

Mouthfeel: Dry and almost tart at times. The body is a little too thin and seems to slide off the tongue too easily. The upside is the 10.5% AbV is well hidden.

Overall: What started so well somehow slipped away. The aroma is excellent but the flavour became a little too much by the end. It’s a really fun beer but it’s better as a cocktail in our opinion.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Red X’ American Pale Ale

Rating:

61243046_1095605480623596_7275824979113934848_n“Our take on an American pale ale, has a rich red colour with complex maltiness, toasted caramel, toffee and biscuit flavours, multiple additions of Mosaic hops shine in this beer giving off enticing fruit flavours and aromas.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Deep candy red to amber complexion with a short khaki head. It gradually recedes to an ultra fine film which still manages a healthy lace.

Aroma: Layer upon layer of rich and warming malts beginning with super doughy brioche, caramel and toffee, banana bread, buttery biscuits, honeysuckle and apple pie. It doesn’t seem like there’s any American hops in here at all as it displays a very Euro-centric mix of earthy, floral and at times spicy Noble hop qualities. Not that that’s a bad thing it’s obviously an English take on an American Pale Ale…brewed in Australia!

Flavour: A very quick cameo of mild roast is followed by sweet nutty malts, caramel and doughy bread. We’re getting a muted fruity hop profile trying to squeeze through – displaying faint hints of orange, grapefruit and jammy fruits. The hop bitterness develops late and rolls in to a toasty finish with hints of marmalade on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and well rounded with the drying bitterness forming in the swallow. Medium body and co2. 5.4% AbV…perfectly positioned.

Overall: Not your average APA that’s for sure…it’s more like a hoppy ESB if anything. As we touched on earlier it’s an English interpretation but it has been executed very well. Solid offering.

Murray’s Brewing ‘Gardenia’ IIPA

Rating:

60913821_1094979504019527_1558755322342932480_n“Murray’s is no stranger to big IPA’s and our latest offering ratchets it up a notch. We’ve got massive citrus and pine aroma from classic US hop varieties that hits you up front. The middle is all malt and warming alcohol, giving way to a firm delivery of bitterness to polish off the experience.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Bright amber with almost full clarity. It builds a thumb of finely beaded foam which persists and decorates the glass on its way down.

Aroma: The American hops jump out of the glass and smack us in the face! Almost Korben-like with its crisp pine, orange peel and mixed citrus. The malt structure is nice and tight…crisp, clean with a hint of mild sweetness. Tropical fruits start to open up as it settles as does a flutter of herbal spice i.e aniseed and basil. Freakin awesome aroma!

Flavour: West Coast IPA eat your heart out! It’s a dead set pine bomb on entry fuelled further by citric bitterness and belly warming booze. She gets real pithy through the mid – almost like biting in to grapefruit rind. Next to no malt balance as it surges in to a super bitter, sharp and citric finish.

Mouthfeel: It’s an absolute palate-wrecker. Can’t find an IBU but it’d surely have to be up around the 80-90 mark. Nice medium build with the 8.5% AbV on show. Co2 is spot on.

Overall: This is a true oldschool West Coast IPA – smells absolutely divine then it goes to town on the palate! We’d have loved to see a bit more malt balance…just to take the heat off some of the insane bitterness. It is what it is and it’s a damn fine IIPA!

SixPoint Brewery ‘Barrel Aged 4 Beans’ BA Imperial Porter

Rating:

60392435_1091907970993347_5856129565260251136_n“Deep in the rainforests of Madagascar lies one of the most coveted spices ever discovered: the decadent, aromatic, vanilla bean. In 4BEANS, a rich brew of beans and barley—a special blend of liquid aged in rye whiskey and bourbon barrels— meets Madagascar Vanilla to fuse Baltic myth and treasured spice. 4Beans has returned!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a puffy two finger head which retreats to the rim. We’re seeing a tonne of lace strewn about the glass.

Aroma: Robust and hearty. Centred around the magnificent Madagascar vanilla which produces these unreal scents of creamy musk and white florals. Behind it we get cocoa, milk chocolate, coffee, woody oak, cinnamon, dried coconut and subtle peppery rye. This is divine!

Flavour: It’s amazing how complex it is yet all the flavours are so well defined. Upfront it’s all vanilla, coffee, cocoa, chocolate and woody oak with the spicy rye being introduced midway. The roasty component definitely tacking on as well. It dries up late in the piece and finishes on a sweet yet roasty number which really goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Oily and silky smooth which is nuts considering the hefty AbV (11%). It’s surprisingly approachable which adds to its dangerous drink-ability.

Overall: The thing we love most about this is how much it resembles our beloved KBS. Obviously without the rich stout qualities and the Kentucky bourbon of course! Forget the standard 4 Beans this barrel aged version is phenomenal!

Counter Culture ‘Sticky Nectar’ Mango Milkshake IPA

Rating:

60350352_1090044244513053_8597724850926125056_n“Let your mind warp and be transported back to a long-gone languid summer day, illuminated in golden possibility. Drop out and dissolve into a hazy IPA, brewed with lactose, vanilla and dripping with mango puree. With heady tropical fruit aromas from the Galaxy, Citra and Amarillo hops, this shape shifter has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and a firm bitterness that might make you see the world a little different..if only for a moment. Altered from reality, Sticky Nectar is the second limited release from Counter Culture – beers that go against the grain. Get in quick this won’t last long.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Hazy golden/yellow pour with a finger of finely beaded head. Good retention and healthy lace work as it subsides.

Aroma: The potency of the mango is simply next level it’s just so captivatingly sweet and luscious. It follows up with a bit of lychee, peach and nectarine along with a creamy vanilla lactose sweetness. Maybe a bit of a doughy malt at the base but really…it’s all about that hedonistic mango!

Flavour: Literally a mirror image of the aroma – chock full of that delicious mango puree with a hint of tropical stonefruit in support. Undertones of vanilla and creamy lactose fused through…handing it that mango Weiss Bar quality. Maybe the slightest hint of peppery spice before it rounds out on a creamy mango finish which endures.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth as silk! Medium body and co2 with the 6.5% AbV extremely well hidden.

Overall: This would have to be one of the best beers we’ve had from Stone & Wood. Mango is a tricky fruit to work with…we’ve seen many brewers try and fail but they’ve managed to strike the perfect balance here. Kudos S&W that’s a cracker!