“Brewed in conjunction with local climber Tom O’Halloran and named after the climb he bolted only a 50-minute walk for the brewery, this session ale is full of tropical, Australian hops and a surprising maltiness for its ABV. It’s as easy drinking as water in the desert.”
Appearance: Light pale golden complexion with a loosely packed head atop. Steady reduction…settling to a fine film with reasonable lace on the glass.
Aroma: Very delicate hints of citrus and tropical fruits with subtle pine resin and orange rind. The malt bill is super clean, dry and biscuity, sits back just enough to let the hops do the talking. Not a lot else happening really but it ain’t bad for a middy.
Flavour: Good body for its size. It opens with a rush of pine and citrus with some very mild herbals thrown in. Again just a very light and clean malt bill to carry the hop bitterness through to the crisp and well balanced finish. Length is pretty decent as well.
Mouthfeel: Very approachable. Light-moderate body, smooth crisp texture, well rounded. Vibrant Co2. Holds up well for 3.5% ABV.
Overall: Not a lot to say other than it’s clean, uber sessional and has enough to chew on. Not a bad shout if you’re designated driver!
“South of Piha there’s a long black sand beach. Hidden behind the dunes is a beautiful valley of cascading waterfalls, lush rainforest and craggy cliffs. In 2018 the valley was closed to prevent the spread of Kauri Dieback disease that is killing our beautiful trees. We hope you enjoy this Riwaka single hop NZ Pale Ale, brewed for our friend the Kauri.”
Appearance: Bright amber with almost full transparency. Two fingers of finely beaded foam. Good retention and good lacing down the glass.
Aroma: We love this luscious green character that seems to be an underlying quality in most Kiwi hops. Kind of reminds us of dense rainforest. Lots of dank herbs, gooseberry, white grapes, mandarin, lime and dried tea leaf in support. The malt bill is pretty clean with a very mild sweetness. Certainly has that funky Kiwi nature.
Flavour: It opens with strong grassy/evergreen notes, green fruits – grapes, gooseberry, kiwifruit, lime – alongside herbal spice and green tea. Pretty much like taking a trip to green town. Picking up more citric bitterness late in the piece as it rolls in to a fairly dry and resinous finish with lengthy bitterness in the tail.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, well rounded, slight bitterness in the swallow. We were a little surprised to see the 5.6% ABV…it’s nicely hidden.
Overall: A decent enough beer but it’s hardly memorable. A little run of the mill if you will. Keen to see their next release.
“This full flavoured beer is well-rounded, lemonier than Mr Snicket’s, so piney you could varnish it and crisper than pre-dawn mountain air. Basically, it will go down easier than a diving submarine with the hatch still open.”
Appearance: Bold amber with full transparency. It only manages a short head but it still works a reasonable lace down the glass.
Aroma: Love how crisp and clean it is. Bursting with refreshing pine needle, lemon and grapefruit but then perfectly balanced by the tempered malt sweetness. Some evergreen components here too – grassy and herbal hops alongside a delicate hint of tropical and stonefruit. Absolutely bang on.
Flavour: It’s all about the hops. It kicks off with heady notes of pine, yellow grapefruit and lemon with softer additions of orange peel and herbal spice developing mid palate. All the while that subtle yet crucial malt sweetness works in the background. It all rolls in to a dry and bitter finish which lingers.
Overall: Without a doubt the best pale ale we’ve had this year. The amount of flavor and aroma packed in to this is amazing. Especially considering the standard ABV. We’ve been super impressed by everything MC have released so far.. you Mountainer’s don’t know how good you’ve got it!
“Mountain Culture Status Quo. Status Quo is a New England Pale Ale. Made for hop lovers with massive late and dry hop additions, it’s full flavoured and more tropical than the Hawaiian ukulele orchestra.”
Appearance: Light pastel orange and hazy AF! It doesn’t produce much head yet it still manages to weave a decent lace down the glass.
Aroma: Dead set juice bomb. We get strong wafts as it sits idle on the table. Almost every sweet tropical fruit you can imagine – pineapple, mango, passion fruit, guava, lychee, peach, melon, papaya…we could go on all day. It’s got that subtle hint of frosty fruit/concentrated juice and peppery herbal spice. They’ve hit the nail on the head here!
Flavour: It opens with a rush of tropical fruit – mango, pineapple, guava, passion fruit etc (see aroma) interwoven with soft peppery spice and herbs i.e aniseed and basil. It hits a well tempered citrusy note through the middle moving in to a dry pithy finish with grassy/herbal spiciness going the distance.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, soft and well rounded but with more than enough body to hold it up. The 5.6% ABV is genius…not too little not too much.
Overall: Probably the best we’ve had from MC so far. The double red IPA was a corker but this is on another level and one of the main things is the balance, everything is in tune. Plus it’s freaking delicious!
“We’ve packed this little guy with Citra, Galaxy, and Simcoe hops.”
Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a thumb of sturdy white foam perched on top. Steady reduction and healthy lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: Somewhat basic notes of tropical fruit and citrus peeling off initially. Hints of stonefruit combining with subtle pine, light florals and semi sweet malts. Nice and clean and well balanced but lacking a bit of oomph.
Flavour: Follows the nose – nicely tempered notes of citrus, tropical fruits and stonefruit with pine resin, florals and an uber gentle touch of herbal spice in support. Just a flutter of semi sweet malts in the background but enough to carry the hops through to a crisp and slightly dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Mild-moderate body, finely carbonated. Texture is pretty well rounded with a very mild dryness in the swallow. 4.6% ABV. Very approachable.
Overall: Not too shabby for a couple of gypsy brewers! We’d have to admit though there is a bit of hype around this beer (warranted or not) so we were kind of expecting a bit more. It ain’t a bad drop by any means just not that memorable.
Appearance: Slightly hazy golden amber pour with a loosely packed finger of head resting atop. It slowly reduced to a collar with reasonable lace as we go.
Aroma: Very shy notes of stonefruits and jammy orange citrus. Kind of malty sweet – bready and biscuity with mild hints of caramel and toffee. Somewhat of an English tone to it…. we’re guessing from the hops….possibly EKG or even a lower alpha acid Aussie hop like Pride Of Ringwood with its herbal spice and mild fruity characters. Not bad but lacking excitement.
Flavour: Follows on from the nose. Mostly earthy and spicy orange citrus, melon, an inkling of marmalade and herbs. Again quite malty – bready/toasty, semi sweet caramel and honey offering a lovely overall balance. Soft, delicate finish: toasty, jammy, slightly dry and a little short on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Light on with a frothy co2. Mild-medium body. Low bitterness and ABV (4.5%).
Overall: Definitely has an English/Euro approach to it. It ain’t a bad beer it’s just very uneventful although we can’t be too harsh as the brewer (Rob Paulazzo) is actually a winemaker so credit to him for having a crack.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“Packed full of citrus aromas and a boatload of hops, this New England Pale is dank and juicy with full on flavours and low bitterness. Simcoe, Galaxy and Mosaic hops pile on the tropical, fruity, flavours with a touch of dank hop aroma from the Columbus.”
Glassware: IPA glass.
Appearance: Light amber with a fair haze. It doesn’t manage much head but what’s there does retain well and leaves a healthy lace trail on the glass.
Aroma: Absolutely LOVE the hop combination (Galaxy, Columbus, Mosaic and Simcoe). A proper nose-full of tropical fruity goodness with ripe grapefruit, pine, stonefruits and mild orange citrus and rind. The malt bill offers that classic semi-sweet honey and biscuity character. All in all its very similar to the IPA’s we brew here in Oz.
Flavour: Pretty much follows the nose – Passionfruit, mango, peach, mixed citrus, pine, herbal spice and something rather earthy. It develops more of a pithy and acidic grapefruit flavour late in the piece before it rolls in to a piney, grassy and slightly dry bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Dry with a rather assertive bitterness. The 6.6% ABV provides a bit of warmth as well. Medium body and CO2.
Overall: This is our first crack at Vocation and look, while it’s a fairly decent drop it’s nothing to shout from the rooftops about. It just does what it says without going over and above. Not bad.
“This double dry hopped Pale Ale features two NW American hops – Cashmere and Idaho 7. The beer is bright orange and super hazy in appearance. We get strong mandarin and citrus aromas. A creamy mouthfeel and smooth body lead to sweet melon flavours on the palate, finishing juicy like we like it. Very easy to consume!”
Appearance: Good colour – deep orange to amber with a decent haziness. It constructs a thick and fluffy two finger head before settling to a wispy overlay. Soapy lace covers the glass as we go.
Aroma: We get a lot of stonefruit initially i.e apricot, rockmelon, papaya, peach. Lots of tropical fruit like guava, passionfruit and mango also coming through. Subtle orange citrus notes, pine, lemongrass, herbal tea and a semi sweet grainy malt at the base. Excellent depth and character.
Flavour: Beautifully balanced hints of stonefruit and tropical fruits against the subtle sweet and grainy malts. Tasting a bit more pink grapefruit on the palate…urged on by the soft hop bitterness surely. So incredibly juicy and ultra smooth though…rolling in to a fruity finish with a flutter of stonefruit on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, creamy and perfectly carbonated. Medium-full body adding that chewy texture. Well concealed ABV (5.8%).
Overall: Really really impressive. Full flavoured yet so streamlined and brilliantly balanced. Man if this is what Range can do with a pale ale then we can’t wait to see what they can do with their other beers! Top shelf stuff.
“This intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry.”
Glassware: IPA glass.
Appearance: Hazy pastel orange with a light amber fusion. It forms a healthy two finger head which holds its shape and makes a mess of our glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: Bright orange blossom and tangerine overtones, honey & lemon strepsil, orange zest, lemongrass, blended tropical fruits like lychee, mango, pineapple and ruby grapefruit. The malt profile is rather sweet and sticky…honeyed and slightly syrupy but it’s nicely balanced by all of the citrusy and tropical fruity hops.
Flavour: A bit of oldschool west coast IPA going on! Dry, bitter and mildly acidic grapefruit and orange peel mixed in with a whole lot of mixed citrus – pithy, zest etc. A hint of honey and candied lemon around the mid palate which lays down for another rush of citric bitterness. A hint of herbal spice late in the piece leading to a dry finish but with a soft rounded sweetness.
Mouthfeel: There’s a nice crispiness to it. Medium body with an assetive hop bitterness (60 IBU). Some stickiness on the lips as well. 6.2% AbV. Everything just sings in harmony!
Overall: An absolute pleasure to drink…just so well balanced and effortless. This has been on our beer bucket list for years so we’re stoked to be finally trying it…and it lives up to the hype! It’s a cut above really.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“Born of the planet Hoptom, this is a Super VPA sent to planet earth to make the world a better place. The powers of hops will give strength to all those who imbibe. Brewed for GABS 2017.”
Appearance: Cloudy orange with pastel yellow highlights. An inch of white foam emerges before shrinking to a thin overlay. Laced well.
Aroma: Bursting with a few different takes on lemon. The most discernible would be this honey & lemon strepsil note which is a little too artificial and cloying for our liking. There’s also the subtle hint of fresh lemon pulp and a flutter of zest here and there. Pine needles, fresh herbs and a super sweet honey malt filling it out.
Flavour: Punchy yet sweet…driven by the candied lemon, pine/spruce, herbs, citrus and passionfruit. We can’t ignore this mild menthol character as well. Grapefruit, citrus peel and pine resins finish with a honey malt sweetness which draws out on the back palate.
Mouthfeel: Slick and somewhat gelatinous. Well concealed AbV (8.5%) and an approachable 48 IBU. The co2 is quite low – this could be the reason why it’s sitting so heavily in the stomach.
Overall: Look it’s not a bad drop it’s just not for us. This cloying sweetness it carries throughout the whole experience is a turn off. Oh well…can’t win em all.
“Tino Pai! The best! Too much! This hazy NZ Pale ale was brewed using some of my favourite nz hops & malt. Packed full of tropical fruit, backed up by some zesty lemon and lime. This is sure to have you coming back for more. Chur!”
Glassware: IPA glass.
Appearance: Hazy golden orange body below two fingers of frothy white head. Steady reduction and a smattering of lace being left behind.
Aroma: Smells of fresh green fruits i.e honeydew, kiwifruit and creamy lime citrus. A fair bit of tropical fruit (lychee and passionfruit) also coming through. Rolled oats and crusty bread bringing up the bottom end. There’s this certain luscious green forest aspect we always get from top shelf NZ pale ales and this has it in spades!
Flavour: It follows on from the nose with the green melony fruits, tropical notes and smooth creamy oats. Tasting a herbal and almost mint-like menthol which is really intriguing. Nice yet mild bitterness forming late and rounding off with a grassy/herbaceous finish.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and silky smooth. Medium body with a delicate bitterness. 5.5% AbV – nicely hidden.
Overall: That’s a damn fine drop. Certainly offers some light NEIPA qualities while bringing that unique NZ character. We highly recommend!
“Our Squealing Pig APA is a fairly traditional American Pale Ale. Big hops, Big Bitter and a balanced malt profile. If you like big American Beers this should be right up your alley.”
Appearance: Bold amber with a massive four finger head assembling over the top. It takes an age for it to reduce to a thick foamy overlay and makes a mess on the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: First impressions are sweet, candied, almost artificial musky notes with a hefty caramel malt sweetness, berries and orange citrus in support. Not really a lot else on offer but some more adjunct sweetness and a hint of pine. Slightly uneventful.
Flavour: Again quite malt-forward with the caramel and toffee sweetness in the front seat. Very mild suggestions of stonefruit and citrus introduced midway with the citrus carrying through to the finish where it’s met with more malt sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, well rounded texture. 5% AbV. Medium body and co2. All very inoffensive…some would say a little insipid.
Overall: Slightly disappointing. It’s drenched in malt sweetness with very little hop character to offset it. We were hoping to be impressed with our first crack at the TRBC range but not to be. Can’t win em all!
“A clean and fresh pale ale using crystal, vienna and wheat malts. Dry hopped to give a beautifully balanced citrus and floral aroma. Perfect for sharing with mates any time of year.”
Appearance: Nice and deep burnished amber pour with a finger of loosely held foam perched on top. Good enough retention to see a bit of lace work down the glass.
Aroma: Full of caramel malt and candied fruit sweetness. It has a strong artificial scent…we keep thinking boiled candy and butter menthol. There’s almost a thought of too much diacetyl for a minute but they’ve kept it in check…just! A bit of tropical fruit creeping in but it’s just too sweet in our opinion.
Flavour: Follows on from the nose with this distinct diacetyl-laden sweetness – honey, caramel and butterscotch mainly. Fleeting hints of tropical and stone fruits kind of getting a look in but it’s pretty subtle. It finishes with a nice balancing bitterness but the sweetness is too overpowering.
Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, creamy, just a suggestion of hop bitterness in the swallow. Moderate body and Co2.
Overall: Not the most ideal start for this virtually brand new microbrewery. They’re one of a few new breweries to open in the burgeoning craft beer scene up in the picturesque Blue Mountains. Not to worry the IPA and the porter are still to come!
“A pale ale using all American hops with flavours and aromas of pine, citrus and tropical fruits with a medium dry finish. Crystal malt imparts a light residual sweetness for mouth feel.”
Appearance: Hazy amber-orange pour with a mountainous four finger head emerging on top. It settles to a thick layer with blotchy lace work on the glass.
Aroma: A fair bit of uplift to it actually. Heady notes of tangy orange citrus, pine, florals, candied fruits, sugar-crusted grapefruit and a subtle honey and or caramel sweetness filling it out. Very nice. Very sweet but pleasant all the same.
Flavour: It bursts with orange citrus, tropical fruits, pine and semi sweet malt tones. A bit of hop bitterness mixing with some mildly acetic grapefruit through the mid then moving in to a dry finish which offers lengthy notes of pine, orange peel and grassy hop on the rear.
Mouthfeel: Vibrant and well rounded. A little light on but held up with a spritzy carbonation and a decent IBU (33).
Overall: This is our first crack at this brewery from Pokolbin. Another brewery/winery to add to the evergrowing list alongside the likes of Hope Brew house, CVBC, Cupitts, Prickly Moses and more. Quite a nice way to kick off proceedings.
“Passionfruit, mango and hints of malt sweetness.”
Appearance: Bold amber with a light haze. A finger of white foam sits atop and works a wavy lace down the glass.
Aroma: Clean and refreshing notes of pine, herbs, grapefruit, zingy orange, passion fruit and light florals. Just the slightest touch of pithy citrus creeping in. Kind of a sweet malt structure – biscuity/doughy maybe a tad husky. Nicely balanced nose.
Flavour: An easy going blend of mango, citrus, pineapple and passionfruit to the fore. It’s supported by a nice malt sweetness, delicate earthy/spicy hop bitterness, tangy citrus and subtle grapefruit which delivers a light and well rounded finish.
Mouthfeel: Approachable, light and refreshing. Mild-medium body, moderate co2.
Overall: It’s just another light and uneventful Aussie pale ale. Yes it’s super palate-friendly and sessional but there’s nothing overly exciting about it. Good but not great.