Salted pretzel-inspired gose brewed for GABS 2017. The bready imagery doesn't exactly inspire me heading into this.
Pours a very very, amazingly pale colour, almost transparent with the main colour coming from the light haze in the body. White head, foamy and decent retention. I'm impressed.
Smells a touch grainy, maybe with a touch of peanuts, but otherwise mostly lots of air. Nothing to it, really. Less impressed now.
Taste is alright, and pretty much what I expected. Cereal grain upfront that develops a big yeasty bready character midway that lasts til the end. Touch of salt towards the back and a nice hint of tartness that stops it from being stodgy. Not bad, but not great.
Thin body, pretty much what you'd expect from the style and the size.
Not bad as goses go. But nothing special, and nothing particularly inventive either. I wouldn't really think of pretzels if it weren't in the name, I'd just think of goses, which are quite pretzel-esque in their natural state anyway.
Pours a burnished orange colour, quite coppery really with a steady bead. Head is nice when poured but sinks to a thin white film, fed by the bubbling underneath. Lacing is thin but nice. Looks pretty good, maybe touch dark.
Smells coppery, with a touch of noble hop. Deeper down there's some nice toffee malt and a good tart fruity character, giving overripe pear and some apple notes. Not as much as I'd expect from a brett-fermentation but pretty pleasant.
Taste is quite bitter. Funky and earthy and quite phenolic throughout, with a decent spicy Belgian complexity, that then gets a bit metallic on the back. There's a dour earthiness that takes the freshness out of it, and just a hint of some fruit on the very back, somewhat spicy but kind of grainy, almost like a rye character and certainly not a lot of nice tart funkiness that I was hoping for. Pleasant enough but yeah a bit dour.
A bit of fizz that gets more potent on the back with some slight puckering from the yeast. Fine for style but not ideal.
I've had more immediately drinkable beers, but there's a good palate construction and decent balance to this that make it certainly palatable if not exciting.
73 / 100
This is a 100% Brettanomyces-fermented pale ale. 50/50 call whether I call it a saison or a Belgian Pale... I don't know, fucking sue me whoever's reading this. Not even my mother reads these. I read these, maybe. Fucking sue yourself if you have a problem, me. Bottle given to me by Jez, enjoyed by myself.
Pours a pale metallic copper colour, strange paling as it gets to the edge like it's quite thin or there's material in the body that hasn't sunk yet. Head is lovely and generous with nice marshmallowy peak on the top. Lacing is decent but not very clingy. Looks odd but good.
Smells bretty. Funky barnyard character with a slightly crisp citric note, giving both acidity and astringency. Subtle malty note is quite rich, molassesy even, gives a faint whiff of honey even from a while away. Decent, but pretty much just what you'd expect.
That maltiness is quite prominent here, and the beer is stronger for it. Rich caramel toffee note that gets richer, yeah more molasses on the mid-palate. Brett comes through then, slightly funky, a little tart and gets quite organic which works with that malt to create a malt vinegar kind of character to finish. Slightly bitter on the finish but a nice lingering twang of acidity helps elevate it above ashy astringency. Quite pleasant palate really, well balanced with some really strong-flavoured elements working together.
A good body, carried by the malt. Nice texture, maybe a little thick actually, but good.
Interesting beer, intriguing premise. Ballsy malty pale, Brett-fermented so it's quite heavy but nicely funky as well. Nicely put together.
48 / 100
Redo of their 2015 GABS beer, but this one brewed with a sour mash (which I think should make it a Berliner Weiss maybe) and without the cherry pips. Also aged in stainless rather than cognac barrels. Can't say I'm overly excited. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours a bright, bright red colour, slightly cloudy, with a nice creamy head on top that by proximity to the red, at least, looks pink. Pretty good.
Smells sweet, really. Big buttery caramel aroma and a touch of vanilla. Bit of cat pee on there as well, and maybe some diacetyl. Tastes like the weirdness you get from sour mash but without any development of the flavours into proper beery territory.
Taste is quite cidery. Sort of champagne character upfront, slightly crisp and tart, then develops a big green apple character midway, slightly sour and somewhat corporeal on the back. Not a lot of cherry, mostly just tastes like sour yeast notes. Not that impressive, have had better.
Texture is kind of sharply sour. Thin and slightly tangy. Average.
Doesn't do much for me. Sour mash, very tart, but not a lot to lift it. If they could have extracted more cherry flavour (hint: use pips) or got a complementary character to age it on (hint: cognac barrels) it may have been better. That said, I didn't love their beer last year either but this just seems a husk of that beer.
Final bottle in my Bridge Rd advent calendar. Enjoyed about a sixth of the bottle before accidentally knocking the glass off the coffee table, breaking my favourite Riedel glass and spreading the beer all over the loungeroom floor in my clumsy attempt to catch the glass and prevent it from breaking.
Pours a dirty red colour. Very opaque and largely umber. Head is beige, nice volume to it with a nice foamy density. Lacing is pretty decent too. Looks good, but the colour isn't pretty however you spin it.
Smells strongly hoppy. Spicy, with a fresh pepper and bushy aroma to it. Some citrus tang, grains of paradise, turmeric and some late stonefruit. Slightly salty minerally note as well. Could use a bit more oomph from the malt, it's faded into the background and the hops are a little unbalanced so more anchoring would be nice.
Taste is very tangy, fruity upfront, big stonefruit note before the spice character comes through midway. Decent crystal malt character, with a slight resinous hop note late-mid trailing into the finish. Ends with a fruity piney note, slight lemongrass character and lingers with a metallic chemical bitterness. Feel like the topaz is very strong here, and some more late Galaxy would really freshen this up, but otherwise its nicely balanced and drinkable for the style.
A bit tough but a good body helps smooth out the texture quite well, so it feels hefty and powerful but not overboard.
Big hoppy red ale, lots of body, lots of spice. Feel like for the whole Aussie christmas thing it could use more life on the palate, it feels a bit gravelly and weighty.
74 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery as part of the Bridge Road Beerdvent beer advent calendar.
Pours a very nice deep brown, with the gloss of red all over it. Head is a fine and persistent crest of off-white, that settles out to some pocked round bubbles and very fine, very intricate lace. Looks good. Carbonation is also very fine, especially when tilted.
Nose is great. Really, stacks of character, with tart barrel characters, almost tending towards kriek cherries, vinous notes, and an underlying oddly meaty sweetness. Other characters of copper and even a little charcoal come through. It's complex and really very interesting.
Taste, sadly, is a bit of a let down. It really needs a very sharp, crisp acidity through the centre, and it's just missing entirely here, leaving the middle of the palate feeling empty and almost watery. There is still some semblance of it around the edges though, with that coppery metallic note and a bit of roast which harks back to the almost mineral charcoal quality. Back has a hint of medicine and tannic red wine. It's still good, but the nose promised so much more.
Feel is actually quite sticky, despite having a rather pleasant leanness to it.
Overall, though, this is a really interesting beer. If I sound a little disappointed, it's only because up until taking my first sip this really looked as though it was going to be a match for a proper Belgian Oud Bruin. As it is, it didn't quite cut it, but it's still an extremely interesting brew.
77 / 100
Reviewing this separately, as I feel the new vintages are significantly enough changed from the originals to warrant their own entry. This version is also 9.5% ABV, so 1 percentage point higher than the previous versions I've tried. Come in a 750ml dark green capped bottle, purchased directly from the brewery as part of their Beerdvent advent calendar. This was the beer for Christmas Day.
Pours a beautifully silky dark black-brown, with a very fine and very voluminous head of chocolate brown bubbles that leave sheets and intricate streaks of lacing. Carbonation is powder-fine, and folds sweetly through the velvety body. It's a great looking beer, no doubt about that.
Nose is excellent as well. In true B2 Bomber form, it's heavy on the roast, giving it a dark, ashy aroma that nonetheless speaks of dark fruits like blood plums and blackberries. Hops are again only a secondary character, but they provide a different angle on the ashiness, with a bit of resinous bite. Other sweeter flavours come through as it warms, in particular milk chocolate and vanilla. All up, it's another great nose.
Taste is also very good, and here it's pretty sharp with roast, especially towards the back. Bitterness from the hops works in with that ashy note to give it a very robust finish. Before that, there's the rounded smoothness of the body (and a slight warmth of booze, although it's quite well hidden), which softens the palate. It does cling a little, making it feel a bit too sharp—from my experience with previous vintages, it's likely a character that mellows with age. At around the 12-month mark, this is usually softened, leaving a superb beer in its wake.
Overall, though, it's hard to argue with the fact that this is still a truly excellent beer. It's smooth, with a bit of attitude that it needs to work through. Likely, it's just that roughness and rawness that will see it survive over time. If you have a bottle you're sitting on at the moment, I recommend sitting on it a little longer. This, like its former incarnations, looks like it's ready for the long haul.
Ooh, interesting beer, with it's black-and-white laser-printed label and lack of any commercial information. Purchased from the brewery as part of their #beerdvent beer advent calendar. This was day 21.
Pours a slight coppery orange, with some hazing once it's int he glass. Head is a little flimsy, but forms some fine bubbles around the rim. Body looks like it has a bit of weight to it for 4.2% ABV, and the carbonation is fine and quite static when tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pretty stylistically appropriate. Malt-forward, slightly grainy and a little buttery, although not in a bad diacetyl way. Slight grassy tones come through as well, leaving it feeling a bit rustic and raw. It's pretty decent.
Taste is a little more subdued, but it's not unpleasant. Mild watery grain notes provide a thrust through the emptiness, with a little tickle of carbonation and maybe a faint bitterness in the back. It feels pretty light all through, but there's enough structure and crispness on the back to make it feel like it's going somewhere.
Overall, it's pretty decent stuff. It's a bit light to be a real Märzen, but clocking in at only 4.2% it wasn't going to be the kind of big, bold, malty monster I associate with that style usually. As it is, it's still pretty well constructed, and certainly quaffable.
Bottle obtained as beer number 21 in my Bridge Rd Advent Calendar.
Pours a brownish amber colour, slightly burnished. Head is beige, beautifully dense and foamy with some awesome lacing left behind. Sinks slowly, but leaves a nice crown. Maybe a touch dark but otherwise as good as they look.
Smells appealing. Fruity, tangy and tropical. Notes of pawpaw, lychee and passionfruit. Slight dusty spice and some grain husks grounding it. Nice aroma, but it does stop a little short of blooming out and you can sense the mildness.
Taste is fairly pleasant. Light and summery; some distinct grainy notes, quite English malt with a touch of earthy spice and some burnt sugar too. Hops are fruity; stonefruit and a touch of citrus on the back but light, without too much bitterness, just a twang at the end. Mouthfeel is a bit unfortunate, with very thin body comes great carbonation. It's a bit harsh on the back and tastes a little carbolic late-mid as a result.
Pleasantly flavoured IPA, but it does suffer from its lightness, just from a body point of view. The hops are suitably toned down and the palate overall is nice. But it's not without its flaws as a midstrength proposition.
750ml dark green capped bottle purchased direct from the brewery as part of their Beerdvent advent calendar. I have had this before, but it appears I was yet to review it, so here we go.
Pours a deep amber, quite hazy and dark, with an initially coarse-bubbled head that settles to only a fine ring around the outside. Body has some heft to it, and the carbonation is fine. Minimal lacing, and when the glass is static, the beer itself looks rather still.
Nose is pleasant enough. Slight deep malt notes, with a bit of toffee sweetness, leavened somewhat by a slight peppery spice or mineral tone. Deeper notes of dried citrus peel or raisins come through as well, along with something slightly cherry-like or medicinal. It's a bit of an unusual mix, but it's not unpleasant.
Taste is pretty smooth, and actually a lot lighter than I expected (or remember). It has a slight cherry pit bit along the edges, but the feel is very light, and the body is very well-attenuated, meaning it slightly peters out to very little towards the back. However, there is that residual sugary malt structure that provides something skeletal in the background. Booze is very well-hidden.
Overall, it's nice enough, and clearly well-made. It does feel a bit flat, and perhaps a little bit as though it's too old, which is ironic, given that it's literally a beer for saving. But it has it's charm, and part of the charm certainly is it being easy enough to drink that you can savour an entire 750ml bottle of it yourself on a Saturday afternoon.
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery as part of their Beerdvent beer advent calendar.
Pours a deep brown, like ebony, with a thin, minimal, slightly disappointing head of off-white that persists as little more than a coarse ring. Very little lacing either, meaning it looks a bit dead and flat in the glass.
Nose is pleasant. Toasty and a little sweet, with warm notes of anise and cinnamon bark. There's a pepperiness to it that lends some sharpness, but it's mostly quite smooth and sweet. Pretty nice.
Taste is better. There's a pronounced smoothness here to the flavour that layers some vanilla and nutty tones on top of the thin malt base. There's still a touch of sharpness on the back—whether it's yeast notes or actual spice additions I'm not sure, but there's a lingering note of aniseed or maybe pepperberry. Finish is surprisingly light and crisp. It helps the drinkability, but make the end feel quite abrupt.
Overall, it's nice enough stuff. It's not a really exciting standout beer from Bridge Road's range, but I guess the cliqueyness of it being only released for subscribing members makes it a little bit more interesting.
Bottle from my Bridge Rd beer advent calendar.
Pale yellow colour, slight haze. Head is white, whispy cloud. Specks of lace. Looks lagery; alright.
Smells lightly fruity, lightly yeasty. Hint of grapefruit and passion, with a slightly sulfurous edge. Decently light, notes of tang. Bit subdued but pleasant aroma.
Taste is fruity, somewhat tangy. Passion with some apple and peach and a fair woody resinous note. Finishes kind of spicy and slightly flaxen. Was expecting deeper and more nuanced fruity hop notes but fairly pleasant drinking. Maybe a bit too spicy midway, has a little more edge than the style needs. But pleasant and finishes clean.
Bit of a rough edge. No real body but those hops have a lot of texture.
Nice drop; some good flavours. Not as crisp as it could be, but crisp enough.
72 / 100
Bottle from my Bridge Road beer advent calendar.
Pours a burnished copper colour. Head is fairly whispy, some retention. Lace is a cradle of nice, sticky foam. Cloudy; good colour, great lace. Looks excellent.
Smells lovely and fruity. Rich grapefruit with passionfruit seeds and a good peppery spice as well. Melon and agave too. Light caramel malt to balance. Pleasant.
Taste is a lot more dry. Doesn't have the same fruity character; mostly woody, resinous and spicy. Light lemon notes with some cucumber, then drying towards the back. Lemon pepper and maybe some apple notes. Prickly, brambly even. Not bad, but without that fruity note I feel a more malty undertone might add some substance. It's fine but kind of lacking oomph. Or heft.
Drying mouthfeel; decent malt body but loads of pull from the hops on the back.
Well-made IPA but I'm not sure the hops are that amazing flavour-wise as a single hop. Good for bittering or aroma but the flavour's not quite all there.
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery as part of their Beerdvent advent calendar pack.
Pours a deep, coppery amber, really quite dark for an IPA, with a coarse, slightly frothy head of beige that leaves some minor soapy streaks of lace. Carbonation is fine, and it looks like it has a decent amount of residual body for a beer clocking in at 3.4% ABV.
Nose is rather pleasant. Rounded, fruity hop notes, with hints of mango and guava, mingled with a touch of nutty malt. The malt heaviness would ideally not be there in a classic IPA, but it helps give some weight to this beer, which might otherwise be a little insipid.
Taste is similar. There is a bit of heft to the body, helped by that nutty malt note and a little lingering sweetness. Hops are very muted, however, giving a bit of fruit tingle around the outside, but very minimal bitterness. This isn't bad, however, as the lightness in the finish helps sweep away the palate, leaving it drinkable and sessionable. Feel is rounded on the front, but crisp on the back.
Overall, this is a pretty nicely done light-weight IPA. Is it really an IPA? It's as debatable as any other "session IPA" out there. But we do here have a pretty nice, hop-forward brew that sits easily on the head of a Monday-night drinker.
Bottle number 1 in my Bridge Rd #craftbeercountdown advent calendar.
Pours a golden colour, small bubbly head. Decent lace sticking to the glass but it sinks. OK, but nothing spesh.
Smells sweet. Honey-roasted grain kernels, touch of barley sugar. Yeah big honey note, maybe a hint of fruit. Bit sweet; also nothing spesh.
Taste is very sweet, lots of honey and grain; oatmeal. Touch of sweet spice and almond meal. Grainy, sweet. Did I mention sweet? Finishes too sweet, maybe some floral hop but not very clean. Not a big fan, needs either more bite or just for that sweetness to trail off more.
Smooth, decent body. Maybe a touch gluggy. Would like more cut-through.
Not bad but not great. Just too much sweetness without a lot to balance it.
70 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery direct as part of their Beerdvent beer advent calendar. This one was today's entry, for the 4th of December.
Pours a rather murky amber colour, certainly not properly red, although it's hard to see due to the haze. Head is a filmy coat of off-white that leaves some spidery lace. Body is full and fairly heavy, holding some pleasantly fine carbonation. Looks decent enough, although the colour is a little sad.
Nose is very pleasant. rounded, rather full-bodied malt notes, with a lovely hop counterpoint that gives sweet fruit notes mingled with crisper, greener notes. As the warms, the malt turns a little more grainy, but still toasty, giving it more complexity. It's really quite pleasant.
Taste is pretty clean, and very well attenuated in the body. Crisp grainy notes linger through the centre, and to the back of the palate. Hops are present, but they're not sharp, or particularly bitter. They provide a slight bite on the back, and some aromatic fruit notes around the edges, a little like green papaya and honey dew melon.
Feel is also pretty good. Surprisingly light given the body and the ABV.
Overall, very drinkable for 7.5% ABV, and crisp despite the complexity of flavour. Yep, this is a nice beer, and a very pleasant one to unwrap on the first Friday of December.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a berry pink colour, very fluid and light in the glass, with solid hazing and minimal carbonation. Head is pink, but only forms a thin ring around the edges. Looks decent enough though.
Nose is interesting. There's a slight cereal grainy note almost like corn that permeates the otherwise pleasant crisp, tart cherry characters. Mostly, it's fragrant and pleasant, and that touch of cereal actually provides an odd counterpoint.
Front palate is light and tart with a little bit of bite to it. Slight crushed cereal again through the centre, but more fruit, that develops into a sparkly finish of seltzer and cherry pips. The flavour disappears like soda, leaving very little in the finish, but it's refreshing in this way.
Feel is very light, which works well for the beer.
It's actually really very drinkable, even if it does end up rather reminiscent of flavoured mineral water. I'd certainly call it refreshing rather than complex though, like the best sours can be.
72 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew during their 4th of July takeover.
Pours a dark red, cloudy colour. Whispy off-white head. Touch of lace. Decent colour.
Smells hugely resinous, citric. Hops up the wazoo. Not much else. Nice though.
Taste is toasty, nutty. Hops late, citric, a bit resinous. Not too overblown. Lots of character yet not too strong. Tangy, pleasant.
Tingly mouthfeel, fair hop pull. Touch of carbonation.
Nice IPA, a bit thin; could maybe use more malt but nicely handled.
Pours a red colour, touch of haze with white head; large bubbles but dissipates before too long. Looks like it should; no better.
Smells fruity, and cidery. Touch sour, with a slight berry character. Not a lot to it.
Taste is better. Again more getting berry rather than cherry but maybe it's just me. Touch of crisp underripe apple, sourness and a touch of barnyard funk. It's not Lindemans, but I like the slight acidic edge.
Bit of pull on the mouthfeel; body is a little thin but it suits the flavour well.
Not bad, but only as good as your typical Australian lambic.
73 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. Poured without the bottom centimetre or so to avoid adding the yeast sediment.
Pours a good clear and very pale yellow with a frothy, rocky head of white that weeds out the coarser bubbles to sit as a pillowy crest and clumpy lace. Carbonation is high, and streams through the glass with champagne-like alacrity. Body is light. Looks on the button for the style.
Nose is quite pleasant. The hop character tends towards the grassier side of things—more like the type of character you'd get from a German or central-european pils than a NZ one—but it's still rather pleasant and green and fresh. Touches of grainy malt come through as well, perhaps with just a touch of cereal to them. Right now, it's not the equal of the best examples from across the ditch on the aroma, but there's still lots to enjoy.
Taste is clean and light, but with some nice pilsener bitterness through the centre and towards the back. Body is very light and crisp throughout and the carbonation provides the right amount of levity to the palate. There's no denying it's a very well-made pilsener. Flavour-wise, it's again a bit flat. There are some leafy suggestions around the edges and maybe a slight hint of pepper as the bitterness takes hold. It's pretty good all up.
Very drinkable all up, and a well-made pilsener. I'm quite the fan of the pilseners of New Zealand, and this is not the equal of the best of them. But it's a solid attempt, and closer than most of the breweries over here have managed. Plus, more craft breweries producing well-made lagers is always a wonderful thing.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a silky black, with a surprisingly light body to it, and a frothy, coarse-bubbled head of brown, that actually settles out pretty quickly to a thin, minimal ring of beige. Some specks of lace form as it goes down. Overall, it's a little bit disappointing given what it could have been, but there's still plenty of potential there.
Nose is pleasant. Rich, almost salty roastedness giving plenty of mineral depth, with a suggestion of smoke, even heading towards a match-head phosphorous note. Sweetness comes through as it warms, with some deep chocolate tones and a bit of espresso. Nice stuff.
Taste is also heavy on the roast, the mineral qualities and, additionally, the booze. Here there's a notable boozy note through the beer, almost giving a hint of something distilled but fruity like kirsch. Roast is pronounced on the front, and also gives a pretty dank bitterness on the back. It's heavy and complex, but it also feels like it needs a bit of smoothness or restraint. Perhaps an oak-aged version will help it mellow a little.
Feel is smooth, but sharpened by the prominent booze.
Overall: it's an unapologetic beer. And it's a suitable beer for one of Australia's canonical craft breweries to celebrate their 1000th batch with. It's certainly unsubtle in its booze and its roast—next time, some tempering of these characters may make a more drinkable brew, but perhaps also one that makes less of a statement.
A tripel aged in a Scottish whiskey barrel once home to Aurora Borealis brewed in Norway at Nøgne Ø. Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour, fairly clear and light in the body. Head is white and forms a coarse ring of bubbles in the glass. Almost no lace, and almost no carbonation. It looks a little underwhelming.
Mild vinous acidity comes through on the nose, with oak and a touch of brett character. Some fragrant fruit notes are also noticeable, with a little peach, green apple and a touch of seawater. Interesting.
Light, briny entry on the palate with a dollop of minerally Scotch. Some bretty acid funk comes through, but not a lot. Vinous tart notes are noticeable in the mid-palate, but these dry up, leaving the back feeling a little flabby and sweet, with yeasty tones and a long, lingering grain character. Some overlay of acidity in the aftertaste, but not a lot. It certainly lacks some wood notes and the acidity is a little piecemeal.
Feel is smooth and light—it actually works reasonably well.
Overall, it's only really okay, when it really should have been pretty spectacular. It needed perhaps a little coherence to it, or a bit more oak to smooth out the rough edges. As it is, it will always just stay as something of a wild experiment.
Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert Hotel as part of their Bridge Road takeover. I tried this and a hand-pull of the Borealis I at the same time. They're significantly different beers, but it was good to remind myself that the Borealis I was such a phenomenal beer, because this is very different, and certainly less impressive.
Pours a pale amber colour, almost golden in the right light, and rather light in the body. Head forms as a sudsy but frothy mass of off-white that leaves good, messy lace. It looks a little like a handpump, even though it's not. Body is light, as I said, but it has a smoothness to it. It's not bad looking, certainly.
Nose is fairly simple: much more simple than I was expecting. Slightly sweet and with a thinness that comes from the lighter body. Booze definitely comes through, with a little of the brandy character and some cherry overtones. With the booziness, this gives it a kirsch character. Not a huge amount happening, mostly because the cognac takes over, but it's not bad.
Palate is light and clean on entry, but quickly devolves into a fairly big boozy mess. More of that cherry-and-kirsch sharpness, more solvent alcohol and a whack of pepper. There's actually not a lot of complexity to the beer, meaning it survives almost entirely on the booze, which end up tasting a little harsh. The palate sticks around for a long time, which would be good if there were things to explore, but instead, it feels as though the booze just keeps harshing my buzz. There's a spiciness to the feel which I can appreciate, but the beer needs something more substantial.
Overall, I hate to write this off as a beer that's boozy without purpose, but that's how it feels. There's not the depth of flavour, or the complexity, or the richness, or... anything to support it being as big and boozy as it is. In the end it feels like I'm drinking something huge without really knowing why. It's nowhere near as good as #1, which was without a doubt one of the best beer I drank in 2013. As a result of expectations, I'm tragically disappointed by this one.
Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse's "Brewers & Chewers" night. The brewer was sitting right next to me while I tried it.
Pours a pale gold, cloudy, shiny. Head is white, decent. Nice lace stuck on there. Looks good.
Smells earthy, yeah quite savoury. Slight bitterness but no real beery characters. Subtle, but decent foody aroma.
Taste is similarly savoury. Note of earth, maybe a touch of saltiness. Bit of spice. Some hops midway and also decent yeasty character that dries up but complements the earthy notes. Maybe a bit too much yeast, but it has nice flavours and does a commendable job of mimicking food.
A bit dry, bit of fizz. Maybe more body would be nice, but OK.
Nice foody beer, not really my thing but pleasant and well crafted.
61 / 100
A collaboration between Bridge Road and The Provanance restaurant, part of a series of "Beer Mimics Food" beers launched at Sydney Craft Beer Week at the Welcome Hotel, which is where I tried it on-tap. This was brewed with a metric lots-tonne of Shiitake mushrooms.
Pours a very pale yellow colour with some hazing in the body. Body is fairly light. Head is firm and frothy and forms a pure-white crest that leaves little streaks down the glass. Fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is mild and slightly earthy. There's certainly a savoury aroma to it: not quite umami, but most definitely an addition from the mushrooms. Hint of orange peel as well. The main issue is that it's all terrible subtle. You could almost write it off as having almost no aroma, but there's things there when you search for them.
Light clean entry on the palate from a very neutral malt basis, followed by a minerally character through the centre leaving a little salt and earthiness. Some phenolic bite appears on the back, giving a spice and slight astringency.
Feel is very light, but appropriate enough in its way.
Overall, this is okay stuff. It's drinkable, and it has novelty value when you know what's in it. It didn't really strike me as a great beer in general, but there were certainly things to like about it.
Pours gold, with slight haze. White head, foamy and leaves some average-looking lace. Yeah, looks OK.
Smells sweet, unsurprisingly. Chestnut-tinged cereal grains with a decent honey sweetness backed up by new world hops - apple/pear and a twist of lemon. Odd, but alright.
Taste is a little weird. Quite sweet upfront with a touch of caramel that fuses in nicely with the honey, then finish is all fruity hops - apple, lemon, and some odd spice notes of clove before quite a phenolic aftertaste. Odd synergy to this. Honey and hops make strange bedfellows.
Body is alright, texture too.
Very bitter beer, really. The balance is not quite struck, it just starts out sweet and turns quite bitter quite quickly. Feels like an experiment gone wrong.
330ml bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. Bottle dated 21/2/2013, so it's certainly far from being super-fresh.
Pours a pretty hazed and pretty dark amber hue, with a smooth, slightly fine head of off-white. Lace forms in stretchy streaks around the glass. The body is suitably heavy, and given it's only 8.2% it pretty much matches expectations. Carbonation is fine but latent. Looks pretty good.
Nose is definitely hoppy, but with a husky, vegetative quality to the hop character. Slight herbal tones, some grain-bran and an earthy, dusty character. Minimal malt sweetness, but with a touch of musk and a peppery overtone once you notice the musk. It's not bad.
Taste is similarly "not bad". Pretty smooth entry, with a rounded and solid malt basis that gives off a little booziness and some aromatic caramel and carob characters. The hops that come through later are strong, but a little generic: giving a straight resiny bitterness, but little nuanced flavours. These may have been a little better when it was fresher. Aftertaste has a pronounced buildup of hops, leaving an increasingly robust bitterness sip after sip.
Feel is based on the smoothness of the malt, but has influences from the boozy heat and the build up of resiny hops on the back.
Overall: this is solid stuff. To be honest, I don't think it's as good as the regular Bling, and it doesn't compensate for that by at least being a really proper huge DIPA. It's sort of in the middle: if it had have gone really stupidly big I would at least have been a little scared.
70 / 100
Had on-tap at GABS 2013 in Melbourne. This was a "Honey IPA", brewed with local Beechworth honey.
Pours a deep, honeyed golden colour with some hazing and a solid weight behind it. It certainly takes after its namesake. Head is a foamy ring of white leaving sheets and rings of lace as it goes down. Some dancing carbonation as it's tilted. Looks great.
Nose has definite honey sweetness to it, but balanced with fragrant floral hops, sharper fruity tones and a touch of white pepper. You can still smell the honey under it, but it's well matched with some sharper characters as well.
Light crisp entry on the palate, somewhat sweet, but having a cleanness as well. Mid-palate, the honey comes through but with a floral overtone. Some phenolic bite and a touch of bitterness helps keep it above board. Finish is earthier than I expected: again some of the organic characters of the honey coming through: woody, herbal and dank—it's a nice combination of the floral notes of the honey and the hops.
Feel is a tad too heavy, and the bitterness becomes a little biting after a while, but it's not bad.
Overall, this is a pretty good drop. It's not up at the pinnacle of Bridge Road's game, but that's a hard bar to reach.
84 / 100
Pours a dark cola colour, thin beige head. nice and dense and creamy. Lace is OK, yeah looks like a well-put-together heavy beer.
Smells a little light, maybe too cold. OK, warmed up and plenty of complex, dark fruit: sultanas, booze and peppery phenols. Very decent, nothing too mind-blowing though.
Taste is fruity, dark: sultanas, plums, figs, dates and chocolate on there. Oak takes over midway, huge and woody with a touch of coconut and even pineapple on there. Sweetens it up a little, adds a slight woody flavour and a bit of tart astringency at the back as well. Pretty amazing palate though; a little out of control but so tasty I don't mind a bit.
Mouthfeel is hot, boozey, quite harsh actually. Needs a bit more body to temper all the hot spiciness.
That said, pretty amazing beer. Quadrupel as a style has a degree of difficulty of 3000 so the fact that it's drinkable is awesome. The fact that it's tasty and coherent is incredible.
81 / 100
Pours a dark, dark shiraz colour. Off-white head is thin, but with decent lace. Not bad.
Smells just lovely; tartness, bit of funk and a bit of chocolate sweetness. Touch of lychee and plenty of berry. Just gorgeous. I'm loath to grant the taphouse staff a perfect score but dayum!
Taste is saisony, a bit dark. Lots of berry, raspberry and strawberry. Apple as well. Touch of cinnamon. Pepper, some roasty chocolate. Touch of citric hop as well. Oh yeah this is some beer. The bridge rd saison strain comes through all the hop notes, and darkness exists in beautiful conplementary balance. Yum. This is the best beer I've had since my last Bridge Rd beer.*
Bit of pull on the mouthfeel. Verges on sharp. Not bad texture though.
Lovely style-bender. Bits of everything in there but none of the junk. Great brew.
* The Aurora Borealis, about half an hour before this.
Collaboration between Bridge Road and Edge (which is itself a collaboration between Northdown and Beer Here). Brewed at Bridge Road. Tall 750ml bottle with a lurid pink label, purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with Sam.
Pours a vaguely pink hued amber, much more golden when held to the light. Head is off-white to pink, quite frothy and fine, and reasonably persistent. Some faint speckled lace, but not a lot. The body seems quite light and a little flat. Carbonation is fine however, and stays pretty static when tilted. Looks decent enough, I guess.
Nose is fruity with pink berries, and tart from the saison yeast. It strongly reminds me of another beer: almost certainly another berry saison, but I can't recall what it was. It's this slight acidity, the flavours of the berries without the sweetness, and the tartness that seems to accentuate, or be accentuated by, the carbonation. Slight banana esters come through as well. It's ok, but nothing that really excites me.
Taste is similar, although here there's a most definite banana character coming through quite strongly, leaving a sweet, fragrant bomb of overripe fruit on the palate before disappearing in a hurry. The berry character is muted, although the aromatics stick around when it's in my mouth. Finish is dry and a little astringent: some tartness, and a slight aspirin character. There's also a slight medicinal hint towards the back, something like American cherry. After it's all gone, there's a vague fragrance like pink marshmallows left in the mouth. Interesting, in any case.
Feel is light, but clean, with perhaps just a little too much carbonation.
Overall, it's not an astonishing beer. The berry adds something, but it's perhaps a failure of the underlying saison: it's pretty dry, light and straight, not aided by the reasonably aggressive carbonation. In the end, I'm a little bit underwhelmed.
Pours a dark brown colour, beige head; dense and creamy. Lace is slightly speckled. Pretty decent.
Lightly roasty on the nose; coffee with walnuts, beech wood and vanilla. Some hops on the back - herbs and spice and citrus. Very pleasant characters.
Taste is quite dark and bitter. Decent, malty front, but back is all dank and bitter with coffee, liquorice and tobacco. Hints of hops come through but it is mostly just darkness and seems a little middle of the road as far as dark beers go.
Average body, drinks actually quite hoppy with a bit of a pull, surprisingly.
Decent drop, but maybe a little too young. Makes me very happy that my brother has an enormous stash of this beer and I can revisit and edit this review as the beer ages. It will just keep getting better.
92 / 100
This is a collaboration beer between Nøgne Ø and Bridge Road, brewed at Nøgne Ø and then sent in casks across the sea back to Australia. Weighing in at 14.9%, yeah, this is an impressive beer. Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a murky brown colour, solidly hazed, with a very minimal ring of beige for a head. Body is very heavy, but that's not unexpected. Minimal carbonation: again not unexpected. It's fine for what it is, but it's not terribly appealing in and of itself.
But from there, wow, this is everything it deserves to be. The aroma is a thing of wonder. Big oak characters. Big smoke characters. Big sweetness. Big roast. Hints of rose, fragrant tannic red wine, booziness potent and dangerous, acetone and permanent marker huff. Holy crap. This is immense and extremely exciting.
Light spicy empty lulls you into a false sense of security, before a wallop of smoke and boozy richness thumps you on the back of the head. Smoke—dark smoke, like smouldering incense or burning minerals—this is no comforting campfire aroma. On the mid-palate comes more of that oak, giving a big vinous character and hints of pepper. Finish is intense: booze, intensity, sharp, almost a bite of apple on the finish, where did that come from? ... seriously: holy shit.
Feel is bitingly sharp but blisteringly full and rich.
My notes just contain a string of expletives and superlatives in the summary. Suffice it to say that this is a brilliant, exceptional and very rare brew. So good that it's dangerous.
79 / 100
A collaboration between Bridge Road and the Local Taphouses, this is a Black India Saison, pretty much brewed with everything: juniper, nutmeg cloves and a stack of Australian, Kiwi and US hops. Tried on-tap the the Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a deep, ruddy red-black colour with a surprisingly clear body. Weight is decent, but it stays quite fluid. Head is a beige to off-white colour, leaving a fine persistent ring. Lace is bubbly and streaky. Looks decent enough.
Nose is wonderful: candy-like it gives a sharp sweet/sour blend, hints of apricot, fragrant fresh, fruity hops, green lollies and a sharpness like cola and wintergreen. It's awesome: very different, but it works really well.
Light hint of fungus on the front, with a crispy, buoyant vivacity. Some sharp hops come through that drop just before the mid palate. Here there's some rosewater, more suggestion of cola and a vegetative bite. It drops out a bit at the end of the palate, but by then it's done a pretty decent job all up.
Feel is slightly thin and light, but it works well enough with the style.
It's a really fun beer. It's amazingly drinkable and really quite refreshing. Definitely a bunch of strangeness to it, but it works, and provides something that's not only tasty, but tasty and unique. That's a really great thing.
Pours a dirty amber colour. Head is white, a bit paler than the brownish body might have suggested. Slight cloud to it, and head goes away after a while, leaving a slight ring of lacing. Not bad.
Smells largely fruity, with aromatic hops gliding over a quite nutty malt base. Hints of paw-paw, apricot and mango, slight coconut hint and a bit of hazelnut. Pleasant IPA aroma, could maybe use some more powerful hop fragrance.
Taste is similar, with that malt base quite noticeable throughout. Nutty and toffee-esque, gives it quite at English feel to begin with. Hops are floral, fruity and pleasant, with mango and some citrus notes being prominent. Quite a resinous bitterness at the back, but very soft, without much of a typical IPA bite. Quite a mellow hop, really, with a gentle flavour uplift and not a huge complexity to be found anywhere, really. Pleasant showcase hop though, and could see it used wonderfully in conjunction with others.
Bit of sharpness around the edge, dries out the mouth quite a bit. Decently constructed texture otherwise.
An expectantly tasty beer, but I can't say the hop really excites me. And if it doesn't sadly there's not much else a single hop IPA can do.
74 / 100
Pours a deep reddish brown colour, clear with decent foamy head, beige in colour. Good-looking, bit more on the red than the brown side, but nice.
Malts take the fore upfront with a good roasty note as well lending it a bit of dryness as well. Subtle, but nice blend of sweet and toasty notes. Not bad.
Wow, nutty. Peanuts up the wazoo on the palate. Slight roastiness comes through later and all floating on a subtle malt backbeon, but yeah the nuttiness almost gets savoury at times. PRetty interesting drop.
Bit thin on the body, but OK texture.
It does taste a little like homebrew. A good one, but it's got a standard "to-style" sort of flavour with a slightly unpolished finish.
69 / 100
Brewed by Australian champion homebrewer Barry Cranston at Bridge Road for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTapular. I tried it on tap at the festival.
Pours a clear reddish-brown hue with a light body. Head is full and frothy, forming a genuinely yellow colour that leaves some firm, sudsy lace. Looks pretty good.
Nutty grain on the nose, with some bright, clear rustic notes that suggest harvested wheat and turned earth. There's a sweetness to it that's almost a vanilla smoothness. Very pleasant indeed.
Light entry on the palate, with some smooth vanilla characters midway through. Finish has a slight nuttiness to it. It's pretty light all up, but well-balanced and pretty inoffensive. Feel is good: smooth and creamy.
Very drinkable. Not very exciting. Still, it's a very solid, well-made beer, that to be honest I'd be happy to drink regularly. Good stuff, Barry. Good stuff, Bridge Road.
Had on-tap at GABS at the Royal Exhibition Hall in Melbourne.
Pours a pale yellow colour with great clarity. Body is a light-weight, fluid number, which is somewhat surprising. Solid lace forms from a firm, fine white head and the carbonation forms languidly. Overall, a good looking pils, imperial or not.
Some sulphur present early on the nose, but the bright, sharp hop characters clear this out pretty quickly. Oddly enough, there's nothing that specific about the hop characters, maybe a hint of sherbet and powdered sugar, but no dominant varietal characters. Slight booze comes through as well.
Front is dry and slightly yeasty, before a crisp greenness from the hops comes through, along with some grainy, German pils type characters. Finish is rather bitter and dry, tending to a phenolic bite on the finish. Bright and sparkling feel reminds us of its genesis.
Overall, I expected more, but this is a solid brew. It's almost like trying to brew a German Pils at 7.5% without really trying to make it taste any different. Sure, some things are going to change, but it just feels overgrown as it is.
69 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a deep brown colour, with a solid and consistent head of ochre-beige. Patchy, spotty lace forms as the head subsides. Body is pretty light, but very decent. Overall, a solid looking brew.
Nose is clear and pungent, with a solid green, slightly biting hop character drawing through the centre, above a solid malt base. Surprisingly, there's very little in the way of roast character to the brew, although there's perhaps a depth to the organics that suggests a hint of char or smoke. Good stuff.
Taste has more of a dichotomy: solid smooth roasted malt forms the basis, but the hops are certainly muted (as is to be expected from a wet-hopped ale, I guess). The roast is also mild, but without a big vector of compressed hops it feels dominant. Overall, it's a decent palate, but somewhat emphasises the drawbacks of brewing with fresh hops.
Overall, definitely a nice brew, and great to see more collaborations between Aussies and some of the world's powerhouse brewers. It's very decent and with good characters to it: but it's perhaps constrained by what it is intrinsically.
Bottle of the 2012 edition, purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a very clear, very light golden hue, with a fluid body and a firm, persisten head of white bubbles. Some streaky, sudsy lace and stacks of carbonation round this one out. Looks good.
Nose is deeply hoppy, with a broad green stroke of slightly resinous hop character, mingled with some muted tropical fruits and a suggestion of dust. There's a sweetness to it almost like a big Belgian ale as well: it has a buoyant roundness. Quite pleasant.
Taste is very, very light, almost painfully so. Clear and clean, no doubt, but without much body, heft of robustness of flavour. In its favour, it stays well balanced, with the hops lending everything in ephemeral fragrance, and not sticking around with any sense of resinous bitterness. It makes it very drinkable and light, even when if feels rather empty.
It's a nice, sessionable brew: one which would be welcome at other times of the year besides harvest time. I had (a different version) some years ago on-tap, and even though this uses a different hop variety, it strikes a remarkably similar picture to me.
70 / 100
Pours a clear straw colour, with white foamy head, medium thickness and hanging around decently. Nice pale colour; looks like a good pilsner.
Plenty of new world hop character here; fruity and piney with passionfruit and citrus notes prominent. Pleasant complexity, big enough to notice but not so big you forget it's a lager.
Again very NZ hoppy or possibly new Aussie hop cultivars, not quite able to distinguish yet. The hops are most definitely the star here with hop complexity front to back of the palate, fruity and piney with a slight citric twang. Gets a little bit yeasty on the back and there is a little booze character creeping through with a slight phenolic note. Little bit of a rough edge possibly because it's so fresh and hasn't quite smoothed out yet. Otherwise clean.
Nice clean lager feel, with a decent body, the size doesn't make it stodgy, still fluid drinking, but a slight heat from the alcohol.
Nice flavours but a bit big. I'd love to try a non-imperial version of this because really, you can't beat a good new world pilsner and they didn't necessarily have to jump right into the boozey end with this. Possibly with a month or two more conditioning could work very nicely as well.
After writing an article about this beer in production, it was much anticipated, with the usual split of trepidation and intrigue in equal measure.
Pours a pale bronze colour, slight haze and steady bead feeding an off-white head. Head is nice and puffy, not overly generous and sinks with pleasant asymmetry, leaving a goodly amount of sticky lacing behind. Good-looking IPA.
Smelled pretty nice from the get-go, surprisingly enough. Pleasant fruity, with fresh apple notes, a touch of citrus and peach, then that more familiar earthy flavour, soil and grass, but not offensively bitter; gathering an almost cocoa note. Slightly metallic at the back. A bit muted from the IPA smells I'm used to, but it has its charms.
Now isn't that taste interesting. Decent caramel grain throughout the front, getting rich and almost chocolatey at times. Hops come through late, and are very different, and less flavoursome really than your typical IPA hops, ultimately lacking in nuance - it's hard to deny. Hints of citrus, bit of peach late-mid, and then a gentle bitterness that lingers. It picks up most of its potency and punch in the hang, with an astringent, slightly spicy aftertaste, bit dirty but not quite potent enough to be offensive.
Decent mouthfeel with plenty of presence. Bit prickly but not too rough.
This is undoubtedly the tastiest and most interesting use of POR I've tried. I think with the skill of Bridge Road they've constructed an interesting beer that brings out and emphasises the most enjoyable aspects of the whipping boy of Australian hops. I have to judge it, though, as an IPA, and I can't escape the conclusion that an IPA made using only a hop that is championed mostly for its cost-effective properties was always an over-ambitious undertaking. The beer falls short of the IPA mark, and it doesn't inspire me to start brewing with the hop myself. I can see POR being used more interestingly and with more finesse if others try this brew and enjoy it, but it's not going to spark off a craft beer POR renaissance.
Very cloudy orange colour, cloudy more so because the guy who served it to me at the Pumphouse swirled the yeast in to itânot necessarily something that I would do myself. Head is fine, but turgid, and pure white, leaving some speckled lacing down the glass. It actually looks a lot lighter and simpler than a regular IPA, but the BR ones tend that wayâreally more like a single-hopped APA than a single-hopped IPA.
Nose is rife with apricot fruitiness, really quite strong and pleasant. There are slight hints of something sharper, like lemon or orange, but if I had to pick a fruit: apricot is the one. Slight hint of herbal freshness to it, perhaps a touch of mint. It's a potent and fresh nose, giving some very pleasant characteristics.
Taste is also pleasant and crisp, but the hops actually give an odd woody earthiness to the palate; something that somewhat reminds me of Pride of Ringwood. Still, those herbal notes come through rather pleasantly, and they give it a lift of brightness and crispness, but the apricot on the palate is limited to the aromatics you sense through the nose. It's decent enough, but missing the excitement of some of their other single hop brews.
Nice enough, and an interesting insight into the Summer Saaz variety from Hop Products Australia. I really enjoy the fact that Bridge Road pick up new hops and showcase them like thisâthey certainly do a good job on the beer as a whole. But to be fair, I'm perhaps a little underwhelmed by Summer as a variety; great aromatics, but falling away from then on.
72 / 100
Pours a burnished, brown-tinged gold, slight haze in the body. Head is off-white, nice and dense with uneven bubbling on top and great retention. Cracking IPA look.
Smells floral and pleasant, yet doesn't have a very aggressive hop presence. Touch of pineapple, rosewater and lemon sherbet. Nice malt backbone as well, but pleasant hops - would like more though.
Flavour starts out nicely malty, establishing a mildly caramelised grain foundation, then hops come in midway and build towards the finish. Quite subtle still, with increasing notes of citrus that gets quite vegetative towards the back, quite piney and woody with a touch of rosemary bark and pine resin. Quite a dry hop, not a huge amount of acid to it but enough there to dry up and cleanse.
Bit sharp on the front, but smooths up towards the back. Touch of dryness but not a lot.
Yeah, quite a subtle hop for an IPA, but it's very drinkable as a result.
87 / 100
Pours a pale amber colour, pretty cloudy with a few floaties due to my clumsy pouring, but hey - I'm not averse. Head is quite bubbly, white and retaining a thin crown of clingy lace. Looks good.
Smells quite lovely. Plenty of saisony funk and phenols upfront, kind of musty with aromas of wet wool and barnyard, then the hops float over, disseminating their magical aroma dust everywhere - citrus, passionfruit and light kiwi. Lovely blend, really. Good grounding by the phenols and great lift from the hops.
Now isn't that interesting. Quite malty on the front but a distinct floral/fruity tang. Hints of chardonnay and lemon/orange, then the back is bitter but with a distinct Belgian funky flavour. Notes of damp basement, raw gelatine, black pepper and juniper, but none of them in a bad way; just intriguingly bitter and earthy. Yet the fragrant hops are still there, injecting a lilt of citrus fruit - mandarin and a touch of lavender. Lovely blend and really craftily handled. I doff my cap, gentlemen.
Having trouble noting the mouthfeel as there's so much flavour going on. Very smooth, though - slick with a touch of spice at the back, but no real pull, just leaves cleanly. Wonderful.
This had the potential to be little more than a weird experiment. But happily the hops don't strangle the saison character but just enhance it, and complement in a wonderful refreshing way. This is a cracker.
86 / 100
Served to me blind by @laituegonflable.
Deep brown colour, almost black, but with enough lightness to keep it from opacity. Head is fine and light brown-coloured, giving a creamy top to the beer, and leaving some exquisite lacing. Really looks excellent. Certainly, it has the appearance of a beer I'd love to drink.
Nose is roasted and quite bitter, with huge burnt chocolate and grain characters. Coffee, however, is the dominant theme, and it gives a rich espresso brutality to the aroma. There's a hint of burnt toast to it, giving a more stagnant, and more traditional dark ale note, but the coffee knows its place and keeps it.
Smooth on the palate, and incredibly round and soft, leaving the flavours of coffee without any hint of astringent bitterness. Back is roasted, but subtle and smooth, and the finish is quite dry; there's certainly not a lot of sweetness, but it all works. It has enough body to support the roasted and rich characters. Not a lot of hops to it, but otherwise very delicious. Feel is smooth, but slightly frothy. Very pleasant indeed.
This is a lovely beer. Quite truly. It has the round body and smoothness to make it supple and drinkable, but the roasted richness and sharp bitterness to make it interesting. So well balanced and exceptionally drinkable.
Tried again 4/11/2011, with an aged bottle:
Pours a deep black-brown, with a rather crunchy and incredibly deep brown. Lacing is firmly patterned, leaving inscribed Hebrew characters on the inside of my glass. Or what looks like Hebrew characters anyway. Decently thick body. It looks pretty damn good.
Nose is excellent. It's a wonderful blend of nutty malt characters, deeper, sweeter chocolate and a wonderful flourish of fresh, floral hop characters. It's a beautiful mix, and wonderfully balanced. The hops give a slight brightness and freshness to the nose, but the main character is lovely deep, rich dark characters. It's gorgeous.
Taste carries this on perfectly, with a bit of an uptilt to the darker, roastier characters. A slightly lighter body fills in the character that the hops gave on the nose, giving a freshness and drinkability. Feel is light, but it fits very pleasantly.
This is a really lovely brew, and having it down the line has let it
mature and amalgamate a bit more. Fresh, I expected a big, hoppy Black IPA, but later, this has turned into a gorgeously deep dark beer, with a bright crispness from the residual hops. I'm so glad I got to try it at both ages.
81 / 100
Collaboration between Kjetil Jikiun of NÃ¸gne Ã and Ben Kraus of Bridge Road. Originally brewed at NÃ¸gne Ã, using Galaxy and Stella hops brought by Ben to the brewery. This version that I tried is the Australian version brewed by Ben back at Bridge Road.
Pours a gorgeous colour, bright, light and burnished pure golden yellow, with a frothy head of white that forms in large bubbles. Lace is superb. Body is indeed light, but it's hard to expect otherwise in a saison, but the carbonation is fine and powdery to make up for it. Looks fantastic.
Nose is divine and exceptionally fresh, with big sharp hop characters accentuated and complemented beautifully by the slight spike of acidity from the saison yeast. It gives it a greenness of pears, lemongrass and wet rainforest, with a lilt of pepper and a smooth round vanilla note. It's a lovely mixture, each character which complements the other.
Taste is also extremely good, and beautifully executed. Here, there's undoubtedly a sharp and rather bright hoppiness giving a bold bitterness down the centre of the palate, but it comes with luscious tropical flavours and a crisp lemon fragrance that really lifts everything. On the back, the bitterness pleasantly dips, leaving a slight peppery bite and lilting acidity. The oily hops do build up after a while, leaving a residual bitterness that starts to take over. It would go well with a little soft cheese or fatty meat to temper this.
Feel is pleasantly light, but very smooth and brightened with tiny amounts of carbonation.
A lovely brew and a wonderfully unique one. Wonderful to see this collaboration happening, and I'm so pleased I got to try the fruits of it.
750ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Very happy to get the opportunity to try this.
Pours a dark, but thin black-brown colour, with a frothy but soapy and large-bubbled head of pale mocha. Lacing sticks in goopy patches to the edges of the glass. No carbonation present, but the volume of the head implies that such a carbonation must exist.
Nose is husky and dark, but with an underlying spice and acidity which suggest the genesis of the style. Together, it gives a slightly sharp phenolic bite, what with the yeast giving its funky, slightly sour characters, and the grain giving a deep, grounded roastiness. Nice.
Taste is similar, although the Saison characters give it a thinness that is quite unbecoming. Still, the roasted, husky bready characters ground the beer, lending it some gravitas that the lofty, spritzy and refreshing saison funk does everything to try to mitigate. It's a cacophonous mixture, meaning that neither of these fine characters is really shown to its full potential.
It's a surprisingly light and easy to drink beer, but one that suffers from an identity crisis. I guess that any "black saison" probably suffers the same fate, but I can't help feel that there's another out there somewhere which manages to integrate the disparate elements better.
75 / 100
Bridge Road's 500th brew. I had this on tap at Josie Bones in Collingwood.
Pours a very fluid, dark brown colour with a really awesomely fine head, almost creamy in its consistency. No lace when tilted, and the body is light.
Nose is smoky and pretty roasted and dark, balanced with a smoothness that almost evokes a touch of vanilla. Slight sulphur to it, but given it's a "breakfast beer", I can just imagine eggs. Some spicy phenolic alcohol character, which is a little surprising. Very interesting, in any case.
Taste is very smooth and light, giving a nod to its lager genesis and increasing its drinkability. Flavours are smoky and dark, with pleasant mildly roasted characters and a hint of acidity on the back, almost like dark sour fruit. It has an odd smoothness which conflicts with the light, crisp body, but it's a pretty interestingly drinkable brew.
Nice. It's actually not as crazy as I expected, with just subtle smoke and a muddled moderated palate. In some senses, that's a bit disappointing, but it's more drinkable for it. For a special release, though, I'd love to see something more insane.
74 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse 3/9/11.
Pours a mostly black colour with mahogany tinge up to the light. Head is ochre, small bubbles but not so dense it doesn't sink. Thin crown remains behind but lovely lacing as well. Nice.
Smells largely roasty with some espresso coffee and some sweeter chocolate. Mildly sour notes with some fruit and a hint of peppery Belgian funk. Bit portery but nice organic edge to it.
Taste is very intriguing. Nice and dark upfront with roasty notes, plenty of cocoa and darker caramel that develops nice organic notes giving tart fruit - blackberries and spiced pear with some black pepper and slight off hints of barnyard funk. Nice palate development and dark notes complement the tartness to produce a pleasant contrast. My only critique is that the funky saison notes could have been emphasised a bit more - which interestingly is the same criticism I gave to the other black saison I've tried (Drs Orders Synapse), which leads me to question the validity of this experimental style.
Decent body but not a lot of texture, quite dry on the back.
Good balance, and enjoyable drinking. Cut, contrast, compare - check check check.
79 / 100
Well, there's no Australian IPA style to file this under. Shame.
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney on International IPA day. Pours a cloudy, bright golden colour, with a bit of orange coming out at the depths. Head is foamy, full and good-looking. Lace forms streaking and clumpy on the sides of the glass. Lots of fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is clean and fresh, with some ripe melon characters and a touch of tropical mango. Still, it manages to maintain a sharpnessâa true "hoppiness" if you willâit's not sweet with the fruity characters. It's perhaps not as immediately recognisable and unique as Galaxy is, but it's still an interesting nose.
Taste is similar in flavours, but here it seems to work even better. The melon is pronounced, with cantaloupe coming through and a green crisp bitterness on the back. The bitterness doesn't actually have much of a kick, meaning there's no residual hop character, and the palate stays surprisingly smooth. Just enough malt to give it body, but without actually being noticeable in the flavourâyou would, however, notice its absence.
A really well-crafted single-hop IPA. It really lets you get a handle on the hop, and I feel I understand a little more about Stella now. Good effort, Ben.
76 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney, right next to their Stella IPA. Both tasted on International IPA day. Although I've had this before, I've somehow never reviewed it.
Pours a deep golden colour, very hazy and refracting the light until it seems to glow on its own. Head is firm and full, like soft-beaten egg-whites. Lacing is intricate. Looks really good.
Nose is fresh and ripe, with sharp tropical fruits, but also a bit of raw green organics. A little passionfruit (less than I remember), and a bit of orange citrus. Nice.
Taste is clean and fresh and rather tasty, although the Galaxy lends a sweet character and surprisingly not a lot of raw alpha bitterness. Clean, crisp, sharp tropical characters, with a bit of melon ring and almost a touch of green pepper. Not bad. Feel is smooth, with just enough body to balance the hops.
Weirdly, this is more peppery, less fruity and less smooth than I remember. Sharper than the Stella, and possibly slightly less drinkable. I know this is their first, but I think I liked the Stella more.
83 / 100
Drunk with a bowl of fruit and muesli for breakfast on the morning of my 1000th beer review.
Pours a very dark umber colour, quite opaque in its blackness, really. Tan head sinks fairly quickly but sticks with lace on the way down. Pretty good.
Smell is mostly smokey, with a nice meaty aroma that doesn't overwhelm the olfactory like a really woody smoke would. Sweet aroma behind it, with some dark fruit esters and pleasant spicey grain. Pleasant, and intriguing.
Taste is pleasantly smokey. Starts roasty, with a bit of a charred flavour that gets sweet midway, with some toasted cereal grain and honey that makes its presence felt without over-sweetening the palate. Smoke comes through late, with a nice dark woodiness to it that is really beautifully complemented by the roast of the coffee, it just adds a roundness that is close to perfection. Ends quite savoury with an espresso bent and really rounds out this lovely, warming meal-in-a-glass. Top stuff; I'm a big fan.
Bit of texture from the fizz, but a lingering and consistently mild one, not too bad at all.
I'm really impressed with this beer; Ben has definitely managed to find order in the chaos to create a truly unique drop of beer.
A Galaxy-hopped pilsner brewed with chestnuts. Ever since I heard of this beer, I've been keen to try it, but somehow fate always stood in my way. Today I found it at Beer Cartel's new Porters-branded store in Artarmon, and gave it a go.
Pours a very odd colour, a slightly hazed golden, imbued with a slight greenish-pinkish tinge, perhaps like ripe pears. Head is speckled and loose, just a film of white leaving distinct rivulets of lace down the glass. Looks interesting, at the very least.
Nose is quite mild, with some faint apple-cider characters coming through above a yeasty base. Not a lot of Galaxy to this, not a lot of much. Just that yeasty character and a very mild acidity. Not particularly exciting.
Taste is very much along similar lines--slight yeasty notes, with a metallic twang on the back that may or may not be a faint hope of hops. To be fair, this cleanses the back palate nicely, and gives the crispness required of a pilsener. But there are no really interesting or complex flavours here, not a true clean pils palate. It's all a bit disappointing.
Not bad, but this should have been so much better and more exciting from a great brewery like Bridge Road.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse's Great Australian Beer SpecTapular in February.
Pours a bright and bold cloudy reddish orange colour. Fine head of very slightly off-white. Good body and lacing. Looks very decent indeed.
On the nose? I don't want to say ass, but it's there. Some grape juice as well, and a sharp astringency. Slightly organic rotting grains character. Weird. Immediately I think they've screwed up their barrel aging.
Taste is spicy with a big metallic astringency. Odd weizen notes of banana bubblegum come through, along with a hint of porty oak characters. Certainly some wild-like funk to it as well. Feel is biting with slight cidery acidity, and the booze is heavy.
No, I don't think this was quite right. This tastes like what happens when you throw a beer at oak without a lot of thought. I think it's picked up some weird unexpected innoculations from the barrels, and has veered off course. Still an interesting beer, and an interesting experiment. I just think it's not one that they pulled off successfully.
70 / 100
Pours a dirty red colour with muddy haze through the body. Head is nice, tight and dense with a thin crown retaining. Lace is not that sticky but otherwise it's good.
Smells nice and sweet. A good malty beer with lots of complex sugars on it. Brown sugar with touches of cherry, sweet port and a nice vanilla and coconut touch possibly from the oak. Beautiful, sweet and rich. I love it.
Tastes quite sweet on the assault, malty with caramel and brown sugar notes. Develops richer sweet notes towards the mid and also quite a lot of booziness at times with brandied cherries and a mild touch of cleaning solvent strength. Coconut notes on the back and develops a mild and unfortunate bubblegum flavour as well. But it's the only duff note from an otherwise pleasantly heavy and sweet beer.
Sticky, fairly thick mouthfeel with a nice slick touch as it goes down. Boozey heat though, as well. Good.
A pleasant drop, but a bit hot at times so couldn't down too many of these. Good job.
48 / 100
Pours a cloudy, Hellish red with very lacklustre head, just a ring of bubbles sitting around the edge, no real lace either. Looks heavy, but very bland.
Smells curious. Very malty with a big sticky caramel and honey aroma. Touches of some capsicaian and other vegetative notes and a touch of green apple as well. Fermented honey gives a slight brown bread edge; it's sweet enough and quite boozey. Curious, but I'm not in love with it.
Taste is very hot and rich to the max. Burnt toffee flavours develop a hot brandy booziness on the mid with a malt liquor richness but a decent hint of brown sugar that helps add nuance to the sweetness. Finishes with a slightly bitter vegetative note with an unfortunate compost edge. Not very clean, a bit dour and almost drab, really. Overall, the biggest issue here is that despite its strength, it's not that flavoursome. It just doesn't have a lot of complexity, just richness and strength. Admittedly this is a bit old, but I would expect at 10% and no necessity for hops that it would hold up better than this.
Quite watery and thin on the feel, really surprising for the ABV and a bit of a shame. This I did not expect.
Yeah, too strong for everyday drinking and not a huge amount of flavour on the palate to like. A disappointment from Bridge Road; I've drunk better beer and better mead.
56 / 100
Thought I'd missed out on trying this one, and then, bang!, @LaitueGonflable surprises me with a bottle. Cheers!
Pours a pleasant reddish amber colour, with flashes of true ruby when held to light. Head is almost non-existent, just a few soapy bubbles around the rim. Looks pretty flat. Colour is nice enough, but the lack of head is disappointing.
Nose is dark and robust, with a good port-like twang. Actually a hint of madeira. Quite sweet, but with this robust darkness as well, and a slight acetone or boozy note. Interesting, but not particularly captivating.
Taste is in some senses rather thin, the feel in particular. The sweetness rather abandons it here, leaving just the dark aged character on the back with the port-like booziness. Some honey notes on the back, but the characters, not the sweetness. Not great, but with some interest.
An interesting brew, but not necessarily one I enjoyed that much. Too thin on the palate, and the characters it does have seem out of balance. Still very pleased to have tried it, however.
Pours a pale straw colour, slight champagney tinge to it. Head is a modest white, sunken film of small bubbles. Lace is decent, sticky. Large carbonation bubbles steadily progressing up the glass. Yeah looks alright.
Smells very grainy, and quite sweet. Lots of white bread grain with honey and yeah notable chestnut aroma adding a rounded edge, but still very sweet. Could use more bitterness, but I do like the nutty edge on the back.
Taste is nice and nutty for the most part. Starts sweet, with grain notes and a touch of yeast. Develops earthy nut notes, with chestnut characters on the mid. A slight lagery fuzz flavour comes through, providing bitterness that matches the nutty finish surprisingly well. Felt this could potentially be too sweet from the nose, but palate is quite well handled. Decent balance and nutty bitter notes work very well together. Quite refreshing too.
Mouthfeel is a bit full really. Bit of carbonation, but more wouldn't go amiss to cut through a bit more.
Yeah, quite a tasty drop, and a pleasant surprise. The risky elements are handled with a deft enough touch to make this clean and drinkable.
77 / 100
Pours a very dark brown with a red tinge when held up to the light. Head is very generous, beautifully dense and tightly packed with great retention. Large bubbles on the side and some nice lacing left behind. Yeah, looks great.
Smells quite roasty and dark. Fairly sour with nice burnt characters, touch of charcoal to it. Yeah, chocolatey, hints of some phenols on there as well, slightly herbal but not a huge amount to it. Mostly just a dark choco-nutty note. Decent, but I'm a bit nonplussed about it for all the hype around the experimental style.
Taste is far more what I was expecting as far as interest goes. Fair amount of roastiness on the front with chocolate notes that descends into a fresh hoppy note with grass, herbal characters and some really lovely medicinal phenols (not often you'll hear those words in conjunction from me). Starts off slowly, but the roastiness is nicely balanced and cleansed by an almost tangy hoppiness midway. It's not a mind-blowing beer, or at least not as much as I thought it would be, but a pleasant, well-balanced brew.
Smooth, with lots of texture, not too dry on the back. Damn nice body. If this beer were a woman...
Could really see drinking a lot of this. I think Mr. Kraus and team could well handle something even more super-extra bizarre (yet to try the braggot, incidentally), which I was almost expecting this to be. Instead I'm pleasantly surprised to be sipping a pleasant, well-constructed drinking beer instead.
75 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse Darlo.
Pours a hazy yellow colour with a very fine but lively and bubbly head of white. The cloudiness in the body is nice, and smack on style. The body itself is quite light, but that again suits the style. Overall, pretty nice.
Lovely aromas on the nose. Some fruitiness is predominant, with fresh peach and lemon tartness the biggest contributors. Organics come in a little later, with a wood bark character giving a restrained depth to the beer, while a sweet pastry character mingles with the tartness to round it out. Not a lot of classic Saison funk, but the acidity is well done.
Taste is extremely refreshing, which is perfect for a saison. Light phenols give a crispness throughout and a restrained bitterness on the back cleans the palate. There's not a lot of acidity or true saison funk, but there's an earthy bite and a touch of musty organics that bring it into line nicely. Feel is light and crisp.
A very drinkable Saison. This is a great style of beer, and Bridge Road have done a good job with it here.
73 / 100
Pours a slightly orange-tinged gold with an unnecessary - but not unwelcome - cloudy haze. Head is white, tightly packed bubbles and retaining very well. Slow bead in the glass, nice lacing left behind. That's a cracker.
Oh, that's some passionfruit goodness. Lots of sweet and tangy fruit with passionfruit seeds and lovely cakey malt underlying. It's just fresh, fruity and delicious. A bit one-track but when that track is this beautiful it's not such an issue. Tangy, fruity, tasty.
Taste is pleasant. Lots of deep malt notes on the front and tangy passionfruit all over it. Fruity and seedy with a slight spicy flavour on there as well, kind of cinnamon-esque which is perhaps just a byproduct of the hop intensity. Finish starts early and a bit muted for an IPA, but in the sense that there's no hop wallop, it's just a hoppy bitter finish. Quite floral but with a strong citric element. Very acerbic at times and a decent IPA strength to it. Yeah, there's a slight dirtier, ashy bitterness late that just isn't as nice as the rest of the palate, but still a good tasty palate.
A bit sharp on the feel when the bitterness hits and otherwise a lot of carbonation sizzle. I've definitely found the Achilles' heel of this beer and it's in the texture.
Notwithstanding, a tasty beer with lots of good elements. If those rough edges could be pruned it would be a top drop.
Had on tap at the brewery 07/11/10.
Pours a shiny gold colour with slight haze around the edge. Head is white and dense, sinks to a thin film after a while but leaves some nice dense lace behind. Slow bead. Fairly blah-looking actually.
Smells largely bready with a lot of raw grain aroma and slight green apple overtones. Yeah a hint of cloying yeast but not overwhelming. Still too bready for my liking.
Tastes a bit bland as well. Lots of grain on the front with barley and cereal notes and a touch of earthy POR bitterness on the mid. Slight cloying yeast character is left at the end which is unfortunate, but just the result of underplayed hoppiness - for which I'm actually grateful. Bland, doesn't quite cross into unpleasant though luckily.
Fairly thin body with a noticeable fizz. Not harsh though, just noticeable. Pretty decent for the style.
Yeah, it's a pretty bog-standard Aussie style ale. Not bad drinking, I just like more oomph and flavour in my beer.
70 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 07/11/10.
Pours a deep burnished red-amber with minimal head, just a whisp of foam left on top. Slow bead, clear body. Have had better-looking IPAs.
Smell is very malty actually, with nice fruity hop aromas just congregating around the edges. Hints of apple with grapefruit, lemon and a touch of passionfruit. Malt is rich and nutty with a hint of chestnut and walnut. Could use stronger hops, but overall nice.
Taste is also quite malty, very strong malt base with caramel and burnt sugar, then hops emerge slowly rather than accentuating themselves. Not a huge amount of hop character, just hints of lemon zest with more earthy walnut bitterness. Nice finish though, robust bitterness at the end with slight fruity overtones.
Smooth, with a medium-full body. Quite slick around the edges. Maybe a bit light to carry the full extent of the bitterness.
Definitely has more English IPA character with the rich earthy malt, but one of the more milder and more enjoyable English IPAs I've had.
76 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 07/11/10.
Pours a very pale straw colour with healthy haze through the body. Head is white, retaining quite thinly with a steady carbonation stream feeding from beneath. Pretty good saison, not amazing.
Smell is nice and crisp. Tart but with lots of malt and rich funk. Lots of rusty metallic character, a hint of barnyard aroma and a touch of cinnamon spice. I like that underlying sweetness though, it really balances the funk well. Great enticing aroma, all the right complexities here and there.
Taste is quite tart, with some wheat notes actually, fresh banana and pineapple on the front and mid as well. Gets that slight barnyard funk flavour with a touch of wet lucerne or something on the back and a touch of leather. Finish is sweet, with underlying brown sugar and fruit that has nice residuals from that tart funk. Bit of lemon curd on there and a woody bitterness lingering behind. Fairly good saison really. Nothing special but all the right flavours handled well.
Very fizzy mouthfeel. Body is a bit thin for the amount of carbonation it's producing so it's actually a bit harsh on the palate. A shame really, I've discovered the dark sheep aspect of this beer.
A nice balanced saison for drinking, very refreshing and enjoyable.
71 / 100
Pours a cloudy pale gold colour, makes a spectrum top to bottom where the light comes through. Head is white and puffy and dense, nice retention with large bubbles around the edge. Good-looking hefeweizen, everything is where it should be.
Good light wheat nose. Nice tart, crisp edge with a touch of banana and cinnamon spice. Slight apple fruit on there as well, yeah nice. Tart and mildly spicy with fruity spice that reminds one of a mince pie or something. Pretty great.
Taste is quite fruity - tart and crisp with lots of acidity on the front and early mid. Banana comes through then with more green, underripe notes. Slight clovey and nutmeg apice on the back with that mince pie kind of flavour, very mild though but enough to counteract the underlying sweetness. Overall a nice crisp tart wheat palate.
Quite sizzly and dry on the back. Moderate body throughout; decent but not perfect.
A little on the acidic side to drink all the time, but just a little. Good hefeweizen characters and a generally well-balanced brew.
75 / 100
Pours a moderate gold amber colour, clear with modest white head. Bubbles sink to a thinnish film with decent lace that is not very sticky. Steady carbonation; not bad.
Smells pretty beautiful - passionfruit with pineapple and citrus. Lots of NZ hop notes, quite bitter as well with some lemon rind character on there. Yeah, I heartily approve of the hop level and the nose in general.
Taste is fruity; lots of citrus through palate with a tang on the front, blends well with slight buttery malt. Gets slightly bitter with rindy notes on the mid. All pretty fruity and citric throughout the palate. Nice soft hoppy finish, well blended. Not seamless, though, with a hint of harsh bitterness emerging right at the end. Great palate though, very decent drinking.
Foamy texture, good and full body. A little bit of a sizzle as well, pretty good pale ale texture.
A good after work beer, a nice clean ale with nice flavours.
71 / 100
Pours a pretty damn dark brown, really not getting much light through that. Head is modest, but nice and dense with ochre bubbles. Lace is insanely good when tilted, nice and clingy. Nice froth when you swill the head. Looks fantastic.
Smells quite dark, also sour. Interesting cherry and coconut aromas with a bit of cranberry and raisin. Yeah, very fruity and tart but with nice licorice spice and a hint of booziness. Dark, tart spicy and sweet. That is magnificent. Chocolate and nuts as well? Just beautiful aromas.
Taste is more sour than anything else. Actually I sense it's a bit thin in comparison to the nose. Fairly dark, with mild roasty flavours, hint of espresso on the mid. Lots of tart flavours though, with some cherry notes and red wine, bitter chocolate and cranberries. Could use more roastiness and possibly more sweetness, although the palate is interesting overall. Just has an odd tartness that is nice, but not sure it needs to be so dominant. Could be magnificent with more oomph!
Swills well in the mouth, with a nice thick viscosity to it; leaves very dry though and could have used a bit more sweetness to counteract. Feels slightly over-attenuated.
Yeah, a very decent drop this with nice flavours. Unfortunately it just lacks sparkle in some key areas.
69 / 100
I'm quite impressed with Bridge Road in general - they do some really interesting things. I hope this is one of them.
Pours a very dark, almost opaque black-brown, with only a fine film of light brown. Lacing is excellent. Looks very dark and deep, although it seems to lack some body. Very nice though.
Nose is lovely, it really has those big oaky, slightly vinous notes of the best American oak-ages examples, with some slightly smoke-tinged notes and dark grain. Slight spice, almost a capsicain note to give some fragrance. It's really, really, nice, and wonderfully complex. Lovely.
Taste is a little thin, but has some big bold roasted characters, and a quite noticeable acidity, possibly attributable to the oak. Feel is quite weak, and a little insipid, which is quite a shame, because otherwise there's a lot of pleasant characters to it.
It falls down in the end, but there's certainly some good characters to it. Everything is weighted towards the nose, and there's very little else to hold it up in the end. Nice enough though.
70 / 100
Pours a very deep red-brown colour, with a frothy and creamy head of pale, pale orange, which retains in hills and troughs across the top. Lacing is fine and intricate. Some cloudiness in the body - the colour looks pretty dark for the style. The head is a magnificent piece of work, however.
Lovely citrus and ripe tropical fruit aromas on the nose. Sweet tangerine, pawpaw and light crushed vegetation comes through. Quite sweet overall. Could be more robust and in my face, but pretty good as it stands.
Taste is well balanced between malt and hops, but big on both. Sharp clinging bitterness through the centre of the palate. with oddly fresh twinges around the edges. Grain is noticeable on the back, even lending a light roasted character to the finish. Feels slightly astringent at the end.
Oddly, this is darker than I expected in both appearance and taste - one could almost argue it's a take on a highly-hopped American Red Ale. Still, it's a nice brew.
71 / 100
On tap at the Local TapHouse's ANZAC Day SpecTapular.
Pours a very pale golden colour, heavily hazed, with a fine frothed eggwhite head. Lacing is excellent. Looks pretty thin, but hops are the main event here, hopefully.
Nose has a lot of sweet fruit, big notes of dried apricots, something jammy, and fresher hints of crushed vegetation. Smells very classically hoppy, almost like cracking the lid on a container of hop pellets. Very nice.
Flavour is a little muted, some resinous hop characters to begin with before a light grain character mashed with a whack of wet yeast. Very little bitterness on the back, but there is a refreshing green character to cleanse it out.
It's a nice drop, no doubt. I find wet hopped beers often sacrifice a little of the raw power you get with other hop-centric ales, but the fresh hop character is unique and something to be cherished. Bridge Road do a good job win this one.
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse ANZAC Spectapular.
Pours a cloudy opaque pale gold, lots of haze in the body. Head is not bad, but sinks quite quickly, leaving a very thin crown. Lace is nice and sticky, white web trails snaking down the glass. Very nice-looking beer.
Nose is extremely tasty, a tangy and fruity affair. Lots of fresh apple, passionfruit and orange sherbet notes. A slight spicy note comes through late like some mild pepper, but mostly sweet. Delicious citric characters, smells fresh and tasty, I love it.
Taste is very sweet at first, lots of fresh fruit, with apples, pineapple and orange zest coming through nicely. The bitterness comes through early, slightly cloying, but mostly earthy-resiny with a hint of bread yeast and citrus rind. Finish is a bit disappointing, kind of falls flat with a slight rubbery flavour just lingering on the back. Other than that the palate is a fairly pleasant journey from sweet-tangy to fresh-bitter, just a shame about the very back.
A bit of sizzle on the feel, but mostly quite fluid, not thin but swills nicely, quite good.
Yeah, a refreshing drop and well-handled. This was my first wet-hop beer so not much to compare it to, but I like what I've seen so far.
Bought from Slowbeer and shared with my homebrewing buddies.
Pours a deep murky red; almost opaque and I didn't quite decant out the floaties from my glass - but that's alright, I like a good chunk of protein in my beer. Head is small with dense bubbles, not enough for a full crown. Lace is OK. Looks suitable and to style.
Nose is a fair funkatarium, with a lot of subtle barnyard characters. Sour and salty, with hints of sweat, leather and some underripe grape notes. Some more earthy notes come through behind it, slightly gritty but not a lot. Smells OK and again to style, but very standard wild yeast characters.
Taste is fairly rich for the most part, a fair amount of toffee and molasses providing the backbone which is quite thick and malty. Acidic notes give off soprano touches throughout the palate, quite citric on the mid and getting slightly vinous, like a young chardonnay, towards the end. Some hints of grapefruit bitterness, especially on the finish, and definite but slightly smothered barnyard funk flavour. Decent, but simple, lacking in complexity for a wild beer but with a nice blend and balance.
Some body on the feel but swills in the mouth like it's thin. I think it's a good texture though, certainly doesn't come across as syrupy. Finish is very dry thanks in part to the puckering effect of the tartness.
Certainly a decent drinking beer, but I think I've been spoiled for Bière de Gardes lately with a couple of amazing Jolly Pumpkin offerings. I'd call this on par with 3 Monts and a fair effort.
75 / 100
Dark reddish black colour, not very opaque, but very dark. Head is an amazing rocky adventure of tan bubbles. Lacing is excellent. What an excellent looking beer.
Quite amazingly robust and powerful black roasted almost smoky nose. Very dark. Often I find some sweetness on the nose, and ashiness on the palate - but this has no sweetness here. If this is any indication, this will be one black dark and crazy beer.
Lots of roasted grainy flavours, not quite as dark as I'd have thought. The deep roasted notes are rich like deep brown toast. Very pleasant and pleasantly surprising. Mouthfeel is a little thin. A slight on an otherwise very pleasant beer.
Yeah. Nice. Roasty, but not too extreme. Plenty of character, and pretty easy to drink.
71 / 100
A very cloudy apple juice colour, with suspended flecks of orange, which tend to coalesce in the bottom of the glass. Some head but quite filmy. Lacing is ok though, a light sudsy patterning on the glass.
Nose is spicy and fruit-sweet, not unlike apple pie. In fact that's pretty much exactly what it smells like, sweet but tart, not a lot of notes from the saison. Certainly no barnyard funk. But its nice all the same.
Nice. There's a hint of funk on the palate, and the continuing sweet apple pie character from the quinces. Some bitterness on the very end cleans it up, and the lingering clove note seals the deal. Very smooth, although there's a note of phenols on the very end that skews it a bit. Otherwise very nice.
This is a very drinkable beer, and a wildly unique style. I have to say overall I approve a lot. I just wish there was a bit more saison funk, and a little less candied quince sweetness. Hooray for Aussie brewers doing something different!
87 / 100
Pours a pink grapefruit colour with a little bit of head at first, not just a white ring. Insanly hazy, thin but decent lacing. Looks very interesting, to say the least.
Very nice sour aroma, a lot of fruit, I assume it's quince although I'm not very familiar with that particular fragrance, seems kind of grapefruit-esque, with a distinct cinnamon fragrance and cloves as well, very spicy and sweet. That's damned nice, hell yeah.
Taste is very fruit, with a spicy cinnamon character behind it, flavours of apple and sugar cane, not much tartness really although the fruit character is fresh and tangy. Mouthfeel is nicely full and gritty with a lot of solid floaties adding a great unfiltered body to the fresh, organic flavours.
I'm digging this goddamn beer. What a great flavour - apple fruity, grainy, sweet and spicy. Four of my favourite food groups right there. This tastes great. Very refreshing and drinkable. I'm definitely a fan.
61 / 100
Pours very dark, almost pitch-black colour with a very large frothy head, mocha in hue, that dissipates quite comprehensively, leaving a thin crown. Lacing is OK, fairly lacklustre. Overall a decent looker.
Dark, heavy-roasted coffee character on the nose, some bitter cocoa-heavy chocolate, but a very grainy, oatmeal character as well. Slight dark tart cherry as well. Fairly predictable, nothing cruel or unusual, but nice.
Taste is again dark, very drying, bitter roastedness on the back, front is a bit disappointing, with nothing much except a tart hit of cherry and red grape skin. Very toasted back, great hit of espresso and a lot of burnt toast. It's quite a robust, bitter finish, slightly sour, quite manly but also a bit simple for its strength, not too much nuance to it.
Mouthfeel has a bit of a tingle to it but is quite thin. The slight grittiness on the back is a bit of a turnoff, but otherwise this is a reasonable drinker. And they have my blessing to call it a 'robust' porter, I don't think it's just marketing.
Pours with a pain-in-the-ass head. What does this beer think it's doing calling itself a commercial beer but pouring like one of our homebrews? Reddish umber colour, looks good drinking, but seriously, too much head.
Slightly sour floral hops on the nose, hints of cocoa and plain flour, doesn't promise exquisite drinking but it is quite interesting.
Very disappointing flavour, mainly because I was expecting one. Slightly sour, but malted, water on the front palate, absolutely nothing at the end. Mouthfeel is slightly drying but OK. Am left feeling empty. Could have used more malt, more hops, maybe a bucket of fried chicken for some flavour. Poor for a celtic red, poor for beer itself.
Pours a very pale yellow, with light cloudiness. Head gushes with masses of streaming carbonation, billowing into a massive coarse-bubbled mess of white foam. The carbonation starts to disintegrate the head after a while. But it looks pretty reasonably. The head's just so chunky it looks hard to drink.
Light pleasant organic skunkiness on the nose. A bit of crushed leaves, lemon myrtle and seltzer water. Overall, it's quite an acidic character, not unpleasant, but not all that powerful either.
Rather thin palate, a light biscuity entry pans out to a moderate hop resin bitterness, before a touch of tartness on the back. Mouthfeel is genuinely overcarbonated, even when I don't get a huge mouthful of suds, but it's not so bad with the light acidity.
A suitably refreshing beer - it's quite clean and pleasant, and certainly easy to knock back. Tone down the carbonation though, it left me feeling bloated.
59 / 100
Brewed for Beechworth's annual Celtic Festival. How nice.
Pours with a massive gush of off-white foamy head, fed by streaming bands of effervescence. Crackling of bubbles is audible from two metres away. Head is plainly ridiculous. Impossible to pour.
Apart from that, looks pretty good. Clear ruby-amber colour, perhaps a bit thin in the body. But a decent enough looking Celtic Red.
Not a huge amount on the nose. Some light notes of leather and biscuit, turned earth and pepper. Not bad, but not a huge amount there.
Pretty standard earthy ale character on the palate. Roasted malts, coffee grounds and a dry note of crushed vegetation. Mouthfeel is certainly damaged by the high level of carbonation.
Very organic, dusty, earthy and raw. This is a salt-of-the-earth beer. It's quite unrefined, but in this case that's a good thing; just decent, dependable characteristics that eventuate in a drinkable, if not stellar, beer.
Cloudy, unfiltered, yellow-orange coloured body, with a huge yellowish head of coarse-bubbled solid foam. Looks extremely carbonated, with a huge froth of head and lots of streaming carbonation.
Lightly aromatic fruit notes on the nose, hints of guava and starfruit. It's a tangy sweet-and-savoury character. Hints of grain cut through as well, giving a nice bread character to it. It's quite subdued, but quite pleasant.
Taste is pretty subdued as well, with a crisp but short hop bitterness and a grainy, organic character on the back palate. The more I drink it though, the more I feel it's really nicely balanced. Great mix of grainy malt and fragrant hops. Mouthfeel is overcarbonated, though, leaving it too prickly and frothy.
But overall, this is a very nice, if not extreme, pale ale. Refreshing and clean, smooth and tasty. Exceptionally drinkable.
Nice presentation in a 750ml champagne-style bottle. Just capped though, no corking.
Pours quite dark for a hefeweizen. A deep amber but with the traditional cloudy hefe body. Nice fine-bubbled head, but not billowy. Fine carbonation. It doesn't look that true to style, but it does look good.
Slight hefe yeast nose. Not a lot of banana or clove, but it does have the slightly latexy bubblegum character to it. Not bad, a decent weizen nose.
Taste is genuinely reminiscent of the true German Weizen style, but it does have a slightly pungent bitter character on the back palate. Whether it's an overaccentuated hop bite or something else, it rankles a bit.
Clearly the bubblegum character is dominant here as well. It gets almost a little overpowering, but it's a true hefe character, which is commendable.
Overall, this is pretty good. It has true hefe characters to it, and is a pretty good example style-wise. It doesn't have the transcendent qualities which would set apart a stellar Weizen, but it's very drinkable. Well done Bridge Road!