Spiced Beer
82nd highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedMyrtle's Bunga Bunga Party (84 / 100) Average score58 / 100 (Decent)
Lowest RatedShady Lady Rose Infused Premium Lager Beer (0 / 100) Number Tried104
Kyoto Bakushu Matcha IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.06.18 in bottle
Overall:
37 / 100
(Nasty)
Bottle ordered at that karaoke bar on George St that I never remember the name of because I only go there while drunk.

Pours a bright, sickly green colour, big spider green head, nice and foamy and childishly thick. Cloudy and thick. Looks absurd and ridiculous, really really stupid. But as a beer, it looks intriguing.

Smells sweet and fairly oxidised. Malty, with some green tea herbal and bitter notes. Sickly sweet really, with a weird bitter match that feels like a weird alien character in beer.

Tastes awful. Matcha bitterness with sickly sweet simple malt character. The bitterness on the back is all green tea, simplistic and herbal and medicinal. Has mild malty flavours midway but is otherwise just all green tea, and it's simplistic and bad, so it tastes like fucking powdered green tea.
Mouthfeel is decently smooth, it's quite creamy really. Almost to the point where it doesn't taste like beer anymore. But yeah it's interesting for what it be.

Yeah it may suit a person who's not into beer. Because it doesn't taste like beer. If you're into matcha, you may like this. But if you're into matcha you're probably also into autoerotic asphyxiation because nobody should willingly subject themselves to this fucking flavour. But it's also just like matcha with oxidised beer so it's all garbage. It tastes bad.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 1.5
G.F.G
Reviewed by Jez on 18.12.17 from a can
Overall:
4 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
375ml can with a pull-off lid, purchased by Sam as part of the 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar. Reviewed blind.

Pours a hazy, fizzy yellow, with the look of a weak soft drink. No head whatsoever after it fizzes up and then fizzles out. Looks thin, uninspiring and generally unpleasant. I'm unimpressed, so far.

Nose is kind of unpleasant as well, but there's at least a distinct hint of ginger to it. This maybe explains the fact that the beer kind of smells like nothing, and why it looks like soft drink. But as well as the ginger, there's a kind of rotten sourness to it, and a dusky, rank yeast character. It's not pleasant.

The taste is appallingly sweet—like, it's way, way, WAY sweeter than Bundaberg ginger beer, which is packed with sugar and (mostly) unfermented. This has such a immediate chew of cloying sugar that I think I'm blind. If you look behind that surge, there is a bit of ginger, sure, but that's about it, until the very, very back. There, after the long fought battle between my taste buds and the saccharine marauders (which my taste buds lost badly), there's a yeasty kick on the end, which by this stage just tastes rancid. Sorry, but this is hideous.

Feel is long, cloying and unpleasant.

Awful. Just awful. This is someone who doesn't know what ginger beer tastes like doing a ginger beer right? It has no right whatsoever to be as sweet as it is. It's monstrous. Even when you remove the sweetness on the palate (which you can't), it's a mess of unrefined flavours that merely smack you lazily in the face, like a used condom filled with regurgitated ginger. Stay well away.
appearance: 1.5 | aroma: 1.75 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 1.0 | drinkability: 1.0
Yippee Thai Yay
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 31.08.17 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Thai Curry Beer (not really described in any other way, hence my throwaway classification) brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival in a sampler.

Pours a pale gold, champagney kind of colour with a touch of haze. Nice head retention but a bit sparsely webbed for my liking. Looks pretty good though.

Smells, yeah, like a Thai curry. Coconut notes and very limey, with kaffir lime and a touch of banana to it as well. Pretty good.

Taste is a bit bland upfront, maybe a testament to not having made a proper stylistic beer as the base, it's just a bland caramel malt kind of flavour with no nuance. Develops some nice tang midway with kaffir lime, lemongrass and more of that coconut leading into it. Touch of chilli on the back; just a whisper. Really like the way it finishes but I think it could have been more interesting upfront.

Thin body but it works well with the beer overall, goes down quite smoothly.

Very nice, but just a little meek at times, doesn't really burst with flavour the way it could have.

I retried this beer and it ended up my #10 beer of the festival.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
'Felix' Australian Spiced Pale Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.08.17 on tap
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Strong Pale brewed with Australian spices for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.

Pours an amber colour, bits of cloudy sediment through the body. Head is creamy-white, bubbly and doesn't really stick around. Looks alright.

Smells lovely. Not really as spice-centric as I'd expected but lovely and fresh. Massive lime hit, with a touch of apple/pear fruitiness and a hint of undergrowth and herbs. Really good.

Taste is similarly lacking in the spice, but certainly not bad. Fruity throughout the front and mid, with mango and lemony notes. Develops some vegetative undergrowth and capsicum characters late-mid and then finishes a little tangy that develops a musk stick, chalky kind of character. Not bad, but ultimately a bit sweet and I think some additional spice cut-through would be nice.

Really full body for the style. It's a big pale ale but it feels a lot maltier than it really tastes. Bit odd.

Surprisingly good. Tangy and sweet; I feel like it could have toned down the maltiness a bit and let spice show through a bit more. Would love to try just a slightly toned-down version, a 5.5% version or something.

I shortlisted and retried this beer, but it didn't crack my top 20.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
The Captain
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.07.17 on tap
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Herbed and Spiced historical ale, brewed for GABS 2017 and tried there on tap.

Pours a dark-brown colour with a red tinge, like I'd imagine a 19th century porter might look. Slight haze, bubbly cream-coloured head. Looks alright, yeah.

Smells largely of star anise, but also herbal, with some capsicum vegetative notes, plus some cinnamon and clove giving warming spice notes. Slightly chocolatey as well. Yeah, smells like what I imagine when I think of historical spice mixes.

Tastes spicy, too. Slight roasted malt note underlying it all, developing some herbal notes and undergrowth late-mid, then a bit of ginger and cinnamon towards the finish. Slightly peppery on the back as well. Chocolatey notes. Not bad, yeah.

Decent body with a slight warming alcohol towards the back that may also be spice-driven but feels similar to a slightly higher ABV drop.

Not bad; decent herb and spicy notes, drinks quite pleasantly.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
4th Anniversary
Reviewed by Jez on 06.04.17 in bottle
Overall:
48 / 100
(Not Great)
500ml brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. It's a "Sour Ale Aged on Ginger", according to the bottle, and comes with a join-the-dots puzzle on the label.

Pours a relatively clear deep golden colour, with a lazy head of fine off-white that sticks around as a ring around the outside of the glass. Carbonation is fine and the body has a little slickness to it, if not a huge amount of weight.

Nose is sharp with fresh cut ginger, with a heat and astringency that actually gives a slight character of ammonia. There's something sweet and sharp about it—it reminds me of a urinal cake, and that's not really the kind of comparison you want people making about the aroma of your beer. It just smells a little bit like it's misguided at this point.

Taste is very similar. There's a sharpness and heat to the ginger, which doesn't sit well with the underlying acidity of the beer. It doesn't have the sweet citrus you expect to pair with ginger in a ginger beer, and tends more towards the pure heat and spice of American ginger ale. Finish is weirdly watery, with a slight lactic sourness but a real lack of body. Feel is weak, but with a tingle of burn from the ginger.

Overall, I don't much like this, and I must say I'm disappointed that a) this is a beer from Prairie, a brewery I have a lot of time for, and b) this is what they chose to do as an anniversary ale. This is probably one of the least appealing beers I've had from the stable.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 2.75 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 2.75
Hard Root Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 31.03.17 in bottle
Overall:
11 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.

Pours a cola-brown colour, with a fizzling head that disappears as quickly as soda water. No head, in fact. Body is very thin and light, especially for a 7% beer. Carbonation isn't noticeable. It honestly doesn't even look like a good root beer.

Nose, at least, delivers what it promises. Bright, biting sassafras aroma, perhaps a little stronger on the wintergreen than some others. It gives it a peppery sharpness, and a little solvent bite. It's potent, but I can't fault it for delivering what it promises.

Taste, however, is awful. The bitter elements of the root beer are off the charts, leaving a soapy, solvent cleaner flavour on the back palate. This combines with a noticeable alcohol flavour, which burns along with the chemical bitterness. It tastes like what drinking toilet cleaner must taste like.

Feel is also awful. It's thin and flat in the body, but almost painful when the boozy bite scrapes itself across the back palate.

An absolute drainpour. I've had cracking alcoholic root beers in the past, but this is appallingly unbalanced, and the booze is intensely, powerfully offensive. Stay well, well away.
appearance: 1.75 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 1.0 | drinkability: 1.0
Marvellous Madam Mahvash
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 22.09.16 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
According to the guide, this is a 'Persian Inspired Rose Pashmak Fairy Floss and Omani Ale'. So you know, make of that whatever you will. I've called it a spiced beer here simply because it's one of those throwaway categorisation styles that I don't care about. Tried on tap at GABS 2016.

Pours a deep amber colour, slight haze to it. Head is cream-coloured and very dense and pleasant, thick retention. Pinkish tinge to it; looks fascinating.

Smells medicinal, with a touch of spice. Toffee sweetness, with a large phenolic and aniseed character at the back. Maybe some clove, and maybe a touch of rosewater. Either way it's a bit full-on for me.

Taste is similar. Honeyed grain upfront, develops a rich burnt sugar character midway, then the back is all bitterness and pith, with medicinal phenolic notes being the aftermath of that sweet front-palate and notes of lemon and orange coming through in their most bitter forms. Funny candy note on the very back. Yeah, it's weird.

Full body, little bit flat and untextured. Nice hint of that alcohol gives it a cocktail kind of feel.

Quite an odd beer, but a curious one. Definitely falls into what might be termed Garage Project's "weird" basket, which is generally just as full as their "really great beer" basket.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Decadent and Depraved
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.08.16 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Brewed to represent a mint julep, with fresh mint and aged on bourbon oak. Tried on tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.

Pours an amber colour, slight hint of sediment in the body. Head is dense, beige and sticky. Steady bead. Looks pretty nice.

Smells pepperminty, refreshing. Notes of chestnut as well and caramel. Generally quite herbal, but a good beer balance to it.

Chestnutty malt on the palate as well, upfront at least. Develops big peppermint notes early-mid that continues to the back to leave it feeling fresh and clean. It's quite a sweet mint, too, so it's not piquant. Maybe some boozey flavours on the back but it finishes just too clean to really notice them.

Decent body, nice texture as it goes down.

Not a lot of complexity to this beer, but it's interestingly constructed and is a lot better than I expected. I think they've pulled off a difficult task here.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Beyond the Black Stump
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.08.16 on tap
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Wild wattleseed beer, supposedly soured though I'm not sure through what method. Brewed for and tried at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.

Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy with a nice beige head, decent crown sitting on top. Looks pretty good, better than I expected actually.

Smells grainy and sweet upfront; caramel overtones and some shredded wheat. Odd tang comes through too, with a touch of cherry that turns it slightly medicinal. Don't mind it though.

Again caramel and a cereal grain note upfront on the palate. Mostly sweet towards the back-palate but then gets a slight tang, with some lemon notes that cleanse just subtly but fairly well. Has an overall seedy character that seems almost sesame-reminiscent. Odd but not bad.

Thin body, has an ok texture for what it is though.

Not a particularly interesting drop, but I've definitely had worse beers, and I had worse expectations on this based on the fairly showy and non-technical copywriting.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Marrickville Pork Roll
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.08.16 on tap
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Non-descript beer designed to mimick a Vietnamese Banh Mi roll - brewed with cucumber, carrot, coriander, chilli, pork broth and Sorachi Ace hops - for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap.

Pours a champagne colour, quite cloudy. Cream-coloured head, sparsely foamed out. Odd pink tinge to the body. Not bad, but weird.

Carrot and coriander on the nose for sure. Big herbal note and a touch of clove as well. Slight honeyed tinge to malts. Smells savoury, and vegetative, for the most part.

Grainy upfront, then tastes savoury, meaty. Slightly vinegary twist of tang towards the mid. Touch of smoke and some spice, especially on the back with a bit of a phenolic character and some earthy fennel-coriander notes as well. Slight lick of chilli warmth as well. Odd, but ultimately not bad.

Full body, yeah I think that pork broth lends this some substance that the non-descript beer underneath might not have. But then I wouldn't know.

Interesting savoury drop. It does what it says. The heat on the back is welcome and enjoyable. Look I had no expectations, or I expected bad things from this, but it's actually quite enjoyable if only in a curiosity kind of way.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Project #21: The Reuben Sandwich
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.07.16 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
I have absolutely no idea how to classify this, it's a Reuben sandwich beer, with gin from West Winds. I mean seriously... GABS makes a mockery of style classifications sometimes. That's one of many reasons I love it.

Pours an amber colour, quite sedimenty with lovely thick head of beige foam. The head is really gorgeous, and the colour looks great as well. If there was ever going to be a reuben sandwich beer, it should look like this.

Smells a little smokey and maybe a touch meaty. Slight spice notes and a touch of espresso on there. Weird cocoa character comes through as well. It's odd, but I'm happy to give the palate a chance.

Taste is spicy, earthy. Notes of chocolate/cocoa upfront and then a fair coffee bitterness and spice on the mid-palate. Touch of clove towards the back. The malts give it an odd flavour and it's all a little confused. Could have been a nice English amber ale of sorts but there's an odd character that doesn't quite work.

Full body, slight tingle of carbonation which cuts through nicely.

I don't get a big Reuben character from this beer, nor do I really get much gin character. There's hints of the right characters but not as much as I expected or wanted.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Root Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.07.16 on tap
Overall:
49 / 100
(Not Great)
On tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.

Pours a dark brown, clear with beige head, sparse bubbling. No retention. Not great, looks pretty bland.

Smells spicy. Star anise aplenty. Smells like aniseed, pretty much. Root beer. Not much else.

Um, yeah, I hate to repeat myself, but star anise on the palate too. Maybe a touch sour, kind of earthy in the end. But pretty one-note. Spicy, root beery.

Body is thin, but a sharp note of booze on the back. It gives it a touch of character but not really in a good way.

Fairly meh. Tastes like sarsparilla. Sweet and spicy with a hit of booze. Delivers what it promises but doesn't really explore it in an interesting way.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 3.0
Snorri Nr. 10
Reviewed by Jez on 21.11.15 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
330ml brown bottle purchased in Iceland by Sam, brought back to Australia where he shared it with me blind. This is an "Íslenskt Öl", or "Icelandic Ale", brewed, according to the ingredients, with thyme.

Pours a hazy pale yellow colour, with a very fine ring of white that doesn't leave much lace. Indeed the beer as a whole looks rather flat and dead, although the colour is quite nice.

Nose is a little odd. There's some pale grainy notes to it, mingled with something like weizen esters. It gives it an overall rather organic note. AS it warms, there's even a suggestion of something like crushed leaves, almost medicinal and herbal. It's interesting at least.

Taste is thin, but pleasant, with a hint of acidity or a slight carbonic note to it. Grainy, slightly organic flavours sit around the outside, but don't provide much body or sweetness. Back has a mild twang of metal and a linger of medicine.

Feel is light, but a bit prickly with fine carbonation. Whatta ya know? It is carbonated after all.

It's actually quite light and refreshing, and I could certainly see myself drinking a couple. Is it meant to taste like this? Maybe. I'm not sure I've had thyme in a beer before, but this was decent.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Snorri Nr. 10
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.11.15 in bottle
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
"Icelandic Ale" brewed with Thyme. Bought at Keflavik airport and muled back to share with Jez.

Pours a light hazy golden, decent bubbly head that sinks to nothing fairly quickly. Not a lot of lacing, but it's there. Not too bad, but I've seen more exciting beers.

Smells floral, somewhat botanical with a touch of lemon tartness and some herbal notes. Maybe a touch of lavender, and some sweet caramel notes underneath. Pretty decent, but nothing special.

Taste is bland; adjuncty, corny. Big corny flavour with much sweetness behind it; not all that great. Develops some light botanical notes late that are purely functional, to clean up. But it doesn't clean it all up, there's a slight sugary finish. I'm not hugely impressed, and I don't love it.

Decent feel; bit of body with a slightly dry finish.

Bit too much sweetness and not a whole lot of character to it, really. But decently constructed otherwise.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.0
One Night in a Black Tent
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a very deep black-brown that could be opaque just from colour. It does show clarity at the edges, however. Body is solid, and holds a little fine carbonation. Head is dark brown, and firm and fine leaving rings of lace. Looks good.

Nose is pleasant with a little grape juice and texta ink, backed up with some raisins and true tannic sharpness like old oxidised red wine. There's a smoothness underneath that gives a suggestion of banana too. It's pretty interesting.

Flavour has lots of barrel in its genesis, more of those red wine tannins. Astringent through the centre, and slightly ashy towards the back, with a touch of chlorine, and a linger of concord grape. Aftertaste is woody, with more of those ephemeral banana esters and mildly unpleasant inky chemical tone.

Feel is full and very decent.

It's okay in the end. Not great, but certainly with a lot of flavours and interesting things to explore.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Bock Swine
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a very clear amber colour, with a smooth, flowing body and lots of fine sheeting carbonation when tilted. Head is yellow-white, forming a full, good head that leaves excellent lace. Looks great.

Slightly biting herbal bush notes on the nose, mostly with a crack of vegetative pepper. This is accentuated with a slight hint of lemon peel as well. It's quite interesting and quite pleasant.

Front of the palate is slightly medicinal, with some tart fruit and a fragrant spiciness through the centre of the palate. Hint of smoke comes through around now as well, working with the herbal qualities to give a touch of bay leaf and herbal spice like rosemary perhaps. It's very nice. Aftertaste lingers with a fine but thin thread of the spice and smoke.

Feel is clean, fine and pretty thin.

Overall, it's pretty decent. There's some interesting things going on here, and it manages to maintain its balance and drinkability. I liked it just fine.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
One Night in a Black Tent
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.06.15 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark brown colour with sparsely-webbed beige head that dissipates too early. Decent colour, but meh otherwise.

Smells spicy. Big peppery dry spice note with some funky oak notes, a touch of bourbon and maybe slightly bretty? Sweet roast too. Nice.

Taste is quite sweet with distinct bourbon oakiness. Some roast and a touch of peppery spice as well as floral hop notes. Umami and savoury coming through as well on the back as well as spice character. A bit confused, but enough to like in there.

Full body, slight tingle from carbonation and a touch of alcohol heat. Not bad.

Could have been great, but that's the risk with this sort of beer: it's hard to control, and it's been proven very true in this case.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Bock Swine
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.06.15 on tap
Overall:
59 / 100
(Decent)
Pours an amber colour, touch of cloud in the body. Head is beige, foamy and retaining well. Looks pretty nice.

Smells earthy, with a big character that seems tea-esque? Yeah, green tea. Herbal characters, with some light caramel grain and maybe a light touch of smoke. Root vegetables. Not bad.

Sweet palate all over the front. Caramel grain with a touch of chestnut. Slightly tangy on the back, with a light herbal note. Mostly just tastes like that conventional 'beer' character, maybe slightly chemical. Meh.

Body is thin, some light carbonation. Not bad.

Like my experience with a lot of Mussel Inn beers, I'm finding this fairly middling and uninspiring, sadly.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
La Cervoise
Reviewed by Jez on 17.09.14 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne, I believe, but it's been a long time since I bought it. Brewed with honey and myrtle.

Pours a very hazy amber, burnished-bronze tone with some pronounced floating sediment, despite the pour leaving behind the bottom third of the bottle. Head is a timid ring of off-white, but quite fine and persistent in its way. Body has some weight behind it, and a very nice bead of fine carbonation when tilted. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is aromatic in a herbal way, giving a pleasant leafy tone to a base already fairly fragrant with some Belgian-style characters. There is indeed perhaps a little tone of honey to it, or at least the floral aroma you get from certain honey types, and a slightly earthy, almost peppery character as well. It's pretty nice.

Taste is nicely restrained, with a lightness and a dryness that helps the drinkability. The herbal qualities are still present, providing a rather flavoursome mix above the smooth, clean malt basis. On the back some of the more volatile characters enliven the palate, more of those aromatics and Belgian esters—or perhaps it just more of the floral characters from the honey. Whatever it is, it's nice.

Feel is smooth, but the dryness through the centre of the palate (also possibly a result of the full fermentation of the honey) really helps to keep it approachable and drinkable.

Overall, this is very decent stuff. It has some really interesting characters, but wrapped up in a package which is coherent and balanced.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Sensory Series V.1 - Lower Dens
Reviewed by Jez on 05.07.14 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
375ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Uncaps with a fizz and proceeds to froth over the countertop. After a little time, it pours rather sedately, in fact, a clear golden hue with a surprisingly minimal head of white. Stacks of carbonation though feeding it, and it rushes through the rather light body.

Nose is pleasant. Mild, dry white wine acidity, with a touch, perhaps, of the hibiscus lending a little fragrant sweetness. Some earthy tones come through as well, especially as it warms. Pretty nice.

Taste has a slight soda acidity on the front, developing into a rather dry mid-palate laced with a little funk. Musk and earth towards the back, with a chewy finish that's sweeter than I expect. Feel is rather pleasantly subdued. Despite the seemingly robust carbonation, there's a smoothness to the fizz that stops it from getting too aerated.

Overall, yep: this is another solid beer from Stillwater. Clean and bright facade with earth and funk hiding underneath it. The hibiscus is only subtle, but it does add a little twist to add some interest to it. I think it's fair to say though that this is mostly just another solid beer in the same style Stillwater always does.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Grand Ridge Go Figure
Reviewed by Jez on 13.06.14 on tap
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Tried on-tap at GABS in Melbourne. Touted as a "ginger beer with a twist", the twist, apparently, being figs.

Pours a very pale lemon colour with solid hazing throughout. Body is fairly clean and light with fine carbonation. Head forms a fine ring of white that leaves some lace rings. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is heavy on the ginger, with a big spicy crispness from the addition. Under this is a slight jammy sweetness which is fairly pleasant too.

Nice light entry on the palate with some zesty ginger coming through early. Unfortunately, everything drops away pretty quickly leaving the middle empty and dry, and the back very weak, allowing a pronounced yeasty character to come through on the finish. Feel is light, but suitable for the type of beer.

It's still pretty drinkable despite some of its drawbacks. The "twist" is nowhere to be found, but it's a fairly inoffensive alcoholic ginger beer all the same.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Baltic Frontier
Reviewed by Jez on 12.01.14 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.

Pours excessively cloudy, a dull dark golden hue with a crusty white head of frothy bubbles. Body is solid but pretty fluid and the carbonation is minimal but fine. There's also a very strange flock of bright orange floating bits that wander around the surface of the beer (is sea buckthorn orange? Any other ideas what this might be?*). My guess is it's yeast sediment clumping in strange ways—it's certainly the first time I've ever seen such a thing.

*Apparently sea buckthorn berries are indeed bright orange—so my guess is that that genuinely is what's floating in my beer.

Nose is excellent, however, despite the oddities of the appearance. Really vigorous hop presence gives a bright intensity, while herbal-savoury characters, possibly from the juniper come through as well. Herbal and fresh, bright and sharp and very fragrant. I like it a whole lot.

Taste is also good, but again quite strange. Front palate gives a clean bite, rather hoppy and bright with citric overtones. Body is quite subdued throughout. Tingling orange peel characters linger for a while, giving reminiscences of hot-cross buns and christmas cake, while a note of gingerbread sticks around on the back. It's damn unusual, but has those characters that you find in a citrus-infused IPA, so it has an odd familiarity.

Feel is pretty light, and probably not helped by the astringency of the juniper and the sea-buckthorn, but it works okay with the brew as a whole.

Yep, overall, this is a slightly weird, but pretty wonderful experiment from To Øl. The flavours are just strange enough to make it genuinely interesting, while maintaining a clarity and familiarity which make it drinkable. It's either very odd or very comprehensible, and I can't pick which.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Etrusca
Reviewed by Jez on 30.12.13 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
330ml squat brown Birra del Borgo bottle, purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. I've actually had this beer once before thanks to Red Duck brewed Scott Wilson-Browne, but at the time didn't review it. And now, it's giving me flashbacks to Red Duck's excellent Ra series.

Pours a a pale, hazed yellow-gold with almost no head, just the finest ring of pale white around the edge. Body is fluid but thick. It looks decent enough without being terribly exciting.

Nose is very strange. Sour and sharp, but with a slightly smoky, meaty character running through it. Some sulphur comes through, along, with a dusty, dirty earthiness, which is perhaps the most unique character. It's certainly very different, and that's worth a lot.

Taste is quite sour, more than I expected from the nose, perhaps. Quite a tart entry, that maintains that same earthiness which makes if very different at the same time. Slight spicy characters towards the back, giving up a little myrrh and orange peel notes. Finish is relatively refreshing.

Feel has an attack from the acidity on the palate, but is quite light and refreshing otherwise.

Overall. This is pretty decent. It's probably a bit weird to drink frequently, but it was certainly an interesting beer to sample.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Bush Baby
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.12.13 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy with off-white foamy head. Not bad-looking.

Smells sweet and spicy. Rye grain upfront before some sweet cinnamon with a touch of coriander, nutmeg and a decent grapefruit tanginess. Quite nice.

Taste starts out quite malty sweet, but midway it gets rolling in a big way. Clove notes come up with a touch of lemongrass, and then just all weird, cooky spice notes that I just don't recognise. Don't know if I can pick it as distinctly NZ spice, but it's a unique experience and very nice indeed.

Decent body with just a touch of carbonation tingle. Nice.

Very nice, well-balanced flavour bomb without the alcohol. Lots of stuff going on here, and lots to enjoy.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Myrtle's Bunga Bunga Party
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 29.11.13 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy. Head is white, consisting of large bubbles around a dense, foamy crown. Nice lace. Looks good.

Smells quite sweet, but a big whack of lemon myrtle tang. Yeah, strong citric character, well dominant anyway. Possibly too dominant as there's not much else going on, but it delivers what it promises and is quite enticing and refreshing.

Taste is more malty, with a big cereal grain character upfront. Vanilla notes as well, before getting into the tangy, fruity mid-palate where there's apple, pear, some notes of passionfruit and of course a big floral citric note as well. Overall very sweet. Needs something to ground it.

Decent body, slight fizz from the carbonation on the tongue. Not bad.

I think only the second beer to use lemon myrtle that I've tried, the other being the Baron's lemon myrtle witbier, and I have the same issue with this as I had with that (although I think this is better). It's just too sweet. I'd like to see someone throw lemon myrtle in with some NZ bittering hops (Sticklebract for example) just for some more grounding and balance, because it can be just too sweet otherwise.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Bush Baby
Reviewed by Jez on 18.10.13 on tap
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
A "New Zealand bush beer" brewed for GABS 2013 in Melbourne, which is where I tried it. That was some months ago: just entering my reviews now.

Pours a solidly weighted, hazy amber brown. Slightly yellowish head forms a solid, foamy crest across the top that leaves a little lace. Looks pretty good.

Nose is spicy and earthy with bush characters in abundance, leaving an organic, rich loamy character mingled with wood, herbs, citrus peel and manuka smoke. Lovely stuff.

Beautiful palate as well. Spicy entry with a rounded richness and a smoke character which gives it a surprising brightness. The sweetness comes through the centre, smoothing it while spicy characters of cinnamon and manuka honey come through. Towards the back there's a suggestion of rosewater, giving a Turkish delight hint that stays while the malt drops out, leaving it dry and light, bright and balanced. It's gorgeous stuff.

Feel is very smooth, but rises and falls with the flavours, meaning it ends up with a pleasant cleanness on the back.

Overall: I really like this. It's clean and bright, but also extremely interesting. An absolute cracker from these guys who I'm always pleased to see over this side of the ditch.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Red Duck Licky
Reviewed by Jez on 10.10.13 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.

Pours a smooth but thin and fine black with brown edging: the body of a solid schwartzbier. Head forms a firm ring around the edge of the glass, and a fine film elsewhere and pale brown in colour. Slight patchy lace around the glass. Carbonation is subdued, but extremely fine when tilted. Overall, it looks pretty solid indeed.

Yep. Liquorice indeed throughout this one. Definitely earthy liquorice root, but there's a brusquer variation on it which I'll put down to the aniseed myrtle, and, yes, even a slightly brighter note attributable to the sassafras. Under this is a solid dark beer, slated with a roast character and some light bready overtones. Nice stuff.

Taste is very solidly done: at its core, its a solid schwartz, with a cleanness to the palate, but flavours of roasty malt and neutral grain providing texture and colour. And then there's the liquorice characters, which are certainly more subdued here than on the nose: and that's a good thing. It shows a wonderful restraint that could have easily become overpowering and intense on the palate with spicy, peppery or astringent characteristics. Instead, we're left with the solid malt basis tempered and shaped into something unique by the spice additions.

Feel is great, and shows why making this as a lager was such a strong move: it's light and crisp, which manages to accentuate the spicier fragrant tones of the liquorice while not giving it enough of a basis to become too overpowering.

Overall, this is great stuff. Red Duck have a knack for being experimental, but even better is when they create something quite unique that shows such restraint and balance as this does. And can I also say it's great to see Aussie craft breweries using Austraian indigenous ingredients like Red Duck are doing here with the aniseed myrtle. Very impressive stuff.

appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.25
4 Pines Signature Relish Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.09.13 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at the Builder's Arms during Good Beer Week 2013.

Pours a red, cloudy colour. Head is beige, foamy, decent retention and lace. Looks pretty good.

Smells sweet and spicy. Big malt, chocolate, prunes, notes of orange peel and clove. Pretty nice, and intriguing.

Taste is pretty heavy. Big flavour, loads of prune, spice, orange peel, even some Worcestershire sauce and chilli. Not bad, but a distinct fizz on the mouthfeel, and body is a bit thin.

Feels like McConnell introduced a lot of interesting spices and ingredients, but maybe in the process the beer suffers a bit, and drinkability is sacrificed.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Mexas Ranger - Tequila Barrel Aged
Reviewed by Jez on 13.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
375ml green thick-walled gueuze bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a deep, thick black colour, with an incredibly dark head of melted chocolate brown. Head stays pretty dense with bubbles, but becomes filmy after a while. Lacing is superb, and the body is remarkably thick for its weight. Carbonation is fine. Overall, it's an exceptionally good looking brew.

Nose is also exceptional. Dark and deep, laced with spice and wood. Tantalising chilli aromas come through, along with chocolate, fresh-roasted whole bean coffee and the sharp piquancy of tequila. Like chocolate molé in a glass.

Taste is also good, but certainly less impressive than the nose. Here, there's a decided lack of sweetness and body, and a decided surplus of roast character. Indeed, to get the colour so high, there had to be. Here, the delicate spices are trampled by the charred characters, and the sweeter chocolate darkness is sidelined. Instead, it feels quite dry and black for most of it's length, completing with a rather ashy tone on the finish.

Feel is smooth but crispened by the roast character, which almost seems to suck moisture out of my mouth.

Overall, I think this could be a lot better. A bit more body and sweetness could counterbalance the char on the palate, and allow the spice and delicate smoke characters to have a bit more influence. As it is, it's just a bit too much in one direction, when the look and the aroma promised so much more.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Myrtle's Bunga Bunga Party
Reviewed by Jez on 08.07.13 on tap
Overall:
84 / 100
(Exceptional)
Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.

Pours a pale golden colour, quite hazed with a full, frothy cream of yellow white head. Body is decently weighted and holds fine carbonation. Lacing forms in streaky, intricate swathes. Looks good.

Big citrus characters on the nose mingled with sweet spices which give a powerful fruit cake aroma. Lemon sherbet comes through along with nutmeg, and the obvious lemon myrtle used in this beer's construction. It's all really beautifully balanced as well, meaning that while it's big, it's all really well integrated. Lovely aroma.

Quite a light, entry on the palate: smooth and dry, before the characters buoy up on the mid. Here there's stacks of orange peel, candied fruits and a rich spiciness. Back is smooth and clean but maintaining that persistent richness. Lovely stuff.

Feel is light and clean, and really quite creamy. Very pleasant.

Overall, this was great stuff. I loved how well the spices were used and how balanced and rich the beer was as a whole. One of my favourites from GABS.

appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
4 Pines Signature Relish Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 11.06.13 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Tried on-tap at the Builder's Arms in Fitzroy during GBW 2013. This was a beer inspired by the pub's "Gentlemen's Signature Relish", and somewhat reminiscent (they say) of HP sauce. It is brewed with a bunch of ingredients, including smoked malt, spices, prune and anchovy extract.

Pours a deep brandy hue: golden brown, but with solid hazing. Body is decently weighted. Head is an off-white colour, and forms a fluffy and relatively full cap to the beer. Looks good.

Nose is quite mild. Some sweetness, and a little vegetative note. Some buttery sweetness, and just a suggestion of pickle. It's all extremely light though, and also very vague. The characters don't really express themselves all that well.

Light vegetative entry as well, with a touch of estery banana sweetness. Some grainy malt comes through on the mid, along with a smoothness, but not much extra flavour. On the back there's a suggestion of smoke, and again it's quite smooth, but like on the nose, the characters just aren't interesting or prominent enough.

Feel is very smooth, though, which is quite pleasant, and pricked with a slight sparkle.

Some of 4 Pines beer-mimics-food beers in the past have been extraordinarily expressive of their genesis as food items. This is not one of these, unfortunately. There are certainly pleasant elements to it, but overall, it just feels a little wrong, and not in the (anchovy extract/HP sauce/pickle) way I hoped it would be wrong.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
4 Pines Keller Door Pumpernickel
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.05.13 from cask
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dark red-tinged brown with lovely creamy head, beige, just sitting stubbornly like a good hand-pulled head should. Lacing is gorgeous, too. What more can you expect from a hand pull except a great colour (which this also has)?

Smells lovely and grainy. Cereal notes with brown sugar, touch of carraway and sourdough. Or pumpernickel, I guess but that's on the nose a bit. Touch of sour toastiness and spice, largely sweet overall. Quite lovely.

Taste is quite toasty and fairly spicy with peppery notes, more of that carraway seed. Star anise notes on there as well and maybe a touch of espresso. Portery roast, bit of brown sugar and molasses late on the palate. Finishes a bit spicier than it needs to, and maybe a touch more roast than required as well. Nice though, good blend of characters.

Smooth as they come. Bit of texture from various flavours and sensations but just goes down nicely, like a hand-pulled beer should.

Not an everyday drinker, as the spice has a sharp edge to it, but nice and pleasantly grainy. Tastes almost healthy.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Taieri George
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dark brown colour. Head is dense, beige, nicely foamy, with some sticky lace left behind. Looks good.

Slightly sour smell, roasty and brown. Hint of star anise, pepper, lemon peel and chocolate. Yeah, fair amount of cocoa to it really. Sweet, spicy, somewhat heavy; quite nice.

Taste is fairly roasty, with lots of cocoa on there. Pecans as well, raisins and a touch of fig. Dry spice, with fennel, coffee and caramel coming through late. Finishes quite dry, though. Pleasant, and reasonably mild dark drop overall, with a nice spice edge.

Quite sizzly on the front. Decent texture but maybe lacking a bit in the body.

Nice brew. Drinkable enough in spite of its fairly rich flavours. Kind of Belgian edge, but mild enough to be quaffed.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Verte Du Mont Blanc
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
21 / 100
(Awful)
Pours...green. Vapid, artifical green. Head is white, lace is nice, but it's green. I don't want green as a gimmick, and there is no non-gimmick reason for it to be green that would make me interested. No, I do not like green beer, Sam I am.

Woah, holy Mary Mother of God (Get it? Catholic - Irish - green, ah fuhgeddaboutit) Was not actually expecting that. Massive, massive herbal aroma; nearly entirely rosemary, which let's face it is a smell I really like. Not in beer, but as a standalone aroma alright. Maybe a touch of thyme and maybe a hint of aniseed as well. Yeah, look I can't really advocate this smell in beer, but it doesn't make me turn and run. (unlike the colour)

Taste is... less good. Starts slightly lemony and sweet and just gains sweetness momentum like it's plummeting down an incline covered in syrup. Weird, artificial minty flavour on the back is really the only hint of those herbal notes on the nose. Actually a genuinely unsatisfying experience. Tastes underattenuated, watered down, no body to it at all, and just the weirdest herbal flavours are not a match. Pare back the sweetness and let more natural herbal flavourings in and you've got yourself a bizarre, but interesting, beer. With that sweetness what you've got here is a bizarre and bad beer.

I gave green beer a try, I do not like it, Sam I am.
appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | drinkability: 1.5
Spruced Up Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 22.12.12 on tap
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
Pours a light golden colour, with a hint of cloud through the body. Off-white head that doesn't stick around. Not a great-looking beer, to be honest.

Sweet nose, with mild hints of piney floral notes. Slight nutty edge to an otherwise fairly bland cereal grain nose.

Slightly mediciney on the palate, with mild hints of pine sprigs. Sweet overall with maybe too much malt. I was intrigued by the concept of this beer but I feel they just haven't managed to get the pine needle character through. Simple and quite bland.

Not a bad body, but there' no noticeable texture.

Bit disappointed with this. Would like more herbal, sprucey notes. Just doesn't really have much to it at all.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Dim Sum Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Oh, here we go. Mikkel with another of his experiments in a bottle. This one designed to pair well with Asian food.

Pours a rich, deep amber colour with steady bead feeding a very nice head, a few fingers thick with nice pockmarking on the top. Decent lace. Not sure about the colour for Asian food, but looks pretty nice anyway.

Smells quite tangy. Lot of lemongrass on there, developing an almost citric hop note. Plenty of nutty malt as well: quite a lot of toffee, peanut brittle, and a mild spice on the back. Not bad, but a bit sweet for my liking.

Taste is quite decent, but a bit bland. Starts malty and sweet with an increment of malty character: caramel, toffee and hints of peanut. Midway through it switches to spice, with mild lemongrass and just a tickle of peppery heat at the back. Quite a nice balance, achieved primarily by not going overboard with the flavours. Not bad.

A bit thin in the middle but on the edges, there's some body. Fairly smooth.

As for the question of how it matches with Asian food, well I drank this with a Thai curry and it was alright. It's complementary rather than contrasting or cutting, but yeah it's quite drinkable and not a bad pairing.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Spruced Up Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 27.05.12 on tap
Overall:
27 / 100
(Nasty)
On-tap at GABS. Apparently, this is a beer brewed using a recycled Christmas tree, including the bark, needles and tips. I say "apparently" for good reason...

Pours a moderately hazed pale gold colour with absolutely no head whatsoever. It looks completely uncarbonated and flat, and to be honest, pretty unappealing.

Aroma is extremely weak. Nothing at all besides a hint of old meat bone and perhaps a phantom hint of vegetation. Really, there's almost nothing to it at all.

Nothing on the front of the palate either. Only around the middle do you get a hint of dust, some grain husk and a wheedling sweetness like lemon sugar. Some dirty yeast on the finish, but it's pretty empty overall. Feel is smooth at least.

Really, this was nothing like what was described. I can't help but feel that they came up with the concept of the brew without knowing how it would turn out. I can only hope they're a bit embarrassed about it now.

appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Aku Aku Lemongrass Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.12 on tap
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Had on tap at the Pumphouse Sydney, months before I'm entering this review.

Pours a slight cloudy burnt-gold colour, steady bead throughout (it's been a while since I've seen so much fizz). Head is white, small bubbles, pleasant cloud on the top. Looks alright.

Smells very citric and floral. Not a lot of spice, though. Lots of lemongrass, touch of earthy twang and some sweet nectar notes as well. Very pleasant and refreshing, but needs more edge - it has a soft drink character to it, albeit pleasant and not overly sweet.

Taste begins again lemony, with that sweet citric flavour with a touch of acid on the side. Develops earthy, bitter spice notes with a real vegetative lemongrass edge midway, a little bit astringent and almost leathery at times. Good flavour construction - light and refreshing, but that edge that the nose was missing is well used, if a little bitter at times. Nice beer overall.

Bit fizzy as expected on the feel, quite a sizzle on the tongue but leaves cleanly.

Is this beer unhopped? If not, it's quite an amazing job. But if hops have been used then they're cleverly disguised, to allow the lemongrass to speak without overpowering.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew
Reviewed by Jez on 05.05.12 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle purchased for me by @epiclurk. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a pleasantly burnished orange-red colour, with a hazy wholeness to it. Some mild, filmy but fine lacing of pure white forms above the glass. Body actually looks pretty solid, which represents the beer overall: solid.

Nose is pleasantly sweet and gingery, in a (pardon the stereotype) very Asian kind of way. It has a pickled sweetness to the quality of the ginger, leaving it almost festive and boisterous. There's some slightly lively carbonic bite to it, but it's ok to ignore that and to consider just the unique ginger quality to the brew.

Similar sort of flavour to the Asian-style ginger. There's certainly some sweetness, and some husky spice to it, but it's almost as though the unusualness of the flavour protects you from the unexpected. It's as though the slightly curried or piquant ginger character caresses you and says "I know I'm not what you expect, but you could love me anyway".

Overall, an unexpectedly delicious, and certainly unusually caressing ginger-infused brew. There's something utterly unique about it, but also utterly disarming about it. Although almost everything about it is unexpected, you're happy to let it do what it needs to do. An unexpectedly pleasant experience.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Verte Du Mont Blanc
Reviewed by Jez on 02.03.12 in bottle
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
Purchased from Plonk in Canberra purely for the novelty value.

Pours, yes indeed, a bright, vivid and slightly disturbing green colour, with a very fine white head that settles out to nothingness. Some streaky lacing forms, and there's actually a pleasantly fine carbonation to it. Looks very interesting.

Nose is spicy and savoury, with odd herbal notes of sage and rosemary. It smells a little like a roast chicken. Faint clear green bite to it giving it a slight minty lift. Given the only other green beer I've had was made with green spirulina and smelled of garbage, this is a great improvement.

Taste is also similarly savoury, and indeed perhaps it's just the sage character and the touch of acidity, but the finish reminds me of juicy chicken stuffing. On the front it has a sweeter, more bubbly, frothy and soda-like tone to it, almost like an alcopop. This is certainly getting more towards offensive rather than just flippantly interesting, but that whimsy still makes you think hard about it.

Overall, yeah, it's not a good beer, but it's not a bad beer, and more importantly, it's interesting in a way that I've not seen before. That has to be worth something at least.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Shady Lady Rose Infused Premium Lager Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 04.01.12 in bottle
Overall:
0 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Some disclaimers: I won this beer, I did not pay for it. I was going to refuse it as a prize when it was pointed out to me that a) I could give most of the six pack to my brother as a joke present for Xmas and b) I'm compalled to review beers, good and bad, that come my way.

For those who don't know: this is a "rose-infused premium lager beer" designed "due to a lack of options for female beer drinkers". It comes packaged in a fishnet-stocking inspired bottle. Oh god, well, enough of the preamble. I'll have to put it to my lips some time.

As you may be able to tell, I have exceptionally low expectations for this beer, which are not helped by how it looks as it pours out of the glass: a very pale, very light and very insipid carbonated piss colour, with streams of carbonation that just make you think the urine is alive and mutating. Head is non-existent, even despite that bacterial carbonation in the glass. Really, it looks appallingly bad. So pale, so light, so insipid and painful.

The nose is... yep, it's fair to say cataclysmically awful. However, I will give it this: it is genuinely unique, giving a sweaty fermenting rose petal and cheap pot-pourri character, that smells like cheap perfume your grandmother bought in the 1930s, then forgot about, letting it rot and putrify in the bottom of her diseased (and deceased) cat's litterbox for 80 years. *Worse* though, is the fact that under the malingering rose character there are hints of the true crime in the beer: a horribly weak and bleak adjuncty corn and pale grain sweetness, suggesting an appalling base beer. Really, if I feel as though I could give points for uniqueness, I would... no, I really wouldn't.

The taste is very similar to the nose, although it's probably fair to say that here the base beer comes through more strongly (not that a beer this weak does anything "strongly"), giving a flat corn graininess, with a hint of sickly sweetness. All of this is lathered up like Jerry Sandusky preparing for his next encounter with that horrible rose/perfume/santorum aroma that forces a gag reflex even before you've swallowed it. It's brutal in its nonchalant disregard for taste, refinement or sophistication.

What else can be said? It's appallingly bad, in all respects: cynical marketing, offensive concept, and sickening execution. It has to be regarded as one of the most horrific beer experiments ever to be inflicted upon the Australian beer market.

appearance: 1.0 | aroma: 1.0 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 1.0 | drinkability: 1.0
Hollows Superior Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.11.11 in bottle
Overall:
9 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
"This is as bad as it gets" - @tobeerornottobe on serving me this beer blind.

It looks it. Pale champagne colour with no head at all and no lace. A swirl creates a mild flurry of bubbles, and there's a small trail of bead. Stagnant and limp beer. This pretty much looks as bad as it gets.

Smells of ginger and sugar. That's about it, yeah, it's just ginger ale, but very sweet with maybe a hint of carbonation acidity. I don't mind ginger ale as a soft drink, but if you're going to put alcohol in it you could try getting a more enjoyable fermentation flavour and try and cut down the residual sugar.

Taste hits you with a big, big sugary hit upfront, just glucosey with a very mild tang from the carbonation that doesn't offset the sweetness at all. The sweetness just keeps growing like the blob, developing a honey note on the finish and just some vague hints of ginger, but not even enough to call this a ginger beer. As I said, I'm actually quite a fan of ginger beer, the soft drink. This is worse.

Yeah, stagnant, watery, but an odd stickiness to it. This is where really fizzy carbonation can serve a purpose.

Look, yes, it's terrible. But it also challenges your preconceptions and takes beer to another dimension of possibility. Or, to put it another way, it doesn't, and I was lying, and it's just terrible.
appearance: 1.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 1.5 | drinkability: 1.5
Matso's Monsoonal Blonde
Reviewed by Jez on 09.11.11 in bottle
Overall:
27 / 100
(Nasty)
330ml bottle purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth.

Pours an extremely pale, golden yellow colour, with a fine ring of white foam. Some large bubbles persist in the centre of the glass, but they sit pretty static and still. Body is surprisingly solid, and hold some tight, fine carbonation. Eh. It's not too be, all things considered.

Nose is unpleasantly sweet, with big honey characters coming through, laced with something slightly spicy, but not particularly fragrant. It smells extremely underfermented, or something. Else, it has the lingering nuances of too much sugar in the boil. Unpleasant, really quite unpleasant.

Taste is marginally better, just because it's less intense. It still has the obscene sweetness, but the overt carbonation helps cut through this somewhat. There's still a sting of spice in the tail, but it's very subtle, and it doesn't really add much interest to the beer. Feel is light and slick, but it doesn't have much to work with.

More mediocre than anything. It's perhaps not actively offensive, but it's extremely dull. The characters it does have do err on the side of unpleasantness, however, meaning this is yet another Matso's beer I'm happy to confine to the pile of Do Not Want.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 1.5 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.5
Hollows Superior Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 04.11.11 in bottle
Overall:
17 / 100
(Awful)
"It only goes up from here" — @tobeerornottobe on serving me this beer blind.

Pours a slightly hazed yellow colour, with large-fizzy softdrink bubbles, and no hint of head whatsoever. It looks like sparkling white grape juice. Really, there's nothing to make this stand out or even seem reasonable.

Nose is sweet and gingery, giving a very soft-drink like aroma of
ginger ale. Some yeasty hints when it's swirled which give it a dirty, unrefined character. It's ginger beer, pure and simple, but not good.

Taste is worse than a softdrink would be, as it has a harsh bitterness on the back that probably comes from the gritty residual yeast characters. This leaves an earthy, chalky feeling on the back, along with an aftertaste that is distinctly unpalatable. For the rest of it, the sugary ginger drink is the main event, and it's resoundingly bland and uninspired.

Pretty bad ginger beer. Pedestrian an somewhat artificial tasting for the most part, and with some genuinely unpleasant characters to round it off. Not a fan.

appearance: 1.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | drinkability: 2.0
Baladin Nora
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dirty straw colour, plenty of cloud and hints of floaties. Head is nice: dense but large bubbles and retaining a modest crown. Lace is a bit disappointing, but otherwise nice.

Smell is fruity and fairly fresh. Plenty of packham pear, apple and a hint of banana, with a mild phenolic spice at the back, almost aniseedy actually. Needn't be there really, but the rest of the aroma is nice enough.

Taste is also pretty fruity most of the way through. Lots of pear juice, sundowner apple and a hint of banana. Slight vanilla sweetness late and a dry, mildly spicy finish with a touch of green peppercorn and a big pull from that continental yeast. Maybe some clove on there late and some nutmeg; golden syrup as well? But yeah, pleasant wheaty beer characters, nothing too special though.

The drying is all the way through the palate. The yeast just cuts through from page 1.

A pleasant, quite sweet beer, lots of wheat beer notes here. Most of the flavours here are really lifted from page one of "how to brew a wheat beer".
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Baladin Nora
Reviewed by Jez on 01.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)
Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a lovely bright yellow colour, but hazed with some disturbed yeast sediment. Head is fine and bubbly, and the whole thing has a very refined, champagne-like look to it. Very fine carbonation, and a lovely depth to the body, that sits with the light colour, again giving it that sophisticated character. Nice.

Nose is bright and peppery, with spicy fresh characters and a sharpness like cedar barrels. It's clean and fresh and very, very excitingly fragrant. It doesn't have a huge amount of complexity, but it's really hard not to like it for what it is.

Taste is a lot more subdued, but here it comes back to the crisp dryness and the sophistication that it looks like. Very little of that cedar character, but here the citrus peel comes through really pleasantly, and it zings off the crispness on the back palate. Very smooth and clean.

Exceptionally fresh and drinkable, and very, very refined. It reminds me in some ways of a Bière de Champagne. Certainly the dry finish and sophistication give it this character. The spices are so beautifully done. They complement the style and the flavour of the beer, and never seem like a gimmick. In fact, this beer almost makes you feel like this *is* how beer should be made.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.09.11 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a red-amber colour, mild pink tinge wit head that is off-white and mostly dissipated, with decent lace left behind. Looks OK.

Smells fruity and slightly earthy, with plenty of English toffee malt, baked apple, marshmallow and bubblegum sweetness on there. Some date/walnut notes as well. Bit too sweet but otherwise OK.

Taste starts out with that bubblegum sweetness but gets better. Still quite malty with banana bread notes throughout, plenty of nutmeg and slight ginger spice as well. Bit oversweet still with not much finish to speak of. It sort of doesn't quite go anywhere starts sweet, finishes sweet. Would have liked some more variety in the palate.

Thin but smooth, not overly carbonated.

Not a bad brew. Mostly malty with hints of interest here and there. I had thought that maybe it had simplified and diminished a bit with age but the bottle says still good for another year, so take that however you like.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
The Concoction
Reviewed by Jez on 05.08.11 on tap
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Lemon peel, ginger, wildflower honey and Italian lemon juice? Hey, I'm game, bring it on. Had on-tap at The Pony Bar in New York.

Pours darker than expected: a bronze, orange colour, with a fine film of white. Body is quite thick, although the carbonation is still rather coarse-bubbled. Almost no lace. Not bad.

Bitey and lemony on the nose, with crisp zest and slightly sour stomach acid notes. Rather fresh and clean, although this brings to mind something a bit medicinal like disinfectant. It's certainly odd, I'll give it that.

Light, resiny characters on the palate, with a touch of pine disinfectant and lemon sugar. Slightly buttery as well, which gives it a smoothness. Ends up, yeah, a bit medicinal, but rather slick as well. Finish is clean and surprisingly refreshing.

It's a weird beer, but surprisingly drinkable for all its insanity. It's still skewed and weird with every sip.

For what it's worth, this is one of the beers that really sticks out in my mind from my New York trip, and that has to be worth something.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hunter Ginger
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 14.07.11 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Had on tap at the brewery 09/07/11.

Pours a pale amber colour, clear and mostly still. Head is decent, with dense foam that dissipates before too long. Pretty boring.

Smells sweet and gingery. Nice ginger character though with spice and sweet gingerbread kind of notes. Kind of a lime touch to it as well, just a freshness that is quite welcome. Pretty decent ginger ale aroma, but could be less sweet.

Taste starts off very malty, with a sweet grain overlying a mostly watery body. Ginger comes through early mid with nice tangy spice, but never reaches any highs of actual spice piquancy. It's more of a tangy flavour really, which is quite nice, but I really wouldn't mind more ginger heat. To be honest I've had non-alcoholic ginger beers that have more exciting spice palates. This is still not too bad though, better than I expected.

Mostly thin body, quite smooth, bit of texture from the spice and not a lot else.

This is probably the best ginger beer I've had in Australia, but that's not saying much.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Fælled
Reviewed by Jez on 28.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Brewed with Honey and Elderflower and named for the Amagerfælled, a nature reserve outside Copenhagen.

Pours a very bright and perfectly clear golden colour, initially with a brutally fizzy and aerated head of white. This settles down to a centimetre or so of froth, but the carbonation is rampant, meaning that the head is continuously fed. Looks bright and vibrant, at least, but the carbonation is verging on comical.

Nose is musty and touched with green organics. A little clipped grass and a slight Belgian-style spice. Aromas of dried beans and raw cotton. All very rustic, but pleasant.

Taste is smooth and light, again, rather reminiscent of a light-bodied Belgian Pale. Light crisp entry, with a touch of estery Belgian yeast. Finish is dry and a little grassy. Very light bodied, but the carbonation isn't nearly as bloating or insistent as I thought it would be.

It's a very decent brew, but a subtle one. It's actually very light and not all that complex, but it's incredibly smooth and crisp. It has enough flavour to keep you interested, but not so much that they could hide flaws beneath it.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Easter Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst

Pours a deep golden colour. Very clear in the body, with a fine collar of white, not a huge amount of head proper. Decent body. Forms an edging of lace. Fine carbonation. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is spicy, but freshly so and rather light. I expected something thicker and heavier. Indeed, there's not a lot of sweetness or fruit at all. The basis is rather bready, with a hint of something syrupy, if not genuinely sweet—maybe fresh raw honey. It seems to capture an easter bun rather well.

Taste is definitely spicy, and there's not a lot of sweetness here at all; it's more like a raw bit of aniseed, spicy cinnamon and lots of pepper. Almost a touch of eucalyptus to it, making it biting and bracing. It's more refreshing and less wholesome and warming than I expected.

Feel is light, but it matches nicely with the spicy and light flavours.

A decent beer, and more importantly, an interesting beer. Spices are light, but the beer as a whole is light as well, so it matches together rather pleasantly.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Easter Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a shiny ruby colour, slightly paler around the edges. Head is dense but sunken to a film; slight brown tinge and nice clingy lace. Looks pretty good.

Ooh, nice hot cross bun smell. Lots of cinnamon with a sultana and raising character as well. Sweet but spicy and a slight touch of sour. Not quite as potent as it could be but it spot-on smells like an Easter bakery.

Taste is quite rich and a bit tart. Almost chocolatey at times but a slight undercooked dough flavour which sounds unpleasant but isn't. It's given a helping hand by the spice which is not quite there in any intense texture but certainly abounds in the flavour: mostly cinnamon with mild clove and nutmeg as well. Dried fruit is apparent at the back, rich, slightly sweet and a bit earthy and dark. It's a bit on the sour side for me, not sure if I could drink too much of this. But then, I'm not such a big fan of hot cross buns either and I think this pretty much has that flavour bang-on.

Decent body to it, but feels a bit empty and thin towards the back, without much texture.

Yeah, I don't know if this beer is entirely to my taste. I really loved the pumpkin ale and I feel that this kind of lacks the sweetness of that and errs more on the side of dried fruit which I find a bit rich for my palate. This is certainly wonderfully suited to the sales pitch and so lots of kudos for that but I can't say it'll become a beloved fixture for me on the Murray's drinking circuit.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Chestnut Pilsner
Reviewed by Jez on 02.04.11 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
A Galaxy-hopped pilsner brewed with chestnuts. Ever since I heard of this beer, I've been keen to try it, but somehow fate always stood in my way. Today I found it at Beer Cartel's new Porters-branded store in Artarmon, and gave it a go.

Pours a very odd colour, a slightly hazed golden, imbued with a slight greenish-pinkish tinge, perhaps like ripe pears. Head is speckled and loose, just a film of white leaving distinct rivulets of lace down the glass. Looks interesting, at the very least.

Nose is quite mild, with some faint apple-cider characters coming through above a yeasty base. Not a lot of Galaxy to this, not a lot of much. Just that yeasty character and a very mild acidity. Not particularly exciting.

Taste is very much along similar lines--slight yeasty notes, with a metallic twang on the back that may or may not be a faint hope of hops. To be fair, this cleanses the back palate nicely, and gives the crispness required of a pilsener. But there are no really interesting or complex flavours here, not a true clean pils palate. It's all a bit disappointing.

Not bad, but this should have been so much better and more exciting from a great brewery like Bridge Road.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Fanny Gertrude's ANZAC Bickie Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 03.03.11 on tap
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of the GABS.

Pours a clear golden colour, with almost no head whatsoever--just a gauzey collar of film. Little lacing. Looks decent enough, but still pretty average.

Nose is weirdly chemically, with a sweetness that combines to make it smell like artificial caramel sundae sauce. Thick and sweet, but weirdly bland as well.

Taste is similar. Caramel topping comes through but with a weird sweet astringency like butterscotch schnapps. Some burnt toffee, but it's the only complexity to it. Very light body, and a beer like this needs a lot to back it up. This just doesn't cut it.

It's drinkable, and not unpleasant. It just could have been so much better.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Chestnut Pilsner
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a pale straw colour, slight champagney tinge to it. Head is a modest white, sunken film of small bubbles. Lace is decent, sticky. Large carbonation bubbles steadily progressing up the glass. Yeah looks alright.

Smells very grainy, and quite sweet. Lots of white bread grain with honey and yeah notable chestnut aroma adding a rounded edge, but still very sweet. Could use more bitterness, but I do like the nutty edge on the back.

Taste is nice and nutty for the most part. Starts sweet, with grain notes and a touch of yeast. Develops earthy nut notes, with chestnut characters on the mid. A slight lagery fuzz flavour comes through, providing bitterness that matches the nutty finish surprisingly well. Felt this could potentially be too sweet from the nose, but palate is quite well handled. Decent balance and nutty bitter notes work very well together. Quite refreshing too.

Mouthfeel is a bit full really. Bit of carbonation, but more wouldn't go amiss to cut through a bit more.

Yeah, quite a tasty drop, and a pleasant surprise. The risky elements are handled with a deft enough touch to make this clean and drinkable.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Edelweiss Weissbier Snowfresh
Reviewed by Jez on 14.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)

Pours hazy and pale yellow, much like a witbier in the body, with a good deal of large-bubbled carbonation through the centre. Despite this, it does not sustain much of a head, fizzing up as it does like soda, and then only sticking around as the faintest of rings around the edge. Body looks fine, everything else is disappointing.

Nose is also reminiscent of a wit, with some key differences. Orange notes are minimal, despite the slight wheaty acidity coming off it, and there's a herbal sweetness more than a zesty spice. Otherwise, there's a lot of fragrance, quite floral and sweet.

Taste is also very sweet, with rosewater and jasmine characters coming forward here, and the mild acidity clearing out the back. Flavours are supported by a long vanilla malty character that stays until the end. Carbonation is vigorous but fine bubbled, and it doesn't attack the palate to the degradation of the herbal, floral flavours.

A very interesting beer, with some quite unique flavours. Everything is surprisingly well balanced, and once again I'm reminded of the fact that it's merely tradition that suggests a witbier should be made with orange peel and coriander. Whatever's in here is a fine alternative.

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Taiphoon
Reviewed by Jez on 04.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
44 / 100
(Not Great)

Pours a very pale yellow colour, exceptionally clear, almost to the point that it is colourless. Head is initially extremely firm and boisterous, but it collapses like weak meringue to a sudsy foam on the top. Lots of carbonation. Very vibrant looking beer at least.

Quite a lagery nose, very euro on first impression. Maybe a hint of lemongrass, but there's certainly something more earthy, unpleasant and generic about it as well. It's like pulling up a bunch of lemon grass by the roots and sniffing the root end. Pretty bland overall.

Taste is similar, although the grass overtakes the lemongrass, leaving a rigid organic note smack bang in the middle of my tongue. Very light otherwise, quite a thin palate, feeling spritzy and empty. Mouthfeel is particularly weak.

There's very little to this beer -- it ends up weak and pretty drab. I'm certainly not a big fan.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.5
L'Affriolante
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.08.10 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a burnished bronze colour, head that is pale white, decent but sinks to leave virtually nothing. Lacing is thin, unimpressive. Nice colour, but otherwise pretty unimpressive.

Nose is sweet. A lot of redgum-style honey to it, sweet but with a nice tart edge. Very floral, with light sweet berry character and apple notes on there as well. Some nice clove character at the back all underlined with some cakey malt. Yeah, a nicely constructed sweet aroma.

Taste is a bit bland. Meak honey with slight rose notes, hints of English toffee and lots of malty notes throughout the palate. Caramel malt underlies it all. Nos pice though, and palate pretty much drops off midway, leaving a weakly sweet finish. Not particularly nice and certainly not impressive.

Fairly viscous feel, decent body but kind of sticky without much texture.

The beer is weak enough to drink - and I guess kudos for smoothing out a 7% ABV beer - but not enough to enjoy.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Crop Circle
Reviewed by Jez on 21.08.10 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)

Pours an extremely pale golden wheat colour, with a voluminous and explosive head of crackling, large-bubbled white foam. Carbonation is extremely vigorous, streaming up the glass in massive geysers of frantic bubbling. Perhaps just too crazy all up.

Extremely citric on the nose, with big whiffs of acidic wheat, carbonic acid, dusty crushed coriander-seed and a decent dollop of detergent. It's powerful, but it's also pretty ragged.

Taste is better, perhaps because it loses some of the acidic notes, and gains a more restrained grain character. Finish is surprisingly bitter, giving green hops notes and a rustic twang of cut lucerne. Pretty clear and drinkable flavour-wise, although the carbonation leaves it bloating and overly aggressive on the palate.

Drinkable enough, but the carbonation is way overblown - it was the most dominant character throughout the experience, and severely detracted from my enjoyment of the beer overall.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Rosée D'hibiscus
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.08.10 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Looks like watered-down tomato juice. Bizarre pink colour with opaque haze throughout it, very light/no head, small, small trails of lace. Looks interesting enough not to hate it, but seriously, weird.

Smell is very pleasant. Tingly, tangy and zesty, with a huge sherbet character and nice berry notes as well giving fresh fruit. Reminds me of pink lady apples and that 'purple' candy smell. But mostly sherbet. Not sure how beer-like it is, but at least it's pleasant.

Taste is richer, with a large tomato boldness cutting through the middle. Has a lot of that tartaric zip on the front, then gets bold and slightly bitter on the mid, slight sourness and quite a woody character. Some citrus zest on the back and definitely a sweet nectar syrup. Fascinating drop, really, good grainy undertones but a very unique floral flavour dominates.

Feels quite thick, adds to that nectar undertone. But goes down pretty easily with just a slight prickle at the back.

Kudos for trying something different. This one is for the open-minded but thankfully it's really quite palatable. More like soft drink or fruit juice than beer but enjoyable in its way.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Rosée D'hibiscus
Reviewed by Jez on 17.08.10 on tap
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Had on tap at The Local Taphouse in Sydney, as part of their Canadian Beer SpecTapular.

Very pink, salmon coloured body, with a filmy head of pale pink bubbles. Light in the body, but you expect that. I like that the colour at least doesn't look so much like artificial pink food colouring.

Very sweet on the nose, with odd fragrant wood notes and a light spiciness. Hints of rosewater and lemon that give a really pleasant deep sweetness. It's actually extremely pleasant -- I have to say they've got a good concoction of flavours here.

Taste is also really good. More rosewater, and a light herbaceous character. I guess that's what the hibiscus imparts. Notes of pear become prominent after a while, very fresh sweet and refined. My guess is that it's just the combinations of other esters which release that flavour, but it's really quite lovely.

Very, very drinkable and refreshing, and quite surprisingly well integrated. It feels like the sort of flavours that should always have been infused into beer.

For the record, I had an argument with another guy at the SpecTapular about whether this was "really beer". I said that we've accepted things like orange and coriander spiced witbiers, so why not this? I believe this is much of the same ilk, that the combination of flavours works as a beer - and much different from some other sugary fruit-or-spice infused beers.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
L'Affriolante
Reviewed by Jez on 16.08.10 on tap
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse SpecTapular.

Pours an orange amber colour, quite clear, with a reasonable thick head of white foam - surprisingly light. Some carbonation making its way through the body. The head gets a little filmy after a while, and doesn't leave much lacing. OK though.

Lots of spice on the nose, which clove coming through quite stridently. Surprisingly, there's a hint of fresh resin to go with it. All up, it's pretty light on, however.

Taste takes the thinness and runs with it; depressingly thin. Some phenols and a light sweet honey/malt character, but little else. There's maybe a hint of roasted grain on the back, but not much. I've had far better tasting beers, especially spiced ones.

Drinkable enough, and quite approachable for a beer that clocks in at 7% alcohol. But there's not a lot to it, and flavourwise it's a let down, especially for a beer that is supposedly spiced.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Midas Touch Golden Elixir
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.05.10 in bottle
Overall:
35 / 100
(Nasty)
Pours a nice glowing orange colour (glowing in terms of light refraction). Head was alright, off-white but now gone, leaving a mild cloud on the top and a ring of creamy lace. Slight haze in the body, makes for a pretty good-looking beer, lacking in places.

Nose is incredibly sweet and phenolic. Big whiff of orange marmalade with a hint of bubblegum, some vanilla, crème Anglaise but also a hint of fusel alcohol, which ties the whole thing up in a slightly messy pungency, sweet and strong.

Taste is quite spicy, very sweet. Lots of fruit - rotting fruit even - with orange, banana and pawpaw vying for supremacy. Gets spicy and phenolic midway with muchos black pepper character, a hint of clove, coriander and some mild ethyl alcohol that comes through late giving a noticeable liqueury strength and sweetness on the back. Feels very heavy on the back palate with the sweetness giving way unkindly to the distinct alcohol, tipping the balance and pointing out that there are a lot of flavour shortcomings here. Needs more on the front and less on the back.

Has a stickiness in the mouth reminiscent of a good late harvest botrytis but a lot thinner, and the viscosity adds a lot to the heaviness experienced on the late palate.

Not outright offensive but smacks of unbalance, and overexuberance matched by lack of finesse.

Drinking this beer makes me finally understand why Dogfish Head so frequently polarises people. I appreciate their passion and their esoteric love of all the wonders of beer, but uniqueness doesn't make this a great beer, or even a good beer. God bless them, but frankly if I were given the choice between this and a Corona... well, hmmm... It might make me think about the choice, let's just say that.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.0
Midas Touch Golden Elixir
Reviewed by Jez on 11.05.10 in bottle
Overall:
54 / 100
(OK)

Pours a slightly hazy bold golden colour, with only minimal head provoked through a reasonably aggressive pour. Head disintegrates rather quickly, leaving on a film around the top. Lacing is ok. Overall, not a great looker, but pleasant enough.

Big slightly wine-like booze notes on the nose. Musty phenols, rather similar to a kellerbier, and a little spice, but nothing like the odd fragrances I was expecting. Rather more like a wine-filled cellar - the mustiness suggests age at least.

More strident alcohol notes on the palate. Sharp, somewhat astringent heat through the centre of the palate, and a lifting slightly herbal fragrance on the back, evoking rosemary and carob. Almost a fortified wine character to it though which makes up the bulk of the flavour, hot, heavy and slightly acidic. Mouthfeel is sharp with booze, with a light tingle from the acidity.

I can't say I'm a big fan of this. The wine notes are prominent, but there's not a huge amount of interest otherwise, and it feels as though it is far too alcoholic. An interesting experiment perhaps from Dogfish Head, but not one that I'd care to experiment with again.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Iki Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.02.10 in bottle
Overall:
48 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a pale yellow, slightly green-tinged colour with a healthy haze in the body. Head is white in colour and decent size, but sinks pretty steadily to leave a line of foam on the top. Lace is fairly decent, very sticky and pale. Looks quite good, really.

Nose is fairly sour, a fair amount of malt with hints of grain husks, some champagne tartness and a very mild funk character on the back. Slight notes of honey and some adjuncts come through with a sweet bready unpleasantness, but not too much for ruination. A bit confused, but not unpleasant overall.

Taste is an odd one. Large sweetness on the front with a hint of musk and a fair amount of honeyed grain. Some slight citric hints and I guess some vinous notes help the tartness onto the mid, then a quite odd bitterness hits, very herbal and quite organic with some subdued hints of green tea and peppermint, without the spice. A bit of a buttery texture overall is odd for the style, and the finish is a dull, fairly watery bitterness with no real bite or character. Unique overall but definitely lacking substance.

A bit thick and also chewy on the mouthfeel, but lacks body, and just texture in general. A bit flat.

Not too bad overall, but it wouldn't be my beer of choice. Neither flavoursome nor refreshing enough.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 2.5
Juniper Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 04.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a pleasant bright gold colour, with a filmy head of very fine creamy white foam. Lacing is excellent, even though the head dissipates after a while. Lots of streaming carbonation looks a little out of place given the rather strong body.

Decent citrus and spice on the nose, a lot of grain notes, a little bready but quite full and flavoursome. It doesn't have a really fragrant floral nose, and the characters are a little odd, but it's pretty nice overall.

Taste is also a little odd. A little grain sweetness on the front before a little floral note mid palate. Then the bitterness turns up right on the back and quite full, in quite an unusual position. It's a little unnerving - I take it it's probably the juniper addition here. Mouthfeel is round and pleasant, despite the carbonation, it's pretty smooth. I like it.

Yeah, an odd little beer, but a pleasant enough one. It just jolts me in odd directions, so it keeps my interest, while challenging me at the same time.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Ginja
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 03.12.09 on tap
Overall:
16 / 100
(Awful)
Had on tap at the hotel as the last in a sample paddle.

Pours a pale apricot colour with steady bead, not much head though. Slight cloud in the brew with no lace. Looks fizzy, and pretty boring.

Ooh yeah, intense ginger on the nose, lots of spice character. Slight citric twang but mostly lots and lots of ginger. That's...about it. Delivers what it promises though, and delivers well.

Taste is insanely sweet. Oh my dear God of treacle-coated corn syrup, horrible. Candied ginger and mega sugar all over that. It tastes like ginger ale, with lots of sucrose added. But basically, sweet with traces of ginger at the back. This is completely disgusting and nothing like beer should be. A travesty.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and thick with no tingle, just very viscous. Needs more texture, I guess because there aren't a lot of ingredients here.

Admittedly this is probably brewed with a 'dessert beer' style in mind, but my problem with it is twofold - one, it's horribly oversweet. Two, and this is the unforgivable point, I like to think that I can objectively review a beer I dislike by looking at the craft behind making it. But I find none in this brew. It seems to me that to construct a beer like this, you put a relatively large amount of malt into water for a short boil, and add ginger. It's so simple, and that I can't respect.

If I were at home this would definitely be a drainpour. Here it's take a few sips and leave it on the table. Such a disappointing effort from an otherwise excellent brewery, and a terrible way to end the paddle.
appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 1.0
The Ranga
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.12.09 on tap
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
Pours a pale straw colour - not very Ranga anyway. Head made up of small bubbles, white and impressively thick, leaves small lacing dots behind, but not much. Nice opaque cloudy body, with slow bead. Looks like a good hefeweizen. It's not a hefeweizen though, hmmm....

Nose, yeah lots of ginger on that with a goose dose of lemon. Actually smells remarkably like my mother's coconut, ginger and lemon slice. I know that's a reference everybody will get. But trust me, my mother's slice is tasty. Very biscuity malt behind it, with some buttery hints, but all topped by that pleasantly sweet ginger-lemon aroma. Pleasant, delivers what it promises.

Taste is not bad, starts tangy with hints of pale malt and a slight lemon zest. Mid becomes slightly weak and watery, just mildly sour from the lemon, before the ginger comes through at the back with a light zing, then re-emerges on the aftertaste with a bit of dry spice, distinct ginger melds with malt for a kind of gingerbread flavour. A bit simple overall, pretty much what I expected but little more.

Mouthfeel is quite full for the ABV, with good texture from the spice and fruit infusion. It's still a bit thin but doesn't disappoint, I guess because the flavours are sufficient to carry it.

Decent for what it is.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Cinnamon Girl
Reviewed by Jez on 12.09.09 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

Very odd, murky mud-brown colour, very much like melted chocolate mixed with the bottom of a pond, crowned with an exorbitantly excessive chunky beige head. Quite opaque in the body, but some light gets in revealing the beer's true colour. A very unusual and unique looking beer.

Huge spicy notes on the nose - lots of cinnamon, sugar, a little piquant clove and a sweet vanilla bean note all rolled into one. Smells like a baked cinnamon scroll, very sweet and spicy.

Also lots of spice on the palate, with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel that reminds me of vanilla custard. Fair bit of cinnamon still, a mid-palate burst of something slightly bitter - reminds me a little of anise and wormwood, before the silky vanilla character, and dry cinnamon spice make a reprise on the back, cleaning up, and readying my palate for the next sip. Very good indeed.

A very pleasant and extremely enjoyable spiced ale. The spice is very well done - very pleasant, not over the top, and just lending character to the beer, which accepts the lift of the spice well. Very smooth and drinkable.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Cinnamon Girl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.09.09 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a very cloudy dusky brown with slight yellow tinge. Beige head is very voluminous, sinks like a fluffy cloud, quite large, visible bubbles. Leaves specks of lacing. Looks pretty darned nice, I'm just not sure about that much head on this style of beer.

Nose is quite pleasant, sour with a definite cinnamon hit on that, quite sweet but with an organic, funky spice character to it as well, almost meaty in places to be honest, but yeah, mostly a sweet, brown sugar undertone with cinnamon spice overlaying it. Delivers what it promises, and more. A lot more nuance that I expected.

Taste is reasonable sour, with a meaty and smokey hint around the edges, subtle though. Palate has a lot of sweetness to it, with hints of some plum and maybe some blood orange or other citrus. Cinnamon is a little more subdued here, comes on as a brief flavour on the mid and then resurfaces on the finish, after a slight bite of - I think - English style hops.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin although you can feel the sediment particles throughout. Not bad but not great.

A good idea for a beer this, because the slightly sweet, organic spice of cinnamon is a very good flavour pair with the bitter hops and the caramelly malt. They've handled it well here as well, without going overboard. Nice flavours, nice balance.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Hemp Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 08.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)

"Made with real cannabis seeds mixed in the mash"? I figured it might be a smarter idea to drink this here in the states than try to import it back into Australia...

Pours a dark ruddy amber colour, with only a tiny little film of off-white bubbles. No lacing, and the body looks particularly thin. Can't say it's a terribly good looking beer.

Light copper bitterness on the nose, a little bit of roasted sweetness, but it's all very light on, and there's not a great deal of character to it. Not a bad nose, but it's pretty tame.

Some initial sweetness, and a slight carbonic tartness, which is washed away by a late roasted bitterness, and a coppery finish. Mouthfeel is indeed excessively thin, leaving a slight tingle of carbonation, but otherwise going down like iced water. It's not a bad palate, overall, mildly uninteresting, but a stylistically decent Amber ale.

Something tells me this beer does better than it would do otherwise because of its name and its gimmick. There's certainly no noticeable impact from its supposed adjuncts, and while it's not an unpleasant brew to drink, it's certainly quite dull.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.05.09 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a deep red amber colour with minimal off-white head, thins out with a whimper into a void of nothingness within about half a minute. A few stray bubbles of carbonation attack the surface in an attempt to reform the head, but they look like Anglo-Saxon peasant children with one arm missing trying to fend off a Viking hoard with a wooden spoon. Specks of lacing dot the glass here and there but nothing to stimulate the mind. A bit lacklustre and thin, really.

Smells rich and sweet and goes a long way to dispelling my initial misgivings about this beer. A lot of malt with a dark toffee sweetness, slight hint of vanilla and espresso. A treacle-esque nose, really, grounded though with a deep, almost smokey soil character. Very appealing and outlandish. Tempts and interests me.

An interesting taste, in a word. Well constructed palate, with little hints on the front growing louder into a pleasant sweet and nutty crescendo finish. There are distinct notes of some dark toffee and a crisp hazelnut character, not cloying at all but clipped and trim with a rich roastiness underlying the flavours. A very slight lingering coda of very mild bitterness just cleans off the palate beautifully, but apart from that there is very little in the way of hops. This is not a bad thing, it's as though the brewer has eschewed hops in favour of other herbacious goodies that work differently, but still effectively, to ground the malt.

I've had my doubts about Barons after trying most of their beers (including panning this very brew at the Australian Beer Festival a couple of years ago), but this is an inventive and very competently brewed beer. What's more, the description on the label - unlike so many perjurous, unconscionable beer marketers lately - has it spot on: hazelnut, chocolate and mocha on a base malt of toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel here is a bit thin, it can't be denied, and there is no carbonation. At the same time though, I think a thick, full feel would make this a horrible sticky kind of beer, whereas instead it has the sweet, toffee flavours but it goes down like a very mild English ale. You surprise me, Barons. A tasty, interesting beer, thoroughly drinkable. 5.8% you may be but you're as suitable for sessioning as they come.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 02.10.06 on tap
Overall:
31 / 100
(Nasty)

Tried on tap at the Australian Beer Festival, Sydney, 1st October 2006...

Dark amber coloured body. Minimal head.

Almost nothing to detect on the nose. A little bit of sweetness, but not very much.

Taste is very flat, and just a little sweet. Very little flavour at all, apart from the light maltiness. Supposedly flavoured with wattleseed. Well, I don't know what wattleseed tastes like, but my guess is it's pretty damn flavourless.

This strikes me as a pretty gimmicky beer, and very little more.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.5