“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!
“The classics are that for a reason. Like its punchy forefathers, this American style Pale Ale is defined by citrus, pine and tropical hop characters. Pale and toasted malts provide a solid base that lets the hops do the talking — and avoid a potential conflict. Watch your step folks.”
Appearance: Clear light golden amber which is topped off with two fingers of creamy white head. Excellent retention as it hangs a sheet down the sides of our glass.
Aroma: Strange to say the least. We’re getting powdery perfumes, candied orange, peach, stone fruits, floral pine and this totally unexpected hint of musty biltong. As it settles we’re picking up a somewhat artificial fruity note – either pineapple or melon. We’ve smelt better that’s for sure.
Flavour: Acting a bit more like a pale ale now. Mild tropical fruits like passion fruit, melon and pineapple to the fore. Some piney notes floating about as well. The malt has a caramel sweetness to it, a bit cloying at times but it’s saved by a citric bitterness. Kind of sweet, kind of grassy finish that endures.
Mouthfeel: Frothy and reasonably light. 5.2% ABV and 35 IBU – both neither here nor there.
Overall: We like the move in to cans along with the back story behind the beer but there’s hardly anything American about it. It has a strange aroma, minimal bitterness and no aggression. Missed the mark for us.
“Finding just the right option can highlight an already epic zone – like striking the perfect hot/cold balance in your shower at home, or using an iron to hit the green when everyone has teed off with their woods. The Balter Strong Pale Ale is another one of those plumb moments, for hop-lovers who want more than an American Pale Ale, without the grunt of an IPA.”
Glassware: American pint.
Appearance: The pour provides an amber glow with the head swelling to about an inch. It peels back to a healthy overlay which works a fine lace as it ebbs.
Aroma: Firstly we must make note of the brilliant balance being struck. Mellow hints of peach, mango, citrus, melon and passion fruit are offset by a semi sweet biscuit malt. We’re picking up an undertone of pine with some weedy notes as well. Really good depth and character on the nose.
Flavour: Again, well balanced with the slightly sweet biscuit malts taking the edge off those crisp and fruity hops. Soft peach and melon cruise through with a bit of sappy pine meeting them mid way. Citrus notes developing late as it finishes tight and tidy with reasonable length.
Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth and well balanced. The 5.9% ABV offers a mild kick while the 45 IBU is well contained. Medium body and co2.
Overall: It seems Balter have hit their strides of late as every release since the IPA has got better and better. This one slots in nicely between the XPA and the IPA, giving the punters that extra option. Brilliant idea and equally as brilliant beer.
“Defined by a balance of pale malted barley and tropical hop aromas, our Pale Ale is light in colour but big in flavour. But don’t overthink it. It is what it says on the tin, a Pale Ale, the Black Hops beer for every occasion.”
Appearance: Hazy golden amber topping off with two fingers of tightly held foam. Magnificent lace work clinging to the walls of the glass.
Aroma: Lovely dose of tropical fruity hops hitting the olfactory’s. Mango, passion fruit, pineapple, lychee and melon – all of the good stuff! It almost has this NEIPA-esque brekky juice note to it. Subtle hints of white grapes, florals and biscuity malts filling it all out. Impressive.
Flavour: Really well balanced. Lots of fruity hops, a flutter of semi sweet biscuit malt, even a suggestion of that NEIPA-like brekky juice we picked up on the nose. This tasty trio is reinforced through the mid with a bit of help from a citrus bitterness which delivers a mild dryness in the finish.
Mouthfeel: A little dry but really, it’s just smooth and so approachable. Medium body and co2. Bang on.
Overall: Well there’s certainly no surprises that this pale ale made the top 20 in GABS’ most recent hottest 100. It’s tasty, brilliantly balanced and oh so sessional. Our 2nd entry for this relatively new QLD brewery and both have been top notch. Keep em comin!
“Prepare to have your senses awoken with this favorite that we conjured up one morning floating behind the breakers off Alex Heads. Pipeline is a bold Pale Ale, hop forward with an abundance of tropical and stone fruits, pineapple and pine aromatics. Brewed with a blend of Australian and German Barley, wheat and crystal malts, its one of our favorites, if you like a hop forward brew then we’ve packed a few extra in this one for you.”
Appearance: Bright gold with excellent clarity. It forms a finger of head which steadily collapsed but still manages to decorate the walls of the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: An abundance of tropical fruit hop character, mostly mango, passion fruit, subtle citrus, melon and papaya. It has a rather sweet malt structure too, a touch of caramel and mild honey to fill it out. Not bad.
Flavour: A little drier, the fruity hops are a bit more muted in comparison to the aroma. Some zesty citrus showing through instead with suggestions of grassy hop, semi sweet malt and light florals to finish.
Mouthfeel: Clean, spritzy and super sessional. Nice mellow bitterness (36 IBU) developing late.
Overall: This pale ale pretty much sums up their mantra of kicking back and hanging 10. It’s light, cruisy and crush-able. Quenching the thirst on this scorching Queensland arvo.
“An American Pale Ale. For batch number 1500, Josh & Brian decided to brew a big hoppy beer, yet make it quaffable by keeping the alcohol level down. Turns out everyone liked it so much, that it is now brewed year-round. Loads of Simcoe and Amarillo hops are blended in the fermenter, just after fermentation has finished, to impart a huge aroma of pine and citrus.”
Appearance: Hazy golden orange with a finger of well kept head over the top. Nice streaky lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: Jam packed full of American ‘C’ hops – citrus, pine, wet grass, orange zest, subtle resins and earthy spice. Soft buttery malts in the background, moving in to caramel and honey as it settles. Fairly well balanced. Nice aroma.
Flavour: Good impression of orange peel and light grapefruit acidity upfront. Pine, hop oils, resin and grassy notes across the mid. Subtle dry and bready malts carry in to a bitter, grassy and piney finish with reasonable length on the rear.
Mouth feel: Spritzy, crisp and snappy with medium body and a well concealed ABV (5.5%). Average IBU (48) gaining a bit more traction in the swallow.
Overall: Pretty flawless APA. Somewhat safe though, getting a little on the uneventful side. Not a bad drop by any stretch of the imagination it’s just a middle of the road offering in our opinion.
“A big bold hoppy take on the classic American Pale Ale. Packed with American and Australian hops including Cascade, Columbus, Galaxy, Mosaic and Crystal, and supported by a firm malt backbone. Finishes clean with a firm bitterness. A mouth-watering aroma blend of passionfruit, orange and pine!”
Appearance: Hazy burnt orange hue with a short cap sitting atop. It peels off to a film which still manages to weave a healthy lace down the glass.
Aroma: From the brewers ramblings it would seem that they have modelled the beer off the classic pavlova. Tonnes of passion fruit, mango, peach and berries coming through along with a buttery caramel/biscuit malt in support. Nice big piney notes cutting in as well. Not bad.
Flavour: Sits nicely poised on the palate. Lots of American hop character slicing its way through the rather sweet and robust caramel malts on entry. Subtle injection of grapefruit midway before a bitter finish reveals orange peel and pineapple on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Quite bold, creamy texture with a pleasant bitterness in the swallow. Spritzy co2 and medium body. 5.2% ABV – basically immaterial.
Overall: Middle of the road APA. Would we seek it out again? Probably not. Certainly not a bad drop it just isn’t all that memorable.