Mr Banks ‘Cake Eater’ DDH Double IPA (Nelson & El Dorado)


80782382_1255196121331197_7349555703431823360_o“Double dry-hopped, Oat cream Double IPA, brewed with lactose and oats. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin and El Dorado. (3rd Batch: Blue Can).”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow with a short white head perched on top. It gradually forms a ring with wavy lace on its way down.

Aroma: The Nelson Sauvin and El Dorado work really well in tandem – sweet, ripe mango, pineapple and melon in spades with the more subtle touches of white grapes and slightly tart gooseberry (classic Nelson characteristics). Nice creamy base…the lactose and oats bind it all together. Maybe a hint of spice and pine resin too. Bloody ripper of an aroma!

Flavour: It opens with a bit of aggression actually. A lot more acidity, pithy grapefruit and rind which wasn’t as distinct on the nose. Stonefruit and melon starting to open up as it settles. Getting some dank herbs and peppery spice moving in to a dry and pithy finish which really carried through well.

Mouthfeel: Super creamy with good viscosity. Almost gelatinous at times. Medium-full body. 8% ABV fairly noticeable.

Overall: Aussie brewers are definitely getting a lot better at this NEIPA caper. Appearance and aroma is spot on here we just feel the slightly assertive bitterness and ABV is what separates us from the class of American NEIPA’s. But as they say…good things are worth the wait!

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #3’ Scandinavian IPA


79736945_1249823875201755_5175794513506992128_o“The pursuit of hoppiness in an ongoing speciality series in which we explore the somewhat endless possibilities in the art of brewing with hops. Drinkers are given an exclusive look into the brewing process, with varieties, additions and time frame listed on the can label. Number three is a 7% Scandinavian IPA. A big, punchy, fruity IPA combining old school Norwegian farmhouse yeast with new world hop varieties.harg”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Deep golden pour with just the slightest haze. Modest head, sitting at about a finger in height before gradually receding to the rim. Wet streaky lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: We like this direction from Hargreaves Hill. Let’s just say the POH#2 was a bit of a fail but the use of Kveik yeast here is not only crafty but nicely applied. Straight away this Nordic yeast offers a farmhouse spiciness with lots of straw/hay, pithy citrus peel and juniper. Nice background fruit profile to sweeten the deal. Digging it.

Flavour: The spiciness and farmhouse flavours of the yeast step back a little which we like. Certainly tasting the tropical fruits, pine, orange citrus and herbaceous notes from an all star American hop lineup….all hugged by the toasty malt bill. Nicely balanced finish – some yeast character mixed in with pithy citrus and grassy herbs.

Mouthfeel: Kind of a dry and chalky texture. Medium bodied with a well placed ABV (7%). Flat-ish CO2.

Overall: A well constructed IPA. Nothing flashy or over the top it just has all the ingredients working together. A bit of recreation with the Kveik to tick off the experimental nature of the series. Decent offering.

Counter Culture ‘Lovely Bubbly’ Brut Rose


79415125_1249762005207942_4975487585397768192_o“Can you feel it? That certain something in the air that calls for bubbles and celebration? Well, silly season is upon us, and nothing says ‘good times’ quite like rosé brut sour. This delightfully blush co-ferment beer with chardonnay juice, chardonnay yeast, lactobacillus and thousands of fresh strawberries, balances sweetness and soft sour pinch with a dry crisp finish. Simply exquisite, Lovely Bubbly is our fifth release and now available.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear bright amber hue with little head forming on top. Lovely cascading lace clings to the walls of the glass though.

Aroma: Very interesting… definitely picking up the soft tart sweetness of the strawberries initially. There’s a nice yoghurt-esque lacto sourness which provides a bit of creaminess and that flows through hints of rose petals, passionfruit, lychee and vanilla. Just a hint of dryness to it as well which acts as a bit of a counter balance. Pleasantly surprised!

Flavour: Holy moly it literally tastes like a Chardonnay/Rosé blend…just with the added phenols from the yeast and a very delicate sourness. Like the aroma we get a delicious strawberry sweetness amongst rosewater, tropical fruits, subtle spice and citrus which draws out nicely in to the long finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and spritzy but it still holds a nice weight. The 6% ABV is also very well behaved. Tough to hand it a pucker rating as there really isn’t any.

Overall: Not a bad effort but as white wine drinkers we feel the white wine-hating beer drinkers are gonna give this the cold shoulder. We applaud the edginess of it but honestly there are many others in this series that top it.


Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #2’ Double NEIPA


75481693_1246906045493538_2480427644475146240_o“A Quadruple dry hopped NEIPA. We have upped the dry hopping regime in this beer to display how hops can work in symetery without overpowering each other and maintaining balance. The ultimate goal at the end of the day is drinkability so we have dialed down the haze factor of a “traditional” neipa and created a beer you could swear would not be 8.5% dangerously drinkable.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Straight off the bat this doesn’t look like a NEIPA. Almost 100% clear golden amber with a thumb of white foam perched on top. Good retention and lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Even the aroma doesn’t smell like a NEIPA. If we were blindfolded we’re going with a West Coast IPA every day of the week. She’s crisp and clean. Notes of orange peel and grapefruit, pine, mango, tangerine, melon, pineapple and unripened peach. Very minimal malt profile with some warmth from the booze tickling the nostrils.

Flavour: Again, crisp and snappy citrus, pine, subtle orange peel, tropical fruits i.e mango, pineapple. Grapefruit bitterness and some prickly warmth from the booze midway lays down for a relatively bitter finish full of unripened tropical fruits and a strange cloying malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: For a beer that shows its weight (8.5% ABV) in aroma it mysteriously hides it on the palate. Still, it’s crisp and zippy with fine CO2. Light-moderate body.

Overall: We’re not sure how these guys can go from their first release to this and call it the same style. POH #1 was a true hazy…turbid, juicy and even milkshake-like whereas this is almost completely West Coast. Almost Korben D-esque. Very confusing.

Dollar Bill 2019 ‘Spring Parlay’ BA Sour Red Ale


79382417_1246874175496725_8438632931500490752_o“2019 Spring Parlay – Red Ale aged in Apassimento barrels. Spring ushers in an exciting new season of longer days and warmer weather. Cold mornings give way to sun filled days and bright red sunsets. Our Spring parlay is a complex sour ale primary fermented in stainless then aged 8mnths in barrels used to create some of Australia’s finest desert wine. Lambrusco Maestri Apassimento barrels add cocoa and dried fruit complexities along with aromas of leather and tobacco, lactic and acetic acidity.”

Glassware: Teku

Appearance: Deep ruby red with a short head which quickly forms a collar. Pretty decent lacing despite the lack of retention.

Aroma: Smells absolutely divine! It’s overflowing with red berry sweetness yet so nicely countered by tart cherry, currants, red toffee apple and cigar skins. There’s this distinct sophistication to it which is really intriguing…we keep picturing this swanky men’s club decked out with leather chairs and old wooden charm. So much depth and character to this nose.

Flavour: Wow. Flavour explosion! It hits the palate with a sharp yet tempered sourness which quickly moves in to tart cherry and then in to more sweeter berries and currants. It’s then met with a musty dryness which is emphasized by the oak and earthy tobacco and draws out in to the slightly dry and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly acidic yet quite meaty…certainly enough there to chew on. The pucker rates a 2.5/5 with the 6.4% ABV well concealed.

Overall: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again these guys would have to be one of the best sour brewers in Australia. We’re loving the depth and complexity to it but most of all…it acts like a good medium bodied red wine at times. Keep it comin DB!

Quiet Deeds X Venom Brewing ‘Viper Pit’ Hazy Double IPA


78609083_1234667300050746_5227584745285615616_o“Our dear friends at Venom Brewing have come to Glen Iris to brew a special collaboration brew. A simple question was asked, “What would you want to drink right before diving into a pit of vipers?” The context isn’t important, you could be a snake charmer or a Colonial Marine. “A Citra forward DIPA was the answer.” And that is what we have in this can. 100% Citra hops from kettle to dry hop.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow/orange with a thumb of loosely packed foam atop. It forms a thick and foamy collar with reasonable lace work as we go. Looks the goods!

Aroma: Tonnes of tropical and stone fruits, citrus, melon and pithy orange peel. Creamy oats and lactose, herbal spice and frosty fruits also coming through. Just the slightest hint of artificial sweetness but it’s not in the form of concentrated juice or syrup it’s more like one of our favourite childhood lollies…fruit pastilles! Superb aroma.

Flavour: Super smooth, juicy and creamy. It’s brimming with orange citrus, melon, papaya, peach and pithy citrus peel. Herbal spice, grapefruit and black pepper forms late in the piece and sets up for an assertive finish with pithy grapefruit, warming booze and peppery bitterness. Offering some incredible length as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth and well rounded yet slightly aggressive and boozy (9%) after the swallow. Well weighted with a finer CO2.

Overall: If there’s any Aussie brewery that can knock Sauce off the podium it’s these guys. The aroma is brilliant…the texture was still a tad harsh though. We gotta hand it to them but, this is a cracker.

Sunday Road ‘Enigma’ Australian Pale Ale


78916535_1244781965705946_3881126448043393024_o“Our Enigma Ale is a sessionable Australian Pale Ale created around the new star on the hop scene, Enigma. A hop developed and only grown in Bushy Park, Tasmania, Australia. It is excitingly different! We have also used some super tasty pale malts. Seriously we’ve eaten them for breakfast. No nasties. Just pure ingredients brewed with honest care. We hope you enjoy this crisp and balanced ale.”

Glassware: Shaker

Appearance: Bold amber complexion with a big and sturdy three finger head. It slowly deconstructs but works a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Our very own Enigma hop is one of those variations that sometimes doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Although subtle, in this beer it provides mostly fruity accents ranging from rockmelon, peach/nectarine and mango to berries, orange citrus and juicy green grapes. Quite a nice semi-sweet malt structure too.

Flavour: Very light and fruity with similar traits to the aroma – orange citrus, peach, melon and green grapes. The malt bill is also rather shy…showing mild sweetness but adding good overall balance. Really easy-going finish of delicate tropical fruit with decent length.

Mouthfeel: Light on, somewhat spritzy. Light-moderate body. Hardly any bitterness (28 IBU) with the 4.4% ABV expectedly hidden.

Overall: Look it’s not going to smash any records but it is an adequate summer sessioner. Kinda similar to Stone & Wood’s Pac Ale but with more malt driven bottom end. A pretty good drop for these new kids on the block.

The Bruery ‘Vermont Sticky Maple’ BA Imperial Stout


78557675_1234751196709023_7364682075737161728_o“We scoured the hills of the green mountain state to find the perfect maple syrup to complement this barrel-aged imperial stout. Sticky and decadent, with a subtly sweet and big, bold mouthfeel.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a thumb of finely beaded brown head perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: There aren’t many more satisfying things that can top the fusion of maple syrup, bourbon barrels and hearty stout. The chances become even smaller once vanilla, cocoa and caramel are added! Then consider the robust molasses, dark chocolate, toffee, marshmallow, subtle coffee and nutty roasted malts and you have an incredibly awesome aroma.

Flavour: It’s one of those times when we are hoping the flavour follows the aroma…and that’s exactly what it does! Sticky, sweet and sugary maple sidles up to the mildly smoky and spicy oak barrels. Lashings of vanilla, toffee fudge, dark chocolate and delicate bourbon complexity roll in to an incredibly smooth finish full of sweet maple, bourbon oak and smoky charred malts.

Mouthfeel: As the name suggests it’s sticky and gelatinous. On the lighter side of full bodied with the 11.3% ABV ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: The is classic Bruery quality…what it says is exactly what you get – a big generous stout jam packed with maple and well rounded bourbon barrel character. That good you could pour it over your pancakes!

Quiet Deeds X Sauce ‘Photosphere’ Hazy Double IPA


78609083_1234667300050746_5227584745285615616_o“In mid-October, our friends, our friends from Sauce Brewing came down to Melbourne from Marickville to put something fun into tank. The Photosphere is the visible surface of the sun – a thick layer of gas with constant fiery eruptions. We felt the best way to celebrate the warm weather was to brew a thick, hazy DIPA with a huge hit of tangerine, passionfruit & citrus. Think tropical. Think lounging on the beach with friends. Think Photosphere.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Cloudy mustard yellow with a rocky two finger cap. The head slowly reduced to a collar with thick and blotchy lace clinging to the walls of the glass.

Aroma: A fair amount of sweet fruit sugars, nectar, frosty fruit and juice concentrate. Quite dank and resinous…also picking up a hint of coconut which is the main attribute of this new and uber popular Sabro hop. Dank herbs, tangerine, guava, pineapple, mango and melon all getting a good look in as well. Plenty on offer.

Flavour: Sweet and sticky fruit sugars, frosty fruit, pineapple, mango and sweet orange citrus i.e orange, tangerine. A little flutter of coconut around the edges. Bitter citrus kicks up late in the mid…emphasized by a bit of stinging booze which reaches in to the dry and pithy finish. Incredible length on it too.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth and creamy initially but it turns prickly and slightly sharp in the swallow. Quite a hefty burn (8.5% ABV). Medium-full body. Nicely carbonated.

Overall: When we saw that two of Australia’s hottest hazy brewers had teamed up we almost wet ourselves. The end product was a slight let down though. Too boozy and prickly for the style. The search for a contender for Trubble continues.

New England Brewing Brown Ale


76897496_1232172380300238_791212892379676672_o“We never imagined that our English style 4.5% Brown Ale would win so many hearts! Classic flavours of caramel, chocolate, nuts and coffee are balanced by Australian hops, creating a rich reddish-brown coloured ale that loves pint glasses.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Light cola pour with a deep burgundy hue when held to the light. Big and frothy three finger head which peels off with little lace to show for it.

Aroma: Conventional notes of sweet, toasty and biscuity malt with distinct nuttiness and milk chocolate in support. A very fine roastiness to it as well. Undertones of vanilla, cheap leather, dark fruits and iodine filling it out. That’s a very traditional brown ale aroma right there.

Flavour: As expected…driven by the toasty, nutty and biscuity malts with subtle hints of chocolate, dried fig, toffee and doughy brioche. There’s a very faint earthy roast before it kind of falls away in to a mild finish with semi-sweet nutty flavours on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Lean and slightly watery. A flat-ish CO2 certainly doesn’t help. Low ABV (4.5%). Not really what we’d call an exciting texture.

Overall: We’ll concede that the brewers are going for a traditional English brown ale so we’ll go easy. In our opinion it’s too thin and watery and lacking that rich sweetness we’ve come to expect from top shelf brown ales. It ain’t bad it’s just not going to be a return-to beer.

Akasha Brewing ‘Cloud 9’ Hazy IPA


78340713_1228217067362436_5594494528548503552_o“Cloud 9 Hazy IPA is full to the brim of super juicy Mosaic, Galaxy, and Citra hops. Think Passionfruit, Peach, and Citrus jumping out of the glass. Its full body perfectly compliments its big hoppy flavours, with virtually no bitterness. Cloud 9 Hazy IPA leaves you with a lush, refreshing, and delightful glass of beer.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Bright amber to gold with a mild haze. It produces a short head which settles to a fine film. Reasonable lacing as we go.

Aroma: Pretty damn clean for a hazy! Some juiciness here but it’s giving away mostly passionfruit, pine needle, grapefruit, mixed citrus, mango/peach and white grapes. Very clean and subtle malt profile. We’re really trying to find more from it but it’s just not there.

Flavour: Delicate hints of passionfruit, peach, mixed citrus, pine and grapefruit with a very dry and biscuity malt structure. There’s a little flutter of bitterness developing late before it lands on a tame finish with pine and citrus on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, kinda clean and a little thin. CO2 could be a bit more lifted and the 6.2% ABV is relatively well buried.

Overall: We feel that in the middle of this haze craze that Akasha have swayed from their West Coast roots and are stuck somewhere in ether with this one. It’s like a West Coast IPA in NEIPA’s clothing. We’ve had much better from Akasha.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #1’ Triple Dry Hopped NEIPA


75278296_1227289524121857_5940560775394361344_o“The Pursuit of Hoppiness is an ongoing speciality series in which we explore the somewhat endless possibilities in the art of brewing with hops. Drinkers are given an exclusive look into the brewing process, with varieties, additions and time frame listed on the can label. Number 1 is a New England IPA. A Hazy, Triple Dry-Hopped Juice Bomb, hopped exclusively with Australian hops varieties for a local twist.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Kind of a milky pastel yellow with a thumb of fizzy white foam atop. The head reduced quite quickly and leaves inconsistent patches of lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Pretty interesting. We’re picking up a milkshake IPA sort of vibe from it…lots of lactose, strawberry, blueberry, passionfruit, florals, woody and yeasty i.e spice and bubblegum. Pineapple, stonefruit, melon and citrus opening up as it settles. A real fruit salad…but a damn fine fruit salad.

Flavour: Showing less of that milkshake IPA vibe and more traditional NEIPA qualities like pithy citrus (grapefruit, orange peel), mango, pineapple, stonefruit, melon, passionfruit, peppery spice, dank pine resins and mild lactose sweetness. Good drive in to the dry and slightly bitter finish. Length for days too!

Mouthfeel: Dry, powdery, medium-full body. CO2 is spot on. 6.5% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: It’s intriguing to see HH breaking the shackles of traditional brewing and jumping on the hazy train. We’re used to seeing old world styles like ESB, red ales and stouts from them so this is exciting. They should be excited too coz this is a pretty decent interpretation.

Sunday Road ‘Blackwoods’ American Pale Ale


76776612_1226639054186904_1854445704500477952_o“Blackwoods Pale – Blackwoods beach is a hidden stretch of sand and a local favourite.  Like the beach our Pale Ale is worth seeking out.  This beer is all about the ingredients. By using heritage malts, and multiple hop additions throughout the brewing process, we’ve created a beer with the perfect balance of flavour, bitterness, ABV and drinkability.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Bold amber with full transparency. It forms a big and frothy three finger head which holds together nicely. A smattering of lace is left in its wake.

Aroma: Quite malt-driven…sweet and at times toasty malt provides a lovely backdrop for the tropical fruity hops to work off of. A little nutty with hints of floral honey, lemon and burnt orange also coming through. Really well rounded with plenty of depth.

Flavour: Keeping with its character of dominant malt sweetness, toasty, nutty caramels, delicate florals and tropical fruity hops. The mild bitterness kicks in around the mid palate to balance it out but also to dry up the finish alongside toasted nutty malts and subtle dank resins.

Mouthfeel: Holds a nice weight with smooth texture and a reasonable bitterness (33 IBU). Lands at 5.2% ABV which is slightly lifted for the style but the booze is well hidden.

Overall: A ripper of a pale ale – well structured and full flavoured. Excellent depth and overall balance as well. This is our first crack at Sunday Road (which is pretty slack considering they’re our most recently opened local brewery!). Impressive way to kick off proceedings.

Boatrocker Brewing ’19 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout


75439429_1220189574831852_5492848243383468032_o“Aged in freshly emptied whisky barrels from our friends at Starward Whisky Distillery in Port Melbourne, Ramjet 2019 is a big beer with great malt complexity.  Stored upright in a cool, dark place, Ramjet 2019 will reward careful cellaring of at least 5 years. Over time, the whisky will become less prominent and the barrel type more pronounced–the end result being just sublime.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown cap resting atop. The head gradually retreats to the rim and produces a decent lace as we go.

Aroma: First thoughts – spectacular! So rich and comforting. Absolutely jam packed with big menacing roasted malts, whisky barrels, spice, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. There is a distinct sweetness happening which is very alluring…it’s mostly vanilla-based but it also has traits of either marzipan or maple. Superb!

Flavour: Rich, roasty and slightly charred malts, ash, dark fruits, chocolate, molasses and espresso coffee coming through late in the piece. The whisky is a bit more subtle as opposed to the aroma but the barrels add a lovely woody element to it. Vanilla and spicy dark fruits team up with the charred malt in the finish and draw out nicely on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dense and oily, full bodied with the 11.5% ABV providing some warmth…but pretty damn smooth for its size and immaturity.

Overall: The Ramjet series only goes from strength to strength! We truly believe they are Australia’s best barrel aged stouts and this year’s vintage is no exception. Keep em comin!

5 Barrel Brewing ‘Ghost Creek’ BA Sour w Peach


74354464_1219461334904676_3825796733716135936_o“We have embraced our homebrewer roots by collaborating with a good friend, and local homebrewer to create this unique sour ale. The beer is tart and clean, with an exceptionally citrusy aroma and cleansing palate. Each variation of Ghost Creek lends on these elements to highlight the experimental nature of our homebrew culture.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Slightly hazy light amber complexion. It struggles to produce much head as it settles at the rim with streaky lace following it down.

Aroma: We can certainly pick up the peach…it’s a fruit that works so well with sours with its savoury sweetness and gentle floral notes. Lovely candy-esque sugars, peach sherbet, musty oak barrels and acetic citrus undertones also getting amongst it. So sweet and summery yet tart, crisp and acidic. Brilliant balance.

Flavour: Like the aroma the true and delicious flavours of peach comes forward first immediately balancing the initial sourness. Intermittent hints of oak barrel intertwines with delicate stonefruits and tangy orange citrus before it rounds off on a soft and mineraly finish which pulls up a little short.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, tart and mineraly. It holds a nice weight and offers an approachable pucker – rates a 2.5/5. 6% ABV is nicely contained.

Overall: This is one in a series of four releases where the brewer works off a base sour and adds different hops and fruits to each one. We went straight for this as we love the fusion of peach in sour beers but after tasting the quality we’ll be looking to bag the other three now! Good stuff.


3 Ravens ‘Thornbury’ Pilsner


75439550_1218411328343010_6537645367947689984_o“This easy-drinking full strength lager proudly celebrates local produce. Australian malt & hops provide unique aromatics, subtle flavours, a thirst quenching bitterness and a clean, dry finish.”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Pale gold with 100% clarity. It forms two fingers of sturdy white head which slowly recedes. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Crisp and slightly floral with distinct Noble hop-like characters – grassy/herbal, subtle spice and mildew. We can also pick up hints of citrus, pear and light grainy malts at the base. Maybe some water crackers creeping in as well. Very basic but that’s to be expected from the style we guess.

Flavour: European-style hop flavours on entry i.e grassy, herbal, spicy, mild citrus (rind and pulp), light florals developing late. It’s all held together by the grainy/crackery malt. Quite a dry finish to it…nice and lengthy with some hop bitterness and grassy notes to boot.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp and snappy. A little lean but we find pilsners and lagers mostly always are. Mild ABV and bitterness. Very approachable.

Overall: A fairly decent Pilsner. We love the fact that it has been brewed with 100% local Aussie hops and malts. We find that Aussie hops (with the exception of Galaxy of course) suit the European styles over the American ones. Nothing to rave on about but it does its job.

Fifty-Fifty Brewing ‘Eclipse’ BA Maple Coffee Imperial Stout


75251048_1214042088779934_829878043404140544_o“Imperial Stout brewed with honey and aged in oak barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head that gradually recedes. We’re seeing a lovely cascading lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Smells amazing. So big and rambunctious yet so sweet and heavenly. We get the aggressive charred malts, molasses, espresso coffee, dark chocolate and ash with the olfactory-hugging maple, honey, brown sugar and caramel woven through. The barrels then add another layer of what appears to be mild bourbon and French vanillin oak. Love!

Flavour: The best thing – it all translates on to the palate. Rich molasses, leather and dark chocolate lay down for a bittersweet middle of coffee, roasty malts and treacle. Maple, honey and toffee then finish it off with a lingering warmth and subtle hints of ash and charred malt which really draw out.

Mouthfeel: Not as dense and chewy as we had anticipated. There’s still a pretty lively CO2 and nice oiliness on the lips. Medium-full body with the 11% ABV well hidden.

Overall: The Eclipse range of stouts would have to be one of the best series in the world. Our only criticism would be that the wax colour guideline and the dodgy abbreviations on the bottle make it hard to know which one you actually have! We’re pretty sure this is the maple coffee and if it is it’s bloody superb!

Toppling Goliath ‘Pompeii’ IPA


74172333_1211894542328022_3317225533028171776_o“This IPA is created with the same attention to detail as the beautiful mosaics that graced the walls of prominent buildings in the city of Pompeii. It features mango and pineapple hop flavors with a medium-body feel to tantalize the senses.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Light amber to pale gold with a big frothy two and a half finger head. Excellent retention and lace work on the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Reeks of pineapple! To the point where it almost has that cat piss astringency. It also offers mango and melon in spades, shallots, grapefruit, orange, herbal spice/aniseed, pine and peach skins. We also keep detecting a super subtle vanilla-like creaminess buried deep. Somewhat of a husky/grainy malt structure at the base.

Flavour: Mosaic hops eat your heart out! Mango, melon, pineapple, florals, herbal spice and pine. Slightly salty at times…feeding in to that onion/shallot note we were getting off the nose. Hints at slightly pithy orange peel and grapefruit midway before it settles in to a fairly bitter finish with mild dryness and citrus/fruity undertones going the distance.

Mouthfeel: Quite full and frothy thanks to a lifted CO2. Perfectly positioned IBU (50) and ABV (6.2%) for the style.

Overall: Not our favourite TG IPA but we often get like that with these fence-sitting IPA’s. By that we mean half NEIPA half WCIPA. Not exactly a return-to beer but for the price ($12 a pop) and approachability it shouldn’t be ignored.

Cascade Brewing ’15 Project ‘Figaro’ BA Sour Blond


74214540_1213142032203273_1630150134207610880_o“The Figaro project is a blend of sour Strong Blond ales aged in chardonnay barrels for up to 18 months with white figs, lemon peel and orange peel. We start this blend with freshly emptied chardonnay barrels from the Willamette Valley wine region and fill them with our strong blond ale, imparting a complex white wine character to the beer with a hint of oak. After several months of maturation, we add lemon peel, orange peel and dried white figs to each barrel and allow a slow, steady fruit fermentation to take place.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Amber to burnished orange which caps off with a finger of sparse bubble. The head vanishes pretty quickly but still manages a wavy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Quite fruity at first and then the hints of Chardonnay begin to take shape. Plenty of citrus – lemon and grapefruit pulp, juice and rind. Picking up really gentle notes of green apple, peppery spice, white wine vinegar, grape skins and pine needle while the dry woody oak sits quietly in the background. Couldn’t pick up any trace of the figs which is a shame.

Flavour: Similar to the aroma in the way that nothing really comes forward. There’s flavour for days don’t get us wrong but it’s quite tempered. Citrus (pulp and rind), white wine vinegar, Chardonnay, straw, peppery spice and green apple make up the bulk of it. Very delicate hints of dry oak here and there. Again…the fig is completely MIA.

Mouthfeel: Not as sharp and acidic as previous Cascade sours. Still plenty of pucker though – rates a healthy 3.5/5. Quite a prominent burn from the 8.4% ABV on the back of the throat. Light-moderate body. Good CO2.

Overall: This is the first time we’ve been undecided over a Cascade beer. It’s not a bad drop by any means…maybe because they brew to such a high standard we have come to expect total perfection? Not sure we’re just not that sold on this one.

Cascade Brewing ’16 Project BA Kriek


75446792_1215237475327062_5599675204000284672_o“Kriek is a blend of sour red ales aged in oak wine barrels for up to 17 months with Bing and sour pie cherries. As one of Cascade Brewing’s earliest and most recognized beers, Kriek has been a staple in our portfolio of Northwest sour ales and continues to be a flagship project that represents the soul of our craft. Kriek 2016 features complex flavors of cherries, roast malts, oak and spice.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Light mahogany with burnt amber hues. Not much head produced as it quickly snaps back to a collar. Healthy lace despite the lack of head.

Aroma: Showing lots of vinous characters – red berries, cigar-like earthiness, spice and macerated dark fruits. Enter those heavenly cherries with their tart and juicy tannins. More than enough funk and sweaty barnyard emphasized by the old musty oak barrels and sharp lacto sourness. Phenomenal aroma.

Flavour: She comes on with extreme sourness…almost eye-watering in fact! Red wine vinegar, tart cherry and tannic acidity makes way for savoury spice, musty oak and gently roasted malts. Tasting that artificial sherbet-like cherry flavour before it finishes tart, fruity and musty with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, acidic…very sour…so much so she scores a full 5/5 on the pucker rating. Nice body, good CO2. The 7.4% ABV shows a little but all in all it’s fairly well concealed.

Overall: Kriek is one of our favourite styles at the moment and this one, we can say with certainty, is spectacular. Deep, well rounded and complex yet insanely sour with excellent barrel characters to boot. Too bad it’s so damn exxy or we’d fill the cellar with it!