Category Archives: Flavour of the Month

3 Floyd’s Brewing Co. 2018 ‘Dark Lord’ Russian Imperial Stout


36684058_890747461109400_3559425658041925632_n“A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Bottles available one day a year — Dark Lord Day — at the brewery in Munster, Indiana.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a thumb of well retained head sitting atop. Excellent lace work sticking to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Quite a bready scent hitting the olfactory’s initially, it has this funky sourdough note to it with acetone, alcohol, soy sauce, ink and raw figs in support. We’re picking up undertones of dark chocolate, burnt wood, leather, iodine, salted caramel and cherries as it settles in the glass. Extremely rich and dynamic.

Flavour: We’re here embracing for an onslaught yet it comes on with a welcoming sweetness which is best conveyed as sugary and caramelized. Behind it is a delicate vanilla, molasses, licorice and sweet espresso kind of affair which is just mindblowing! By the way how is this 15%?! It flows in to a sweet yet roasty finish with just the slightest hint of warmth in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth, full bodied and comforting. How they’ve hidden the booze is beyond us, that is simply next level.

Overall: Totally and utterly blown away! We’ve never drunk a RIS which has been this pleasant and palate-friendly. She may look demonic on the label but on the inside it’s heavenly!

Firestone Walker 2018 ‘Parabola’ BA Imperial Stout


35043496_868797883304358_20831175501152256_n“Parabola is a beer of darkness and immensity, a barrel-­aged beast that is routinely ranked as one of the top beers in the world.  This Russian imperial oatmeal stout is aged for a full year in  Heaven Hill barrels, developing flavors of rich, chewy roasted malts, charred oak and bourbony vanilla. Parabola bares its teeth with its impenetrable black hue and soaring alcohol, yet its bite remains refined with a silky, balanced finish.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Virtually impenetrable black with a short tan head which gradually recedes to a collar. We’re seeing some decent lace sticking to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Big impressions of the bourbon barrels coming through. Tonnes of warming booze, molasses, sticky syrup, toffee fudge, dark chocolate, leather, licorice and charred wood make up the bulk of it. There’s a complex spice flowing through too, it’s got a hint of creamy vanilla with a flutter of earthy nutmeg and tobacco. Some nutty malts as well. Wow she’s intricate and really well layered.

Flavour: Oh my goodness! Plenty of bourbon character initially but nicely countered by the sticky caramels/toffee, dark chocolate, mild coffee and vanilla cream accents. Picking up some faint oak flavours along with a belly warming booze (12.7% ABV). Sweet dark fruits, treacle and earthy spice finish it off with raw tobacco and charred wood on a length.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, warming and oily. Somewhat leaner than expected. Low co2 and does well to hide that enormous ABV.

Overall: Simply brilliant. It has that KBS quality with an extra earthy complexity added. We can’t wait to see how a few years will improve it. Magnificent!

Goose Island Beer Co 2017 ‘Bourbon County’ BA Imperial Stout


33183998_859652774218869_3584134304248102912_n“The Original Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. Intense aromas of charred oak, vanilla, caramel, smoke.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head forming on top. It reduced to a ring with minimal lace sticking to the glass.

Aroma: Heaven! Absolutely crammed full of bourbon, roasted sweet malt, vanilla, coffee, charred oak, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, dates and subtle smoky notes. We don’t think there’s anything else one could want from a big bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. It’s as good, if not better than KBS, Old Money and Ramjet. Superb.

Flavour: A mouthful of everything that made the aroma so good – trick loads of bourbon, charred oak, vanilla, cocoa/chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits and mild smoky notes. The ABV (14.7%) is incredibly well concealed but offers that gentle warmth through the mid. She’s big and roasty in the finish but nicely tempered by a bit of vanilla and sweet toffee malts.

Mouthfeel: Dense and chewy with full body. It offers a subtle carbonation with a very well hidden alcohol warmth.

Overall: Brilliant, no better way of explaining it. It’s up there with the best Imperial stouts we’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. We can only imagine what a few years aging could do. Very impressive.

Kereru ‘Velvet Boot’ Belgian Dubbel


29104189_827204430797037_6024998861771112448_n“An amber Belgian-style Dubbel with an exuberant aroma of rum-soaked banana that gives way to brown sugar, caramel & spice. Brewed with lashings of Belgian dark candi syrup for an authentic complex taste. Serve at 8-10°C.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: It pours an attractive copper red hue which dons a short beige cap. The head eventually peels off to a fine film but offers excellent lace work down the glass.

Aroma: Incredibly sweet but not cloying. Absolutely saturated in this thick, chewy caramel, toffee and butterscotch which blends with the ultra doughy and sticky raisin, date and rum notes really well. As it warms the estery characters come forward – sourdough, clove, banana etc. Undertones of plum jam, cocoa and stewed fruits. Oh my, absolutely superb!

Flavour: Good transition on to the palate. Tonnes of sticky sweetness – caramel, toffee, raisin, dates, all well supported by that doughy/bready malt. In come the subtle spices, earthy chocolate notes and stewed fruits before a big and well rounded finish with good length on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth (we can see where part of the name comes from). Full bodied, dense and chewy. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: Magnificent! One of the best non-Belgian dubbels we’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. Can not fault it.

Founder’s Brewing ‘CBS’ Canadian Breakfast Stout


27540815_809845042532976_3869567755264525454_n“CBS was born when we stumbled upon some bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. We opted to put the same base beer as KBS, an imperialized version of Breakfast Stout, in the maple barrels and, after one taste, we knew we had something special. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in what can only be described as a transcendental drinking experience.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black as midnight. It builds a healthy two finger head that retains extremely well. Good lace work as we indulge.

Aroma: Oh my goodness! Take the breakfast stout and blend it with the KBS then add a good helping of maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and voila! You have an unrivalled aroma that can only be drooled over. I mean, sweet baby Jesus how the hell do they do it?! Just magnificent.

Flavour: Perfection, absolute perfection. For one, the 11.7% ABV is somehow nestled in and among a litany of incredibly delicious flavours. Everything that makes the KBS so good – whiskey, oak, dark malts, molasses, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, caramel and dried raisins – is right here. But it’s boosted by a syrupy sweetness….an elegant sweetness that is just…oh man.

Mouth feel: Thick, chewy and silky. Just a hint of warmth as it hits room temperature. Low co2, full body.

Overall: We’re almost speechless. OK, it’s only February ’18 but we may have already found our beer of the year. This is bloody phenomenal, it’s going to take something monumental to beat it. A masterstroke from Founders.

Alchemist Beer ‘Heady Topper’ Double NE IPA


27331889_805787122938768_6866065208622232993_n“In early 2011 we built the Alchemist Cannery, a 15 barrel brewery and canning line, for the production of our flagship IPA Heady Topper. The first cans of Heady Topper rolled off the line just two days after Tropical Storm Irene demolished The Alchemist Pub and Brewery. Today, we move all of our beer weekly in a concerted effort to provide the freshest, hoppiest packaged IPA on the market.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Hazy AF! Orange/mustard yellow colour with a steady finger of off white foam perched on top. Good head retention and fine lacing on the glass.

Aroma: We hate to sound like a broken record but it’s another full on breakfast juice bomb. Packed full of orange, mango, pineapple, guava and apple. Nicely underpinned by some piney, herbal and grapefruit notes. Delicate hints of aniseed and grass too. Hardly any malt to speak of. Doesn’t matter though, the amount of hop character is just mind blowing.

Flavour: Although it hits its typical juice bomb note there is a decent amount of herbal/botanical character to it. Wet grass and vines come through along with a sappy pine sweetness. Loads of citrus, tropical fruit and just the slightest hint of earthy forest floor. Clean bitter finish with a piney and citric aftertaste.

Mouth feel: Resinous and sappy. Suggestions of creamy-ness there too. 120 IBU – hefty but well contained. 8% ABV also well hidden.

Overall: As far as NE IPA’s go this is by far the best we’ve had. Yes, there is the cult following and the utter rarity of it but the high quality and complexity is what hands it its judgement. If only they would distribute outside the Vermont region! World class.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘B2 Bomber Mach 6.0’ Belgian Black IPA


23795374_775987085918772_697733813066623693_n“Bridge Road Brewers reached the 11th year of brewing in 2016. To celebrate we have continued the tradition of brewing a new yet bigger incarnation of the B2. This year we have stepped things up to reach Mach 6.0.”

Served in an IPA glass. Looks like a big ominous stout – pitch black with a finely beaded two finger head perched on top. Head retention is excellent and so to is the healthy lace work down the walls of the glass.
We get lots of grassy and piney hops against the robust dark malt backdrop. Good uplift from the coffee, cocoa and toast with a subtle candied undertone flowing through. Quite earthy, also hinting at black pepper, fennel seed, molasses and herbs with a touch of warming booze completing a seriously complex and multi layered aroma.
Oh wow! Depth and complexity for days on the palate. Plenty of action upfront – big, dark and roasty malt base with a piney and at times herbal hop bitterness cutting in. The feature we’re loving is this Candi sugar sweetness that’s coming from the Belgian yeast, adding that essential 3rd element which makes this black IPA stand out among the rest. It finishes slightly dry and toasty with incredible length.
It is unbelievably silky and smooth in the mouth. This is especially remarkable considering the 9.6% ABV. Dense and thick, mildly carbonated and full in body. Delightful!
Jeez what a beer this is. Can not fault it at all. We believe this is their 2016 release so the year and a bit in bottle has taken some of the edge off the hops but the rich malt character and the sweet Belgian yeast has more than made up for it. Sensational drop from Bridge Road…one of, if not, their best in our opinion.

Omnipollo ‘Selassie’ Imperial Coffee & Vanilla Stout


22140818_754646994719448_1032221227691968140_n“10 speciality malts make up this majestic Imperial Stout conditioned on heaps of coffee and vanilla beans. Simple, yet complex.”

Served in a snifter. This literally pours like engine oil. It constructs a healthy two finger head which holds together remarkably well, eventually establishing a thick overlay. Lacing is thick and soapy as it ebbs.
There’s more than a few words that come to mind here. Big, black and dangerous are the first. Rich, sweet and complex would also pass as the coffee, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla and spice takes the lead. The depth just keeps diving as we uncover hints of licorice, raw cacao, leather, heavy roast and an inkling of booze (which is amazing considering the hefty 11% ABV).
Holy moly the palate is totally inundated with moreish flavour here. What we can isolate is coffee, dark chocolate, charred wood, heavy roasted malt, tobacco, molasses, subtle whisky and a gorgeous hint of vanilla. It has a slightly nutty note in the middle before delivering a kind of semi sweet, roasty and almost creamy finish with vanilla, coffee bean and bitter dark chocolate on the back end.
Thick and dense texture, almost syrupy with full body and low co2. The booze is warm without any harsh and unrefined nature to it.
Sweet baby jeebus that is a damn fine drop. There is actually nothing more they could do to improve on this…..seriously amazing stuff. Kudos Omnipollo.

Deschutes Brewery 2014 Reserve ‘Mirror Mirror’ BA Barleywine


21463193_748795898637891_1743194503447251062_n“The Reserve Series romance all began with our first release of this limited-edition brew. Mirror Mirror, born of a double batch of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, is an inspired barley wine ale layered with intriguing nuances. Explore this latest incarnation and enjoy its delicious complexity in every sip. (Released March 2014)”

Served in a snifter. Pours a bit like muddy swamp water with a two finger head forming on top. Retention is good with a wavy lave pattern following it down.
Phwoar! That aroma. The complexity, the intense sweetness, the brilliance of a well brewed and well aged barleywine is not only 2nd to none but would easily challenge a dessert wine as an indulgent after dinner aperitif or night cap. With all that toffee, port, raisin, apricot, gingerbread, fig, residual sugar, fudge, brandy and sticky vanilla this is the epitome of opulence! Outstanding stuff.
It doesn’t shy away in flavor either. Big and extravagant notes of port, caramel, fig, brandy, brown sugar and raisin are given an almighty boost by the 11.2% ABV which injects prickly layers of belly warming goodness. It’s only subtle but we can detect a vinous accent from the hefty aging process it undergoes in American red wine barrels.
The texture is dense and syrupy with enough lift from the booze to save it from being edible. The co2 is mild but effective…also very important in the overall balance of the beer.
Oh jeebus! What an amazing beverage we have laid before us. Holier than thou. We’re not worthy! What we’re trying to say is this is down right incredible. Top 5 material without a doubt.

Garage Project 2016 Chateau Aro Spiced/Fruit Beer


20525376_730988893751925_6872446744638731313_n‘Never mix grape and grain’ – we’re breaking the cardinal rule again for the second vintage of our grape harvest beer. Chateau Aro, a dark rubescent ale, conditioned on the freshly crushed juice and skins of pinot noir grapes, then aged in French Oak barrels, all from the award winning Escarpment Winery. And the result of this unholy union? Rich, complex and surprising. Remember, beer then wine, you’ll be fine.”

Served in a stemmed tulip. This elegant beauty hits the glass with a deep chestnut hue and tops off with a short wispy cap which peels back to a ring. It laces quite well considering the diminishing head.
This aroma is unreal. The back story here is we bought this bottle from the brewery after we sampled it in a paddle at the taproom in Wellington a couple of months back. It is simply erupting with sweet notes of port, raisins, fig jam, mixed berries, vanilla bean and ripe cherries. Absolutely love the subtle oak and red wine tannin that cuts through a bit of the sweetness. It’s like nothing we’ve ever smelt before. Just divine.
The mouth feel is WAY too accommodating for a beer weighing in at 10.9% ABV. It’s smooth, velvety and flows over the tongue just like an expensive pinot noir would. Unbelievable.
The characteristics of the aroma transition incredibly well on to the palate. The light sparkle gives it a gentle lift as the cherries provide a subtle tartness through the mid. A mild bitterness is then introduced before it rounds off on a sweet, tannic and slightly dry finish with the cherry fusing with the port notes on the rear.
Simply put..perfect. There is literally nothing that could have been done better here, it is dead set spot on. We reckon it’s a beer that can be thoroughly enjoyed now but would improve with a few years on it. Wow, what a brilliant drop.




Garage Project ‘Dark Arts’ Coffee Bock


image“What kind of Faustian pact is this? A dark tryst combining the rich, clean malt character of a strong bock beer with a cold extract of specially roasted beans, creating a brew of milk coffee smoothness with notes of caramel and chocolate. Your favourite beverages together in one bottle – now there’s no need to choose. An award winning brew born of our collaboration with Wellington based fair trade roasting icons Peoples Coffee.”

Served in a Stein. It hits the glass with a chestnut hue that reveals crimson edges when held to the light. The two finger head almost completely dissipates leaving a thin ring that leaves minimal lace.
My goodness, if you’re coffee lovers like us then this aroma will have you on cloud nine. Pungent wafts of raw coffee beans fill the olfactory’s. The malt profile is equally as tantalizing with big roasty notes, burned toast, singed wood, chilli-infused dark chocolate, cacao and molasses in support. An absolute feast for the senses!
Thick and full bodied on the palate. The heavy malt profile ensures a silky/velvety texture as the low Co2 and extremely well masked 7.8% ABV makes this one dangerously drinkable beer.
We were hoping for the flavour to follow the aroma and it has done exactly that. Brilliant presentation of the coffee – strong but tempered. The rich, roasty malts and bittersweet chocolate only build on the magnificent flavour base created by the coffee. The taste just keeps improving until it finishes on a dry, bitter and lightly burned note that goes the distance on the back end.
Simply put…superb. One of the best bocks we’ve ever drunk. This was another one we muled back from NZ so we’re not sure what the availability is like in Australia. But! If you see this…bag it. Absolutely magnificent beer.

Bcchus Brewing Co. ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’


16807520_648906535293495_8039335137728791205_n“This beer was originally created for the Bacchus B20 beer fest. 20 “one off” unique beers, each brewed to represent a country/leader at the G20. USA – peanut butter jelly time popularized by the Family Guy. This is a peanut butter and jelly Amber Ale.”

Served in an English pint. She pours an attractive amber hue with excellent clarity. The short head slowly reduces to a film that struggles to leave a foot print on the glass as it ebbs.
Once again the willy wonka of the beer world has produced an absolutely stunning aroma that oozes decadent and moreish sweetness. This is the most impressive part though, of all the dessert beers we’ve reviewed from Bacchus (and there’s been quite a few) not one has been cloying or unbalanced. They all hit their mark perfectly as this one does with jelly, peanut butter, coconut flakes, raspberries, milk chocolate and vanilla. God, take us now!
The mouth feel is spot on. Just enough weight from the body with a smooth and sleek texture. Nice vibrant Co2 provides that vital uplift in the mouth. Brilliant.
We’ve never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but if this is what they taste like then damn! We can see why they’re so popular. Big hit of sugary jelly upfront followed by a soft peanut butter creaminess. What could best be described as a very subtle salinity gets washed over by super sweet malts, crystallized sugars and marshmallow in the finish.
Phenomenal stuff. It’s that kind of beer you wish would never end. The aromas and flavors are so delicious that words almost don’t do it justice. You’ve just got to try it to understa

Bacchus Brewing Co ‘Bo Jingles V’ Imperial Cherry Chocolate Stout


16174455_636771723173643_1467916320009663673_n“Bo Jingles is an imperial cherry chocolate stout brewed each Christmas for the iconic scratch bar in Milton. We change the recipe every year, creating new taste experiences around the central theme. For 2015 we’ve gone bigger & ballsier. We retained some of last year’s Bo & blended with this year’s vintage to produce a beer of intense flavour and depth.”

Served in a beer tulip. The pour is as black as the ace of spades with a healthy two finger head shaping up on top. As it reduced it weaves a streaky lace as it ebbs.
Ooph! Complexity is the name of the game here. This is bloody incredible! At the moment we can pick out cherry ripe, musty oak, molasses, Turkish delight, a hint of cough syrup and even traces of port. This aroma is simply brilliant.
Once again Bacchus thrills the palate with an invigorated Co2. An otherwise dense texture is nicely lifted. Oily in texture and it’s emphasized by a whopping yet quite well hidden 11% ABV.
What can best be described as an explosion of cherry sweetness is lit up by the 11% ABV upfront. Hints of oak follow but retreat a little quicker and in effect lays a platform for the juicy cherries, chocolate and molasses to extend in to a fairly dry finish that imparts a complex musty and slightly tart length on the back palate.
Stop it! Once again Bacchus displays their immense brewing capabilities with this absolutely incredible stout. We’re literally lost for words…this is something else. We’ll say this, if you see this beer on the shelf….buy it! Oh my God.

Bacchus Brewing Company ‘Ferrari Rocher’ Amber Ale


15541121_616150058569143_9186274643250555795_n“Brewed initially to represent Italy at our B20 beer fest this racy little amber beer is a luxurious flavour mix of milk chocolate and hazelnuts.”

Served in a beer tulip. This addition to Bacchus’s stellar range pours a light burgundy hue with a short, frothy cap forming on top. It eventually collapses to a collar with minimal lace left in its wake.
We once saw a reviewer sum Bacchus up as the “willy wonka of the craft beer world”. We thought this was absolutely spot on because if you, like us, have tried many of their beers you’d know that they have turned the most delicious sweets into beer….with delicious perfection! This one is no different, with its subtle similarity to the peanut brittle gose this moreish and devilishly sweet concoction of milk chocolate, nuts, nougat, caramel, nutella and kit kats is enough to send our sweet tooth in to overdrive! Amazing.
She offers a vibrant texture with an active Co2 level along with a silky smooth mouth feel. The 7% ABV is extremely well buried. Roughly medium in body. A real pleasure to drink.
The palate is treated to a big impression of melted caramel, nutella, milk chocolate and chocolate wafers. Not so much the flavour of a Ferrero Rocher (although it is here) more the blissful, eye-closing indulgence this beer is providing is enough to make us want to buy 12 more!
Man that is dangerously addictive. What’s even better is that for all of its decadence it’s not at all cloying. The extreme sweetness is so brilliantly balanced that we just want to eat it. Forget dessert, from now on just buy one of these. Outstanding stuff.

Russian River Brewing Co. ‘Pliny The Elder’ Double IPA


15085482_597417257109090_1769872724847455443_n“Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”. Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!”

Served in an IPA glass. Pliny pours a bright golden amber with a foamy two finger head forming on top. The head retains incredibly well and weaves a healthy lace as it ebbs. The first whiff of this coveted IPA has everything we’ve waited years to experience – its big, bold and bitter with grapefruit, orange peel, pine resins, hop oils, subtle peppery spice and a faint suggestion of bubblegum. Although it comes on hard with its West Coast hallmarks there is a lovely biscuity malt sweetness that takes the edge off the bitter hops. It may be big and bitter but there is an excellent balance on the nose as well. So far it is certainly living up to its cult-like status. In the mouth it is remarkably smooth and accommodating. The texture is light and oily and the 8% ABV is so well disguised you’d be excused for thinking it was around 6%. Co2 is spot on, adding a nice overall vibrancy to the feel of the beer. The flavour literally follows on from the nose. Upfront we get grapefruit, pine resins and juicy citrus notes. The 100 IBU gets introduced through the mid as flavours of hop oils and sweet malts lead in to a long resinous finish with hints of grassy hops on the back end. Brilliant. Well worth the two and a bit year wait. It’s clean, refreshing, silky smooth, superbly balanced and down right delicious! It was bottled on 12/10/16 so it’s fresh as f#*k as well. The only downside is that we don’t have any more  ah well at least that’s one we can tick off the bucket list. Big shout out to our good mate JD for muling it back from the States for us! Amazing stuff.

Bacchus Brewing Co. Peanut Brittle Gose


14568223_579330132251136_4321783244005863186_n“Peanut Brittle Gose – 500ml (Alc 4.9%). Gose is an ancient style of soured German Wheat Beer typically brewed with Coriander & Sea Salt. We’ve stayed true to the original recipe but then added our own Peanut Brittle twist. A heady aroma of sweet buttery toffee & roasted peanuts follows through into the taste, where the lactic saltiness of the Gose cuts through & balances the sweetness beautifully. Peoples Choice winner GABS 2016”

Served in an English pint. The appearance offers an attractive crimson hue with a short fizzy head that disappears almost instantly. Needless to say there isn’t a great deal of lace being shed. On the nose we get the expected saltiness initially, kind of hints at sea water at times. It’s not until the beer starts to warm that the super sweet and simply divine aromas of the caramelized peanut brittle begin to take shape. Such an odd mix but the salty notes blend exceptionally well with the moreish and syrupy peanut brittle. The combination of the two result in this indulgent salted caramel ice cream character that is just heaven for the olfactory’s. The texture of the beer is silky smooth but with an interesting salinity that provides a tingling sensation on the tongue and lips while the Co2 gives it a nice lift and adds a crucial effervescence to the overall feel. The front palate sees all the action as this marriage of saltiness and super sweet peanut brittle is brought alive with a spritzy carbonation. The salinity coerces the saliva glands to fill the mouth through the mid as the delicious flavours of peanut brittle and salted caramel endure through the finish and well in to the back end. It’s exactly how we remember it! After revisiting this beer it only serves as a confirmation that it earned the GABS 2016 people’s choice award by right. It’s so damn tasty, crafty and incredibly addictive. Top shelf stuff.

Murray’s Craft Bewing Co. ‘Thunderbolt’ IPA


14463228_573152939535522_42143174831914203_n“Murray’s Thunderbolt IPA is our hoppiest IPA yet! Packed full of Columbus, Mosaic and Equinox hops throughout the brewing process, then significantly dry hopped in the fermenter, Thunderbolt has an intense aroma and flavour of citrus, pine and tropical fruit. The firm bitterness is rounded out by the sweetness of caramalts and alcohol. A beer to be enjoyed with care.”

Served in an IPA glass. Thunderbolt pours to an attractive rose complexion with a finger of fluffy khaki foam topping it off. Retention is pretty good as it stubbornly recedes to a fine film and weaves a streaky lace pattern down the walls of the glass. Pow! The intensity of this aroma almost knocked us off our bar stools. It’s seriously dank with wave after wave of these resinous, piney punches that invade the olfactorys. A solid presence of booze (7% ABV) helps it along as juicy tropical notes of mango, pineapple and lychee pair up with the bitterness of grapefruit and the sweetness of passionfruit. Quite sticky too – those candy-like toffee/caramel tones balance out the big and dank fruity hops brilliantly. Wow! Absolutely superb aroma. The mouth feel is dry and a little sharp but that is quickly eased as it transitions in to a nice and smooth swallow. Can’t find an IBU but it is very well disguised. Medium body, good Co2. The front palate showcases an incredible balance between dank, resinous and fruity hops against the backdrop of sweet caramalts. This marriage it creates on the palate is delicious and simply mind blowing. As it progresses the assertive bitterness intensifies, setting off a crescendo of fruity flavours as it all graciously rounds out on to a dry, hoppy and dank finish with excellent duration. Let us finish by saying wow! We can now understand exactly why this IPA took out Australian champion IPA at the 2016 CBIA awards. Kudos, Murray’s your best beer yet!

Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout


13962482_554288751421941_7952086833282044183_n“Our Peanut Butter Milk Stout is simply irresistible. It’s like dark chocolate Reese’s in a glass! Rolled oats and Lactose add to the creamy body of this beer while heavenly aromas of roasted buttery peanuts and chocolate greet you with every sip. Try this out with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a real treat!”

Served in a snifter glass. Pouring predominantly black with edges of dark brown being revealed when held to the light. A fizzy tan head sitting about a fat finger in height rapidly reduces to a ring with a scarce amount of lace being left behind. There’s one word for this aroma….wow!! She’s unbelievably sweet but the robust presence of roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa and coffee pull it back extremely well. Peanut butter definitely comes through albeit conservatively as wafts of lactose, vanilla, milk sugars, toffee fudge and peanut butter ice cream only just scratch the surface. This is one of those really fun beers that can easily evoke memories of everything from chocolate bars to desserts. There’s no boundaries to this superb aroma. The mouth feel is surprisingly light on and approachable with a super smooth texture. So incredibly drinkable considering the style and rich flavours going on. What we really like is the fact that the flavour has been somewhat reversed as opposed to the nose. Chocolate, roasted malts and toffee bed down on the tongue as peanut butter, vanilla and lactose work off of it. Again, not only balancing but providing that moreish and insanely delicious sweetness that begs for another sip. As it progresses the roasty notes make a return before it’s punctuated by all of the above along with a lingering creamy sweetness that’s dangerously addictive. Amazing. Simply brilliant milk stout here. In a climate where dessert stouts are popular this is a truly memorable offering that will no doubt stand out in our minds. Phenomenal!

Founders Brewing Co. ‘KBS’ BBA Imperial Stout


13697299_540860426098107_3917183194027532825_n“What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.”

Served in to a wide rimmed tulip glass. As anyone would expect, this monster pours pitch black with a finger of brown foam forming on top. The short head retains really well and leaves a nice trail of thick, blotchy lace on the glass as we imbibe. The moment you put the beer to your nostrils it’s instant excitement. Rich, voluptuous wafts of dark chocolate, espresso, oak, bourbon, charred malts, chocolate bullets, spice, alcohol and Christmas cake just billow out of the glass. A lovely vanilla sweetness ties in beautifully along with a kind of creamy lactose undertone that takes the edge off the huge roasted notes. Oh…it’s simply indulgence in a glass. So good. The mouth feel is slick, oily and sharp with a developing warmth from the 12.4% ABV. Bitterness is kept low and the body is medium-full. Quite a pronounced bourbon bite on the front palate. Hints of oak work their way through indistinctly as an espresso bitterness begins to open up early midway. As this baby warms she becomes more viscous and complex, really taking on the bourbon and oak firmly as burnt chocolate and a touch of molasses joins the party. A delicious dark fruitiness imparts flavours of alcohol soaked raisin and or prunes before an extremely lengthy finish offers everything from bourbon, oak, chocolate, coffee, licorice and a lingering alcohol warmth on the rear. How does one sum up a beer like this? Well, for starters it’s quite rare so if you’re agile enough to get your hands on one (don’t just buy one) then cherish it, lay one down for a year, as we plan to do, and see how the flavours mature. Remember to leave it out of the fridge for about 20 mins before opening, she gets better as it comes up to room temperature. Character-wise it’s flawless. The only downside is seeing the bottom of the glass as we take our last sip. Just world class stuff.

Knee Deep Brewing Co. ‘Lupulin River’ Imperial IPA


13495104_533793403471476_8724553752501201776_n“This Double IPA includes Mosaic and Simcoe hops, South American specialty malt, and tons of tastiness. Looks like liquid gold, smells like a bright tropical fruit pine forest, and tastes like all that and more.”

Served in an IPA glass. Our eyes gaze over a gorgeous Amber body that’s topped off with a healthy two and a half finger crown. The head stubbornly holds up only peeling off a cm or so and retaining a thick blanket that sheds a wall of lace down the glass. As far as looks go this would have to be up there with the best. The aroma is just as exciting – it reminds us of Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter with its super clean hop oil aroma. Fresh scents of ruby grapefruit, passion fruit and pine needle are enhanced by tropical lychee, grape and kumquat notes. There’s a lovely floral accent too, a bit like lavender and or sage. Keeping with the character of the aroma the clean malt backing imparts a delicate honey sweetness which leads us to believe pilsner malts were used. Superb. You don’t get much better IPA aromas than this. The mouth feel is smooth as silk with an oily texture. A crisp bitterness and a medium body is further complimented by the perfect amount of carbonation. Just a brilliant progression on the palate. The flavour follows on from the aroma really well, initially we get a marriage of crisp pine needle, citrus and floral hops. A bold grapefruit note underlines it all and continues in to the mid. The snappy bitterness annexes to the grapefruit as tropical fruits and herbal notes lead in to a dry, crisp and ultra clean finish with excellent length on the back. Hot damn! This is one seriously tasty IPA. Everything from the appearance to the back palate is dead set spot on. We literally can’t find a thing wrong with this. It’s flawless.