Category Archives: Red Ale

Shapeshifter X Bodriggy ‘Fading Light’ DDH Red Ale


“Brewed for our friends at Bodriggy Brewing for their Lunaverse festival, this is an easy drinking red ale which has been double dry hopped with some of our faves. The combination of Gladfield malts create the perfect red hue, and then you’re hit by the hop trio of Strata, Amarillo and El Dorado. You’ll find notes of punchy pine, ripe citrus and light passionfruit.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: It hits the glass with an attractive copper red hue and a frothy three finger head which slowly deconstructs. It leaves an absolute mess on the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Teeming with caramelised malts but brilliantly reeled in by the piney and fruity hops. Impressive balance they’ve struck here…just as the nostrils fill up with sweet sugary caramel and maple the fresh pine needle, grapefruit, passionfruit and orange citrus are equal to the task. More obscure but equivalently delicious notes of toffee apple, honeydew and thyme also coming through.

Flavour: Once again the robust malt structure dominates but only for a fleeting second or two before the hops make their grand entrance. Not only is the hop bitterness absolutely crucial at countering the malts but they also add pine, herbals, fruit and dank notes. It displays this magnificent marriage as it finishes semi-sweet and citrusy with a lingering dryness.

Mouthfeel: Slick, inoffensive and super palate friendly. Co2 is spot on and the 5% ABV was surprisingly low but it certainly fits nicely into the beer as a whole.

Overall: Another finely executed beer from Shapeshifter. We’re really digging what they’re putting out lately. On the other hand we haven’t had much experience with Bodriggy but after this we may have to change that.

Riverside ‘444’ Imperial Red Ale


No Commercial Description.

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Burnished copper red hue and a short tan head which gradually peels off. Patchy lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Wow this is seriously good stuff. It’s gut an uber rich and sticky base which is chock-full of toffee, burnt caramel, butterscotch and candied blood orange. There’s a distinct nuttiness, very soft maple notes, lots of sweet and juicy orange citrus, ripe fleshy stonefruits and herbs. Man that is something special, if they can back up in flavour we’ve got a contender for a 10.

Flavour: Excellent follow through, we’re loving that there’s more of a hop bite here, it ensures the balance is perfectly weighted. Oodles of toffee and burnt caramel sweetness, juicy orange citrus, ripe stonefruits and toffee apple are all wrapped up together and tied off with some warming booze and hop bitterness for some aggression, depth and counter balance. Love.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, chewy and dense. Coats the whole palate nicely. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2. The 7.3% ABV adds just the right amount of heat.

Overall: Outstanding Red Ale. We knew that if 777 was anything to go by then this triple version of 44 would be equally as impressive. It’s big, a little brash and full of grunt but also quite luxurious and satisfying at the same time. Bang on.

Hop Nation ‘The Buzz’ American Red Ale


THE BUZZ is a hop-inspired American red featuring all American hops – Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic, and boasting a big-ass malt profile. Layers of rounded red malt orbit a generous slue of piney, spicy and floral hoppy character.”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Gorgeous mahogany pour with a thumb of frothy tan foam resting atop. The head gradually recedes and weaves a fine webbed lace down the glass.

Aroma: Definitely straddles the line between Red IPA and American Red Ale. It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation right…which one came first?! We have noticed that this seems to favour the malts just a tad more than your typical Red IPA so they’ve hit the nail on the head there. Big luscious toffee overtones with toast, candy and caramel offset by the spicy and pine-driven hops.

Flavour: Again, as a whole the palate leans to the malty side with the American hops magnificently woven through. It actually kicks off with a fair whack of piney, floral and spicy hops before its encapsulated by the semi-rich toffee, caramel, honeysuckle and toast. Short cameos of pine and spice tussle all the way through to the well balanced finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly soft, well rounded and gelatinous. Light-moderate Co2, medium body. The 6% ABV is well disguised.

Overall: We haven’t been the biggest supporters of this brewery over the years but we feel the need to commend them on this offering. Not bad at all.

Little Bang ‘Ira’ India Red Ale


“Meet Ira. He’s not an IPA, not a Red Ale or some kind of pseudo-Scotch Ale, but a bit like all of them. Ira is… different. Sure, he’s not the coolest beer style around, but beyond the socks and sandals Ira’s having freaky thrills we can barely understand. Booze and IBUs, toffee pinecone, pineapple and dank. Is he weird? Or just a new kind of awesome?”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Copper to deep amber colour with a sturdy two finger head perched on top. Excellent retention and fine lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Truck loads of sweet candied fruits, toffee, burnt caramel, ripe tropical fruits like mango, lychee, papaya, pineapple and passionfruit, kinda dank pine resins and tree sap for the most part. We really get a sense of fruity summer cocktails and the not-so-subtle tickle on the nose from the 6% ABV. Big, sweet and boozy yet fairly well balanced at the same time.

Flavour: A little brash and rugged as opposed to the nose. The booze burn is more noticeable plus the candied fruits turn a bit syrupy here. The dank, piney and fruity hops do a good job of pulling it all back into line though – and also bring a bit of pithy citrus to the party. It punctuates on a sweet yet dry and bitter finish which really lingers.

Mouthfeel: Slick and gelatinous with a boozy bite. Slightly flat, medium body. Definitely dries out in the swallow. The 6% ABV doesn’t shy away either.

Overall: We were on board early in the piece but they couldn’t keep it together unfortunately. Once it warmed it turned real syrupy and the booze was revealed too much. We’re yet to be wowed by Little Bang and we’re hoping that changes.

Working Title ‘Red Velvet’ Red Rye Ale


“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.

Bentspoke ‘Flemm’ Barrel Aged Flemish Red Ale


“First brewed by Richard over 15 years ago, Flemm is one of the original barrel aged sour recipes in Australia. Co-founders of BentSpoke Richard and Tracy first fell in love with barrel aged beers on a trip to Belgium, which included a guided tour of the famous Rodenbach brewery. A local farmer sitting at the bar of a brasserie close by, guided their beer choices and made sure they felt welcome. And, you guessed it; the farmers name was Flemm!”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown, almost black, with a very faint mahogany hue. Just a short head emerges but it quickly forms a halo with minimal lace as we go.

Aroma: Smells the goods! Quite a hefty malt bill which brings a gorgeous fusion of sweet and earthy notes to balance the slightly tart cherry and blackberry. There’s a lovely albeit subtle hint of aged oak which really gives the nose its depth and complexity. Undertones of cigar skins, farmyard funk, rum & raisin and sweaty sourness. Diggin it!

Flavour: Similar to the nose in the sense that there’s very mild sourness but lots of chocolate and lightly roasted malt. There’s subtle cherry and dark fruit tartness upfront with a kind of rich and toasty oak through the middle. It finishes with a hint of smoke and funky dark fruit sweetness which holds on nicely.

Mouthfeel: Musty, somewhat thin and slippery. Mild-medium body with low Co2. 5% ABV. It’s surprising how it offers good length considering the light texture.

Overall: We thought we’d give this a run purely off the back of their Lambic (which from memory was their ’19 GABS beer). It was sensational. Although this was good it didn’t have the finesse that the Lambic did. Still, a very difficult style which they’ve executed pretty well.

Rodenbach Flanders Red Ale Grand Cru

imageThis brew is an exceptional Flemish red-brown ale that owes its fresh and sour taste and complex fruitiness to its partial maturation in wooden oak foeders.

Poured into a shaker glass we see a brown colour tinged with red in the glass. A big tan coloured head fades leaving a combination of small and bigger bubbles poking through. Just a rim of head around the glass. Plenty of carbonation fizz like pouring champagne initially then it completely settles.

Initial aroma is oak, fermentation, sour cherry, vinegar, Belgian yeast, pear, raisins, and light red like Pinot Noir. First sip is refreshing. Restrained sourness intermixed with manageable carbonation and the fizz of fermented fruit like cherry, hints of raisin, and pear. Obvious use of Brett underlying the well balanced but ever-present oak. Body is moderate yet light on the palate. We have had a couple of immature Pinot noir’s in our time which remind us of this. Alc vol is 6% here and almost unnoticeable given the fruity, sour, drying effect on the palate. There is the acidic fruit presence on the back of the throat as we get half way through and this leaves a slight booze burn. We note the use of barley malt and the sweetness doesn’t overpower. Plenty of patchy lacing down the glass as we near the end. As the brew warms up, we get a reminder of kombucha and find it all very tasty and again refreshingly drinkable and thirst quenching. Great balance and a nice change from dank hoppy beers we have been murdering lately.

Kaiju! Beer ‘Betelgeuse’ Double Red Ale

27544798_809844599199687_8877479790879160422_n“American Amber Ales are like American Pale Ales but with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant, like in this one). Expect an enormous and delicious beer. Brewed for the Great Australian Beer Spectapular (GABS) 2015.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Candy red with soft pink highlights. It constructs a frothy two finger head which holds together well and works a fine lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Super sweet, sticky and malty as rich toffee and jaffa erupt out of the glass. Quite heavy on the booze – 10% ABV in fact. Picking up a lot of cocktail fruits like pineapple, guava, lychee and paw paw. Undertones of Malibu rum, toffee apple, Cointreau and burnt orange tying it all up. Weird, wacky yet wonderful.

Flavour: Veeeery hefty booze presence – prickly and slightly overpowering. It kind of hinders the delicious flavours that want to come through. We certainly get a good dose of sweet caramel malt and toffee but there isn’t enough hop character to balance it out. Bottling date shows its 6 months old so that could be part of the reason.

Mouth feel: Dense, sticky and sharp. Medium-full body, moderate co2. Mild bitterness.

Overall: Can’t actually remember this from GABS ’15 so we’d really like to try it fresh. Being an American style red ale we were hoping for a bit more hops. Just a little too heavy on the booze as well, we’d love to see it dropped to around the 8% mark in our opinion.

Rocks Brewing Co ‘ Boxer Red Ale’

imageA combination of red malts create a vibrant deep ruby red hue, a malt driven beer balanced by a stern bitterness.

Poured into a pint glass we see a ruby red colour with a nice fat 20mm off white head that just sits there like a cumulus cloud. Retains gloriously as slow bubbles emerge from below. Minimal carbonation seen through the deep red. Patchy lacing on the glass evident. The initial aroma produces a tang that is off putting. Is it a sourness? Is it umami? Is it stale? Gee wiz not a great start. Maybe some bread dough there, some caramel but the ‘tang’ overpowers. First sip produces smoked or ash flavours with again a tang like white vinegar. What is going on here?? Is this beer off? We are thinking we need to try a fresh version of is drop because if this is the real deal then it’s dreadful.  Bitterness is contained on the palate with a mild body that is easily sessionable. Sitting at 4.1% Alc vol it explains the aforementioned comment. Like most ales it has watery body and you can this brew sitting in an English pub. Some lacing sticking to the glass as we imbibe. More flavours of caramel mixed with red malts and English bittering hops. It’s just that nose that you want to know why it’s so tangy. It’s sharp and we not sure whether it needs to be there. Hard to judge here. It’s smooth and sessionable. Hmmm.

Bacchus Brewing Co. ‘Red Bellied Black’ Imperial Red Ale

15727308_620782954772520_146552519177895186_n“Raise your glass to the light and this dark beer shows off its beautiful red underbelly. Intense tropical, piney aromas lead in to equally intense tropical flavours with hints of cranberry, honeydew, melon and ginger. Finishes with a subtle tartness derived from our secret spice ingredient. Beware its bite.”

Served in an IPA glass. The deep, rich mahogany pour is capped off by a finger of tightly held foam that gradually shrinks to a fine film that struggles to produce much lace.
Geez this is one complex and malty number we don’t know where to start. Obviously she’s sweet but in a artificial killer python (pardon the pun) kind of way. It’s gelatinous with candied sugars, tonnes of caramelized toffee and sugar syrup, raspberry coulis, strawberry jam, over-ripened rock melon, mango, hints of alcohol and even a trace of cinnamon. Ok….what the hell do we have here?!
In the mouth the texture is pretty chewy and plump in body. We’re gobsmacked at how well the booze (11.1% ABV) is buried among the rich flavours. A slow and steady quaffer here folks.
The flavour is also quite complex. Upfront we get a burst of over ripened fleshy fruits, slightly tart berries, chewy caramelized malts, toffee and a subtle alcohol warmth. Once it comes up to room temperature the alcohol does present a bit more as do the super sweet malts. The finish is potent and sharp with a focus on the rich and heavy residual sweetness and spice on the back end.
Far out that’s one seriously complex drop. Obviously not for everyone and mainly for the extremely adventurous craft beer drinker. Final thoughts are that it’s better consumed cold and share it with a friend. But more to the point, bask in its moreish complexity because it’s one seriously decadent ale. Kudos Bacchus!

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Fat Man Red Suit Big Sack’ India Red Ale

10346652_465712536946230_2497580571659850666_n“Originally brewed for export to Canada this red IPA showcases some of our Aussie Hops. Galaxy Topaz and Enigma.”

Well, it may already be 2016 but who says we can’t still enjoy a Christmas beer? And what an interesting label we have here. Yes, we’ve all seen our fair share of provocative puns but for us this one almost takes the cake, excuse our pun.

As she’s an IPA well serve this in to an IPA glass. The heavily clouded copper appearance is topped off by a tightly compacted head that slowly shrinks to a halo with a few random spots of lacing. We tried this little beauty on tap at the KB a couple of months ago but don’t recall it being this complex. Brilliant balance on the nose though, the all Aussie hop bill of Galaxy, Topaz and Enigma hand this aroma its appealing scents of apricot, guava, pineapple, rock melon and peach. Slightly acidic but that may be the combination of fruity hops and a hefty 7.5% ABV tingling the olfactory’s. The rich malts provide the balance by offering sweet wafts of caramel, honey and buttery biscuits. Plenty to like so far. In the mouth it’s dense and quite sticky with a moderate Co2 level. The 65 IBU is a little surprising, it is quite restrained and feels more like 50-55 bitterness-wise. A potent cocktail-like mix of booze, fruity hops and caramelized malts lead out, transitioning to a caramel/toffee malt driven mid palate. The alcohol warmth returns before a heavily sweet and slightly dry finish rounds it all out. Excellent length. Decent offering, we just don’t know if we’re completely in to it. It’s very sweet almost to the point of being cloying but thankfully the fruity hops do pull it back a bit. For the most part it’s a solid drop, there’s just a couple of minor features that we weren’t all that keen on.

Prancing Pony Brewery India Red Ale

12342293_458919554292195_2970936551414569051_n“This ale is based on ‘American Imperial Double Red Ale’ according to the British Ale Style Guide. With a dark red brownish colour, a firm creamy head and lots of fruity aromas on the nose, this ale has a big, malty body with late bitterness. The Red has been crafted with big dry hop aromas coming through from citrusy and tropical fruity hop varieties. With late lingering bitterness it is in perfect harmony with the fruity hop aromas. This Thoroughbred goes well with Asian and Curry dishes and presents well when matched to blue cheeses and smoked meats.”

Served in an IPA glass. The cloudy copper hue arouses an off-white two finger overlay that steadily reduces to a thin sheet over the top. Some healthy lace trails are left clinging to the glass. The aroma of this beauty is something to behold. Before you even put it to your nose you’ll get a gorgeous waft of candied and juicy tropical fruits. Lychee, pineapple, mango and passion fruit all spring to mind instantly. Adding even more depth and sweetness is the robust caramel malt backing that exudes wafts of sherbet, artificial berries and caramelized sugars. All of this held together by a brilliantly masked but traceable alcoholic scent. Excellent balance. Absolutely superb aroma. In the mouth the 7.9% ABV reveals itself with a slight warming on the tongue. The hefty malt profile smooths it straight out, leaving a really silky and velvety texture on the palate. Once again smooth and brilliantly balanced. Upfront it’s like an explosion of tropical fruits, sweet caramel malts and a gentle alcohol warmth. Almost like a fruity summer cocktail that tantalizes the taste buds. As it progresses through the mid the assertive bitterness (60 IBU) replaces the lapsing alcohol burn. Juicy lychee, pineapple and mango power on through to a heightened hoppy finish, lingering on the back palate nicely. This right here is one of the main reasons why we love craft beer. Absolutely delicious, and a world class India red ale. Simply brilliant….We loved it. If you couldn’t half tell!

Kaiju! Beer ‘Hopped out’ Red

11708022_435317603319057_5625544007964395899_o“This fearsome red foe developed a taste for Nor-West hop varieties, consuming every last one before meeting her fate. Tropical, piney aromas, layered over a complex, biscuity-toffee malt profile.”

It comes as no surprise to us that this amber/red ale picked up the coveted trophy at Australia’s International Beer Awards last year (2014). We’ve almost got through Kaiju’s whole range and we can say with conviction that they are one of our top 5 best Aussie craft breweries at the moment. Served in a shaker glass. Pours to an attractive deep red/copper hue that holds a creamy two finger crown over the top. The head is retained relatively well, only peeling off a fraction before settling to a thick covering. Laced well. Smells absolutely divine! kind of like how a good red IPA would, with this sweet toffee/caramel malt base and it’s tiers of tropical and resinous hops filling it out. The malts also go deeper offering nutty undertones and suggestions of brioche and biscuits. As much as we are hop fiends, it’s a welcome change to see Kaiju producing a more malt-forward ale. It also highlights their versatility. The slightly dominant malts also add to this really smooth mouth feel. It’s got a nice coating texture to it as the hops work their magic drying up the tongue on the back end. The 6.5% ABV is only subtle and the Co2 is moderate. Medium bodied. The hop profile is a bit more prevalent on the palate. Flavours of grapefruit and pine resin upfront enjoy a delicate caramel malt backing. Midway, a toastiness comes through which is accentuated by a dry finish with sweet caramel and toffee on the rear. A brilliant show of balance is provided from start to finish here. From the hoppy aroma with sweet malt undertones to a palate that offers a nice, flowing progression of hop bitterness and soothing malts. Kaiju do it again with another cracker ale!

Moondog ‘breakfast of champions’ Bloody Mary red ale

imageThe latest brew from these crazy craft brewers is really appealing to us because we don’t mind a Bloody Mary, and to have it incorporated into a red ale is just bloody genius! The ingredients are as follows…75kg of tomato purée, vegan Worcestershire sauce, celery salt and chilies. This beer could be absolutely brilliant, or terrible. Here goes.

On pouring, there is a lovely amber- red with a surprising amount of carbonation that leaves a minimal head with no lacing. A big whiff elicits definite spice from the chili, but also a cider like or sour aroma, and we see on the bottle that cider yeast is used. First sip is a bit bizarre. You get definite chili, you get definite vegetable salt, and you get that tomato flavour sticking to the back of your throat. This is a mild but certain fishy flavour and this must be the Worcestershire sauce. There is mild carbonation in the mouth, with a medium body and a nice smooth end to it. As you continue to drink, the initial vegetable hit subsides and there is this clean, smooth spice from the chili and a satisfying ale-like flavour. We see this drop is 7.6% but you would never know it as all the other flavours of the Bloody Mary mask it. From a craft beer perspective, it’s a brilliant attempt. We love that a cocktail and a beer have been brewed with excellent results. These guys continue to amaze us…what next? Beef stew beer? We reckon these guys could do it.

Moondog ‘jumping the shark’ 2014 edition

image“Hungarian Oak Barrel-aged Saffron’d Imperial Red Ale.”

This is the new bad boy from moondog…a Hungarian barrel aged imperial red ale, using saffron. Whoa. We are nervous and excited at the same time cause the alc vol of this brew is 14.1%! Here goes. Poured into a tulip glass, there is a monstrous head of yellow/white which sits there without budging. We are left with 10mm head as we sip. There is a dark ale look to this, almost ruby red in the light. Immediate smell of plums, raisin, saffron, pineapple, oak, booze and honey. Mouthfeel is massive, almost chewy. Strong but hidden booze merges with Belgian sugars, honeyed malts, drying bitterness, vinous oak and the spice from the hops/saffron/oak. There is massive wall of lace down the glass here. Definate oiliness on the palate also. This is a massive beer but we think the 2013 is slightly better. Not to take anything away from this brew, cause we like the complexity of the brewing.

Blackhorse brewhouse Red ale

image“The Irish are famous for many things, like leprechauns, the colour green and a public holiday dedicated to drinking beer. And it’s one of their beers – the traditional red ale – that we’ve perfected just for you. The Blackhorse Red Ale follows the Irish recipe before deviating with our own unique finish to give a slightly darker colour and strong smooth malt profile. The hint of caramel is certainly no surprise given the beer’s hue, and roasted barley makes itself known too. This is the beer for anyone who ‘likes a good red’ – it even matches to red meat and cheese, just like its grapey cousin”.

Our 3rd instalment of this breweries core range, and spruiked by the head brewer as their signature beer. Served in an English pint the glowing copper-red appearance is very easy on the eye. Capping this liquid beauty off is a 1 finger beige head that reduces to a halo around the edge of the glass. Mild lace. Straight off the bat we can tell this is the head brewers signature beer, the first thing we love is the display of balance between the fruity hops and the nutty, caramelised aromas. If we are correct, Galaxy hops would be providing the tropical fruity wafts while the malt backing is offering chewy caramel, honey, nuts and fig jam. Gorgeous aroma. In the mouth it’s sticky and well rounded. Much better carbonation levels with a steady stream of fizz providing a persistent head and decent bubble on the tongue. Good body. Upfront we taste sweet, toffee malts, caramel and nuts. A mild hop bitterness cuts through the sweetness to offer a little balance through the mid, while the nutty, medium sweet finish provides decent length on the rear palate. 5% ABV which is about on par for a red ale. Every element of the aroma and flavour is very representative of the style, the brewer has done a good job at nailing the basics which in turn produces this quality drop. Big ups.

Mudgee brewing co. ‘Smokey’ red ale

image“Hopped with Amarillo and brewed with smoked malt, this red ale features hop characters and finishes with a lingering smoked flavour”.

Served in a shaker glass, our first attempt at a pour yielded nothing but a glass full of foam so be very patient. Once we lost half the bottle we finally got to enjoy a muddy mahogany brown appearance with a rocky 3 finger tan head that settled to around a 1/4 inch crown on top. Laced really well. The aroma instantly explains the ‘smokey’ red on the label as dominant smoky and peaty wafts emanate initially. Some decent funk too. Underneath lies complex wafts of tart berries, oak, cider, toffee, whiskey, plum and a hint of liquorice. Quite phenolic as well. Wow, so much happening. In the mouth it offers a frothy texture with high levels of carbonation. Medium-full body. Upfront we detect heavy peated flavours that weigh in on the tongue. Tart berries, oak and citrus from the clever addition of Amarillo hops carry forward through the mid-palate and finish smokey with a mild dryness. Great length. The 5.1% ABV is surprisingly low considering the depth of flavour, the brewers have done really well to pack so much in without it being higher. We’re not terribly fond of smoky beers but this one is certainly an exception. Good to see it’s not only fine wine coming our of this region, but great craft beer too.

Mash collective ‘heart breaker’ Red Ale

image“Unleashed from the tanks, Heartbreaker is an alluring amber ale that’ll seduce you like a lover and leave you wanting more…This latest limited release by The Mash Collective draws on the three creatives’ shared affection for rock music, the land and Australia”.

This is a great idea for the craft beer movement. A collaboration between brewer, musician and native chef. Brewed by Stone & Wood, from Byron Bay NSW, this beer is a red ale. We can smell the peach and lemon aromas here. A real earthiness.  The more we read the label we see that Australian quandong and pepperberry are used in the brew…fabulous stuff. This brew pours a ruby red/ mahogany colour and there is a tight 2-3 mm head. We taste the gentle toffee malt from a typical ale, but we get a light heat from the pepperberry. It must be the mildness of native pepper, cause we know what pepper is like on the palate from brews like Dieu du Ciel’s route de epices  and brew cult’s pepper steak porter. In your face. We have to give credit though to the smoothness of this drop. It’s clean, and at a 5.5% ABV it’s a really nice ale that could be consumed in a round of a few dudes at a good pub. This epitomises the beauty of craft brewing. Good job.

Ridgeway brewing Imperial red ale

image“Although Red Ale is not really one of the traditionally English styles they do exist and are typically 3.8% – 4.8% abv, red coloured from crystal malt in combination with pale ale malt, well attenuated so sometimes a bit harsh and frankly a bit on the dull and boring side. If ever there was a style crying out to be given some guts this is it and Imperial Red Ale is the way to do it.”

This brewery is situated in South Stoke, England, and it follows in the footsteps of other imperial-style beers. Our first crack at their range. Pouring a deep glowing amber, this brew has all the characteristics of English style beers. The rich caramel nose from the caramalt is evident, and the use of amber malt showcases the deep appearance and the bready sweetness well. There is very little head here, and mild carbonation in the glass and mouth. The thing we like about this pommy drop is that for a 10% ABV ale, it’s really quite smooth. The bitterness blends in nicely to mask the booze burn on the throat. There is a very mild peppery spice on the back palate, likely from certain hop varieties used. The brewers describe this beer as having a ” savage English bitterness”, but we don’t wholeheartedly agree. It’s far from it, given the smoothness of the brew. Recommended to be served at room temperature to cool in a wine glass. We really dig this beer. Basically, it’s a well balanced (for its strength), imperial red ale.

Karl Strauss brewing co. ‘Red trolley’ Irish red ale

image“Back in the day, we brewed Red Trolley Ale as our first holiday beer. In the spirit of the season, we made like Santa in a fat suit and stuffed it full of caramel malts. So many folks got on board that we decided to brew it year round. Years later, Red Trolley Ale remains the perfect beer to make any occasion festive”.

Another top North-West Coast American micro-brewery this one, their pale ale and IPA are both brilliant beers so we’re expecting another belter of an ale here. Served in a tulip glass the ruby red/mahogany pour produces a half inch of tight beige foam that collapses slowly to a thick collar. Laced reasonably well. The aroma is giving off sweet, caramelised wafts with a lovely addition of juicy berries. Toffee, raspberry, raisin, Jaffa, brioche and plum are just a few of the sweet scents we’re picking up. The mouth feel is quite oily with mild-medium carbonation. Medium bodied. The flavour is packed full of caramel malt and sweet juicy fruits. Although there is a delicate balance that’s struck between the two, the cloying sweetness does get a little overpowering as we near the finish. Additions of toffee and subtle booze (5.8% ABV) are evident in the mid-palate with a sweet sticky finish to round it all off. Maybe a touch too sweet for us, a higher presence of hops would have been a great inclusion to balance this ale out a bit more. Points for a classy brew but we just weren’t sold on it. The Pintail pale ale and the Tower 10 IPA are much better.