Fruit sour beer brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours a pale straw colour, very very cloudy, almost opaque. No head, maybe just the remnants of a ring of white foam. Otherwise looks good though, and typical for the style.
Smells fruity, and pleasant. Tropical, tangy fruit notes with kiwi and a touch of citrus from the sourness. Tangy and pleasant.
Taste is tangy too, with a strong kiwi character that's quite impressive and pleasant. Not a lot of malt presence as it's a lighter drop, but that fruit note really swells on the middle then turns tart for the finish, with a touch of citrus bite to it. Refreshing and pleasant.
Decent body for the size and the style, good bitty presence in the mouth.
Not bad, very fruity and tangy cleanser.
Despite a fairly middling initial reaction, I retried and shortlisted this for favourites, and it ended up my #13 beer of the festival.
375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt. Packaging date of March, so it's about four months old. BB date is 8 months later.
Pours a very pale golden colour, with good clarity, and a messy head of white that sticks in complex patterns to the glass. Body is light and clean, with lots of fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose isn't bad, but it has a slight sweetness to it which doesn't sit really well with my expectations for a pils. Indeed, there is some grain character to it, which is relatively pleasant, but in combination with the sweetness, it has an aroma like desiccated coconut. It's slightly vegetative from the hops, which isn't bad, but there's something that stops it being as fresh and crisp as it should be.
Taste is pretty decent. The malt structure isn't quite right, which is a shame, and it leaves a big hole at the back of the palate. There is crispness in the finish at least, which provides something. Hops are also fairly prominent, but they give a slight metallic edge to the flavour. It's not entirely coherent, but it's also not bad.
Feel is light and crisp. Oddly for a lager, given they're often overcarbonated, this could use a slightly more aggressive effervescence.
It's still a nice, easy-drinking beer, with a crispness that marks a good lager. All up, it's the kind of beer I wish were more widely produced—we need more nice, clean lagers that show the difference from the big boys.
62 / 100
New World Pilsner that's been subjected to ice-distilling for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a straw colour with a strong chill haze through the body. Large bubbly head, white in colour. Very pale, and looks intriguing.
Smells kind of sweet, with buttery notes and a touch of vanilla. Tasty hops on there as well though - lemon and passionfruit. Chill, refreshing aroma.
Cereal grain upfront, with some puffed rice character and a touch of rye for grounding. Some passionfruit hints towards the mid-palate and then gets really quite resinous and bitter on the back. Fairly dank and somewhat astringent. Alright but could use a bit more elevation. Feel like the freeze-distilling has just muted all the hop notes and brought instead a brandy booziness that feels unbalanced.
Thin body, the alcohol is there but not unpleasant - just a kiss of warmth towards the back.
Yeah, this beer has a lot of potential but it doesn't amaze me. Just needs more flavour to back up the strength, and I feel like rather than taking a pilsner designed to be drunk at ~5% and freezing it they could have constructed a ballsier, imperial version with a more complex hop bill and done the same thing.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a reddish amber hue with a little haze behind it. Body is solid, holding fast but fine carbonation. Head is very yellow, forming a firm and decent crest that leaves full lace. Looks good overall.
Nose is spicy with anise, clove and turmeric, turning slightly rubbery as it warms. Some vanilla comes through as well to smooth it out as well. It's not huge, but it's decent enough in its way.
Flavour is a lot thinner unfortunately, watery particularly on the entry. The spices come through a little later, but they almost suggest tartness in a beer without a lot of body like this one. Turmeric is pretty strong, but the anise gets its day as well. Back is slightly better with some ginger and vanilla suggesting that it might getting somewhere more full and interesting.
Feel is light and watery. Not great.
It's not awful, but it's based on a pretty dull beer, and the spices don't really do anything but hang around limply on their own. As part of a better structured beer they might have been fine.
Pours an amber colour, clear with large bubble beige head. Sticks around nicely. Looks English, and pretty nice.
Smells Indian spicey, as promised. Big cumin/coriander spice with some coriander and cardamom for good measure. Touch of cocoa to the blend as well and some bitter nut character on the malt. Very decent.
Taste is a bit of a letdown. Caramel malt that descends into a spice-tinged mid-palate but not nearly so big as the nose. Touch of coriander and aniseed, it's still foremost on the palate but its weaker character just shows up the lack of anything else. Kind of meh.
Mouthfeel is decent; a little thin maybe but OK for the style.
Indian notes, but a bit too subdued on the palate. I'd hoped for much more than this.
70 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney.
Pours a very clear, bright golden colour, like a big cold beer. Head is a wonderful meringue-like creamy mess that leaves clumpy, persistent lace. Refined, streaming carbonation adds to the effect. Looks on point—a really good imperial pilsner.
Nose definitely tends towards the lagery side of things. Pleasant but restrained German hoppiness, which I wasn't really expecting (although most Imperial Pilsners I've had have amped up the New Zealand hops). The hop character also goes a bit flat once the head disappears, as though all the volatiles were trapped in there. It ends up quite vegetative and a little grassy. Decent overall though.
Taste is pretty nice. Light, smooth and clean, with a big bite on the back, that gives it a finish which is bitter and slightly metallic. This works in this beer though. Finish is empty of what little malt sweetness was there initially, which is appropriate, but the bitterness is big as a result. Slight husky tones, giving perhaps a little nod to a standard Australian lager, with some herbal tones to reminisce about Europe. Booze is genuinely well-hidden. This was my first beer of the night and I couldn't really sense it apart from maybe a slight numbing on the back of the throat.
Feel is great for the style. Light and crisp, but with a bit of weight to carry the flavour.
Overall, this was pretty solid, and an interesting take on the pils, really ramping up a traditional version rather than making a crisper version of what could otherwise be an IPA. I still think I prefer the latter variation, but I do genuinely love to see some variety in what's a great style of beer.
77 / 100
On tap at the Union hotel.
Pours very pale, cloudy cider colour. Steady bead is still visible. Head is gorgeously dense, retains too solidly though. Looks unnaturally augmented, would like some gradual sinkage at least. Looks nice though.
Smells saisony. Rich, earthy funk with wet grass, dank blanket and dank memes. Yes, good work, Sam, people will get that reference for years to come. Touch of acid, lots of phenol. Standard saison, but loads of it and totally unpretentious.
Taste is similar. Slight grain undertones, with loads of funk over the top. Horsey, barnyardy. Funky that peaks in the middle and could last longer. Finish is clean which might be crowd pleasing but I just wish it was amped up throughout the whole adventure. Still, good flavoursome saison.
A bit of texture, body is solid. Feels a bit dry and possibly boozey at the back. Don't love it.
Tasty, classic saison. Nothing flashy on there, just solid old world characters.
76 / 100
On tap at the Quarrymans, December 2014 sometime. Not sure from the name (which is all I have to go on now, don't even remember drinking it) whether it should be a Rye Beer or an Old Ale, but given how often I referenced rye in my notes I'm erring on the side of rye.
Pours a dark red, clear and nice character. Head is beige, small bubbles, nice cream texture at the top, some lace.
Smells very grainy, spicy, chocolatey, with a nice rye character and nice roundness. Pleasant.
Taste is dry, lots of chocolate with rye spice and some quite dry, peppery spice notes as well as some roast. Nice dry spice of grainy proportion giving roundness and nice end to the roasty start. Pleasant rye character. Nice beer.
Decently full, quite decent texture.
Nice rye beer. Roasty with great spice. Unpretentious but full of character.
57 / 100
Pours a champagne colour, bit of haze with snow-white head, large bubbles webbed out to form some thin trails of lace. Light bead as well. Decent pilsener look.
Smells quite pilsenery as well. Light grain upfront with some cereal notes, then a touch of banana midway and some grassy hops. Hops get a little resinous towards the back, but yeah, OK.
Taste starts out with the same light grain note, then develops big citrus hop note with a tart touch of green apple, then finish is all phenolic, and quite astringent. Light-bodied with a bit of carbonation to cut through, but it's a little heavy on the bitterness for me to want to drink over and over again.
Not bad overall, quite pilsenery without too much baggage.
72 / 100
Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne. Yes, I know, I'm a long way out of date from entering my reviews. This beer they styled as a "Chocolate and Golden Naked Oat Breakfast Pilsner". OK, then.
Pours a light, mellow golden colour with some faint hazing. Body is pretty solid allowing a full head of bubbled off-white to form as a crest. Streaky lacing forms at the edges, and the carbonation is languid and full. Looks good.
Nose is nice, giving honeyed grain characters much like what I'd like from the stated style. There is a hint of chocolate to it, but it's quite earthy and relatively well integrated with the grain notes. There's also a remnant of its pils genesis here, with a light fragrant cereal character and a touch of hops. Pretty good stuff, and nicely matching its description.
Light and crisp on the entry: fairly subtle in terms of flavour. On the middle some of the more unusual notes of chocolate and coffee roast come in, along with the hop bitterness which spills onto the back, leaving it clean, brisk and tight. It does linger a little bit more than it could: a crisp punctuated finish would really make me buy its pilsner credentials.
Feel is smooth but light. Not bad.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. I think the extra ingredients add a well-structured interest to the beer, and I think it's really well matched to what it set out to do. Good stuff.
Australia's first craft-beer-in-a-can. Let's see how it goes down.
Pours a vibrant red colour, quite clear. Head is off-white, decent thickness with again, decent lacing left behind. Decent English bitter look.
Smells hoppy, in an English way. Slightly spicy but mostly malty; caramel with vanilla, notes of toasted grain and quinoa as well. Malty, and very English. Hops are there but subtle.
Taste is OK; fairly standard English notes with malty caramel, touch of English toffee on there with Bramling X-esque herbal notes. Touch of lemon and some light woody characters on the back. It's fairly standard, like a lot of Neal Cameron's beers, but there's decent balance to it and a welcome sprucey hop character. Certainly well-made, and refreshing enough.
A little bit foamy in the mouth, not bad.
These scores could have gone up half a mark each, if this were really my kind of beer. I think it's well made but it just doesn't excite me very much, and I think one could pack a lot more flavour and attitude into a can than this beer represents.
I had this in a can earlier in Sydney Craft Beer Week, but when it popped up again on tap at Harts Pub's event, I thought it was worth trying there to make the comparison.
It pours a clear, reddish amber hue with minimal weight to the body. Head is a fine and solid beige foam that forms nice small bubbles. It laces the glass with streaky, tight rings as it goes down. Carbonation is mild. Looks pretty good.
Nose is robust but not violent with earth, herbal hops, giving a woody, English character. I'm guessing East Kent Goldings are prominent, but it could be others in that herbal, earthy style. Slight pepper comes through as well. Missing some weight and depth, but otherwise solid enough.
More on the herbs side of thing on the palate as well: green, crushed fragrance on the front, before a rather gritty character comes in part way through. I recall toffee on the canned version, but there's not much of that here: just a mild husky grain note to balance. It also feels a little thin, suggesting that a bit more malt body would help it in more ways than one. Finish has a hint of crushed mint to it, and a mild astringency.
Some creaminess in the mouthfeel would help a lot, as would a little more sweetness.
It's nice enough. It's tasty, rather English in genesis, and with a fair whack of hop character. I think the main difference between the can and the on-tap version came from the serving temperature. The can had some odd fruity esters as it warmed, but I think the on-tap one probably suffered a thinness from being a bit too cold. Otherwise, the two seem to back each other up pretty well.
60 / 100
The claim is that this is Australia's first craft beer in a can. Besides James Squire Golden on Qantas flights, they might be about right. Free sample given away at BeerMenTV's Hair of the Dog Breakfast during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This one was shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a deep reddish amber colour, with a fine, but filmy head of slightly milky-coloured white. Carbonation is fine and the body is solid. Some streaking fine lace. Overall, this doesn't look like an Aussie beer from a can.
Nose is rounded with some mildly toasty malt shot through with a slightly earthy English hop character. It has a woody, slightly tannic note to it, and a greenness that doesn't seem to have much to do with freshness. Slightly fruity estery notes come through as it warms as well, perhaps a bit of banana and peach. Smells pretty good.
Taste is similar, with a little more toffee sweetness coming through that bounds off the hop character into a little astringency. More hints of banana, which are now getting in the way. Not a great deal of English malt character to balance those earthy, leafy hops; this job is left to those toffee notes and the banana esters, which really don't provide the right contrast.
Feel is pleasantly smooth, but streaked with a mild bite of fine carbonation.
Overall, this is a solid brew. It's not mind-blowing, it's not even an exemplar of the style, but it's decent enough, and it's worthy enough to be at the vanguard of the craft beer can revolution in this country. Bring on more!
75 / 100
Very dark reddish-brown, almost cola colour. Head is orange-tinged beige, lovely and creamy, fantastic retention. Looks great.
Bit of roasted malt on the nose, maybe a touch of vanilla with sweet cereal kind of notes. Touch of cocoa and maybe a slight metallic hint. Can't expect much from a mild, but what's there is nice.
Taste is a little bit dark, with lightly toasted grain, bit of barley and flaxseed, gets maybe a hint of vanilla on the back, but otherwise not a huge amount of vanilla character. Nicely sweet though, but with a good roasty malt balance. At the same time, smooth and very mild. Great overall palate with the line walked stealthily between flavour and quenchability. Goes to show you don't need to go big to make good beer.
Smooth, creamy. Where is this mouthfeel coming from? Obviously not full from 3.5%, but really pleasant texture.
As good a cleansing ale as you can get and a pretty good session ale. Maybe too sweet for me to quaff all night, but still a damn fine drop.
76 / 100
On-tap at the Paddy's Hop Harvest festival.
Pours a nice mild brown colour, hazed and slightly opaque, with a decent fine and creamy head of off-white. Fine carbonation that's present, but subtle, so you don't really notice it. Looks good.
Nose is smooth and mild, with vanilla coming through as a subtle creaminess, not the sharp orchid fragrance it can be. Slight rusty note to it gives some graininessâthe two sit nicely together.
Taste is creamy and in some respects light, but with a caressing smoothness. Back is slightly nutty and creamy, with flavours of hazelnut praline and halva. The vanilla just smooths it all over, the base level of mild, creamy sweetness is all the beers on. Really pleasant.
Supremely drinkable and enjoyable, and my #1 pick of the festival. Smooth and supple, and really sessionable. Just plain good.
Pours a shiny gold colour, light trail of bead feeding a minimal but resilient head, white small bubbles with a short trail of lace. Looks good.
Smell is light and inoffensive. Fair grain character with minimal sweetness, touch of fresh grass clippings and some herbal hop notes. All very clean and lagery, not very aromatic but fine.
Taste is more grainy with a rounded malty edge to the front. Hint of brass, toffee and some dry citrus notes. Hint of medicinal herb on the back and maybe a slight POR-esque bitterness. Bit of a lemon detergent flavour lingers on the late-mid and mars the clean drinkability, but not an unpleasant palate overall.
Fairly dry, kind of crisp mouthfeel, clean enough. Bit over-textured but for a pilsener it's not bad.
Decent pils; I've had tastier and more drinkable ones but it holds its own.