|Highest Rated||Korben D IIPA (88 / 100)
||Average score||71 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Mosaic IPA (64 / 100)
Can gifted by Jez; drunk some time at some place or other.
Pours a nice deep brown, umber glow at the edge. Head is generous; beige coloured with a fair foaminess at the edges despite being quite dense overall. Retains well as a result but has some uneven sinkage. Looks good.
Smells insanely hoppy. Like it's basically an IBA here. Huge citrus- tangerine and lemon aroma, with some tropical new world characters as well. Some dark chocolate and caramelised roast grain lingering behind that is very pleasant but it's hops front and centre here. Pretty nice.
Tases quite nice. Decent maltiness upfront that develops that sharp citrus and slightly resinous hop character early-mid that takes over the mid-palate before softening a fair bit towards the back. Some sweeter caramel and chocolate grain notes late, blending with the lingering afterthought of some dank bitterness. Ends up quite a robust dark beer with a big kick in the middle. Pretty good.
Mouthfeel is a little rough; decent body but lots of tug and pull from the hops that just sharpens up the texture a bit too much.
Drinks well but I don't think it needs the hops to be so blarey; I know Padden loves his hops to be front and centre in everything but I feel they should be a lot more subtle in this style (even at its full Americanness) while still being present.
Can given to me by Jez, reviewed by myself.
Pours a cloudy orange colour, off-white head lovely and foamy when poured, sinks fairly steadily (and noisily) with a decent uneven crown still retaining after a while. Looks standard but all the parts are looking in great order.
Smells very hop forward. Big citrus aroma with orange and grapefruit tang, slight bitterness. Touch of sprucey pine, mildly woody. Some caramel malt but it all just gives the impression of candied fruit; any sweetness is just part and parcel of that big tangy hop aroma. Very mosaic, very nice.
Taste is also very mosaic; that is, disappointing. Quite malty upfront with a big caramel and toffee note that turns quickly tangy and even sour, with this orange-centric citric hop character that turns quite bitter towards the back, grapefruit with a touch of ashiness like Campari. Just a bit too dry with not enough of that fresh fruit note - even grapefruit - to liven it up, and frankly it's pretty much my experience with mosaic as a hop. Nice aroma but the bitterness is dry and monotonous. Well constructed but just not that nice.
Mouthfeel is a little too tart as well, the hops have a raw edge to then that really pulls the palate back, and that's a bit of a shame because there's not much body otherwise.
Drinks pretty nicely for all that; standard IPA stuff with a little lack of freshness on the palate.
375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt.
Pours a very decent deep brown colour, with a coarse, gauzy head of beige that leaves some decent streaks of lace. Carbonation is fine, but minimal, rising in dribs and drabs. Body has a bit of weight, but maintains a softness. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is very nice. Nice toastiness, but hops are still at the forefront, as is Akasha's way. The selection is pleasant here—not contrasting sharp fruit or citrus with the darkness, but going instead for more muted hop tones that lend a little wood and earthiness. Very pleasant.
Taste is surprisingly light in the body—it lacks sweetness, relying on some of the dark characters to create structure underneath the hops. Here, although they're still a little herbal rather than fruity, the hops are much more identifiable, and the separate themselves fully from the malt. As a result, it comes across more like an India Black than a fully rounded brown ale. Feel is quite light as well.
It's still nice, but I was hoping for something a bit different. I'm on board with Akasha's hop-forward style, but I feel as though they could have still made a hop-forward brown ale that made a bit more sense. Here, the hops don't mesh all that well with the malt characters. It's still a tasty drinkable beer, but I believe these guys have it in them to make a superb brown ale on its own terms, not another IPAish beer masquerading as one.
74 / 100
Tried in a sampler at GABS 2017 in Melbourne.
Pours a champagne-type colour, fairly sedimenty but not as cloudy as I expected. Head is cream-coloured, large bubbles and not retaining that well. Not bad.
Smells good. Fruity and tangy, with a huge mango character, plus notes of apple, pear, orange, passionfruit and a slight honey sweetness. Pleasant.
Taste is similar, mostly fruit. Lemon and orange citrus notes blending with some tropical characters, mango and apple. Good caramalty backbone that lasts throughout with the fruity hops just playing over the top of it. There is a bitterness on the back that lingers without any big punch. Pleasant drop.
Full body, with some warming alcohol that's maybe a little heavy but not too bad.
Pretty good first NE IPA for me. Juicy and pleasant but without being too light and airy.
I revisited this beer and it ended up my #14 beer of the festival.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a pale mango colour with juice nectar-like haze. Solid in the body with some fine carbonation. Head is white forming in a solid crest that persists as a thing ring. Lace is also very solid. Looks good.
Nose is very juicy. Lovely pine and orange characters that do turn slightly resiny and sharp. There's pine in the depths, but mostly is stays on the fruit notes, sweet and rich. Very nice.
Nose is crisp and fine, with just a slight suggestion of acid in the front. Medium bitterness in the centre of the palate which turns the flavour semi-savoury. Back is crisp from some lingering hops, but there's a smoothness from the all-around sweetness which is very pleasant. A slight punctuating crispness in the finish stops it from being cloying.
Feel is full-bodied and rich.
Yep, this ticks the boxes. This was lovely and rich and juicy. On retrying, this ended up being my second top beer of the festival.
85 / 100
Tried on tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a pale golden colour, steady generous bead feeding a tight white head of dense creamy bubbling. Sticks around gorgeously. Is it pale for the style? Doesn't matter I guess, looks great otherwise.
Smells potent as hell. Huge hop complexity with a big floral bouquet and fruity notes. Citrus is big, with passionfruit, peach and a hint of lychee, rose. Good underlying ballsy malt too, better and more rounded aroma than I feel I've really gotten from Akasha's other brews.
Taste is hugely tangy upfront. Big tropical fruit notes with mango and pawpaw that then gets a good fresh lemon-lime zing to it. Malt comes through early-mid with rich burnt sugar notes going along with that bitterness which starts early and moves slowly. Resinous, with a lemon and grapefruit pith note, really quite strong with a kiss of boozey warmth on it as well. Leaves with a slight hang of citric tang, but is predominantly clean on the finish and doesn't feel like it's destroying your palate even though there's plenty of potency throughout. Really excellent double IPA, malty and hugely hoppy yet massively balanced.
Bit of boozey heat, generally nice body but yeah a little hot on the back, which does mar it slightly.
Hardly a duff note. Big, fruity and pleasant IPA with loads of complexity and balance to go with it. Worth the hype and worth the trip.
The "Not Othello's Curse" beer brewed for GABS 2016 by the Australian master of US hops.
Pours a dark brown colour, clear to the edge with lovely creamy beige head. Maybe a touch pale but otherwise looks great.
Smells lovely, big hop notes all over it. Apple fruit, with lemon, pineapple, pine wood even and passionfruit. Not a lot of character from the dark malts, but nice otherwise.
Taste is very similar. Light malt upfront that develops pear character towards the mid-palate then goes full citrus with grapefruit and lemon vying for supremacy with a tangy passionfruit character in the mix as well. Floral notes abound on the fringes towards the back. Still lacking the roast; it's a very nice IPA character but then why is it dark?
Alcohol is a bit of a problem on the mouthfeel as it's quite sharp and hot. Otherwise decent body but not enough for paddin'. Pun intended.
Bit sharp, and otherwise it's just an IPA rather than an IBA. I had a brief argument with Dave at Sydney GABS a week after I tried this, and it seems we just have the complete opposite view of what an IBA should be, which is fine. This is a pleasant IPA, I just don't see the point of making it dark if you won't include some roasty or darker notes in the flavour.
70 / 100
On tap at Frankie's Pizza; couldn't read the description so I reviewed it as I experienced it, which was basically an IPA. Note I've reviewed my scores down after finding out retroactively it was meant to be a saison, which it wasn't.
Pours a pale amber, very cloudy, nice foamy off-white head, lovely density and retention. Some lace but not much. Generally looks very good, even in plastic.
Smells fruity and hoppy. Tangy sherbet and fruit salad notes but a nice citric twang giving a slight resinous aroma as well. Touch of underlying caramelised note, really pleasant blend of fresh hop fragrance.
Taste is fruity, tangy from get go, with a slight caramel grain note upfront then gets sharp citric twang midway, with lychee, pawpaw and mango that leads to the late-mid. Resinous oily bitterness on the back with enough lemon and grapefruit to freshen and sharpen without going overboard. Big american hop notes all over it, maybe a touch of astringent bitterness on the back but otherwise lovely tangy drop.
Decent texture, gets a bit sharp on the back but enough malt base to carry it off.
I like this a lot. Dirty bitterness with a decent pale but robust malt base to provide the right substance. The right stuff even.
Having said all this, it drowns any saison notes in hops, which isn't a bad thing in terms of enjoying drinking, because the balance is there, but I can't really give it the same mark as a saison and a beer overall.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a deep golden colour, with a very frothy, persistent head of pure white. Some streaky lace. Body is remarkably fine and light given the beer's weight. Carbonation is fine-bubbled but moves swiftly through the body.
Nose is good. Rounded hops with a touch of toffee sweetness to back it up. It's soft though, with a more subtle fruit character than the pungent ringing of Akasha's Korben D. Peely orange, a little green tomato stem. It's not bad.
Taste is also... good. Smooth entry, very light and clean, with a more pronounced bitterness on the back. This is accentuated with a bit of a boozy kick. Malt is firm, giving a slight nutty flavour, but not overly adding too much sweetness. The linger on the back is long and bitter and quite potent. It doesn't quite have the all-round flavour to warrant the teeth-kick.
Feel is excellent for a beer of its size. Very smooth, but light and slick.
Overall, it's maybe a little too much hard work. It's a big, boozy beer, and it doesn't necessarily have the chops to warrant the drunkenness it engenders. If I'm going to use up all my sobriety on a beer it has to really make it worth my while. This is well made, but I don't quite care enough about it to invest what it needs invested in it.
78 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Shiny orange-tinged gold, clear with some light bead. Head is whispy, but decent retention with white largeish bubbles. Nice lace. Looks pretty good.
Smells hoppy. Big citrus character that's sharp, spicy and with hints of tropical sweetness as well. Maybe some underlying malt notes but mostly big sweet fruity hops. Pretty impressive though. It's not one note, it's complex and delightful.
Taste is big and potent. Big sharp spike of hops on the front that somehow mellows out midway. Smooth cake batter malt with caramel notes and a fruity hop note of passion and citrus that never goes away. Bitterness is pronounced; piquant and spicy late mid that settles out to a lemon zest note, with mild floral and soapy character but finishes fruity and a hint puckering, yet not unpleasant. Really quite a good palate. Intimidatingly intense but reined in and controlled throughout.
Bit of bite to the mouthfeel, maybe some boozey heat and otherwise loads of pull from hops. Don't love it but it leaves an impression.
It's a remarkably well-made beer but whether it's one I'd go back and drink again I'm not sure. Definitely one for hopheads (seriously I feel like they would jizz over this and I don't mean that derisively) but it's not totally my thing. Still points for how well it's made.
88 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a fairly clear, light golden colour with decent clarity but a hint of haze. Head is frothy initially, but still composed of fine bubbles, settling out as intricate rings of lace and a slightly fuzzy film across the top. Body looks very light for the ABV. Looks good.
The nose is superb. There's a big, bright passionfruit and mango character coming through, with sharper notes like green papaya and the slightly astringent cat-pee aroma (in the best possible way, of course). Under this are more subtle, mineral tones, almost earthy like turned soil. These are not the main event at all, but they add depth to what is otherwise a big, fruity IPA bomb. Lovely stuff.
Taste is also great. Rounded and fruity, with a lovely clean brightness to sharpen things up on the front. There's enough subtle, smooth sweetness through the middle to balance to hop notes, without it ever getting overwhelming. Bitterness is rather sharp on the back, providing a clean vector towards the finish, which is crisp and gorgeous.
The feel is perfect. Clean and smooth, with a lightness that belies its weight, but aids drinkability substantially.
This is supremely drinkable and so well put together. It's a top-notch DIPA: clean, fresh, bright, complex and superbly balanced. Amazing beer from Akasha.
73 / 100
Tried on tap at the new brewery cellar door, 5th Dec.
Pours a pale gold colour, almost pink-tinged. Head is small bubbles, not much retention, but nice steady trickle of bead tells me it's far from dead. Pretty blah though to be honest.
Smells lovely. Huge stonefruit aroma with peach, guava, passionfruit and some citrus. Sweet and tangy in good measure; normally I'd bemoan the lack of malt but this is an ideal lager aroma: enticing, but clean, and refreshing.
Taste has a distinct yeasty note all over it, which is unfortunate. Faint citric tang upfront, then grainy, bready midway. Develops some of that pleasant stonefruit late-mid with peach and guava and a touch of passionfruit late. Finishes quite clean and crisp, but with a slight lingering bitterness. It's growing on me. As with many lagers that yeasty note settles out as you get further into the hops. Quite a pleasant drinker with a fair whack of character. Nice.
Bit of bite from the hops, body is surprisingly substantial too. Bit thin but otherwise could be mistaken for a pale ale body. I'm not sure that's entirely to its credit though and could put some lager-drinkers off.
Drinkable indeed. Smells great, tastes nice but doesn't get bogged down anywhere. Takes a little while to get used to but the hops are cleverly used to bring out the character.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours (yep) an amber colour, like it should, with some hazing and a decent weight behind it. Head is beige, and forms a solid full ring that leaves sheeting lacing. Carbonation is very fine. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant, with some fruity hops coming through on the start, with some toasty, sweet malt underneath. There's a touch of pineapple and a vague peppery note as well. It's not huge and in my face, but it's pleasant enough.
Front is initially quite peppery and with an immediate bitterness that seems a little premature. Some fruitiness swoops in in the centre though, along with some decent, pleasing mid-malts providing a little caramel sweetness. Big bitterness on the back and definitely some booze. The linger is a little metallic and medicinal.
Feel is a bit sharp, especially given its ABV.
Overall, it's decent enough. Disappointingly, it's not as smoothly crafted as Akasha's other beers so far, and (to my disappointment) it's certainly no replacement for Riverside 44, Dave's previous hoppy amber ale.
Pours an amber colour, clear with nicely beige head - large bubbles and retaining a medium crown. Maybe a bit pale, but not bad.
Smells typical Padden. Caramel malt with a slight toffeed edge, and bags of US hops - citric, tangy and pleasant. Not bad but not a lot of edge.
Taste is malty upfront, mostly an English toffee character, then hops take hold late-mid with a big citric twang, but finish is sadly all booze. Bit heavy with a slight medicinal note as it transitions from lemon and grapefruit into big brandy booziness. Nice otherwise but a bit strong for me.
Alcohol is sharp on the back, otherwise the body is fine.
Don't love it, it's a bit heavy. Tastes like a Dave brew, but (and I really hate to say this) I think Riverside brewed a better GABS beer this year.
On tap at Spooning Goats.
Pours a pale gold, far lighter than expected. Head is white, fairly dense with medium-sized bubbles. Retains decently. Nice but light on maybe?
Smells hopgasmic. Loads of citrus - resin, pineapple and mandarin; grapefruit and lemon as well. Woody, even a bit sharply so. Tangy and pleasant but not much grounding.
Taste is pleasantly malty upfront. Light caramel grains, then hops blare out mid to late. Sharp and citric with lemon/grapefruit coming on strong. Lots of Alpha Acids giving a sharp pull that's really quite acidic and biting on the back. Needs moar malt, methinks. For balance and body. Hops just cut through the palate and mouthfeel.
Speaking of which, a bit of body upfront but the hops are way all over the back.
I feel like the intention here is to make a more 'streamlined'(?) beer that's all about pure hops, but I have to say I preferred the 77. Same amount of hops, but more malt presence which was very welcome. This feels like a cleaner beer but I don't think I like that as much.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney. My first crack at an Akasha beer, after following Dave Padden's tenure at Riverside with interest.
Pours a deep golden colour with some mild hazing to it. Slick but smooth body is pleasant enough. Head is fine, forming a good fine ring that leaves lacing forming in leopard-skin spots. Looks good.
Nose is redolent initially with a big, hoppy citrus twang that throws US hops in your face. It's more lemon-forward than anything else, which is no bad thing. As it warms, there are some mild floury notes, with a bit of malt but really only enough to support the hops. Nice stuff.
Taste is very clean and very smooth. Fine palate makes it easy to drink, and there's only really just enough bitterness to provide balance. Smooth, slightly floury finish with some mild medicinal tones, and an aromatic pepper character which evanesces in the aftertaste.
Feel is really good. Smooth but clean and slick—it really aids the drinkability.
OK, so the comparison has to be made right? How does this compare to the Riverside 77? I think it's perhaps more drinkable overall due to the smoothness and the restraint. But I'm surprised that with Dave at the helm, and a name like "Hopsmith", that this doesn't quite match the 77 in hop power or commitment. It's a fine beer still, and I do imagine I'll be drinking many more.
75 / 100
On tap at Spooning Goats.
Pours a pale gold, fairly clear. Head is white and foamy, good retention. Sinks slowly and leaves not a lot of lace. A gnat's wing too pale but otherwise very nice.
Smells very citric and hoppy. Big lemony and orange aroma, pith and seeds and all. Touch of cake battery malt. Lots of citrus. Very pleasant.
Taste is hoppy throughout. Touch of caramel batter malt upfront, then masses of hop flavour. Lots of citrus, lemon and a touch of grapefruit. Kind of rubs on the tongue midway then finishes clean, a little dry. The hops are definitely present but the bitterness doesn't really show. Quite light on the body, really, but a fair bit of texture. Could use a touch more malt body maybe although it's there mainly for balance.
As drinkable as they come. Loads of flavour but really light and fluid. As for the inevitable comparison with Riverside 55, I'd say the 55 has the edge for me, simply because it's bolder and bigger. Quite likely that this will appeal more to the broader market.