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.
“An easy drinking hoppy American pale ale, Skimpy Sparrow is another edition in our “Small Bird Series” of lower ABV offerings brewed for the summer.”
Glassware: American pint.
Appearance: Super hazy yellow/orange pour with two fingers of loosely packed foam perched on top. It eventually forms a collar with healthy lace work on the glass.
Aroma: Punchy pine-driven hops, stonefruits, citrus and pineapple making up the bulk of it. Heady notes of frosty fruits, concentrated orange juice, grapefruit and peach also. The malt profile is very subtle yet still offering a distinct dry and grainy character that provides a little bit of balance.
Flavour: Exactly like a NEIPA just without the added depth, booze and creaminess. Still showing tonnes of pithy citrus, orange juice, piney hops and peach with undertones of grapefruit, peppery spice and white grapes. Picking up that dry and grainy accent again but it’s dwarfed by the slightly assertive bitterness and orange peel in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Dry with a developing bitterness. Somewhat prickly too, making the relatively low 5.4% AbV seem higher. Medium body and co2.
Overall: They’ve done a great job at making it feel bigger than it actually is. We’d admit it is a welcome change from all of the triple, double and imperial NEIPA’s we’ve been in to recently. Not bad.
“You aren’t going to beat Princess or Yoshi without the Rainbow Road Shortcut, which as it turns out, is both a killer cheat on Mario Kart 64, and also a super juicy hazy pale ale, with a recipe including lightning strikes, red Koopa shells, Citra, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops.”
Appearance: Definite haze train! Somewhat milky orange complexion with a thumb of white foam perched on top. The head holds its shape and leaves a healthy lace in its wake.
Aroma: Full on fruit salad. We get stonefruits, citrus, tropical fruits, berries and apple leading out with vanilla powder, Frosty Fruits, herbal spice and a subtle musky accent in support. Typical pale malt profile of crusty white bread and semi sweet crackers filling it out. Quite a simple nose but ultimately bright and well rounded.
Flavour: Literally a NEIPA without the booze and extra body. The concoction of fruit provides hints of breakfast juice and Frosty Fruits while hinting at berries and other more exotic types like kiwi, persimmon and dragon fruit. Pretty much maintains the juice bomb characters until a late injection of bready malt rounds out on a soft bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Super smooth, creamy and balanced. The 5.8% AbV is nicely tucked away as well. Medium body and co2.
Overall: It’s one of those beers that’s enjoyable but quite easily forgotten – nothing really stands out other than its session ability. Still waiting for that Bare Bottle beer that blows us away.
“This single hop pale ale showcases the Citra hop for a well-balanced beer that is delicate in body with a mild bitterness in the finish. She roars with ferocious aromas of grapefruit, citrus, mango and evergreen. Pseudo Sue’s unique taste is clean and bright with just enough bite!”
Appearance: Slightly hazy golden orange with a fair bit of suspended sediment. It forms a sturdy two finger head which persists and laced well.
Aroma: Without a doubt the Citra hop would have to be one of our all time favourites. Its natural high alpha acids along with its citrus, pine and tropical fruit profile invokes memories of the best IPA’s of yesteryear (before the haze craze!). Pseudo Sue also offers plenty of spicy lemongrass, unripened mango, herbal tea, pineapple and a light bready malt structure. Very nice indeed!
Flavour: The hops don’t provide as much intensity as the nose. The aggression and the bitterness are there but the flavours are slightly muted as they come through. The mid hits more of a stonefruit note as it leads in to the dry and bitter finish which carries spicy and piney notes in to the back end.
Mouthfeel: Fairly well in check for a big WC-style APA. Dry, maybe a little creamy. 7% AbV with a gutsy 45 IBU – both are quite well behaved though.
Overall: It’s a really well built beer. There’s a bit of conjecture around it’s category and rightly so. If it is an APA then it’s the biggest and booziest APA we’ve ever had. It portrays itself as more of an IPA…and a good one at that!
“Faction Brewing The Penske File (5.8% ABV) is a two-hop pale brewed with Mosaic and Ekuanot.”
Appearance: Golden amber with excellent transperancy. It forms a thumb of head which slowly deconstructs but still works a nice webbed lace down the walls of the glass.
Aroma: One word…..incredible! It’s marketed as an American Pale Ale but it hits the olfactory’s like a highly hopped West Coast IPA. Wave after citric wave of grapefruit juice, orange peel, pine, lemon and mandarin is sustained by a biscuity and semi sweet malt which works in unbelievably well. There’s no other way to put it….this is literally one of the best APA’s we’ve ever smelt.
Flavour: Sweet baby Jeebus the transition in to flavour is just ridiculous. It really comes on strong with grapefruit, citrus rind and orange but it’s countered by a subtle biscuit malt and a fleshy fruit like unripe mango or melon. Magnificent carry through the mid as it finishes on a rather dry, bitter and grassy note that shows good legs on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Perfect. Creamy but nicely lifted by the co2. 5.8% ABV is very well disguised. 40 IBU….. Also really well affixed.
Overall: Probably one of the best APA’s we’ve ever drunk. How the bloody hell do they do it?! We’ll give one piece of parting advice….if you see this on the shelves do your taste buds a solid and bag it instantly because it is mind blowing!
“Year-round pale ale generously hopped with Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic.”
Appearance: Bright amber with excellent clarity. It forms a two finger head that holds its shape and decorates the sides of the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: 100% true to style APA. Smelling super fresh loaded with grapefruit, orange, pine, mandarin, subtle dank notes and really delicate herbals – basil, lemongrass etc. There’s a good impression of malt sweetness to balance it all out as well. They’ve absolutely nailed this aroma down!
Flavour: Right on the money! We get that burst of sweet and slightly bitter citrus upfront that’s underpinned by subtle hints of pine, orange peel and grassy/herbal hops. The bitterness carries through the mid but that sweet biscuity malt seems up to the task. Lovely smooth transition in to a well balanced finish. Good length.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and well rounded. Effortless over the tongue with mild bitterness in the swallow (45 IBU). Medium body and co2.
Overall: This is our first crack at this Californian Brewery’s range and what a fine offering it is! If there was only one pale ale we had to drink for the rest of our lives it would have to be this. Sensational!