Jindabyne Brewing ‘Frothin’ Hoff’ English Pale Ale

Rating:

“A smooth and malty flavoursome pale ale with low English hops and low bitterness.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep golden amber pour with a moderate haze. It constructs a finger of off-white head which slowly peels off. Laces well.

Aroma: One of our most favoured styles of Pale Ale. And one that is rarely attempted by non-English breweries. We love the simplicity of this – a nutty and slightly biscuity malt structure and a well balanced old world hop profile of jammy orange citrus/marmalade, soft peppery spice, florals, mild earthiness and wood. Cracking aroma.

Flavour: Excellent transition from the nose and such a tidy, well balanced beer in general. Upfront it’s offering light nutty malts and marmalade on toast then a perfectly tempered bitterness early in the mid. Very subtle pith and spicy notes tack on and lead to a dry, earthy and toasty finish which draws out for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: So well balanced. A little chewy, mild-medium body with the ideal amount of bitterness and Co2. The 4.8% ABV is also spot on.

Overall: Jindy Brewing hey! These guys would have to be our go-to brewery for old world styles. Really liking this switch back to bottles. It just completes the Euro vibe. Solid

Burlington Beer Co ‘Seances & Sacrifices’ BA Imperial Maple Stout

Rating:

Seances & Sacrifices Imperial Maple Stout aged in Maple Bourbon Barrels showcases the best of Vermont’s maple traditions. This stout’s rich maple flavor and aroma are derived from local maple sugar from Butternut Farm. The beer is then aged in freshly-emptied maple bourbon barrels, which infuse the beer with additional notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a short brown head which disappears rather quickly. Practically no head left so no lace on the glass.

Aroma: Ooft…smells fiery. This is the 2023 vintage so we dare say the booze is going to burn. After a few whiffs it still maintains the warming booze but the sweet Maple Bourbon barrels are beginning to filter through. Thankfully! Other than that it’s just all out richness – leather, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate and espresso. We’re somewhat priming our palates for what we believe is coming.

Flavour: Much to our surprise it’s nowhere near as fierce as we’d anticipated. Yeah there’s a booze burn but that’s just immaturity which will settle after a year or so. We get some spice from it, reminiscent of rye but we’re pretty sure they haven’t used any in this brew. Most likely a by-product of the Maple Bourbon which is unfortunately shy and could do with a bit more oomph. Rich chocolate, molasses and oak rounds it all out. Good length on it.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily, medium-full body, low-ish Co2. The 11.5% ABV doesn’t try and hide. It’s all out there baby.

Overall: Nothing will ever top Founders’ CBS in our opinion. Not a whole lot of breweries try their hands at Imperial Maple Stouts so there’s not much to compare to. This one clearly needs aging but even then the beer itself is only OK.

Toppling Goliath X Radiant ‘Places I’ve Been’ Double IPA

Rating:

“Float down the long and hazy road with Places I’ve Been Double India Pale Ale, a collaboration brew with Radiant Beer Co. out of Anaheim, California. This trippy DIPA has notes of tropical fruit and dank citrus that are out of this world.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Hazy pastel orange with three fingers of tightly beaded foam nestled in on top. Excellent head retention and lots of lacing on the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: On Aussie shelves it’s not often we see TG beers we haven’t already tried a dozen times before so it’s fair to say we were a bit excited to bag this one. Classic hazy notes of fruit juice/concentrate backed up by other fruits such as grapefruit, orange, lemon/lime, passionfruit, mango and melon. Quite dank and weedy, a tad herbaceous. An element of pine resin also floating around. Very nice.

Flavour: It tastes exactly like its geographical position on a map – smack bang in the middle of both coasts with just the slightest lean towards the East. Juicy, piney and weedy upfront with the herbals in support. A discernible bitterness opens up around the mid with zesty/rindy citrus in tow. It all converges in a mildly bitter, fruity, piney and herbal finish which draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth at first then a little more prickly and dry in the swallow. Medium body and Co2. The 7.8% ABV is noticeable but generally behaves well.

Overall: Nothing flashy or out of this world. It’s just a solid No Coast IPA that embodies the best of the East and West.

Phase Three ‘Niu’ Toasted Coconut Porter

Rating:

“Re-inspired by a recent trip to Hawaii, came about. The recipe has come full-circle. Over a decade of experience combining coconut and beer and brewing dark beers, we brewed Niu to be sort of a peek behind the curtain at Phase Three. Big, adjuncted, dark beers are extremely labor intensive, involve a lot of planning and unfortunately, don’t offer a lot of drinkability. Niu is 6.3%. It’s not meant to be a big pastry stout/porter, however it’s not small. The base porter is light, but uses full-flavored UK malted grains, including Maris Otter, crystal malts and chocolate malts. It’s rich, but refreshing. It satisfies a dark, adjuncted beer craving but in a way where a pint of it is appropriate.”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Hits the glass with a pitch black complexion and rouses a thumb of finely beaded tan foam. Reasonable head retention and a beautiful cascading lace decorates the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: This smells bloody magnificent. The way they’ve integrated the coconut throughout is genius. The fact that it’s toasted as well makes a significant difference as the singed elements of both coconut and malt come together harmoniously. The coconut also offers a creamy aspect which works back into the subtle coffee, chocolate and cocoa…adding some balance at the same time.

Flavour: Yummo. Loving the progression of it. Just a short cameo of classic Porter roast and bitterness initially then the creamy and delicate toasty coconut courses over the top. It hits a crescendo of equal parts coconut and equal parts coffee and chocolate then it all delivers an ultra smooth, creamy and mildly sweet finish with a touch of dryness to counter.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick but not heavy. Creamy if you will. Medium body, perfectly carbed. The 6.3% ABV is bang on.

Overall: Our first crack at this brewery out of Illinois, USA. Very adept and measured in the delivery of this beer. These guys certainly know what they’re doing…may have to return and try a few more of their wares.

Burlington Beer Co ‘It’s Complicated Being A Wizard’ Double IPA

Rating:

“It’s Complicated Being a Wizard is our flagship Double IPA. It pours a radiant glowing orange, which we then add a massive quantity of hops for a bold hop flavor. Brewed with Barley, Wheat Malt, and Flaked Oats. Hopped with Simcoe, Idaho 7, and Chinook for flavors and aromas of Ripe Papaya, Nectarines, Orange Zest, and Dank Cannabis.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Hazy light orange pour and a rocky two finger head resting on top. Good retention and an absolute smattering of lace left on the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: The first thing we notice is just how dank and resinous it is. Surely a characteristic of the Simcoe and Chinook combination. It almost gives off a hint of cryo it’s that oily and concentrated. Love it. Other than that we’re getting a good amount of fruits like orange citrus (particularly mandarin and orange), stonefruit, lychee and pear/apple. Very nice.

Flavour: It’s all somewhat coming together here. Strong notes of dank pine, resin, weed etc but there’s also notable and juicy orange citrus and stonefruit overtones. Tasting a wee bit cloying with its stewed fruit sweetness which seems to be an unfortunate trait plaguing all of the NEIPA’s we’ve had from these guys recently. It does correct itself in the slightly dry, zesty and citrusy finish though.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with a light effervescence. Medium body and a well concealed 8% ABV.

Overall: Far better than the last one we tried (Intangible Tides). We’d still prefer an MC or Banks’ Cake Eater over this every day of the week. We find the NEIPA’s from this mob are a tad artificial and a bit too heavy on the sweetness.

Logsdon ‘Spontane Wilde’ Lambic

Rating:

“Spontaneous beer brewed in the traditional “Methode de Lembeek.” Cave aged in oak 1-2 years.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Bright and glowing orange complexion with no head formation. A very fine collar around the rim is as much froth as we’ll get. Some dotty lace here and there but it’s pretty much absent. As to be expected.

Aroma: Brewed in the Lambic tradition and it’s immediately apparent as the strong wafts of sour apple, lime juice, horse blanket/barnyard, black peppercorn and a sweaty funk meets the olfactory’s. There are some milder wheat grains, orchard fruit and apricot accents but it’s mostly about that brilliant musty and sweaty funk it has going on.

Flavour: Oh yeah…the sourness punches hard upfront. For a 5yo Sour it still packs a lot of heat – sharp citric acidity, sour grapes, vinegar, manky/sweaty funk and barnyard with hints of woody tannin, apricot and bretty earthiness in support. Excellent carriage into the grainy, white wine-like finish which goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Light on, acetic, crisp and mineraly. Mild-moderate body and a nicely disguised 7.5% ABV.

Overall: Wow! Who the hell are these guys and how have we only just heard of them? This was our first entry from these Oregonian masters of wild ferment. As good as any Lambic you’d get from Belgium. Very impressive.

Ballast Point ‘BA Victory At Sea – Dulce De Leche’ Imperial Porter

Rating:

“High West Bourbon barrel aged Victory at Sea Dulce de Leche Imperial Porter. Brewed in New Zealand by Behemoth Brewing Co.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black pour and a thumb of light brown head perched on top. Steady reduction and a wet lace is dragged down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Smells super sweet initially – vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, a hint of maple. Then the dark roasty malts enter the fray and bring light smoky notes, coffee and chocolate. The High West barrels are a little shy unfortunately. Prairie is one of our favourite Bourbons at the moment so it’s a shame not to get more oomph out of it. Nice wood character though.

Flavour: Picking up more of the Bourbon here which is great. The dominant sweetness on the nose is dialled back which allows the Bourbon/oak and roasted malts to shine. Kinda wishing that sweetness would come back coz it was damn delicious…not to mention that it’s all a little dry without it. There is a very subtle return of it in the finish but it’s mostly shadowed by the booze, roast and Bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Slick, somewhat oily and surprisingly lean for what it is. Medium body and a noticeable 12% ABV.

Overall: We won’t lie we were expecting a bit more from it. The aroma was superb but the flavour profile and texture left us wanting a little bit. Not bad though.

Burlington Beer Co ‘Intangible Tides’ Triple IPA

Rating:

“Intangible Tides is a Triple IPA and a supersized version of our flagship New England style IPA, Uncanny Valley. Brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops, this Triple IPA has waves of flavors and aromas of Citrus Zest, Dank Cannabis, Peaches, Mango and Papaya.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Murky, deep pastel orange pour and a big creamy three finger head assembling over the top. Excellent retention and healthy lace work on the glass.

Aroma: We still find it amazing how much depth and intensity that can be extracted from a humble old hop combo of Citra and Mosaic. All of the hallmark citrus is here in spades – orange, grapefruit, rind and candied lemon. Lots of pine, herbal spice, weed, rockmelon, paw paw/papaya, apricot and canned peach also. The malt bill is mostly creamy/porridge/oats. A really well structured aroma.

Flavour: We were just saying how well the ABV was concealed…then we took a sip. But then again, to be fair it is 10% so some warmth was expected. The general flavour profile is quite stewy and cloying and the ABV just adds another level of difficulty. Dank pine, resiny/weedy, zesty, canned fruits and spice at its core then shifting into a thick fruity finish with a fair sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Slightly prickly yet sticky with a mildly sharp booze burn. Medium body and bitterness.

Overall: Not really fans. We guess it goes to show the vast improvement of Antipodean NEIPA’s/Hazy’s when we’d prefer an MC, GP or Banks over an actual OG brewery from Vermont. Just not diggin’ it.

Deeds ‘Fade Into Darkness’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The bottle, viewed in the dimmest of lights from the storm outside the cave, was full of promise.  As you desperately tip the bottle, nought comes out. It’s empty. As the shattered glass falls from the cave wall, thrown in disgust, a single drop of liquid forms. You watch petrified as it rolls to the shadows and grows into the shape of the beast. Your scream cuts out as a creature grabs your neck. Eyes wide in fear and disbelief; can this be real? You cling to this, weakening though as you fade into darkness.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Holy hell. It pours like engine oil but it whips up a frenzy of dark brown head which quickly recedes. As it ebbs it drags long wet legs down the glass. Similar to wine.

Aroma: Insanely rich, indulgent, nutty and warming. The roasted walnuts have an immediate effect and impart an almost buttery accent which softens the overall intensity of the aroma. The Bourbon/barrels are equally fantastic, adding caramelized sweetness, vanilla and burnt sugars. Vigorous dark chocolate, espresso, licorice and leather provide an ample foundation for it all to work off. Brilliant.

Flavour: Heavens to Betsy. Intensity overload. The palate is in a scramble trying to break down the set of flavours. The richness upfront is immeasurable…packed in with molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso and charred malt. The Bourbon/barrels are also layered over perfectly…integrating the sweet and spicy notes and rounding it all off on a nutty, rich, roasty and warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly lighter than expected. Oily, warming, medium-full body. The 13% ABV was pretty well behaved.

Overall: It’s clear now. These guys wear the crown for the best BA Imperial Stouts in Australia. This expression right here is exactly why we say that. Magnificent.

Garage Project X Trillium ‘Matakitaki Valley’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“For our fourth hop harvest collaboration with East Coast brewing legends Trillium we’re exploring all new terroir, with Nelson Lakes Hops in the Mātakitaki Valley from Freestyle Hops. A hop free boil and massive dry hop addition of hand selected Nelson Sauvin and Motueka create a giant juicy hazy homage to one of New Zealand’s most exciting new hop growing regions.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Super turbid pastel/mustard yellow complexion. It constructs a thick and finely beaded two finger head which holds its shape really well. Tonnes of lacing clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: This one was quite a surprise. Ever since their last “Valley” release (Galaxy Valley from memory) back in 2021 they’ve only ever done re-releases so it’s exciting to see these two heavyweights collaborate on something new. It has that hallmark character too – resinous, luscious greenery/rainforest, juicy green grapes and gooseberry, peach skins, green mango and dry chalkiness. Comin’ in hot!

Flavour: Classic GP X Trillium flavour profile. Dead set these two breweries together are a force to be reckoned with. So incredibly smooth, juicy and sessional. We get a gob-full of juicy green grapes, passionfruit, gooseberry, lime, florals and herbal spice. Some orchard fruit and stonefruit also. Doughy malt, oats, flaked wheat. Smooth, creamy, ultra easy finish that lingers. Impressive.

Mouthfeel: Like drinking beery clouds. Light, aerated, creamy, mild-moderate body. The 8% ABV is dangerously well hidden.

Overall: Absolute corker. We’ve come to expect no less from this collaborative series. Big ups to GP and Trillium keep em coming.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Porcupine Rocks’ XPA

Rating:

“Sometimes you need to take an easy adventure. Jindabyne’s XPA is a little lower in ABV without compromising great flavour from Aussie-grown malted barley and hops. And like any mountain adventure you never know what you may encounter out there!”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Bright golden pour with full transparency. It forms a short off-white head which slowly deconstructs. Reasonable lacing on the glass as we hook in.

Aroma: Smells fresh as a daisy. The vibrant hop notes impart fruits like melon, guava and lemon. Also getting sweet boiled candy and florals from it too. A very faint touch of pine and spice buried down deep. Super clean malt bill…uber subtle bread crusts and crackers. Very basic.

Flavour: Wow it’s insanely crisp and clean for an XPA. The balance is impeccable. You know when you have those certain beers where you sip it and think, this just tastes like beer. In its purest form. That’s what we get from this…it tastes like beer 🤣. Mostly floral and spicy hop notes, some earthiness getting amongst it. Grainy, bready malt finishing clean as a whistle.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp and effortless. Slightly lifted Co2, mild-moderate body and the 4% ABV is lower than usual but fits into the beer’s general persona really well.

Overall: Really finely executed. Spewing they didn’t have this on tap at the brewery when one of us was down at the snow a month back. It’s the perfect post-hard yakka beer. Solid.

Burlington Beer Co ‘Time Of The Chimpanzee’ NEIPA

Rating:

“Time of the Chimpanzee is a New England style IPA, brewed exclusively with New Zealand grown hops. A blend of six New Zealand grown hop varieties; Wakatu, Waimea, Moutere, Kohatu, Wai-iti, and Rakau creates flavors and aromas of Ripe Nectarines, Honey drizzled Grapefruit, Lemon Zest, Gooseberry, Passionfruit and Mandarin Orange Juice. Brewed with Barley, Flaked Oats, Wheat Malt, Raw Wheat, and Oat Malt to create a medium body IPA. The name references lyrics by Beck from his album Mellow Gold.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid, pastel off-yellow complexion and a big fluffy two and a half finger head capping it off. Good retention and healthy lace work as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells fantastic. The brewers have used 6 different NZ hop varieties in this NEIPA (pretty much every hype NZ hop available)…Wakatu, Waimea, Moutere, Kohatu, Wai-iti and Rakau. The only one missing is good ol’ Nelson Sauvin. Proper fruit salad notes with a hefty backing of cereal malt, oats and wheat grains. Quite creamy, a little sweet and spicy as well. Diggin’ it.

Flavour: It’s interesting coz it tastes noticeably different to all the NZ-hopped IPA’s and Pale’s we’ve been getting amongst lately. Yes, they were all Antipodean-brewed so we’re thinking it may have something to do with the hops interacting with the yeast strains they’re using over there in NE nowadays. Alas, still lots of various fruit flavours, some pithiness, dry chalky tones, oats and wheat grains into the bone dry, grassy and oat-laden finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy initially, well aerated, light-moderate body. Dry in the finish. Finely carbed and a well disguised 6.5% ABV.

Overall: Very cool to see these guys on our shores. A true New England brewery. Can’t really say a whole lot for this beer though…it’s just meh. No real standout characters to it which is insane considering the amount of hop variety in it. 🤷

Boatrocker ‘Straight To VHS’ ESB

Rating:

“An often maligned and under-rated style, the ESB is an absolute classic that often has nowhere to hide (in much the same way as a great lager or pilsner). It depends on only the finest English malt (Maris Otter) and judicious use of specialty malts. Achieving a balance between them and the English hops is no easy task. This beer style is traditionally served at cellar temperature with a lower carbonation, and the drinker should be able to sit on a pint without feeling the need to rush to finish it before it goes warm. Straight to VHS is our cheeky nod to a style we love, but that may not make it to the big screen.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Light amber to deep golden body with a slight chill haze. The head swells to about two fingers before retracting and settling to a film. Excellent lacing as we go.

Aroma: Like any good ESB this one is packed full of Maris Otter and the aroma is oozing with its nutty and biscuity characteristics. There’s a delicate sweetness alongside a faint toasty accent as well. No ESB would be complete without the use of English hops either and we’re picking up the subtleties of varieties such as EKG, fuggles and challenger. Pretty tidy.

Flavour: It’s good it just doesn’t have the depth and intensity of say, a Fuller’s or a Greene King. They’re definitely on the right track though…there’s a lovely spicy and herbaceous hop quality that weaves its way through the nutty, woody and slightly toasty malts. A soft bitterness develops late in the piece and helps set up the nicely balanced finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly nondescript…smooth, medium bodied with a mild hop bitterness in the swallow. The 5.5% ABV is on par for the style.

Overall: Not bad. We like the fact that they’ve tried to keep it as conventional as possible. Probably wouldn’t rush back in a hurry but it’s a reasonable offering.

Toppling Goliath ‘Dragon Fandango’ Fruited Sour

Rating:

“Mango, passion fruit, and dragon fruit combine in this unique kettle sour beer.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Wow! One of the most stunning pours that we’ve seen in a while. It literally shines a bright red colour which looks like some sort of freshly squeezed fruit and veg juice. It forms a big and fizzy three finger head but it quickly disappears. No head = no lace.

Aroma: If we were blindfolded it’d be hard to tell the difference between this and an actual glass of fruit juice. It’s bursting with mango puree, passionfruit, pineapple and guava. The dragonfruit is pretty subtle…guess it’s more for colour and a flutter of orchard fruit. It’s hard to pick up anything else really. But that is in no way a bad thing. Exquisite.

Flavour: Holy moly. This is great coz it feels like we’re getting our daily serve of fruit while having a beer! The mango, passionfruit and dragonfruit tastes so fresh and sweet while this delicate line of acidity provides the right amount of sourness to balance. It all glides so effortlessly into a clean and fruity finish. Good duration on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Light on, mineraly and super sessional. Mild-moderate body and the 4.2% ABV is perfect for what it is.

Overall: Loved it. Even on this late winters’ day it went down an absolute treat. We could only imagine how much better it could be on a hot summers arvo. Cracking drop.

Boatrocker ’23 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Ramjet 2023 is even more special than ever, signifying 10 years of big, bold and boozy brilliance.  As always, this incredible stout is carefully cellared, integrating the flavours beautifully.  Dark roast malts, low carbonation and the signature whisky hit are all best delivered at around 8c.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a short brown cap forming on top. The head slowly dissipates and leaves a beautiful cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Ooft. Smells big, rich and burly. Lots of that rich intensity is coming from the whiskey barrels but there’s also a massive push from the molasses, licorice and Vegemite. Dark salty chocolate also adds to the complexities. As usual the Starward whiskey barrels impart old damp wood/oak alongside the vinous red berry-infused apera notes.

Flavour: Right off the bat it’s too young and fiery. It could certainly do with a little time in the cellar. That aside, there’s still a tonne of flavour on offer – good integration of vinous barrel-infused whiskey into the base elements of molasses, licorice, salty dark chocolate and espresso coffee. It finishes with strong espresso bitterness, molasses and dark chocolate and draws out nicely on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Rich, heavy and sharp. Medium-full body, low Co2. The 10% ABV is more noticeable than we’d like.

Overall: 2023 marks 10 years of this brilliant series. We remember trying one for the first time back in 2015 and being blown away. We must say, other breweries like Deeds and Hawkers have caught up (and even surpassed) but Boatrocker will always be an OG in the BA Imperial Stout department in our opinion.

Bowden Brewing ESB

Rating:

“We invited a bunch of the brewery’s regulars to help make the beer they’ve all been asking for; a beer for the people, by the people… an extra special bitter. The brewing style is known for its’ balance and interplay between hop and malt, with this being no exception. A hint of fruit on the aroma, followed by a drop of sweetness on the palate, this medium-bodied local has plenty of rich flavour to give. What truly makes this Bitter extra special? The hands that helped create it.” 

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Moderately hazy amber pour with a big and frothy three finger crown. The head gradually recedes and leaves healthy lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Mostly sweet, bready and biscuity. Dominated by the chewy caramel malts but nicely checked by the fruity hops. Delicate toasty and nutty tones mingle with the overwhelmingly savoury notes beautifully. Good depth and overall character to this aroma, even if it is basic.

Flavour: They’ve certainly got the bitter side of things dialled in. Upfront there’s a moderate caramel sweetness then the hops barge in and practically reach all the way into the finish. They also provide a distinctly citrusy yet mildly spicy and herbaceous quality while a biscuity and nutty malt profile develops late and draws out in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick and a tad chewy with a substantial hop bitterness in the swallow. Medium body with good carb. The 5.1% ABV is about bang on for the style.

Overall: This was our first crack at this South Australian brewery. When we hear Bowden we immediately think of Billy Bowden (the quirky cricket umpire known for his hook-fingered dismissals). Unsure if there’s a connection but this ESB is somewhat like old Billy boy – no nonsense and full of character.

Toppling Goliath ‘Dorothy’s’ New World Lager

Rating:

“Mild in body, easy-going, and clean in taste. Each sip charms the senses with a distinct flavor and refreshing simplicity. Named after our founder’s grandmother, our unfiltered lager is forever dear to our hearts.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Slightly hazy pale golden pour with a fizzy one finger head that gradually peels off. It settles to a fine overlay with patchy lacing here and there.

Aroma: Nice and crisp, well balanced hop to malt ratio yet a subtle citrusy quality just edges out ahead. Hallmark old world hop aromas of floral bouquets, herbals and pot pourri meet the grainy/wheaty corn flake malts. Just the slightest touch of honey sweetness, fresh dough and a flutter of peppery spice in the background. Quality Lager aroma this.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose well…super clean, tidy and exceptionally balanced. Not really feeling the ‘new world’ vibe though, it’s acting much more like a traditional Lager equipped with all the bells and whistles i.e spicy and floral/herbal Noble hops, cereal grains, mild honey sweetness and a hint of DMS and vegetal notes.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, snappy and fairly clean. There’s a tad more chewiness than your typical Lager with its mild-medium body. The 5% ABV is nicely integrated.

Overall: It’s fascinating to see TG put out such a conventional beer. We’re so used to drinking their charged up, hoppy, boozy monsters that it’s impressive to see they have the restraint in them to pull off a Lager of this quality. Great drop.

Bridge Road ‘B2 Bomber – Mach 13’ Imperial Belgian Black IPA

Rating:

“2023 marks 18 years of Bridge Road Brewers crafting beer in Beechworth. To celebrate we’ve created yet another edition of the fabled anniversary ale, the B2 Bomber. The 13th edition of our annual birthday beer maintains the unmistakeable combination of complex dark malts, fruity Belgian yeast characters and big punchy hops. Mach 13 sees us going all-in with a Spectrum hop combo and an ABV of 10.4. An artful balance of these familiar B2 elements with layers of Spectrum hops makes this a beer to savour. What do we call it? A Black Belgian Double Spectrum IPA. This is an exceptional beer, nothing less will do for our 18th celebration.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours an opaque light black with a two finger crown perched on top. Good head retention and lots of intricate lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Ooft! Stings the nostrils. Over the years we’ve realised that each release in this monstrous yet brilliant series benefits from a little bit of age. As this year’s edition has only just been released its still quite fierce, coming at us with vigorous phenols, warming booze and sharp piney hops. Some citrus acidity also peeking through. Loving the subtle Belgian candi sugars, roasted malts, cocoa, musk and fennel too.

Flavour : Noticeably smoother which is surprising. Usually it’s the other way around. Sure, it still has some fire but the depth and complexity balances it out. An explosion of flavour on entry – Belgian yeast/phenols, candi sugars, roasted malt, pine, herbal and citrusy hops then a more accentuated citrus quality through the mid. It gets a bit harsh and acrid late in the piece as it finishes roasty and piney with a fair sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Big and warming. A slightly lifted Co2 yet still a tad oily. Medium-full body and the 10.4% ABV is evident.

Overall: It’s certainly a fun beer to review. Lots going on, aggressive and very multilayered. The spectrum hopping method is also really cool and we’d love to go into that more but to keep this from turning into an essay we’ll touch on it another day. Solid offering.

Garage Project X Humble Sea ‘Fogbound’ Triple Hazy IPA

Rating:

“The Hāpi Sessions 2023, a hat-trick of collaborations from three breweries at the absolute top of their game, each showcasing a different hop forward beer in a playful ‘freestyle’ interpretation of the style that put them on the map. All round good humans Humble Sea, from surf city Santa Cruz make the haze roll in with what they lovingly call a foggy IIPA.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid AF. Really dark too…looks akin to fresh squeezed apricot juice. It has a thumb of finely beaded foam which gradually peels off. Nice wavy lace on the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Biiiig breakfast juice notes emanating. Frosty fruits, sweet nectar-filled fruit and that black peppery spice which we find in all the best NEIPA’s and Hazy’s. A tonne of stonefruit like mango and rockmelon along with equal parts fresh squeezed orange juice and ruby grapefruit. Much more delicate green and vinous kiwi hop qualities in this edition. Brilliant aroma though.

Flavour: Proper fruit salad vibes. Orange, melon, passionfruit, pineapple, grapes and guava. The piney accents are coming through as well. Smooth and grainy oats provide the finest platform possible for the fruity, piney and herbal hops to slide effortlessly into the slightly dank, citrusy and peppery/spicy finish. Length for days.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, chalky and well rounded. The body is nicely aerated with light-moderate weight. Finely carbed. The 10% ABV was incredibly well hidden.

Overall: The last of 3 editions in this year’s Hapi Sessions. Although we weren’t completely thrilled by the collaborators this time around each beer was fantastic. Immense World for the win and this comes an easy 2nd. Already looking forward to what they can put together next year.

Banks ‘Whats The Word’ BA Imperial Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Barrel aged Imperial Whiskey Stout. Need we say more? Aged for 18 months in Starward Whiskey Barrels and conditioned on toasted Hazelnuts, Organic Cacao Nibs & Tahitian Vanilla, it’s like childhood Hazelnut Spread Nostalgia mixed with the good parts of being an adult (drinkin Whiskey) Contains Lactose.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: An unsurprisingly dark and ominous pour meets our gaze. It forms a thumb of brown head which gradually reduces. Minimal lace is left behind though.

Aroma: Jeez this bad boy was aged in Starward whiskey barrels for 18 months! That’s a substantial amount of time. We’re not the world’s biggest fans of Starward whiskey but we are hoping we could be swayed. Right off the bat we’re getting a hint of ammonia and ink. Not a great start. The adjuncts do eventually begin to creep through which is good but the base Stout seems like it’s a little weak. Hhmm.

Flavour: What we like about it initially is that the adjunct flavours shine through a lot more opposed to the aroma. The nuttiness, the sweet vanilla and bittersweet cacao own the front palate and only start to loosen their grip around the mid where the kind of cheap, tacky fruit notes from the whiskey/barrels merge. It improves a bit in the finish as the barrels taper out and the toasted nuts, vanilla and chocolate return to punctuate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, hefty yet kind of oily and smooth. Low-ish Co2 and the ABV (10.6%) hides in plain sight.

Overall: Maybe Banks have the same issue as Mountain Culture – can brew the best Hazy IPA’s in the country but struggle with Stouts 🤷 average at best.