61 / 100
On tap at the Catfish Fitzroy following the Saturday evening session of GABS.
Cloudy amber, foamy head that sticks around nicely. Off-white, large visible bubbles. Nice lacing.
Smells tangy and fresh. Mandarin, zesty lemon, little bit of pine detergent character as well. Pretty decent, not much to it though.
Taste is earthy, some citrus zest and tang that turns earthy and slightly funky midway. Quite a bit of bitterness on the back, mildly citric in tone but a touch soapy as well. Light, somewhat fresh. Bit insipid ultimately.
Touch of fizz, bit too dry in the mouth.
Yeah a fairly light, pleasant enough beer. Not great.
62 / 100
Tasmanian session ale, tried on tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a pale gold, cloudy. Head is not great because of keg froth though; quite decent retention for a thin crown and lovely sticky lacing. Looks alright; standard.
Smells slightly grainy but very mildly so, tempered by a slight fresh citric character that's quite fruity. Ultimately a bit too restrained, doesn't have much malt or other notes as the citrus drowns it out, yet that's not too robust either.
Taste is much more potent than i gave it credit for. Big fruity characters upfront with citrus - tangerine and grapefruit - that develops into a nice spicy mid-palate with loads of earthy spice taking hold late-mid and setting the scene for the finish. Pepper and grains of paradise, some coriander as well. Slightly gunpowdery and maybe leathery on the back as a result of the big peppery notes on top of the citrus hops. So yeah slightly odd but packs a punch and not a bad one at all.
Mouthfeel is quite sizzly and a little harsh. Busy, bitty; bit too much for the style.
Drinks alright; lots of character and maybe too much without something to freshen it up a bit. But interesting and engaging to drink.
71 / 100
On tap at Harts, probably lower down in the keg as it was a week or so after Sydney Beer Week when this was launched.
Pours a deep orange amber colour, somewhat cloudy. Head is white, foamy with small bubbles apparent on the fringes. Thin retention but decent lace. Looks standard, fine.
That's how you do a tropical hoppy nose. It just smells like tropical juice; pineapple, passionfruit, banana and guava abound in that, with a very slight citric edge. Apricot, too. Just the right balance of sweetness, tang and even bitterness on there just to keep it grounded. Possibly some aromatic malts on there as well adding to the sweetness. But that's just a great nose; completely delectable.
Taste is pretty good too. As a pale ale it can't quite deliver the level of punch that the nose did (but seriously, that's how you do aroma), but there's still loads of that fruit punch flavour around; passionfruit, pineapple and banana all in equal florid measure upfront and through the mid palate. Develops a little tannic bitterness midway that continues to the end; largely citric but an odd metallic character to it as well. Generally light bodied with a slight fizz from the carbonation, and apart from the slightly tannic hang, very quaffable and appealing. Pretty good stuff.
Not as drinkable as it might have been; I'd say not even as drinkable as the Winston, which i believe is heavier ABV than this, but there's something very seductive about this beer on a summer day. Pleasantly fresh and vibrant.
60 / 100
Brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.
Surprisingly dark amber colour (from what I expected). Clear to the edge with nice beige head, a little bit sparsely webbed but retaining alright. Looks decent.
Smells like a good SMASH beer. Caramel malt character with maybe a touch of roast. Tropical hop character as well in good balance, with pear and passionfruit character. Not bad.
Taste is similar but maybe the late-hopping has greater prominence because it's just less pronounced here.Caramel grain upfront, slightly sweet, then some apple/pear notes midway and a subtle tropical passionfruit character late. Not very bitter but aromatic. Could maybe use a bit more edge.
Body is a little thin, but decent for the style. Goes down pretty well.
Standard pale ale, not huge on the palate, but not bad. Feels kind of like a decent entry at a homebrew comp; at this festival it's a bit uninspiring and I know Staves have done more interesting beers than this.
57 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour, very clear and filtered with some solid weight behind it. Head forms a fine ring of off-white, with some good, minimal, bitsy lace. Looks pretty solid.
Nose initially doesn't win me over, with a big acetone whiff the main event—it smells sharp like paint stripper. It ends up turning a little sweet though, with some lingering fruit. That sharpness persists though, and it's really not a good thing.
Very sweet on the front palate, with a toffee and liquid sugar character tending again towards that acetone character. This is quite chemical-toned in the mid-palate, but there's a bit of rainforest undergrowth dankness that brings it back a little. Back has some raisins and a tight, sweet but pleasant aftertaste.
Feel is full and a little thick.
There seems to be too much booze on this. The acetone probably comes from there, and it ends up feeling pretty heavy. It's too much by the end.
Tried at GABS 2015 from the GP stand. Recommended by Jos for Jez's 2000th or something unique untappd checkin, after about half an hour of Jez fawning over Jos and trying to stroke his hair, &c.
Pours a darkish gold colour, touch of cloud with large sparsely-webbed head of off-white bubbles. Decent look.
Smells mostly of NZ hops. Some caramel malt sweetness comes through but predominantly passionfruit, pineapple and a touch of citric hop as well. Tangy and pleasant.
Taste is more malty than I expected. Quite sweet upfront with a grainy edge. Passionfruit tangy hops come through late-mid and then a fair grapefruity bitterness. Hops are kind of fun but the sweetness lingers a bit longer than it should so I wish the hops would cut out the party and do their job a bit better. Bit harsh on the AAs on the back but it's kind of an afterthought rather than a nice transition.
Texture is quite nice for the style; body is a bit bigger than expected and it works well.
Decent malt, good hop notes but not totally balanced.
60 / 100
Pours a dark gold colour, clear with large sparse off-white bubbling around the top. Looks decent, could maybe go a little paler.
Smells fruity mostly. Touch of honey upfront before some nice citric and tropical fruit aromas come out of the hops - passionfruit, pineapple, lemon and lime. Could use a bit more bitterness as it's quite sweet.
Taste is malty, nutty upfront with caramel grain and a touch of peanut. Hops take hold early but never really assert themselves. Lemon and passionfruit mostly, somewhat tangy but the whole thing is very sweet and boozey and could use a whole lot more bitterness from the hops. Feels unbalanced.
Texture is thick with a fair booze warmth. It's not sharp but definitely noticeable.
Not bad, but not great. Look forward to next year's collaboration with 4 Pines leading the charge as the champion large brewery.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. Brewed with hops from England, Slovenia, New Zealand, The USA, Germany, Australia and The Czech Republic it's really hard to categorize this into one type of "pale ale" category.
Uncaps with a sucking hiss that's confirmed by the pour: massive, crackling head of off-white that settles, clinging to the inside of the glass. Body is firm, but fluid, and hazy orange in colour. Carbonation is a little absent—as though it put all of its energy into the initial spurt of creating the crazy head. Looks pretty good though.
Nose is a little like what you get when you use too many types of hops in one beer: it just sort of reaches the median. Sure, it's hoppy, but it's hard to pick up much in the way of stylistic nuance. There's a vague greenness to it, slightly herbal and a little dank. It's a little like cut grass mingled with a suggestion of mashed together fruits. It's not bad by any means, but it lacks some direction.
Taste is clean and light, and perhaps a little tired. Although there's a space for "best before" on the label, it's not been printed on this particular bottle—but it does have the hallmarks of a beer that's waited on the shelf a little too long. Empty palate, pellety hops that turn a little more dusty than fresh. Feel is extremely light, which is not unexpected for the ABV, but it just accentuates the fact that the hops are fairly weak.
It's drinkable enough, but at least this particular example is a bit of a miss. The idea is interesting, but the end result is more generic than anything. Interestingly, I'd be more interested in a straight US pale, a straight NZ pale or even a straight Slovene pale.