69 / 100
330ml can purchased from Slowbeer by my brother, given to me for Xmas 2019.
Pours a very hazy but bright mango yellow-orange colour, with a fine rim of persistent white bubbles forming the head. Some minor streaks of lace, but otherwise it sits in the glass looking like juice. Minimal carbonation. Looks like it has more weight than you expect for 3.2%, but there may just be loads of juice left post-ferment.
Nose is almost purely guava juice. That's certainly pretty sweet, happy and enjoyable, but it's also lacking subtlety and complexity. No, maybe there's a bit of passionfruit as well, giving almost a dank post ferment aroma to it.
Taste makes me like it a bit more, because it's lighter and spritzier than just drinking pure tropical juice. As a result, although the aromatics are still there from the nose, it feels more like beer and less like carbonated fruit juice. Clean back palate leans into a note of soda and very faint light malt. In the end it feels like beer, but it's a close thing.
Overall, yeah, honestly, it's a drinkable brew, and if it's cheap I would well love to drink this at, say, the cricket, when anything over 3.5% is banned. But I suspect that the amount of juice and other adjuncts the add to this makes this quite expensive. Given I didn't pay for this myself, I'm very happy to drink it. (Turns out, it's $5 a can, which is perfectly reasonable—maybe I will keep this in mind going forward)
33cl brown bottle purchased for by Sam for Christmas. Probably from Slowbeer.
Pours a very faintly pink-tinged amber, with an initially fizzy head that disappears within seconds. Body is light and thin, with very low carbonation. I'm not impressed, to be honest.
Nose is, I guess, much what you'd expect from the description. It has a kind of cidery note as its basis though, which is somewhat disappointing. There's definitely cherry notes though, and a distinct tartness that has tannic, vinous qualities. Not bad.
Taste is a bit thinner. There is a tartness, but not the structured complexity you get from the best sours. It starts out with some fruit, but devolves into a metallic bite towards the back. There's certainly a linger, with a tart, tartaric quality—it's sour, but also chemical.
Overall, I'm not much of a fan. It's rather unbalanced, and while it is sour, and it does have cherry character—it's just not a very good beer. I guess it delivers what it promises, but no more than ticking the boxes.
60 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas 2017, shared with him and Father a few days later.
Pours a purply reddish colour; yeah the colours of blueberries in solution. Head has a slight purplish tinge to it as well but sunk to just a thin rim of bubbles. Lacing is fine. Looks interesting but not really inspired.
Smells weird. Very fruity and sweet with a big vanilla character, some buttery caramel as well as some berry sweetness - blueberries for sure, some cinnamon is big as well, and some mild cherry character. Smells very intriguing, with a good icecream character, fruit. Bit too sweet but does what it promises.
Tastes yeah a little weird. Has many of the same sweet characters underlying, with a creamy and vanilla malt character, touch of diacetyl but not harming the beer. The fruit over the top - predominantly blueberry, maybe some strawberry tartness as well - is actually quite acidic with a hint of infection. Doesn't last though and the finish is all sweetness, which cleans up that potentially unpleasant sourness but doesn't really all mesh together, and I feel the smell had a nice bouquet but the palate feels a bit disjointed and flawed in parts.
Mouthfeel is decently bold; a little bittiness on the back, but a good body otherwise.
Drinks weird, and the tartness midway is a bit off-putting and a bit too intense. The rest of the palate has a nice character and if it could have dominated it could be a pretty decent beer.
77 / 100
Strange, squat 330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a very pale straw golden colour, with a evanescent head of white that merely becomes a kind of bubbly ring. Carbonation is persistent though, forming in large, languid bubbled that work slowly towards the surface. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very pleasant indeed, with a pronounced, almost fake punch of mango aromatics. They're fresh and bright, but more strongly tied to a slight vinous acidity, which gives a lovely character of sauvignon blanc. It's actually a really nice combination. And while that's kind of it, I love the combination.
Taste is also extremely good. It's not excessively tart, but it brings that sauvignon blanc acidity to the fore again, this time deepening it with characters of grass and green capsicum. The mango is still present too—it doesn't have the same sweetness to really complete the illusion, but the fragrance reverberates around the back palate, adding an unusual depth to the palate. Yeah, I like it.
Feel is very light, and perhaps slightly too frothy with carbonation. It doesn't properly connect it to the acidity, which would be a nice way for it to go.
Drinkable and fresh, with some really quite lovely mango characters. It's a very nice beer, that genuinely does something unusual. Nicely done.
45 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer. Shared with me by Sam.
Pours a dark raspberry colour, with a pale, purplish head of coarse bubbles that effervesce into nothing. Carbonation gives up quickly too. Looks decent enough in colour, but the rest is a bit lacklustre.
Nose is distinctly odd. It smells like chocolate mud cake batter, with a dark acidity which you could just peripherally believe is blueberries. It's also buttery and fatty. Plenty of vanilla around the place too, but always with a weird lactic acidity. Hmm.
Taste is similar. There's a strong acidity here, which is quite strongly tied to the blueberry. This provides a discord to the base notes of chocolate and cream. There's also a weird, peppery lemon character on the back, which almost has tannic qualities. Feel is slick, but tartly cutting.
Overall, I'm not a fan. It's weirdly disconnected. The acidity and the creaminess are not a good match-it just ends up tasting infected. In the end, it feels like a cacophony of different things that don't actually provide any synthesis.
62 / 100
Pours a rich golden amber colour, with steady bead feeding a nice foamy head. Sinks unevenly with a dense pilllow on the top surrounded by small bubbles. Lace is decent but sparse. Looks good.
Smells good too. Citric, with plenty of grapefruit rindiness and some mandarin tang. Some sweet caramel malt underlying w a hint of vanilla. Simple, but unpretentious and pleasant.
Taste is similar; really quite bitter though early on. Some light malt sweetness before the fruity hops take over, with lemon and grapefruit pith, and a slight metallic flavour towards the back as the tangy fruit and the hop oils blend with some yeasty dryness that just muddies the fruity esters a bit. Again it's quite simple and predictable but this time also just a bit overdone in parts.
Foamy feel with a bit of bite on the back. Maybe a touch hot?
Nice enough example of the style. Drinks fine but doesn't offer anything really interesting.
41 / 100
Day 10 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar 2017. If you're following these sequentially, day 9 doesn't exist here because it's a previously reviewed beer. Reviewed this blind.
Pours a mildly hazy pale gold colour, with lacklustre white head. Decent but fizzes out quite quickly. Little trails of lacing stick to the glass. Bit of a confused mid-point colour, and pretty meh otherwise.
Smells tangy and fruity. Sweet citrus aroma, with lemon squash and a touch of lime. Yeah really not much else. No real malt character, it's mostly just soft drink. Not unpleasant, but not impressive as beer, really.
Tastes ummm, similar. Has Jez given me a fucking hard lemonade? There's very little beery presence here. Taste is bitter, like quinine with lemon zest, slightly medicinal. Has some mandarin character on there with lemon and lime and very little else. Finishes mildly tart and hence quite refreshing, but very little on the profile that screams beer. If it is beer, it's uninspiring even if it's meant to resemble something else. I'm always impressed when beer tastes like something else, but far more impressed when it can do that and still be noticeably beer. This definitely doesn't do the latter, no it don't be.
Mouthfeel doesn't help. Thin, and fizzy, and not really seeming like wort, or a solution of anything, more a miscegenation of liquids.
Yeah what have you done to me? It's thin, weird and fruity. I could maybe stretch my imagination to believe it's a bad Berliner, but bad Berliners are generally overly yeasty, and that's a character I'd welcome here as a friendly reminder that it is, in fact, fermented, and I'm kind of doubting this is. It's refreshing enough, though.
Pilsener, brewed with blood orange. Comes in a pint can, which I purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a coppery golden colour, very clear with a puffy, voluminous head of off-white that leaves clumps of lace. Carbonation is coarse and swift. Body is very lightweight. Looks decent enough.
Nose is quite pleasant, with a definite citrus character coming through nicely. It's fairly broad, with a sweet, stewed orange character the dominant aroma. But there is a crispness as well, with a pleasantly sharp zing that's almost metallic. It's pretty good.
Taste is clean and crisp, but it noticeably detracts from the scope and complexity of the palate. There are some more fragrant orange citrus notes around the edges, but also a more direct and simple bitterness that drives through the centre. There's also a noticeable sharp grain character—maybe the pilsener grains of the base beer. It's all sharp—it works, but I kind of feel it's not the best thing you could have done with these ingredients.
Feel is bright, clean and dry.
Overall: it's a pretty decent, drinkable beer. There's pleasant elements to it, and the crispness of the lager takes it in a different direction than you often get with this style of beer. But it's limited by what it is—that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it feel that there's untapped potential to it.
61 / 100
A dark sour coffee beer with currants, brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne in a sampler.
Pours a dark brown colour, clear body with a nice foamy beige head that doesn't stick around. Looks alright.
Smells coffee, sweet, roasty. A little like an Asian milk coffee - noticeable coffee roast but dominated by sweet and light characters. Alright.
Tastes similar, like those Asian coffee lollies you used to get. The Kopiko things, like that espresso roast but also big sweetness. At least upfront; towards the mid and late it's tart and citric, with a slightly vinous note as well. Not sure about the blend, but the elements making it up are OK.
Decent mouthfeel, modest presence.
Not too bad, but there's some off characters in that weird roasty-sweet-sour mix.
Semillon-infused beer, no further description of the base beer is offered. Brewed for GABS 2017, tried there on tap.
Pours a urine colour, slightly pale gold. Head is white, foamy, not a whole lot of retention. Looks fairly bland.
Smells nice though. Some nice sweet malty grain notes, with pearl barley and caramel, then a big fresh fruity aroma, with pear, passionfruit and apple notes. Fresh and light.
Taste starts out fairly malty, with a sweet caramel note. Develops some light fruity character midway, mostly a generic apple/pear character but doesn't really take it anywhere, ends up a bit flat and bland.
Decent body, bit of warming alcohol. Interesting.
Yeah, a good idea but the base beer is very uneventful, so the package is too. And for such a big beer it's disappointingly bland.
Raspberry Golden Ale, brewed for and tried at GABS Festival 2017 in Melbourne.
Pours a dark brownish red, slight haze with cream-coloured foam adorning the top. Certainly not as golden as I expected but not a bad-looking beer.
Vanilla on the nose, together with berries. As Jez said, it smells like berry yoghurt. Touch of malty sweetness and a slight apple/pear character.
Vanilla upfront on the palate as well, with berries kicking in early, fresh and tart but they get a bit watery on the mid-palate where the malt sort of runs out of steam, and it ends up just mildly tart. Could have been amped up a bit as the berries are otherwise well-utilised.
Decent body, well-balanced. Not a bad mouthfeel.
Tart, somewhat crisp yet sweet. I can't get myself excited about it but it's really not bad.
58 / 100
330ml tapered dark green bottle purchased from Slowbeer. Best before date of 09-2017.
Pours a pleasant, rose-tinted gold, with a fine, flimsy and filmy head of white that leaves very little lace. Body is quite fine and light. Carbonation is powdery and surprisingly slow-moving. Looks decent enough.
Nose is a bit weird. There's some soft fruit notes, and a light, vinous acidity, that turns slightly plasticky. Some sweeter notes come through giving a suggestion of berries and powdered sugar. Not bad all up.
Taste is fairly soft as well, with a powdery sparkle on the front, that turns tart and slightly phenolic, with hints of melted plastic and cherry pit. Just a slight whiff of chlorine on the back which is fortunately quickly ushered away backstage, letting some of those soft, sweet berry notes ride through to the finish. Tartness lingers in the aftertaste, slightly phenolic and a little biting.
Overall, it's honestly not one of the better fruit sours I've had. The acidity is there, but it's not well integrated with the other notes, and the fruit has a tendency to make things feel weirdly skewed towards actual flaws. I'm not much of a fan.
61 / 100
"Soured Fruit Beer" brewed for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, very pale with a touch of sediment. White head, foamy and retaining well. Was promised more of a pink tinge which I don't really see, but it looks good.
Smells funky, but not in the way I was expecting. Slight green apple tartness but otherwise mostly vinous that veers into rubbery, kerosene territory like an old Riesling. Intriguing but again I expected more fruit and this is not what I'm getting.
Taste is citric, and sour, and more in line with my expectations. Lemon and orange notes, with a touch of green apple. Big fruity notes from start to finish and doesn't really finish very tart, or interesting. Just peters out into a juicy flavour that is driven by fruit rather than any interesting souring of the beer. Not bad though.
Slight tingle of carbonation, gives it a bit more of a soft drink feel than the palate alone.
Decent as a cleanser, but not really exciting as a standalone beer.
Brewed for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap.
Gold colour, slightly cloudy with off-white head that retains a thin crown. Looks alright, but a bit plain.
Smells grainy, for the most part. Notes of apple/pear around the edges. Kind of smells like dishwasher detergent, and it's lacking any classic beer esters so I'm not enamoured.
Big apple flavour on the palate, from the start to the finish. Some candy esters, slightly tangy with a slight tart edge towards the back. Maybe a hint of some resinous bitterness which is welcome but doesn't really last. There isn't really much of a finish, it finishes quite early. Clean, but nothing exciting.
Decent body, feels fluid and somewhat insubstantial.
Meh. This delivers on its promise but I can't pretend I was enthused by the promise. Tim has done much better beers.
70 / 100
For GABS beers, there should be a "Dessert Beer" category... yeah, I'm messing with you. I already wrote that for the previous beer I reviewed (Black Hops' "Assault Trifle" but the same thing goes here). Tried on tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Golden champagne colour, slightly cloudy with a foamy white crown of head. Not bad but a bit bland-looking.
Smells sweet, with uncooked dough and a slight caramel tinge. Berries and passionfruit complement nicely. Touch of fruit and touch of sweetness. Smells desserty.
Quite sweet for the most part. Grainy upfront that develops a slight bready flavour before sweet mid-palate, with pear notes, passionfruit and fresh berries. Pleasant on the back, but the front is odd and slightly savoury so I don't think it's wholly successful on the whole pavlova thing.
Quite a drying palate at the back. Little bit of carbonation tingle. Doesn't really suit the flavours but it's OK.
Good drop. Very high degree of difficulty, doing a dessert beer in pale form. Almost pulls it off.
72 / 100
Raspberry coconut beer of no more specific description. Tried on tap at GABS in Melbourne, May 2016.
Pours a champagne colour, hugely cloudy. Head is off-white, large bubbling that doesn't stick around. Bit flat, very cloudy.
Smells of coconut and jam, as it should. Coconut is huge and all over that which I love. Generic kind of sweetness behind it together with distinct vanilla notes and fresh berries. Coconut and berries are both huge on this, it's divine.
Taste is a bit more subdued; coconut definitely comes through along with that fresh berry character retaining its sweetness. Descends to a fairly bitter finish though, somewhat carbolic with just a plain beery kind of flavour rather than working with malt or the adjuncts to create something fully desserty. It's not bad but it just seems to drift away without leaving any calling card. Pleasant drop though.
Decent texture; body is just enough to pad the alcohol even though it doesn't taste very substantive.
Not a bad drop. Doesn't sock you in the face with Vovo which the nose promises, and which I'd have liked. But well put together nonetheless.
74 / 100
For GABS beers there should be a "dessert beer" or "food beer" category. But that's a story for another day. Trifle beer, brewed for and tried at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a rich amber colour with a distinct non-beery tinge to it. Looks adjuncty. Head is cream-coloured, large bubbles but good retention. Looks interesting.
Smells sweet; cake battery malt dominates at first then behind it is some nice fruit characters, apple, berries and passionfruit. Subtle, but nice.
Taste is very sweet, and somehow manages to have a distinct blackberry note, which I wouldn't have thought likely or possible from a beer. Honeyed malt upfront, passionfruit as well, with a touch of cinnamon midway and then blackcurrant on the back. Really intriguing, and well delivered on an audacious promise.
Decent body, with a touch of carbonation tingle. Alcohol is actually quite sharp on the mouthfeel and I'm not sure why.
Interesting drop. I'm not sure if I really get trifle, but definitely fruit. Could have called itself a pavlova beer and it would be just as successful.
77 / 100
Brewed for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap as the cleanser in our 'dessert beer' paddle (see below reviews for Black Hops, Brew Cult, Brisbane and Bootleg beers).
Pours a dark brown, slightly clear. Head doesn't exist, which is disappointing. Pretty nice colour though.
Smells sour, and funky and weird. Cherry notes are strong, with a fair whack of lemon, some barnyard and dried grass notes as well. Bretty. Touch of roast. Not bad.
Taste is really very pleasant. Huge coconut character kicks it off in style before it turns very sour, with notes of cherry and a bitter chocolate character as well. Notes of funky barnyard, lucerne, horse blanket towards the back. It's quite tart, but wow that coconut reins it in and ties it all together. Bit sharp on the back, but I don't care, it's brilliant.
Decent mouthfeel; good malt base so the tartness is not too puckering.
Wow. This beer really took me by surprise. Sour with coconut, I don't know how that could work but it does. It's definitely flawed - not just in terms of not being perfect but possibly actually having an infection or a brewing flaw or two in there, but somehow it works for me. I love it.
This beer was longlisted and ended up my number 5 beer of the festival.
On tap at GABS 2016. Not really sure how to categorise this as it just doesn't fit nicely into any pre-established sour category but seems to be showcasing the grape character. Hence, fruit beer.
Pours a champagne colour, fairly cloudy. White foamy head. Looks pretty good.
Smells sweet and fairly spicy upfront, with some pie spice notes, caramel and some cereal grain. Touch of tart green apple but not much else to it. Fairly uninspiring.
Taste is quite cidery, with some apple notes on the front, then the late-mid and finish gets fairly tart, with some off barnyard funk as well as a touch of vinegar which ties into that cider note. Fairly simplistic and not particularly cohesive. Otherwise doesn't really have much beer character so I'm not a big fan.
Tingly carbonation gives it some texture but otherwise fairly bland.
Unimpressive as usual from these guys, sadly. I don't really know what's wrong as they certainly have the pedigree to do some good beers but they just never achieve much for me. A touch sour but otherwise not a lot of character.
On my GABS 2016 spreadsheet I called this a "Pointless Parochialism beer" and I just tried to read the official guide again for some clues as to what the style really is. I just want to recreate the blurb there for posterity, just to highlight what rubbish copywriting this is. Next time just describe the beer. Seriously.
"Kiwi's claim Phar Lap, Crowded House and more. This pavlova ale is a beery message to the fellas across the ditch, "get your grubby hands off pavlova"."
Firstly, "Kiwis" doesn't need an apostrophe. Secondly, all of the mentioned are, in fact, from New Zealand. Including pavlova. So I don't even really get the anger. Thirdly and most importantly, what the fuck kind of beer is it? Honestly. Anyway, finally, to the beer.
Pours a gold colour, touch of cloudiness with foamy white head. Quite pale but a decent rime of lace.
Smells sweet, with some grainy notes mixing with caramel and a touch of honey. Some fruity characters as well add to the mix with berries and mandarin. (There's something on my scrawled notes that looks like "Touch of calic". Points for whoever can interpret it.) Sweet, and slightly refreshing. Not bad.
Taste is quite full on, but pleasant. Huge sweetness upfront with vanilla-caramel notes, then develops some nice fruity characters midway with passionfruit and apricot dominating. Finishes slightly musty, even phenolic perhaps, with some berry notes adding to that character. Much better than I expected.
Decent mouthfeel, fairly smooth.
Not bad. Bit beery for the pavlova-ness, and in the mix of GABS beers it's perhaps a bit too middling rather than socking you with too much flavour so it will get lost. But it's surprisingly good.
Yes, I've classified this under the dreaded 'catch-all' of Fruit Beer. It's a raspberry beer with chilli, rather than a chilli beer with raspberry. Forgive me.
Tried on tap at GABS 2016.
Pours a bright pinkish red colour, very vibrant with a lot of cloud that emphasises the colour. Head is cream-coloured but also pink. Nice retention. Looks pretty good but what's expected from the style.
Smells tangy, with some raspberry notes in there, as well as some vegetative chilli notes. Capsicum, and fruity heat. Just a big fruit+veg aroma. What can I say, it smells healthy.
Taste is disappointing. Mostly fruit here, with a long raspberry tang. Not a lot of malt base underlying so it kind of tastes a bit empty especially on the front-to-mid, with some notes halfway through of capsicum and undergrowth. Mostly it's just lacking the chilli, with no heat on the back or anywhere else, and that's disappointing.
Body is alright given the otherwise apparent lack of malt. Texture is alright but it feels like it's preparatory for chilli spice, which is otherwise missing.
Not bad, but could definitely amp up a lot of the characters here. Possibly even just twist up the ABV a bit to make it more ballsy.
75 / 100
On tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a champagne colour, fair bit of cloud. Head is white, foamy and nitro density. The head is gorgeous and the body looks alright. Somehow I just expected a bit more colour, it's quite pale.
Smells sweet, with a distinct berry note providing some complementary tart notes. Caramel overall though. Decent but the fruit is quite subdued and needs attention to really get the vibe.
Taste is far more pleasant and far more accessible, with the berry notes being handed to you rather than holding themselves back. Fresh and pleasant, with some accompanying notes of vanilla, cream and caramel custard. Desserty and pleasant with just enough sweet-sour interplay to be really enjoyed. Pleasant drop indeed.
Decent body, quite smooth as it goes down.
Great drop, has fruit and sweetness without going overboard in either.
This was longlisted for beer of the festival but didn't crack the top 10 (or 13, as it turned out).
8 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Bottle purchased at Enmore Fine Wines, shared with Andrew and Iain. Disclaimer too, the idea of a lychee beer is basically my beer wet dream, if done well. Matso's being the pioneers does not hold high hope for me. Tried to pour with an open mind despite all those conflicting expectations.
Pours a pale yellow, still. Head is white, some level of lace but just a trail. Otherwise blah, whispy. Overall fairly dull.
Smells like grape candy ester. Big and sweet. Hint of lychee but smells artificially sweetened and flavoured. And that's the only note. No beer character, and it's not very nice. At all.
Taste is also bland. And sweet. Still has that candy ester flavour on the front, but it's less rich. Fruity mid and late but not much to it, it's overly sweet yet also just bland. The fact is there's virtually nothing in this beer except the adjunct flavouring. Make that _actually_ nothing. I don't mind the fruit flavour actually, but the palate has just nothing. There's no love. No effort.
No body. No texture. I'm getting pissed off now at how bad this beer is.
The fact that they're first to market with a beer that in theory should be right in my sweet spot, and they've quite flagrantly put so little fuckoff effort into it, is such an insult to me, lychees, beer, and the universe generally. They could have at least tried to create a halfway interesting beer with some nice hop bitterness to complement and offset the sweetness, but instead they've ticked the box that says "We put lychee into a grain-based beverage", given themselves a pat on the back and tilted their chairs and lit their cigars. There's so many things they could have done to ameliorate this just an inch. Half an inch. Put some chocolate malt in. It wouldn't have worked but it would taste better than this faux-premix swill that's gagging for a rohypnol for a bit of additional flavour. Shit, this is ghastly and the lack of effort seems such a huge, concerted offence with the unintentional result of overthrowing the supremacy of lychee flavour. Grow a heart, Matso's.
70 / 100
650ml pink Voodoo bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a pale golden colour. Slightly cloudy with a thin ring of bubbles around the outside. Once these settle out it looks pretty flat and still. If you peer closer, there are some very mild streams of carbonation that form when the glass is tilted. Looks okay overall.
Nose is very lemony, but with a rather intense sweetness and the suggestion of jelly. There are some other notes; some coconut and a little bit of meringue, and some underlying suggestions of herbs, which are odd but not unpleasant. Overall, it's interesting, and probably does what it's supposed to.
Taste is similar. Here, the marshmallow/meringue character is prominent, with a little bitterness on the back similar to lemon pith. The flavours start to feel a little artificial as they go on, but they're at least decently realised in the beer. Feel is a bit thin. It's okay, but it adds to that sensation of the beer being stretched beyond its limits.
Overall though, it's pretty good. It's a decent entry in this catalogue of weirdnesses which is the pink-bottle Rogue/Voodoo series. This probably works better than some of the other missteps which characterise this set.
Collaboration between Funk Estate and Doctors Orders Brewing. This is a sour ale brewed with yuzu and black (dried) limes.
Pours an extremely clear and extremely pale yellow colour, almost looking like champagne. Carbonation is lower though, although it forms a very pleasant fine white ring. Body is quite fluid, but surprisingly looks deeper when tilted due to some languid static carbonation. Looks good though.
Nose is a little disappointing. There's a pronounced sour grain character which seems a little like garbage water or sour milk, initially. As it warms up, and if you swirl it enough, more of the citrus notes come through which mask the aroma. Once it's gone, fortunately, it mostly stays gone.
Taste mirrors this. There's a pleasant clean crisp citrus note from the yuzus in particular on the front, that give a slight tangy refreshing quality. On the back though is that slightly milky lacto sourness, that blends with the grainy notes to leave it feeling down and slightly swampy. It's a shame—without that character, it would be lovely and crisp and bright.
Feel is light, but effervescent, with a fine texture to the carbonation that works well with the citrus.
Overall, though, I do find it quite difficult to really enjoy it, despite the nice characters. Every sip, I just know that aftertaste is waiting for me. It's a true shame that something so minor affects so strongly what is otherwise a well-devised and well-constructed beer.
Bottle purchased from the Oak Barrel, shared with Jez paired (serendipitously) with strawberry mousse, 27/9/15.
Pale amber gold colour, maybe lemonish, just by happenstance. Head is quite dense, quite nice but retention is not great, just fizzles down. Lace is OK.
Smells lemony and pleasant and quite sweet-citric. Touch of artificial, sweetened stuff like marshmallow and musk sticks. Maybe a touch minty? Really pleasant. Desserty and very American.
Taste is very sweet as well. Bit too much really; touch of citrus character. Lots of lemon zest midway, gets quite bitey midway, then finishes hugely sweet. Touch of vanilla, maybe some cake batter. Yeah, buttery caramel. Not bad but yeah a touch too sweet for my liking.
Touch of texture, decent body, maybe a bit too much pull from the citric character.
Drinks alright as an after dinner beer but could use more cut through on the back as it's very, very sweet.
I have no idea where I got this bottle from, except that it came from the back of my cupboard on Friday night. Shared with Andrew and Iain.
Pours a red colour, somewhat sedimenty. White head maybe pink tinged. Whispy with some lace trails. Interesting.
Smells boozey. Somewhat ethyl with brandy and cherries, some caramel and plum pudding. Sweet; boozey. Ok but a bit too pungent maybe.
Taste is very brandy, with a big vanilla sweetness. Then gets tart midway; turns raspberry and cherry and fruity, but weak and a bit insipid. Finishes hugely sweet: rice pudding with vanilla and creme anglaise. Also just a late resurgence of booze. Confused; not sure what it's meant to be and I'm not sure that it is, either.
Thin, fairly fluid. Faintest bite on the back.
Has moments that are nice throughout, but they're nice for different reasons and they don't work together at all.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne. This is a beer brewed with a strange melange of hipster ingredients including kale, goji berries and probably quinoa and artists' tears.
Pours a pinkish red colour, quite clean of hazy with a light body holding some powdery carbonation. Head is a pale pink that forms a foamy and full crest and leaves nice fine sheets of lace. Looks good.
It's downhill from here though. Smells immediately yeasty, woody and vegetative, mostly with a kind of raspy woody hop note, but with unpleasant quirks of sewer funk and crushed silverbeet. I'm not a fan.
Taste is slightly worse even than that. Nasty, bitter vegetative flavours from the start, slightly medicinal on the front. These ram up against more of that unpleasant woody hop note, and dank yeasty quality. The back is nasty: bitter and unpleasant. Apparently goji berries taste like shit. Finish is the same. Very unpleasantly bitter with a whack of carbonic acid.
Feel is light and frothy, but it doesn't help the beer much.
Seriously, one of the worst beers at GABS. This is a joke beer, but it's awful as a result.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a dark amber colour—supposedly it was a stout—with a rather clear body that is remarkably thin and light for 9.8%. Head is a pale beige, forming a foamy ring that leaves streaky lace. Carbonation is thin. Looks ok in isolation, not sure if it matches its description though.
Nose is tart with cherry and a smooth vanillla character giving a sweetness like pastry. Some marzipan comes through too and a sharpness like liqueur-filled chocolates. It's interesting enough, if not inspired.
Taste starts out a little tart and a little nutty, with a pithy bite like cherry pits. Brown malt comes through in the middle, with some light tannins and a hearty astringency. Back has some flat vanilla, but ends up surprisingly with a rather dull worty character, as though it's extremely old. The aftertaste has an unfortunate similarity to the ice that comes off frozen vegetables.
Feel is exceptionally thin. I don't understand how this is 9.8% ABV.
Overall, I think I'll pass. It's not great, and I wouldn't want to get pissed drinking it. It's not worth the alcohol price you have to pay with it.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour, with a touch of salmon to the tone. Very hazy and pretty solid in the glass. Head is white, persisting as a thin necklace of bubbles that leaves some slight strands of lace. Lots of fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is slightly fruity with a hint of powdery grain and the husky edge of grain sack. Slight pepper notes come through as well, along with a touch of crushed vegetation. It's nice enough.
Flat salty entry on the palate, almost getting a little chalky from early on. The mid-palate has a bit of tartness, but no true acid. Back has some flour and yeast to it, while the aftertaste cloys a little with the clinging tartness and salt bite.
The feel is pretty good when the tartness comes through to add a slight tingle.
Overall, it's nice enough. The tartness is its main asset, and when this is more present it's pretty decent all up. I liked it just fine.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep reddish brown colour, quite clear with a decent body. Head is beige, with a very good, fine solid pocked crest. Lacing is good. Carbonation is pleasant and fine, but rushing through the body. Looks decent.
Nose is quite pleasant. Toasty in its basis, but with a bright fragrance, a little pepper and a good yeast character. It's nice.
Taste is a little duller. Toasty notes on the front with a bit more astringency as it continues. Slightly peppery towards the back, but otherwise fairly dull and genuinely lacking some kind of hook or excitement. Feel is very light, and doesn't do it any favours.
It's pretty drinkable in the end, but the lightness doesn't make it very interesting. It's not bad, but it did form part of the lower-level background noise of GABS.
58 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a definitely rhubarb-tinged pinkish red, with solid hazing. Head is light and whitish, forming a fine loose ring. Body is light. Looks decent but not exciting.
Initial hint gives fake berry notes like Redskins lollies, red cordial or Allens red frogs. It's a bit vegetative as well along with the raspberry fruit note. It's OK, but not great.
Light flat entry on the palate, slightly bready and almost neutral by the centre. There's almost no sour character and no kick to it. This leaves the finish like flat raspberry with all the sweetness and acid taken away—it's almost just leafy bland in the end.
Feel is very light, but then it doesn't have much to work with anyway.
Overall it's light and assumably drinkable as a result. It's decent enough in its way, it's just empty. It's certainly no Praline, and I think it's fair to say that many people (myself included) were pretty disappointed with last year's People's Choice winner.
43 / 100
Pours a vivid red colour, clear with white foam on top that doesn't stick around. Looks fruit beery, but OK.
Smells like raspberry cordial. Sweet, sugary, with green apple crispness giving a slight commercial cider feel to it. Not great, or good.
Taste like raspberry cordial as well. Maybe a touch of tartness from a berry or green apple ester and a touch of booze on the back. All just fruity sweetness. Meh.
Full body, just a slight kiss of alcohol which is not bad. Reminds you that it isn't just cordial you're drinking.
Most alcoholic raspberry cordial I've ever had. Seriously though, why? This is not pleasant. And why send to Aus? It just lowers one's opinion of Founders and I know they do amazing beers. This isn't one.
71 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse during the 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a bright pinkish-red with a minimal head of pale rose that sits around in a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Minimal filmy lace. Body is pretty light, especially considering it's fairly solid ABV. Carbonation is fine, however. It looks pretty decent.
Nose is raspberries all over, perhaps with a little bit of leafy dullness to cut through the sweetness a little. Otherwise, it's really quite reminiscent of raspberry cordial. Not bad if you like raspberry cordial.
Taste is really quite similar. It's a piercing raspberry quality through the centre of the palate, almost touched with a slight acidity, but not in the manner of a true framboise lambic for instance. There's a slightly leafy or vegetative bud note to it as well that's not bad, it helps pull it away from the truly sickly.
Feel is pretty full, but lightened a little somehow to stop it from just being thick.
given its ABV, and the strength of the fruit character, I'm impressed with how well this manages to stay drinkable. It's really not bad to drink, even as a fairly sweet beer. It's not a favourite of mine, but I have to respect it to some degree even so.
58 / 100
Pours a bright red colour, clear with white foamy head. Looks intriguing.
Smells kind of how I expected; grainy with a slight nutty character to it, and a touch of fruitiness which bends towards phenolic. Not very aromatic.
Taste is somewhat unpleasant. Light tartness to it with a touch of goji berry. Develops a medicinal character midway and then finish is watery, with a touch of vegetation. Not really nice but not too nasty.
Body is watery, light carbonation. Not too bad.
Delivers interestingly on its promise for a hipster, uber-healthy superfood beer. Basically, answers the question 'is beer meant to be healthy' no, it isn't.
Pours a champagne colour, hugely cloudy to the point of opaquity. Yes, that's a word, as 'fuckyou' is also a word. Head is white, disappointingly large bubbles but great lacing. Pretty decent.
Champagne continues on the nose, with some mild tart fruit lingering at the back; largely pear-ish in character with a slight peppery spice as well. Not bad.
Tastes somewhat vinous and then gets a little tart. Some mild barnyard funk on the mid-palate and then finishes somewhat bitter. Not a lot of sourness to it which for some reason I was expecting, and not a huge showcase for the mystery 'fruit' that Doc keeps hinting at and which I always assumed would be rhubarb.
Body is thin, lightly tingly bubbles.
Surprisingly restrained effort from Doc. Showcases fruity flavours with a nice bitterness on the back.
61 / 100
Pours a coffee colour, clear at the edge with beige, almost nitro-esque head. Foamy and thick and beautiful. Looks great, brown ale-esque.
Smells malty, with a slight medicinal edge to its sweetness. Slight vanilla hints and some coffee roastiness. Touch of hop maybe but not a lot of berry. Not really sure what the coffee's doing there.
Taste is somewhat roasty as well, again with some spicy coffee roastiness. Touch of sour late-mid but not distinctive berry character. Some herbal notes late. Not much else. Certainly expected more blackcurrant flavour given the brief.
Thin body, no real texture. Kind of makes a disappointingly heavy beer go down more smoothly though.
Not such a bad drop, but drinks fairly uninterestingly.
A 'Belgian Red Ale' brewed with berries for GABS 2015.
Pours a red colour, slight cloud to it and decent foamy off-white head. Has a pinkish tinge to it; not bad.
Smells mostly medicinal. Lots of berry notes with blueberry and raspberry that has a slight tang to it. Maybe a slight vanilla edge to the medicinal sweetness? Nice enough.
Taste is also very medicinal. Big berry notes to it though, with a nice tangy character. Blueberry and raspberry again, maybe some tart blackberry as well. Fairly light on overall. Fruity with a touch of oomph but nothing special.
Decent body, has a slight edge as it goes down, possibly tartness.
Not bad; it's not a particularly exciting follow-up to the Praline but I don't think that was the intention. It's drinkable and pleasant.
75 / 100
I really hate using the style 'fruit beer' but this is a mixed-fermentation sour beer that's also meant to resemble a cherry ripe (???). What would you put it down as, smartass?
Pours a very dark brown with a slight red tinge to it. Beige, dense head that looks nice and stouty. Looks nice for the brief.
Smells very cherry-esque, quite sweet with toffee and vanilla on there as well and a fair whack of chocolate. For a cherry choc vanilla sour, this fulfills the brief admirably.
Taste is quite sour, particularly upfront. Big rich cherry note with a sour edge, then coconut and vanilla back up towards the back. Chocolate, black sour cherry, all in good measure but the mix is still a bit confused, and I wish some flavour would take the fore a bit more.
Drying and puckering on the back, despite the decent body.
Interesting drop, also very pleasant. I just wish that maybe they'd pulled back on the sour a bit, made it a big rich stout with just a hint of tartness on the back, it's just a bit of a tasty mess.
48 / 100
So I've actually reviewed this beer twice. Once at Santora's Pizza in Amherst, NY, which I still have my scribbled notes. The second time, and this time, was a bottle muled back by Chris. I compared the two sets of notes and they were remarkably similar so that's what's being entered here. No surprise that they were similar, as this is a very predictable beer.
Pale yellow, trickle of bead. Head white small ring of lace. Some stickiness. Cloudy. Not bad.
Smells of ripe apricot. That's pretty much it. Maybe a bit. Dry on the back, but just big fleshy fruit. Not bad.
Taste is fruity, fair amount of apricot, that finishes really quickly. Somewhat dry, some wheat notes on back. Quite fizzy really, with a carbolic edge to the back and palate cut short a bit young. Could use more ripe fruit or just more linger. Feels a bit poppy and somewhat bland.
Somewhat fizzy, yeah. Thin. Unimpressive.
Right flavours, but wrong balance. Overcarbonated and underwheaty. Underwhelming.
375ml green caged and corked bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria.
Pours a very hazy pale straw colour, with an initially frothy head of white. This settles out fairly quickly, residing as a thin fine ring around the edge that leaves minimal lacing as it goes down. Carbonation is fine although not particularly prodigious, only forming when the beer is tilted. Looks pretty good all up though.
Nose is wonderful. Big tart cherry notes mixed with an almost candy-like sweet-sour brightness. There's a sharpness to it as well which is very pleasant indeed—it pinpoints the acidity and the tartness of the cherries wonderfully. I like it a whole heap.
Unfortunately, it doesn't continue on the same trajectory when we get to the palate. Here, there's a flat, grainy basis that doesn't provide much for the cherry characters to work with—indeed, it feels really exceptionally dry, giving the aftertaste a pithy cherry pip character, but no acidity or fruit. There's a slight aspirin note towards the back, but otherwise it really just tastes quite thin, dry and bland. It's a shame.
Feel is also extremely dry, with the tiny bubbles of carbonation providing a bit of spritz.
Overall, it's certainly not bad, but the nose promised a lot more than the beer ultimately delivered. There's certainly pleasant characters here—and the cherry is really nicely utilised. I just feel that it would be showcased even better in a different beer.
38 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars in Leura.
Pours a very light, very clear yellow colour, with a very frothy and fairly persistent head of white, that stays coarse but substantial throughout. Stacks of anarchic carbonation rushes through to keep it fed. Some patchy suds of lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is sweet with a pronounced, almost artificial watermelon flavour that reminds me entirely of Jolly Ranchers. Forget the better-known Australian watermelon beer—there's no warhead acidity here, just a slight grainy malt character that doesn't even really give me much of a sense of wheat. Rather odd all put together, but certainly not unpleasant.
Taste loses it a great deal though. Here, yeah, that watermelon character comes through on the front, but the back is distinctly dank and yeasty, with a sort of grain-bag mush that reminds me a little bit too much of a macro lager. Sweetness lingers a long while too, giving it a persistence that doesn't help. Feel is frothy with coarse carbonation, making the beer feel way fuller and more bloating than it should be.
Overall, distinctly disappointing. I can't help but think that were this is in a slicker bottle, and marketed by someone other than Moon Dog, there would be nothing for disdain for it—I just guess that it's something of an achievement that they've managed to take real watermelon and other ingredients and craft something that tastes like a sub-par alcopop.
42 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. A "bright ale with berry infusion" according to the brewers.
Pours a pinkish golden colour, very clear in the body and extremely lightweight. Some thin carbonation forms around the edges, feeding a very light, just pinkish white head that persists as a firm ring. Looks decent enough.
Nose is fairly week. Some jammy sweetness comes through depositing its dollop of berry character, running alongside a fairly generic grainy malt presence. It's a bit weak all up.
Light entry to the palate that immediately makes the beer feel pretty empty. Through the centre the fruit tried to give it an upturn of sweetness, but this is short-lived, leaving almost nothing towards the back. Very weak indeed.
Feel is also fairly paltry, but with a stickiness to it from the fruit.
It doesn't do it for me I'm afraid. The berry addition may paper over the fact that this is at heart a bland beer, but it doesn't change its core.
A very odd beer this one. No yeast is pitched: instead natural yeast from added grape skins ferments the beer, much like the process you'd expect from traditional wine-making. Tried on-tap at Open Baladin in Rome.
Pours a deep, purplish red, initially with some pinkish foam forming, but this settles out to almost nothing by the time it arrives at the table. Carbonation is weird. It starts out almost like a reverse cascade, but quickly runs out of steam and ends up flat. Very unusual at the very least.
Nose is weird. There's no denying it. Fairy floss, cherry and a cranberry tartness. It smells a bit like non-alcoholic wine—grapy musty, but not really vinous in the proper sense. And there's those candy characters as well, floss and strawberry bubblegum. Extremely odd stuff.
Taste has more of the wine characters. Slightly tarter, a little tannic on the front-to-mid. More cranberry comes through, creaming soda and pinot noir grapes. Wet but limp through the centre. Fizzy alka seltzer and aspro clear in the finish. Feel is not very full. It leaves the beer hanging and it needs a bit more.
Overall, this is utterly unique stuff—and really genuinely strange. I always love when a beer gives me such a new experience. I'll give it an A for originality, but it's not a fully realised beer.
A witbier brewed with added quince (coing). 33cl brown bottle purchased from Cave à Bulles in Paris. I've tried one quince beer before, the excellent Saison de Coing from Bridge Road Brewers in Victoria—it was brewed once and never again, so I was very happy to try another quince beer.
Pours an extremely turbid and cloudy brownish orange with a tinge of pink, almost opaque though from probably both the witbier yeast and the quince addition. Head forms a mild crest of off-white on the top but this flattens out to a patchy film. Body looks still and fairly heavy.
Nose is quite sweet, but with a very noticeable and forthright quince character from the start. Slight stewed apple notes, a little pepper and clove, and a sharp note of booze. It smells quite full, but the fruity notes suggest that it might be lighter than I expect.
Taste is, indeed, a lot less sweet and a lot crisper than it might have been. Here, the quince character mingles with the carbonation to give a tingling dryness like champagne or very "sec" cider. In some senses it makes the beer a lot thinner, and leaves less room for the complexities to express themselves—but in fact, it actually makes it a more coherent beer: crisp, refreshing and bright, where it may have otherwise been heavy or bloated. The quince is still present, but without the sweetness it's more of an aroma lingering in the mouth almost like a touch of black tea. Nice stuff.
Feel is thin and light, but quite crisp with carbonation and that peely fruitiness.
Overall, this is quite a drinkable brew. The quince adds something to it rather nicely. It perhaps lacks some true greatness, but there's much to enjoy.
On tap at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a coppery amber colour with large webbed bubbly head. Quite cloudy, looks nice, if a little bland.
Smells slightly tart, but not a huge wham of aroma. Touch of raspberry and rhubarb, some sweetness. Not highly distinct but nice enough.
Taste is more tart, quite dry. Raspberry notes, with plum, blueberry and a touch of detergent. Nice tart notes, not sure what I'm meant to be tasting but its pretty nice.
Thin body, but slight texture with a bit of pull on the back.
Nice drop: fairly good balance and drinkable, a little bit watery but otherwise nice.
62 / 100
Brewed by Birbeck's in collaboration with chef Poh Ling Yeow, this was a "Beer Mimics Food" beer brewed for the eponymous event at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week, where I tried it on-tap.
Pours a pinkish copper salmon colour, very solidly hazed. Body has a little heft to it despite its ABV. Head forms a very pale pinkish crest that stays around in a light ring. Lots of solid carbonation. Looks pretty nice all up.
Nose is bright and rustically fruity. Some rhubarb, a bit of acid, some carbonic aromas above a buttery biscuit base. Not all that strong, but it's matching the spec at least.
Light fruit on the front of the palate, perhaps unripe pineapple. Raspberry comes through on the middle, again with a bit more acidity—almost vinous at this point. It drops off pretty quickly on the back, leaving just the memory of that acid. It makes it seem more empty than it is.
Feel is also a bit light.
Not bad overall though. It has some nice fruit characters, and it works relatively well. It wasn't one of the highlights of the day, but it was part of the solid core at least.
58 / 100
A collaboration between Hunter Beer and McWilliams wine, brewed for the Beer Mimics food event at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week. Tried on-tap at the Welcome.
Pours a hazed, rosy amber hue with decent slickness in the glass. Head is a very pale ping forming a large-bubbled ring. Lace is slick and the carbonation is very fine. Looks pretty good.
Fruity, vinous characters on the nose. Some raspberry, a suggestion of rose petals, some cherry and a slight oaky wine-like character. It's nice enough, but not particularly big or complex.
Fruity entry on the palate along with a touch of acid moves to a wheaty, slightly yeasty character on the mid palate. This is lessened by an astringency towards the back and some carbonic fizz. Aftertaste has more of the yeast.
Feel is very light. It's not too bad, but it also has that rather aggressive carbonation which attacks it again.
Overall, it feels a little bit like fruit on top of a fairly mediocre beer. It's not bad, but it's not really either exciting or objectively good either.
38 / 100
11.5oz (?) bottle purchased from the brewery by my Mum and brought back to Australia. Shared with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a very pale golden colour, very clear and very bright in the body. Carbonation is extremely coarse and rather effervescent. Crazy head of off-white forms very solidly despite a gentle pour. Specked in the body with bits of chunks when the sediment is aroused. Body is very light. Overall, it looks okay, but not really better than that.
Nose smells intensely of raspberries, but with a thick sugary sweetness. Slight vegetative undertone, but not really much contribution from anything else. It's intense, but a little bit one-dimensional.
Taste is very disappointing by comparison. Here, there's a huge clinging yeasty earthiness, which lambasts the more subtle raspberry character, making it feel small and meek. Bready tones come through as well. There is a touch of raspberry on the front, but stacks of that nasty woody, yeasty, nasty nastiness on the back. It's a big shame.
Feel is very light, leaving nothing to the imagination.
Overall, this isn't very good. It's weird, which at least makes it interesting, but the characters don't mesh well together. In the end, it didn't do much for me.
74 / 100
Tried on tap at Archive in Brisbane.
Pours a fairly clear, deep golden colour. Fine off-white head clings to the side of the glass in intricate lacing after its initial flurry. Body is fairly light and fluid. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is immediately rife with Brettanomyces, giving a classic gueuze-like plasticky sharpness. Brighter, fruitier acidity comes through too with rubbed lemon skin and pithy apricot making an appearance. The Brett takes a peppery tone as it warms as well, giving a spicy finish. It's very nice.
Taste lacks some true acidity, but there's plenty more of the funky Brett notes giving woody, vegetative, peppery characters, underpinned with some acetone sharpness. Slightly astringent on the back with some dry tannins coming through. It's complex, no doubting that.
Feel definitely harks from the astringency, with a tannic dryness giving the sensation of acidity without the flavour of acidity.
I would like more true sourness, but this forms a pretty interesting wild ale on its own in any case. I was extremely impressed to see this on tap at least.
80 / 100
Pours a dark red-brown colour, murky. Head is pale beige, nice small bubbles but a bit thin. Decent, though.
Fucking intense aroma, but I love it. Huge vanilla-bean smell with cinnamon, Benedictine and chocolate liqueur. Utterly unique. Amazing.
Taste is more mellow. Vanilla again, with big cocoa-rich chocolate, some cinnamon and a touch of cardamom. Disappointingly weak at the back though. Sort of runs out of steam, like we're done with the flavour, enjoy raising the kids on your own now I'm done orgasming in your senses. Still that flavour upfront is great. I have no regrets.
Smooth, fluid mouthfeel. No complaints.
I tasted this blind, and have a feeling this will be right up there with my most positive deviations from the norm. But I found this an outstandingly idiosyncratic beer. Amazing flavours just socking you all right up in your tastebuds. No regrets. No complaints.
750ml classic bright pink Voodoo/Rogue bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney, possibly because I couldn't fathom drinking an entire bottle by myself.
Pours an extremely dark but extremely fine clear brown like excessively filtered coffee. Head forms a fine and pretty pleasant head of mocha above it. Lacing forms in thin tiger stripes down the glass. Overall, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is intensely sweet, and I'm guessing this is where most of the effort has gone. Sickly coconut, chocolate, caramel and yes, perhaps some peanut butter provides an over-the-top American candy sweetness. Banana is lost in the mix, but I can envisage a little bit of fake banana ester candy character coming through as well. Mostly, though, it smells like a vat of melted peanut butter that someone has vomited a day's worth of carnival food into—in a vaguely good way.
Taste is weak. Extremely weak. Thin, reedy chocolate comes though, devoid of true sweetness and backed up by the ghost of peanut butter providing a shot of fatty somnolence to the finish. Feel is thin, taste is thin. Roast comes through on the back only because everything else has dropped out: the flavours that come through must only be aromatically derived—like Artificial Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Doughnut Flavouring (221). Boo.
Overall: boo indeed. I quite enjoyed the Maple Bacon beer, despite what everyone else seemed to think of it. But this is piss-poor: this is thin, fakely flavoured and weak without any integration or any particular thought put to it. Very uninspiring stuff.
I've actually had this multiple times before, but either my review's been lost or I've not actually reviewed it before. This was a 500ml clear bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a clear burnished golden colour, almost tending towards amber. Head forms a bubbly froth on pouring, but settles out to a modest ring with some slick film across the top. Minimal lacing, and the body looks quite weak. Not a great look all up: it would be better on a hand-pump.
Nose is much more like those banana lollies you get than true banana or even the eponymous banana bread. Sickly sweet, quite cloying and most artificial. Swirling it doesn't help much, although some of the malt comes through a little, giving some more golden syrup and treacle which strangely enough helps make it a little less sweet and cloying.
Taste is mercifully less cloying and sickly, but it maintains that artificial banana character right from the start to the back of the palate. Apart from that, there's a rather loose grainy malt character that oddly feels rather empty: as though there's no real substance to the sweetness of the banana. Fine but prickly carbonation also countermands some of the cloy, but adds a fizzy acidity to the mix which doesn't work well at all.
Overall, this is pretty poor stuff. The banana is a gimmick and no more, and it doesn't work with the other characters of the beer at all. It certainly doesn't live up to its moniker, a concept I can believe would actually make a rather tasty brew.
72 / 100
Possibly an increasing rarity with the current state of Temple, but I had a bottle in my fridge and decided to open it. Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Bottle conditioned, or at least unfiltered.
Pours a pleasant deep golden colour, with great clarity. Carbonation is fine and languorous although the body is quite light. Head is a frothy white, forming a solid persistent ring pocked with bubbles. Lacing is streaky and slightly sudsy. Looks good.
Nose is interesting: some pepper, some slight banana characters and a slight earthy hoppiness all combine to fall somewhere between hefeweizen, Belgian pale and German pils. Definitely a fruitiness comes through, but it's shot with that spicy, white pepper character. It's really very pleasant.
Taste is also interesting, and strange. Clean, slightly fruity, peppery entry picks up some stranger estery tones soon after leaving a leafy, tropical flavour mid-palate. Clean, brisk hop bitterness and a light body suggests the pilsner idea again, while a faint overtone of rosewater and berries gives it that jagged wayward edge again.
Feel is crisp and light. Very pleasant.
It's a very strange beer, this one. Actually, on the surface it could be mistaken for a rather light, forgettable, drinkable beer. But the undertones and overtones and weird harmonies hidden behind its façade are very unusual, and the fact that it manages to contain these within such a drinkable package is something to be applauded.
Here's hoping Temple come back soon.
56 / 100
From a bottle at Penny Blue during their Good Beer Week "Sour Fest" event.
Pours a very hazed sandy pink colour, with a stupidly frothy head of pink at the start. It still stays around for a while too, looking like fairy floss atop the glass. Some streaky lacing. The carbonation seems to put all its effort into producing that head, meaning there's not a lot left in the body, which is itself very light. Looks decent though.
Nose is flowery and a little organic, like rose petals rotting in the sun. Sweeter characters of banana bread and some buttery tones as well. There's also a strange spicy, slightly salty character. It's not really winning me over.
Taste is balanced between soda water and flowers. Hibiscus, glace cherry and a floury note on the finish. Almost no acidity noticeable apart from the seltzer type spritz. Very dry finish, very light and quite watery. The feel is prickly, which suggests some acidity, even though there's not much in the flavour.
This was disappointing from Temple, who generally do do really awesome beers. This is missing the acid, the tartness it really needs, and the added characters are either weak or unpleasant. I'd heard some good things about this beer when it was launched, but this one was definitely sub-par. It's a shame.
Very difficult to classify this. It's a mildly-smoked ale blended with Hunter shiraz from McWilliams. As such, it's a strange brew. Tried at the Union Hotel for Good Beer Week for the Beermen.tv breakfast.
Pours quite a red-hue, or perhaps a pink-tinged amber is a better name for it. Fairly solid hazing and decent weight behind it. Head is a pale pink colour that forms a very fine solid ring, and leaves small bits of lace. Fine carbonation. Looks good, and interesting.
Nose has much to thank the wine for. Strong rosÃ© character along with some wine oak characters. Minimal hops come through, but there's a grainy German malt character and a rather bready overtone to it. Hey-like aromas come through when you make your way through the wine. Interesting.
Light, clean front palate leads to more rosÃ© characters, and a slightly bready fullness. Apparently this was partially smoked, but there's really no hint of it. Finish has a fair dollop of yeast, and an aromatic component like oxidised wine. Hmm. Feel is very light. It somewhat accentuates the acidity of the wine, but it's a bit of a stretch.
Drinkable enough, and it's an interesting experiment. To be honest, it didn't really work to its full potential, but it was worth trying.
On-tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR.
Pours a weirdly amber hue, without any hint of pink or red that I'd expect in a cherry beer. Filmy, fine white head which leaves solid, sheeting lace. It's not a bad look.
Nose is pithy with cherry huskiness and a bit of neutral grainy malt. There's a touch of sweeter lemon sherbet which comes through as it warms, adding some complexity. The cherry feels a bit tacked on, but it's ok.
Taste is similar in this regard. Cherry comes through above a bland grainy malt base, but this time it actually has a bit of bite associated with it, at least. The feel is the best part: it has a smooth, clean near-creaminess that adds texture to a solid if dull palate.
It's nice enough overall. It's certainly drinkable. I just wish there was a little more point to the cherry. Or maybe it just doesn't mesh that well with the rest of the beer.
89 / 100
Had on-tap at the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR. Hugh, the bartender told me it's "sweet, but we sell a whole lot of it..."
The first signs are good for me, despite the skeptical tones in Hugh's voice: gorgeous deep black body, with a creamy head of mocha-brown. Lace is fine, but consistent and persistent, leaving wonderful lace. It looks so good, I feel as though it might be a nitro pour. Not sure, though.
Nose is: BIG. Black cherry comes through strongly, giving a refreshing medicinal hint with its poignant biting fruit, above the deep dark maltiness that sits like heavily stewed mudcake underneath. Other notes crop up with marzipan, powdered sugar and fruit compote. Wow. This is an incredible smelling beer. I really love it.
Taste is lighter, but still very good. Smooth, roasty entry that never lets up on the sweetness, with an upswell of black cherry and a mild phenolic medicinal bite. Back palate has bitter almonds, smooth, pithy fruit and a caressing dryness that wraps everything up while still allowing it to express itself. Lovely.
Feel is smooth, but allows a tingle from the cherry to come through.
Overall, I'm wowed. This is amazingly good stuff. I'm a fan of the judicious addition of fruit to stouts, and this is a great example of it. It's drinkable and smooth, but really interesting and complex. I just love it to bits.
Bottle purchased from The Beermongers in Portland, OR.
Coming from Australia, I've seen a lot of New Zealand's Epic Brewery, and I was keen to try some of their American namesake's. Randomly, this is the first one I came across. Pours a very slightly hazed yellow colour, with a filmy ring of white foam forming the head. Plenty of carbonation streaming through a body that is surprisingly light for a super-10% ABV beer. Overall, an inauspicious start for Epic.
Nose is dominated by Belgian yeast, not by oak, not by wine and not by peaches, leaving a rounded, earthy and slightly funky character at its core. There's a peppery twist to it as it warms, and perhaps a hint of vinous tartness, but it's mild at best. Slightly disappointing.
The peach finally makes an appearance on the palate, but subordinate to the big, husky booziness, the peppery, leafy, rank bitterness and more of those phenolic notes from the yeast. In fact, the peach has a medicinal, biting quality to it as it slews in with the booze, making it taste like backyard peach-schnapps. Blech.
I'm sure I'll end up having better experiences with this Epic. I truly believe it. But this feels like an experiment gone wrong. Unfortunately, though, my impression is that the problem is with the base beer, not the post-treatment it has been given; if anything, more peach and more oak would have made this a much superior beer.
On-tap at the brewery in Eureka, CA.
Pours a cloudy golden colour, perhaps with a hint of pink to it. Head is fine and white. Lace is excellent and intricate. Body is solid. All of these are good things.
Nose is piquant with a tart, direct watermelon aroma. Jolly rancher, with some lilting acid. It turns sweet and slightly cloying after a while. It's powerful, though, and pretty unique.
The taste, however, is pretty much just sweetâit craves some lacto or something to cut through it. In fact, the sweetness turns the watermelon character almost into a sugary strawberry, perhaps with a hint of fake cherry. Light dryness on the back, and a hint of tight but mild astringency. Feel is good, light and fluffy.
Weird beer, but it's interesting and unique enough for what it is. I'm pleased to say that I enjoy it: I think it's the most successful of Lost Coast's fruit beers that I've tried. Maybe that's just because it's unique.
61 / 100
OK, I had a little trepidation about this beer, but it was cheap and in the single bottle section of BevMo at Sunnyvale, CA.
Despite my fear this would pour a bright blue colour, instead we get a deep golden hued body, with a slight-bubbled ring of white around the top of the glass. Some patchy lace, but the body is fairly weak. I mean, overall, it's pretty average, but at least it's not actively worrying or offensive.
Nose is very sweet, and very strongly flavoured with blueberry; in its favour, it's a genuine blueberry fruit character, not, as I suspected it might be, a fake flavouring agent to match the feared electric blue body. It's a little one dimensional, but it delivers what it promises at least.
Taste is less sweet than expected, pretty much all the way through the body, until the end, when the blueberry character burgeons again into a earthy berry bite, and the malt gives a battery fullness that mingles into a character that is truly like a blueberry muffin. Closer the front, there's a touch of copper that doesn't quite work, and there's a faint hint of some sort of mealy adjunct early on, but it manages to save itself with some hard swerving back to the centre of the road.
Overall: Not That Bad. And much better than my expectations for it. It manages to pull off real blueberry character rather well in a beer that doesn't have a lot else in its make-up. It's not great, but it does a solid job given its genesis.
Opens with a pretty mighty fizz, and pours like a soft drink, very fizzy, light-bodied and head-less. Body is an interesting blood-red hue, with touches of brown at the edges, but very deep and dense in colour.
Nose is interesting, with a slight savoury-sweet tone to it that suggests fruit-skin, and a twinge of seaweed. There's a pleasant tone of grainy, rustic malt that seems characteristic of Haand. Slight rusty overtones as well, which give it some sharpness. Very interesting.
Taste is good, but a little flat, and really missing some body and sweetness. There are more of those savoury fruit characters (I assume the Crowberries), with a brusque foresty organic bitterness streaming over the top. Under this are those mild grainy characters, and a hint of slightly funky, rustic, saison-like acidity.
Very interesting, but perhaps more of an intriguing subnote than a truly good beer in its own right. Certainly missing a little something, and probably not worthy of the 7.4% ABV it's packing.
Pours a reddish, clear amber colour, with a fine, moderated head of off-white. Some lacing forms, but it's patchy. The body looks solid and unyielding, and it holds some fine, but intermittent carbonation. Looks goodâthe colour in particular is quite fine.
Aroma is pummeled with roasted coffee, pinging off the fruitiness elsewhere in the beer to give a piquant chilli aroma. Slight smokiness to it, or a deep roast character, that rather pleasantly comes from the coffee rather than heavy malts. Sweetness is limited, and overall, it's a little one-dimensional, but it sure is interesting.
Taste is a little bit disappointing. More of the coffee comes through to give a brusque, rocky bitterness that seems to ebb and flow on the palate, but there's very little body, or, indeed anything much else to give it substance. There's very little if any hint of the raspberry, perhaps just a twinge on the front giving a jelly-like sweetness. Feel is very light.
It's good, and I would drink it again, but I feel that once again the concept outstrips the execution.
I've been a little on the fence about Moon Dog's beers so far. This is no exception, but I can't stress enough how much I love what they're doing. Experiment on you crazy dudes: I promise I'll keep buying your beers.
74 / 100
Bottle from @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a fizzy, cloudy copper-amber colourâthe head dissipates really quickly leaving some large-bubbled film and a ring of insipid nothingness around the glass. Body has a little heft to it, but overall, it looks a bit weak.
Nose is surprisingly interesting: slightly spicy, with slight acidity and a savoury fruit bitterness coming through. Hints of juniper and crushed leaves, along with a grainy, toasted bread or rye crispness. Very interesting.
Taste is also very good. Crisp husky grain character provides a firm basis, on which is layered more of those savoury fruit characters, giving a light organic bitterness. There's also a pleasant creaminess to it, aided by the heavier than expected body. The rosehips perhaps lend the only fragrant sweetness to the mixâthe hawthorn and sloe berries are husky, organic characters.
Really interesting brew. More than anything, it reminds me of a Scandinavian Sahtiâit has that same sweetness tempered with organic non-hop-based bitterness. Fascinating to see and Australian brewery doing something similar.
74 / 100
Pours a dirty orange colour with gritty suspension of yeast particles. Head is off-white, not beige, generous but sunk quite quickly with a hint of lace. Looks interesting, to say the least.
Smells fruity with a nice tang of citric notes, hint of pomegranate seed and waxy sherbet. Leafy as well, nice and fresh but quite unique.
Taste bursts with flavour, loads of fruit upfront with citrus and stone fruit, including guava and peach, developing. Little yeasty on the back, with a slight cloying sweetness, though a hint of tang remains to keep it clean enough. Quite intriguing; goodly amount of fruit, and pretty well balanced.
Full-ish body with slight pull at the back, slight acidity. Not bad.
Yeah, I like that. Interesting fruity characters overall but nice grounding to it.
58 / 100
Very dark brown with colour up to the light. Head is good at first when poured, settles out to a thin crown. Beige colour, lace is alright. Looks good.
Smells mediciney. Phenolic, cherry notes, lots of vanilla sweetness. Pongy and a bit overpowering. Fruity and sickly sweet. Yeah, can't say I'm a fan.
Taste is similar, with that sickly sweet fruit flavour and a touch of coconut, but balances it out a bit better. Hint of glacé cherries, over thick roasty stouty notes. Very coconut and vanilla and very sweet. Bit too much; needs more roast to ground it. Otherwise not too bad, quite dry on the back that mellows out the sweet, medicinal front a bit.
Dry and boozey, with a hot alcohol note on the front. Otherwise quite smooth and good.
Wish I liked this more, but there's just too much residual sugar and it just tastes a bit flakey.
90 / 100
Purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a deep but clear brown-black colour, with a moderate, but pretty filmy head of mocha to beige brown. Lacing is patchy and dotted. Body is pleasantly fluid and light, but holds masses of really nice tiny carbonation. Not bad at all.
Nose is genuinely wonderful. Big fresh blueberry notes, jumping off a roasty sweet basis. Slight acidity coming through, but it's subtle. The sweetness from the blueberries is extraordinary. It makes a really lovely aroma for the beer, and it works so well in the style.
I was afraid the blueberry character would be lost in the palate, but it's here and is strong, giving a freshness and sweetness and that classic blueberry acidity. But this is tempered and complemented wonderfully by the roasted grains, which sit underneath giving a subtle chocolate character and some bitterness to clean out the finish. It's a sophisticated palate, with fruit providing a twist and a starting point, but the beer itself providing the depth and complexity.
Absolutely lovely beer. Really well balanced, and genuinely, uncompromisingly interesting. The blueberries provide a really unusual and genuinely pleasant character, that (what's more) works really nicely in the basis of the beer itself.
83 / 100
Bottle from Slowbeer, on the second attempt
Pours a lovely bright, burnished orange colour, with an exceptionally fine, but partially filmy head of pure white. Som patchy lacing forms around the edges of the glass. Body is solid enough, and forms extremely fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Ooh, nose is wonderful. If only it came exclusively from hops I'd be clamouring for some of those hope right now. Big citrussy bite, with fragrant overtones of lychee, all laced liberally with the floral aroma of rosewater. It's so bright, so fragrant, so crisp and so excitingly unique. Yes, yes, yes!
Taste is a lot milder, but in some ways, this is rather good. Clean citrus zest bite with a touch of pithy kumquat bitterness on the finish. Touches of mandarin and marmalade through towards the back, all working wonderfully well with a smooth, but unobtrusive malt basis. Feel is smooth, but light, with enough depth to showcase the unique and interesting citrus characters.
Ooh yes, what a wonderful and wonderfully unique beer. I had some sort of conception of this beer before I bought it, and it delivered on my expectations beautifully. It's crisp, drinkable and refreshing, but twisted with unexpected quirks.
I'm so pleased I was successful in obtaining it second time around.
For a beer with "purple" in the name, I stupidly expected some purple colour to the brew. Oh well, what a naive assumption to make. This is in fact a light orange-golden colour, with a fine white head that leaves streaky lace. The body is at least hazed, and hold some static carbonation well. All things considered, it's not a bad looking brew. But really, I don't expect any of my other senses to detect "purple".
Nose is fruity, with a sharp raspberry character coming through with a strong level of artificial sweetness. Slight grainy characters poke through as well, which are unwelcome, as they lend an unpleasant savouriness to the aroma. Really, it feels like a grainy, but bland beer with a senseless addition of artificially sweetened fruit characters to it. Hmm...
Taste is... well, it's just empty. Here, the bland, generic base beer comes through with it's mild grain characters, and a slightly adjuncty sweetness. There's still the aroma of berries swirling around, but they add no real flavourâit's more that the haze of the aroma permeates the body of the beer.
Yeah, this is a needless and pointless fruit beer. It doesn't help that it's a very bland and rather unpleasant base beer, but the fruit addition makes it even worse. It feels senseless and cynical. Very unimpressed.
330ml bottle purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth. It always amuses me when beer travels over my head or right past me to the other side of the continent before getting to me.
Pours a hazy and opaque pink-purple colour, with a fine head of fairy-floss coloured foam. This dissipates very quickly, leaving only a fine ring of sketchy bubbles around the outside. Certainly a suitable colour for a boysenberry beer, or a boysenbeery berr, but otherwise a little insipid.
Nose is tart with unripe berry characters and a faint hint of lactic acidity. A bit of something musty and cellarlike as well, with a weird character of concrete dust. The berry aroma is very muted, but if you're looking for it, it's thereâhowever, it's so subdued that you'd almost be forgiven for not realising it's a berry-flavoured beer if served this truly blind.
Taste is mild, with a slight twang of carbonic acidity and an aftertone of raisin sweetness that evokes the boysenberry character, even if it doesn't truly exemplify it. Very little sweetness or acidity to it, meaning that once the initial flavour has been dumped, it peters out to a watery nothing much like seltzer water.
It's a very average brew, and missing a lot. Sure, it has some berry characters, but with almost nothing else at all. Very uninspiring.
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in New York, to round out the gamut of styles.
Pours a lovely deep red colour, almost like a pinot noir. Pink head fizzles out to nothing. The colour is greatâit's exactly like what I'd want from a black raspberry beer. Deep, colourful and rich. But in other respects, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Nose is awesome, fresh deep raspberry aromas with a pleasant touch of acidity. It's fresh and fruity, although not incredibly complex. Still, it's quite nice.
Taste is a let down. Thin, rather watery palate, without any body to back up the faint raspberry essence. I think this would have been better with a real spike of acidity hereâthe addition of some lactobaccillus or even some funky brett would really add another dimension. As it stands, it's like a fermented sugar drink, leaving no body, and no residual sweetness.
Sigh. Smells great, colour is great, but almost everything else is a let down. I have had some really nice fruit beers in the past, but this is not oneâit's a very average effort.
Pours a shiny clear gold, whispy head - white colour - and decent lace. Looks quite malty, but not very impressive.
Smells very fruity, with good belt of stonefruit, passionfruit tang, some pomegranate and not much malt; maybe slight metallic note. Subdued, not uninteresting but really not sure what to make of it.
Taste is sooo sweet. Yuck. Insipid tangy fruit, virtually nothing else. Apple juice largely with pear, passionfruit and slight citrus character late, bit of zest. But it's bland, weak, way too sweet. Starts at the bottom of a flavour valley and bores downhill.
Actually a bit of body with slight, very gentle fizz. Very dry as well. I'm more impressed than i was with the taste, but it's still not great.
It's bland, overly sweet and fruity and not beer-like at all. Not a fan. Beer, meet drain.
Purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth.
Pours a very clear yellow colour, bright and vibrant, with a filmy head of pale white bubbles around the edge. Light and bright, it looks visually quite appealing. Not bad.
Nose is weird and funky, with artificial mango characters coming through with a hint of medicinal peah, and an undesirable whiff of ass. Rather green, funky and organic, with a natural methane cloud. The mango is tropical and pleasant enough, but it mixes very oddly with the rest of the aromas. Urr...
Taste is grainy and slightly yeasty on the front, before the mango sweetness tries valiantly to draw the palate back in the direction it was intended. It seems as though it puts all its effort into one thrust mid palate, meaning some organic and funky yeast manages to sneak in on the back, along with a husky grain that just adds rankness to the overt sweetness.
Pass. A poor base beer cannot be saved or masked by the addition of fruit, and that's what we have here. Mango isn't a necessarily unpleasant character in a beer (although I've not seen it used well), but here it just adds unsubtle and unnuanced sickly sweet notes to a beer that is rank and forgettable.
76 / 100
On-tap at Toronado in San Francisco.
Pours a bright and deep cherry red colour with a pale fine head of pink noticeable bubbles. Thick, but fine. Gorgeous. Almost looks like the ultimate kriek. Just perfect.
Fragrant and organic on the nose, with an odd juxtaposition of cherry pip and artificial sweetness. Sourness is not noticeable at all on the nose (if it's here at all)âit's just clean, crisp and sweet. Very much like candy. That makes it a somewhat guilty pleasure.
Taste is sweet with a hint of cherry acidity. For the most part is smooth, and round with very little skewing it in an unusual or uncomfortable direction. A hint of late marzipan, a dash of acidity and a pleasant, but very moderated midstream funk. Dry finish with a bit of cherry-skin aftertaste. Very refreshing, biting and clear.
A nice brew, and an example of the beautiful Belgian sour beers that are so classic and well done. With few exceptions, no one does it like them.
0 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
I have the lowest, most horribly and terrible expectations for this beer. My hope is that it is even worse than I expect, so I can go on a diatribe about how terrible it is. Please don't disappoint.
Pours a clear and deep golden colour, like the colour of piss when you've been sickâno worse that than: when you've been terminally ill for about a year, but haven't been able to obtain euthanasia. Head is a slick film of white, a little like the brewers at Carlton got a little to excited about the prospect of Carlton Dry infused with "citrus and spice" and accidentally (?) jizzed into the fermenters before bottling. Lacing is non-existant, like my expectations for this beer.
The smell. Oh, that smell. Cheap, sugar-free lemonade mixed with cleaning solvents and cloves. But then filtered, and filtered again to nothingness. It's homeopathic. It really smells like it's been filtered several times through someone's body, and the sewerage system. Like warm, fermenting lemonade served in a perfunctorily cleaned men's urinal.
And that clove note! Why the hell would you put that in? It just heightens the senses to all the other abhorrent and putrefying stenches. Appalling, absolutely appalling.
I dread to take my first sip, and with good cause. Here, the overlay of sickly lemonade sweetness gets filled in by classic Carlton yeast abuse. It tastes like eating the well processed earth fertilized by a long-forgotten diarrheatic hippopotamus migration.
Cloves again rise a cacophony of satirical spice, again making you notice just how horrible everything else is. And when the yeast finally dies away, there's this aftertaste of sickly, sugary, empty lemonade which makes you pray to the gods that you instantaneously develop diabetes, in the hope that this will prevent you ever doing something as stupid as putting this in your mouth again.
Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you Carlton Dry Fusion Black! You have exceeded even my wildest hopes for how horrible you could be. It is truly astonishing that even after drinking others in the series, I could still be blown away by how appallingly god-awful this beverage is.
Don't drink it. Don't buy it, even for that guy who murdered your family and tortured your kittens. Stay far, far, far away. Move to a different city if you have to. Emigrate.
I can believe that if mankind ever develops interstellar travel, it will be purely in order to put as much distance between themselves and this unholy abomination.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of the GABS festival.
Pours a hazy, bronzed amber colour. Head is filmy with some crackling bubbles on the edge. Lacing is good, and the body looks solid. Decent, if not exciting.
Nose is light with acidic sweetness, but more of a malt-grain base. Some freshness, and a light artificial note of paint and plasterboard, like the inside of a construction side. Quite nice, although not what I expected.
Taste is rather grainy, with a bit of plasticky character. Some mild fruit, but it sits weirdly as the bases of the beer. Almost like the malt characters are the flavouring for the fruit base. Nutty grain and light organics on the back, with a slightly aspirin finish. Fruit doesn't really add a lot of sweetness, just a touch of flavour.
Feel is prickly, although the plasticky character makes it seem fuller than it is.
An interesting enough brew. It was not a highlight of the festival for me, but it was decent enough.
Poured at the Local Taphouse's Great Australian Beer Spectapular. Berliner Weisse served through their Randall (sorry, no way I'm calling it the Funky Brewster) filled with Morello Cherries.
Pours a very pink and cloudy light colour. A bit like fair floss. Fine head, but not lace. Head forms a film on the top like a fractal pattern of algae. It's funky already.
Very organic musty nose. Crushed dark leaves, very sharp, slightly vinous. Cherry skin and even a saltiness like seawater. A vibrant and pungent start.
Taste is also good and weird. Nice acidity with some genuine cherry characters. There's very little artificial about this. Still weird funky organics, but nicely balanced. Bite of leaf vegetation on the back. Feel is light, but smooth, no astringent acidity.
Not a beer for everyone, but it's very decent. Another good Berliner Weisse from Wig & Pen. I only wish I'd tried it without the cherries as well.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of the GABS festival. Served garnished with a slice of cucumber as the Goat boys recommended.
Cloudy, light lemon colour with a filmy and fine head. Sudsy lace, light body. No visible carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Sharp, crisp hops on the nose, with very bright and light organics. Certainly all together it combines to give a cucumber fragrance--sharp and clean. Nice.
Sharp green fruit at the start, giving an underripe sweetness. Cucumber comes in with big, slightly rotting organics on the back. Clean finish, but very weird. Bitterness also feels slightly too strong. Prickly feel.
A very strange brew this one, although one that I appreciate for its novelty.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse's GABS festival.
Pours a still and clouded lemon yellow colour with no head. Light bodied, surprising not much tinge of raspberry either. Eh. Looks pretty average.
Nose is weird, there's no getting around it. Raspberry leaf notes and an odd organic spiciness. Yeah, even something almost smoky. Certainly at least some wood character. It's weird, and odd, but it has a little exciting character to its weirdness.
Taste is also weird. Some raspberry characters, but more of that woody, organic character. Almost keller-like phenols, especially on the back. There's certainly some spice and acidity. Almost a Belgiany baked beans character. Weird.
Feel is smooth and slippery.
Weird beer. You can tell by my repeated use of the word "weird". Interesting, though.
69 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse's GABS festival.
Pours a cloudy pale white; very light, almost like a witbier. Fine collar of foam, but not much retention in the head. Sudsy lacing, light in a body. Looks ok.
Big artificial blueberry candy character on the nose. Sout, sharp, and fruity, with some weird slightly smoky grain overtones, or maybe phenols and esters from the yeast. Really interesting.
Taste almost works. Fruity and fresh blueberry notes on the front, along with bubblegum from the wheat and yeast mixes into some kind of candy wonderland. Finish brings a bit of yeast and light astringency, which is the only drawback. Feel is smooth and clear.
Actually ends up being a pretty good beer. Easy drinking, with some very interesting characters. I'm always a bit unimpressed with Otway's beers, but they've come up with something interesting here.
40 / 100
Cloudy and opaque pour, quite a pale marigold colour. Flat and unimpressive on top and slight translucency around the edges. Unusual, but mostly looks flat and unimpressive.
Smells odd. Very clovey with a cedar smoke kind of edge. Fair amount of banana on there as well, touch of orange peel and just lots and lots of clove; too much in fact which I think is what gives it that smokey edge. Not much raspberry and frankly a bit weird.
Taste is not very impressive. Thin, watery texture is the first thing I notice, and the whole palate is a fairly pedestrian wit exploration. Not a huge amount of raspberry on there, in fact can't detect any at all. There is maybe a slight tartness late-mid but it goes hand-in-hand with the witbier yeast and it's hard to separate the two in any amazing "Oh my God there's raspberry flavour here" kind of way. Just nothing unusual or interesting here and it's overall quite insipid, flavour-wise.
Thin, watery body, very dry on the back. Meh, indeed.
Not an undrinkable beer but it's just weak, underplayed and what might have been an otherwise decent beer has just become drab and bland.
71 / 100
Pours a pale, very cloudy straw colour; head is white and fairly modest, slightly whispy with a thin ring around the edge of decent lacing. Decent all round, really.
Smells very galaxy hoppy. Lots of passionfruit with a crisp, clean bitterness to it, very light and Summery with nice fruit characters and a nice piney edge. Slight cumin on there and maybe a slight salty edge. Pretty damn nice and refreshing smell.
Taste is a bit weaker than the smell would imply. Just lacking on the front with touches of grain but not a lot. Warms up heading to the mid-palate with fruity and slightly floral notes. Gets slightly bitter towards the back, but mostly a crisp, clean and well-attenuated finish, light but with pine and passion notes and maybe a touch of cucumber providing a slight bitterness. Nice, but not mind-blowing.
Surprisingly full on the body but still the carbonation is too noticeable and distinct. Not bad though.
A crisp, clean Summery drop. Would like more distinct cucumber flavour for this beer to really wow the pants off me, but then does cucumber even have flavour?
Pours an odd bright, vibrant red colour, head is pale pink but nice, quite dense and sunk to a thin cloud. Leaves some interesting trails of lace behind. Slightly opaque, yeah a good kriek look.
Smells sour, with a huge belt of corporeal funk. It's more urine than anything else, really, salty and very funky with a whiff of BO. There's some cherry hiding at the back, but frankly that's just odd.
Got a bit of trepidation tasting that. And yeah, it's mostly funky with a big savoury, almost salty flavour through most of it. Slight tartness with mild cherry edge but not a lot. Really slightly bready on the mid, touch of vinegar but yeah, I'm really just thinking sweat. It's a primeval, corporeal flavour and it just doesn't sit right with my beer-drinking palate; even if I were expecting a kriek, and even if I were expecting a berliner weiss it still strikes me as odd. What it isn't though is weak, flavourless or particularly false to what it set out to achieve.
Slight fizz on the mouthfeel, sharpness from the lactic fermentation. Not a bad body.
Yeah, not offensively sour, but it's really not a beer for me.
75 / 100
Pours a cloudy opaque pale straw with a slight pinkish tinge. Some whispy head on the top and a decent ring of foamy lace left behind around the outside. Looks slightly odd, but not bad at all.
Smells very sweet and tangy, almost candy-esque, with a big fruitiness, actually lots of raspberry on there but a good touch of blueberry as well. Maybe even some pineapple? It's all fruity and tangy, anyway, and really quite nice.
Big fruit hit on the assault, lots of blueberry with a fruit skin sweet/bitter mixture as it travels to the mid. Slight grain note on the mid with a touch of wheat and yeah, fresh blueberry flavour, slight tartness with a mild banana ester from the weizen yeast. Fruity, tangy, refreshing. Interesting and well-infused palate to create all the right odd notes here and there.
Full body with a fair amount of texture, yeah nice and suits the flavour very well.
I hesitate to be unnecessarily critical, but this is a big surprise from Otway. I have grown not to expect anything decent from them and this is an odd one, but it works. Really nicely constructed beer, good job.
Pours a dark-ish cedar colour, slight pink tinge. Head is cream-coloured and retaining a thin crown, with wonderful lacing left behind. Slight haze in the glass. A bit dark for a pale ale, but the fruit influence is evident.
Smells sweet and fruity with a good belt of quince and a slight unwelcome musty note at the back; a touch of damp basement to it. It just hides at the back, though, of an otherwise quite pleasant fruity aroma.
Good fruit on the front, and it continues throughout. Quince notes come through early, slightly bitter but a good fresh edge, and it continues to the mid where it's joined by some cake-battery-esque malt, and a touch of freshly milled grain as well. Slight buttery note towards the edge and a dry finish with some fruit rind bitterness. Nutty, on the back, as well, really quite strongly.
A bit thin on the body and quite dry. Not bad though, suits the style and the slightly bitter palate.
Could throw back quite a few of these. A decent beer, I quite like it but the quince isn't doing a great deal here. It was utilised better by Bridge Road in their Saison de Coing.
46 / 100
Pours a pale peach colour, very opaque with some chunks of sediment. Head is white, with small bubbles but doesn't retain all that well. Lace is alright; not sticky though. Interesting look, but not amazing.
Smells quite herbal and spicy and fruity, some citrus with a touch of pink pepper and roasted coriander seed. Quite musty, with a touch of acidity. Could use more fruit; the mustiness takes over too early. Not bad though, overall.
Taste is quite sour and musty at first, with lots of herb notes and deep earth; some citrus rind - bitter fruit esters - on mid-palate and then taken over by an earthy and bitter finish. Touches of green tea and grain husk. Slight bready yeast note as well which is a shame, yeah overall the flavours are mildly intriguing, but nothing to write home about, and nothing I particularly enjoy.
A bit fuzzy at times, bit too viscous as well. Can be thinner with more fizz.
Yeah, not a bad beer but lacks balance and not very refreshing.
48 / 100
Pours a hazed and pale yellow white, rather reminiscent of cloudy apple juice, with a slight pinkish tinge, giving an apricot hue overall. Head is fine bubbled, but very filmy, leaving a small amount of sudsy lacing. Very odd, but not unpleasant.
Apple juice acidity on the nose, mingling with floral characters of rose and hibiscus. Something slightly more gritty and organic as well. Crushed leaves, and almost a whack of tannin. Again, not bad, but a bit unusual.
Taste is initially sweet, but it has a horrible welling of offensive organic, almost like Pride of Ringwood and bread yeast. It subsides a bit after a while, leaving it flat with a little acidity. Not particularly inspired on the palate, and getting a little towards offensive.
Meh. It's light enough that it's drinkable, but it's not a great beer all up. Too much clashing in it to be really enjoyable.
56 / 100
Pours a rich metallic gold colour with lots of steady carbonation streams through the clear body. Head is white with visible bubbles that fizzles out right from the get go of its modest beginnings. Lace is lacklustre; looks fairly bland.
Smell is quite sweet. Plenty of that Asian lager grain smell with corn and rice and a good dollop of honey character underlying. Saving grace is a nice tangy citrus note over the top with a slight coppery edge, some orange juice and kaffir lime. Not ideal, but a good nod to refreshing.
Taste is alright; most of the best flavours come through early and depart before the disappointing finish, but more on that later. Tangy notes are welcomes into the fray early on, complementing the sweet grain notes with mild orange peel and almost a medicinal toughness. Has a slight artifical bend to the zestiness, but it's not unpleasant. Now this trails off by the finish which is when that phenolic astringency comes through. Some bland grain notes with bready edge don't do much to lift the palate, and I'm left not really feeling it. Points though for continuing flavour to the end which I don't get from many Asian beers. My initial reaction is to give this palate a 3, but I'm just finding too much here - relative to the beer style and brewery region - not to mark it up a bit.
Mouthfeel is quite full with a touch too much weight. Has a sinking feeling and not enough of that visible fizz is apparent while drinking to awaken the senses.
A tad on the heavy side here. One thing that can be said for bland Asian lagers, you can smash them down very easily. This has lots of flavour by comparison but not enough good, pleasant flavour to keep me coming back.
44 / 100
Pours a pale banana-yellow colour with a foamy but filmy head of white. Minimal lacing. Body looks surprisingly thick considering the ABV, leaves some good static carbonation, and a considerable static floaties quotient. Not the best look I've had, especially from a Belgian brew, but not abominable.
Very potent artificial banana characters on the nose, like those fake banana lollies you get, or the smell of banana Paddle Pops. It has a twinge of organics to it that maybe just merely steer it towards a genuine banana flavour, but mostly it smells sweet, artificial and unimpressive.
Taste is worse, especially on the sweetness levels. Ridiculously syrupy sweet characters, which merely dip into the sickly banana note. Almost nothing else to it, although I can see where the thick body comes from now - my guess is a partial fermentation or something, because there sure is a lot of residual sugar in this. Feel is syrupy and cloying.
Blurgh. Not a beer I particularly appreciate, and not one I'd like to drink on a regular basis. The banana is artificial, and the sweetness which backs it up is unpleasantly cloying and repellent. Not a great beer.
81 / 100
Reviewed cold, but also sampled mulled.
Pours a reddish tinged yellow-brown. The still body has no head whatsoever, and no carbonation. It looks flat, but indeed unique.
Huge spicy-fruit aromas on the nose. Cloves, spiced mead, mulled wine. Sweet citrus, and even a little boozy brandy. Buttery sweet throughout; rich and amazingly complex. Cherries come through as well, but instead of being the dominant character, they just meld in with all the others. Fantastic.
Sweet, thick and coating on the palate. A delicious sweet-tart sharpness, blended with a lingering rich heat of alcohol. Spicy with cloves and cinnamon at the end. Mouthfeel is very thick - suitable, despite being flat. Very nice indeed.
An incredible beer. Very unique and very drinkable. It's nice warm too, but I prefer it chilled.
Pours a hazy yellow-orange colour, with a soda-bubbling head that fizzes and fizzles, leaving absolutely nothing whatsoever. I looks like a soft drink. Extremely flat and empty, and thin and sugary. I'm unimpressed.
Nose is hugely sweet and citrussy, almost indistinguishable from Fanta. OK, perhaps it is a little more genuinely fruity than Fanta, but jeez it's not far off. Little else. It's weak, sweet and insipid.
Taste is unfortunate, even given the nose. Initial faint tangerine character on the front, which gets muted and then smashed by a grainy wheat acidity that is just different enough from the citrus acidity to throw the whole palate off balance. Very light feel, not even with the carbonation you expect for the sweetness. Finish is dichotomously weak and cloying.
Very unpleasant beer this one. It's not a refreshing fruit beer, it's an unfortunate and insipid one. Very little to recommend it, even if you're a fan of the style.
I can get Rogue in Australia, but this one never really gripped me enough to buy it for the exorbitant import price. But I was always curious so thought while in America, it was worth trying it out.
Pours a very clear light golden colour, with a fine-bubbled head of white. Lacing is extremely good, even if it sticks in obviously large bubbles around the glass. Looks decent enough.
Nose is really rather sweet, with an almost sickly malted grain cloyingness and a whiff of overripe apples. Nothing much of anything else, except a lingering butteriness that affixes itself to the sweetness and makes it seem worse.
Taste is weird, and confronting. Big welling of slightly corny sweetness, more of that faint apple aroma and a hint of something that could be spicy. Oh, it's such an unpleasant flavour - something that just rankles me, rubs me in completely the wrong way. Maybe I just really despite Soba, but in the beer, it's horrid. Feel is light enough, but doesn't do anything to protect against the rank flavours on the palate.
Oh, horrible, horrible. I can see that this is a beer that's likely to polarise opinion, but it has me firmly on the side of despising it. The sweetness is cloying and unpleasant, almost like the juice from a garbage bin. Maybe some people like this flavour. I think it's repugnant.
I'm so pleased I only spent the US price on this and not the AU price. It doesn't work for me at all - indeed I find it truly offensive - be warned that there is the rank possibility that you will hate this.
11 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Why did I even buy this? I know it's going to be terrible. Sigh, at least now I'll have an informed opinion about it.
Pours a very pale, very clear yellow colour, with a fine-bubbled but filmy head of white which sits in a collar around the edge. Leaves some decent lacing, but I can't get over the fact it looks like every other generic Australian lager, and indeed, worst than most.
Nose is shandy-sweet, with just flavours of lemonade and sugar, with an oddly rank, almost salty or seawater character lingering at the back. Smells like the sort of beer Tony Abbott would drink.
Taste is absolutely dreadful. Seriously, seriously awful. Initially, it tastes of nothing, but there are strains of lemon-lime soda mid-palate that try desperately to overwhelm the welling of Carlton yeast-stock and a twang of something sharp, medicinal or chemical. Blurgh. Feel is thin and light, giving little help in any direction.
This is really, really terrible. Not satisfied with giving us unpleasantly bland lagers, Carlton have thrust this unholy chimera upon us, that seeks to veil its horrible base in something sweet and whimsical. But it ends up worse than when it started. Truly appalling.
Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst.
Pours a deep coppery golden colour with a good creamy film of off white bubbles. Lacing is solid. Looks good.
Sharp phenols with something slightly sweet on the nose. Perhaps some green apple crsipness, with a slight medicinal/pine hop note. A little odd, a little unexpected. But not unpleasant.
Taste is quite odd. Initial crisp malt gives way to floury cider apples, with a light phenolic bitterness on the back. With the cider sweetness, the bitterness is unwelcome. I'd prefer a little acidity or just a husky dryness, but it's not bad. Mouthfeel is surprisingly syrupy with a tingle of carbonation.
Overall, its a little too odd for my tastes, but I love anyone who pushes the envelope. It's drinkable enough, but it's not the Genesis of an exciting new style.
Pours a bright golden colour, with a big fluffy head of beaten egg-white. Lacing is excellent. Looks pretty good overall.
Huge stonefruit aromas on the nose. Masses of overripe peach, apricot with flashes of kiwifruit. Very jammy and sweet, almost to excess. Very odd.
Quite a disappointingly weak palate. To my mind, with such a strong fruit sweetness on the nose, it needs a cutting edge of hop bitterness (obviously not right for the style), or a penetrating lambic sour character. This has neither - just the patina of stonefruit sweetness, with a light lingering acidity. Mouthfeel is thin.
This is very odd overall. Too sweet and too unbalanced. It needs way more body and something else robust to counteract the fruit. I find it far too cloying.
Pours a golden colour, with medium white head that sinks steadily, and quite dense. Bead is strong, moderate speed and kind of cool. Lace is minimal, quite thin but seems sticky. Fairly good for what it be.
Nose is tangy, with an artificial citrus character, fairly lemon-sherbet-esque, with none of the bitter rind kind of aroma you get from citric hops, just very sweet with a slight bit of zest. Delivers what it promises, I guess, but I feel the 'lemon and/or lime' character can be better delivered and smell less like corn syrup.
Taste is quite zesty and sweet again. Flavours of lemon and lime as you imagine them in candy form. Does take a slightly sour turn towards the mid - more like actual citrus flavour, but this is sadly overtaken by a bit of a yeasty character, slightly doughy and a bit stale. Finish is very dry, with a slight vinous character like a rosé or similarly sugar-coated faux-wine travesty.
Feel does have a nice sharp tingle from the bubbles, makes it refreshing but also adds to the soft drink effect of this.
As it goes, it's probably one of the better Radler beers, but that's like saying you're one of the gentler Nazis. Would I be so proud and protective of this brew that I'd try and trademark the word "Radler"? Of course not. I mean, seriously, get over yourselves, DB.
Pours a pale golden colour, with enormous off-white head, thanks in part to glassware design, but it sinks in a nice uneven way, leaves a nice thick web of lace. Slow bead, looks pretty good, although I might like more haze? Maybe it's just the use of the word "wheat" in the name.
Smell is intense with very rich ingrained fruit syrup aroma. Smell is very sweet and fragrant, with an almost resiny depth to it. Slight tartness as well saves it from over-saccharine character. Pretty good, actually.
Taste is unusual, particularly the finish, but I'll get to that later. Tastes first of that apricot flavour, slightly artificial in its sweetness, then a bit tart on the mid, but also quite watery. Just a slight sour hint in an otherwise bland and thin mid-palate. Finish has more typical bitterness, with a dank hoppy character and a slight cloying yeast flavour, plus more of that resiny fruit syrup character. All OK but less fruity than I might like or expect.
Mouthfeel is disturbingly thin and doesn't have a lot of body at all. A bit sticky which is OK but it's predominantly pretty thin.
Drinkable enough, but not very.
2 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Pours very fizzy, masses of algal bubbles all around the edge of the glass, beer is very pale gold with white head that sinks and looks meringue-like, all webbed out. Leaves some specks of lacing but not much. For what it is, it looks alright - fizzy and pale. Not very beer-y though.
Nose is an unpleasant affair, which delivers what it promises in lime and salt, but without any other ingredients to back it up. It's not sweet from malt, and some light hopping could really accentuate the citric character. Instead, it's got a mineral character, metallic and quite funky. Smells more like stomach acid than citric acid and not in the least bit like beer.
Oh my FUCKING CHRIST. I will personally petition BA to introduce a 0 rating exclusively for use in reviewing the taste of this beer. Starts out unpleasant. Gets worse. Gets exponentially worse after that.
Okay, in clearer terms: Insipid, watery lime flavour on the front, more like an artificial lime lolly than a genuine tart citrus fruit character. Salt takes over, and it begins to taste like pool water (I believe I've swallowed enough of that in my childhood to know what it tastes like). Then - oh horror of horros - an increasinly intense Carlton Draught bread yeast character comes through blaringly loud and fast, blending in the most appalling way with that disgusting salt to form the most putrescent flavour imaginable, like kindergarten glue or something, doughy and salty. This is a flavour straight from the anus of Hell.
Feel, need I even say it? Shit. No impression, no fizz, just wet and cold.
What a festering stink this travesty is. This is not beer, it's a lowest-common-denominator marketing tool aimed at credulous simpletons who would drink sheep piss laced with arsenic if it had a CUB logo on the bottle. I only bought this to give as a gag gift to my brother, and luckily for him and my conscience he didn't take it home. Jeffrey Dahmer wouldn't be able to stomach this, and even he doesn't deserve to have this inflicted upon him.
The big joke is, the cocks at Carlton are clearly just trying to emulate the limited and unjustified success of the worst beer concept there is - Miller Chill. And they've made it WORSE.
I can't drainpour this quickly enough.
Swirled to release the sediment, this pours a cloudy pale golden-straw colour, with an initially frothy head of white foam, that subsides quickly to a ring of film. Lacing is noticeably poor. Otherwise, it looks like a pretty decent wit.
Lightly tart notes of green apple peel on the nose, with some sweet citrus and herbaceous freshness. Really very fragrant and refreshing, quite sweet, but the acidity cuts through it nicely.
Smooth, sudsy wheat acidity, with a lightly herbal midpalate, and apple peel on the back. Extremely clean and refreshing, certainly not too sweet. It does lack depth and length, but for a slugging beer like this that's almost a plus. Mouthfeel is thin but crisp.
I like that this is not overblown with sweetness. It has the fruit acidity and character, but it's blended with a pleasant wit base, leaving it clean and crisp, not heavy or sickly. This is a fruit beer done pretty well - the apples lend some extra character to an already decent beer, but don't dominate the flavour.
42 / 100
Very nice, rich, pastel red with good thick head that sinks with visible bubbles to a fairly thin one. Not bad, very ripe and fruity.
Nose has... what's this? A hint of raspberry on a raspberry beer? Yeah, it's really a hint rather than a whallop. Isn't really much to this. Not really impressive.
Yes, quite a sour raspberry flavour. It's quite unpleasant but an interesting drop. In the sense that beers that taste like nothing but raspberry are interesting. There's very little to this, just the fruitiness, slightly soft drinky. I certainly wouldn't drink it, in fact I'd rather drink cyanide, but this tastes better than cyanide, and gets you drunk instead of dead.
Mouthfeel pretty thin, little bit of fizz but it's not enjoyable sizzling just a bit tartaric. A bit too tart to drink all the time, and of course far too simple to be considered a great beer.
Pours a vaguely pink, vaguely cloudy orange, with a big crackling head of yellow-tinged foam. Some good lacing, and lots of vigorous carbonation. Pretty nice looking.
Strong strawberry characters on the nose, with a noticeable carbonic sour note, possibly from the wheat used in the brew. Certainly something acidic in there, and I doubt it's from the strawberries.
Sweet entry, lots of strawberry fruit - lots of residual sugar, so I imagine the fruit is added post-fermentation. Back palate dries out quite quickly leaving a strong copper metallic character - it's quite refreshing really, and doesn't leave the heavy sugars on the tongue, which is nice. Mouthfeel is surprisingly slick and smooth, considering the carbonation. It glides nicely without being too thick.
Not a bad fruit beer. Balanced, enjoyable and drinkable.
Coppery brown colour, a lot of head when poured, doesn't hang around though. Little bit of lacing. No carbonation. Not too bad, what I'd expect from a berry beer.
A bit sour with berry hints. Not very pungent, pretty watery actually. Pretty much again what I'd expect for a berry beer, only subdued even further. Not much wheat or beer on this nose.
Taste is much improved, a lot of flavour which isn't quite as sour as your average fruit beer. Lots of fruit on it, with a genuine raspberry flavour, not some artificial or sweetened imitation. Sadly, that raspberry is the only real flavour. The palate is long and quite well-balanced between sour, sweet and bitter, but it's still very simple. Could use more dry hopping, just a bit, to remind one that it's beer.
56 / 100
Pale golden colour with voluminous snowy head when first poured, head is not very dense though so departs quite quickly, steady lagery bead and not much lacing to speak of. Not that great, but it's what I was expecting.
Nose is really quite awful, to be perfectly honest. It's kind of an unfortunate mélange of aromas, none of which stands out, but there is a distinct artificial apple ester on the nose but it's uncomfortably blended with a sour character which just makes it smell like off fruit. If I'm to be perfectly honest, it has a kind of vomit aspect to it. It's not that intense and so it's passable, but it really doesn't bode well for the drinking.
Taste has the same characters, but the major distinction is that they're blended better. In fact the palate is really quite well constructed. The vomitous nose hits you on first sipping but it dissipates into the distinctly apple flavour which is nevertheless subtle and uniquely bitter (unlike Floris Apple, which of course just tastes like apple juice). The finish is a light, refreshing bitterness that is a bit of a surprise but very, very welcome. It makes the whole thing palatable, crisp and really quite drinkable. The palate is quite a reasonable length, largely thanks to the bittering hops which just announce themselves on the mid-palate but stick around for the finale. Full, rounded mouthfeel that is kind of like having cotton wool in your mouth, in the most pleasant sense.
Overall, this is a brave, polarising kind of brew with unique characters and a very refreshing feel to it. All I can really say is, thank God it's Unibroue who made this one, because they really handle a potentially god-awful beer with an expert touch.
70 / 100
Pale yellow colour with steady carbonation. Not much head although there was for a while. It dissipates. Not great, but acceptable.
Very floral on the nose. Literally, floral. Like a garden in springtime. Quite sweet and very fragrant, but simple. There's a one-smell fragrance to it.
Wow, taste is amazing, and singlehandedly restores the credibility of the Moa brewery. It's tangy and light and has an almost rosewater character to it. It's very tangy and citrusy but has a flowery spring-like character and texture. It is very like how a "harvest" beer should taste, however that is. Mouthfeel is a bit sharp but otherwise fine.
An interesting brew with a pleasant feel to it. Very drinkable. Frankly, Moa should abolish their wheat beer and just brew this instead.
74 / 100
Vaguely cloudy yellow body with a thin pure white head. Lots of streaming carbonation. Looks pretty nice.
Nose is amazingly powerful of citrus and sugar. Hints of lavender, cherry and kaffir lime leaf. It's like a sherbet lemon. Quite flavoursome, very fragrant, fresh and delicious. Great smelling brew.
Taste is very similar to the nose. Sweet citrus characters a hint of rubber and crushed vegetation, even a flavour of olive oil or rosewater; something exotic. It's quite bizarre, but I like it a lot. Mouthfeel quite uplifting.
This is a really pleasant, drinkable beer. I'm really surprised I liked it so much.
Pours a dark brown amber hue with a little bit of beige head. Very good lacing, thick and sticky.
Acrid wine characters on the nose. Lots of floral hops make this an odd hybrid of nice bitter/red wine. Quite good though, I certainly rate it.
Front palate has a hint of caramel, good hops follow in later. However, overall the palate is a bit short and a bit watery. The flavours are there and the flavours are good but there's not enough of them. Mouthfeel is likewise a bit watery, like you can feel the flavours there but then once you've swallowed it's like "Did I just drink that, or what?" you just can't tell.
Drinkable though, and like I said the flavours are good. I just want more of them, dammit!
59 / 100
Found at Porters Liquor, Pyrmont.
First impressions are that I love the label. Reminds be of the US craft brews I see in BA magazine but never get a chance to try. What a shame.
Pours a clear, pinkish-orange colour, with some pretty good, white fine-bubbled foam. Lots of streaming carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Definite raspberry characters on the nose, but it's quite herbal, almost like raspberry leaf rather than the fruit itself. Hints of green tea and almost a cidery character too. It's interesting.
Taste is a remarkable letdown. Initial hint of raspberries is swamped almost immediately by the MSB yeast-stock character. Touches of acidity, but not at all in the manner of a fruit lambic - it's more of a carbonic acidity, like soda water.
Also tastes rather like it's quite heavily hopped, although why they would do such a thing to a fruit beer is beyond me. (Although, I guess, they are mad right?) It might, in fact, be some other element, not hops, but there's certainly a bitter character there. Mouthfeel is quite light and spritzy. It's suitable.
It's not great, but it's different. And overall it's pretty drinkable. Hopefully the Mad brewers at the Shovel will think of something different to brew next though...
Pinkish copper body. Highly carbonated, with a very pale pink head. Already looks like it could be quite refreshing.
Slightly fishy heavy fruit nose. A little bit sour, but mostly overwhelmed with syrupy raspberry.
A little sour on the palate, but with a general sweet fruit taste. Ends up tasting like a raspberry muffin more like the fresh fruit. Sweet, yeasty breadiness, but with that sour sweetness always permeating. It ends up tasting a little like a generic pale by the end, despite the presence of the raspberry. Mouthfeel quite suitable, the carbonation adds to the refreshing nature.
It's pretty drinkable, and quite enjoyable, to be perfectly honest, even if I say it was a guilty pleasure. Pretty refreshing, and suitable as a "summer" beer. (Although I preferred the Berliner Weisse they had on as their summer seasonal last year).