Author Archives: 2hopheads

50/50 ‘2023 Eclipse – Laws Whiskey House’ BA Imperial Stout


“Eclipse: a world-wide phenomenon straight from our brewery in small town Truckee. It starts with our award winning Totality Imperial Stout, and then spends 6 months in a variety of barrels specially curated  by our talented brew team, often finished with some specialty flare that will knock your socks off. Laws® Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrels: Eclipse aged in Laws® Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short brown cap over the top. Steady reduction and fairly minimal lace on the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Smells magnificent. This is more like the 50/50 we know. As usual, the base Stout provides that crucial structure (dark chocolate, coffee, some molasses and leather) but it’s all about the quality of the Bourbon/barrels. Once again it’s a distillery we’ve never heard of but its Bourbon speaks for itself – typical vanilla sweetness, peppery spice, tobacco and a touch of toffee.

Flavour: This is more like it. Smooth yet rich base Stout characters kicking it off. The booze is pretty hot but that can be forgiven considering its immaturity. It doesn’t take long for the world class Bourbon to take shape…coming to the party with a clear peppery spice, creamy vanilla, toffee, earthy cigar box and a hint of oak tannin to punctuate.

Mouthfeel: Dense and silky but refined and surprisingly smooth for its size (12.3% ABV). Full bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall: It appears that we’ve unintentionally started with the weakest expression of the lot and they’ve progressively gotten better. This one has to be the pick of the bunch so far. Delish!

Hobgoblin IPA


“There are IPA’s and there are legendary IPAs. Ours is legendary. Pale golden with orange glints this beer is forged from the finest British hops and varieties gathered from the far-flung shores of the pacific. Prepare for an intense tropical explosion of zesty oranges, grapefruit, honey and juicy bitterness. Winner of the World’s best IPA award. Like we said, Legendary.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Bold amber pour with a dense and frothy two finger crown. Excellent retention and a smattering of lace decorates the glass on its way down.

Aroma: Bursting with traditional English IPA qualities i.e fruit forward but still harnessing the toasty malt, spice and tangy orange/marmalade that we love so much about this style. Just the right amount of floral perfume and freshly baked bread at the core of it all. A delicate sweetness rounds it all out. Kind of juicy too, we’ve just realised. They call this beer legendary and we see why.

Flavour: Certainly continuing on with the lifted fruity notes – ruby grapefruit, candied orange and lychee/guava. The juiciness comes into play here too. Not in the sense of reconstituted juice but almost. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t get cloying, although it gets quite artificially sweet but the masterful use of toasty and bready/crusty malt along with the bitterness assures the balance of it all anyway.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slick texture, slightly spritzy Co2. Medium body. The 5% ABV, although low, is right where it should be for a traditional English IPA.

Overall: Another one of those beers that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t reviewed yet. It has been a return-to beer for us for years and deservedly so. It’s a corker.

Staropramen Pilsner


“The pleasantly smooth taste and well-rounded flavour of Staropramen rewards your palate with a soft malty flavour, before finishing off with gentle bitterness. Coming from a city of lovable sins that knows everything there is to know about great beer and enjoying life, Staropramen has many stories to tell you – stories about life well spent. Staropramen – taste the pleasure from Prague.”

Glassware: Footed flute.

Appearance: Deep golden pour with full transparency. It forms two fingers of creamy and finely beaded head which retains well. Healthy lacing weaves its way down the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Pure Czech goodness. We can’t actually believe it has taken us this long to review this absolute beauty. We’ve been putting them back all summer without even realising. What we love the most about this Pilsner is its impeccable balance while still providing a robust malt bill of honey, white bread/doughy sweetness and a distinctly spicy and grassy hop profile. Supoib!

Flavour: Drinks exactly like it smells too – chock-full of semi sweet honey, white bread/dough, light cereal grains and rice crackers. Straight up Noble hop crispness cuts through the malts beautifully. Just that little bit of extra bitterness which makes these traditional Pilsners so much more appealing than standard Lagers. Nice easy, tidy finish to round it out.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, yet providing a bit more resistance than other interpretations. Moderate-medium body. Perfectly carbed and the 5% ABV is right on the money.

Overall: Pilsner perfection. It’s a tough decision between this and Urquell which is better. Both are as good as each other it’s just Urquell is the more widely known. This is still a brilliant beer though.

Deeds ‘Silent Town’ BA Imperial Stout


“Lost in the frozen woods, you stumble upon a small, silent town blanketed in snow. It is eerily silent, with no sounds except the soft crunch of snow underfoot and the occasional groan of ice-laden roofs. An unnatural hush lies over the narrow streets. No smoke rises from any chimneys, no lights in the windows. The peculiar, hollow-eyed locals you encounter peer at you with suspicion. They speak in riddles, gesturing ominously for you to depart before melting into the shadows between buildings. As daylight fades, an unnatural chill permeates the icy air, and a terrifying transformation unfolds…”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours as black as midnight with a short and fizzy dark brown head which rapidly disappears. Zero retention equals zero lacing.

Aroma: Extremely rich but still unbelievably slick and opulent. Good depth and complexity too. We’re getting the Bourbon/oak, rich Stout notes and all but it’s the feature vanilla and nutty almond scents that are just edging out in front. It has this all-encompassing creamy sweetness that acts like icing on a delicious, Bourbon-y, charred cake. Impressive.

Flavour: Brilliant transition from the nose. All of the richness, all of the intense flavours, the high ABV, all of it is so nicely trimmed and tailored into this neat package and it’s truly magnificent how they’ve managed to do it. As it all progresses we taste every little flavour that makes it up – the rich Stout base of smooth dark chocolate and coffee, the Bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted almonds. All the way through to the drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: Dense, gelatinous and unbelievably smooth for its size (12.7% ABV). Low-ish Co2, full bodied.

Overall: It’s a perfect beer to throw in the mix as we’ve reviewed a couple of 50/50’s Eclipse Stouts recently. We’ve compared them to Deeds on both occasions and we believe that Deeds comes out on top. Which should come as a massive accolade for them. Superb.

50/50 Brewing ’23 Eclipse – Frey Ranch’ BA Imperial Stout


“Now in its 16th vintage, 2022 Eclipse is our rich Imperial Stout aged to perfection in whiskey and spirit barrels. All Eclipse starts with the same base beer bringing hints of dark chocolate, espresso, and a smooth complexity, with each barrel treatment delivering its own unique character after a minimum of 180 days of aging. Frey Ranch Barrel is aged exclusively in Frey Ranch straight bourbon whiskey barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a short brown head which gradually peels off and forms a collar. Scarce lacing as we go.

Aroma: Smelling more like an Eclipse BA Stout. The previous expression (Old Trestle Sierra) was too much like an Australian Bourbon Whiskey and was bereft of that sweet spiciness we come to expect from a good American Bourbon. This one, thankfully, does have that sweet spiciness, a hint of vanilla and even a flutter of banana runts. Also, blending beautifully with the base Stout – dark chocolate, coffee, light charred notes. Solid!

Flavour: Showing its ABV (12.3%) a bit more than we’d like. In saying that the Bourbon flavours are also very prominent so we’ll take the good with the bad. Definitely getting nice hits of caramel and vanilla behind the rich chocolate and coffee. Eventually coming together later in the piece and then sprinkled with that old burnt vanilla and caramelised malt sweetness in the finish. Excellent length on it.

Mouthfeel: Silky with a good viscosity. Flat-ish Co2, medium-full body. The booze burn could be dialled back a smidge but we ain’t gonna complain

.Overall: Notably better than Old Trestle but we still think Deeds and Boatrocker can brew a better BA Stout. Still, a very respectable one at that.

King River ‘My Ambrosia’ Maibock


“Sweet bread and biscuit malt flavour with a restrained toffee character from low-colour crystal malts. We’ve used a uniquely German hop variety providing a subtle and earthy aroma to this strong golden lager.”

Glassware: Half stein.

Appearance: Gorgeous deep golden complexion with a kiss of light red. The head swells to a thumb in height before reducing to a thick overlay. Good retention and healthy lacing as we go.

Aroma: Proper malt bomb, as to be expected from the style. It’s displaying a tonne of sweet malt i.e caramel, brioche, dough, but also a counter balance of toast, buttery biscuits and the mildest hint of peat. As it settles a very delicate yet distinct earthy and grassy hop profile reveals itself. Has to be the one and only Saaz. That’s our guess anyway. It ain’t a groundbreaking aroma but it’s decent.

Flavour: Much more balanced here. It still owns that malt bomb tag but the hop bitterness comes through. Upfront it’s pretty earthy and toasty but it turns a bit cloying as it nears the mid palate. This is where the hops kick off though…at first it’s just the right amount but it keeps intensifying and eventually becomes too bitter in our opinion. The finish is a little untidy and leaves us grimacing.

Mouthfeel: Fairly slick and smooth initially then dry and acrid in the swallow. Medium body, Co2 is a little flat. The 7.2% ABV behaves well enough for its size.

Overall: We’ve been pleasantly surprised with King River’s beers on a couple of occasions but not on this one unfortunately. A bit cloying and untidy in the end.

Freshwater Brewing ‘Wedge’ Cerveza


“Our Mexican inspired lager, ready for days by the beach.  Is there anything better than a sip of an ice cold beer on a hot day? Wedge is brewed for hot days on the Beaches. Grab an ice cold cerveza, brewed with heaps of corn and traditional Vienna malt for the authentic, light, crisp lager flavour and hopped with Aussie and NZ hops for some citrus zing.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Bright golden pour capped off with a light and fluffy white head. Excellent retention and lots of thick sudsy lace decorating the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Super crisp and refreshing on this unseasonably warm Autumn arvo. We’re really liking the subtle undertone of corn/maize and the mix of new world citrusy hops which not only provides ample balance but the citrus acidity that a Mexican Lager begs for. Also picking up a clean malt bill of water crackers, cereal grains and delicate earthiness.

Flavour: It has a slightly richer malt profile than other interpretations but we like it – it’s a soft biscuit character but it stays light and clean. The citrusy and herbal hops weave through the malts beautifully and again, like the aroma, the corn/maize qualities are delicate and play more of a support role. A hint of bitterness develops late and helps set up the clean refreshing finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, clean and mineraly. Light-moderate body. 4.6% ABV is spot on. So ridiculously crushable.

Overall: Definitely one of the better Cerveza’s we’ve had over the summer. It won’t knock Sunday Road off the top spot but it comes in at an easy 2nd though. This was our first crack at Freshwater Brewing too! Nice way to kick off proceedings.

50/50 ‘2023 Eclipse – Old Trestle’ BA Imperial Stout


“Eclipse: a world-wide phenomenon straight from our brewery in small town Truckee. It starts with our award winning Totality Imperial Stout, and then spends 6 months in a variety of barrels specially curated  by our talented brew team, often finished with some specialty flare that will knock your socks off. Old Trestle® Sierra Bourbon Barrels: Eclipse aged in Old Trestle® Sierra bourbon barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of brown head settling in on top. Decent retention and some wet spotty lace clinging to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: We recall the last time these BA Stout masters had their amazing craft on our shores. It was 2021 and every release was either a 10/10 or near it. This time we bought all 6 that landed here and this is the first one we’re hooking into. We’ve never heard of Old Trestle Sierra Bourbon before but our first thoughts are almost Whiskey-like – rich sherry, burnt brown sugar, vanilla, toffee and peppery spice.

Flavour: Although at the beers’ core it’s smooth, the Bourbon has some heat and rough edges to it. It certainly doesn’t present as your typical American Bourbon due to this Whiskey/Sherry-based bite instead of the usual caramel, spice and vanilla. It reminds us of some Australian BA Stouts as most of our Whiskey’s are based off Sherry (Apera) and for that reason we’re nonplussed with this expression.

Mouthfeel: Rich, well rounded and surprisingly smooth for its size (12% ABV). Perfectly carbed, medium-full body.

Overall: Not overly impressed with it to be honest. We’re unsure whether it’s because Aussie breweries have upped their BA Stout game or whether we just picked the weakest of the 6 for our first crack. Either way it was good but not great.

Belhaven ‘McCallum’s’ Sweet Scottish Stout


“Sweet malt, toffee and caramel and a touch of roasted malt. Very full bodied but easy drinking with a pleasant bitterness – smooth, rich and malty.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: How cool is a nitro beer?! We wish they were more prevalent. Poured aggressively and then witnessed the cascading foam morph into deep ruby liquid. Nowhere near as dark as we were expecting but hey, we carry on regardless.

Aroma: Getting the ‘Sweet Stout’ part of it instantly. The fruity side is pretty dominant…giving off lots of dark red fruit with notable additions of toasty and lightly roasted malt, caramel and milk chocolate. Shades of woody spice, earthiness and British hops. It definitely has that dry foreign Stout vibe, a bit like Guiness but so far from it at the same time.

Flavour: Wow, far from what we were anticipating. Initially we get a hint of farmyard (not in the sour sense) but more grainy, earthy and spicy. It gets a lot sweeter as it nears the mid with the fruit, caramel and malt sweetness meeting a mild bitterness late in the piece. The finish is pretty mild, semi sweet and kinda nutty which pulls up short.

Mouthfeel: Typical nitro texture – kinda watery and thin but creamy and smooth AF. Mild-medium body and a low ABV (4.1%).

Overall: Look, we knew what we were in for and it has stood up pretty well. To be honest it drinks more like a Brown Ale or a richer Old Speckled Hen if anything. Good but not overly memorable.

3 Ravens ‘James Bean’ BA Barleywine


“Historically, brandy was often referred to as “liquid currency” – alluding to it having more value as a commodity for trade than as a beverage. In the modern world, barrel-aged barley wine has become the new Liquid Currency. Despite no one asking for it, we’ve gone and brewed another barley wine and we’ll be damned if this isn’t our best one yet.
Boiled for 8 hours and aged 14 months in first fill American oak bourbon barrels, this is a big dumb beer of the highest order.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Gorgeous colour. Exactly how we want a Barleywine to present – rusted mahogany with a cola-like hue. Very little head formation and as expected, not a skerrick of lace as we go.

Aroma: Hot damn. The can alone is genius (it’s like an Aldi rip off of Jim Beam) but to also have the Bourbon lifting off the way it is, is incredible. It’s working in tandem with the base beer so beautifully too…uber rich caramel and toffee, dark fruits, spice etc. Then the magnificent oak and sweet/spicy Bourbon coming in over the top. Top shelf aroma.

Flavour: And might we add too…a top shelf flavour profile. Picking up where the aroma left off with truck loads of chewy, rich and sweet caramel, toffee, dark fruits, spice and residual sugars but the way the Bourbon/oak encapsulates it all is the masterstroke. Picking up really subtle fortified wine, molasses and even a pinch of nutmeg as it finishes big and boozy but also sweet and caramelised.

Mouthfeel: Dense and saturated. Medium-full bodied but not too muscly. Low-ish Co2 and the 13.6% ABV is well behaved for its size.

Overall: This brewery is one that deserves so much more attention than it gets. They are the epitome of indy OG’s (opened in 2003) and are humble operators. Kudos 3 Ravens this is a seriously impressive Barleywine.

Durham Brewery ‘Bede’s Chalice’ Belgian Tripel


“Maris Otter malt and American Centennial hops magically combine to give an aroma of lychees and peaches with a full fruit body of spicy orange and coriander. Warming high alcohols finish with smooth caramel.”

Glassware: Trappist chalice (not Bede’s though 😉)

Appearance: A burnished orange hue with notable haziness. It forms two fingers of fluffy white head which retains well. Healthy lacing on the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: First thoughts are malty sweet, fruity, estery, some warmth from the booze. Getting stewy orchard fruits i.e peach, pear, apricot. Loving the almost burnt orange and spicy orange peel notes, they marry up with the caramel and doughy malt base nicely. It’s interesting as it has traits of a traditional Tripel but the adjuncts and the English malts certainly put a different spin on it.

Flavour: Quite dry and boozy. Getting every bit of the 9% ABV. It’s not overcooked though, it’s pretty well integrated. Similar to the nose in the sense of stewy orchard fruits, spicy orange/peel, herbal spice and florals with a flutter of tangy phenols midway. It carries that robust base of caramel, biscuit and doughy malt all the way through to the finish. And then some.

Mouthfeel: Initially dry then chewy, creamy, well rounded. Some heat from the 9% ABV. Medium-full body and a lightly sparkling Co2.

Overall: Definitely not our favourite Durham expression. Kinda muddled and lacking cohesion. Just a big old meh.

Deeds ‘Paradise Lost’ Imperial Stout


“Paradise was a place where the sky was always blue, and the trees were forever green. They say it was the dark angel that led the people away. He did so with the promise of a better life, one more interesting and perfect than they had experienced. But it was all a lie. The dark angel was rebellious and convinced people to move on as revenge against its creator. Today, people strive to find what was lost and regain what they feel is their right, and return to paradise. Paradise Lost is our homage to this tale, which has been told in homes worldwide for generations. When you sit back and take in this Imperial Stout, we hope you find your version of paradise, and perhaps it will draw you back to that ideal time.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two and a bit fingers of finely beaded brown head. Excellent retention and lots of thick blotchy lace being dragged down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Very rich and hedonistic. Dominant scents of molasses and licorice with strong support from sweet espresso, marzipan and brown leather. It actually has this Russian Imperial Stout quality to it…namely the silky vanilla, dark fruits and charred dryness. Certainly picking up more dark/red fruit characters as it comes up to room temp. Diggin’ it.

Flavour: Big, roasty and charred. There’s a super short cameo of vanilla and muscovado sugar just before the charred malts, molasses, espresso and licorice envelope the palate. Gets real hot and heavy through the mid, lots of warming booze, ash and bitter espresso which lay down for a delicious roasted component, burnt vanilla and dark chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Viscous, slightly oily and a tad sharp. Medium-full body. The 10% ABV was quite noticeable.

Overall: Not too dissimilar from previous non-barrel aged Impy Stouts they’ve released. High quality, well structured and aggressive. We likey.

Kaiju ‘Cerveza’ Crisp Lager


“Light on the hops, crisp and clean. Perfect for sun-soaked sessions or just chilling with your crew. It’s the brew you’ll consistently reach for, thinking, “Just one more.”  The perfect refreshment for every occasion.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Slightly pale light golden pour with a thumb of snow white head resting atop. Fairly good retention and patches of soapy lace cling to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: What we’re loving the most about this little cerveza craze is that almost all of the ones we’ve tried thus far (excluding Balter’s version) are just simply better crafted beers than their traditional Mexican-brewed counterparts. Better ingredients too. This one, in particular, displays hints of that corn-inducing DMS but it’s really well countered by a clean bitterness, lemon/lime, herbal spice and florals.

Flavour: It’s a mirror image of the aroma – super crisp and sessional – but not as Mexican or cerveza-ish (definitely not a word) as other interpretations. In our opinion it tastes more like a clean, basic Aussie Lager until well past the mid where the creamed corn, peppery spice and herbals kick into gear and then help set up the crisp and tidy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light on, clean and crushable. Finely carbed, mildly bodied and the 4.4% ABV is right where it needs to be.

Overall: Falls somewhere between a tasty new world Lager and a Mexi Lager. It’s a well brewed beer but it ain’t knocking Sunday Road’s version off the top spot.

Rare Barrel ‘In Good Time’ BA Golden Sour


“Golden sour beer aged in oak barrels, wet hopped with chinook and cascade.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Pale straw golden pour, capped off by a short fizzy white head which quickly retreats to the rim. Thin wavy lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: If we didn’t know any better we’d think we had a glass of Cantillon’s finest in front of us. Intense wafts of lacto and bretty funk with a hint of musty oak blended through. It has those gorgeous orchard fruits in spades i.e pear, apricot, plum, apple, peach etc. Some raw almond and walnut as well. In-your-face notes of manky cheese cave, sweaty funk, barnyard and white vinegar. Ooft!

Flavour: That lacto and bretty funk carries over nicely. More rounded in its delivery too, which we’re digging. Possibly showing its age there. The Chardonnay/barrels are revealing more of its tropical fruit and buttery aspects but it still retains a touch of dryness throughout. It offers a nice crisp finish which resembles more of a Summer Ale or a crisp Golden Ale. Nice touch.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, lean and tidy. The sourness is sharp initially but it mellows out. Co2 and body are spot on and the 6.3% ABV integrates well.

Overall: We raided Carwyn’s cellar for this one! It’d been aged for 6 years and it shows through in its toned-down sourness and ABV. What was great about it was the barrels/wine qualities were still very noticeable. Excellent BA Sour from an excellent brewery.

Põhjala ‘Cosy Nights’ Vanilla Porter


“A winter porter brewed with vanilla. Contains barley, oats, lactose.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black pour with a rapidly vanishing head. It leaves the thinnest of collars and zero lace on the glass.

Aroma: Super rich and indulgent. The feature vanilla isn’t as prominent as we’d like but it’s made up for in the form of a robust Porter base of molasses, licorice, delicate smoky notes and espresso coffee. Eventually the vanilla starts to open up and it presents more of a raw vanilla bean character. Pretty solid start.

Flavour: Excellent progression on offer. Upfront it’s all about that raw vanilla bean – almost has a hint of tropical fruit and cocoa – backed up by the robust Porter base of dark chocolate, licorice and espresso. It’s not until midway that an undertone of ash and burnt wood creeps in. As it continues the sweetness and the smokiness combine and the result is a very well balanced, roasty yet sweet finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, gelatinous, medium-full body. Low-ish Co2. The 8% ABV is buried nicely.

Overall: Doesn’t have the elegance or refinement of a De Molen or Mikkeller but it’s still a decent drop.

Dollar Bill ‘B$A’ Steam Ale


“Californian common, northern brewer hops, dry bitter and balanced.” 

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Darker than we’d expected. Pours a deep amber hue with a sturdy two finger crown. Good retention and a smattering of lace is left on the glass as it recedes.

Aroma: Typically, a funky sour would be left-field for most breweries. Not for these guys though, as one of Australia’s leading sour breweries a Steam Ale is left-field for them! We’re intrigued here as it’s producing a pretty hefty toffee malt quality but still sticking to tradition with a crisp Lager-esque dryness. Further hints of mixed berries, pine forest/forest floor, sappy resin and herbals in support.

Flavour: The old California Common is such an underappreciated style. For those unfamiliar with them they’re basically Lagers fermented at Ale temperatures (warm), so there’s this really cool cross point where crisp Lager meets more complex Ale and the combo displays toffee, spice, pine resin, wilted herbs and nutty and toasty malt notes to finish. Good length on it too…goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Interesting. Feels chewy but it’s light and crisp with mild-moderate body and the 4.8% ABV is spot on.

Overall: Very clever from DB. We were not expecting this from them at all. The best thing about it is they absolutely nailed it! Very enjoyable.

Breheny Bro’s ‘Royal’ Lager


“Breheny Brothers Royal Lager was RE launched based on the same recipe used when the beer was produced by cousins John Leslie Breheny and John Louis Breheny at Breheny’s Brewery in Toowoomba over 100 years ago. It is an easy drinking beer that will appeal to mainstream beer drinkers.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Pale straw golden pour with a short fizzy head which instantly collapses. It quickly forms a collar with hardly any lace clinging to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Quite a meaty little number. One of the aspects we really enjoyed about the QLD Bitter Ale was its distinct yeastiness, and we’re getting the same here. Obviously this is a Lager yeast but it’s producing a nice amount of fruit character along with some bright florals. Soft earthy and pepper notes, some DMS (corn, vegetals etc) that works in nicely. Solid.

Flavour: A very traditional take. Extremely well balanced as well. Picking up semi sweet malts – just the mildest touch of honey – along with rice crackers and bread crusts. It has this rich earthiness to it which reinforces the grassy hop profile. A delicate bitterness coming through late then a clean, dry finish to punctuate.

Mouthfeel: Chewier than most Lagers we’ve had recently. Mild-medium body. A slightly flatter Co2 as well. The 5% ABV slots in nicely.

Overall: Not completely sold on it and for us, certainly not a favourite of their otherwise very impressive range. Not a bad drop but.

Põhjala ‘French Toast Banger’ Imperial Pastry Stout


“A bänging imperial stout brewed with maple syrup, vanilla beans and Ceylon cinnamon.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a short brown cap which rapidly retreats to the rim. Minimal lacing as we go.

Aroma: Smells sweet and syrupy but not in the way we were anticipating. It’s more fruity like strawberry and or cherry. Once it settles in the glass they do start to taper off and it takes on more vanilla, maple and spicy cinnamon. Even still, those three flavours should be front and centre but they’re not… we’re still getting the base Stout qualities (chocolate, carob, woodiness) over the feature ingredients.

Flavour: It’s notably better than the aroma which is rare. One thing that’s blowing our mind already is how well the 12% ABV is hidden. No heat whatsoever. It comes on unbelievably smooth and silky, a little combo of vanilla and cinnamon with the maple a little less defined. That robust Stout base is always there in the background though. It just continues on its little merry sweet way, picking up some added caramelised sweetness before finishing equally as smooth and sweet as the front palate.

Mouthfeel: Ridiculously light, smooth and silky. How the hell do they do that at 12% ABV?! Remarkable.

Overall: Our first crack at this Estonian craft brewery. We’ve been aware of them for years but have always been hesitant. Curiosity finally got the better of us and we’re glad it did. Pretty darn good.

Slow Lane ‘Free Radicals’ BA Dubbel


“Belgian dubbel style ale aged in wine barrels for 25 months with Pediococcus souring bacteria and a Brettanomyces yeast strain that produces cherry, smoky and spicy flavors. Following barrel aging, we racked the beer onto fresh Queen Garnet plums. A rich malty beer with complex dark fruit notes derived from the specialty malts, yeast driven esters and the Queen Garnet plums’ signature dark purple flesh.”

Glassware: Trappist goblet.

Appearance: Somewhere between dark purple and brown with a very quickly fading head. It settles at the rim with next to no lacing as we go.

Aroma: Very impressed by the first couple of whiffs. It has traits of both a Flemish Red and Kriek which only emphasize the quality of it further. It’s interesting we’re actually getting more cherry than plum. The soft woody notes and tannic red wine from the barrels fill it out beautifully. Chocolate, dark fruits and delicate smoky undertones are a mere feather in the cap.

Flavour: One thing we forgot to mention on the aroma was the distinct bretty sourness which brings all the wonderful funky/horsey, barnyard and cheese cave goodness. They’ve blended it impeccably well with the sweet yet tart cherry, plum, oak and red wine tannins and even well enough that it carries all the way into the finish which lingers with red wine vinegar, fruit and musty funk.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth then sharp and acidic in the swallow. Medium body. The 8% ABV is very well concealed.

Overall: We must say there’s not a whole lot of “Belgian Dubbel” here. We get more of a lovechild between Kriek, Flanders Red and Oud Bruin. Alas, it’s a very fine offering. Big ups SL!

Breheny Bro’s Queensland Bitter Ale


“Breheny Brothers Queensland Bitter Ale was RE launched based on the same recipe used when the beer was produced by cousins John Leslie Breheny and John Louis Breheny at Breheny’s Brewery in Toowoomba over 100 years ago. It is an easy drinking beer that will appeal to mainstream beer drinkers.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep golden complexion with a loose and fizzy head that swells to about a finger before forming a collar. Very little in the way of lacing.

Aroma: Very stock-standard characteristics here. It carries a hint of that aromatic English malt and hop which we loved about Wild Dog, but with a little bit extra bite in the form of of subtle yeast esters. Kind of has a hint of Cooper’s Sparkling Ale about it which we’re digging. Soft orange citrus tones, toasty malt, peppery spice, earthiness. A touch of apricot. Quite nice, we like it.

Flavour: Tell ya what if this really is the same recipe that the Breheny Brothers were brewing to all the way back in the late 1800’s then they were so far ahead of the game. It’s striking that balance between toasty, cereal malts and slightly citrusy, spicy hops. The bitterness is perfectly integrated and it all lands on such an incredibly neat and tidy finish. Good length on it as well.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refined yet still holding a good weight. Finely carbed and the 5% ABV is right on the money.

Overall: Everything about this brewery we’re loving. The history, the OG labels, the quality of the beer. Even down to the fact that they chose Burnley Brewing to brew the beers for them. Onward and upward!