Smoked Martini-Spiced Ale brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours an amber colour, with an odd purple tinge (juniper??) Slightly cloudy, with large whispy cream-coloured head. Retains alright.
Smells floral, and tropical. Caramel malt notes with some apple, pear, mango, passion, yeah a bit fruity melange and finished with a hint of sweet spice. Pleasant, but not really what I expected.
Taste is a little more in keeping with what was promised. Still mostly floral and fruity with a good hop bill. Grainy upfront with apple, pear and floral notes midway, then finishes with a mild wood smoke character. Not quite clear what it's doing and whether it's really delivering on its promise, but it's quite pleasant.
Thin body, but pads decently, bit of carbonation as it goes down.
Not bad; not very exciting but a decent interplay between the smoke and botanical characters.
Bomber given to me by Jez for Christmas. Drunk by myself, which in hindsight may not have been my cleverest decision ever.
Pours a dark, dark brown with just a glint of colour when held up to the light. Head is a good beige colour but not very retentive, with small thin fuzz left after a short while. Lacing is clingier and better. Shame about the head as it otherwise looks great.
Smells malty. Good dark-chocolate grain note with a slight vinous berry touch to it as well, possibly a bit oxidised? Some dark charry roast at the back, slight burnt coffee grounds character but subtle. Ticks the right boxes but also just hints at a couple of duff notes as well.
Taste is better. Good dark roasty notes on the front that develop some bitter chocolate, cacao and a slight berry note midway that gets a little sweet and light late-mid. But then a second roasty wave takes over, far bolder than the first with a robust bitterness that turns this back to the right course just in time. Good burnt, peppery coffee notes on the back, with a touch of caramel that finishes it a bit too light for my ideal drop but enough to keep you drinking. I think if that sweetness had appeared earlier in the palate it might temper the bitterness a bit, whereas the bitterness even in its present form would work better as a finishing drop, to keep the warmth and headiness as the lingering note.
Decent body, but not quite enough to combat the booziness which dries up and creates a noticeable heat as it moves through. For the style it's acceptable, but noticeably deficient as well.
Decent imperial stout but I feel it's a little off-balance, and doesn't seem to be doing all that much that your average homebrewer couldn't manage just as well on a smaller scale. Even at its best it feels like a pretty standard drop within this style.
Apparently on tap at the Catfish Fitzroy following the Sunday arvo session of GABS. I genuinely don't remember drinking this and found the notes in my inbox. They seem coherent enough so I'll give myself credit for having been sober enough to taste it OK.
Dark murky red. Hint of cloud. Head is non-existent, bubbles round the edge. Looks OK.
Smells odd; hint of malt, caramel. Touch of green apple and pear and not a whole lot else. Alright but not great.
Taste is malty, with an odd touch of smoke, almost meaty. Sweet, decent malt complexity but not a lot of hops. Yeah needs more cut through seems quite boozey. Brandy, toffee. Fairly decent but maybe a touch too strong for me.
Smooth mouthfeel. Boozey but OK, just warm rather than harsh.
Drinks alright. Nothing spesh though.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale orange hue, with very, very thick hazing. Body is solid enough and holds very fine, powdery carbonation. Head is a pale cream colour, solid and full in the glass. Lacing forms in big holed patches. Looks good.
Nose It smells good too. Big, frothy, fruity hops come through with qualities of sweet citrus and stonefruit. Bit dusty towards the back with a hint of flour and some peppery spice drying it out. It's nice all up.
Clean and pleasant entry on the palate, with a slight fullness from the malt and hef yeast. Slightly smoky in the middle, oddly enough, giving a touch of meaty savoury goodness as an unexpected twist to the wheaty thinness. Bitter but pleasant in the back, with a pleasant peachskin quality to it, and some lingering stewed fruit in the finish.
Feel is full-bodied and firm—very good for a beer only weighing in at 5% ABV.
Drinkability-wise this is very good. Clean, but flavoursome and thick. There's a lot going for it, and I enjoyed it a good deal.
75 / 100
Pours a gold colour, way too dark for the style. Cloud gives it an opaqueness which is a bit more appropriate. Cream head, foamy, retains quite well. Not bad if a bit dark.
Smells of citra hops. Fruity with passionfruit, touch of citrus and maybe a whisper of banana, but otherwise not much hefe going on here. Still, smells nice and better than I expected.
Taste is an improvement again. Citric hops take a front seat here but there's a nice passionfruit tang to it as well and a touch of mango. Plus a nice clovey hefeweizen note that comes through subtly towards the back. Really quite a nice and pleasant mix; I'm surprised.
Body is full, chewy even, but with a nice tingle from the carbonation. Not bad.
Better than expected, although still a bit more hop than hefe.
83 / 100
Tried many, many times before, but never before reviewed. Should probably not count in #h100beers consideration despite its score, just because this is a really long overdue review. This one tried on tap at the Duck Inn.
Pours a dark golden amber colour (dark-golden not dark amber), beautiful tight white head of dense foam, leaving mild traces of lace. Exemplary pale ale look.
Smells fresh and exciting, and so inviting to me. Lemon, grapefruit and lychee notes abound. Touch of caramel malt at the back, provides great balance. Exemplary APA smell.
Taste is a little light on, I guess it's befitting the style. Malty upfront, slight biscuity grain and caramel notes. Hops take over: fairly citric and quite bitter in taste but a nice softness, especially on the back. Just cleans up, leaving a very biscuity malt note and mild bitter finish. Could use more hop character on the palate, but otherwise yeah I'll say it again, exemplariffic. I'm pretty sure I've used the word exemplariffic in this review before, right?....What? I've never used that word before in my life?
Decent texture. Has a presence in the mouth but otherwise fluid, goes down very easily.
Drinkable, pleasant and full flavoured yet subtle pale ale. One of the best examples of a style so ubiquitously made in Oz.
83 / 100
On tap at Spooning Goats on launch day.
Dark brown colour, somewhat cola-esque around the edges. Head is beige, somewhat bubbly, nice lace. Could be darker and thicker-looking but decent.
Smells stouty. Sweet and chocolatey, some nice spice notes throughout. Bit subdued, possibly still a tad cold. Notes of oak and bourbon, cinnamon, booze and slight petroleum. Just a hint. Yeah could be stronger but nice for what's there, booze doesn't overpower.
Taste is sweet, boozey, pleasantly complex. Dark chocolate abounds with cocoa nibs, then dark cherry notes, cinnamon and vanilla. Bourbon comes through strong with a touch of booze but all flavour, just a gentle kiss of warmth on the texture. Spicy and nice on the back. Lots of conplexity, well reined in flavours to be sweet and interesting. Gorgeous beer.
Yeah, slight heat from booze but good slick body.
Just what I'd want from a riverside impy stout. Here's to many many more.
90 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney.
Pours a bright yellow colour, with brilliant clarity. There's some weight to the body but it's super fluid even so. Head forms a gauzy cap of white that leaves a little lacing in filmy streaks. Carbonation is fine and looks intense when the glass is tilted.
Nose is insane—and no doubt helped by the fact that this beer is extremely fresh. Huge, crisp and bright with a wonderful fresh hop intensity. Lemon zest, crisp sharp fruit with an underlying mango and green papaya richness. Clean chewy malt characters give it a sweet basis underneath. Absolutely brilliant stuff. On par with the best US examples in my opinion.
Taste is also fantastic. Extremely smooth entry with some sweetness coming through well, but the overall impression is bright, sharp, stunningly clean and drinkable. It's insane. Hops come through crisply on the back, leaving a slight bitter linger and zesty after taste. It's so fresh, so clean, and astoundingly well balanced.
Feel is awesome too: silky, marble-like, but light enough to allow you to keep drinking it.
This is phenomenal stuff: right now, I think it's the equal of beers like Pliny. It's super-fresh, super-good, and super-drinkable. Have it now. Whatever it takes.
Pours a brown colour, quite cloudy. Head is just invisible, it's not there at all. That's a big downside because the colour of the beer is quite nice.
Big sourdough character on the nose, with a touch of rye and a big coffee hit. Spicy notes on the coffee with star anise and licorice adding piquancy and sweetness. Pleasant.
Taste is more of the same; coffee, spice. Sourdough malty notes with more licorice and spice tending towards clove and coriander for a little more savoury character. Coffee is dominant, but complex and interesting.
Nice body; for something with no head it's surprisingly well-textured and fluid.
Yeah, very nice coffee porter. Delivers what it promises.
A smoked coffee porter, according to their description, brewed with oats, maple syrup and smoked malt, and then dry-hopped (or equivalent) with coffee beans that had been recently roasted and ground on site at the brewery. That's quite a story behind it. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne (and from a hand-pump since—this review is from my GABS notes, however).
Pours a deep brown colour, with a surprisingly good clarity to it. Body is a little light, and it holds almost no head, just a few loose bubbles around the rim. It's an inauspicious start.
Pleasant aromas though: coffee, waffle and certainly the fragrance of maple syrup. There's a slight roasted malt character, but the coffee dominates this space. There's also a slightly meaty note like grilled chicken—perhaps the smoked malt making an appearance. It's nice.
Taste is a little lighter however: clean entry on the palate with some coffee characters balanced with a smooth malt not. Finish drops out quickly though, leaving it clean and light, but also a bit weak. Surprisingly, an aftertaste of maple syrup sticks around on the back after everything else has felen out. Feel is light but relatively bright.
Overall, this was a relatively tasty drop. Unfortunately, to date Riverside's beers have just had me squealing with excitement and so this is a relative disappointment. Don't be fooled by my saying that though: this is still a really nice beer.
90 / 100
Bottle enjoyed at MuMu grill in Crows Nest.
Red-tinged amber, quite dark really. Head is beige, gorgeous foam on top but bubbling round the edges. Retains well. Like a lovely English pub IPA; a treat.
Smells lovely too. Cascade hops but a nice spicy edge. Some dank notes and under all a malty goodness. Caramel toffee, buttery and a touch of lychee. Another corker.
Taste is hugely tangy, so much late hopping here! Whooeee what a beer! Lychee and lime tang upfront that lasts throughout palate. Toffee malt underlying, develops some resinous and citric bitterness that is slightly harsh in acidity towards the back. Enough of that tang lasts, though, to make it a treat from start to finish. There's a lot of IPAs behind me but this is up there with the very best. A real, big, bold bastard of an IPA.
Velvety smooth upfront, almost like a mouthful of milk coffee foam. Fluidity late and just an unfortunate nip of booze on the back. Otherwise sublime.
Wow, there's just a couple of rough edges here but they just serve to remind you this comes from the school of big 'fuck you' flavours, and it's all part of a delicious, intricately constructed package of intrepid brewing.
86 / 100
Had on tap at Spooning Goats.
Pours a cola colour, lots of red tinge to it. Head is foamy, beige, fairly thin with large bubbles. Some bead. Great colour, nice otherwise too.
Notable roast to the nose, a little smokey and some red wine notes. Above all is a big hoppy character, citric with a touch of resin, grapefruit, slightly burnt but really lovely.
Taste is similar: plenty of bitter roast from start to finish providing a solid base. Some amber roasty malt with metallic edge to it. Hops are very very present, loads of resin, pine bark, citrus zest and mandarin. Quite spicy on the back where the two characters blend. It's all a big piquant blend of lovely flavours. Yum.
Noticeable pull from the hops and quite dry. Certainly enough body to carry it through, but not entirely smooth.
Exemplary American amber. Nice roasty character but great hop dominance as well. Great beer.
61 / 100
Pours a burnished amber, light head. Nice lace. More amber than golden but hey, golden's not my thing anyway.
Light aroma but nice temperate hop notes, fruity piney and passion. Touch of lime. Pleasant notes, refreshing but not overpowering.
Taste is light, underwhelming similar to nose, but it's a bit less endearing on the palate. Slight resinous bitterness from mid-palate onwards. Flavour is there, but just nothing bold or particularly interesting. Light, refreshing; in many ways non-descript. I don't mean it to sound like a bad thing but I'm just used to bigger things from Riverside.
Thin body, a bit of pull from hops. Not quite enough body.
After all the fantastic beers from Riverside this is a slight letdown for me. Although I haven't yet officially reviewed the 69 Summer I think it does the perfect job as an entry-level beer that also manages to pack in the flavour; I'm just questioning the necessity of this addition to a stellar line-up. Certainly not a bad brew, just very generic coming from people who push the envelope so convincingly well with their other brews.
75 / 100
An "India Amber Ale" according to brewer Dave Padden, hopped with Mosaic and aged on Hungarian oak. Tried on tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney.
Pours an orange-tinged amber-red colour, with quite solid hazing. Body looks good and relatively full. Head is a fine, frothy mess of off-white, that almost crackles like a hand-pumped beer. Lacing is superb. Looks very good.
Nose is sweeter than expected: some caramel, a little oaky vanilla, rounded and a little flat. There are some earthy hop characters coming through, leafy and a little bit herbal. It's a little blunt, but it's not bad: just not as big as I expected from Riverside.
Taste is good. Very smooth sweetness on the front with a touch of the oak character. Hops come through on the back, giving a mild organic fruit character: sweet, but earthy at the same time. There's some marmalade on the finish, with a crisp hoppy bite, that genuinely feels more like an amped up English variety than the American kind.
Feel is exceptional. Smooth, but clean. Rich, but bright. It creates the balance in this beer: and drags everything up with it. The rest is good: the feel is superb.
Overall, this is a very good brew. It maybe doesn't push the oak enough, or differentiate itself enough from the rest of the range for a seasonal, but not differentiating yourself from Riverside's excellent range of regular brews is really no bad thing.
70 / 100
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. I was pleased to find it, as it seems to be one of the less well-distributed of Riverside's beers.
Pours a deep golden colour, almost heading towards a burnished hue, with some faint hazing. Body is decent and the head is a firm white leaving some solid streaks. Carbonation is fine and forms pleasantly when tilted. It looks good.
Nose is sharp and pretty similar to the others in the Riverside range. Some orange bite, smoothness, and clean. It's perhaps a little bit one-note, but it's a good note, and it's still nice overall.
Light and clean on the entry. Some mild malt sets things up before a nicely balanced hop addition gives some clean, bright and slightly citric flavours mid palate. The back drops off pretty quickly, leaving a pleasantly empty with some tang of cut grass in the aftertaste. Feel is also light and clean. Pleasantly dull and predictable.
It's not superb, but it's decent enough, and it has some nice characters. I think it's likely to get lost in the rest of Riverside's range, but I'd certainly be happy if this became a more widely distributed brew.
79 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Porters at Northwood, to catch up with my reviewin'.
Pours a rather deep amber colour, almost straddling the line between an IPA colour and a Red Ale colour. Head is a mild, slightly frothy off-white with tinges of pale orange to it. Pocked bubbles form, as does some pleasant streaking lace. Body looks pretty decent, and the carbonation that forms when tilted is powdery. Looks good.
Nose is blissfully hoppy, with a clear, crisp and extremely delicious piquant citrus bite. Fresh lime skin, papaya and passionfruit, along with sweet lemon tart. Fresh apricot comes through, along with a floral, perfumey character. Under it all is a hint of something slightly toasty but fresh and bright at the same time: like some popped grains when toasting a slice of bread on a contact grill. It works brilliantly with the hops, giving a really pleasantly balanced aroma. Lovely stuff.
Taste is seriously restrained for all the exciting power on the nose. Mild clean malt runs alongside a clear, continuing hop presence that doesn't ever even really get to "bitter". Some of those fresh, fruity overtones on the nose, but they seem to exist more as aroma even in the mouth. Finish is crisp enough, but it trails off slightly rather than tying off the loose ends with a good punch of bitterness.
Feel is lovely, however, with the extra ABV forming a pillowy softness that perhaps accentuates how light the palate is just because it could take so much more of a beating.
Do not misunderstand me: this is a very good beer, and a fantastic Australian IPA (in fact, it might be the best Australian IPA I've had). But I feel like it could do with *more* bitterness on the palate, and this is coming from someone who's quick to criticise too much early-hopping. Maybe that's just a sign of how good it is, that it could cope with even more aggression.
330ml bottle purchased from Porters at Northwood.
Pours a slightly hazed, burnt golden colour, with a fine, somewhat flat head of white. Very decent lacing along the sides of the glass. Reasonable body and fine carbonation. There's nothing spectacular about the look, but it's solid enough.
Nose is clean and dry, with a dusty hop fragrance coming through above a slightly wheaty grain basis. Slight grassy tones, perhaps a touch of Australian Pale Ale yeastiness, and a touch of pepper perhaps. Nothing really pops, but it's again, reasonable solid stuff.
Taste is smooth and clean, with a slight bready, biscuity malt basis forming a decent platform for the brew. Above this is some clean, if dull, and slightly earthy hop notes that devolve into a spritz of mild carbonation and a yeasty finish. Bitterness is restrained, but it has a muted bite on the back of the palate. Feel is smooth and fluid.
Overall, this is drinkable enough, and light enough to probably have some mass appeal, but this is easily my least favourite of the core Riverside range. Again, it's solidly made, and still well-balanced, but it doesn't really do anything to excite me.
77 / 100
From a 330ml bottle. This one was part of a case purchased from Beer Cartel, although Spooning Goats in the city is my favourite haunt for grabbing a glass of this brew.
Pours a deep amber-brown, with what could be hazing, but could just be a very dark colouring. Head is voluminous when poured: a rocky, frothy beige that forms in large bubbles and leaves some pleasant sudsy lace. Body is really surprisingly light and fluid, but holds a small amount of vivacious carbonation. Pretty happy with it overall.
Nose is a beautiful blend of crisp, direct hops and melded solid malt: the malt gives hints of chocolate and dusty grain, while the hops rise above and give a lovely brisk sharpness. There's nothing particularly citric about the hops, and that's great in this beer. It's more of a clean, green-and-earth crispness that balances and hangs on to the malt. Good stuff.
Taste is also great. Earthy depth to the palate, with a rich, supple malt presence forming a consistent and dependable stage. Above this is a crisp, bright hop flavour, that dances pleasantly, leaving a leafy, tea-like fragrance and a bite on the back palate. Smooth roast rounds out the finish, giving a sense of completeness, but also a comforting warmth, suggesting that you can snuggle with it for just a little longer.
Feel is smooth, but there is a touch too much carbonation to this particular bottle—it's certainly not been an issue in the past with other bottles I've had.
Overall, I love this beer. It's a beautiful blend of malt and hops, and provides that amazing balance that seems to be the hallmark of Riverside's brews. I love the fact that I can get such quality beer so fresh in Sydney: this is the equal to any American Amber I've had.
86 / 100
Preface to this review: I've been very impressed with Riverside so far, and it was with a great deal of shock that I realised I'd not actually reviewed any of their beers. So, swinging by Porters at Northwood, I grabbed a bunch of bottles to review, including this one, which I believe is the only one of their current range that I've not sampled before. So I'm going in with no preconceptions.
Pours a clear, fluid deep golden-amber hue, actually certainly on the dark end for a pale ale. Head is pretty light white, forming a fine film across the top, but not retaining much further than that. Good lacing, and noticeable but fine and capricious carbonation. Looks decent.
Nose is wonderful. Crisp, piquant fresh hoppy goodness, with a clean bright scrubbed lemon character, and a sweetness that gives it a slightly tropical bent. If it didn't say specifically "American cascade" on the bottle, I would have guessed NZ hops, and fresh bountiful ones at that. Lovely nose.
Taste is clean, and light and beautifully drinkable. Fresh melon characters meld with a mellow but stalwart malt basis, and some slightly organic, fresh, tingly sherbet characters which dance around along the top. Hint of candied orange, papaya and quince. Bitterness is beautifully balanced: it sits around to lift the beer, but doesn't become too coating or aggressive on the palate.
Feel is smooth and light, and well-matched with the flavours of the beer.
Overall, this is fantastic stuff. So clean and drinkable, but full of flavour in just the right ways. Even knowing what Riverside was capable of, I didn't expect such a fresh and delicious take on a pale from them. I may have a new favourite Australian APA.