62 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for Christmas; I've sat on it for a few months.
Pours a vibrant red-amber colour with generous off-white head, lovely and dense but sinks steadily to leave a thin crown after a little while. Some specks of lace around the edge of the glass. Looks good, but I'm not sure about it for the style, looks like a nice red ale. Still, good.
Smells, yes, smokey. I don't know if it's particularly appealing in that smokiness because it's a little weak so the end result is slightly sour with a meaty character and doesn't have a distinct smokiness to it. Some brown sugar and a slight citric character to it as well. Not bad but not distinct enough, and pretty simple.
Tastes kinda similar; a bit more interesting but the smokiness still feels a little muted and simple, and it takes on a slightly meaty but roasty kind of character as well without a distinct ashy or peaty or woody character, nor any blossoming complexity on the smoke palate. Strong malty backbone which is good for the style; burnt toffee ends up the dominant character with some mild cherry notes as well. Finishes fairly short (I guess? It's a lager after all) but feels less dry and more just sort of flat on the back, where the smokey character should linger and smoulder a bit. Quite palatable but largely because it dials back on a lot of the flavour.
Mouthfeel is pretty smooth; slight bitty texture midway through where some of the malt and yeast complexities make themselves more known than they did on the palate itself. But yeah, light and fluid and pleasant.
Overall it's a mixed bag. A well-made beer that introduces nice flavours but doesn't really work much with those flavours. For the size it feels a little simple and glib.
72 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam some time ago.
Uncaps with a sucking thunk, and I'm expecting a gush of beer to go all over the benchtop. Fortunately, this doesn't happen, and to be honest, the liveliness of the beer is a good sign for something bottled with Brett. Pours a pleasant pale yellow gold, with just a very slight hint of hazing to the body. Head is coarse but persistent, with a strong cap of white staying the distance. Lacing forms in long streaks. Looks good all up.
The nose works well, and it expresses all of the things it's trying to do according to the label. It has a bright, crisp quality from the underlying grisette, which does suggest a saline twang like ocean breeze. But there's definitely Brett as well, giving a mulchy, organic undertone, almost a twist like citrus. It has a herbal vibrancy as well, like flat-leaf parsley and carrot seed. Pleasant.
Taste is clean and crisp, and fairly straightforward. It has a brightness on the front, a little like a twist of lemon and salt, which then develops into a more organic acidity towards the back palate, still slightly briny, but with leafy herbal qualities as well. The back is slightly bretty, with the yeast giving a slight earthy bitterness in the finish.
Feel is frothy from the high carbonation, which makes the beer overall a bit bloating, but it's hard to deny that that also enlivens the palate.
All up, this is a nice brew. It's a tasteful and refined use of Brett, and it's a use which nicely accentuates characters in the base beer. I'm pleased with it, all up.
440ml can purchased from Regional Wines and Spirits in Wellington, NZ.
Pours a slightly hazed pale golden colour, with a white head that persists as a fine ring. Lacing is intricate but very messy, forming in sudsy globs around the glass. Body is a bit light for a DIPA, but it holds nice fine carbonation. Overall, it looks pretty good.
No freshness date on the can, so it's hard to tell, but this smells a bit old. There's a slightly (weirdly) oxidised character to it, lending the malt a flat, bloated aroma. There are hints of hops around the edges, giving a slight earthy, herbal character. But they're muted and rather unexciting.
Taste is slightly better, because it doesn't so much rely on the freshness of the hops. There's a slick malt character that provides all the weight and body the beer needs. Behind this, there's a nicely crafted hop bitterness, which provides a strong vector through the centre. There's really nice balance as a result though, and if feels clean and crisp towards the back.
Feel is slick, but a little flabby, and possibly just a little undercarbonated.
Overall, it's a nice beer. It's balanced and drinkable, and it makes a coherent statement. It lacks the pizazz that would make it really exciting and exceptional though, and as a result, it ends up being just a(nother) IPA.