Garage Project ‘Talk To The Hand’ Cold IPA

“New Zealand Sign Language – now you’ve got a beer in your hand there’s no better time to learn. Start with the alphabet. Check out some of the online resources and apps that can help build your vocabulary. You could even see if there are any classes near you. Who knows where it might lead? It can all start with this can of beer. Let your hands do the talking. Talk to the Hand 2021, a new wave ‘Cold IPA”, brewed with pilsner malt and maize and fermented with lager yeast, creating the perfect clean, dry malt base to accentuate a fruit forward explosion of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Strata hops.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Clear golden pour with a fluffy three finger head resting atop. It slowly recedes and leaves an absolute mess on the glass.

Aroma: This is such a fascinating new style. Although it’s nothing new, the humble old India Pale Lager has been rebranded and is enjoying its time in the limelight for once (under a different acronym, of course). Boasting huge fruit aromas – mostly citrus and unripened tropical fruits – but we’re also detecting hints of pine needle, fresh herbs, evergreen and nuanced resins over an uber clean and grainy Pilsner malt base. Tidy!

Flavour: Really crisp and clean fruit overtones upfront. Ripe yellow grapefruit and lemon/lime, unripened pineapple and green mango. We’re picking up what tastes like agave and it almost has a slight smokiness to it which is really unique. Pine, fresh herbs like coriander and parsley also getting amongst it. Grainy malt and pithy rind tailing in late and leading to a nice crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp (feels like we’ve used that word 1000 times), snappy but enough body to hold it up. Perfectly carbed, mild-medium body. 7.2% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Another impressive interpretation of this new emerging style. Crisp, refreshing and a little bit fuller and more complex than others we’ve tried to date. Should expect no less from GP!

Hawkers 2021 Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Rating:

“More than 8 months of rest in barrels that previously aged rum has invigorated this imperial stout into a magnificent beast, harbouring notes of stewed fruits and rum spice. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with two fingers of light brown head resting atop. Fairly good retention but not a lot of it sticks to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: The spicy and caramelised Rum qualities are exhibited well. So is the complex oak but our gripe with this (so early on 😬) is that the base Stout is a little weak and doesn’t really have the strength to carry the weight, so to speak. At the moment all we can pick up is the heady Rum, the barrels and mild dark chocolate, carob and molasses. It’s like the bottom end has been totally ripped out.

Flavour: Same issues as the aroma; the classic Rum and barrel flavours come through beautifully – they provide a rich and sweet spice, caramel/toffee and a lick of vanilla – but it’s like there’s nothing to tie it in to. Granted, the mild chocolate, molasses, roast and licorice save it from being a disaster but again, the base Stout isn’t enough to carry the Rum/barrels through.

Mouthfeel: A little too light on for an Impy Stout but it is oily with low-ish Co2. The 12.4% ABV is pretty well hidden too.

Overall: We were a little more forgiving with the Bourbon expression coz it was a pretty good offering but to pay almost $30 for this one is a little outrageous. Especially when you can buy a bottle of KBS for $13! Or spend another $10 or so for a BCBS! Doesn’t match the price tag in our opinion.

Amager Bryghus ‘Baby Wombat From Hell’ Old School Porter

Rating:

“An old-school English Porter brewed with 5 different malts and full of chocolate tones. No wombats were harmed in the making of this beer.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Uber dark brown, bordering on black with a faint ray of light cutting through at the base of the glass. It forms a thumb of light brown foam which slowly peels off but manages a sexy cascading lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Boom! This is what a real Porter should smell like. A huge roasted base providing the crucial formwork for the rich dark chocolate, espresso, light smoky notes, ash, cocoa, vanilla, licorice and earthy hops to work off. This beast literally gives meaning to the phrase “all Stouts are types of Porter but not all Porters are Stouts”. Dead set it’s the best Porter we’ve smelt all year.

Flavour: We already knew from the quality of the aroma that it would follow through. Immediately we get that slightly aggressive roasted bitterness which literally reaches all the way into the finish. Everything from espresso coffee, dark chocolate, ash and smoke to treacle, toffee, vanilla and dark fruits in abundance. Then it all converges in an extremely big and complex finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Literally perfect. It holds a nice weight with a temperate Co2. Medium body. The 6% ABV is incredibly well hidden.

Overall: We’re absolutely loving this. From the hilarious description on the can to the awesome artwork but most importantly the contents. This is the epitome of an old school Porter. Hot damn it’s good to see Amager back on our shores, we’ve been long time fan boys of this brewery!

Seven Mile Experimental Hazy IPA – Mosaic

Rating:

“A Hazy IPA made with our favourite hop Mosaic, plus a new kid on the block Hort 4337. This experimental hop has great tropical fruit notes which compliment the dank berry deliciousness of Mosaic.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Almost clear deep golden pour with a big three finger head which retains. It leaves a smattering of lace as we go. Once again we’re left lamenting the lack of haze in a so called hazy IPA!

Aroma: We sound like a broken record but Mosaic hops have to be one of the best hops ever cultivated. The amount of diversity and vigour from this one hop is amazing…it’s throwing out tonnes of tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, passionfruit and peach and equal to the task are the oily and resinous notes of pine, weedy herbals and mixed citrus. Kinda nice and subtle semi sweet malt bill filling it out.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose and displays a big fruity profile…the tropical fruits aren’t as dominant as we’re tasting more of the mixed citrus, stonefruits and resinous pine. Slowly but surely the weedy herbals are introduced and so is the mild caramel sweetness, wheat grains and oats. Nicely balanced and generally smooth finish with good duration.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, well aerated. Mild dryness in the swallow. Medium body and Co2. The 6.4% ABV is pretty inconspicuous.

Overall: Didn’t love it but didn’t hate it. The lack of haze is always one thing that gets under our skin but the rest of the beer wasn’t too bad. Mosaic hops are the real winner here.

Hawkers 2021 BBA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Having slumbered in ex-bourbon barrels for over 8 months, this imperial stout has awoken with resurrected ferocity and ramped up flavours of bourbon and vanilla. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours solid black with a brown three finger head which maintains its shape. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells freakin incredible! The way the bourbon pops but is so nicely fused through is testament to the brewers. Behind the magnificent bourbon are decadent notes of vanilla, caramel/toffee, mixed spice and bourbon oak. The base Stout is solid too; dark chocolate, molasses, a hint of licorice and coffee. Some gamey characters as well. Brilliant aroma…really complex with lots of depth.

Flavour: Not as perfectly refined as the aroma but it’s still delicious. The bourbon has slightly rougher edges but the sweet vanilla and toffee/caramel keeps it in check. Bitter dark chocolate, ash, raw coffee bean, tobacco and licorice all combine to provide a sturdy bottom end. Some warmth late in the piece then punctuating on a roasty, charred and bourbon-infused finish. Excellent duration too.

Mouthfeel: Pretty fierce, sharp and dense. Medium-full body. Low-ish Co2. The 12.8% ABV is fairly noticeable but at that weight it’s fair enough!

Overall: We were so close to giving this mixed barrel series a miss solely on its price point. Almost $30 a can is ridiculous (luckily we get them a bit cheaper!). For the price we honestly can’t say that this expression is worth it but, and that’s a big but, it’s pretty impressive and glad we took the leap.

Revel DDH Hazy IPA

Rating:

“With the deep golden hue of a hazy sunset this gloriously juicy, smooth, & lucious beer is our take on the Hazy IPA. It’s double dry-hopped with Strata, El dorado & Idaho 7 for the citrus & tropical juice flavour associated with this style.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Almost 100% clear deep golden pour with a fluffy two finger head. Good retention and lacing as it ebbs. It really gets under our skin when breweries call their beers “Hazy” then they pour like a West Coast IPA.

Aroma: Smells pretty damn good but. There’s a pleasant mix of slightly pithy citrus, sweet tropical fruits, fleshy stonefruit and nectar (passionfruit, peach etc). We’re also detecting heady notes of pine resin, weed/herbals, gummi bears and dried leaves. Not really picking up the typical hazy or juicy aromas from it though. Basically smells like a decent run of the mill IPA.

Flavour: Nice progression happening. It kicks off with resinous pine, slightly dank weedy herbals and a nice line of pithy citrus developing early in the mid. It keeps pretty green and herbaceous with a hint of unripened stonefruit creeping in late. It finishes pretty dry and citric with a bit of a mild booze burn in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry, a little prickly in the swallow. Good body to it. Medium Co2. 6.5% ABV shows through a smidge.

Overall: Look, at the end of the day it’s a reasonably good IPA. We just hate it when breweries call IPA’s hazy only to find out they’re not hazy at all. This is the perfect example of a “no coast IPA” to us. Still, it’s a decent beer at its core.

Working Title ‘Red Velvet’ Red Rye Ale

Rating:

“Spicy, seductive and satiable, nothing brings that unique malty flavour like rye malt. Utilising pale rye, caramel rye and chocolate rye we built in every angle of rye that we could, creating a complex number that will leave you pondering “just how”. The glucans of the rye give an unctuous, treacle mouthfeel that slides like silk into a chocolatey aftertaste.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Pours deep amber with bold ruby red hues. Full clarity. It forms a sturdy two finger head which retains. Healthy lacing as we go.

Aroma: Proper malt bomb but that’s to be expected from the style. The feature rye plays a big yet well tempered role displaying its hallmark spicy-ness and somewhat grainy qualities. Tonnes of toffee, caramel and toast with more subtle notes of coffee, Jaffa, red berries, blood orange and a faint touch of pine. Good overall balance and structure.

Flavour: One of the first things we taste is that spicy rye but it’s quickly enveloped by a wall of rich toffee and caramel, toast and a really earthy cocoa-like quality. The hops come through a bit more on the palate too…getting pine, ruby grapefruit, dank herbals and rind. It finishes quite dry and citrusy with that spicy rye hanging on for days.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy and luscious but it’s still nicely aerated. Medium-full body. Finely carbed. The 6% ABV is right on the money.

Overall: The first beer we tried from Working Title was the ’19 vintage Solera Stout and we vowed never to touch another beer from them ever again. Then GABS ’21 came along and their entry (Moonlight & Pretzels) totally changed our minds on this mob. We’re glad we did as this red Rye Ale is a solid little number; rich, balanced, full flavoured and complex.

Upfront Brewing Bourbon Oaked Imperial Milk Stout

Rating:

“A complex multi layered bourbon oaked imperial milk stout, with toasted coconut flakes, coconut cream and sticky Tongan vanilla beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a short and loosely bound head which retreats quickly. It settles at the rim with fine rings being left after each sip.

Aroma: Very underwhelming to be brutally honest. When we see “Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout with coconut cream and Tongan vanilla” we’re expecting something pretty damn impressive. What we’re actually getting are hints of acrylic, cheap leather, bakers chocolate and fresh vanilla but it’s more about what it’s missing; Bourbon oak, coconut cream and most importantly a sense of structure…it just seems extremely untidy and muddled to us.

Flavour: We were hoping things would turn around majorly here and although it’s a little better assembled it’s still way off the mark. Initially we get this acrid type of flavour which if it weren’t for the lovely vanilla sweetness this would be a sink pour. It shifts into a mildly roasty mid palate where a touch of that acrylic/acetone creeps in. Vanilla, some lactose sweetness and chocolate thankfully see it off in a rare glimpse of style.

Mouthfeel: Pretty dense and muscly, flat-ish Co2. The 10% ABV shows through more than its warranted. Medium-full body.

Overall: It’s probably no surprise that this didn’t do it for us. Very poorly executed, unbalanced, unstructured and some of the feature flavours are completely MIA. Very average stuff.

Slow Lane ‘Outback Sky’ Barrel Aged Flemish Red

Rating:

“Flemish Red Ales are often referred to as the Burgundy of Belgium due to their deep reddish-brown hue and wine-like characteristics. Outback Sky is our interpretation of a Flemish Red Ale. Brewed with a blend of Belgian Abbey and Brettanomyces yeast together with Lactobacillus and Pediococcus souring bacteria. Aged for 11 months in ex-wine barrels. Complex flavours of cherry and oak with balanced acidity.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Pours a garnet red with next to no head formation so there’s no surprises once it all disappears rather rapidly.

Aroma: Wow, just like a red IPA balances its sweet malt with its hop profile this does almost the same but sub out the hops for a delicate red wine vinegar-like acidity. Embracing this are sweet and sour notes of candied sour cherry, soft wine tannins, sherbet, blood plum, toffee apple and a well embedded woody oak character. Very classy and very elegant aroma.

Flavour: There’s more twists and turns than a Tarantino movie! Initially it comes on with a rich malt sweetness but the direct sourness cuts right through it then opens up to a fruity and vinous middle which provides red berries, tart cherry, blood plum and overripe watermelon. Some yeasty funk and spicy esters enter the fray then it finishes quite malty sweet with lingering cherry notes.

Mouthfeel: A little chewy, a little sticky, but the gentle acidity really lifts it up. Flat-ish Co2, medium body. The 6.4% ABV is well behaved.

Overall: This is our first crack at Slow Lane and they’ve gone over and above our expectations. This is a very well polished Flemish Red. Look out Wildflower there’s another big player in the sour market here! Potentially…

Mitchell’s Brewing Co Kolsch

Rating:

“Kolsch Style Session Ale Brewed Using Noble Hops & Premium Pilsner Malt.”

Glassware: Tumbler.

Appearance: Straw golden complexion with full transparency. It forms a wispy overlay which maintains fairly well. Healthy lace work as it subsides.

Aroma: Crisp and reasonably tidy. Subtle Noble hop characters; earthy, herbaceous and grassy. Tied together with a flaky and grainy malt profile. Some spicy-ness starting to open up as it settles. Every now and then we pick up a hint of fruity yeast esters and creamed corn/vegetal notes (DMS) although we don’t mind a bit of it in Pilsners and Lagers. Pretty conventional and we’re diggin it.

Flavour: It displays a finely balanced and well structured marriage of earthy and grassy hops, semi sweet cracker malts, honey and grains. Like the aroma we’re tasting a hint of fruity yeast esters and corny DMS. Kind of an earthy, grainy and yeasty finish which holds up reasonably well.

Mouthfeel: Thin and crispy. Soft rounded texture. Nicely carbed. The 4.6% ABV is about standard for the style.

Overall: Not bad for a brewery we hadn’t even heard of until we saw it on the shelf. The “session ale” side of it is a bit confusing though, we would have thought 4.6% is technically full strength? Well, maybe not in the craft beer world it isn’t so maybe they’re on the money! 😂

Wander Beyond ‘Sakura Twilight’ Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This delectable stout is based around one of the most heavenly dessert pairings: velvety chocolate and tart cherries. Manchester-based Wander Beyond Brewing’s Sakura Twilight is brewed with fresh morello cherries and cacao nibs, making for a rich and decadent Imperial Stout with a lovely tart finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades. It forms a finger of cherry-infused brown head which slowly reduces and weaves a gorgeous cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow that is simply delightful to take in. Just as we think the cherry is dominating it throws out a big dose of roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate ganache, golden syrup, marzipan and creamy oats to pull it back into line. Pretty sure we keep getting subtle hints of praline as well. And as it settles it all comes together and it’s downright gratifying.

Flavour: The cherry component isn’t as well integrated here but it doesn’t get too far ahead of the pack. There’s actually a hint of tartness upfront which tapers off into the more dessert-like qualities of dark chocolate, marzipan, vanilla and coffee. It kicks on into a nicely drawn out finish full of roasted malts, cherry, dark chocolate and cream.

Mouthfeel: Nice density to it but it could be a bit fuller considering its size though. Low-ish Co2. The 11% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Look it’s a pretty solid beer. The flavour profile could have been a bit tighter but that’s a proper 1st world problem. Nothing to write home about but it’s a respectable offering.

Hawkers 2021 BBA Barleywine

Rating:

“Rounded and polished by months of rest in ex-bourbon barrels, this barleywine is an exemplary amalgamation between a rich malt profile and complex barrel characters. Drink now or cellar for a rainy day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: It displays that classic light brown colour with rusted reddish hues. A wispy overlay on top and a fair bit of suspended sediment. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: We can pick up the alluring notes of bourbon oak from a metre away! Under the nostrils it intensifies but also shares the space with gorgeous wafts of rich toffee and caramel, tonnes of dark fruit i.e dates/prunes, raisin, fig and blood plum. Port, residual sugars, herbal tea, tobacco, maple syrup and an undercurrent of mixed earthy spice also. Man that is bloody impressive!

Flavour: Holy moly before we even start we’ve gotta hand it to them for hiding the near 13% ABV…it’s insane how well buried it is. It follows on from the nose with this rich and luxurious marriage of toffee, caramel, dark fruit sweetness and the kinda spicy bourbon oak. It never takes a backward step either, finishing silky smooth and drawing out well.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous. Low-ish Co2, full body. As we’ve already mentioned…that 13% ABV…oopht! Where is it?!

Overall: This is an absolute ripper. By far the best beer Hawkers have put out for a while. We recall trying Bommen & Granaten by De Molen not long ago and this would surely beat it. Outstanding drop.

Seven Mile ‘Barbara’ Strawberry & Rhubarb Sour

Rating:

“Aged on smashed strawberries and rhubarb, this beer plays around with sour, sweet and bitter in delicious harmony. Pairs great with cheese, seafood or any dish you’d pair with white or sparkling wine.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Dark orange with a fluffy two finger head. It gradually peels off and weaves a wet and wavy lace down the glass.

Aroma: The strawberry is lifting out beautifully; very sweet with a subtle tartness. It’s obvious they’ve used real fruit in the brew as it literally smells like freshly pureed strawberry. Then add in the slightly tart rhubarb which provides hints of lemon/lime, green apple and green grapes. Not a whole lot else coming off but honestly just the strawberry and rhubarb alone is enough to make the aroma.

Flavour: Yummo! Once again that fresh strawberry sweetness mixed with the tartness of the rhubarb is absolutely delicious. Fleeting hints of lemon and lime, wheat grains, mild herbals and rosé creeping in through the mid. It all holds together nicely as it finishes fruity with a nice little fusion of sweet and sour going the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Quite gassy and a little frothy with lively Co2. Minimal sourness and next to no acidity. 4.5% ABV doesn’t show at all…as expected.

Overall: This was our 2nd crack at 7 Mile and we’re 2/2! This is a very approachable entry level sour but it’s proper tasty. If we had our time over we probably wouldn’t be cracking it in the middle of winter but we can picture a scorching hot summer’s day with this in hand. Boom. Lovely stuff.

Wildflower ‘St.Walter – Black Muscat’ Australian Wild Ale

Rating:

“St Walter is an Australian Wild Ale refermented with red wine grapes. It is named for Topher and his wife’s first son and the Saint Walter was an 11th century monk from the Loire Valley in France and is the patron saint of vintners. At release, we see big aromatics of rosewater, turkish delight and sweet lolly. The palate is fresh but without the cloying flavours you would assume from these aromatics. Light grippiness with a fresh concord grape, vitis labrusca finish. Lots of energy and fruit in what is a very enjoyable beer to drink.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: A deep rosy pink with a rusty hue. A short fizzy head forms but quickly snaps back to the rim. A very wet lace is dragged down the glass.

Aroma: We’re picking up the delicate sweetness and light florals from the black Muscat grapes immediately. Man they work incredibly well with the tart and tangy red wine vinegar, red berries and mild lacto sourness…together they create this sweet and sour character which is delightful. Some more subtle hints of sherbet, herbals, musty barnyard and raspberry roll ups filling it out.

Flavour: They’ve really dialled up the funk. Very musty and lots of barnyard and sweaty horse blanket. There’s still a bit of sweetness from the grapes creeping in and the somewhat sharp and tangy red wine vinegar has been squeezed out. Vinous red berries, sherbet and candied fruits develop late and set up for a funky finish with a touch of sweet red berries.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp and mineraly. Very lightly sparkling Co2. The 5.8% ABV is slotted in nicely too.

Overall: Although it’s lacking heavily in the sour department it makes up for it in balance and extreme drink-ability. It certainly isn’t short on aroma and flavour either! Another solid addition to this series.

Bad Shepherd Oatmeal Stout

Rating:

“This winter favourite is seasonally brewed, using 75kg of flaked oats toasted in our brewpub kitchen to showcase a nutty oat profile, this stout is deliciously chocolatey and nutty with a full bodied creamy mouthfeel and firm roasty finish. A moderately low carbonation reminiscent of a traditional English Stout accentuates strong notes of caramel and nut on the palate.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense oily black with a finger and a half of frothy light brown head. It’s retained well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Initially it’s a little too shy and withdrawn for our liking. We’ve gotta give the glass a really good swirl to open up the subtle chocolate, cocoa, coffee and slightly creamy oatmeal. Eventually it does all come together but again it’s just too weak and watery for this style of beer. In its defence it is in session stout territory so we can’t be too harsh.

Flavour: We must give them credit coz it keeps improving as we go. Although it’s a little watered down the base flavours are fairly decent; delicate roasted malts, cocoa, coffee, oatmeal and milk chocolate. But as we say that the evolution stops in its tracks and limps over the line with a really tired finish which pulls up short on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Holds up surprisingly well. Smooth and well rounded, a little creamy. Finely carbonated. 5.1% ABV is very low for the style.

Overall: We feel if they just boosted it up to about the 6-6.5% ABV mark they could have beefed everything else up and completed the beer. Instead it’s just thin and lacking substance. We like our Stouts big, roasty and aggressive and this is the polar opposite.

Revel ‘Browntown’ American Brown Ale

Rating:

“Revel’s Browntown American Brown Ale pours a deep amber brown with a toasty warmth and smooth rich flavour. In true Revel fashion we’ve loaded this this one up with US flavoured hops; Cascade, Amarillo, & Williamette to provide a fruity & piney aroma with plenty of bitterness to balance out the malty body. One to be savoured!”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Pours a nice deep mahogany with a sturdy two finger head resting atop. Excellent retention and lace work as it ebbs.

Aroma: We can pick up the Black IPA-like scents as it sits idle on the table. Under the nostrils the big roasted malts are amplified further displaying milk chocolate, mild coffee, licorice and molasses. All the while the hops counteract with their piney and citrus-driven aromas…more of an orange citrus approach and finding a unique Jaffa quality in the process. Excellent aroma.

Flavour: Pow! It even drinks like a softer black IPA too! That perfect marriage of roasted malts and Pacific Northwest hops combine to create this super flavour we can best describe as herbal dark chocolate. As it rolls on the bitter coffee, roasted malts, piney hops and mild orange citrus all finish off in style. Good length happening as well.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and silky with a moderate hop bitterness forming in the swallow. Medium body, Co2 is spot on. 5.3% ABV is smack bang in the middle of a traditional and a crafty Brown Ale.

Overall: We’ve had our eyes on this mob for a while but have never taken the leap. To be honest we’re not thrilled with the mundane label but if the quality of the beer is like this then who cares?! Excellent interpretation of the style; it’s rich, in-your-face and muscly. Superb!

Wildflower ‘St.Florence – Semillon’ Australian Wild Ale

Rating:

“St Florence is an Australian Wild Ale refermented with wine grapes. It is named for Topher and his wife’s first daughter and released around Florence’s birthday. The Saint Florence was a 7th century abbess from Cartagena, Spain. Our first release of St Florence was in October of 2017, about a month after my daughter was born, made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. In 2018, we made two variants of St Florence using Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Each year, this beer aims to bring to light the interaction between native wine and beer fermentations. We as a brewery are heavily influenced by the winemaking world, well the part of it that ferments with native yeasts and doesn’t use additives or excessive procedures. We are continually inspired by its producers to increase the thought and integrity in our beer. It should be no surprise that these wine-grape refermented beers are a major focus for us and provoke year-long conversations about how we tweak them at the next vintage.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Quite a hazy straw yellow complexion with a wispy off white head which recedes quickly. It still manages a broken wavy lace as we go.

Aroma: Really light, zesty and crisp. Big helpings of white grape/white wine, vinous fruits, candied lemon and lime, pineapple, herbals and straw/hay. There’s a fleeting hint of white wine vinegar which boosts the acidity levels up a bit. Just the slightest touch of musty barnyard funk, peach skins and peppery spice as well. Lots of character and complexity. Diggin it.

Flavour: It comes on with a surge of tart citrus, white grapes, white wine vinegar, mild acidity and a delicate lacto sourness. It quickly develops that candied lemon/sherbet note early in the mid along with some herbals and sweet tropical fruits through the middle. The candied accents then push through the sweet white wine flavours and into a crisp and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp and mineraly. The sparkling Co2 adds a lively spritzy-ness to it. Mild-moderate acidity. 5.8% ABV neither here nor there.

Overall: After trying St.Walter – Shiraz we knew we had to give the rest of the “Saint” range a crack. Same level of quality but in our opinion the Shiraz expression has a bit more happening. This could be down to the fact that we prefer red wine over white though! Still, a fine offering.

Bracket Brewing ‘Baraka’ Coffee Porter

Rating:

“We love coffee, arguably more than beer (controversial we know!). So when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Redfern roastery, @seventhwave_coffee , who is doing something a bit special, we jumped at it. For our first coffee collab, hopefully of many, we brewed a Porter with a smooth roast profile and added Seventhwave’s signature seasonal blend, Baraka, which uses Ethiopia as the base pushing a soft acidity, stone-fruit, blueberry & chocolate.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Pours as black as midnight with a big and finely beaded three finger head. Excellent retention and lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Absolutely loving the intense coffee lifting out of the glass. It’s got that raw bean quality to it and it’s bursting with nutty, chocolate and almost floral accents. There’s a beautiful roast emanating off it too which lends itself to a bit of dark chocolate, vanilla bean, sweet dark fruits and berries, toffee and a super subtle hint of pithy bitterness. Really liking where this is going.

Flavour: The coffee hits the taste buds with a substantial calibre. Yet it’s still so perfectly in sync with everything else – the delicate creamy vanilla, the milkshake-like cocoa, the subtle dark fruits and berries, even the the bitterness kicks in and does its part for the team. Nutty and lightly roasted malts then set up for a rather dry, roasty and bitter finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, a bit of dryness developing in the swallow. Medium bodied, low-ish Co2. The 6.5% ABV is well positioned.

Overall: Another notable offering from these new kids on the block. Hazy’s ✔️ dark beers ✔️ now we’re keen to see how their Lagers and Sours stack up. We’re quietly confident.

Sunday Road ‘Vacation Rental’ Cold IPA

Rating:

What’s a Cold IPA you ask? Think of it as a beer with a very light malt base that is a canvas for hops. Cold IPA hits with a strong punch of aromatic hop intensity and decent bitterness but finishes crisp and clean that will have you craving another sip. A Lager yeast is used that is low in ester and Sulfur that’s fermented warmer than traditionally would be, yet cooler than an Ale yeast is. We’ve doubled down on the Cold and used only Cryo hops in the “HopBurst” style. Double dry hopped using Cryo Ekuanot, Sabro and Amarillo.  Embrace the cold, we’re sure you’ll love the reward.

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: 100% clear golden complexion with nice Co2 activity. It holds a sturdy two and a half finger head which weaves a healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Super clean and crisp with a tonne of fruit and oily pine resin from the Cryo Ekuanot. We’re really digging this new practice of using Cryo hops as it brings a certain sharp, intense and clean herbal note. With this particular hop it’s offering a kinda leafy/eucalyptus-like quality. Milder hints of green capsicum, lime, orange peel, cedar and tree sap to bring it home.

Flavour: Wow that is just so damn smashable…and at 6.8% ABV it really shouldn’t be! Similar to the aroma where it’s throwing out a tonne of oily hop and pine resin, weedy herbals, zesty lime and unripened tropical fruits. There’s a really light and grainy malt bill which further amplifies the clean and slightly herbaceous finish.

Mouthfeel: Ultra crisp and clean, mild-moderate body. Co2 is perfectly positioned and the 6.8% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Top drop. Will the style take off? Who knows. India Pale Lager’s – which in our opinion are the closest style to a cold IPA – have never really taken off but that could simply come down to the dirty “L” word. Considering this has the “IPA” acronym in it could be the defining difference. We’ll see.

Jervis Bay ’15 Fathoms’ Black IPA

Rating:

“Inspired by the deepest darkest depths of Jervis Bay, our 15 Fathoms Black IPA may be dark to the eye, but never the tastebuds. For the darkest part of the sea is often where the treasure lies. Surprisingly drinkable with a dry finish, the 15 Fathoms is our most bitter brew with a hint of citrus and mango. A refreshing bounty waiting to be discovered.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Solid black with some cola hues at the foot of the glass. It notches up a frothy tan which slowly deconstructs. Laced reasonably well as we go.

Aroma: The bones of it are good. We’re taking in the hearty roasted malts and the piney and citrusy hops which counteract nicely but it just seems to be lacking vigour. We want black IPA’s to act like Stouts with a 50/50 mix of West Coast IPA…charred malts and aggressive hops. With this we’re getting a little bit of that but it’s just too quiet and shy.

Flavour: A little bit better but it’s still too pedestrian in our opinion. The mildly roasted malts and somewhat clean piney hops are here but they’re lacking that oomph we come to expect from the style. Instead of counteracting each other it seems to be getting a little muddled. But the upside is it finishes with a nice bitey bitterness and a gentle roast which endures well enough.

Mouthfeel: It’s held up pretty well by a slightly chewy texture. Good Co2 and a medium body. The 6% ABV adds a bit of much needed attitude too.

Overall: As much as we love what these guys are doing this one didn’t do it for us. As we’ve mentioned a few times it’s just a tad too weak and insipid and that’s the opposite of what black IPA’s are about.