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.
73 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very clear, pale yellow colour, with a very fine head of white that persists as a fine film. Coarse, fast carbonation raced through the light body. Looks like a suitable grisette.
Nose is quite pleasant with a sharp, green vinous character giving a good hint of acid, and some young grapes. There is a bit of barrel to it, giving some lifted cedar notes and a suggestion of eucalyptus. It's quite nice.
Taste also has a nice sharpness to it—there's more acid than you'd usually get in a grisette or saison, and it lends more of that biting wine character. It's fairly simple, but it's quite clean, with a pleasant flatness on the back.
Very drinkable, quite enjoyable. The barrel definitely helps, and it picks up much of its character from the wine. Honestly, if this were a beer I could drink frequently and a lot of—then I just might do that.
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a pale gold colour, head is very enthusiastic, settles down to a foamy crown of bubbles. Lacing is a little thin, body a little hazy. Looks fine, but not amazing.
Smells fine, and closer to amazing. Lovely Bretty aroma with a good champagne dryness as well as a beautiful fruity character - citrus and berries and melon. Slight spicy and almost savoury aroma on the back as well. Smells funky, and funk-ay.
Taste is not quite as funky. Or funk-ay. It's quite dry throughout, with a slight boozey character coming through midway giving it quite a dry chamapgne character. Fruity but then rather savoury late-mid with an earthy peppery spice like grains of paradise and coriander. Yeah it's pretty good saisony drinking with a touch of booze, but it just lacks the freshness and vibrancy of the nose - either from the fruit or from the brett. Just feels like a straightforward big saison. Maybe a bit old though, so don't mean to discredit it that much.
Mouthfeel is a little sharp with a big pull from the wild yeasts, then the boozey dryness kind of exacerbates it. Yeah needs more body to carry it off really.
Drinks well for all that; it's really quite champagne-esque in that I can sit and savour and enjoy sipping it without the flavour getting dull, or too intense for that matter.
75 / 100
375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt. Love the bold, stark label design.
Pours a lovely bright lemon-yellow colour, with vibrant, refractive haze. Head is a foamy white, a little inconsistent,but leaving large globs of webby lace. Carbonation is fine, despite the lightness of the body. Looks good.
Nose is awesome. In fact, I could smell it from the moment I cracked the can. Lots of hop dankness—I was going to say Nelson Sauvin, but the can says Citra, Galaxy, Riwaka & Simcoe. I'll lay that green sharpness at the feet of everything except for Galaxy. Under it is a slight yeasty character—I suspect the only real contribution from the grisette base. As it warms, some of the other hop notes come through, lending sweeter fruit notes of mango and lychee. Still, it's a potent, riproaring nose. I like it a stack.
Taste is also pretty good. It starts clean and bright, with echoing hints of those sharp fruit aromatics—lychee is more prominent here, with other characters of carambola and underripe honeydew. There's some slight tart aromatics that come through as well—a bright Belgian character perhaps that provides a contrast to the fruit-forward hops. Towards the back, the yeast kicks up a bit, leaving a slight silty character on the finish. It's slightly unpleasant, but it's maybe the price you pay for those Belgian notes.
Feel is light and silky. It's almost ephemeral. I like it.
Very drinkable. I could see myself happily working my way through a stack of these. And you know what? I might just do that.
Dry-hopped Raspberry & Elderflower Grisette. Tried at GABS 2017 from the brewery stall but not on tap - they poured it from a can.
Bizarre pink colour, opaque. White head, foamy. Looks weird, but OK.
Smells grisettey. Earthy, barnyard funk. Touch of blood orange maybe, and some sweet spice notes. Pretty good.
Tastes mild and tangy. Quite nice, with some earthy spice coming through midway but doesn't develop a whole lot. Finishes dry but pleasant; very drinkable.
Thin and a little fizzy but a decent body showing through for the size.
Very drinkable beer. Slammable, even. I think the floral/fruit adjuncts don't add a whole lot of character but they help take the edge off both the extent of the funk and the fact that it could seem a little thin. Pretty decent.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd Birthday bash.
Pours a pale golden colour, solidly and consistently hazed, with a slightly firmer body than the original and a finer bead of carbonation. Head forms a frothy cap of white that crackles itself out fairly quickly. Looks good. 4
Nose is similar to the regular, but a little sharper and fuller. More pepper comes through, and there's a hint of booze that gives it a more pungent aroma like match-head phosphorus. Other aromas include lemon peel and a flat leafiness that smells like being in a manicured garden. Very sophisticated.
Taste is pretty similar to the original as well, with a pleasantly rounded fullness from the extra body. Mostly, though, it stays smooth and clean, with a peppery bite on the back and just a hint of the booze. It makes for a nice punctuation point in the finish though.
Feel is smooth but with a pleasing bite.
Overall, it's a nice brew, and I'm pleased it didn't overwhelm with booze. It's the sort of beer that is probably at its best around 4.6% ABV like the original, but this is a pleasant special edition anyway that managed to stay true to its roots.
70 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday celebrations.
Looks pretty much the same as the other beers in the series. Pale golden with solid hazing—a point of differentiation between them and the base beer when I've had it, which has been quite clear. Head froths substantually on the pour, but settles out to a minimal ring. Looks decent.
Nose on this one is sharper, with lemon and detergent notes noticeable on the front. The longer it goes, it gets some foamy, briney seawater notes as well, which are an interesting twist. It suggests there's going to be more acidity. But it's quite light all up. Decent though.
Taste is very light: in fact, it's not noticeably different from the base beer, and there's certainly not the acidity that the nose suggested might be present. It's clean and dry with a pleasant organic grain note to it. It's nice—I mean, the Shenanigans Grisette is a very good beer—but it's a bit of a disappointment for a special release.
Feel is light and clean, as is common in all these beers.
Overall, this was less exciting than the Brux or the Clausenii versions, but it did at least have something that pushed it over and above the base beer.
79 / 100
Tried on tap at Bitter Phew for the Shenanigans 3rd Birthday Party.
Pours a pale golden colour with solid haze. Head forms a frothy mess of white, but falls out pretty quick to just a white ring around the edge of the glass. Body is quite light-bodied. It looks pretty similar to the original, only more hazed.
Nose is amazingly good. Huge bretty frux fruitiness that gives sweet pungent characters of pineapple and dried lime. Aromas of candied peel come through as well, across the fine base note of the grisette, that has light grassy notes, with fresh grain and a peppery sharpness. Awesome stuff.
Taste is much lighter. There's a slight sherbet lemon character on the front, before diving into more of the expected notes from the base beer. Slightly peppery on the mid-palate with some organic aromatics like crushed leaves. Light, slightly tart with some lemon fruit in the finish. It's a nice base beer, and this showcases Brux to a really nice extent.
Feel is light and clean.
Overall, yep, this works really well. It's a lovely way to expose Brux, and the finished beer is fruity, funky and interesting. A fine brew.
Tried on tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday celebrations.
Looks like the others in the series: namely, it's pale golden in colour, hazy in the body, but lightweight. Head forms a froth of loose white bubbles that gives way to a gauzy ring. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is really quite similar to the base Grisette. It's perhaps just a shade sharper, with some pine or wood shavings coming through. Otherwise, it's mildly organic, with a slight grainy savoury note above a lightweight, refreshing aroma.
Taste is very similar to the original. Don't get me wrong, the Grisette is a lovely beer, but I want something from the Brett if it's being the supposed hallmark of the beer. Instead, we get the pleasant, but familiar light grisette tartness and fresh semi-savoury flavour. It's good, but I want something else.
Feel is clean and bright.
It's a lovely drinkable beer. Just like the Grisette. Of the four in the Brett series, this was the most underwhelming, because it felt as though the Brett hadn't really taken hold at all.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew, during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday bash.
Looks the same as the others in the series. It's a pale golden colour, with a heavy hazing off tap, unlike the clarity that was in the Grisette in bottles. Head forms frothily initially, but settles to a coarse-bubbled crackling that remains as a white ring around the edge of the glass. Looks decent enough.
Nose is great, with a big green, fresh organic character. It's bright and sharp, with notes of banana leaf, kaffir lime, pineapple and pepper. It's a really lovely mix of flavours and shows off something good with the Clausenii strain.
Taste is clean, and slightly sharper. There's a hint of sherbet around the edges, and some funk to it, but it never gets rugged, earthy or raw. Otherwise, you can still feel the semi-savoury grain notes and a touch of acid in the finish. Nice.
Feel is light and sharp. Quite pleasant.
It's a lovely brew, and this one gets a definite, pleasing enhancement from the Brett addition. It's a toss up for me between this one and the Brux for my favourite of the four. But these two were clearly ahead.
76 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez. Sampled by myself, in front of the computer that I'm now reviewing it on, live. How exhilarating. This could be a new olympic sport.
Pours a pale yellow colour, quite vibrant, with white fluffy head, that sinks to a thinnish cloud after a while. Decent ghostly clouds of lace. Love the colour; would like the head to stick around a bit longer though.
Smells gorgeous. Underlying saison funk, but over the top it's just the distillation of the best parts of that. Fresh and fruity, with mango and pawpaw notes, plus a piquant spice character - white pepper, slight cornichon twist, and a sweet cinnamon type note at the back as well. Really appealing.
Taste is very much more saisony, and Belgian. That fruity ester comes through upfront, with a light caramel grain edge and a touch of citrus. Funk takes over early-mid, with some earthy barnyard and spice notes, quite savoury at times and turns quite phenolic on the back with a hint of rubber. Finish cleans it up quite nicely, the phenolic note peters out and is replaced by a subtle lingering lemon zest note. It leans a little heavy on the funky phenols, but just a little; it's otherwise very palatable and well-constructed.
Mouthfeel is tingly, maybe the body is a bit lacking as it's quite dry on the back, almost puckering. But not bad.
Nice Grisette; I'm not really au fait with the big difference between grisettes and saisons, but it feels like a fairly light-bodied and fresh saison that's eminently drinkable.
78 / 100
500ml brown bottle, tapered like a gueuze bottle. Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. This is a collab with Modern Times, brewed at 8 Wired.
Pours a very bright, very pale yellow colour with decent clarity but a slight gauzy haze. Head is superb—pure, bright white and coarse-bubbled, it forms a chunky crest that leaves superb lace. Carbonation is swift and refined. Looks very good.
Nose is quite pleasant, and refreshingly subdued. There's a coherence to it though, providing a slight grain note, melded with some pleasant, mildly funky yeast characters, which give it a warmth and fug. It has those classic Belgian yeast notes that turn it slightly savoury‚ but they're teased with a brightness—perhaps a judicious application of hops—and these make it seem very balanced and fresh. Very nice.
Taste very much follows the same pattern. It's clean and bright and very drinkable, but without a lot of specific characters you can hang on to. There's a very slight soda-like tartness which gives it a bite like seltzer; there's just enough pale malt to support it without making it feel sharp and empty; there's a fragrance that elevates it. All up it comes across as very nicely thought out, very tightly controlled, and very well integrated.
Feel is great: clean and smooth, but with a lively spritz.
Overall, this is a really subtle, but very engaging and well-made beer. It's the sort of beer that you don't notice until long after drinking it, when you're looking for its equivalent and you can't find it. It's the sort of beer which should be a staple—if that happens, this beer would form a beautiful exemplar.
79 / 100
640ml brown bottle purchased from Annandale Cellars. This is batch GRI004 hopped with Equinox & Helga.
Pours a wonderfully clear and bright pale yellow, with a good, fine-frothed head of white that settles out to a bubbly film. Body is light and clean, and the carbonation is fine, bubbling in tight streams. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. Really lovely clean hop bite accentuates a mild twist of pithy funk, moving it towards peachskin and lime peel. Slight earthy organics come through as well, lending it some crushed vegetation and a slight whiff of brown banana. Very nice stuff indeed.
Taste is very clean through the centre, with a straight-down-the-line palate of neutral malt, capped with a slight bite of zesty hops and a linger of earthy yeast. Finish is very crisp with just enough of a kick of bitterness to punctuate it. Quaffable, refined and quite delicate.
Feel is nice. Very light, but with a moderated sense of fine carbonation. I like it.
Immensely drinkable and very refreshing, with enough of a twist to make it stand out from the pack as a go-to easy drinking summer brew. This is a real winner for me.
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of Bridge Road's Beerdvent beer advent calendar. This is a collab between Bright, Bridge Road, Black Dog and Sweetwater Brewing, brewed at Black Dog.
Pours a pleasant, very mildly hazy pale golden colour, that looks quite bright and vibrant in the glass. Head is a fairly dependable if ultimately filmy crest of white bubbles that leave sudsy streaks of lace. Body is light, and the coarse-bubbled carbonation is rapid. Looks good.
Nose is rather pleasant. There's a sharpness to the hops that works well with some slightly organic, almost astringent aromas from the yeast. It gives the funk a kind of stretched out quality, elongating it and making it rather biting. Overall, it's pretty nice.
Taste is clean and light, with a slight rounded sweetness on the front, followed by a rather peppery bite on the back. The carbonation is quite high as well which accentuates the pepper and faint funk in the tail. The aftertaste is oddly sweet though, continuing the flavour from the front, which is a little bit of a shame. With a touch more dryness it would be very refreshing.
Overall, it's an interesting brew. I would like it to be a tad drier or cleaner on the back—it's the sort of style that lends itself to a high refreshment value, and there a couple of things that make this a little more of a slog. Otherwise, good stuff.