“Smooth, velvety malt flavours round off this well balanced but distinctly hoppy American style brown ale. With rich flavours abounding this beer is a fitting tribute to a classic style.”
Glassware: English Pint.
Appearance: Somewhat burnished copper pour with a faint reddish tint when held to the light. It produces a whopping four finger head which breaks down rather quickly. Tonnes of blotchy lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: Clearly an American style Brown Ale. We love that first realisation when the brain incorrectly thinks ‘Black IPA!’. Really nice hop to malt ratio, just as it seems the piney and resinous hops are having ascendancy over the malts the light roast, coffee and burnt caramel notes even the ledger. Lovely hints of roasted nuts, burnt toast and cola as well.
Flavour: Packs quite a punch for a humble old core range Brown Ale. There’s a feisty hop bitterness that teams up with the delicate roast and coffee. A short cameo of caramel and cola-like sweetness through the mid leading into a very dry and bitter finish with a well drawn out roasted quality on the rear.
Mouthfeel: A little lean and slippery. There’s a good carb to it but it doesn’t mitigate the lack of body. 5% ABV is on par for a traditional Brown.
Overall: Started strong but it slowly went backwards. It’s not a bad drop at all it just didn’t really wow us.
“Brewed with 100% Voyager organic Pilsner malt and using only traditional German hops in the kettle to balance the malt with a crisp bitter finish. Oak aged in white wine barrels for 4 months, very lightly dry hopped and conditioned for a further 4 weeks. Lovely layers of oak, a light vinous character and mild honey. A refreshing, elegant treat.”
Glassware: Stemmed tulip.
Appearance: Light golden-amber hue with a substantial haziness. It constructs two fingers of finely beaded white foam which retains nicely. Excellent lace work left behind on the glass.
Aroma: Mostly old world/Noble hop features i.e herbals, freshly cut grass, mildew and soft earthy tones. As it settles the white wine barrels start to open up and display some vinous fruits like gooseberry, white grapes and zesty lime while delicate hints of bush honey and rice crackers provide a bit of the sweet and savoury. Solid.
Flavour: Not as clear-cut as it was on the nose. It’s coming up to 7 months old so it’s certainly a little over the hill. Nonetheless, it still provides a good dose of fruity white wine and oak, restrained Noble hop characters and a sweet grainy malt profile. Quite a nice clean finish with some dryness lingering on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and light on with a bit of grip on its way down. Slightly higher than expected Co2 and a well concealed 5.5% ABV.
Overall: Not blown away by it but at its core it’s a decent Pilsner. We have a feeling the age on it isn’t doing it any favours. All in all it isn’t too bad.
“This year’s edition of Fat Santa was aged in Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey barrels for 12 months. As with previous years, we’ve loaded a Ramjet beer base with tonka beans, Madagascan vanilla beans and dark roasted coffee beans to craft a beer of wonderful richness and depth. The tonka beans always bring the goods, and this year’s edition with the barrel type really work incredibly well together. This beer is the perfect way to start or finish Christmas Day!”
Appearance: Pitch black pour and a healthy three finger head nestled in atop. Excellent retention and lacing as it ebbs.
Aroma: Woah this smells the goods. The fact that they acquired Jack Daniels barrels is impressive enough but they way they’ve integrated the cinnamon spice, nutty caramel and signature toasted banana that JD brings into their base Ramjet Stout is next level. The all round roast and oaky accents only add further sophistication to it. Diggin it big time.
Flavour: Pretty burnt/charred notes on entry – bitter espresso, dark chocolate and ash then the sweet and spicy Bourbon kicks in with a nice booze burn behind it. The burn and the roasted bitterness intensifies as it hits a smoky note late in the piece. Surprisingly, it all mellows into a charred yet slightly sweet and spicy finish which lingers.
Mouthfeel: Dense, chewy and slightly oily. Medium-full body. The 11% ABV definitely isn’t shy…even though it’s noticeably lower than some of its BA counterparts.
Overall: It did start showing mild signs of weakness as it progressed but essentially it’s another damn fine addition to this series. It certainly deserves its spot in the cellar let’s put it that way. Looking forward to how it improves over the coming years.
“Bacchus Cherry Beer is brewed using Bacchus Flemish Old Brown as a base. This cherry beer surprises with a slight touch of caramel from the roasted malt. Bacchus Cherry Beer offers a beautiful balance between the aromas of ripe cherries and the sweet and sour of the base beer.”
Appearance: Wow it hits the glass with a much darker complexion than expected. Almost a light brown to mahogany colour and a short fizzy head which quickly forms a collar. Minimal lace as we imbibe.
Aroma: Quite a strong medicinal character to it. Not the most pleasant of scents as it conjures up memories of being force-fed Benadryl cough syrup as kids. Nonetheless, it still has a lovely tart and tangy sweetness which lends a sweet oriental spice mix of cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg. Some nuttiness and candy to it as well.
Flavour: We’d be more inclined to say this was a Fruit Beer than a Kriek. It’s like a lovechild between Dr Pepper and Cherry Cola…just with a bit more sourness, almond and sweet spice fused through. Again, traits of medicinal/artificial syrup and cloying candy notes let it down a bit. Quite a disappointing and short finish as well.
Mouthfeel: Fairly light on, slightly watery but very crushable. Could do with a bit more Co2. The 5.8% ABV was well concealed.
Overall: Not our favourite Kriek by any stretch. Too artificial and medicinal for our liking. And not sour enough! Average.
“Founded by Peter Joseph Früh in 1904, Früh are a historic brewery based in Cologne, Germany which is known for producing the beer of the region: Kölsch. The Kölsch style is protected by law, so only beers brewed around the city can bear the name. Luckily for us, that’s exactly where we brewed our collaboration beer: King Kölsch. The style is unique as it uses top fermenting yeast (commonly used in ales), but is then lagered at low temperatures like you would a Helles or Pilsner.”
Appearance: Pours a strikingly bright golden hue with 100% clarity. The head swells to about three to four fingers before it slowly retracts and settles to a thick overlay. Excellent lace work on the glass too.
Aroma: Super light and grainy. Some floral aspects along with peppery spice and fresh cut grass. The ale yeast provides this extra chewiness plus a hint of dried bread crusts and cereal grains coming through. We really love the hybrid nature of this style…it makes for fun and interesting aromas.
Flavour: Not many styles can quench a thirst on a scorching hot summers day like a German Kölsch can. It’s light, grainy, floral, spicy and herbaceous but with a distinctly fuller body than its lager-based counterparts. A soft bitterness through the mid carries the grainy and spicy notes into the well drawn out finish.
Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry and clean with light-moderate body. Perfectly carbed. The 5.2% ABV is right on par for a traditional Kölsch.
Overall: Well we’re not surprised by the high quality of this…Brewdog and Früh together are an epic combination. It flies very close to Früh’s OG recipe which, in our opinion, is one of the best iterations in the world anyway. Superb.
“Late last year we blazed through an unexpected hit of a canned sweet stout release — there were astronauts and maple syrup! There were grizzly bears and blueberries! There were DeLoreans! There was No Time to Explain! We’ve applied that absurdly delicious finishing treatment to a mix of Fundamental Observation barrels filled throughout 2018, 2019, and 2020, then blended with a chewy, lactose-based sweet stout for a liquid that can only rightly be called: More Time to Explain!”
Appearance: Pitch black with a short and wispy brown head that quickly retreats to the rim. Scarce lacing as we hook in.
Aroma: We look at BL’s Stasis Project the same way we look at ecstasy…intense satisfaction but with an unpleasant come down. The thing is though, with the Stasis Project, it doesn’t look like there’s a come down anywhere in sight! It just bounces into this next palatable experience with a tonne of sweet yet tart blueberry, indulgent maple, vanilla/lactose, spicy Bourbon/oak, sweet coffee and dark chocolate. Oooft!
Flavour: Heavens above. The palate is in a mad scramble trying to work out what has just been put before it. The blueberries play a major role, really emphasising that tart yet sweet juiciness. The maple and vanilla/lactose come in hard with further sugary sweetness but it’s so perfectly balanced by the spicy Bourbon, woody oak, coffee and dark chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Dense, muscly and almost soupy…although it does thin out once it warms. Low Co2 and a dangerously unnoticeable 12.4% ABV.
Overall: Nothing else to add really. BL are bloody maestro’s and this BA Brekky Stout is the perfect example why.
It has been a long time since we’ve hit the road and visited one of the countless new breweries that have opened since we last got together for a brewery review.
This time we decided to check out The Yard Brewery & Smokehouse. It’s situated in Morriset on the Central Coast, which is just off the Pacific Highway about 45 minutes’ drive south of Newcastle. It was opened in 2022 by 5 different families.
Inside, you’re greeted by an expansive and beautifully designed brewhouse and taproom. They have 12 taps and all 12 are pouring a top to tail range of their own well-crafted beers. One gets the feeling that there was a large upfront investment injected into this place. Even the toilet doors open automatically just for pure convenience (and probably hygiene too!)
Once we were seated, we were ready for a paddlin’! We tried:
Oat Cream IPA
West Coast IPA
Out of all the IPA’s the Oat Cream was the standout. It was akin to Mountain Culture which is a ringing endorsement for the brewers. The Red IPA was probably the next best with its delicious caramel malt base and fruity hop profile. We would’ve loved to see the ABV pumped up a bit more for extra oomph and substance though. The last 4 on the above list were all great beers, more entry level stuff if we had to be honest but they all displayed excellent balance and shows the brew team know what they’re doing.
One of the other massive drawcards to this brewery is its smokehouse which you get a whiff of every now and then. The smell of smoked meats and rich BBQ sauce makes it near impossible not to order something. We went for the tasting plate for 1 which was an insanely delicious combination of pulled pork and beef brisket with hand-cut fries and a small side of slaw. The meats literally melt in your mouth and the crispy fries and slaw add the crunch. Magnificent stuff.
Of note, the Espresso Stout was one we were both itching to try but the ABV meant that one of us couldn’t drive so we took a couple of take-aways to try and review at a later date.
Overall it was a fantastic experience. Especially when you consider the meagre amount of options a craft beer fan has between Hornsby and Newcastle. More like this will do just fine thank you very much!
A big shout out to Blake. The service was excellent and exactly what anyone would want from their bar staff.
“Designed to be enjoyed all year round, this American style Brown Ale is both full flavoured and perfectly balanced. Its dark amber in colour, has hints of caramel and chocolate and is wrapped up with a slight citrus accent and a pleasant bitterness.”
Glassware: English Pint.
Appearance: Quite light for a Brown Ale – light chestnut with deep amber hues. It forms a massive three to four finger head which takes an age to recede. Thick blotchy lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.
Aroma: It displays a rather noticeable hoppy character. Our first thoughts were that it could pass for a mellow Black IPA…which is saying something considering it’s just a humble old 5.3% Brown Ale. The malt base presents a bold roasty-ness, coffee, chocolate and ash while the hops, through a massive counter, offer citrus, pine and soft herbals. Hello! Where did this come from?
Flavour: It kinda takes a step back on the intensity here. Then again, we remind ourselves that it’s the same humble old Brown Ale. The hops, again, do a sterling job of balancing out the toasty, caramel-driven malts. A healthy tussle between the two plays out before it finishes on a dry, roasty but fruity finish which draws out incredibly well.
Mouthfeel: Excellent weight and body for the style. It’s light on but has a good chewy-ness to it. Slick texture, mild Co2. The 5.3% ABV is bang on.
Overall: After trying their Impy Stout a while back we said we left the door open to get a better feel for them. Glad we did! This was a fine American style Brown Ale. Impressive stuff and sharply priced.
“New Zealand-Style Double IPA brewed with a unique blend of New Zealand-grown hops.”
Appearance: Murky off pastel orange complexion with a two and a bit finger head. It maintains its shape and laces beautifully.
Aroma: Like most American-brewed IPA’s on the shelves in Australia right now, in this post-covid world, it’s slightly long in the tooth (7 months old) and the aroma reflects that in a tired and unanimated fashion. But in saying that it still offers some of that lush green forest and tart green fruits that’s synonymous with Kiwi hops. It’s just kinda muted. We’d love to have another crack at this fresh.
Flavour: Starts off with a promising blast of green grapes, lush forest and pine backed up by a bready malt profile, but then it shows its age and completely drops off a cliff. Vague hints of resin and citrusy bitterness does its best to bridge the middle but it eventually slumps into a weak and fairly pedestrian finish which peeters out.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and well aerated which leads us to believe that this once was a delicious beer. Finely carbed, mild-moderate body. The 8% ABV was well buried.
Overall: Seriously, we’re so close to never buying another American IPA in an Australian bottle shop ever again. We get that supply lines were drastically interrupted through the lockdown periods but it’s getting beyond a joke now.
“The storm continues to pound, but our traveller has no choice but to venture on. In the distance, you see a gaping dark mouth. The cave offers respite but even with a flint there’ll be no fire as everything is frozen, it’ll be dark, cold and damp. Even so, your pace quickens as a way out of the elements grows nearer…This Imperial Stout was aged in Bourbon Barrels for 12 months and then conditioned on pecan and vanilla pods resulting in thick chocolate notes, backed by vanilla, coconut, whiskey, and oak.”
Appearance: Impenetrable black pour with two fingers of finely beaded brown foam converging over the top. Good retention and lacing as it ebbs.
Aroma: These guys just get better and better with every BA stout they release. This expression has the perfect amount of bourbon/barrels coursing through it. The addition of pecans is a bloody master stroke too…the sweet and nutty profile compliments the bourbon exceptionally, and then the vanilla rams it home. Not to even mention the brilliance of the base Stout. World class stuff right here.
Flavour: Upfront it’s just this mass of unbelievably rich deliciousness. It’s not until early in the mid-palate does the pecan begin to break away and lead the charge. Followed closely by the bourbon oak, vanilla/coconut, dark chocolate, espresso and charred wood. The finish is considerably smoother than anticipated and chock-full of bourbon, oak, chocolate, vanilla and toasted pecans.
Mouthfeel: Thick but not soupy…just the right amount of viscosity. Low-ish Co2 and a well behaved 13% ABV.
Overall: Here we were obviously reading too much in to Deeds’ ramblings about Desperate Invocation being their last release in this BA series. You could only imagine our delight when this new one dropped. Keen em comin!
“The newest Special Listing on the block is the Salted Pretzel Chocolate Bock, brewed for all your favourite October activities. We have taken a Bock, which is a German style malt heavy lager and added salted pretzels and chocolate. Whatever you are celebrating this month, this Special Listing will get you across the line. You will find this brew to be rich and malt forward, with a big body rounding out to choccy goodness.”
Glassware: Half Stein.
Appearance: Light chestnut pour blending to deep amber edges. It forms a loosely packed three finger crown which reduces to a collar. Wet streaky legs trickle down the glass as we go.
Aroma: Quite a pronounced milk chocolate note meets the olfactory’s initially. Definitely getting the salty, brioche-like character of the pretzels too. The Bock base isn’t too bad…driven by caramelised sweetness, toffee and chewy dark fruits. We’re almost sure we keep detecting this subtle strawberries and cream accent but we keep questioning it. Cola lollies, chocolate mousse and Oreo’s as well.
Flavour: Wow, we weren’t expecting it to come together the way it has. Heady flavours but they’re balanced impeccably well. We get the sweet caramels and dark fruits on entry which morph into the sweet milky chocolate with remarkable simplicity. Kinda tangy, kinda salty middle leading into the doughy and fruity finish which draws out nicely.
Mouthfeel: Rather chewy, sticky texture. Low-ish Co2 and a medium-full body. The 6.6% ABV is well hidden.
Overall: Our first crack at this brewery from the GC. For a brewery that we, up until now, believed only brewed sours, this is an extremely impressive discovery. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this mob going forward.
“A crushably crisp and clean Pilsner, built with only the finest ingredients. A single-malt and single-hop brew, using Organic Weyermann Pilsner Malt from Germany,, with a modest addition of Hallertau Mittelfruh hops. Bone dry and beautifully bright. Pure drinkability.”
Appearance: Slightly cloudy, pale light golden hue and a monstrous four finger head which gradually peels off. Healthy lace trails follow it down.
Aroma: Strikes us as more of a German Pilsner. And a bloody impressive one at that! Distinct Noble hop spiciness, mildew, florals and an almost Nelson-esque green grapes/white wine character. Definitely getting fresh herbs like parsley and coriander amongst a soft grain profile of rice crackers and corn flakes. Lovely aroma.
Flavour: Sticking to its traditional German Pilsner roots with bright floral overtones, earthy spice and fresh herbs. Subtle cereal grains, savoury rice crackers and a mild hop bitterness ensures a clean pathway to the crisp, spicy and herbaceous finish which dries out the longer it sits on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Very soft but with a crisp bitterness that develops post swallow. Mild-moderate body and a slightly higher yet nicely positioned 5.3% ABV.
Overall: That’s a damn fine Pilsner. One we didn’t know they possessed in their arsenal. The unfiltered part didn’t go unnoticed either, certainly adding an extra tannic quality to it. Classy stuff.
“Introducing the third in our new series of core stouts, Situational Gravity. We added organic La Cañada coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico (roasted by our friends at Mostra) and organic Tahitian and Mexican vanilla beans to this imperial stout, resulting in a multi-faceted sensory experience. Aromas of vanilla bean ice cream, dark chocolate, coffee, and blueberry wine give way to flavours of rich chocolate ganache, espresso and caramel amidst a full body and velvety mouthfeel.”
Appearance: Glossy black with a wispy brown overlay which quickly forms a collar. Minimal lacing as we imbibe.
Aroma: Never have we met such a rich and delicious Imperial Stout where we don’t have much more to add other than what’s on the label. This is just an impressive straight up Imperial Stout filled out with sweet espresso coffee and spicy vanilla bean. Maybe some molasses, cigar box and licorice in there too. Peeled back but still very opulent.
Flavour: Holy moly it’s almost edible. Rich chocolate mud cake vibes but nicely lifted by the spicy vanilla and espresso coffee. Picking up small doses of molasses, licorice and treacle/toffee along with fleeting notes of fairy floss and raw cacao. Rich chocolate brownie also comes to mind as it finishes with pure thick chocolatey extravagance.
Mouthfeel: Beer soup. Probably to the point where it’s overcooked. Literally, you could spoon this out of a bowl and slurp it. Co2 is kept low and the 11.5% ABV is well concealed.
Overall: We’re all for viscosity when it comes to Stouts in general but this one might just be tipping the scales, even for us! Great flavour and aroma…it’s just too thicccccc
“What started as a foray into a Creamsicle Sour quickly became this malty yet easy-sipping staple. The grain provider for the brewery shipped a base malt that was bigger, more robust, and more chock full of caramelly notes than the Heavy Reel team expected. That’s really nice, but unfortunately doesn’t vibe with dessert-inspired Sours. So what did the New Jersey crew do with that “happy accident”? They turned on the Grateful Dead, cracked their knuckles, and got to brewing, adding in a dose of extra specialty malts from past batches to elevate the caramel and spice notes to unseen amber-hued brew heights!”
Glassware: English Pint.
Appearance: Attractive deep amber pour with a billowing four finger head. It gradually deconstructs and leaves blotchy lace clinging to the glass.
Aroma: Initially we were thinking it was very true-to-style but a few more wafts reveal an emerging toffee-laden sweetness which intensifies. It almost has this dark berry-like fruitiness driving it as well. Quite astonishingly though, it all seems to have reformed that classic earthy, toasty and tobacco-esque quality and is back to its true-to-style self again. Bizarre…but very appealing.
Flavour: It kinda finds this happy little medium here. Getting shades of that black and or boysenberry-driven toffee sweetness along with shades of nutty, toasty and herbaceous earthiness as well. They both come together harmoniously but it’s the delicate bitterness that rounds it all out. Nice smooth finish….a tad fruity and a tad dry.
Mouthfeel: Fairly light on but with enough to chew on. Smooth, finely carbed, the 6% ABV is well behaved.
Overall: Our first crack at this brewery from New Jersey. Can’t say we’re totally sold on it but it’s a pretty respectable interpretation of an old English classic.
“King AL uses a mashed-up grain bill from MC² and Toppling Goliath’s King Sue before introducing Equilibrium’s absolute biggest dry hop to date with an all Citra Incognito, Citra LUPOMAX, Citra Cryo, and Citra T-90 hop bill.”
Appearance: Glorious! Turbid pastel orange with a dense and creamy two finger head which holds together nicely. An absolute smattering of lace is left behind on the glass.
Aroma: We could have sworn we copped a whiff of freshly squeezed OJ…man the similarities to straight up juice on this one is amazing. Orange, mango, grapefruit, a bit of mixed stone fruit and a bit of canned fruits. Subtle Frosty Fruit notes now and again. Getting fleeting hints of pine, chalk and bread crusts as well. TG living up to their name!
Flavour: Could not ask for too much more from this. Smooth as silk on entry, the taste buds immediately inundated with tropical fruit juice and a cheeky touch of dank herbs. Ripe mango, pine and orange ensues and carries a dry bready/crusty malt profile into the smooth and fruity finish. Excellent length on display too.
Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth, creamy and insanely palate friendly for 7.9% ABV. Medium body and fine carbonation.
Overall: Absolute corker. Probably not on Scorpius or Golden Nugget level but damn close. Top shelf stuff.
Appearance: Impenetrable black pour with a wispy brown head emerging on top. It quickly forms a collar which leaves a fine lace in its wake.
Aroma: Heavens to Betsy! Can these guys stop being so damn good!? It just has everything working in unison. Firstly the Bourbon – sweet, spicy and woody. Then there’s the Stout base – chocolate, coffee, licorice, cacao, and then the adjuncts – soft, sweet and sugary marshmallow, caramel, cinnamon and spicy vanilla. Ooopht!
Flavour: If this doesn’t get your eyes rolling in the back of your head then we don’t know what will. Incredible depth and complexity here. It pretty much has everything we’d want in a big BA Pastry Stout…a big hearty Stout base, enough sugary adjuncts to fill a candy shop, spices and woody oak coated in a delicious Bourbon sweetness. Perfection.
Mouthfeel: Heavy but quite oily too so it doesn’t have that thick, soupy texture to it. Low-ish Co2, full bodied, the 13.5% ABV…well, it’s discernible but of course it is!
Overall: Hot damn. We’re gonna call it. This is the best of the lot from the last shipment to Aus. It’s beer drugs. We need more but we can’t afford it!
Appearance: Slightly hazy light orange with pastel yellow edges when held to the light. It forms a tightly held two finger head that retains well. Nice lace decoration as we go.
Aroma: It’s pretty restrained for a big 7.5% NEIPA. Thankfully, after 5 or so mins it does begin to open up and reveal a sweet and somewhat stewy stonefruit character which offers paw paw/papaya, ripe rockmelon, peach skins, nectarine, guava, lychee and florals. Getting a sweet honey and or caramel from it too. A little undecided here.
Flavour: Yeah there’s something about it we’re not liking. It has a noticeable syrupy quality to it which we hate. It is pretty subtle though and it’s fortunately well balanced by tangy orange citrus and slightly tart nectarine. Some pithy citrus and rind through the mid and then into a rather dry yet smooth-ish finish.
Mouthfeel: Gassy, aerated and light then drying up in the swallow. Mild-moderate body. The 7.5% ABV was well enough concealed.
Overall: Well they had a bloody good run of about 4 or 5 beers before we got a dud. It seems IPA’s are a bit of a weak point for this brewery. Doesn’t matter a whole lot as everything else they brew is top notch!
“Tino Pai’s cuzzy! An Aussie Hazy Pale Ale brewed to showcase some of the best Aussie hops. Packed full of Eclipse, Vic Secret and Ella!”
Appearance: Great colour. Turbid pastel yellow with a three finger crown. Good retention and healthy lace work on the glass.
Aroma: Oh yeah we’re liking this! Fruity, piney and a touch of resin. Quite a different overall character to most Hazy’s and by that we mean there’s less stonefruit and more citrus and tropical fruits like pineapple, mandarin, unripened passionfruit and orange peel. Getting a teeny weeny bit of Frosty Fruits, spruce and light florals/herbals. Diggin it!
Flavour: It displays quite a green and dry profile on entry. Lots of unripened tropical fruits, zesty citrus/rind and a distinct resinous quality. The citrus definitely surges forward through the mid, spurred on by a pithy accent which carries into the dry and resinous finish. Excellent length on it too…goes for days!
Mouthfeel: Very light, pillowy, a tad on the lean side though. Finely carbed and the 5.5% ABV is bang on.
Overall: A cracking Aussie Pale Ale but we think we prefer Tino. Can we say that as proud Aussies? Where’s our patriotism gone?! Nah, in all seriousness it’s a crushable Hazy Pale full of some of the best homegrown hops. Solid.
“These barrels were once lost in the in the brewery delivery of our inaugural 2016 Old Money release. The taste is amazing. Six years in American Oak Bourbon barrels have made this richer and even more complex than before with notes of rich dark chocolate, peppercorn spice, and Turkish coffee combined with rolling bourbon and oak flavors. Rejoice, you are one of the privileged few that are able to enjoy this extremely rare limited release.”
Appearance: Pitch black with a rapidly vanishing brown head. No head so no lacing.
Aroma: Definitely smells complex. Kinda has this sharp ink-like astringency that’s mostly woken up when the liquid is disturbed. If the glass is kept idle the aroma is next level. It has this old sauna room musty-ness, rich licorice and molasses, sweet and spicy Bourbon, dark chocolate and spicy coffee. Quite salty too…we wouldn’t go as far as soy sauce but it’s close. Wow.
Flavour: That sharp, almost tart astringency follows it over. The good thing is it eventually tapers off and is replaced by a big dose of spicy oak-infused Bourbon. As it rolls on it shifts through sweet espresso, dark chocolate, boozy licorice/molasses and charred wood then it finishes with mildly bitter coffee, Bourbon oak and chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and viscous. Mildly carbed, full bodied. The 12.5% is understandably noticeable.
Overall: Pretty cool back story to this. We can only imagine the reaction when they stumbled upon this hidden treasure! Although still very rich and complex the extra years in barrel have certainly mellowed it all out. Solid offering.
“Our XPA is the perfect session beer. Less fruit that others, our has a super clean, dry finish which leaves you wanting more, and at 4.2% you’re more than welcome to.”
Appearance: This one is putting the ‘X’ in XPA! Super hazy pale golden hue with a loosely packed white head which gradually reduces. Nice and thick blotchy lace clings to the glass as we go.
Aroma: Quite a mellow little number this one. Nothing really stands out but at the same time it’s clearly well brewed. Gentle stonefruit and citrus atop a dry and biscuity pale malt base. A flutter of peppery spice, blackcurrant and light florals with some tropical fruits opening up as it settles in the glass.
Flavour: It has session beer written all over it. One of those beers you could polish off without even realising. A big part of that is the ultra dry nature…a very muted hop profile, crisp savoury malts and an almost chalky character. Some stonefruit sweetness tries to break through now and again but its futile as it finishes bone dry and biscuity.
Mouthfeel: Crisp, chalky and dry AF! A slightly lifted Co2, mild-moderate body. Only 4.2% ABV so it’s definitely well into session territory.
Overall: Once again they nail the pure, peeled back basics of the style. We’re not even real fans of XPA but we actually enjoyed this. Hats off to the brewer(s).