58 / 100
330ml tapered dark green bottle purchased from Slowbeer. Best before date of 09-2017.
Pours a pleasant, rose-tinted gold, with a fine, flimsy and filmy head of white that leaves very little lace. Body is quite fine and light. Carbonation is powdery and surprisingly slow-moving. Looks decent enough.
Nose is a bit weird. There's some soft fruit notes, and a light, vinous acidity, that turns slightly plasticky. Some sweeter notes come through giving a suggestion of berries and powdered sugar. Not bad all up.
Taste is fairly soft as well, with a powdery sparkle on the front, that turns tart and slightly phenolic, with hints of melted plastic and cherry pit. Just a slight whiff of chlorine on the back which is fortunately quickly ushered away backstage, letting some of those soft, sweet berry notes ride through to the finish. Tartness lingers in the aftertaste, slightly phenolic and a little biting.
Overall, it's honestly not one of the better fruit sours I've had. The acidity is there, but it's not well integrated with the other notes, and the fruit has a tendency to make things feel weirdly skewed towards actual flaws. I'm not much of a fan.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a very pale golden colour, extremely clear in the body with a lot of streaming carbonation. Body is very light, but that's fine for the style. Head is just off-white, and forms a firm, full crest that doesn't leave much lace. Looks good overall though.
Nose has some honey and meady spices to it, but also a rather dull unpleasant floury note. Some cinnamon and vanilla come through, but this just makes it smell slightly doughy like an uninspired fruit loaf. I'm not overly impressed.
Flavour is quite flat. Some honey on the front palate but little sweetness. This allows a yeasty note to rise in the centre, keeping the flavours dull and only marked by a slight grainy bitterness. Finish finally has a touch of pepper, and some lingering, used-up spice. Aftertasty is also quite bready, with a bit of banana to it.
Feel is light. It's okay, but still pretty dull.
Overall—sure it's drinkable, mostly because it seems so pointless. Even though I could drink it, I still reckon I'd rather not.
Pours a clear gold colour, with nice dense cream-coloured head. Could be a bit cloudier, but looks nice.
Smells more weizeny than Biere de Gardey. Caramel banana nutmeg dominating, with a touch of cinnamon and other miscellaneous sweet spice notes. Gets better as it goes along though, nice.
Taste is a bit nutty upfront with a slight chestnut edge to the malts, then spice notes take over midway with cinnamon and clove dominating along with that weizeny banana edge. Finishes more BdG-esque, with some phenolic yeast notes giving a touch of medicine. Maybe a touch of barnyard as well, not bad.
Decent body but carbonation is a bit rough and fizzy in the mouth. OK.
I keep reflexively disliking this, but then warming to it later. Really quite a good beer.
71 / 100
330ml dark green bottle, in the short stubby style that Birra del Borgo do their 750ml bottles as well. Purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant deep golden colour, with a somewhat pocked head of white that actually fades out of existence to nothing pretty quickly. Body is lovely though—firm richness that leaves lovely streams of carbonation when tilted. Some sediment is present, despite my only pouring the top two-thirds or so of the bottle. Looks good though.
Nose is very pleasant. Herbal, spicy characters that give the coriander quality of a witbier, while the richness of the malt adds sweetness to stop it getting too light and frothy. The yeast characters also help here, giving an almost savoury organic character—this adds a sense of meatiness, but doesn't make it feel heavy. It's pretty nice all up.
Taste is much along the same lines. Pleasant spicy aromatics above a fairly solid malt basis, slicked with a clean smooth feel. Back lingers with a faint hint of acidity and even a touch of mineral salt. The feel really helps. The carbonation is low, but there's a fair bit of body for the style, which actually helps sustain the flavours to a degree that helps raise it above the ordinary. Very pleasant.
Overall, it's a really nicely created beer. There's some very pleasant richness to it that put it above a standard spiced Belgian Golden, or a witbier. I did like it a lot.
76 / 100
Tried on handpump at Bir & Fud in Rome. This is an oyster stout, hence the "pearls" reference in the name.
Pours a solid, oily black colour, opaque with haze. Carbonation forms in a cloudy crest forming up to a frothy, persistent, pale-brown head. Lacing forms in patches and specks. Body is solid. Looks really good.
Toasty, nutty malt on the nose, but a little subdued. Some slight savoury characters come through with a little BBQ and saltiness. Some tannin comes through as well with a sharp wine sediment character. Overall, it's fairly light, but purposeful.
Light and frothy on the palate, some characters like milky coffee. Slight caramel tones come through, but not the true sweetness. The roast builds towards the mid and back, along with a red apple skin note. Finish is slightly medicinal or mineral like flint. Coffee lingers in the aftertaste.
Feel is smooth, frothy and light. Very nice.
Overall, this is a really solid, very easy-to-drink stout. The handpump really brought it out in its best light I think. It's a really cracking brew.
330ml squat brown Birra del Borgo bottle, purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. I've actually had this beer once before thanks to Red Duck brewed Scott Wilson-Browne, but at the time didn't review it. And now, it's giving me flashbacks to Red Duck's excellent Ra series.
Pours a a pale, hazed yellow-gold with almost no head, just the finest ring of pale white around the edge. Body is fluid but thick. It looks decent enough without being terribly exciting.
Nose is very strange. Sour and sharp, but with a slightly smoky, meaty character running through it. Some sulphur comes through, along, with a dusty, dirty earthiness, which is perhaps the most unique character. It's certainly very different, and that's worth a lot.
Taste is quite sour, more than I expected from the nose, perhaps. Quite a tart entry, that maintains that same earthiness which makes if very different at the same time. Slight spicy characters towards the back, giving up a little myrrh and orange peel notes. Finish is relatively refreshing.
Feel has an attack from the acidity on the palate, but is quite light and refreshing otherwise.
Overall. This is pretty decent. It's probably a bit weird to drink frequently, but it was certainly an interesting beer to sample.
60 / 100
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy. Head is white, consisting of large bubbles around a dense, foamy crown. Nice lace. Looks good.
Smells quite sweet, but a big whack of lemon myrtle tang. Yeah, strong citric character, well dominant anyway. Possibly too dominant as there's not much else going on, but it delivers what it promises and is quite enticing and refreshing.
Taste is more malty, with a big cereal grain character upfront. Vanilla notes as well, before getting into the tangy, fruity mid-palate where there's apple, pear, some notes of passionfruit and of course a big floral citric note as well. Overall very sweet. Needs something to ground it.
Decent body, slight fizz from the carbonation on the tongue. Not bad.
I think only the second beer to use lemon myrtle that I've tried, the other being the Baron's lemon myrtle witbier, and I have the same issue with this as I had with that (although I think this is better). It's just too sweet. I'd like to see someone throw lemon myrtle in with some NZ bittering hops (Sticklebract for example) just for some more grounding and balance, because it can be just too sweet otherwise.
84 / 100
Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour, quite hazed with a full, frothy cream of yellow white head. Body is decently weighted and holds fine carbonation. Lacing forms in streaky, intricate swathes. Looks good.
Big citrus characters on the nose mingled with sweet spices which give a powerful fruit cake aroma. Lemon sherbet comes through along with nutmeg, and the obvious lemon myrtle used in this beer's construction. It's all really beautifully balanced as well, meaning that while it's big, it's all really well integrated. Lovely aroma.
Quite a light, entry on the palate: smooth and dry, before the characters buoy up on the mid. Here there's stacks of orange peel, candied fruits and a rich spiciness. Back is smooth and clean but maintaining that persistent richness. Lovely stuff.
Feel is light and clean, and really quite creamy. Very pleasant.
Overall, this was great stuff. I loved how well the spices were used and how balanced and rich the beer was as a whole. One of my favourites from GABS.
75 / 100
Pours a vibrant, burnished orange, with slight haze. Tightly-packed head, off-white, not too glamorous. Looks acceptable.
Smells kinda Belgian, with noticeable but subtle phenols. Strong cinnamon character coming through, with notes of poached apple and quince as well. Sweet; very pleasant. Could use a little more saisony funk though.
Taste is more of the same. Cinnamon apple notes, with sweetish spice throughout, and a nice cinnamon back. Fruit on the back is a bit more tart and green than it perhaps should be, quite a touch of acidity to an otherwise pleasant apple/pear palate. Still, very tasty overall.
Again, a bit of a pull from the astringency on the back. Body maybe a little too thin to handle it.
I love the idea here, and wish the execution was better. Just tastes a little undercooked; otherwise very nice.
Pours a red colour, steady bead. Head is huge, fluffy and generous, beige in colour with great lacing left behind. Wonderful.
Hoppy, but a good malty base. Caramel, toffee with resiny pine notes, some nutty and spicy characters as well. Pleasant red ale aroma.
Tastes fairly malty, grainy mostly. Barley with some caramel, toffee, and toasted quinoa. Touch of roast on the back, with resiny hop oils. Could use more fresh flavour, dry hopping or late citric hopping. Decent balance overall, but feels a bit flat and flavourless late. I'd like a fresher finish.
Smooth mouthfeel, quite pleasant. Bit dry on the back.
Decent red ale, but doesn't leave me feeling too happy. Freshen up the back and you've got a deadset winner.
Pours a pale straw-gold colour, massive haze through the body, almost opaque. Head is white, foamy, retaining really nice and thick. Looks like a great saison.
Smells very Belgian. Lots of spicy phenols, with a touch of barnyard funk. Heavy on the yeast but still smells a bit more on the side of Belgian Pale than Saison, could use more of that organic funk character and a bit more freshness.
Taste is a little sweet. Quite malty with a touch of banana as well. A little bit of funk towards the back and some light spice esters. Little bit phenolic on the finish but not really enough to tame the sweetness. Ironically after the nose the palate needs more of those Belgian phenols to ground it. Or more funk.
A little bit of bite from the carbonation; good enough body.
Not a bad beer but nothing spesh and a bit lacking in the saison stakes. More organic funk and possible tang would amp it up big time.
71 / 100
Tried on tap as part of the Local Taphouse Italian Spectapular.
Pours a golden colour, clear like a lager should be. Off-white head, foamy and good retention. Lovely head; lovely everything.
Smells nutty and fruity with plenty of hops overlying a cereal grain base aroma. Malty, but in a pilsenery sort of way so it's not too heavy or anything. Hops float on the top, nice and US-style tangy aroma hops. could have used more; in an imperial pils I expect hopping to be more aggressive than this.
Taste is very sweet upfront, loads of malt on it from an obviously big grain bill. Some cereal characters, wheat and oat grain coming through, with lots of US hops that kick in midway and manage a very fine job of cleaning up the palate by the end; citric, slightly piney and grassy. A beer of two halves, but both balance each other well.
Bit of booze on the mouthfeel; otherwise fine.
Kind of pedestrian, but fairly pleasant and enjoyable flavours. Maybe a good bridging beer for more extreme flavours.
74 / 100
Pours a dark-brown portery colour, clear with nice foamy head of a deep beige, slight golden tinges around the edges. Nice, decent porter look; has a touch of espresso about its appearance.
Smells very spicy and smokey. Deep roasted malt base with spicy, herbal notes that combined with the roast give a slight ashiness. Quite sharp, too, but it's all quite pleasant. Piquant, like a good wake-up coffee.
Again very spicy on the palate. Lots of tobacco characters on there with herbal notes, some mediciney characters coming in and a touch of pepper. Smoke, too, almost meaty. The roasted malt provides a very solid foundation and complements all these extra complexities well on the back. Very pleasant indeed.
Slightly thin on the mouthfeel, but OK. Smooth texture.
Very interesting brew. More on the interesting side, but I think it makes good use of tobacco. More tobacco should be used in brewing and less for smoking, I say.
82 / 100
Pours an amber colour, with a very slight redwood tinge. Very mild cloud to it. Head is beige in colour, dense and creamy texture. Sits thick on the top and stays looking thick on the top. Just gorgeous.
Malty sweet on the nose, but a wonderful hoppy tang that builds up. Citric, tangy and piney. So inviting, like a scantily-dressed grandmother with a tray of fresh cupcakes. Mmmm.
Again, sweet on the palate. Plenty of caramel malt upfront before it gives way to a spicy and hoppy mid-to-late, with US hop characters. Citrus comes through quite late and plenty of pineapple and wood resin as well. Not that big and complex, but otherwise very pleasant flavours.
Body is thick, foamy, beautiful.
Lovely amber ale. Big, tasty, and lovely.
Pours a dark-brown colour, quite pale really. Maybe a slight cloud is visible but otherwise clear. Head is pale beige, nice and foamy and sticking around fairly well. Certainly not black but otherwise nice.
Nose is a very pleasant IBA nose. Nice underlying malt, not very roasty but rich and full-bodied, and overlying all is lots of delicate fresh hops. US mostly, with citric and tangy pine qualities. Quite lovely, really.
Taste has a bit more on the roasty side, with a touch of slightly sour under-roasted coffee upfront. Midway switches to the hop side, all US hops with citric and slightly resinous bitterness. Not quite enough though, it doesn't really balance or capture the best of both camps.
A little dry on the texture, good enough body though.
Not a bad brew, a little bitter and not quite enough early hopping for me to really sit up and take notice.
57 / 100
750ml classically odd-shaped BdB bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a full pinkish amber colour, with the pink washing out and disappearing when held to the the light. Head forms a fine film, but dissipates to a ring of white after a brief period. Some streaks of fine lace. Carbonation is also very fine, and abundant when tilted. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is powerfully flavoured with raspberries, with the fruitiness coming through really very strongly. Under this is a suggestion of funky acidity, and perhaps a faint wet grain character, but there's no question: the "lamponi" provide the bulk of the aroma here.
Taste is not so straight, but doesn't really intrigue me with its complexities. Instead, we get more of that slight wet grain character, and more of the real funk, both of which obscure and confuse the purpose of the beer a bit. There's some true tartness on the back, but by then the grainy character has come forward, meaning that instead of the fresh citric bite that might have accompanied it, the tartness accentuates a harshness.
Feel is clear and crisp, and with a pleasant bite at least.
Overall, this is fair enough, but I've had better from BdB. This feels a bit slapdash—like adding raspberries to a beer that was disappointing as a straight wild ale was going to mask the fact that it was disappointing.
87 / 100
Bottle purchased from Beermongers in Portland, OR. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Uncaps with a massive fizz, but fortunately no foaming. Pours a lovely bright yellow-golden colour, very cloudy, but pleasantly light-bodied. Head is a smooth, egg-white sheen across the top of the glass. Some patchy, streaking lace. Looks pretty good.
I immediately get coconut on the nose, but it has an odd greenness to it, perhaps like coconut water, or the coconut that would lace a Thai stir-fryâbecause under it is layers of biting acid and mild astringency, that suggest citrus pith, plantain and an almost pine or cedar wood character. Wowee. This is expressive and exciting stuff.
Taste is also extremely good. There's not the mouth-ripping acidity of a straight Cantillon lambic, but it plays along with the other characters, suggesting that it could destroy your mouth if it wanted to: it's just that right now, it's feeling generous.Instead, we get a lovely buoyancy of mild citrus along with more oaky coconut, pithy greens, a touch of white grape juice, with a faintly fruity freshness to finish with. Wow. This is exceptionally good.
Feel is clean, but very, very smooth. It creates yet another wonderful balm to the acidity.
This is a truly wonderful beer, but it's unsurprising given the two breweries who gave birth to it. Birra del Borgo are now well on-top when it comes to Italian craft beer for me, this being just another in a great line of good beers.
61 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a surprisingly clear and very fizzy pink. Body is actually more of a rosÃ©, with touches of amber to it. Head fizzes up like champagne, and then settles out very quickly. Light body. Overall, yeah, it's ok, but not all that exciting.
Nose is sprightly and slightly tart, with some cherry character coming through, along with a dusty, dry character that almost gives the suggestion of plaster. It's pretty dry and a little uninteresting, to be perfectly honest.
Taste is similar. Very dry and a little flatâthat's probably ok for the style, but it really loses a lot of the complexities that could have been expressed otherwise. Tartness is mild, and there's very little in the way of depth. Just a mild dry cherry character and a carbonated sparkle in the finish.
Feel is very much like champagne. This isn't champagne. It's beer.
Sure, it's decent enoughâand to be honest, if my goal was to serve sec champagne that wasn't champagne, this would be near the top of my list. But this doesn't actually do much to advance beer. I found it dry, flat and without purpose.
59 / 100
On-tap at the Italian SpecTapular festival held at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours an opaque yellow colour, with huge hazing to the body. Weight is very light, not unexpected for the style. Head is a pocked, but firm white, that leaves some patchy sheets of lacing. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright and slightly piquant with coconut, brusque funk and a vegetative aroma like frozen peas. This melds with some other sweeter characters like vanilla. It's weird, even for such a lively style as a saison.
Palate is light and smooth on the entry, but a little bit flat, before the suggestion of proper saison-ness comes through on the mid-palate. Here we get some grassiness, a little bit more veggie character, and an earthy, grounded funk. However, this funk sits initially above an oddly sweet body that feels a little wrong, and then drops out entirely, leaving the finish dry, with floury pastry notes.
Feel is light with a hint of astringency that's not present in the flavour itself.
Overall, this is a fractured and fractious beer. The weirdnesses to it just go a little far, and make you feel as though this beer is erratic and uncontrolled. The novelty of this almost saves it, but I can't help feel that overall it's just wack.
74 / 100
On-tap at the Italian Spectapular at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a deep, solid and pretty gooey and oily black colour. Head is a filmy brown hue. Relatively light bodied in the glass. Looks pretty good.
Nose is rich and roasty, with some mild toasted tobacco notes and a pretty deep sweetness backing it up. Some true graininess comes through to back up the other roasted characters. It's very pleasant.
Taste is big and smooth, and smooth without any clinging sweetness. Languid roast on the front, with a nice clean biscuity finish. The tobacco adds more of a sweetness to the back, and some depth and complexity to the finish. Ahh... It almost makes you want to take up smoking.
Nice stuff: I'll pay that for sure. Very smooth, rich and flavoursome with a lot to offer. Were I not so brainwashed to believe that this beer is probably giving my mouth cancer, I'd drink this regularly.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of the Italian Spectapular festival.
Pours a reddish brown colour, both lighter and clearer than I expected. Head is a solid creamy white hue that leaves very solid fine sheeting lace down the glass. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant enough, with some mild roasted notes and mild inoffensive hops, which meld to give a peachy character, spliced with some extra grain from the roast. It adds depth to the aroma, but not a huge amount. Not bad.
Light bitter malt on the front, leaving a grain taste, before the hops display a biting entry. This dissipates rather quickly, leaving the mid-palate feeling a little bit like the lull between storms, and the hops turn fragrant and rather sweet. Finish crescendoes in bitterness, leaving a solid feeling at both the front and the back of the palate.
Not bad overall. Plenty of nice characters done reasonably well. It's not going to knock anyone's socks off, but it's solid enough.
Tried originally in bottle from DFH. This version was on-tap from BdB as part of the Italian SpecTapular festival at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a light golden colour with clean haze. Lace forms in patchy slips from a pretty solid, creamy egg-white head. Decent heft to the body too. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is super malty: clean husky grain characters with a touch of leafy European noble hoppiness. Some breadiness comes through as well, giving a dryness that's not entirely pleasant. Not bad though.
Taste is clean and crisp, again very light on the hops, but with a pleasant clean grain character which almost fills that role. Finish is a little sweet and a little boozy, but manages to drag a touch of bite from somewhere to prevent it being cloying. Feel is crisp enough, despite the weight.
I'm not going to lie: this was something of an average brew. It's not bad by any means, but the version I had from DFH was much better, and I say this as someone who's not a huge fan of the maverick DFH philosophy.
73 / 100
On-tap at the Italian SpecTapular festival put on by the Local Taphouses.
Solid amber hue with some decent hazing to the body. Weight is solid and full. Head forms a firm, pocked crown of creamy off-white, almost tending towards yellow. Lace is full and big. Looks great.
Mild sweet hops on the nose lend fruitiness laced with toffee from the solid malty body. The two ends blend together well, but they don't create much conflict and complexity. The only other character to jump out is a later effect of brusque grain. Otherwise, it feels a bit one-dimensional.
Light mild fruity hops again at the start of the taste, that develop into a pithy fragrance mid-palate. Malt comes through giving some solid sweetness, developing to a biting grain character on the back which clears out the sweetness. It's nicely balanced and rather pleasant.
Feel is smooth but with weight and solidity behind it.
Yep, this is nice beer. Well-balanced and easy to drink. This was one of the better beers on offer on the day.
375ml geueze-style bottle, purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a hazy, slightly dusty golden colour, with a large-bubbled head of white, that poked its way above the lip of the bottle before it was poured. It actually subsides pretty quickly thereafter, however, leaving the beer looking surprisingly flat. Lacing is decent enough.
Nose is flat leafy hoppiness, with a touch of organic, rustic nuttiness, and a touch of rubber. There's an odd mix of the natural and the inorganic to it, with a tart touch of copper or tin, and a herbal, crushed leaf aroma. It's quite interesting, but a little unusual.
Taste is musty and a little flat, with some nutty characters on the back giving a basis to the palate. Hops (what there are) are compressed as a leafy, herbal bitterness on the back, which is rather flat and not particularly piquant. Malt goes through the motions. It provides a basis, but doesn't go much beyond that.
Overall? Eh. It's not unpleasant, and it doesn't deviate from the norm in any substantial way. I mean, it's drinkable enough. Apart from the hint of funk on the nose, it's just dullâwe've seen this many times before.
77 / 100
Don't blame me. That's it's name according to the bottleâon both the front and the back...
Pours with a massive head, almost stupidly big, that collapses to a foamy rocky landscape above a deep amber-orange body. Solid heft to the body, although perhaps not as big as it could have been. Surprisingly little visible carbonation in the body, as though all of its effort went in one enormous thrust into making the head. Not bad though.
Nose is brightly hoppy, in a clean, clear generic American IPA way, lending citrus rind and pine needle, with a whiff of pepper and spice. It's really quite clean and bright and fresh; a very solid example of the style.
Taste is very pleasant. All the classic hoppy resinous characters, but with restrained bitterness, and no harshness or astringency. Solid nutty malt character gives some backbone, while the fragrant pine and resin dance across the top. It's clean and fresh and very solid work.
Feel is light, but weighty enough to support what it needs to.
Really good brew: my first outing with Birra del Borgo, besides their My Antonia collab with DFH. I like what I see.