Author Archives: 2hopheads

Omnipollo ‘Legacy’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Omnipollo is celebrating 10 years by releasing a series of four beers to stand the test of time. A style with immense complexity, we often infuse our dark beers with coffee as its flavors meld perfectly with roasted character of malts, and to make things even better – finished with a good amount of our favorite ground vanilla. Carefully selected Ethiopian coffe roasted to specs by Kafferäven Per Nordby.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a wispy brown head that almost instantly peels back to the rim. Webbed but also spotty lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Pow! Our first thoughts are Coffee Stout and then after a little fish around on their webby it states they use Ethiopian coffee in the brew. It’s integrated with such beauty and embraced by warm and loving melted chocolate, burnt toast, licorice, fresh vanilla, white marshmallow, cocoa powder, lady finger biscuits and a subtle touch of affogato. Ok, we knew Omnipollo were masters but this is exceeding expectations!

Flavour: Aaaaaand there we go thinking this could be a 10/10 and the flavour profile misses the mark a tad. Don’t get us wrong it’s still superb…oodles of roasted coffee, chocolate powder, burnt toast, fresh vanilla, licorice and molasses. Very delicate white marshmallow and roasted pecans shift into a super roasty and slightly charred finish with plenty of coffee, burnt cocoa and vanilla on the back end.

Mouthfeel: This is where it lost some ground for us. It’s a little light on with a slippery texture. Co2 is kept low and the body sits around the medium mark. The 12% ABV is well concealed though.

Overall: Pretty impressive even if we factor in the less than perfect mouthfeel and intensity of flavour. It’s big and aggressive yet softened by the sweet vanilla and marshmallow. Solid offering.

Burnley Brewing Bockbier

Rating:

“Smooth with alcohol warmth, this brilliantly bright, strong German lager is refreshing and clear due to the 14 – weeks lagering it deserves.⁠”

Glassware: Half Stein.

Appearance: Clear golden amber pour with a big and frothy three finger head which gradually recedes. Spotty lace as it ebbs. Looks way too light to be a Bock but let’s push on.

Aroma: It smells more like a classic German Pilsner rather than a Bock. Gorgeous Noble hop characters; wet grass/mildew, wilted herbs, subtle tea leaf, pot pourri and black pepper. Sweet and toasty honey, nutty, bready malts which counteract brilliantly. Very delicate yeast esters which provide the hallmark pear drop, apple and banana runts. Super conventional and loving it.

Flavour: Again, projecting more of a traditional Pilsner vibe than a Bock but it’s in no way a negative as the execution is near spot on. The sweet malts only just ahead upfront…displaying tonnes of honey and golden syrup with the grassy, spicy, floral and herbaceous hops giving it some extra lift. Nice carry through the mid on to a rather dry, malty and yeasty finish that holds.

Mouthfeel: It’s crisp and clean yet somewhat chewy…this is where the Bock side of it is finally showing through. Low Co2, mild-medium body. The 7.1% ABV is remarkably well hidden.

Overall: Our first crack at Burnley and even though it acts more like a Pilsner we can taste the depth and sheer quality of it. We’ve been asking for more Aussie breweries to embrace the Euro styles and our requests are answered here! Diggin it.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #10’ Hazy Triple IPA

Rating:

“The Pursuit of Hoppiness is an ongoing specialty series in which we explore the somewhat endless possibilities in the art of brewing with hops. Drinkers are given an exclusive look into the brewing process, with varieties, additions and time frame listed on the can label.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid pastel orange with sandy yellow highlights. It forms a thumb of loosely packed head which comes apart slowly but surely. Lacing is thick and blotchy as we imbibe.

Aroma: Loving this old-school and alluring hop combination of Citra and Amarillo Cryo. The myrcene count in Citra is already high so once it’s been concentrated down into Cryo it’s even more oily, sappy and resinous. Lots of fresh citrus i.e grapefruit, orange, candied lemon and rind with equal parts Amarillo; mixed stonefruits like peach, melon and apricot. Also detecting shallots and pineapple. Nice and oaty malt bill with hints of wheat grains.

Flavour: Transitions nicely from the aroma. Getting a subtle pithy acidity, heady stonefruit notes and intermittent wheat grains. The oily and resinous Cryo doesn’t have as much cut through as it did on the nose but a distinct pine/spruce accent develops late and helps shape the sharp, fruity and green finish that has a bit of sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Pretty well tempered for 10% ABV. It has a bit of grip to it but it’s pretty smooth and creamy. Mild-moderate Co2. Medium body.

Overall: Every time we drink a hazy triple IPA we seem to (unfairly) compare it with the best Hazy Triple IPA we’ve ever had which was at Mikkeller San Diego. However, we must give credit where credit is due and this is a fairly decent crack.

Slow Lane ‘Frozen Sea’ Baltic Porter

Rating:

“Baltic Porter is a regional adaptation of English-style Porter by the countries around the Baltic Sea. Owing to the cold climate in the region, it is stronger than a typical Porter and is cold fermented with lager yeast rather than ale yeast. Frozen Sea is smooth and full bodied with a rich malty sweetness.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a thumb of cappuccino head that slowly deconstructs. Good retention but not much of it sticks to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Really dark and decadent but the fact that Baltic Porter’s use a Lager yeast means it still offers a light and somewhat crisp profile. Hints of chocolate powder, coffee and licorice mingles with the herbal and floral hops, slight earthy-ness, cherry and woody notes. Subtle toasty and nutty accents also starting to creep through as it settles.

Flavour: It opens with a big display of malt – coffee roast, cocoa powder, burnt toast and earthy/woody hops to balance it all out. All the while that delicate cherry with nuanced medicinal qualities hangs in the background. Getting mild ash around the mid palate then it shifts into a dry and slightly bitter finish with drawn out coffee and roasted malt on the back.

Mouthfeel: Pretty palate-friendly for its size (8.5% ABV). Smooth and creamy texture yet still kinda crisp and moderately bodied. Low-ish Co2.

Overall: We’re locking in on these guys. This is now our 3rd entry for them and we reckon they’re getting better and better. We really dig that they focus on European styles…not enough Aussie breweries do in our opinion.

Mr Banks ‘Oh! I Bake’ Imperial Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Imperial Pastry Stout conditioned on in house made salted caramel, toasted macadamia & vanilla Bean. This is one decadent & delicious treat of a beer. ⁠ Contains Lactose⁠.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of light brown foam which retreats to the rim. A wet spotty lace is dragged down the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: This literally smells like a liquefied Creme Egg spiked with booze. The caramel component is so tantalisingly rich and decadent. As is the roasty dark chocolate, spicy vanilla and Frangelico. The Frangelico scent must be borne out of the use of macadamia nuts in the brew but either way it’s a pleasure to take in. Booze starting to tickle the nostrils as it warms.

Flavour: Jeez tell you what for 10.6% ABV that is dangerously drinkable. Indulgently sweet and rich yet so soft and nutty. Getting more of a coffee quality on the palate alongside heady notes of salted caramel, toffee fudge, brittle and raw vanilla bean. The macadamias float in and out while the chocolate stays pretty subtle in the background. Surprisingly light, nutty and chocolate-y finish that hangs on for dear life.

Mouthfeel: Oily, slick and incredibly light for not only the style but its ABV – 10.6%. Medium-full body, low-ish Co2.

Overall: Mr Banks just keep notching up in our books. We’re excited to say that they’re now entering the realm of The Bruery and what’s even better is the price point is way more favourable. Here’s hoping they keep on this trajectory.

Five Barrel ‘London Calling’ ESB

Rating:

“This is an English Style Ale known for its balance between malt and hop
bitterness. ESB’s have an earthy, herbal English-variety hop character. with a medium to high hop bitterness, flavour and aroma.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Pours a redolent deep amber with full transparency. It only manages a short khaki head that peels off rather quickly. Nice wavy lace being strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Smells pretty good on face value. Well balanced, sweet, toasty and spicy with those brilliant EKG and Fuggles hops throwing out the earthy herbals and wet grass. Lots of caramel sweetness and toffee, dark fruits like golden raisins and blood plum, caramelised pear/apple and marmalade on toast. We didn’t realise it at first but it’s actually quite a complex number with good depth.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose – a supremely balanced blend of sweet, toasty and biscuit malts with the herbal, grassy and citrusy hops to counter it all. A delicate bitterness and earthy dark fruits push through the middle and lay down for a really dry, bitter yet mildly sweet and citrusy finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Slick, a little sticky and chewy. Mild-moderate carbonation, medium body. Only 4.3% ABV which is pretty low for an ESB.

Overall: To pick up again on the low ABV…for ESB’s we expect to see it land between 5-6%. At 4.3% we’d be calling it a straight English Bitter in our opinion. It still drinks like an ESB though; nice and plump, full flavoured and slightly complex…just without the higher ABV 😉

Other Half ‘Stacks On Stacks’ DDH Hazy Double IPA

Rating:

“Double dry hopped imperial IPA w / citra, el dorado + mosaic.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Super hazy pastel yellow with very faint shades of orange. It produced a rocky three finger head that slowly disassembles. Excellent lacing left on the glass.

Aroma: Picking up strong wafts of hop oil and resin, grapefruit/rind, fleshy stonefruits, frosty fruits, dried apricot and dank herbals. It’s got a bit of a tropical fruit character to it…mostly passionfruit nectar, unripened pineapple and candied orange/tangerine. Subtle peppery spice, a hint of floral orange blossom and a distinctly dry and bready malt structure. Decent.

Flavour: Incredibly smooth and fruity but with an emphasis still on this oily, resinous and sappy quality. Pretty dank as well… herbaceous and weedy. Getting sweet passionfruit-like nectar, a hint of peach and apricot before the citrus pushes through the mid. It goes full circle back to the dank, resinous and oily hops to finish then hangs on for days.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth and creamy. Medium body and fine carbonation. The 8.5% ABV is that well hidden you’d be fooled into thinking it’s sub 7%.

Overall: Stoked to see this brewery’s beers on our shores. We’ve rated these guys ever since a mate in the US sent us a few over years ago. This one was pretty damn good too…super oily, resinous and ultra smooth. Respectable.

Cellarmaker ‘Bines & Rinds’ Watermelon & Hibiscus Hazy IPA

Rating:

“Hazy IPA with watermelon. Dank hops and watermelon – who would have guessed these two amazing items would work so well together? The sweet floral and juicy character of the watermelon softens the heady pine and ganja aspects of Simcoe and Strata hops.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: It hits the glass with a cloudy rusted orange with light red hues. A massive four finger head emerges but it breaks apart quickly, leaving sparse lacing on the glass.

Aroma: The first scent we’re detecting is watermelon rind…not the tough skin but the crappy green flesh that no one wants to eat. It’s giving off a really strong cucumber quality alongside cracked pepper and, we know a lot of people will turn their noses up at this but, it’s displaying hints of steamed broccoli. But it somehow works! The sweetness of the watermelon does a LOT to counteract it. Then there’s the floral, weedy and piney hops wanting some attention too!

Flavour: Super complex…and we rarely say that about a Hazy IPA. The watermelon rind isn’t as dominant. Getting hints of the cucumber-esque flavours of it but the sweet red fleshy side is coming through a bit more. Enter the hibiscus! The somewhat tart and floral characters of pomegranate creep through as the super fruity brekky juice kicks off. The back end is all about the hops – weedy, piney, fruity and resinous which draw out well.

Mouthfeel: Fluffy, a little chalky and well aerated. Mild-medium body, finely carbed. 6.5% ABV slots in nicely.

Overall: We expected nothing less from this world class brewery. We’re not really big fans of watermelon or hibiscus in beer but these geniuses have found a way to make us question that. Super fun, tasty yet challenging at times.

Bridge Road ‘Need #5’ Cold IPA

Rating:

“The fifth beer in our new bi-monthly IPA series sees a Bridge Road spin on the burgeoning ‘Cold IPA’. When researching the style, we recognised that these beers were essentially hoppy lagers, so we set about to flip the concept by using an ale yeast and fermenting at lager temperatures, thus making a true Cold iPA. Pale yellow in the glass, the aromas are of ripe tropical fruit, bubblegum and grapefruit (courtesy of some kiwi hops). Tropical and citrus hop notes dance on the palate, making way for a clean, lean body and an off dry finish with a restrained bitterness. Vol.5 is a hoppy reminder, that you need NEeD.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pale golden amber pour with a soft haze. It forms a two and a half finger head which holds together nicely. Healthy lace work as it subsides.

Aroma: We’re really digging this style at the moment. Loving the edginess of it, the innovation, the session ability but most of all just how clean and enjoyable they are to drink. The hop bill (Motueka, Kohatu and Strata) play a big part in the make up of the aroma… displaying resinous and luscious evergreen, pine needle, oily citrus rind, tropical fruits like pineapple, passionfruit and mango, strawberry and a somewhat clean and semi sweet malt profile.

Flavour: So here we are saying how clean and sessional Cold IPA’s are and then this one drinks like a typical Antipodean IPA. Jinxed ourselves! The malt is a tad heavy and sweet for the style but in saying that it’s still a nicely structured beer. Tropical fruits, pine and a hint of grapefruit are balanced by the malt sweetness upfront. Subtle pithy citrus and kinda dank herbals midway are punctuated by a delicate acidity and malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: A lot heavier and chewy than expected. Fairly smooth and well rounded though. Mild-moderate Co2. The 7% ABV is well buried.

Overall: Not our favourite interpretation of the style but in this case if they took the ‘Cold’ out of Cold IPA you’ve got a decent (although slightly pedestrian) IPA. We’re all for being creative but if you’re bucking the trend you’ve got to get it right. In our opinion.

Side Project ‘Bruin’ Flanders Oud Bruin

Rating:

“Missouri Sour Brown that aged for more than a year in Oak. Bruin is our base beer for Balaton with lots of funky, Brett notes.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Mahogany complexion with deep crimson hues. It produces a fizzy tan head which quickly retreats to the rim and drags a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: Extremely rustic and complex. Wave after wave of sharp lacto sourness is followed by this bold, sophisticated and rugged quality that’s very hard to define. Each time we take a whiff we feel like we should be sitting in a dimly lit man cave on old leather chairs puffing on cigars and talking about how successful we are. Nutty, toasty, woody oak, vinous fruits, red wine vinegar, musty barrel room and freshly sliced apple. Amazing.

Flavour: The punchy lacto sourness shocks the palate initially but as it tapers off the typical peachy flavours come through then the tart vinous red fruits, subtle red wine vinegar then the earthy tobacco, woody oak and dried apple. Getting a really subtle touch of sherbet developing late which lays down for a rather funky finish of bretty horse blanket, woody oak and dried fruits.

Mouthfeel: Pretty sharp and acidic upfront but it mellows into a smooth and slick texture. Fairly low Co2, medium body. The pucker rating hits a deserved 3.5/5.

Overall: Let’s see if we can sum this beer up in anything less than an essay. Complex, rugged, earthy yet sharp and fruity. Plenty of red wine qualities throughout, the barrels displaying the woody oak beautifully. Everything is cohesive. Wow…just wow.

Fieldwork ‘All The Pretty Colours’ Hazy Double IPA

Rating:

“Exceedingly juicy with a fluffy mouthfeel and drenched in notes of canned yellow peaches, orange Italian soda, fresh buds, and a hint of trashy margarita mix. [hops: Enigma, Citra, Idaho7].”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow pour reminiscent of actual brekky juice. It only manages a short but very finely beaded head which leaves an excellent lace trail as we go.

Aroma: Ok this smells freakin amazing. The juice characters have some insane uplift as does the super dank and weedy herbals, flashes of pine resin, frosty fruits/juice concentrate, candied lemon/lime, salt and cracked pepper. Never thought we’d talk about a beer like it’s being seasoned! Fresh peach becomes more prevalent as it settles. Really doughy malt profile…a little chalky as well. Superb.

Flavour: It comes on with a slightly surprising green hop bitterness but it quickly folds into a distinct brekky juice quality (mango, orange, pear/apple and peachy stonefruits) heady pine resin, dank weedy herbals and black pepper. Grapefruit and a more defined yellow peach flavour develops late then helps set up the somewhat dry and bitter finish with lingering notes of salty citrus, dank herbals and pine resin.

Mouthfeel: Light, pillowy and well aerated yet it still holds a fairly decent body. Ultra fine Co2. The 8.5% ABV is kept at bay reasonably well.

Overall: We must admit for a little known brewery on the West Coast of USA these guys pump out some seriously impressive NEIPA’s. They’re almost Treehouse-like in their execution. Other than a slightly lifted bitterness it was near perfect.

Fury & Son Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This Imperial Stout is rich, bold and velvety. It showcases layers of flavours and complexity that are a delight on the senses. Join us in this seductive dance of darkness.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of sturdy tan head perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace being strewn down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: First couple of swirls and sniffs aren’t yielding a great deal. We’ve really gotta dig our noses in deep to uncover the delicate roasty malts, cocoa powder, sugary coffee, marshmallow and dark fruits i.e glazes cherry, dates and fig. To be honest it’s way too reserved for the style and what aromas it is producing are pretty subdued. Hoping they’ve left it all to the palate.

Flavour: The upside is there’s more happening here. It’s got a lot more depth and richness to the malts and it’s acting more like an Impy Stout which is a relief. It comes on with a semi rich roast with sugar-sweetened coffee, vanilla and chocolate powder backing up. A gentle bitterness alongside some warmth from the booze dries out the mid palate and rolls into a dry finish with hints of ash and burnt coffee on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Reasonably dense and creamy with an overall dryness. Low-ish Co2, medium-full body. The 10% ABV is pretty well behaved for its size.

Overall: Our first entry for Fury & Son and although we weren’t too impressed they’ve essentially left the door open so we can get a better feel of what they’re about. Until then…

Ekim Brewing ‘Bloodshot’ Red IPA

Rating:

“Our Bloodshot IPA is brewed with Red Malt & Oats, giving it plenty of rich malt flavour. Balanced out with a big double dry-hop, there’s lots of resinous & piney notes on offer at a surprisingly easy drinking ABV.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours an attractive deep amber with a soft candy red hue. Close to a three finger head caps it off and holds its shape well. Tonnes of blotchy lace is left in its wake.

Aroma: So insanely sweet, sugary and caramelized. All the usual suspects are here in spades – toffee, salted caramel, golden syrup and butterscotch. Truckloads of dark fruit i.e blood orange, ruby grapefruit and overripe watermelon with stewed tropical fruits like papaya and paw paw hanging back a bit. Loving the sharp pine, citrus and herbal hops that slice right through the malts and balance it all out.

Flavour: Probably a little too heavy on the sweet malts in our opinion. Plus they get a little syrupy around the mid palate. There’s still a solid hop presence which counteracts with pine needle, mixed citrus and fresh herbals though. The tropical fruit, dark fruits and papaya/paw paw tails in late and delivers a sweet fruity finish with lingering toffee apple and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous. Mild-moderate Co2, medium body. The 6.5% ABV slots in neatly.

Overall: It’s safe to say we’ve had lots of better red IPA’s. It was a tad too malt-dominant plus the slightly cloying syrupy sweetness wasn’t ideal. Still, the hops did a good job of evening the keel so it’s not all bad. Probably not a return-to beer though.

Future Mountain ‘Constant State’ Saison

Rating:

“Our saison is brewed using pilsner malt, unmalted rye and raw wheat and in conjunction with natural carbonation in the keg, pours a lovely golden straw colour with a soft, pillowy head. By combining 2 saison yeast strains, Constant State has a very aromatic & complex flavour profile of pear & citrus balanced with peppery/earthy notes. These flavours are complimented by the use of New World European hops late in the brew to enhance the fruity & floral flavours.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Slightly hazy sandy yellow with a creamy white head which swells to two fingers before receding. Excellent retention and lace work as we go.

Aroma: It’s got a real conventional quality to it. Heady wafts of brett and farmyard funk lift out of the glass with sturdy support from fresh lemon juice, lime zest, peppery spice, hay/straw, orchard fruits and delicate yeast esters. The malt bill is super grainy… spearheaded by wheat, subtle honey, crackers and spicy rye. Just a touch of Angostura bitters here too. Really digging this.

Flavour: The main thing that hits us first is the overall dryness. Traditional Saison’s are quite dry but this one is as dry as a desert. Picking up subtle champagne-esque tones initially which fold into the grainy wheat and peppery rye malts. It hits a rather earthy note midway as dried grass, hay and straw carry it forward into a bone dry finish where we finally get a glimpse of old lemon rind/zest.

Mouthfeel: Dry, grassy and almost nitrous. Nicely tempered Co2, mild-medium body. Only 4.7% ABV so the booze plays a very minor role.

Overall: This is our first crack at this Melbournian brewery. We like the look of them, we’re digging the whole old meets new vibe they’re bringing. While this Saison didn’t blow us away in the end we can see what they’re trying to do and we’ll be keen to give them another run. Not bad.

Amager ‘Hr.Frederiksen’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Even when just poured into the glass, you feel straight away that Mr. Frederiksen is a master of potency and great personality. Pitch-black as Mr. Frederiksen’s humor, this American style Imperial Stout has a dense and creamy, light brown head that leaves an abundance of lacing on the glass as it reluctantly settles. We are happy to admit that we have gone slightly berserk with malt in this beer, eight different varieties were used including black and roasted malts that give this beer its color and almost extreme density – this is almost a meal in a bottle. The bitterness is also supplied by the roasted malts backed by the American Centennial hops. Mr. Frederiksen is an experience to be savoured he should be enjoyed slowly throughout the course of an entire evening where you can warm yourselves by his alcohol and provocative charms. We have named this beer after a good friend without whose wonderful support and assistance Amager Brewery would not be where it is today. Ingredients: Water, barley malt, wheat malt, oats, hops and yeast.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a wispy brown overlay which gradually recedes. It settles at the rim and leaves a lovely cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: When we think of unflavoured, straight up and down Imperial Stouts this is exactly what we envisage. Nothing fancy or over the top…just the classic four-to-the-floor Stout with a clever addition of American North West hops. It’s all about the base here though – hefty dark chocolate, coffee, campfire, licorice and molasses but it’s lifted even further by the well integrated pine, subtle citrus and herbal accents. Brilliant.

Flavour: The transition is dead set perfect. It kicks off with a confronting charred malt bitterness, coffee, warming booze, vanilla and pine which blends beautifully into the roasty, smoky and somewhat pithy middle. Those American hops certainly reveal the goods as a grapefruit acidity pushes forward into an increasingly dry and pithy yet rich and roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Big, aggressive, dense and dry. Not for the faint hearted that is for certain! Kinda oily, mild-moderate Co2. 10.5% ABV comes through intermittently.

Overall: Amager would definitely be enjoying a renewed respect from a big chunk of Australian craft drinkers right now. Whether it was a deliberate decision to give their beers a rest before making a return we’re unsure but we’re loving the fact that they’re back. Now, don’t ever leave us again! 😉

Slow Lane ‘Solitude’ Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Rating:

“Solitude is a rich and malty ale with a dry finish. It showcases the complex dark fruit and spicy notes from the Belgian Abbey yeast. To achieve this complex yeast character, we took inspiration from the traditional methods employed by Belgium’s Trappist breweries and fermented the beer in open tanks, allowing the temperature to free rise during fermentation.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Mahogany with chestnut hues. Two fingers of tightly packed tan head emerges and holds together well. An intricate webbed lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Can literally smell the dark Candi sugars wafting out of the glass as it sits on the table. Bringing it up to the nostrils yields big phenols – clove, earthy malts, ash and glazed cherry. Really subtle hints of peat/smoke flows through as more estery notes of banana, wheat grains and bubblegum come to the fore. Just a touch of warming booze and or solvent in the background.

Flavour: Wow ok it’s a lot drier than what we were expecting. There’s a short cameo of dark candi sugars, fruity phenols and clove upfront then it quickly shifts into a really dry and yeasty quality reminiscent of dried up Christmas cake, pumpernickel crusts and ash. It develops a pronounced roasted character late in the piece then rounds off on a yeasty, spicy and toasty finish which draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy but not a whole lot of grip to it. Carbonation is delicate, medium-full body. The 9.4% ABV is very well behaved for its size.

Overall: We’re really digging the emergence of this brewery. Not many have the guts (and skills) to brew Trappist-style ales but these guys have made it their mission. They’re kicking goals in our eyes. Keep em coming!

Ekim Brewing ‘Odin’ Double IPA

Rating:

“A beer for the gods! Odin would give his left eye for a drop like this. Deep in juicy flavours of passionfruit and citrus, our double IPA has been double dry hopped with Citra, Galaxy, Eclipse and Mosaic. Balancing out nicely to hide any sign of the 8.5% ABV it holds for a heavenly finish!”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Amber to orange pour with a very subtle haze. It forms a thumb of off white head which retains reasonably well. Healthy lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Jeez for 8.5% ABV it’s extremely well tempered. An alluring mix of butterscotch and caramel hit the olfactories at the same time as the sweet orange citrus, lychee, strawberry and subtle ruby grapefruit. Initially we had fears of a diacetyl infection but we feel the big sweet malt presence is deliberate. Picking up an undercurrent of boiled candy, pineapple, buttery biscuits and lime. Unusual but we’re liking it.

Flavour: Like the aroma it comes on with a fairly distinct malt sweetness which displays tonnes of butterscotch, caramel and toffee. It’s well balanced by a citrusy hop profile though. Getting all sorts of different flavoured rock candy such as pineapple, lime and strawberry. A pithy-ness tails in late as it finishes with a citric bitterness and a hint of artificial sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous but really slick. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2. 8.5% ABV is very well concealed.

Overall: Look, even if it did have a bit of a diacetyl quality they still pulled off a decent beer. The whole artificially sweet side of it got a little tiresome by the end though. We reckon they need to pull that malt sweetness back a tad and it’d be a ripper of a beer.

Fieldwork ‘Radio Origami’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“Perfectly balanced body and sweetness with a bright aroma and flavors of ruby red grapefruit, sparkling pear wine, passionfruit, and nondescript gummy worm.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow with a soft orange hue. It manages a short finely beaded white head which works a gorgeous cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: A little shy at first which is very surprising. The first few scents that cautiously creep out are ripe stonefruits i.e rockmelon, paw paw, mango and canned peach. Picking up pretty forward notes of apricot, kumquat and overripe pineapple too. The brekky juice characters start to open up as it settles with mild herbals like basil, peppery rocket and lemongrass right down deep. Not really detecting much in the way of malt.

Flavour: Oh hello! This is obviously where all the intensity was at! The slightly stewy and fleshy stonefruits are scaled back and heady notes of ruby grapefruit, peppery mango, frosty fruits, peach and nectar-filled passionfruit take the lead. Kinda dank and weedy herbals, earthy apricot and pithy citrus rind then lay down for a flavour-packed finish of peppery spice, grapefruit acidity, mixed citrus and peach… emphasised further by the natural esters from the Vermont ale yeast.

Mouthfeel: Super creamy, a little sticky and gelatinous. Medium body, fine Co2. 6.6% ABV is very well buried.

Overall: From what started a little so-so has finished in classic Fieldwork fashion; brilliance. It has practically everything we want in a NEIPA. Fieldwork doing it with style!

Alvarado Street ‘Juicy Sweeper’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“Minesweeper was our first ever brewed IPA and remains a local favorite at our Monterey Brewpub. With Juicy Sweeper we’ve taken the same beer and employed an expressive yeast to bring bright tropical & stone fruit notes along with the usual heavy handed dose of Simcoe & Citra.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Super hazy deep pastel yellow with two fingers of frothy white head capping it off. Reasonably good retention with soapy lace clinging to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Definitely a fruit salad quality emanating. It’s throwing out a bit of orange citrus then a good dose of stonefruit, some tropical fruits and a flutter of orchard fruits as well. There’s a really delicate line of pine resin, oily citrus rind and green onion. Maybe a faint whiff of weedy herbals too. Somewhat dry and grainy malt bill – rolled oats, white bread and uncooked rice. Fine aroma.

Flavour: Still displaying the fruit salad but with a few extra tweaks like less citrus but a touch more stonefruit along with sticky nectar fruits like passionfruit and peach. Grapefruit, orange and rind tack on and carry a mild pithy-ness through the mid. Frosty fruits, mild black pepper, doughy malts and grapefruit then punctuate and draw for days.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and creamy, very mild bitterness. Medium bodied, finely carbed. 7.1% ABV is inoffensive.

Overall: This is how can tell Aussie hazy’s have gotten 100x better over recent years. This is a pretty solid drop by a very well respected American brewery but we could put forward a handful of Aussie breweries doing as good if not better hazy’s than this. Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!

Resin Brewing ‘8 Shades’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Big, thick, and oily, our 8 Shades Imperial Stout is complex and regal. 8 specialty malts combine to give an intricate array of flavours, with chocolate and Arabica coffee leading the pack. Deceptively smooth for a brew of 8%, this one is for sipping slowly by the fire on a chilly winter’s evening.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of light brown foam resting atop. Gradual reduction and a wet sudsy lace is dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Nice and meaty. Not a whole lot standing out but the base is rich and intense. The hallmark wafts of heavily charred malts, espresso, dark chocolate, ash/campfire and licorice make up 90% of the aroma. Normally if that were the case we’d be ripping in but they’ve managed to fill it out enough for it be suffice. We’re also getting really subtle touches of dark fruit, marzipan and burnt toffee. Pretty solid.

Flavour: It comes on with a really strong roasty-ness…incorporating espresso coffee, charred malts, dark chocolate, burnt toffee and ash. It moves right into a dry and bitter middle which is underlined by a hint of pithy hop bitterness. As it pushes forward it steadily reverts back to a kinda dry, roasty, bitter espresso and dark chocolate-laden finish which lingers rather well.

Mouthfeel: A little thin to start but once it warmed it fills out. Still…not dense enough for the style. Medium-full body, low Co2, 8% ABV…quite well buried.

Overall: Looking at it as a straight Impy Stout it’s pretty decent as it’s got a sturdy base with good structure. Does it blow us away? No. It is, in the nicest way possible, just another Imperial Stout. Good but not overly memorable.