Category Archives: Lager

Bayreuther Brauhaus Helles


“The Bayreuther Brauhaus has a tradition of 150 years in brewing Bavarian specialties the artisan and honest way. The Bayreuth brewery turns the original Bavarian way of life into a real treat with genuine and honest beers that are brewed with passion and a lot of love. The Bayreuther Hell is a typical Bavarian Helle, at home in the beer garden – tasty and mild, fresh and spicy.”

Glassware: Half Stein.

Appearance: Bright pale golden pour with 100% clarity. A light and fluffy three finger head takes shape before gradually receding. A magnificent lace is left in its wake.

Aroma: About as conventional as a German Lager could possibly get. The first thing we notice is the way the grains display themselves…semi sweet, biscuity, bready and ultimately smooth. Super grassy and spicy hop profile which offers subtle hints of hay/straw and mild earthy tones as well. Very delicate vegetal/sulfuric qualities and just the right amount of DMS and or creamed corn.

Flavour: Absolute neck oil this stuff. It kicks off with semi sweet malts and soft bready, toasty and earthy accents hinged off it. Somewhat grainy hay/straw and white florals making their entrance around the mid. The hops finally kick into gear and throw out grassy, spicy and herbal notes before it finishes kinda dry, grainy and grassy.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, uber clean and light on. Slightly under-carbed but it’s got a fuller body than expected. The 4.9% ABV is right on the money.

Overall: October is a great month. Not only is the weather starting to warm up but it’s an excellent excuse to get stuck into some top quality German beer! And that is precisely what this Lager was.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘The Ol’ Black Diamond’ Schwarzbier


“The Black Diamond is brewed in the style of a Schwarzebier otherwise known as a Black Pilsner. Full of flavour yet clean and smooth making it easy drinking.”

Glassware: Stein.

Appearance: Cola pour with three fingers of tan foam perched on top. Good retention and very healthy lace being strewn down the glass.

Aroma: The lightly roasted malts do most of the talking – mildly rich yet sweet and roasty chocolate, caramel/toffee, peat, woody notes and dark jammy fruits. As it warms it starts to reveal more of an espresso coffee quality but it still retains a strong sense of jammy blackberry or dark cherry sweetness. We keep getting this subtle briney umami-like scent which is intriguing!

Flavour: It has a rich stout roasty-ness yet it’s still so light and sessional. Embracing it is that dark jammy sweetness which has been carried through from the aroma. Delicate coffee, coca and ashy accents through the middle shifting into a nicely roasted finish with further coffee notes and a flutter of burnt caramel and peat drawing out.

Mouthfeel: Soft, smooth and well rounded. Medium body, finely carbonated. The 5.2% ABV is spot on for the style.

Overall: We’re going to call it…JB are the best brewers of European styles in the country. Schwarzbier is one of our least favoured styles but we actually enjoyed this. It’s roasty, full flavoured yet light and sessional. Kudos fellas keep em coming!

Mountain Culture ‘Harvest Months’ Marzen


“A Märzen with soft malt, hints of honey and spice, a soft water profile and, umm… Look, to be honest, the beer is still fermenting but thanks to ~logistics~ we need to have a description for the can before we’ve tasted it, meaning anything we say here is a guess. Or a lie, really. Maybe you could review it and then, when we brew it again next year, we might use some of your descriptors?”

Glassware: Stein.

Appearance: Fully transparent bright amber with a rapidly vanishing head. All that’s left is a bubbling island in the middle. Scarce lace as we go.

Aroma: We’ll be honest, Marzen’s are one of those styles we’ve rarely gone for so we’ll keep it somewhat basic. Definitely malt driven…caramel, nutty, doughy/bready and a well balanced Noble hop spiciness. Picking up very delicate hints of black tea, honey, earthy apricot, grass/mildew and a soft floral bouquet. Pretty complex in the end!

Flavour: It comes on sweet and ultimately smooth. Again, malt driven with a delicate hop profile – caramel, honey, bready/toasty with earthy, spicy and floral hops taking the back seat. The malt sweetness kind of intensifies through the mid and moves to a semi sweet finish with delicate toasty malt and spice on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little sticky but really well rounded. Low-ish Co2. The 6% ABV is nicely disguised.

Overall: We thought it was so left field to see MC go from a Hazy, to NEIPA, to West Coast IPA to Stout and then….Lager. But in true MC fashion they’ve made a usually boring beer fun while still keeping it conventional. Big ups to MC they’re absolutely killing it.

Modus Operandi ‘Espresso Martini’ Dark Lager


“Remember not so long ago when you could sit at a bar, bunched up with your mates feeling regal when you ordered an Espresso Martini? We’ve brought back this high society of the past back with this jubilation shaken into 500ml cans using the freshest beans from our mates at Allpress Espresso. Bringing you a silky mouthfeel that ripples long after your first sip, its all class minus the martini glass. Then just wait for the rich coffee hit overlaid by dark chocolate and caramel aromatics. Put your best kit on, stretch out within your 1.5 metres and enjoy a regal memory of yesteryear.”

Glassware: Stein

Appearance: Cola pour with a monstrous four finger head. It peels off quickly and settles to a wispy film. Very little lace in its wake.

Aroma: Let us just say that for one of us the trusty old Espresso Martini is a favourite cocktail so to cop this slightly weak and watered down version of it is a bit depressing. Sure, the coffee aromas are here albeit very subtle…too subtle. Some nice roasty-ness going on though, dark chocolate, coconut and burnt toast as well. Getting this weird Kalamata olive accent to it which is super strange.

Flavour: Gaaahhh…mirror image of the aroma. Watered down coffee and roasty malt but with a nice surge of chocolate, burnt toast and gritty earthy-ness through the mid. A flutter of spicy/piney hops peek through before it punctuates on a nice coffee roast, chocolate and toasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly metallic but it holds up well enough for the style. Mild-medium body. Medium Co2. 6% ABV is absorbed nicely.

Overall: Kinda undecided. It’s slightly lackluster but it has some good traits. Unfortunately not enough to save it though.

Garage Project X Bitburger ‘Verbotene Früchte’ Dark Lager


“For over 500 years the Reinheitsgebot has dictated that German brewers can only make beer using barley, hops, water and yeast. But what happens when German brewers go on holiday? Brewed in collaboration with legendary German brewers from Bitburg, Verbotene Früchte is a rich, black dessert lager inspired by the classic cakey goodness of the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest gâteau and brewed with a lavish amount of sugar, lactose, cacao powder, vanilla, cacao nibs and sour cherries. We counted at least seven contraventions of Reinheitsgebot, but hey, what goes on tour, stays on tour.”

Glassware: Stein.

Appearance: Cola pour with an ultra fizzy head which swells to two fingers before retracting to a halo. Theres a bit of a wet lace dragged along as we imbibe.

Aroma: It sits somewhere between a dark lager and a doppelbock but with a bunch of out there scents like glazed cherries and cherry ripe, cooking chocolate, creamy vanilla/lactose, cane sugar and lightly roasted malts. It’s remarkable because underneath all of that is the lager base of soft crackery grains and subtle Noble hop qualities. Really edgy stuff.

Flavour: Wow it kind of pulls back a bit. Coming off as much more of a dark lager now with that classic toasted nutty malt and subtle fruity esters. Still tasting the tart glazed cherries, cocoa, lactose and sweet sugars though.. they’re just much more tempered as opposed to the nose. Finishes sweet and fruity with a long malty back palate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery but a cheeky little injection of Co2 gives it a bit of a lift. The 7.6% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: GP really are leading the Southern Hemisphere when it comes to high profile collabs. Trillium, Other Half, Firestone Walker…now Bitburger. They’re killing it! This is another corker. Kudos.

Black Hops Brewery ‘Lay Day’ Tropical Lager

28471650_823187207865426_2322305872262332416_n“A super sessionable lager brewed with pilsner malt and rolled oats to give a smooth, velvety body. A big late addition of New Zealand and American hops delivers a refreshing aroma of tropical fruits.”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Light golden colour with 100% transparency. It holds a thumb of white foam for a minute or so before receding to a collar. Laced quite well though.

Aroma: Clean and really refreshing. Subtle fruity hop characters lead out with classic pilsner malts tucked in behind – grain husks, honey and crackers. Hints of straw and fresh citrus also getting a look in. Nice new world-style lager aromas.

Flavour: Follows the nose with its crisp, refreshing and fruity hop profile. Nice easy progression in to the grainy cereal malts, dry and crackery with a woody undertone to it. Super light and clean finish. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light as a feather. Just a flutter of hop bitterness (25 IBU). Very approachable.

Overall: Well after visiting the brewery and sinking a couple of these on a balmy 30 degree arvo it’s hard not to show a little bit of favouritism, but it really is a perfect and seriously crush-able summer session beer. Hits the spot.

Shenanigans ‘Flight Path’ Dunkeled Edition

27657341_813147645536049_8351225016265706038_n“Flight Path is usually a hoppy red ale infused with Flight Path, Double Roasters ‘house coffee blend’ but not this year. This year we couldn’t decide if we would re-brew Flight Path or Malt Assault for our winter release. After a lot of thought, we decided to brew both – in the same tank. This is a big brown malty lager with a late hit of American hops, & finished with cold drip coffee made from Flight Path coffee blend by Marrickville’s finest, Double Roasters. It’s a Malt Assault on the Flight Path.”

Glassware: Dimpled mug.

Appearance: Deep chestnut brown with a two finger cap resting on top. The head peels off but still manages a healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Intriguing to say the least. Certainly getting a lot of the coffee coming through with its alluring roast and subtle bitterness. It actually works particularly well with the malt sweetness, kind of off setting it if you will. Undertones of earthy truffle, cocoa, charcoal and salted caramel filling it out.

Flavour: Nicely dominated by the coffee although it’s still well tempered and allows a lot of the malt sweetness to creep through. Becoming more earthy and slightly roasty as it rolls in to a somewhat muddled finish with a dry toasty note enduring on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Nice and slick, medium-full body with a dryness developing late in the piece. Nicely carbonated.

Overall: What a mish mash! It would make sense though, the beer is literally a blend of their Autumn and Winter seasonals spiked with a good helping of cold drip coffee. Can’t say we’re totally blown away but it’s a reasonably good offering.

Hairyman Brewery ‘Follet’s Fable’ Pacific Lager

26804578_800873353430145_4946493058001177208_n“In July 1791 while exploring the Hawkesbury River system, Matthew Follet’s small boat became separated from his companions. After days of frantic search, they found him on a river bank far down-stream, bedraggled, red-eyed and with a shocking story. He had been passing through a wild, narrow gorge when a monstrous ‘Hairyman’ had descended on him and forced his boat against the rocks. Follet had hammered the bugger, but with the vessel fatally holed he had just one option: two barrels, lashed together and emptied of their contents (the expedition’s ration of cool, clear satisfying Pacific Lager), had made a crude but effective raft to escape on. In view of all that Follet had gone through, it was thought best to cut short the expedition.”

Glassware: Footed Flute.

Appearance: Crystal clear straw golden complexion. A finger and a half of creamy white head forms before reducing to a healthy overlay. Some patchy lace sticking to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Basic lager nose but it’s super clean and enhanced by a delicate citrus hop profile. The malts offer hay, cereal and grains with a somewhat earthy undertone – again delicate and very well tempered. So simple but so well executed.

Flavour: Really well balanced upfront, we taste a gentle wave of citrus washing over the tongue. There’s a nice addition of grainy malt and peppery spice also coming along for the ride. Hitting a slight earthy note midway before rolling in to a kind of woody, semi dry finish. Fairly decent length provided on the way out.

Mouth feel: Light on, crisp and effortless. Nice and refreshing co2 and mild-moderate body. The ultimate quencher.

Overall: It’s not breaking any sound barriers but we get the feeling it’s not meant to. It’s simply hitting its mark with precision. Probably one of our least favoured styles but this one we can dig. Just a solid craft lager.

Beer Farm India Pale Lager

24301165_778617502322397_134624959003935796_n“Beer description: The beer the brewers make for their own selfish pleasure. Brilliantly pale and sparkling with only the faintest of maltiness. A crisp bitterness, fermented cold and lagered for weeks this is a classic beer style at its finest. Celebrating the vibrant stone fruit and flavours and aromas of American hop varieties.”

Served in a shaker. Pours a clear, light straw golden colour. It forms a thumb of foamy white head which is retained quite well. Lacing is scarce and streaky as it subsides.
The nose is light, hoppy and crisp with a nice balance between the grassy and piney hops and the corny and crackery pilsner malts. Picking up some citrus undertones in there too – subtle orange and rind. Some boiled vegetable notes creeping through too. Nothing to write home about but it ain’t bad.
Well it hits its mark we will give them that….it’s literally just a highly hopped lager. Grainy and starchy with hints of rice crackers upfront. The hops inject some lovely grassy notes, citrus, pine and gentle stonefruits. Picking up an earthy character before it finishes dry and slightly herbal with some good duration on the back end.
Nice texture…crisp and zippy with a vibrant co2. Light on and super seesional. 40 IBU and 5.2% ABV – enough to make it interesting.
We’re a little undecided on this one. It’s a beer that we wouldn’t even look at if there were better options but if choices were limited it would be a satisfying drop. It’s a perfect summer festival beer with its slightly lifted ABV, flavour profile and session ability. Plus it’s in a can! But will festival promoters ever put it on? We won’t hold our breath.

Bucket Boys ‘This Is Rice Country’ Rice Lager

21191901_742407699276711_3636363395924993349_n“Acid on the sleeve. Ether in the trunk. Lawyer in the bath. Reptiles at the zoo. Poolside at the Flamingo. Excess while entertaining, seldom ends well. So when creating this lager, we layered in Sorachi hops for a fruity hit & made sure to add just the right amount of rice, drying it out while giving it a more muscular alcohol kick. This is rice country, after all.”

Served in a shaker. It offers a clear golden pour with a wispy head that rapidly reduced to a fine film. A wet streaky lace is left sticking to the sides of the glass as it ebbs.
The nose has that typical lager aroma – slightly corny with a hint of earthy/herbal Hop and semi sweet malt but the addition of Sorachi hops is, although subtle, a very nice touch that provides a little citrus zing. The use of rice is detectable and offers a dry and grainy undertone. It’s an above average aroma, quite good.
The corny DMS-like characters transition on to the palate with that bitter/earthy hop to follow. Grainy malts present through the middle leading to a dry finish that shows notes of rice and potato on the back palate.
The texture is crisp, dry and fairly light on with reasonably good body to back it up. The 5.4% ABV is subtle but gives it a nice little kick. Just a bit too mainstream for our palates though. Not to say it isn’t seesional and offers much more than your everyday cheap lager, we just can’t see ourselves returning.

Fox Hat Brewing ‘Lusty Lager’ Strong Lager

image“A strong, hoppy lager, fermented cool and clean and hopped with a heavy hand To the eye – A dense pure white head greets the eye. Golden orange and brilliant in clarity – lusty is a most attractive beer Up your nose – Breathe her in, shes clean and fresh. Notes of apricot, melon and tropical fruit fill your nose, and hints of spice and cedar follow In your mouth – her svelte malt body leads to seductive flavours. A lusty bitterness and clean crisp finish which belies her 6% alcohol.”

Served in a flute. Slightly hazy golden body with a huge three and a half finger head emerging on top. It retains really well and weaves a fine lace down the glass.
The aroma is driven by the hops which in this case impart notes of sweet fleshy stonefruits like rockmelon, mango and apricot. Maybe just the slightest pronunciation of orange citrus in there as well. A nice dry and doughy malt structure fills it all out.
Light on, silky smooth in texture with mild-moderate Co2. Just the slightest hint of warmth from the 6% ABV but ultimately it’s well concealed. Very approachable for its size.
She begins on a malty note upfront – dry and doughy flavours mainly with very subtle notes of wood chips developing mid way. A splash of that fruity hop sweetness is introduced late as it delivers a finish full of delicate bitterness and grainy cereal malts on the rear.
As we aren’t the biggest fans of lager we did have our reservations but we’re please to say that this bigger-than-usual lager has stepped up. Although it’s not an overly memorable drop the lifted ABV and IBU (48) gave us the sense that we were consuming something much bigger and flavoursome than your every day craft lager. Not bad at all.

Wayward Brewing ‘Fusami Victory’ India Pale Lager

16105846_631311670386315_3566024478862326293_n“A hybrid style delivering all the things you know and love about an IPA with the crisp clean malt character of a Pilsner from a long, cold fermentation. Massive hop additions deliver tropical fruit and angostura bitters.”

Served in a footed flute glass. We’re met with a pale golden hue that’s capped off by a two finger head. Retention is good but it eventually settles to a healthy overlay that dispenses a fine lace as we imbibe.
The nose is hitting its mark well – it offers a lifted fruity hop character with the ultra clean Pilsner malt base underneath. The tri-nation hop bill from NZ, Australia and the U.S provides a mix of citrus, stone fruit, herbal, grassy and somewhat floral notes that all come together really well. A subtle note of corn flakes represents the malt. Nice, clean and summery aroma. Decent.
There’s a fairly good weight to the body considering the style. The 6.1% ABV would be driving that but the body is still full-ish and the texture is clean and mineraly. Nice hint of bitterness (55 IBU) in the swallow.
The flavour also hits its mark with this trio of hops forging a delicious bond with the grainy malts upfront. Not a lot of variation in flavour but the positive is that it’s held up well through the mid and punctuates with a firm finish that offers clean and slightly grassy hops on the back palate.
Fairly solid drop here from Wayward. If our memory serves us correct the last time we reviewed one of their beers was back in 2014 – the Eisbock which was incredible. This one isn’t on the same level but it’s clean, crisp and super easy to put back. Not bad.

Akasha Brewing Company ‘Trade wind’ Lager

15673010_620783754772440_832090234719019877_n“Suited perfectly to the Aussie climate, the Tradewind is a hoppy twist on a classic pale lager. Brewed using a clean German lager yeast and seamlessly paired with the passionfruit and citrus flavours of Australian Galaxy hops, we have ‘breathed’ new world life into an old world style”

Served in a shaker glass. The pour is bright and golden amber in appearance. A short white head emerges on top before it’s reduced to a film that works a healthy lace trail as it ebbs.
The aroma certainly offers a lifted fruity hop character with hints of subtle spice and bubblegum in the background. There’s a subtle floral bouquet coming through as well. The malt is clean and slightly biscuity and fills it out well. Nothing crazy just a nice, straightforward new world lager aroma.
In the mouth it’s light, crisp and palate friendly. Mild bitterness (25 IBU), well carbonated and effortless in the swallow. Super sessional number.
Upfront the flavour provides a subtle hoppy fusion of citrus and light florals. As it progresses the typical cracker/grainy flavours appear with a delicate bitterness offering some contrast. The finish is light and slightly dry with traces of summer fruits on the back end.
We like what Dave has done here. He’s kept it pretty traditional but the substantial addition of Galaxy hops gives the beer that snappy, fresh and new world impression. It’s proper bang-able, flavoursome and most importantly….crafty. A definite go to craft lager.

Black Dog Brewery ‘Drifter’ Lager

14666300_579328835584599_8450525831849154167_n“Drifter is a new world lager based on a German pilsner. This brew has combined pilsner, ale, carapils malt along with a touch of malted wheat and hopped with Aussie Enigma and Topaz grown by HPA. Our Macca was a drifter, roaming the neighbouring farms to stop in and say hello to his fellow canine compadre’s often spotted running along the fence lines. Drifter AKA Macca the Black Dog legend will live on.”

Served in a shaker glass. Pouring a bright and relatively clear amber hue with a stubby finger of off white foam over the top. The head eventually recedes and establishes a thin film with surprisingly healthy lace trails on the glass. Although the aroma is mainly a malty affair, Aussie Enigma and Topaz hops adds zippy citrus overtones while a kind of boiled candy sweetness is offered in support. The malt profile on the other hand provides a mix of honey, biscuits and rice crackers with a subtle earthy/floral pot pourri character. Very laid back and approachable on the nose. As expected the body is light on, a little watery but punctuated with a mild bitterness in the swallow. Definitely a summer session beer. The flavour pretty much follows on from the nose – we get light citrus and stone fruit notes hinged on a base of honey-forward pilsner malts. Subtle grainy and or hay accents do come through as it rounds out with a delicate bitterness along with a grassy/herbal hop note on the back palate. Well one thing is for sure, it’s a very simple beer. At only 4.7% ABV it would be one to reach for if you were attending an all day event where you want to knock a few back but don’t want to be so trolleyed that you end up hitting on your best mates misses. No one wants that! Not bad.

Young Henry’s ‘Dr Rot Fifer’ Vienna Lager

14344145_567940323390117_4414448088743669398_n“Young Henrys and Oz Comic-Con have teamed up with legendary artist Doug Holgate to produce the most sinister brew ever known to man. Enter the malevolent Dr Röt Fifer. From lofty peaks to cobbled streets, The Doctor is renowned for two things: his hypnotising pipe melodies and his Vienna Lager. With a splash of black magic, Young Henrys and Oz Comic-Con have bottled The Doctor’s copper concoction to present the Official Beer of Oz Comic-Con: Dr Röt Fifer’s Vienna Lager.”

Served in a shaker glass. Rot Fifer presents an attractive copper complexion with good clarity. The fluffy pancake head swells to about two fingers before establishing a healthy overlay that leaves a set of messy rings as we imbibe. Our first impressions of the aroma are very raw and rustic. A strong freshly cracked grain character leads out with notes of hay, toffee, figs, earthy malts and toast in support. The aroma kind of has that alluring smell you get when you walk in to a brewery that’s just their grains through the mill. It offers a nice sweetness too, we want to say honey but it has more of a melted caramel viscosity to it. Decent. It’s actually a really nice aroma. In the mouth it’s well weighted with a super smooth, almost velvety texture. Co2 is mild-medium and the 5.3% ABV is expectedly passive. The flavour seems to follow on from the nose, albeit indirectly. The prominent malt backbone dominates the front palate and even hints at dark stone fruits at times.Toffee notes also come through as that taste of freshly cracked grain we picked up on the nose returns in flavour. A subtle toasty note pops up through the mid and lays a platform for the dry, nutty finish to endure on. Putting our lack of interest in comics aside, this Vienna Lager, simply on taste and aroma has impressed us. She’s smooth on the palate, full flavoured and well bodied. Quite sweet though, and maybe a little cloying by the end but it doesn’t hinder the overall quality of the beer. A decent offering from Young Henry’s.


Stone and Wood ‘Big Scrub’

imageWith only 1% left of the largest sub tropical rainforest on the east coast, the remnants of Big Scrub serve as a reminder to preserve the beauty of our backyard. This is a new age lager that balances the subtle malt foundation with a firm bitterness and dry finish.

Poured into a schooner glass, we get a big 15-20mm white fluffy head with a mixture of bubbles tha retains really well. Decent carbonation coming up through the glass here. It’s got a cloudy straw coloured body. Typical lager hop here, and light malt mainly on the nose. In the mouth you can tell this is not a commercial lager, but it’s not that far off. There is a sweetness to the malt, with contained carbonation. Lots of grassy notes here on the palate, and there could easily be herbs thrown in here to add complexity. Really smooth on the palate, with a dry bitterness but definitely not overpowering. It all glides down effortlessly, as the body is only mild to medium (Alc vol of 5.5%). Just mild restrained sweet caramel, cereal notes and very mild floral hops. We not really sure where the whole ‘greeny, environmentalist’ thing comes in…yes there are grassy, herbaceous notes here and maybe we need to check their website and see whether additives out of their ‘backyard’ are included but we just get a slightly fuller, smoother lager. There is nothing wrong with it, it’s just mediocre. Entry level craft beer here.

Hofbrauhaus Munchen Dunkel


12743867_479722645545219_3475417823195600727_n“Dark beer existed in Bavaria long before light beer. This was the first type of beer to be brewed at Hofbräuhaus when it was founded. Today, when beer-lovers all over the world talk about dark beer, they usually mean a Munich style beer. Today, Hofbräu Dunkel – the archetypal Bavarian beer – is still as popular as ever. With its alcoholic content of around 5.5% volume and its spicy taste, it’s a refreshing beer that suits all kinds of occasion. A beer in the traditional Munich style!”

Served in a dimpled mug. This deceiving little Bavarian offers a deep mahogany upon first glance but reveals a bright ruby red hue when held to the light. A healthy two finger head forms and is actually retained quite well as it settles to a thick overlay with scores of lace clinging to the walls of the glass. Looks fantastic! Smells very malty. It has that distinct spent grain aroma we get when we first walk in to a brewery. There’s a plethora of roasted malt qualities backing up here. We get toffee and caramel coming off firmly as well as dried fig, carob, honeysuckle and cocoa. A touch of yeasty spice pushes through too. Very nice. A decent weight is held in the mouth. Good carbonation level too. We’re loving how the smooth malty texture is counteracted by a slightly dry hop character. Great overall balance on the palate. We’d have to say it’s quite complex upfront. The sweet and grainy lager characters blend beautifully with the dark, almost caramelized malt features on entry. Hints of a nutty malt come forward as earthy, roasted notes carry across the mid delivering a slightly dry and toasty finish. Length is pretty good too, a lingering roasty dryness begs for another sip. We’re quite skeptical when it comes to German beer. It’s a common occurrence for us to find some fault in their style of brewing but this is literally faultless. It was highly enjoyable. Just imagine a love child between a bock and a kolsch. This is what it would taste like. Delicious.

Pacific beverages ‘Vonu’ Lager

image“Vonu is a clean, crisp lager beer, brewed with tropical water in the heavenly Fiji islands.”

There’s a saying in Fiji which goes “on Fiji time” meaning stress less, smile more and kick back. And that’s exactly what I’m doing while the 2nd hop head stresses out at work back in Sydney! After a tough day sun baking, jet skiing, swimming and cocktailing, nothing goes down better than a crisp lager as the sun sets. This is the true meaning of being “on Fiji time”. Poured from the bottle in to a flute glass. The bright golden appearance offers brilliant clarity, allowing me to see straight through on to the blue ocean and green palm fronds. The aggressive pour struggles to arouse much head, knocking up about a fingers worth before it gradually recedes to a collar with minimal lace. The nose is soft, grainy and quite fruity. Aromatic wafts of mango, paw paw, pineapple and rockmelon are not only a welcome surprise but a delight to take in. There’s a decent little balance struck here too as a slightly grainy malt base evens it out. Maybe a touch of doughy/bready malt in here too. The perfect elixir for sub-tropical weather. In the mouth it’s crisp and light on with a vibrant Co2 level. Just washes over the palate with ease but without being thin and watery like a Corona would. Super sessional. The palate is being provided with a subtle bitterness that cuts through the slightly corny/DMS fore-flavour. A hint of stone fruit sweetness develops before the doughy/bready malts carry forward through the mid while a crisp, dry finish rounds out this respectable lager. I’m stoked I found this beer, with very limited options (and staying well clear of crap like Heineken and VB) the only other options are Fiji bitter (very ordinary) Fiji premium (ordinary) SP (worse than the bitter) and Fiji gold (the worst of the lot). So, my friends if you choose to visit this stunning island nation be sure to stick to Vonu (meaning turtle in Fijian). Now I’m off to tend to my sun burn.

Sierra Nevada ‘Beer camp 2015’ India pale lager

image“Last summer we teamed up with San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for a hop-head twist on a crisp lager. We remixed this encore which is loaded with whole-cone hops in the brew kettle and in our Hop Torpedo to deliver a bold aroma backed by smooth malt flavour. This hop-heavy beer combines intense citrus and floral hop flavours with the clean, classic malt body of a hearty blonde lager for a crisp but aggressive take on the India style pale lager”.

Served in a shaker glass. The slightly hazy golden pour generates a one and a half finger cap which steadily deconstructs, settling to a fine film over the top. The head hasn’t retained remarkably well but it’s managed to draw some wavy lace patterns as we imbibe. Certainly a hop driven aroma here. Any trace of lager is all but expelled….not saying that’s a bad thing though. There is a distinct fragrance we just can’t seem to identify though, in the background there is a generous amount of hop resin, citrus, passion fruit and pineapple against a crackery/biscuity pale malt base but it’s this artificial, almost candied scent of either kiwi fruit or honeydew. It almost comes off as a blend between lemon and eucalyptus at times. It’s got us stumped. In the mouth it’s nicely weighted with a smooth, dry texture on the tongue. Co2 levels are about moderate with a conservative but evident 55 IBU, offering a mild bitterness on the palate. Malts are a little more pronounced in the flavour as a hint of rice crackers acts for the first lager component. This certain fruit we couldn’t identify on the nose also makes an appearance through the mid as the hop bitterness cuts through. Herbal/resiny hops carry forward on to the dry, citrusy finish. The “India” character is definitely working its magic late as a firm dryness is well drawn out on to the back end. What has been done really well is the masking of the 7% ABV. Not to be detected in aroma and only very subtle in flavour. Points for originality (we still can’t decide on what the mystery fruit is). It is, though, lacking that wow factor and essentially we’re just not completely sold on this. Not a bad brew, although we have certainly had better from these world leaders in craft brewing.

Brew cult ‘spoiler alert’ pale lager

imageFrom the lads at brew cult comes this hoppy lager which is supposed to keep the beer geek satisfied to settle in for that extended session. Ok sounds good!

Pouring that usual hay like hue with a bit of cloudiness, there is a load of carbonation in the glass and an almost over the top sudsy, bubbly head that eventually collapses to a good 10 mm cloud like cap. Patchy foamy lacing sticks to the glass. We get typical lager malt on the nose, almost cereal-like with mild citrus hop and a bit of lemon and melon. First sip yields high carbonation on the lips with a clean palate that has definate bitterness at the end. There is a mild body, but being a lager of 4.5% it’s a bit thin and watery. More mild citrus hops in the mouth and there may be a bit of subdued spice on the back palate also. It certainly is a smooth beer and we can certainly understand how it would satisfy a session at a good craft beer pub. Overall, in general we just think that lagers are too boring, but brew cult have achieved what they aimed for so kudos to them.