Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 23.05.19 in bottle
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Imperial pint can purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of July this year, which is disappointingly close to now.

Pours a fairly bright, clear golden colour, with a fine and persistent white head that stays filmy on top of the body, and leaves exceptional, complex lace. Carbonation is fine, and it glides through the body in powdery waves. Looks very good; very refined.

Nose is a little flat, to be honest. It has a savoury grain note which forms the base of the aroma (which may be the result of age, given the freshness date), with a slight grassy overtone that lends elements of cut fennel and pool chlorine. Slight aromatics lift it a little, with a hint of citrus and crushed vegetation. But it's not overly inspiring in its current form.

Taste is a bit better. It's fresh and weedy at the front, with characters of peeled cucumber dusted with salt. There's a smoothness on the back, lending almost a fragrant vanilla overtone. Mostly, it's based around vegetative hops, but there's a smoothness which softens it a lot.

Feel is pretty good. It's soft and light, with a fine carbonation to enliven it just slightly.

Decent beer. Although I bought this yesterday, I suspect it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and I think it's the worse for it. But it's still holding up, and that's the sign of a well-made beer. As it stands, it's not a stand-out, stellar IPA, but it's very decent for an "old IPA".
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Dr. Lupulin
Reviewed by Jez on 23.05.19 in bottle
76 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Bottles in late March, so it's about 2 months old.

Pours a pleasant, slightly hazy, but not opaque peach golden colour, with a gauzy head of white that leaves fine flecks of lace. Carbonation is also fine, and despite the weight of the beer, the body seems slick and fine. Looks good.

Nose is excellent, especially straight after the pour. It has a bright grapefruit sharpness, mingled with a crisp resinous note that smells like cracking a lovely fresh bag of hops. Under it are hints of stewed orange, clove and pepper. The spices get more prominent as it warms.

Taste is also pretty good. The main strength of it is, well, its strength, and the fact it doesn't show it. It has a lovely soft and light body, which allows the hops to shine enough to counteract the booze, with a smooth orange peel character on the back, and a very soft carbonation throughout. It has a slight muted pepper character in the finish—it might just be a little prickle of heat from the booze.

Feel is excellent. Soft and smooth, with a very refined velvet fuzz of carbonation.

Extremely drinkable. Dangerously so for such an immense beer. It shouldn't feel this good. But that speaks to the quality of the brew. I'm honestly quite the fan. I think this is the best beer I've had from Revision so far.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.25
Campfire Stout with Coffee
Reviewed by Jez on 23.05.19 in bottle
68 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a glossy black-brown colour, with a firm, persistent head of pale brown, that settles into a bubbly ring. Carbonation is fine, and the body looks fine but thick. Looks good.

Nose is quite similar to the regular Campfire Stout, with perhaps a slightly stronger lean on the roast from the coffee. But otherwise, there's definitely a lot of chewy sweetness, and a smouldering smoke character. As it warms, the coffee definitely comes out, giving a fresh grounds note mixed with characters of split grass and caraway. Nice.

The taste is okay. It has a really rather strong coffee character here that provides a robust bitterness, which defeats some of the delicate balance. You can still sense the sweetness in the body (although it's more of a feel than a flavour), but the smoke character mingles with the dark bitterness to come across slightly ashy. Finish has a suggestion of sweetness underneath the coffee—perhaps it's that slight marshmallow note.

Overall, it's certainly a decent beer. But it's a beer which genuinely feels like it deconstructs the purpose of its progenitor. The coffee isn't actually a good match here, and it has a tendency to railroad the other characters.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.05.19 in bottle
52 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for my birthday.

Pours a dark chocolatey colour with thin beige head that dissipates fairly quickly, giving a bit of a lacklustre crown of lacing. Fairly sparse that makes the beer look a little thin. But OK.

Smells roasty and pleasant. A good chocolatey note with very slight ashy bitterness to it that intensifies it a little bit. Fairly decent caramel character around the edges. Yeah, look it's somewhat sweet but otherwise has a good robust stout character to it. It's good.

Tastes... a little thin to be honest. Has a pretty decent chocolate note in terms of flavour but it's quite subtle and buried under an odd sort of spicy and ethanoic mid-palate that has some mild berry notes but otherwise doesn't have a lot of flavour to it. The finish feels a little adjunct-sweetened and has a surprising lack of depth to it where the nose promised a good roasty bitterness; it's just not there. It's not overall a bad beer but it's fairly dull as a stout and it's quite disappointing coming off the nose to this as a flavour profile.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the most part, but the mid-to-late has a nice bittiness from the roasted malt. Not bad.

I'd say it delivers on its promise but fairly thinly. The chocolate and the stout are both fairly sub-par and it ends up like a bit of a sweet dark mild ale. It's like buying Lindt and getting Nestlé.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.0
Mexican Achromatic
Reviewed by Jez on 21.04.19 in bottle
87 / 100
22oz brown bottle given to me by my mate Aaron, who's clearly a good friend. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.

Pours a deep, dense brown-black, with a firm head of pale mocha that settles out quickly fine ring. Slight spotty lace, but not a lot. Body is slick and fine, but it's also surprisingly light and swift-moving. Clarity is also surprisingly high at the edges. Looks good all up.

Lovely aromatic characters, with big chocolate base. I get characters of rosewater, soaked cherries, cinnamon and a mild smoky chilli note. It's got lovely combinations between sweet and savoury, and those little flecks of spice which enliven it with a sense of danger. Great stuff.

Taste is delicious. It does have a strong chocolate character on the front, which develops spicier tones of cinnamon and pepper as it goes on. There's not a high chilli flavour, but it does develop a small glow of warmth on the back palate. There's a pleasant vanilla sweetness on the back—again a slight aromatic character of rose as well, and a long linger of dark malt. It's very nice indeed.

Feel is smooth and slick. But yeah, there is a lightness that's surprising. It doesn't harm the breadth and complexity of the beer though.

Overall, though. This is a lovely beer. It has such wonderful balance, and the flavours are really well thought-out. It's a clearly well-crafted beer, done by someone who knows their stuff.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
No Needles Harmed
Reviewed by Jez on 21.04.19 in bottle
74 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml dark olive bottle, purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective. This is an Australian Wild Ale with NSW strawberry gum, which is an aromatic variety of eucalyptus.

Pours a slightly hazed golden colour; certainly more hazy than the regular Gold. It forms a small ring of bubbles on the pour, but within five minutes this is mostly gone, leaving the beer itself quite still. Body is light and fluid. Minimal carbonation to begin with, but very still by the end.

Nose is very interesting. The strawberry gum is prominent on the nose, giving sweet bush aromatics, with notes of strawberry bubblegum mixed with the crackle of dry undergrowth on a hot summer day. There's an interesting interplay between the herb and the wild ale, which gives a slight tartness, mingling with vanilla and clove. It's honestly a very clever combination.

Taste isn't quite as good, and it comes in waves. The olida is strong on the front, giving a pronounced leafy strawberry and rosemary note, but this clings to the acidity providing a measure of astringency on the mid-palate. This glides softly into a pleasant ephemeral smoke character, like a bushfire on the other side of town. The back is slightly vegetal though—the herb leaves a little too much vegetative character, and disconnects from the acidity. The finish is slightly floury—a character I do sometimes find in some bottles of WF.

Feel is pleasant—slick, but cut with acid.

It's still a very nice beer, and it's a really interesting expression of what they're trying to do, especially with providence of their ingredients. I can imagine this is just the first step in experimenting with indigenous herbs and spices (and, no doubt, fruits). And it is an auspicious step, if not the final destination—I can imagine it gets better.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Pit Boss Smoked Doppelbock
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.04.19 from a can
62 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for Christmas; I've sat on it for a few months.

Pours a vibrant red-amber colour with generous off-white head, lovely and dense but sinks steadily to leave a thin crown after a little while. Some specks of lace around the edge of the glass. Looks good, but I'm not sure about it for the style, looks like a nice red ale. Still, good.

Smells, yes, smokey. I don't know if it's particularly appealing in that smokiness because it's a little weak so the end result is slightly sour with a meaty character and doesn't have a distinct smokiness to it. Some brown sugar and a slight citric character to it as well. Not bad but not distinct enough, and pretty simple.

Tastes kinda similar; a bit more interesting but the smokiness still feels a little muted and simple, and it takes on a slightly meaty but roasty kind of character as well without a distinct ashy or peaty or woody character, nor any blossoming complexity on the smoke palate. Strong malty backbone which is good for the style; burnt toffee ends up the dominant character with some mild cherry notes as well. Finishes fairly short (I guess? It's a lager after all) but feels less dry and more just sort of flat on the back, where the smokey character should linger and smoulder a bit. Quite palatable but largely because it dials back on a lot of the flavour.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth; slight bitty texture midway through where some of the malt and yeast complexities make themselves more known than they did on the palate itself. But yeah, light and fluid and pleasant.

Overall it's a mixed bag. A well-made beer that introduces nice flavours but doesn't really work much with those flavours. For the size it feels a little simple and glib.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
South Pacific Dream
Reviewed by Jez on 14.04.19 from a can
60 / 100
330ml can purchased for me by Sam. Probably from Slowbeer, but who knows. BB date of November 2019, so plenty of time left on it.

Pours a rather deep golden colour, heading towards a pale bronze, with a thin, but coarse head of white that sits in a ring, leaving limited lace, and also not really persisting very well. Body is light, but with a sheen to it. It looks okay, but not much more than okay.

Nose is rather pleasant. It has a bright, fruit-forward hop character, that gives it a rounded, sweet quality. It's more juicy than I expected, certainly. It's also fairly light, with a thin, sugary note giving a suggestion of booze, which isn't quite right for such a light beer. But the hops mostly take the vanguard and cover up for other weaknesses.

Taste is reasonable. Again there's hop character on the front, and this provides fruit flavours without too much bitterness. There's a slight crystal or biscuit grain character through the centre, which does its best to bolster the body (even though it also detracts somewhat from the hops). But in the end, the body falters a little—it's smooth enough on the back, but it's also hard to deny that there's a lightness that comes from the lack of alcohol.

Overall, it's a drinkable, if fairly straightforward pale ale. The hop bill is good though, and it's used to good advantage. It feels a little bit though as though the rest of the beer is just struggling to keep up its end of the bargain.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Costa Dei Villa (La Sirène Collaboration)
Reviewed by Jez on 07.04.19 in bottle
75 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml JP-style bottle purchased from Slowbeer. Shared with Sam.

Pours a very slightly hazed, bright golden colour, with a lovely, rocky and firm head of pure white that leaves wonderfully intricate lace. Body is light and clean, with vibrant, fast-moving carbonation. It looks the business.

Nose is also excellent. It has a lovely yeasty brut character to it, with bright vinous characters to give it fruit and lift. There's a semi-savoury note as well, which gives characters of bone broth and stewed tomato. They're just the darker notes of the main though. Mostly, it's bright, dry, fragrant and effervescent.

Taste is very dry, and a little bit to its detriment, to be honest. It loses some of the fruit, and hence it doesn't have the body to support the complexity you want it to have. It starts out dry, earthy and a little bit bitter, and then dries up into a very desiccated mid-palate. Finish has bitter herbs, grapefruit peel and almost an anise tarragon bite.

Feel is dry and light. It has a very fine sparkle of carbonation, which is quite nice.

Overall, I like it. It has a fair bit of complexity to it, but I'd love to see it in a slightly bigger beer with a better base for expressing it. It ends up feeling a bit fatiguing on the palate, even though I want to keep sipping it.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
High Fives & Good Vibes (Resident Culture Collaboration)
Reviewed by Jez on 07.04.19 from a can
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Pint can purchased from Tasty Beverage Co. in Asheville, NC. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam. Canning date of 01/25/2019.

Very hazy, slightly dark peachy colour with a fine ring of gauzy white that leaves specks of lace. Body is full and firm, with fine carbonation.

Nose is a little bit dirty and chalky, but it does have an underlying character of pasteurized tropical juice, with a bit of guava and banana. Slight pepper comes through as well, which again is not necessarily the character you really want. Aromatic banana and pandan leaf comes through as it warms, giving a bit more of a tropical evocation.

Taste is also a little bit gritty at the start, but it does have more of a rounded fruit character, almost a little bit berry-like, with strawberry and more guava. There's a touch of bitterness towards the back, a little more than you expect for the style, but it may just be the confluence of the extra booze and the front-loaded hops. It's still pretty nice.

Feel is smooth, but with a slight chalkiness.

Overall, it's a pleasant, drinkable beer for the most part. It's not a stellar example of a NEIPA though, so it falls a little bit down on what you feel it's trying to do. I like how well the booze is hidden, at least.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Ms Violet (2018 Edition)
9.0% Tripel from To ؘl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.03.19 from a can
68 / 100
Blackcurrant and plum tripel; can given to me by Jez for Christmas. Tried and reviewed live into this website as a reward after mowing the lawn on a hot day. Because you should totally fucking drink fucking big Belgian beers after mowing the lawn, you fuck.

Pours a deep amber colour, slight tinge of red but not the vibrant kind of colour you might expect from blackcurrant and/or plum additions. Head is lovely when poured, it sinks steadily but leaves some absolutely knockout lacing behind, thick tendrils of white foam that forms an abstract work of art on the glass. Nice dense foam to the head as well even if it's just a thin crown by now. Looks superb.

Smelled a bit rank when I was pouring it; up close it's not unpleasant but it's a pretty pungent fruit aroma; the plum is more dominant (thankfully) than the blackcurrant which still lends a candy sweetness to the fragrance but without taking over. Distinct phenolic characters as well that ground the sweet fruit but also clash with it a little bit and that's where that rankness comes in: it's very sweet but there's an earthy kind of aroma as well which gives the whole thing a hint of rotten compost. It's not bad in the finer details but there's something a little off-putting about it.

Taste is really quite sour, actually, and it's an odd thing really because it's clearly a big-ass beer, and the tartness comes from the fruit, but the end result with the phenols and Belgian spice notes comes across a little lambic-esque. But without the particular lambic bug characters. It starts out fairly predictably, giving a big rich plum note but also plenty of sweet blackcurrant character that continues to the mid-palate. Some malt starts rising up that adds body but also grounds the sweetness in more familiar beer territory and stops it floating off into fruit-juice land. The fruity notes then join with a phenolic spice and a rising ethyl booze character late so it ends up being fairly tart with a drying, slightly raspy mouthfeel largely from the effect of the alcohol. The tartness also doesn't linger like it would on a proper sour, in fact the finish is slightly short with the fruit sourness just fading away and a faint lingering earthy bitterness hangs around for a short coda. All up it's not a bad experience drinking it, but I feel it leans a little too heavily on the fruit and could use more complexity from the Belgian yeast and possibly some more distinct bitter-hopping as well.

Mouthfeel is very nice notwithstanding the booze. The body is full and very smooth, with a nice coating from the residual sugars that helps pad out the booze. The booze is more of a flavour than a physical sensation and that's a positive thing.

I don't know if I've had a tripel or a strong Belgian style from To Øl (I could look it up but I can't be bothered) but I feel I'd like to try this without the fruit being so central. Or possibly with a subtler fruit adjunct than blackcurrant. It's pretty nice, but it's a little too fruity and tangy for my liking.
appearance: 4.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Marzen Weiße 2018 Saffron
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 22.03.19 in bottle
50 / 100
(Not Great)
Bottle given to me by Jez, reviewed live onto this website because I haven't gotten around to entering reviews otherwise in about six months.

Pours a pale gold colour with - maybe, yes - saffron tinge through the body. Head struggled to be born when I poured and it's definitely breathed its last breath by now, it's a flat and remarkably dull-looking beer. I mean it looks like yellow water by now. OK colour but nothing else to recommend it. At all.

Smells fairly vinous, with a notable champagne yeast kind of character (honestly, at 6.8% it wouldn't surprise me if they've used a little champagne yeast in this to raise the ABV and dry it out) but a good Marzeny malt base, a touch of caramel sweetness and a floral character complementing the sourness nicely. It's not very sour but it's got a good piquant edge to it, quite pleasant.

Taste is a little odd, really. More distinctly sour than the aroma made me feel but there's a strange meaty substance to it, not just from the floral saffron addition but because the malt is really too thick in body for this palate. There's a strong undercurrent of biscuity, caramelly malt that has a slight spice note midway through before the tart notes take hold. Quite champagney again on the back, fairly dry with a slight woody edge as well. It's not unpleasant but it's a very odd and uncomfortable marriage of elements - thick malt with tartness, a dry attenuation and a touch of rich spice. I feel like the thinner, more refreshing version at <5% may have been quite complex and fascinating. It feels a bit bloated and pillowy as it is.

Mouthfeel is yeah, look it's thick and weird. It needs way more pucker to match the flavour because the tartness just feels heavy-going and flabby.

Yeah, it's an interesting proposition but it's a classic case of trying to do too much in one beer: the saffron is a decent idea, but why raise the traditional ABV of a kettle-sour (or sour mash) beer as well? It ends up a bit of a mess.
appearance: 1.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 2.75
Stay Down
Reviewed by Jez on 10.02.19 in bottle
44 / 100
(Not Great)
Dry-hopped black session lager, purchased from St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.

Pours a kind of dirty brown colour, with some hazing, a little like filtered coffee that's been sitting out all night. Head forms a coarse crest to begin with, but quickly settles out to nothing, leaving no lacing at all. Body is thin, although the darkness gives the suggestion of more. I'm underwhelmed.

Nose is oddly grassy. Loads of cut celery, and a seedy note like carrot seed. Slight organic note which smells like (and I'm sorry to say it) cat litter. There's a slight lemon character which gives a note like a car air freshener. But overall, as you can tell, I'm not impressed.

Taste is very thin. It has a faint cereal quality which provides the bulk of the body (what there is), but this is only leavened by a very quiet but strident lemon note, which seems like it's whispering at the top of its lungs. Otherwise, it's really quite bland. That's a shame.

Overall, this is a really disappointing beer, and speaks to a brewery that doesn't have the courage of its convictions. I've had some amazing dark lagers—both traditional, and those, like this that claim to be hop-forward with a strong dry-hopping regime. This feels a lot like a lager done without inspiration, and lacking the progression of the craft.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 2.5
Finback IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 10.02.19 from a can
65 / 100
Pint can purchased from St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.

Pours a pleasant hazy yellow colour, with a foamy, fairly coarse head of white that leaves large specks of lace. Body is fairly light, actually, liquid and swift in the body, with minimal carbonation. Looks okay, but not one of the best looks to a beer.

Nose is pleasant. It has a strong mid-fruit sweetness. Mangoes and pineapple are strong, and the citrus takes a back seat. The herbal characters you sometimes get are really quite subdued. But it is aromatic. There are notes of rubbed lemon and a little lavender. All up: very pleasant.

Taste is soft and supple. It's a little bit doughy—or too sweet perhaps. It doesn't have the bite to really make the balance quite right. Not even the sharp fruit aromatics which would provide a complement to the heavy sweetness. It's not bad, but it's too one sided—a NEIPA in theory, but missing too much of the things which make for a good overall beer. It's pleasant though.

I think I've used the adjective "pleasant" more than any other in this review, and I think that's a fair way to summarise it. It's not the kind of beer that really extends the style, nor one that really exemplifies it, and there are some things which drag it back a bit. But it's perfectly reasonable and pretty drinkable. I'm not sure why I'd drink this though when there's plenty more options.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Imperial IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 05.02.19 from a can
46 / 100
(Not Great)
12oz can purchased at St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.

Pours a solid orange colour, deeper than you get in the new wave of hazy IPAs, but it is still hazy nonetheless, forming a cloudy mass in the body which prevents light escaping. Head is a fine cap of white that persists as a film. Minimal lacing. Carbonation is also pretty shy. Looks decent enough.

Nose is weirdly malty—I suspect it's from the Maris Otter they use in the grist, which gives more of a sweet, malt-forward character. The hops are a little bit flat, and given there's no freshness date on the can, I suspect it might just be because it's old. The booze is hidden well at least, but overall, it's a bit unexciting.

Taste matches what you expect from the nose. There's a grassiness to it, which I think comes from the combo of that strong malt note and slightly tired hops. It is fairly light and smooth though, and there's not really at all a hint of the booze, which is an unexpected pleasure. But it's certainly lacking a fair bit of complexity, and I'm overall a bit underwhelmed.

Yeah, it's not a great beer, and when it's trying to compete with all of the great beers in the area, it's a bit of a downer. I don't mind it, and I could drink it. But when there's many many other better options, why should I?
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 2.75
Meadow Maker
Reviewed by Jez on 04.02.19 from a can
78 / 100
Pint can purchased from St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.

Pours a very deep golden colour, almost brassy in the depths, with a moderate amount of hazing, but certainly not opaque. Head is a frothy cap of white, that leaves tiny streaks of lace. Body is fairly light and fluid.

Nose is rather pleasant, with a hop direction more towards woody and herbal than most NEIPAs. But it works rather nicely, with some light fruit backing it up—a little passionfruit and lime perhaps, under the broader, earthier tones.

Taste is also very good. Here, there's more of a luscious fruit quality, and a smoothness on the palate that delicately transforms into a soft finish. It doesn't cloy, but it doesn't prickle with overt bitterness—it's just naturally balanced. Through the mid you get hints of mango and pineapple, leavened by some of those herbal tones—a little parsley or celery leaf, perhaps.

Feel is good. Not as creamy and soft as some NEIPAs, but suitable—not overly carbonated.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'd not come across Alewife before (nor heard any particular recommendations for them), but this was a solid entry, and a very nice NEIPA.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Short Fuse
Reviewed by Jez on 04.02.19 on tap
55 / 100
Foudre-fermented lager, with subtle smoke, apparently. Tried on-tap at Gold Star Beer Counter in New York.

Pours a very clear, very pale golden colour with a very light body. Head is white, forming a fine but persistent crest. Lacing is minimal, however, although the carbonation is streaming and pleasant.

Nose has a distinct corn character to it, which derides some of the pleasant grain notes by driving them in that direction. There's subtle undertones of smoke, but they go more towards turned earth, accentuated by the German hop characters. It's a bit thin all up. But no unpleasant.

Tate is light and crisp on the entry, with a slight herbal quality to it. Corn on the mid-palate with a hedgerow kind of woody bite to it. Back has a bit more sweetness than you want, but with a slight linger of mineral smoke, developing into a husky finish.

Feel has a slight gluiness from the corn note. It makes it feel more cloying and thicker than it would otherwise.

Overall, it's okay. But it's not the clean crisp beer you want, and the smoke isn't prominent enough to make it interesting.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Jewel Shard
Reviewed by Jez on 04.02.19 on tap
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on tap at Gold Star Beer Counter in Brooklyn.

Pours a pear-juice yellow colour, very hazed with a solid weight to the body. Head is a fine cap of just-cream-coloured white that leaves good long streaks of lace. Carbonation is very fine. Looks very good.

Noise is very juicy. I definitely get pear, with sharper characters of starfruit and a slightly weedy, organic character. This turns into a hop pellet character after a while, and gets very subdued once it's warm.

Light, but smooth entry on the palate, Pear skin give a slight organic character which turns into a slight savoury character on the mid-palate. It's fairly juicy on the mid, with a hint of citrus, but this dries out to a prickly, pellety bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste has a slight bite of white pepper.

Feel is slick and smooth, and this honestly helps the beer a lot.

Overall, it's clean and smooth for the most part and definitely easy to drink. It's not the grandest or most insinuating of hazy IPAs. But it does its job well.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
The Guvnor II, Part 1: French Oak
Reviewed by Jez on 04.01.19 in bottle
61 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam, some time ago.

Pours a pleasant reddish-tinged deep amber, which gives it a refined mahogany hue. Head forms a fine ring that leaves spotty but intricate lacing. Body is surprisingly light, but it has a slickness, and the fine carbonation shows this off.

Nose is a bit dull, to be honest. It's not bad, but it plays mostly with a kind of plain, biscuity character like toasted grains, but there's not a lot of complexity behind it. The oak is definitely missing in aroma, although it does perhaps give an overall smoothness to the beer. But then again, this may just by dampening the overall experience, which is one of the main drawbacks.

Taste is a little better, although it is disappointingly simple even so. It has a kind of cracked malt character throughout, with some toffee notes that really just suggest plain sugar. It has a slickness to it, and I'll admit the alcohol is well hidden—but again that's just speaking to the fact that it's a bit bland. Finish has a touch of bite, and maybe the first suggestion of woody oak.

It's not bad, and it's certainly pretty drinkable, especially for its size. But it's also not really interesting, and you don't feel like it warrants being as big as it is—it's not providing a big complexity, or a powerful flavour profile. And that's a shame for a beer like this.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
James E. Pepper 1776 Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 04.01.19 in bottle
47 / 100
(Not Great)
22oz brown bomber purchased from I don't know where any more. I do remember at some point that I had two bottles of this, and I would have thought I'd reviewed it back then, but apparently, I had not. This is a strong American brown ale, matured in rye whiskey barrels. Bottled in December 2015, so this is more than 3 years old now.

Pours a murky, rather opaque brown colour, a little bit like chilled, melted chocolate, mixed with something a little clearer and miscible. Head fizzes up with some weak, loose bubbles to begin with, but settles out to nothing, leaving the bill looking dead and still. Body has some weight, but less than you might expect from a beer of its size.

Nose is relatively pleasant, based as it is first and foremost around the oak. This gives it a smoothness, and just enough of a contrast to the deep, boozy sweetness to provide some balance. It also adds notes of tobacco and vanilla. Otherwise, it's mostly dark and sweet.

Taste is disappointing, to be honest. Here, there's very little sweetness cushioning the hit of the oak, which ends up feeling ashy and tannic in the mouth—a little bit like chewing on sawdust. Instead of accentuating the characters, it's really very hot and dry, with a bitterness on the back that shares more in common with cough mixture than a really good strong ale. It's a little better as it warms up, with a little more smoothness, although little additional sweetness.

It's a shame, really. It's drinkable enough, but the flavours are really quite aggressive, and lack balance on the palate. It really ends up being a bit of a slog, and not worthy of the ABV.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0