60 / 100
330ml can purchased for me by Sam. Probably from Slowbeer, but who knows. BB date of November 2019, so plenty of time left on it.
Pours a rather deep golden colour, heading towards a pale bronze, with a thin, but coarse head of white that sits in a ring, leaving limited lace, and also not really persisting very well. Body is light, but with a sheen to it. It looks okay, but not much more than okay.
Nose is rather pleasant. It has a bright, fruit-forward hop character, that gives it a rounded, sweet quality. It's more juicy than I expected, certainly. It's also fairly light, with a thin, sugary note giving a suggestion of booze, which isn't quite right for such a light beer. But the hops mostly take the vanguard and cover up for other weaknesses.
Taste is reasonable. Again there's hop character on the front, and this provides fruit flavours without too much bitterness. There's a slight crystal or biscuit grain character through the centre, which does its best to bolster the body (even though it also detracts somewhat from the hops). But in the end, the body falters a little—it's smooth enough on the back, but it's also hard to deny that there's a lightness that comes from the lack of alcohol.
Overall, it's a drinkable, if fairly straightforward pale ale. The hop bill is good though, and it's used to good advantage. It feels a little bit though as though the rest of the beer is just struggling to keep up its end of the bargain.
375ml can purchased for me by Sam. Freshness date of March 2019
Pours a clear golden orange colour, with a very thin ring of white forming a head. Little streaks of lace. Body has a bit more heft than a standard pale ale, but it still looks supple and light—around about what a 6% ABV beer should look like. Carbonation is fine, and moderated. Looks decent.
Nose is pleasantly bright and hoppy, but backed with a fairly well made malt structure that gives it a little more volume and depth. The hops are the main event though, with a slightly sharper than the average tone to them. They're mostly based around citrus, but with a slight tweak towards pine.
Taste is definitely a little more malt-focused than I perhaps expected. There's a savoury character from the malt that takes in the grain notes, but almost feels toasty or slightly salty—odd in a beer like this. The hops do provide flavour though, with more sweet citrus on the front. But they also don't provide a lot of bitterness, which leaves the malt doing the heavy lifting on the back palate.
Feel is fine in the moth, with a firm frothy character from the carbonation.
It's a fine beer—solid and just a little bit uninteresting, which seems to be Balter's MO. You can always rely on a consistent, dependable beer from them (and some fine, stark branding). I'll be ready when they really decide to push the envelope.
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam for my 2018 advent calendar. Reviewed blind
Pours a pretty clear solid golden colour, with a filmy white head the sets thin and flat across the glass, but manages to leave some decent lace. Carbonation is fine and fairly languid, although the body looks rather light. Looks decent enough, but a bit middling.
Nose is only okay. It has a disappointingly flat and empty aroma to it, which provides no base to what's otherwise some seemingly fresh hop notes. The hops are there, trying hard—but without anything to back them up, they turn weirdly savoury. It has a character like Pizza Shapes. It's maybe actually a touch of oxidation to it. I'm unimpressed, anyway.
Yeah, taste backs this up, although it actually doesn't have much of an oxidation character here—so I suspect it's just a bit bland. It's extremely light bodied—but not in a crisp lager/brut IPA way, more like empty sugar water. There are suggestions of hops around the outside, but they're exceedingly weak, leaving more of a tropical essence than any real flavour. It's a little bit like flavoured soda water that someone has dissolved a teaspoon of Splenda in.
Feel is weak, but it has a surprising roundness to it as well. That doesn't really help it though.
Yeah, I'm not a fan, and to be honest, I'm finding it rather offputting all up. It's weak and flat, and the hop characters don't have anything to hold onto. A bit of a mess, to be honest, and not something I want to drink a lot of.
330ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of my 2018 Advent Calendar.
Pours a very pale, exceptionally clear yellow gold colour, with a very frothy white head that crackles down but still persists as a firm cap. Minimal lacing though, and the body is very light. Lots of swift carbonation. Looks refined, if a bit simple.
Nose is quite pleasant. It has an odd coconut character to it, which makes it smell a bit like it's oak-aged. But there's a pleasant green hop character as well which livens it up. It's not quite tropical—that would go very nicely with the coconut note, but instead provides a counterpoint. It's nice stuff.
Taste is quite similar. It's got a crisp, light body, which doesn't give it a strong canvas to work with, but the coconut and hop characters provide a pleasant balance. The back does have a slight vegetative quality—again, I think the hops aren't quite the fruity mix I'd choose to put in here, but it does pleasantly punctuate the finish.
Feel is very light. It helps the drinkability, but it also suggests that the beer is designed to be fairly mild. Which it is.
Overall, it's nice enough. The coconut is the main distinguishing feature. I think otherwise it would be a fairly straightforward pale ale.
69 / 100
Cloudy amber colour with huge whispy head. Too whispy, let's be honest, and too big, let's be honest again. Maybe a touch too cloudy too, makes me wonder what its hiding.
Smells zesty and pleasant. Maybe a touch pithy with the acidic character that goes along with that. But a nice fresh aroma backing up as well, which softens it quite a lot. Not much else to it though but the bitterness has a nice distinctiveness to it.
Taste is a fair bit maltier than I expected which helps that citric bitterness develop and take on some new interesting characters. Grapefruity upfront with some mandarin character to it, it builds in a big malt-based bitterness towards the back almost in an IIPA kind of way, and then the back develops some candied citrus peel, sultana and glace cherry kind of character on the finish. I don't think these are adjunct-caused but just interesting developments from the malt and hop bills. It's more interesting than the aroma and appearance give it credit for.
Mouthfeel is a little busy for me with a fair pull from the hops, ends up drier than it perhaps should.
Drinks well; quite strong in the hop stakes but some good padding from the malt base that also helps develop complexities in other areas. Not a ground breaker but very solid and interesting for the size.
75 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pale orangey-golden colour with solid hazing. Decent body to it for what it is. Head is voluminous, forming a large frothy crest at the start that settles into big chunky islands of off-white foam. Some spotty lacing. Looks decent.
Nose is very pleasant. It has a sharp fruitiness, with hints of guava and grapefruit. It's definitely citrus heavy, with the zesty characters taking the dominant role. This is probably a little older than is ideal for the style, and it has taken on a slight dusty, grassy character as well, but it's not nearly enough to really harm it, In fact, it adds a dusky balance which is quite pleasant.
Taste is also pretty good. Again, it's based around citrus, with an orange zest character providing the main note. It has a slight bitterness at the back which melds with perhaps a touch of oxidation to give a slight note of ash and rubber. But it's only slight. The body is fairly light, and the carbonation is high, which provides something of a airiness to it.
Still, it's very tasty all up, and it's the sort of thing I could see myself drinking a lot of. at 5.8% as well, it's almost close to sessionable. It has a lot of the bolder flavours you'd get in a beer that would knock you out. It packs a punch even so.
8 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
375ml can purchased down somewhere local to the brewery, given to me courtesy of some locals. BB date of May 2019, so almost a year away.
Pours a very pale golden colour, with almost perfect clarity. Head is a very loose cap of white the fizzes and disappears like cola. Body is very light, with some surprisingly languid carbonation. It looks a bit undercooked, but not bad.
Nose is disappointing. There's a sweaty grain character which dominates everything else—it's particularly disappointing, because there does some to be fruitiness as well from the hops. But it's steamrolled by that wet grain note and a flat floury character. Also, the hops aren't dominant, but they lend a sweetness which just feeds into this flabby disappointment.
Taste is pretty unpleasant. There's more of that mouldy grain character, along with an almost rotten yeast flavour which sits along the back of the palate. It tastes like Carlton Draught that's spent the weekend in an ashtray. There's little body through the centre, but also a weird spike of sweetness on the back the provides this suggestion of honey before collapsing into a flat, floury finish that tastes like cardboard.
Feel is flat—it burned out all of its carbonation in forcing that soda-like head at the start, meaning that after a while it's just dead.
This is honestly pretty unpleasant. It's a shame, and I hate to rag on a small Aussie brewery, but this just isn't up to scratch.
72 / 100
Tried on tap at GABS Sydney, after learning it was 'unscratched' for the Sydney festival (but was scratched in Melbourne).
Pours a pale gold colour with white head, foamy rim. Slight lace on it. Looks alright.
Smells pretty good. Nice hopping on it with a big rich pink lady apple aroma with some citrus tang. Mandarin, grapefruit, touch of sweet orange. Not much else to it but much better than expected.
Drinks alright. The hopping is quite prominent so it covers any nasty byproducts i might expect from the sorghum, or whatever is the base here. Develops a nice zesty fruity mid that's mostly citric and tangy, some mild spice notes linger on the back. That's like a slightly different pale ale, like a rye one. It's slightly different and very good.
Decent texture; a bit foamy. Not much, but what I'd expect.
I'm really impressed. It's a very nice beer; it's so much better, knowing it's gluten-reduced and the degree of difficulty is so much higher. Admittedly it's not gluten-free which is virtually impossible to make nice, but it's ultimately just a pleasant drop of beer.
Can drunk at the Customs House Hotel Restaurant in Hobart with colleagues to celebrate a client job well done.
Pours a pale gold colour with steady swarm of thin bead throughout the glass. Head is quite effervescent with good retention, little bit sparse on the top. Looks pretty decent, good solid head.
Smells hoppy. Sharp citrus note, with some dank resinous character around the edge. Touch of apple, peach but mostly lemon and grapefruit. The malt - whatever it is - is subtle and purely functional here. Could be a light IPA as it's a bit off-balance for a SMASH.
Tastes a little better balanced. Good caramelised malt base with a touch of bread grain and a hint of honey. Hop is subtler, giving a few tropical flourishes of peach and mango, and a slight grapefruit bitterness on the back. Mildly herbal notes as well. Somewhat unexciting really, but not such a bad thing; good balance for drinkability.
Mouthfeel is smooth enough with not much texture really. Helps the balance that it's not rough on the back.
Drinks well; good hop character that's well tamed. SMASH can obviously bombard and be one note so used more subtly it's quite effective here.
57 / 100
Can given to me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a deep amber orange colour, with a thin head of off-white that mainly remains as a ring around the edge of the glass. Good body, with some fine carbonation. Minimal, thin streaks of lace.
Nose is weirdly toasty, smelling darker than it is, and only brightened a little by a dull orange note. Some barley sugar sweetness, and a crushed leaf organic note, but it's lacking punch, and lacking the juiciness promised by the style name. It's possible that it's old.
Taste is again weirdly laced with unexpected characters. I get cocoa this time, especially on the back. There's some stewed orange on the front, and a tight bitterness in the middle. Back is quite clean. Feel is extremely light.
Overall, it's drinkable, but in this state it's far from great. I suspect that it's old at best. At the worst, it's just specifically dull.
59 / 100
Day 19 of my 2017 Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a cloudy, hazy pale orange colour. Pleasant looking head; tightly packed white bubbles forming a thin crown of sea foam. Lacing is decent; looks generally quite decent.
Smells hoppy, and pleasant. Not much to it; some stonefruit and citrus notes with a fair pithy, mildly resinous bitterness. Slightly woody too; touch of caramel malt but yeah, simple and unpretentious.
Taste has a lot more oomph than I was expecting; Patrician gravitas that is. Starts with a nice caramel malt that turns very earthy very quickly; the hops come on with a big wallop of flavour that packs a big, rindy grapefruity punch. Trails off leaving a slight astringency lingering, really quite dank and turns mildly dour. Yeah it seems to pack that punch but instead it's pulled back on the freshness, so it's all quite rindy and ascerbic. Impressive but not inspiring.
Has a nice texture to it; at least it's lively but with a good malt base to cushion it. Quite dry, puckering almost, on the back.
Drinks quite heavily; I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the 8 or 9% range for booze, but it may also just be too light-bodied for the level of hops they've got in there. Nice enough flavours but just too much whack and not enough gentle fondling.
60 / 100
A "New England Pale Ale". Can gifted to me by Jez for Christmas, enjoyed by myself on New Years.
Pours a hazy pale gold colour with furious bead in the body. Head is visibly a bit too much when poured and a bit sparse, as it sinks quite quickly leaving very little residual lace. Body looks alright; head needs work.
Smells fairly pleasant; bit of resin that's quite sharp and solventy, but a decent fruity freshness behind it, delivering passionfruit and peach aromas. Very light touch of grain, yeah it's on par with what it promised, which is pretty good.
Taste is a little lacklustre. Starts fairly tangy with some tropical and stonefruit characters, light cereal grain note as well with a touch of caramel. Very thin on the mid-palate, with a residual apple-esque fruit character and then a slight citric bitterness late-mid without much finish. It really tastes like they've dialled back the hops in order to lower bitterness but the whole back palate is lacking character as a result. Needs more late-boil hops I feel.
Texture is foamy, slightly bitty. Actually quite pleasant. A big bitter finish could really send this to overdrive, in a bad way. As it is it's got more presence than the palate deserves.
Drinks fine; some nice characters and because it's a bit deficient in flavour it's unexciting but quaffable.
59 / 100
Silver pint can purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pleasant, slightly hazed golden colour, with a frothy head of white that crackles down to a sturdy film, leaving good streaks of lace. Carbonation is swift and voluminous, rushing up through the light body. Looks very good.
Nose is quite pleasant. Some mild, but bright fruit giving a sort of zesty orange character, mingled with some cut herbal aromas. It does have a grassiness to it, which turns the herbal character towards the earthy—flat leafed parsley and some fennel. It's nice though.
Taste is a lot lighter. There's just a faint, watery hint of that orange character from the nose, tasting like very weak cordial. Otherwise, it has a rather carbonic, seltzer character, and a faint earthy bitterness on the back. There's really not a lot to it on the palate.
Feel is quite nice, with a fine spritz of carbonation.
It's drinkable enough, and it's not badly made. But it's really quite dull, especially in the flavour. It's fine as a base beer. Perhaps it's just the starting point.
46 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a very pleasant pale golden colour, with a frothy, persistent head of broad-bubbled white. Carbonation is coarse and swift. Lacing forms in minor clumps. All up it looks pretty decent.
Nose is only so good. There's a faint, generic hop character, but it takes on more of an apple note than anything, slightly peely and old. There's a touch of lemon to it as well, which is a nicer note, but it's kind of lost. It's only okay.
Taste is perhaps slightly less appealing. There's a pronounced grain character that comes through (surprising for such a light beer), mingling with a coarse, woody bitterness that reminds me a bit too much of Pride of Ringwood.
Feel is frothy with carbonation.
Look, it's not an awful beer, but it's pretty bland, and it's honestly one of those beers which feels like it's doing a disservice to Australian craft beer in general. If it were the best offering from a brewery, I'd believe the brewery would have a hard time surviving. But Holgate do much better beers than this.
330ml can purchased for me by Sam for Xmas.
Pours a relatively clear yellow colour, with an almost gushing head of rocky, frothy white, that sits atop glass like a cone. Once it settles, there's a few splodges of chunky lace. Carbonation is extremely vivacious, flooding the glass with large bubbles. It works for the beer, but it's on the verge of being untenable.
Nose is pleasant—bright passionfruit character drives it, but it's a bit of a one-trick pony. The malt is clearly clean and neutral, designed to provided a basis for the beer and nothing more. The hops might be there, but it's very easy to ascribe all of the characters to the actual passionfruit. I suspect the hops account for the mild grassiness.
Taste is also light, easy drinking, and almost 100% designed around the passionfruit. But it's well-made to have that possible. The malt steps almost entirely to the side, leaving the fruit to press its aromatics on the palate. It's not overly sweet, but there's certainly a skew that way, and a noticeable dearth of bitterness. Still, I like that they've managed to achieve this.
It's a drinkable, refreshing brew. It's fairly straightforward in terms of flavour profile, but there's complexity and skill required to get it that way. I would happily sink a few of these on a hot day.
Day 18 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a golden colour with prominent bead up the middle. Head is white, decent when poured but fizzed out to just a rim of thin lacing foam. Looks fairly bland; beery but production line-esque.
Smells odd; tangy and distinctly sherbety. Tartaric acid, with a touch of candy sweetness turning it kind of musky. A hint of granny smith apples and a big vanilla overtone too that turns almost oaky but in an overly French and buttery kind of way. I'm mildly intrigued but more put off by the sweetness.
Taste is very sweet and grainy and nothing. Yeah that vanilla bean note on the front is dominant but without being robust, it's just the preponderous character in a fairly lacklustre potpourri. Develops a touch of butterscotch diacetyl late-mid, with some light fruity esters playing around the edge, and the back is all watery adjunct characters with a forced carbonation sizzle and carbolic acidity flavour to it. It's not complex and yet it manages to cram a fair depth of unpleasant flavours into this bland package.
Mouthfeel is thin, like I said has the texture of sodastream - dry and watery and with an astringent pucker that feels very dehydrating. Terrible.
Look I'll be nice and say they may have been aiming for something intriguing yet lagery and drinkable, and they've failed, rather than suggest that the whole concept is off the rails from the get-go, but it just doesn't feel like there's good intentions here. It's adjuncty and cheap-tasting, with a thoughtless and haphazard palate construction.
On tap at GABS Sydney, from the brewery marketplace stall. India Session Ale, classified here as an APA because.
Pours a pale gold colour, steady bead. Head is off-white, foamy and nice. Cloudy too. Looks good.
Smells hoppy and pleasant. Distinct whiff of Galaxy and new world hops generally. Fruity and dry. Nothing but hops in there on this light body, but refreshing and nice.
Taste is malty upfront, some caramel notes. Yeasty, slightly, on the middle palate before the hops come through on the finish, fruity and dry, somewhat bitter. Dry and a bit thin, but quite pleasant overall. Sessionable for sure.
Thin, bit of body to it on the back but feels mostly like hop solution rather than a nice malty wurt.
Decent session IPA. Drinks well.
On tap at GABS Sydney from the marketplace stall.
Pours a golden-yellow colour, cloudy somewhat. Head is off-white, almost beige. Foamy, creamy lacing. Looks great.
Smells of citra; hoppy but mostly just sweet fruit juice. Light, not a lot of substance. Kinda creamy.
Taste has very creamy malt upfront thanks to the mouthfeel. Somewhat biscuity malty in character, then develops some apple notes and citric hop character. Dry but fruity, with a very light bitterness but enough to cleanse it up. Sessionable, kind of thin as well.
Fuzzy, full and creamy mouthfeel. I wish there were more hop sharpness on the palate because this body could handle it.
Sessionable and smooth; not as exciting as it could be even within the style guidelines, but not bad for sure.
59 / 100
Day 8 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar curated by Jez. Reviewed blind; it's important to note that while you read my review of this passionfruit-adjunct summer ale given how many times I reference passionfruit in it. It's really, really obvious.
Pours a pale gold, slightly hazy, with overly effervescent head, huge and white and foamy; retains a little too much too, looks like big whipped egg whites, leaving some mild specks of lace behind. Looks fine, a little too much bubbling though for sure, and I can't blame storing it sideways, as I haven't been.
Smells of passionfruit seeds. Big fruity, tropical character but predominantly driven by passionfruit. Hint of banana, guava, but mostly, if I didn't mention this already, passionfruit. And hey, I'm fine with a nice passiony aroma, but I feel I just need to pad out this review with repeated passionfruit references because there's very little there besides it.
Taste is... hmm guess what it tastes like? Go on, have a guess. Yes I assume you said passionfruit and you'd be right. It's tangy, tropical, with a bit of a round, fruity sweetness on the mid-palate that then turns mildly bitter towards the back. Certainly some pull on the back, from carbonation and hopping, that is a little bit harsh through the light body. Not a lot of malt presence on the palate either, it's kind of noticeable because it's not too harsh upfront, but it's not really present in flavour form and the back is all tangy, fruity hops. Honestly it kind of tastes like grown-up Passiona. Which is not a bad thing but it's very one-note and unnuanced.
Drinks like a fruity summer ale, and I suspect summer appears in the name or the style. It's quite thin, so the big selling point of this being very drinkable is kind of diminished by how harsh the fizz is. It's decent.
70 / 100
On tap at the East Sydney hotel to kick off Sydney Beer Week 2017.
Pours a pale gold with steady stream of bead. Head is white, foamy and dense with good tight retention. Lacing is nice. Looks good but has a strange look of really manufactured beer, like it's too perfect. Need dem flaws to remind me it's a real beer.
Smells nice. Hoppy but light, with a slight dry yeasty character as well. Citrus and stonefruit, peach and apricot. Very slight nuttiness as well. Dry and clean; very appealing for a day like this.
Taste is good too; zesty, tangy citric hops throughout, especially on the front. Doesn't get a big fruity note because it's quite dry midway, and gets a little metallic tint before it. The finish is dry, mildly yeasty but not bready or anything, just lightly fizzy and herbal and refreshing. Pretty decent XPA; good hop character and decent clean finish.
Drinks pretty nicely. Slight fizz on the back and mildly bitty. Little thin and carbonated but fine for the style.
Yeah a good starter; nice tang but good refreshing dry finish.
71 / 100
355ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of the 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar.
Pours a pleasant pale golden colour, brilliantly clear, with a fine white head that sticks around as a firm ring and some film across the top. Carbonation is relatively fine, but swift. There's also not a lot of it. Looks pretty decent all the same.
Nose is lovely. Nice bright hoppiness complemented with a light, but relatively firm malt presence that gives off a little honey. Hops are all sweet citrus, with a touch of floral aroma to them. It's a nice smelling beer.
Taste is much lighter, and the malt here is more prominent. Firm structure of semi-savoury, almost cracker biscuit grain through the centre of the palate, with breaths of hops on the front and back. At the start, it's bright and sharp, with a slight grassiness, but on the back it dips into a deep marmalade sweetness, which is unexpected but very pleasant.
Feel is a bit too light, and weirdly it has a strong hit of carbonation, which I can feel but not see.
Overall, it's pretty good. There are just a couple of things that concern me a bit about it, but it's solidly made, and the hop character in particular is very nice.
72 / 100
On tap at Jack Greene at Salamanca Wharf. I had retired from reviewing for the night but my boss insisted on me reviewing this for some reason.
Pours a dusky amber colour, fairly cloudy. Head is beige, thin cloud but retaining with pretty decent lacing to it. Looks alright.
Smells tangy and pleasant. Mandarin, lemon and a touch of grapefruit. Mostly tangy, touch of zest and bitterness. Not too bad. At all. Pretty nice in fact.
Taste is fairly straightforward. Malt upfront, slightly toffeed. Hops take hold early mid with citrus predominating. Lemon, some grapefruit, but never goes fully bitter. Quite tangy on the back and even quite light, with hops providing zest but no particular bitterness. Actually quite fruity on the back which might seem lacking but it's quite pleasant and refreshing, with a strong hop presence without the bitterness.
Decent body, a bit of pull on the back. Not bad.
Drinks alright. It's a little strong late-mid without the strong finish so it feels a bit empty but otherwise tastes nice.
Very Pale Ale brewed for GABS 2017. Kinda hard to classify this, since being an 8% ABV beer it's well outside the scope of a pale ale, but it's definitely based on their normal VPA and wasn't designed to be an IPA, or an Imperial anything, so I think we're pretty much right.
Pours a straw colour, pretty bloody pale. Slight haze, with nice foamy head, cream-coloured and retaining well. Looks great.
Smells fruity and pleasant, really nice. Touch of vanilla sweetness on the front, then passionfruit, pineapple and above all mango aromas blossom out. Nice.
Taste is quite heavy; definitely tastes like an amped up pale ale, but it's good. Vanilla sweetness remains there, giving a robust malty character, but then the fruity hops take over and it's a delicate balancing act. Grapefruit bitterness on the back but a good fresh passionfruit and tropical note midway that acts as a nice bridge between the sweet, slightly boozey front and the bitterness on the back. Pretty good.
Decent body, with some warming alcohol heat as it goes down. Not bad.
Nice and fruity pale ale that amps up the malt without overbalancing one way or the other. Credit to a skilled brewer at work here.
I retried this beer and it ended up my #12 beer of the festival.
78 / 100
So unlike Bright Brewery's Thai Curry beer, this one offered a decent description of itself as a pale ale, so I'm going with that. But obviously there's a shitload of adjuncts in this.
Pours a pale straw colour, not as cloudy as I somehow expected. Head is white, large bubbles with good retention. Looks pretty good, and curious.
Smells massively of coriander, and black pepper. Some lemongrass and a slight nutty, pecan edge to the malt. Good tang to it; smells very pleasant indeed.
Taste has the similar burgeoning tone to the way it all swells up but they're slightly different characters. Big kaffir lime notes and again with the coriander. Some lemongrass and a touch of coconut. Tangy and gorgeous with a hint of chilli on the back. Really impressive.
Thin body, bit flat but not bad.
That's a winner. Spice, tang, sweetness and heat. These guys have really cornered the market on beers that taste like other things. If I have any shortcomings it's that this doesn't quite bring it back to beer, and just tastes like a tangy liquid curry sauce.
I retried this beer and it ended up my #3 beer of the festival; third year running that Big Shed have cracked my top 10.
12oz can purchased from Davidson's Liquor in Denver, CO. BB date of September 19.
Pours a juicy, lurid yellow colour, very much the colour of pineapple juice, with a frothy, loose-bubbled head of white that settles into a filmy ring. Body has some weight behind it. Carbonation is fine. Looks good.
Nose is undeniably pineapple, with a big, aromatic tropical sweetness. This connects a little unfortunately to a rather organic, gassy character that makes the sweetness slightly less palatable. There's also a metallic hint which adds some sharpness, but perhaps not quite in the way that it should. It's okay though—and I like the pineapple character.
Taste is pretty much similar—it starts off quite light and sharp, but as it warms, it gets a bit more breadth in the body, which allows the pineapple flavour to rest on a more prominent sweetness. The back is hindered a little by some strong carbonation (and again a slight metallic twang), but again this gets better as it goes along.
It's an interesting brew. I bought it for the promise of pineapple, and it certainly delivered that. The base of the beer though is only so interesting. Nevertheless, I think this would be an interesting and approachable beer to session on a warm day—in isolation, and under the spotlight of a review, it's probably not at its best.
69 / 100
375ml can purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a hazy pale golden colour, with decent weight to the body, and very fine, eggy white head. Carbonation is languorous. Looks pretty good to be honest.
Nose is also good, with a fine, but not overdone hop character giving hints of lemon and melon. Otherwise, it's a little thin, with a slight cereal character coming through, but mostly it's clean and light, which is what you want for the style.
Taste is a bit more straightforward—again it's not bad for the style, but it's also thin and lacking interest. There a balance of hop character on the back, with just a slight astringency that you can pass off as dryness in the finish. Otherwise, it's based around flat, neutral malt, peppered with a fine carbonation.
It's a drinkable, balanced and quite fresh pale ale. That goes a long way. It's not a terribly exciting beer overall, but it does what it should. I certainly wouldn't say no to another.
Beer brewed for GABS 2017 and elements of the recipe determined on a Facebook video where a 'hop wheel' was spun: EBC 16, early whirlpool-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria, late whirlpool-hopped with Bravo, and dry-hopped with Santiam and Amarillo. Tried the final result on tap at GABS 2017.
Pours an amber colour, with decent head - foamy and cream-coloured with a good retention. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells malty, and fruity. Distinct oatmeal cereal kind of notes, with some apple/pear notes and a touch of citrus from the Amarillo. Not bad.
Similar sweetness upfront with cereal grain, fairly typical for the style really but not a huge lot of character to it. Some caramel sweetness towards the mid and then more of that apple/pear fermentation character and a hint of citrus. Not too bad, but somewhat predictable/uninspiring.
Body is thin, but it holds up perfectly well in the mouth given there's not a whole lot of big characters bursting out of this beer.
Not too bad, but pretty standard. I like the marketing exercise of determining the recipe by chance but I think they played it safe and fairly uninspired by restricting it to a 10-20 EBC range for a pale ale and some hop varieties. I'd love to see this done with a whole range of styles to choose from, some hop additions as well as one or two off-the-wall adjuncts; I think not only would it be more interesting but it would make it really stand out at a festival as wacky and creative as GABS.
And yes, the use of 'wacky' and 'creative' was a deliberate and very obtuse reference to the parent brand of the GABS house band. I had to point it out and explain it, because literally nobody would get it, not even Nic Yates who runs Wacky Creative and plays the sax for the house band.
61 / 100
Pint can purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney and consumed on a brewday with Rich watching on, but not partaking.
Pours a rather hazed deep coppery golden colour, with an immensely frothy, rocky head of off-white that wants to be felt. Lacing is immensely stick and coarse around the glass. Body is light but sleek. Despite the boisterous start, it's a pretty dang good-looking beer.
Nose is fairly light on sweetness, but the hops are rounded and fruity, providing a good structure to the beer. You can smell the slight acid from the carbonation, because there's not a huge amount of body to block it. It's nice, but not outstanding.
The taste rather follows the same pattern. There's just enough body to provide a hint of sweetness to the hops, which develop into pineapple and mango flavours on the mid palate. But they run out of steam soon enough, leaving the back palate a little dry and fizzy. Despite the boost the carbonation gives the appearance, by this stage it's too much.
Feel is fizzy and effervescent, and perhaps slightly too bloating, as well.
Overall, it has a lot of suggestion to it early on that it's going to be better than it is. In reality though, it's only so good, and ends up being pretty much what you expect from an American Pale Ale. That's pretty much all you get.
71 / 100
XPA collab between RAH and Hargreaves Hill. Tried on tap at Royal Albert.
Pours an orange-tinted amber colour, slow but steady bead. Head is foamy and nice, with good thick retention and some nice lacing as well. Looks like a very impressive pale.
Smells like one too. All hops but a good complexity to the fragrance. Largely west coast hopping with lots of sharp and bitter citrus, lemon and grapefruit primarily. Some nice tangy passionfruit aromas lingering behind as well as an earthy peppery spice note. Well balanced with a nice light caramel malt note. Really bloody nice.
Taste is more new world than I'd expected. Creamy caramel and vanilla malt note underlies it and the first note on the hop bill is passionfruit, giving it a whole tangy passionfruit pudding kind of note, with passionfruit seed character on the mid. Hops get some bittering late, with dry grapefruit citric note, and a slightly astringent hang. Bit of a shame that it lingers so much because it's remarkably smooth for the most part, while still being potent, and I just think the back is just off-kilter flavour wise so it's all bitterness with none of the tang.
A bit of pull-back bitterness, body maybe stops a bit short with the hop oils dominating the back with their crackle and pucker.
Drinks really well but gets a bit full-on late. 'Gen X' is a pretty apt name, because it's got plenty of shit going for it but it's pointlessly bitter. Ooh snap, what witty millennial repartee.
On tap at the Catfish Fitzroy after the last session of GABS 2017.
Pours a dark pale golden colour. Light bead. Head is white, decent foam, pretty light though. Not bad.
Smells malty, caramel, vanilla. Somewhat boozey. No hops, which is disappointing.
Taste is somewhat buttery; a bit sweet and uninspiring. Hops are grassy, fairly straightforward. Brassy a bit as well. Herbal, not too bad but a bit lacklustre and unnuanced.
Smooth drop, fluid. Tastes alright.
Drinks like a standard pale ale; alright but nothing particularly special.
58 / 100
Bottle given to me by Chris for my birthday, enjoyed by myself on a Friday or Saturday night some time.
Pours a pale golden colour, with voluminous head caused by my pour mainly. Good sinky texture on top but a bit whispy as you'd expect from the size. Lacing is a bit thin and lacking. But yeah, looks nice generally.
Smells nice, west coast hops giving piquant citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit. Touch of stonefruit on there as well. All tang and zest, but a nice sweetness from aromatic hops offsetting the citric bite. Smells pleasant.
Taste is a little maltier, could possibly be just a tad oxidised as there's quite a broad, rich malt character especially towards the back. Hops are zesty upfront, then get a little dank towards the back. Touch of black peppercorn, maybe some Sichuan pepper as well, together with grapefruit bitterness that's quite strong. Bit dank and lingering on the back so quite astringent by the finish. Needs a bit more freshness to balance it a bit more.
Quite a lot of carbonation, and a strong pull from the hops. A little prickly.
Wouldn't be my go-to; I feel like there's as much astringency on the back as on a full-size stone IPA but the latter has a lot more flavoursome citrus towards the front so it feels livelier and more drinkable. This is all the bitterness with less of the substance upfront or underneath. Seems like a weird marketing proposition from the kings of fuck-you hop bills, and the sort of session IPA you'd expect from people who don't really do sessionable.
62 / 100
Bottle served to me blind by Jez on a brewing day.
Pours a shimmery orange colour, light foamy head that revives nicely with a swill. Lacing is a nice cradle of off-white foam, not too sticky, but enough to indicate substance. Looks standard but decent.
Smells nice. Slight citric fruitiness that's quite rindy and acidic. Touch of earthy pie spice, clove and cinnamon, maybe some mandarin as well. Could use a touch more freshness, it's predominantly fresh smelling but has a dourness that takes precedence.
Taste is quite pleasant. Touch of fruit upfront that gets stronger heading to midway, lots of citrus with candied orange peel, mandarin and grapefruit especially on the mid. Gets a slight metallic note late-mid as well as that sweeter candied citrus flavour that lasts until the end. Quite a sweet drop but with a nice citric twang that takes on some bitter, almost phenolic notes at times. Curious.
Decent body, feels quite substantial and somewhat thick. Bit of a hop stripping texture at the back.
Feels and smells and tastes mostly like an IPA, but it doesn't quite deliver the punch I expect, at least not in the way I expect. Is there a twist I wasn't expecting, or is it just all delivered flatly without the texture that an IPA usually carries? Obviously these questions are typical questions of someone being served a wet hop beer blind. It makes a lot of sense when I see it revealed.
57 / 100
22oz brown hessian-wrapped bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos, CA.
Pours a slightly coppery golden colour, with a rather flimsy head of off-white that collapses rather swiftly, leaving nothing in the way of head or lace. Body has some weight, and it has some fine carbonation to it. Otherwise, it looks a bit unappealing.
Nose is also a bit flatter than I'd expect. There's some hop character to it, but it's rather drowned out by a caramel malt character tinged with a slight metallic note. The hop notes are muted, but give a little sweet citrus and bruised herbs.
And the taste doesn't much improve on this, to be honest. The malt is grainy, and unsophisticated, and is too much in the foreground. The hops are there, but they only really provide a kind of dull metallic bitterness. It at least provides a counterpoint, but doesn't really create a well-structured, balanced palate all up.
Feel is fine. The slightly raised ABV allows it to have a softness to the palate.
Overall: it's only a middling beer, and doesn't at all make best use of the fresh hops. It's certainly not unpleasant, but it's far better in principle than it is in practice.`
72 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a very pale golden colour, almost pure yellow, with solid hazing through the glass. Head forms a loose gauze of white around the top of the glass, and surprisingly persistent, sticky lace. Carbonation is fine, forming in tiny strings of bears that work their way languidly through what's a rather light body. Looks good.
Nose is great, and very forward on the NZ hop aromatics. It has a catty, sharp aroma—the canonical, weed-like "dankness", that turns slightly reedy and organic. When swirls, other characters are released, including white pepper and guava. It's very nice.
Taste is a bit lighter, and there's a weird amount of sweetness that comes through. Possibly, this is from the hops, which seem to be releasing oils and aromatics, but not doing much in the way of providing balancing bitterness. Indeed, the beer feels very fruity on the back, but it's only saved from being cloying by the fact that the body is quite thin. Still—it's pretty solid even so.
Feel is light and a little flat. Despite the visible carbonation, it feels rather lacking in effervescence.
Overall, it's a good beer, especially in the aroma stakes. It doesn't quite carry that through all the way, so it's a lesser beer than some of MT's excellent others. But it still stands up pretty well on its own.
77 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a pleasant pale gold colour, with a very heavy hazing in the body. Head forms a nice, persistent film of white, that leaves clumps of lace. Carbonation is fairly swift and coarse, but vibrant. It looks attractive and seductive.
Nose is great. Big, bright aromatics of citrus peel and fragrant pepper. A little herbal note like crushed sage and tarragon. Smoother, sweeter notes come to the fore as it warms, with mandarin and tangelo. Very pleasant.
Taste is more subdued, but well crafted to provide what it should. There is a pronounced bitterness, which provides more of a sparkle than anything around the edge of the palate and towards the back. The malt is mild and neutral, and gives a nice base—otherwise, there are more suggestions of citrus fruits and orange essence. It's, again, very nice.
Feel is quite light, and the carbonation is fairly strong. Otherwise, it's pretty good.
Overall: a very nicely put together and very tasty pale ale. I emphasises the hop characters in all the right places to make it a truly hoppy beer that doesn't suffer from imbalance. That's no mean feat.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos.
Pours a pale, relatively clear golden colour, with a fine mesh of white across the top of the glass. Lacing is excellent. Body is light, but the carbonation is remarkably languid. Looks decent.
Nose is pretty light on. There's a faint grassy note and a weak green fruit character from the hops. But it's really mild—as though it's designed not to offend delicate sensibilities. I'm not impressed.
Taste is similar. It's clean and light, with a definite grassy cereal character at its base. Hops sit above this, but they're unsupported in the rather watery body, so they feel unstructured and a little weak. They also don't have many noticeable specific characteristics—perhaps again a touch of underripe fruit and a little pepper.
It's drinkable enough, but I've had Saint Archer's beers in the past (granted: bigger and more boisterous beers), and they've been superb. This is honestly not a well-crafted Pale Ale in the way their IPA is a fine IPA. This is as though they took something good and toned everything down until it became bland.
75 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold colour, somewhat cloudy. Head was badly poured, so it's very very thin, some frothy bubbles on the top. Looks decent, but would like to see it poured better to promote more head.
Smells tasty. Big juicy, chewy hop notes with big citrus and tropical. Nice caramel malt notes as well, sweet backing to lift those fruity notes to real delectable levels. That's a great pale ale aroma.
Taste is a little lighter on the palate. Soft caramel malt character upfront that's quite sweet, then very soft mid-palate which is a little thin but also very refreshing, with the citrus hops providing a soft bitterness, some tropical passionfruit and even banana on there. Quite sweet and soft hops and as such it's very refreshing. Not all that impressive in reviewing, but I can see the appeal along with the Gold Coast branding. It's a beach type of beer.
Nice smooth mouthfeel, slight hop tingle but a good velvety texture otherwise. Excellent.
Yeah drinkable as hell, I'd personally like a touch more on the mid and a touch more bitterness, but what do I know?
57 / 100
Bottle bought by Chris and shared with the mad lads down the south coast.
Pours a pale golden colour, somewhat cloudy. Head is small, quite bubbly and doesn't really stick around. Lace is not bad but not amazing. Not bad.
Smells like citra. Passionfruit, pawpaw, yeah fruit salad and tropical aroma. Decent hoppy aroma, delivers what it promises. But nothing else on there except for citra.
Taste is reasonably grainy upfront with some cereal notes, fairly porridgey with a slight earthy note. Midway is all fruity hops, slight kiwi and lime notes but mostly tropical with mango and pawpaw. Finish is somewhat bitter but very short. Doesn't really go anywhere. Yeah, it's like a citra-hopped pale ale. This is what citra does. It needs something else, some cascade or a NZ hop or something that has more substance, especially in the bittering stakes and the lasting bittering stakes.
Not bad, some drying hop character, not a whole lot of body though.
Falls into the same trap as every beer that leans on citra. It will probably be popular but it feels insubstantial and hollow to me, just fruity and sweet.
12oz can purchased from Chuck's Hop Shop in Seattle.
Pours a rather murky copperish amber colour, with a fine, but fizzy head of off-white. Lacing forms in clumpy streaks. Carbonation is quite coarse, although it's also weirdly slow-moving. Looks decent enough.
Nose is really quite sweet and malt-heavy. There's a fatty, slightly oxidised note to it, with the remnants of perhaps once fresh hops that have since disappeared. Underwhelming.
Taste is a little better. The extra body doesn't translate into extra sweetness at least. In fact, there's maybe even a slight kick from the additional booze that makes it sharper, not heavier. It works with some persistent bitterness to provide balance. The flavour is still malt-focused, but it's not overt at least.
It's not amazing, and indeed, it's perhaps a slightly below-average APA. But it's also drinkable, and pretty enjoyable. But isn't everything?
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a bronzey amber colour, light but steady trickle of bead up the side. Head is off-white/beige, not a lot of it but some nice lacing left behind. Looks pretty decent.
Smells a bit off. Malty, predominantly, with a big caramel note that gets into slightly buttery territory. Hint of some hops that are somewhat dank and a touch tropical but just smells heavy and a little off-kilter.
Taste doesn't do a whole lot better, unfortunately. It's very very sweet and malty with a chewy caramel toffee base, that gets a little bit of bittering hop mid-to-late, but it's sort of earthy and dank like PoR (although I don't think it is), with a hint of candied orange, so it really doesn't lighten up the palate and it sorely needs some. It's not unpleasant, but it finishes very sweet and quite thick on the body so it quite plainly needs something to cut through.
Yeah body is a bit thick, with a bit of tingle from the carbonation, but it needs more of a slice than a tickle.
I feel like there's just a couple of tweaks needed and this could be a pretty tasty pale ale. At the same time and not to be overly condescending, but I feel like it's not a difficult style to get right, so those tweaks should already have been made.
43 / 100
330ml brown bottle served by my Mum. Reviewed blind, so I was probably harsher on it than I would have been had I known out of the blocks that it was gluten free.
Pours a very clear deep golden colour, with almost no head—just a very thin white ring around the outside. Carbonation is minimal. Body is fairly light and thin. Looks only just passable.
Nose is slightly oxidised with a hint of slightly caramelised metal. Some neutral mid-malts, with a quality that suggests there were hops there once and they disappeared. Otherwise, it's quite bland.
Taste is similar, although there's a deeper malt note than expected, and a very faint suggestion of yoghurt towards the back. Otherwise, it's very thin on flavour, with perhaps just a faint suggestion of metal through the centre. It's weak though.
Feel is very light and thin.
Overall, this isn't very good. Indeed, it verges almost towards unpleasant. It's at best uninspired and thin, but at worst it smells and tastes like there's something actively wrong with it.
39 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of my Beer Crate advent calendar.
Pours a deep golden, almost amber, with a slightly foamy head that settles out to a fine film. Some long streaky lace. Body is fine, with very fine carbonation as well. Looks pretty good.
Nose is vaguely grainy, but with a metallic note, and not much else. Slight floury note, but really not a great deal. It just doesn't pique me.
Taste is similar. There's a light, grainy basis, where you might lay some hops or a more complex grain palate. But it goes nowhere. There's a slight metallic aftertaste, which is the only thing really in terms of balance, but it's not very interesting.
Feel is very light and slightly fizzy. It doesn't work well.
It's a really underwhelming beer. It's just extremely generic, and without any real inspiration. I'm really very unimpressed.
Purchased as part of my 2016 Advent Calendar from the Beer Crate.
Pours a red-tinged amber, dark but shows the light pretty strongly through it. Head is voluminous when poured, webs out sparsely into nice off-white foam with a marshmallowy texture on top. Trails of lace cling to the glass. Looks pretty great.
Smells a little off. Maybe some malty-hoppy notes but it seems all regressed or evolved to a dirty metallic aroma, coppery and somewhat unpleasant. Some rotting vegetative notes on the back, maybe a hint of some overripe fruit that could have saved it if it delivered a greater punch. As it warms there’s a slight hint of earthy rye spice which is the only palatable note on the nose. Don’t know if it’s just old but it certainly isn’t good.
Taste certainly pulls the elements together in a far more appealing way but it still leaves the question of age lingering. Slightly tangy upfront, indicating a bit of hop-driven character that isn’t acting like it should and is possibly a sign it’s stale. Develops some malty character midway that’s quite pleasant if a little dry. Hint of cocoa and some earthy spice towards the back. Resinous hop notes on the finish that aren’t particularly punchy or effectual, they seem a shadow of what might have once been fresh hop bitterness but now just tastes dour and untextured. It manages to hold together in a palate that’s drinkable and balanced, but still muted and ultimately unappealing.
Mouthfeel is a little tingly as it goes back and quite drying on the back, but there’s a fair pull from the hops and it again makes me wonder if the hop flavour is just blunted, because there’s certainly presence from hops on the back texture.
I’ll look into the age on this beer, but if it’s meant to have all these characters then the main point of advice is to lighten up the palate, and freshen up the aroma. It’s actually not bad all told, but it just feels like a dour and bland version of a nice hoppy amber ale, and otherwise I can’t quite tell what the aim is.
So I reviewed this blind; reading the copy on the bottle I definitely don't think this is in its prime as it doesn't taste like the bottle has described, but not in the sense that the bottle is wrong, more in the sense that the flavours the bottle are describing were once here and have since faded. So this one's on the Beer Crate, I fear.
Beer number 5 in my Beer Crate Advent Calendar.
Pours orange, burnished. Head is off-white, decent bubbling when poured but dissipates to a thin crown of lace, some trails left behind. Looks pretty decent; substantial.
Smells a bit old maybe. Malty with a touch of woody, cardboardy grain husks. Honey, some stonefruit and leafy character on the back. Not particularly hop driven but not displeasing.
Taste is similarly lacking in hop drive, but also tastes quite fresh and pleasant, rather than stale so I fear it may actually be the beer's fault. Is it a fault though? Caramel upfront that does get a little dry and nutty midway, then the finish is pleasantly clean with very subtle citric hop notes, some stonefruit as well and late dry spice that is quite a nice addition. But yeah it's quite a dry and staid palate construction, very traditional without being super balanced and drinkable.
A bit fizzy upfront, then quite thin on the back. What you'd expect from a smaller pale ale even than this.
Fine, drinkable enough but nothing special overall and no big standout flavours that would keep it in my memory.
43 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of the Beer Crate 2016 Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a faintly hazed orange hue, with a very light body, and a coarse-bubbled head of pure white, that settles out, leaving very little lacing in its wake. Carbonation is minimal and swift through the body. Looks a bit underwhelming.
Nose is quite pleasant at the start, with a slight fruit and fragrant floral aroma. But this burns off very quickly, leaving a slightly flat grain note, a hint of hay and a vague nuttiness. It's not bad, but I thought it was going to be better from the first sniff.
Taste is really very thin and light, with a very minimal grainy vector through the middle of the palate, which finishes dry, and slightly peanut-flavoured in the finish. Back is dry and overly carbonated for the light body, which makes it feel fizzy and soda-like.
Feel is not great. Thin and underwhelming.
Overall, yeah, I'm not a big fan. Unless it's something that's really meant to taste like that (which, if it is, it's just a bad idea in principle), this is a pretty lacklustre beer all up.
76 / 100
On cask at Brouwer's in Seattle.
Pours a pleasantly hazed, deep golden colour, with a persistent, loose but frothy head of yest yellow tinged off-white. Lacing is clumpy, as is common for a cask ale. Carbonation is very fine, and very slow moving, despite having a pretty light looking body. Good look overall.
Nose is great. Big, juicy bright and flavoursome fruit characters; tropical but sharp. As it warms up, it gets a distinct herbal note as well, light freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley. It adds a nice note to the aroma, and makes it stand apart. Malt characters are minimal, but the do appear, slightly flat and rubbery, in the back. It's a good nose all up though.
Taste is similar, although the cask makes it so smooth that there's almost no bitterness to it. There's certainly no harshness, anyway. Instead, there are sweet herbs, rounded stone fruit characters and a sweet stewed orange note. Back is really smooth, suggesting caramel or vanilla ice cream—it really removes much or most of the bitterness, which ends up weirdly making it less refreshing and drinkable. It almost gets a bit cloying after a while.
Overall, it's nice. It is really a good beer. Is it worth putting on cask? I'm not sure. They've got all the cask characters done right, but it's not necessarily a style to which they're well suited.
Bottle served to me blind by Chris as part of a guessing game on a brewday.
Pours a cloudy pale orange, very cloudy. Head is off-white, foamy, dense, nice lace. Maybe a bit too cloudy, but pleasant.
Smells hoppy and good. New world hops, with Citra giving juicy mango, plus passion and lime elsewhere. Needs a bit more edge maybe, but very nice.
Tastes nice, too. Hoppy, with a rich melange of fruit, not too big or imposing. Sweetish in character, getting bitterness on the back. Quite grassy, odd milky caramel note on there as well. Finishes with a touch of citric hang, could be cleaner. Nice pale ale though.
Full, bit of pull from the hops. Reasonably dry.
Nice pale; reasonably hoppy but drinkable.
For the game, I guess APA or "Aussie Pale Ale" from VIC. So kinda spot on really. Didn't guess the brewery, but I put out there BrewCult, Mountain Goat or Bright.
59 / 100
Pale ale brewed with Brettanomyces and aged in French oak barrels, brewed for GABS 2016 and tried there on tap. Can't bring myself to call it anything other than just a pale ale despite the odd twists though.
Pours a champagne colour, cloudy with foamy white crown of head. Looks alright.
Smells yeah, like a pale ale with Brettanomyces. Lemon notes and a slight grassy herbal note from the hops, plus a slight sweet booze character reminiscent of bourbon, and some mild Bretty tart notes.
Taste is alright, but just feels a little less than the nose promised, as is often the case with smaller beers made with fragrant ingredients. Just a fresh-cut-grass note to the hops without the tang on the nose. The oak is sadly lacking here, but there's a mild Bretty character towards the back. Somewhat clean, and a bit uninspiring as a result.
Thin body, flat, yeah feels like a pale ale.
Does what it promises but leaves me wanting more. Not bad but a bit underwhelming.
75 / 100
Can tried at Jez's, in front of footy.
Pours a quite dark amber colour, cloudy. Head is beige-yellow, quite voluminous, with sticky lace clumps left as it webs out. Quite dark for the style, but pretty fantastic otherwise.
Smells citric and fruity. Big fruit salad aroma but a strong sharpness to it with a big citric tang. Orange, grapefruit, some passion, kumquat and lychee. Nice and sweet, but good edge as well.
Taste is fairly decent, but without as much edge as I'd expected. Malty smooth upfront with caramel notes and then develops some pineapple towards the mid. Tangy fruit towards the back, touch of spiced pear and apricot, then a mild citric bitterness which doesn't have much edge or sharpness but emerges late on the finish as an afterthought. Decent, but I feel it could amp up the hops on there, it's clean but a bit too subtle.
Nice texture. Good base and a big pull from the hops but smooth and not sharp.
Drinks well, but for all the promise it could've amplified the hops and still stay within the style parameters. I think Riverside's 55 is still the best example of a really ballsy hoppy pale ale on the Australian market, and I did have hopes this could match it.
57 / 100
On tap at GABS 2016.
Pours a gold colour, clear with foamy white head. Looks like an APA all over. By the numbers, nothing special.
Smells slightly grainy with some cereal character, then a touch of fruit at the back - pear and apple notes with a hint of passionfruit. Pretty standard, by-the-numbers aroma as well.
Starts fairly well with a good malt base - slight sweetness, some grain husk character but well composed. Develops some apple/pear character midway and then a slightly weird resinous citrus note on the back. Alright construction but the bitterness just tastes a slight bit off. Maybe it's the new Aussie hops? Has a Summer kind of character that tastes a little odd.
Decent body; pretty much textbook for the style.
Drinks alright, but somehow not very exciting, especially not at this festival. It's a decent introduction to a newish brewery on the scene but they could have grabbed far greater attention doing something more oddball.
I refuse to buy into the whole 'Yak Ales' bullshit, because it's bullshit. Yak shit, even. Brewed for GABS 2016 (but really as a cynical marketing exercise to launch some new yak-shit branding clusterfuck) and tried there on tap, before everybody in the entire country got subjected to it instead of good beers. Yes, spoiler alert, it's shit. So shit that I'm angry.
Pours a champagne colour, clear with large bubbly head that doesn't stick around. Looks very pale, very clear, very generic. Meh.
Smells of virtually nothing. Some cereal notes, slight sweetness with a touch of caramel and maybe some vanilla. Just grain, nothing else.
Taste is similar. Cereal grain upfront that doesn't go anywhere before effectively disappearing. If there is any hopping on here then it's just cleansing into nothing rather than providing any character or balance. It's just terrible, dull, watery beer with no character or flavour.
Thin body, decent texture for the style. Bit of carbonation.
Awful. As bad as festival beer could possibly get. Factory-produced beer with the flavour dialed down to nothing. They do some reasonably decent, drinkable if unexciting pale ales at this company but this is those with the flavour and personality removed..
61 / 100
355ml brown screw-cap bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a rather deep orange hue, almost copper, with a coarse, loose head of crackly off-white head. Very fine body, almost thin, but with enough sheen to persist. Looks decent enough.
Nose is slightly dusty, with a pronounced crushed vegetative character. Rounded yeasty notes come through, giving a surprising banana ester character. There's a very slight citric hop character, but it's hidden under everything else. I'm not sure what it's trying to achieve, to be honest.
Taste is similar in some ways, in that it has a bunch of different characters that don't necessarily work. But there's also a simplicity here that helps it. It's clean and light, with a slight grainy note that persists towards the back, but leaves a fairly neutral finish. There's some mild hops, and a slight sweetness again like banana or perhaps almond nougat. It's not amazing, but it's not bad.
Feel is smooth, with a bit more weight than you might expect otherwise from the beer or the palate.
It's okay. I feel like it's a little bit like a Coopers beer masquerading as something else—and I think I'd prefer Coopers doing their classics like their Sparkling or Pale ales, or their lovely Extra Stout. This doesn't necessarily work very well, even though it's not unpleasant.
345ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a clear, very pale golden colour, with a coarse-bubbled, frothy head of white that leaves some frangible lace. Carbonation is fine but minimal. Body looks light but smooth. It's decent enough.
Nose isn't exceptional, but again it's decent enough. There's a mild, understated fruitiness to it, perhaps with a slight metallic twang or a hint of cereal grassiness. It's quite light and approachable though.
Taste is similar. It's pretty bland, but it has a pleasant enough crispness through the centre and towards the back. Malt is suitably light, providing only a hint of body and a touch of the cereal note. Aftertaste has a little suggestion of fruit, which plays nicely with the light body and the very faint crisp bitterness.
Feel is very light, which is right for this style of beer.
Overall, it's not a terribly interesting beer, but it's well-made and it's easily sluggable. For a semi-mainstream summer ale, it pretty much fits the profile to a T.
41 / 100
345ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a very clear, slightly burnished golden colour, with a weak head of off-white that bubbles away quickly leaving only a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Carbonation is slightly coarse, but flows surprisingly slowly when the glass is tilted. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very weak. There's a faint whiff of earthiness to it, reminiscent perhaps of Pride of Ringwood with its woody, herbaceous tones. Malt comes across as rather savoury as a result. But to be honest, it's all pretty insipid. It lacks even the hop aroma you get with Fat Yak. And I'm no great fan of Fat Yak.
Taste is no surprise after the nose. It's really weak, watery and lacking in flavour. There's a rather unpleasant herbal bitterness on the back that mingles with some savoury cereal tones. Together it's genuinely not very pleasant. Backpalate is exceptionally dry, leaving little impact apart from a bit of that residual woody bitterness.
Feel is very light and mild.
Honestly, this beer feels like it takes Fat Yak, an already pretty insipid pale ale, and turns all the knobs down a few notches again. It's nearing on pointless—why even bother making a pale ale with so little character? It's almost offensive to the sensibilities to anyone who enjoys the taste of beer.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. Best before date of September 2016.
Pours a pretty clear deep golden colour, with a very pleasant head of white-wait-maybe-it's-just-off-white, that leaves very impressive crinkly, intricate lace, and persists as a fine film across the top of the glass. Carbonation is fine, and the body looks like it's got a bit more weight behind it than it often the case for the style, which is fine with me. It's actually a pretty good-looking beer.
Unfortunately, it swiftly goes downhill. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that it plummets off a cliff. The aroma is appalling. It's like the dregs of a bag of cornmeal that's been sitting in the effluent drain at the city mortuary. It's husky, flatulent, and organic, and not in the good way. Slight plastic tones come through as well, suggesting acetone and modelling clay. It's really unpleasant.
Taste is also awful—maybe marginally better, but only if you're being exceedingly generous. Warm creamed corn, with a sweetness that suggests a kind of fudgy mass of discarded grain—imagine what baby poo looks like, then imagine that were actually a food, and that's what this tastes like. Back palate is rank—weirdly chemical, but with lingering sweetness and body to continue the flavour long after it's overstayed its welcome.
Feel is really surprisingly thick. It's something unusual, but in this case it exacerbates the problems with the beer. At least if it were crisp and light it might be sluggable in hot weather.
I honestly don't know how you get a beer tasting like this. I can't believe it's an honest mistake, because this has all the money Coca-Cola can throw behind it. So it must be intentional. Which just means... what?? My only conclusion is that this is a long-game conspiracy to convince people that craft beer is terrible and scare them back to the mainstream. I think it'd work on me—I think I'd honestly prefer drinking a Pure Blonde to this shite.
On tap at Preachers bar in Hobart.
Pours a dark amber colour, fairly cloudy. Head is off-white; nice density and retention. Lace is pretty nice too. Looks good.
Smells fruity; pleasant. Citric, with lemon and mandarin; maybe grapefruit. Touch of vanilla. Hint of raisin as well. Pepper maybe. Pretty decent.
Taste is light, quite fruity. Bit of pepper, maybe rye halfway, touch of oat bran to the malt. Citrus on the mid to late. Fairly light and mild. Not very bitter. Very clean on the back but a bit dry and a bit of pull. Not bad but mild.
Bit of carbonation, tingly. Not a bad body for a pale.
Drinks well. Touch of fruit, touch of bitterness, fairly light and clean.
Bottle ordered and consumed at Uncle Ming's, 13th Feb 2016.
Pours a pale gold colour, clear, not much bubbling or head. Just a thin rim of small white bubbles. Lace is quite unimpressive too. Kinda meh.
Smells fruity. Light banana notes with peach, some caramel malt character and toasted puffed wheat. Bit sweet, could use more edge. But pleasant enough.
Taste is very fruity. Peachy upfront, with some passionfruit too, maybe lime. Big banana midway that lasts to the end. Fair bitterness but not really strong, just a touch earthy and medicinal. Bit sweet upfront and the bitterness could be more cleansing, it just seems still a bit sickly.
Decent body. OK texture too, maybe a bit gluggy and could be cut through more.
Not bad but not great and doesn't have many classic APA flavours, and overall too sweet.
640ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a slightly hazy orange colour, with a firm, relatively fine head of white. Carbonation is fine, but surprisingly minimal. No lacing really forms. Looks decent, if a little underwhelming.
Nose is also decent, hem hem, if a little underwhelming. There's some slightly herbal notes to the hops, which are certainly present, which give a dusty aroma to the beer. There is some semblance of the more fruity end, a little dried citrus peel perhaps, almost giving a slight carbonic note. It's okay but not amazing.
Taste is a bit better, mostly because it's extremely clean and very drinkable. There's a touch of bitterness, melded with a smooth neutral malt character, that doesn't provide much true sweetness, or much personality on its own—but that's not the point here. It provides the canvas, and the hops provide the lilt of interest.
Feel is pretty smooth, but with a lightness and a crispness towards the back.
It's a super-drinkable beer, despite the fact that it's actually just not that interesting. But maybe you don't want interesting. Maybe you want to just have a beer which won't distract you from the conversation you're having, the film you're watching or the fun you're having. This is the beer for then.
45 / 100
Bottle served to me blind by Father Fletcher, purchased for him in a liquor store in Orange. Not sure about the storage facilities and quality control measures of said liquor store.
Pours a dark orange colour, with huge pillowy head that sinks unevenly with some sticky lacing left behind. Looks a bit grimey and too much head but OK.
Smells diacetylly. Touch of citrus, resin. But an overly sweet sugary residual upfront is just too much. Bit floral pongy with rosemary and lavender there as well.
Taste is better. Malty upfront, quite caramel that develops toffee towards late-mid. Resinous bitterness too, combines to make it sticky and murky at the back. Quite bitter and yet quite sweet. Not really my thing and a bit off balance.
Decent body, grates a bit on the very back as it goes down, bit undercooked there.
Yeah a bit dank and yet sickly sweet, not a good synergy between elements. Might actually be a bit old; it's possible the hops were more vibrant initially and they've just sunk to be a stale bitterness by now.
76 / 100
440ml can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasant deep orange colour, very hazy, with a fine off-white head that leaves mild streaks of lacing. Body has a bit of heft to it. Carbonation is pretty fine, but pretty minimal. Looks pretty good.
Nose is very pleasant. Sharp orange notes, turning a little vegetative and peppery. There's a bit of round malt around the outsides, giving a sweet barley-sugar note, especially when mingled with the sweet citrus. Quite pleasant indeed.
Taste is also good. There's a very pleasant candied orange note, that turns sharp and slightly bitter towards the back. This is tightly coupled with the malt though, giving it enough sweetness to provide balance throughout. Linger is bitter but bright, making it feel quite refreshing.
Feel is also good. It has a rounded weight to it, but the crispness on the back stops it from being cloying.
Overall, yeah, this is (yet) another very solid brew from Garage Project. There's good use of hops, plenty of interest, all wrapped up together into a beer that's extremely drinkable and approachable. I like it a lot.
80 / 100
355ml can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pretty deep coppery colour, with good clarity. Head is a mess of fine off-white bubbles that leaves excellent lacing. Carbonation is fine, and fairly static, suggesting there's a bit of extra heft to the body, which is backed up by the slightly elevated ABV. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant. Clean, sharp aromas that hint at passionfruit and tropical fruits, with a persistent bass note of deeper malt notes, almost tending towards actively sweet. As it warms, the flavours almost become sharper, counterintuitively, giving some black pepper and lemon myrtle. It's pretty good.
Taste is also good. It has some depth at its base, giving a firm, solid malt presence based around some fuller sweeter notes. But this is then comprehensively balanced out by the wonderful attenuation, which leaves the back dry and clean. Coupled with this is the hop character, which has rounded fruit notes, with more passionfruit, and a clean, very crisp bitterness. It's really nicely done. Feel is good: very light and crisp, which aids the drinkability.
Overall, it's a cracking brew, and a robust and fairly aggressive pale ale. This is not just another dull Pale Ale entry in the Australian craft scene, this is a genuine bar-raiser.
62 / 100
On tap at Cammeray Craft.
Cloudy orange colour, white head; dense with some visible bubbles. Decent film of lace. Looks more like a pale ale or even IPA than 'golden', but it's a colour I like so I won't quibble.
Smells fruity hoppy. Melon notes abound with a fair bit of citrus as well. Grapefruit, resin. Largely cantaloupe heavy though. Touch of sickly caramel but not too much. Pretty pleasant.
Taste is somewhat sweet and malty upfront, touch of cake batter. Hops rise on the mid with some bitter citrus and some of that cantaloupe note as well. Late mid develops some POR notes maybe? Earthy bitterness with some strong resin as well. Finishes with a bit too much hang but a decent citric cleaning up. Possibly a little soapy.
Fluid, with a sharp pull from hops on the back. Not quite enough malt base to carry it.
Not a bad drop but a few sharp edges that need ironing out. Also when you do a pale as well as these guys, I question the need for a golden ale in their portfolio, whatever that is anyway.
12oz can purchased from Spec's in Houston TX. 6.6% is big for a pale ale, let's see how it does.
Pours a very clear, deep golden colour, with a fine off-white head that settles out to a foamy, persistent ring. Carbonation is actually pretty low by the looks of things—it looks like there's enough residuals in the body for the head to persist, but there's nothing feeding it. Body does look a bit heavy, but that's probably expected given the ABV.
Nose is very pleasant. Crisp citrus notes, with sweeter floral overtones and something bright and herbal, like freshly crushed basil or maybe cracked black pepper. There's a pleasant sweetness under it, giving it a note of barley sugar and malt. Nice.
The taste is around about what you'd expect, with some firm sweetness and enough bitterness and carbonation to cut through it. Hop flavours aren't particularly pronounced besides the bitterness, but they linger with a green herbal note on the back. This mingles with a suggestion of astringency or booze that's noticeable because you don't expect anything like it in this style of beer.
Feel is, despite everything, a little thin, perhaps due to the touch of alcohol heat on the back. It's not a boozy beer by any means, it's just that you can tell that it's higher in alcohol than the style warrants.
Still, it's a tasty enough, pretty drinkable beer. There's something a bit generic about its construction for the most part, but it also twists itself in odd ways, especially with that kick of booze. Do I like the twists? I'm not sure, I guess I'd better finish the can and find out.
88 / 100
On Tap at Maquila Brewpub in Seville.
Pours a golden colour, fairly pale. Head is nice, dense and 2 fingers thick when poured; leaves some amazing lacing behind, thick sheets of beige foam. Looks pretty damn good.
Smells fruity and nicely floral. Big rose notes with lychee coming through very strongly, notes of passion and lemon as well. Slight toffeed edge to the malt. Smells pretty amazing, especially for the size.
Taste is lighter, but to its strength, with a nice airiness making it eminently drinkable. Touch of ale ester upfront and then decent, fruity hop notes just tickling the palate towards the mid and back. Pineapple with more lychee notes and a bit of grapefruit rind on the back just bitters it up. Just lightly. Everything has a light touch here but it's all beautifully constructed. Fruity, light, just a touch of bitterness. This is what a session IPA should be.
Lightish body. Bit of sizzly texture, but not too much. Fine for the style.
What a cracking beer. Have never put much stock in session IPA as a concept, but this almost legitimises the whole style for me. It's got the unmistakeable palate profile of an IPA but everything is so light and frothy as well, without just seeming like a hopped-up pale. Outstanding.
46 / 100
Tried at TAP - The Ale Project in Mong Kok. Had a half-hour wait for a table so this was sampled from a plastic cup, standing on the sidewalk outside.
Pours a yellowy orange colour, off-white head that's quite dense but thin. Lace is decent, and slightly cloudy body. Looks standard, OK.
Smells a little bready, slightly cloying. Wet grain with yeast, subtle note of lemon zest and melon. Maybe passion too. Decent but could use more strong hopping.
Taste is so yeasty. Bready, with sweet wet grain. Yeasty mid-to-late then finishes somewhat bitter, perhaps citric but kind of unnecessary and redundant because it doesn't cleanse or blend. Maybe just move some of those hops later in the boil, you'd have a pretty nice pale ale here.
Some body, decent crispness on the back. Just decent though, doesn't wow me.
Not a very impressive introduction to Hong Kong craft beer. Tastes like what you get when you take a culture uninterested in flavourful beer and try to ramp it up prematurely.
59 / 100
Bottle had with dinner at Snaps restaurant in Reykjavík.
Pours a burnished brass colour, clear. Head is white, tiny bubbles but decent thickness. Retains quite decently indeed. Looks quite good.
Smells mildly hoppy. Slightly citric, fruity. Fair amount of just that ale fruit ester too. Some mint and a touch of biscuity malt. Maybe a touch cold but it smells very subdued.
Taste is somewhat grainy, malty upfront. Again some biscuity notes and cookie crumbs, with a touch of vanilla. Hops come on then, quite earthy spicy, note of medicinal herbs and then some resin on the back. Could use lightening up; the hops and bitterness are a bit heavy and coldly functional, without a lot of character.
Decent body actually, but gets very dry on the back with a touch too much carbonation sizzle.
Drinkable pale ale, but that's all it is - drinkable without being very interesting.
75 / 100
Bottle enjoyed at the Tate Modern Cafe.
Pours a cloudy orange with steady, light bead. Head is fluffy, off-white, very generous in the pour but sinks in webs. Trails of lace left behind. Pretty good.
Smells lovely. English grassy hop note underlying with a lovely fruity lift, giving citrus and pineapple. Apple as well. Light grainy note with a touch of spice. Lovely.
Taste is quite bitter from start to finish with bags of complex English hops, far more than I would expect from a more English style pale ale. Fruity upfront with tropical and citrus notes, gets grassy and pine needle notes midway with some fresh hay character. Finishes clean, with a touch of herb and fresh-cut grass. Pleasant and clean.
Slight fizzy tingle to it, some presence on the tongue. Not bad.
More than I expected from a gimicky cross-promotional style beer. Is it fair to say that an art gallery cares more about an artisanal product? So this beer is better than say, a beer brewed for a roller derby might be?
On tap at the Royal Albert. Called a 'session' ale and brewed with Jarrylo hops. Presumably only Jarrylo hops.
Pours a pale gold, furious bead. Head is thin; white and somewhat dense. So much bead; looks a little soft drinky with head. But refreshing.
Smells like melon hopwise. Grainy, with caramel and vanilla notes as well. Bit light; fairly pleasant though.
Taste is grainy; lots of cereal notes, oatmeal. Some caramel notes and then a resinous but light hop touch starts lateimid. Bit yeasty but the hops cover it well with some light bitterness. Yeah, this is far more sessionable than your average 'session IPA'. Quaffable.
Light, yeah a bit thin. Yet carbonation doesn't show through. Maybe could use more texture.
Light quenching summer beer. Pleasant.
62 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasantly hazed, deep golden colour, tending towards amber. Head forms a rocky, coarse-bubbled head that stays as sticky, sudsy lace. Body is very light and fluid—especially given it clocks in at a bit above the ABV you'd expect for a pale ale. Looks decent though.
Nose was quite crisp and fresh on opening, but settles out to a slightly woody, vegetative tone, that still speaks hops at least. Slightly thin, with a touch of banana leaf and turned earth. It's genuinely not bad all up, although not classic in aroma for a US style.
Flavour is similar. There's a crispness and lightness to the palate, which allows the hops to progress through the centre, leaving a rather earthy, woody and vegetative quality and plenty of bitterness on the back. Malt, for the most part, is very subdued (possibly due to the addition of glutenase, or however else they "gluten-reduce" the beer), but there's enough slim sweetness to provide a bit of balance. Back is crisp, but the earthy bitterness builds up in the finish, almost creating a slight numbness on the back palate.
Feel is very light, almost to excess.
Overall, it's a pretty decent beer, and certainly one that I'd be happy exists were I moderately intolerant to gluten. Fortunately, the whole gamut of beer is available to my tolerant gut, so while this was passable, it's certainly not a beer I'd single out for multiple retries.
650ml bomber purchased at Dan Murphy's, most likely, and given to me for my birthday by my mum.
Pours a slightly hazed golden colour, with the gilt turning coppery in the depths. Head is a thin ring of fine off-white that makes the beer seem a little more dead than it is. Or does it? The body is a little thick and flabby and the carbonation is minimal and quite hidden. So by the end it does seem to be a fairly lacklustre looking beer.
Nose is actually rather pleasant on opening. They say it straddles the ale/lager divide, and the lager component I can only assume means Saaz hops. They're certainly here on the start, even tending towards some of the New Zealand variants of the hop. Crisp and green, even with a slight pungent light-struck funk which is certainly not unpleasant. As it continues though, this initial whiff dissipates, leaving it feeling pretty flat and lifeless. Still, the opening was very pleasant.
Taste is clean, but a bit dull. Light flat malt gives a slightly grainy, floury hint to the palate, which is only marginally elevated by some hop bitterness along the backbone of the beer. There's also a mildly astringent character, almost a perceptible booze, which is very odd for something weighing it at just over 5%. It's not great, but it's palatable.
Feel is indeed rather dead and flat, and it makes the beer feel denser and thicker than it should be. Some more lively carbonation would genuinely help a beer like this, especially if it's trying to carve out some territory in the lager category as well.
Overall, it's not actively unpleasant, but it's pretty damn underwhelming. In the end, the attempt to be in two camps means that it's not really very good at either of the things it sets out to do. To be honest, I'd prefer it as a pilsener, especially if they could keep that initial aroma going on for longer. But I'd also happily drink on of NZ's other fine pilseners instead.
73 / 100
On tap at Spooning Goats.
Pours a burnished gold, fairly pale. Whispy off-white head. Lacing is nice.
Smells sharply citric. Lots of US West Coast character; mandarin, grapefrut and a touch of pepper. Maybe a touch of champagne too. Pleasant.
Taste is hoppy, start to finish. Sharp upfront with lenon pith and grapefruit, then mellows towards mid and actually sweetens up on the back with a candied orange peel character. Touch nutty on the back too. Intriguing and quaffable. Ballsy that later gets soft and sensitive and cries at the end of Sleepless in Seattle.
Bit of body but not loads. Little sharp hop pull at the back.
Quaffable pale, but lots of character. I like this a lot.
69 / 100
Pours an orange colour, touch of haze. Head is white, small bubbles, sticky lacing trails. Slow bead. Looks pretty good.
Smells sweet, cake battery malt with caramel edge. Touch of tropical fruity hops at the back, but mostly sweet. Very pleasant though.
Taste is tangy from the get-go, even with the cake batter malt showing through. Citric, resinous. Has a lemon pith acidity without a lot of hop character, but still decently balanced and with a nice enough flavour.
A little sharp bite, and a bit fizzy on the back. Not wonderful but OK.
Nice balance. Could use more hop flavour, it seems purely serviceable and practical. Could just use more flavour nuance.
78 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew.
Pours a pale gold, with a touch of cloud. Head is white, sinks to a film but lace is awesome for the style. Looks pretty great.
Smells fruity. Apple, pear, peach and passion. A touch of nut and nutmeg. Malty, but mostly light hops. Very pleasant.
Taste is hoppy from the get go. A little thin on the front, not much malt. Has big hoppy notes. Apple, citric, passion, grapefruit. Tangy, bitter. Clean on the back. Could use just a touch more malt, but the palate is exemplary for a pale.
Thin, touch of hop pull but not too much.
Drinkable all day. Wonderful for sessioning.
70 / 100
12oz can purchased from Whichcraft in Austin, TX. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours a pleasant bright orange golden colour, with a fine, and fairly thick head of off-white that leaves excellent lace. Body is firm and the carbonation is voluminous and fine, although it moves very rapidly through the glass. Looks good all up.
Nose is quite pleasant. Very nice orange-forward hop characters, with a good barley sugar basis that gives it some sweetness like boiled candy. It's sweet citrus mostly though, perhaps with a slight dose of pleasant herbal greenness. All up, it's pretty suitable, if tending towards the sweet a little.
Taste is more style-appropriate in some ways because the body is dried out a lot more, leaving the centre rather pleasantly clean and empty. Some rounded, sweet-sweaty notes around the edges that are kept in check by an always present but pretty mild hop bitterness. This adds a slight grittiness to the back—it actually aids the drinkability all up.
Feel is light but crisp with the hop bite on the back.
Overall, this is perfectly drinkable and approachable stuff. Still in good nick for being in the can too. I'm pretty happy with this all up.
61 / 100
Tried on tap at GABS 2015 from the Funk Estate stand.
Pours a gold colour, touch of cloud. Foamy white head sinks slowly. Not bad; pretty much to style.
Smells quite sweet with European-style malts. Slightly buttery and vanilla character to grain, touch of spice and maybe some coconut. Tangy NZ hops are there but the fruitiness adds to the sweetness rather than balancing.
Taste is very sweet as well, and grainy. Buttery caramel malt upfront that develops a rich toffee character midway, touch of rye spice and then sort of plateaus out without hops making any kind of a statement. It's clean enough but I was really hoping for more robust hop character.
Decent body, touch of carbonation.
Not a bad drop, but a bit too much sweetness, and could use more NZ hops for either flavour or cleansing.
75 / 100
On tap at Spooning Goats.
Pours a pale gold, fairly clear. Head is white and foamy, good retention. Sinks slowly and leaves not a lot of lace. A gnat's wing too pale but otherwise very nice.
Smells very citric and hoppy. Big lemony and orange aroma, pith and seeds and all. Touch of cake battery malt. Lots of citrus. Very pleasant.
Taste is hoppy throughout. Touch of caramel batter malt upfront, then masses of hop flavour. Lots of citrus, lemon and a touch of grapefruit. Kind of rubs on the tongue midway then finishes clean, a little dry. The hops are definitely present but the bitterness doesn't really show. Quite light on the body, really, but a fair bit of texture. Could use a touch more malt body maybe although it's there mainly for balance.
As drinkable as they come. Loads of flavour but really light and fluid. As for the inevitable comparison with Riverside 55, I'd say the 55 has the edge for me, simply because it's bolder and bigger. Quite likely that this will appeal more to the broader market.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at Hopfields in Austin, TX.
Pours a pleasant light golden colour with a little haze that helps it glow. Body is solid, and holds lots of fine, streaming carbonation. Head is a firm, frothy cap of white that stays persistently atop the glass. Lacing forms in vertical streaks. Looks good.
Nose is wonderful, with a big aroma of fresh hops bursting out from the first whiff. Pungent citric tones come through, clean and sharp with a little fruit sweetness to temper it. Indeed, it settles down a bit and gets a creamy neutral malt character to balance it. Very solidly created.
Light and easy to drink on the front palate, evoking out a little apricot and blunted orange, all with that smooth malt character to give it some plain, solid grounding. Bitterness builds towards the back, with a pleasant pithy orange note to it. This leaves a linger or resiny hop character on the finish, with a long and persistent bitterness in the afterpalate. Feel is rounded but fluid, with a linger of bite to it. Very drinkable stuff.
Overall—this is a beer that tells a tale of masterful hops craftsmanship. It feels very much as though the hop characters have been designed to do exactly what they do, as though every element of the hops is in tight control. That's a really excellent thing.
57 / 100
Ordered a bottle of this at Madame Nhu in Surry Hills.
Pale saffron colour; fizzy head that dissipates. No lace. Not out and out bad, but meh.
Smells oxidised. Lots of caramel toffee, and a touch of resinous hop. Tastes like it's been in a shipping container for months. Malt. Touch of fruit. Not much more.
Tastes more resinous. Still oxidised, cardboardy malt. It's bitter on the back, but yeah it tastes old. Twangs of what it was, just a shadow of what it should be.
Touch of fizz, otherwise decent texture for 5.5. Good malt presence.
Would love to review this fresh. Hints of a nice beer here but it's just not meant to be served like this.
58 / 100
On tap at the brewery, 7th March 2015.
Pours a pale gold, clear. Light off-white head, just a rim of bubbles now. Decent lace. Fairly bland.
Smells grainy, with a touch of fruit. Big cereal notes with sweet vanilla and cake batter aroma. Touch of passionfruit, citrus and finger lime. Could ramp up the hops just a wee bit.
Taste is alright. Still quite grainy with a distinct wheaty character and pearl barley throughout with light caramelisation. Fairly light but notable hops on the mid, with mild citrus and some subtle tropical notes - mostly pineapple. Finishes with a decent hop twang but a fair yeasty character as well and maybe a touch too much grain although mostly nice clean bitterness. Decent pale.
Bit of sizzle; otherwise somewhat thin. Could use a slight bit more body or lower carbonation.
Nice enough pale but have had more tasty and more smashable ones. Note I didn't take notice of the ABV when I reviewed it. Think what I said stands but my expectations were for something slightly different.
On tap at the brewery.
Pours a pale saffron colour, steady bead. Head is white, bit of froth on the top of the beer. Lace doesn't stick around. Looks OK.
Smells fruity. Mango, passion, lime and tangerine. Fresh and airy, could use a touch more grounding. Just feels unhinged and sweet.
Taste is, as the tasting notes imply - albeit a bit sexistly - more robust. Hops take hold early; still fruity but hugely citric, with big fresh lemon notes and grapefruit bitterness late-mid. Trails off with somewhat grassy bitterness. Could still use a touch more malt for balance, retains that airy sense of fruity hops with nothing underneath them. Bitterness is welcome but now unguarded.
Bit too much sizzle, could use more padding here too.
Pleasant summer ale with a fair robustness to it. Quite enjoyable.
82 / 100
On tap at the 33° Craft Beer Bar in Manly.
Pours a golden orange colour, furious bead for an ale. Head is white, medium density and great retention. Bit pale ale-y maybe but looks nice. Also it is a pale ale, whatever they call it.
Smells fruity, with lots of tropical fruit - passion and mango with an apricot twang as well. Nutty, spicy malt underlying, quite a dried fruit note. Dried apricot but also sultana and raisin richness. Sweet; enticing.
Taste is tangy upfront, with lemon and passion notes that develop quickly into drawn-out hop bitterness, citric and slightly dank with a crisp but slightly yeasty finish. Apple, apricot all in the mix. Hops are front and centre but beautifully softened and mellow through the palate. Drinkable, sessionable.
Nice body, feels creamy smooth in the mouth. Touch of carbonation texture.
Fantastic drop; complex hop flavour but mellow and chilled. This is as close to being an actual session IPA as I've seen - it could still just be a wonderfully complex and hop-forward pale ale but you can see the philosophy (such as it is) behind 'session IPA' in every sip.
46 / 100
On tap at the brewery.
Pours a pale amber colour with yellow tinge. Head is nice; off-white with decent lace trails left behind. Some bead that looks OK. Pretty good.
Smells more malty than hoppy; not what I'd expect from the style. Lots of caramel sweetness with vanilla cake batter character, a hint of citric hops at the back with a touch of lychee. Could have used more of that.
Taste is a bit more hoppy. Fair malty char upfront with a bit of sweetness, gets sour and bitter from hops which aren't pronounced but have some presence on there. Dank, grapefruit character with a touch of wood resin on the back. Sharp finish. Fair character but not overly drinkable. Could soften up the hops in a big way, just doesn't have the malt presence or the flavouring hop character and the finish is a rude shock.
Decent texture. Nice carbonation that isn't too harsh, bit of presence from malt.
69 / 100
On tap somewhere... Man I never remember where I drink Grifter beers. And yet I always want to say Bitter Phew. Maybe it was.
Pours a burnished coppery colour, clearish with slow bead. Head is off-white, small bubbles but nice foam retention, some lacing. Pretty great.
Smells very fruity. Mango and apricot with a nod to the overripe and rotten. Very sweet, with a big caramel edge as well adding to the overall sweetness. Could tone down the rotting fruit aspect just a tad, otherwise nice sweet, fruity nose.
Taste retains a similar character. Malt upfront, sweet caramel toffee notes followed by big fruity burst. Tropical stonefruit notes with mango, peach, apricot and pear. Gets that overripe sweetness late-mid before finishing off with a decent tangy bitterness. Slightly citric with a touch of wood resin. Clean, quite moreish.
Very sharp carbonation note with a fair pull from hops as well. Feel the same character with a heavier malt body would be fantastic.
Nice XPA. Has more presence than a pale ale but I feel the main difference between this and an IPA is the thinner body, which isn't a good thing really. Nice beer though, overall.
83 / 100
Tried many, many times before, but never before reviewed. Should probably not count in #h100beers consideration despite its score, just because this is a really long overdue review. This one tried on tap at the Duck Inn.
Pours a dark golden amber colour (dark-golden not dark amber), beautiful tight white head of dense foam, leaving mild traces of lace. Exemplary pale ale look.
Smells fresh and exciting, and so inviting to me. Lemon, grapefruit and lychee notes abound. Touch of caramel malt at the back, provides great balance. Exemplary APA smell.
Taste is a little light on, I guess it's befitting the style. Malty upfront, slight biscuity grain and caramel notes. Hops take over: fairly citric and quite bitter in taste but a nice softness, especially on the back. Just cleans up, leaving a very biscuity malt note and mild bitter finish. Could use more hop character on the palate, but otherwise yeah I'll say it again, exemplariffic. I'm pretty sure I've used the word exemplariffic in this review before, right?....What? I've never used that word before in my life?
Decent texture. Has a presence in the mouth but otherwise fluid, goes down very easily.
Drinkable, pleasant and full flavoured yet subtle pale ale. One of the best examples of a style so ubiquitously made in Oz.
60 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasantly clear golden colour, with some refined and somewhat languid carbonation. Head forms a minimal, but fine and persistent crest of white. Not much lacing. Body is fairly fluid, with just a touch more weight than you'd expect from the style—given it's 6.4% ABV, that's maybe not actually a surprise.
Nose is a little muted, but fairly pleasant, with a little mild hoppiness balanced on a slimmed down pale malt basis. Some honey comes through, and a little sweet-sour herbal greenery. It's not particularly forthright, but there are pleasant things to discover in it.
Taste is pretty similar. Light, slightly earthy hop characters mingle with a rather grainy malt base to give a rather organic tone to the whole thing. It doesn't have the true leavening freshness that a truly hop-focused beer can have, but it's pleasant enough even so. Feel is rounded, but light—it feels like it has breadth to it, but not a lot of weight or body backing it up.
Overall, it's decent enough. It's perhaps a little disappointing just because the "radical" and the "triple hopped" on the label suggested that it would be more flavoursome than it was. Were it labelled "just another pale ale", I'd probably have been pleasantly surprised.
330ml can purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant golden yellow colour, with some mild hazing in the body. Head forms a frothy crest, but settles out to a mild fine ring of white that leaves good, solid frothy sheets of lace. Body is light, with a little bit of boisterous carbonation when tilted. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is pleasantly nutty, overlaid with a mildly herbal hop note, which lays on a little pine essence with a more scrubby bush character. It's certainly not what I'd consider a classic American hop character (despite the "American" in the name), but it's genuinely pleasant on its own terms.
Taste is also good, mainly because there's a highly attenuated lightness to the body here, that makes it feel light and drinkable. Despite this, the hops are fairly restrained, meaning the bitterness is still quite crisp without being overwhelming. Malt is very muted, despite that nutty character on the nose, but there is a slight structure underneath it which helps give it a little bit of basis. Pretty decent.
Feel is very light, but that helps the drinkability.
Overall, yep, this is a solid beer, albeit one that firmly sits in the category of "drinkable pale ale". I don't think it does anything wrong, but it doesn't really push the envelope much either. It's fine: I'd pick it up if I saw it on an otherwise uninteresting menu, but there are plenty of other very similar beers already out there.
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by my in-laws friends. I assume it came from somewhere in the vicinity of the brewery, but I can't be sure.
Pours a pleasant cloudy orange amber colour, with a good, firm head of white that leaves some streaky lacing. Initially quite coarse-bubbled, it settles out to a rather fine film. Body has a bit of weight to it. Looks pretty good.
Nose is quite pleasant. It's malt-focused, with a solid, smooth but certainly not dominant hop character. Fortunately, the hops are broad and sweet, which melds into the nutty malt. It's something of a disappointment that the hops aren't more front-and-centre, but it's quite nice all up.
Taste very much follows the same path. The basis is a solid nutty malt character—broad and sweet, Maris Otter seems the dominant note. The hops are actually pretty muted here, and it's something of a disappointment. That being said, whatever's there lightens the dankness of the malt, giving it a pleasant green, sweet herbal character.
Feel is light but a little frothy. It works well with the other characters.
Overall, it's a very drinkable brew. It's certainly a beer that I would be happy to drink again and (you know what?) again. This is the sort of beer that forms the core of a good range. I'm very hopeful that there are more interesting beers to come out from this brewery.
60 / 100
Tried on tap at Cammeray Craft.
Pours a clear gold, bit of mild haze. Head is white, large bubbles with some lace. Pretty golden ale-esque. Not bad but not great.
Smells hoppy, but a big buttery aroma as well. Big creamy malt with butter character, touch of nuts, oak, nice tangy hops that could be more robust.
Taste is quite bitter. Hints of that buttery malt upfront, then lots of earthy bitterness. Slight lemon pith character; mostly earthy slightly gritty bitterness. Long bitter finish that starts early and leaves late. Not too bad but could use a bit more zestiness on the palate overall. Decent character but doesn't quite have the balance overall to make it greatly drinkable.
Fluid, bit of pull from hops. Other than that no real texture.
Hits the right notes but lingers on the wrong ones. Needs more colour and shade, I guess.
Pale gold, touch of haze. White head is pretty dense. Decent retention. More lace maybe but good otherwise.
Smells a bit salty? Touch of new world hops. Passion, orange, but yeah a funny beachy character. Unexpected. Not bad.
Taste is hoppier, more citric. Big pulpy orange notes; touch of lemon, quite bitter. Fair caramel malt throughout, even on the back. Quite a potent pale ale; borders on IPA territory. Nice though; citric and fruity.
A bit sizzly from carbonation, as body isn't quite there to pad it.
Good, big pale ale. Plenty of flavour.
On tap somewhere... I can't remember. Possibly Bitter Phew?
Pale gold, clear. Lovely thick fluffy head; great retention and lace. Could retain its colour further to the edge but otherwise as good as a pale gets.
Smells of Galaxy. Fruity; slightly resinous. Somewhat prickly, piney note at the back. Not much malt but then it's a pale. Could use a bit more depth but it's a well tempered aroma.
Taste is pleasant, very hop driven. Not a lot of it though; largely piney, woody rather and slightly flat, steady, again not much depth. Finishes a bit early and yeast flavour pokes its ugly face through. Just slightly though; decent and drinkable pale otherwise.
Slight carbonation sizzle but it adds a decent texture. Not too dry on the back.
Nice pale; could use a bit more late hopping just to add a touch more flavour and aroma complexity. Also wouldn't mind the ABV being upped to 5.5 and getting a touch more body.
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Nice reddish amber colour, clear. Head is beige, nice and foamy and pretty dense. Sticky lacing. Bit red; but looks great so should I be complaining?
Smells a bit stinky. Touch of earth, some mild hop notes. Bit subdued. Could have more oomph.
Taste is quite spicy, lots of earthy peppery juniper midway, blends nicely into slightly resinous hop bitterness on the back. Some maris ottery malt upfront. Quite earthy too, touch of toffee. Decent, could maybe use more freshening up late.
Quite bitey, loads of texture on the back. Would like it to let up a bit.
Interesting pale, lots of flavour. Will probably not be widely loved, but there's promise there.
77 / 100
Pale gold, metallic looking. Nice white head, whispy but nice retention, fairly good amount of lace all around. Bit pale but nice.
Smells a bit oxidised, but nice. Hoppy, with citrus and pine, fair amount of malt with oxidised currants, loads of caramel. Nice.
Taste is very caramelly upfront, sweet and malty with a touch of popcorn, toffee then nice gentle hop character but a nice citrus edge to flood the palate with bitterness and take the edge off the sweetness. Well constructed, good balance. Great pale ale, right up there with the best of them.
Smooth, but a little thin and short, doesn't last to the back.
Nice drinkin' beer, very pleasant.
60 / 100
Pours a dark amber with steady bead. Head is cream coloured, tiny bubbles, retains a thin crown. Looks quite nice.
Smells very fruity. Mango with citrus, pine and passion. Light, could use more complexity or oomph; pleasant for what's there.
Taste is more oomphy. Some light fruit upfront with citrus and passion, then hop notes take on a bitter twist for the whole of the back. Quite citric with a mild ammonia note and some resinous bitterness on the hang. Paradoxically, all the grounding I wanted on the nose is here on the palate but the balance has kind of swung the wrong way and I now want more freshing up.
Fairly sizzly texture, feel like the body might be a bit thin for all the hop oils skinning it back.
Decent pale, certainly has characters that people will like; doesn't quite mesh for me.
48 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. Good to see an Australian city getting an entry in Evil Twin's Hipster series.
Pours a yellow-golden colour, firmly hazed and with some solid weight behind it that allows slow, thin streams of carbonation through. Head is whitish, leaving a thin, but fairly minimal ring that creates no lace. Looks okay.
Nose is light and woody, with a pronounced whiff of Pride of Ringwood—oh, I see now, use the most unfashionable hop in Australia. It leaves it a little bit savoury and dank. I'm not a fan.
Taste is crisp with empty malt laced by a crescendoing bitterness through the centre of the palate. Again, it's PoR though. Biting and slightly chemical on the back with a wickedly dry afterpalate that leaves the beer feeling extremely light and almost watery by the end.
Nope, I'm afraid not. While it has some of the "who cares" vibe of the anti-hip Hipster movement, this particular entry ends up tasting a little too much like VB.
73 / 100
A tequila-spiked, Sorachi Ace-hopped pale ale brewed for GABS 2014 in Melbourne. That sounds like something I want to try. So I did. Sampled on tap at the festival.
Pale golden in colour, with a little haze and some fine carbonation. Body is fairly light, and forms a white, minimal head. Not much in the way of lace, just a few fine streaks. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very pleasant. Strangely toasty oak notes come through along with smooth vanilla and a peach aroma that is really quite fragrant. Smooth all around, even if it doesn't have a truly deep complexity.
Peach characters on the front with a little acidity through the centre of the palate. Spicy cinnamon notes come through out of nowhere. On the back the oak comes through giving suggestions of dank cherry and leaving a light seedy character on the finish. Feel is smooth, but light. Really quite good.
Overall, this is surprising and unusual, but pretty nice stuff all-up. Certainly one of the most interesting beers I've had from Ekim.
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery in Bermondsey when doing the mile. I brought this bottle back to Sydney, Australia where I shared it with Sam & Rich.
Pours a very hazy crushed lemon colour, with a fine, slightly frothy head of white that doesn't persist all that well. Minimal patchy lace. Decent weight to the body, and some nice fine carbonation. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is pleasant: definite citrus characters giving a fragrant, almost acidic tone to the aroma. Slight husky nuttiness comes through as well, more of a savoury grainy malt character than any real sweetness. Hops are the most dominant part though, and they're done fairly well.
Taste is very light, but pleasant enough in its way. Very thin body delivers the "session" quality, while the malt is definitely very savoury, providing an almost umami-like biscuit character underneath everything. Slight weak fragrant hoppiness sits on the back and makes it slightly bitey. Not bad.
Feel is very light. It's not unexpected, but it doesn't help a lot overall.
It's decent enough. Compared to some of BBNo's other offerings it's decidedly subpar, but that's probably a hard comparison. This probably just underlines why Session IPA is a dubious style at best.
75 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery in Bermondsey.
Pours a fairly hazed bright golden colour, fairly deep and burnished. Head forms a frothy, persistent and solid cap of white that leaves some streaks of foamy lace as it goes down. Carbonation is fine, but rushing through the fairly light. Body. Looks good overall though.
Nose is very nice, bright clean hoppiness, with the Polaris providing an unusually vegetative or herbal note to the mix, a little bit like freshly chopped silverbeet. Malt is fairly neutral, but does provide a bit of surrounding basis. Overall, solid stuff.
Taste is also pretty clean, pleasant and well-balanced, with a fruitiness coming from the Cascade hops that sits nicely alongside the fresh, slightly grainy malt. Rustic, slightly dusty bitterness towards the back cleans it up, providing a dry, powdery feel in the finish. Really nicely balanced, and really very quaffable. Very nice stuff.
Overall, I'm impressed once again by BBNo. This is such a well-crafted brew, smooth, light and really easy to drink, but with lots of flavour and complexity when you look for it. Really nice stuff.
73 / 100
On-tap at Draft House in London. My version was 3.1% ABV.
Pours a hazed, burnished golden colour, a fine but slightly filmy head of white. Proper English-style lacing. Fairly fine streaming carbonation through the very light body. Looks pretty good.
The nose is tops. Big citra-fresh characters bright, sharp and piercing. Mandarin comes through well, with some sweet, subtle orange notes and rounded hop characters giving a lot of breadth. It's big, aromatic and refreshing—certainly better than I expected.
Taste is light—at this weight it probably can't be otherwise. Plenty of good characters to it. Fragrant citrus, pithy but sweet with zesty lemonade notes. A bit of soda, very little malt character. Pretty clean and pleasant all up. Feel is very light, which isn't surprising.
This is very, very drinkable and very sessionable indeed. Perhaps the carbonation is a little too high—a smoother version would perhaps be excessively drinkable and addictive. It's maybe a good thing that it's not.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at Shake Shack in Covent Garden, London. A pint in a thin plastic cup. I believe I probably had this beer before at Shake Shack in NYC as well, but I didn't take any notes on it last time.
Pours fairly clear, with a faint haze to it, and deep golden in hue. Head is a frothy and persistent off-white crest. Lacing is solid, carbonation is fine. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is fair: clean malt underpinning with a touch of nuttiness. Very mild hops make an appearance, although they're fairly neutral—it's "hops" without much in the way of character. There's not a lot going on, but it's not bad either.
Taste is a little better. There's a tang of ginger or something spicy on the front, backed with some clean faint malt supporting it. Hop character is muted but pleasant leading to a slight sting of herbs or spice on the back. It's decent stuff.
Feel is pretty smooth but a bit lightweight overall.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable without being really interesting. It works fine with the smokestack burger I had, which I guess is the point, right?
59 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery.
Pours a fairly hazy dirty golden colour. Head forms a frothy loose crest of off-white, that settles out to a very thin ring. Body has some heft to it.
Nose has some sweetness, with a fruity hop character that is certainly less than sharp. As a result it feels much more rounded and rich than it would be otherwise. It's good, but not necessarily right for an IPA, even a "session" IPA.
Taste has some gingerbread to it and golden syrup. Hops do come through giving a crispness but the lingering sweetness really does overwhelm the palate. It's very surprising: I was expecting it to be unbalanced in the way or hoppiness, or else to be fairly light across the board. Instead, the sweetness really provides the bulk of the flavour.
Feel is full as well: partially to do with the sweetness, no doubt.
Overall, it's solid stuff. Not great, but certainly not bad. There's persistence and weight to it, and a strange sort of balance—it's just perhaps not balanced in the way I expected it to be.
74 / 100
Tried on-tap at Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà in Rome. They listed the ABV as 5.7%.
Pours a light, faint golden hue with fairly heavy haze. Body is very lightweight. Head forms a thick, frothy and persistent crest of white that leaves a frothy ring of lace at the top of the glass and then nothing more. Carbonation is very fine. Looks pretty decent.
Lovely fresh and sweet initially on the nose. Big fresh fruity characters: mango, peach and sweet citrus: my guess would be a fair bit of Galaxy in it. It's very fragrant in any case and makes a powerful entry.
Light start on the palate, fairly clean with just a hint of biting vegetative hops around the edges. The sweet fruit characters come in through the middle, fragrant, but blunted a little. There's also a weird milky character to it as well: not lactic infection, but weirdly perhaps lactose. Back is clean but rather empty. Sparkle of carbonation and a faint bitterness on the finish. It's quite refreshing. Feel is clean and light.
Overall, though, it's very smooth, easy to drink and really nice. It's got a great nose and brings a lot of character to the table for a pretty easy beer—too big to be sessionable probably, but still a nice start to a session.
76 / 100
75cl brown bottle purchased from Domus Birrae in Rome.
Pours a bright, but faintly hazed golden colour, with a fine head of white that leaves minimal lacing. Carbonation is also pretty minimal, even when swirled, only light streams form. Body is fairly weak, but then it's only about 5% ABV.
Nose is very pleasant indeed. Clean, bright and crisp citrus, with sweet lemon dominant. then underneath is a lovely interleaved floral character: fragrant but still fresh, with a little greenness thrown in. It reminds me a little of a pleasant NZ hop character, although they don't mention what it is on the label. Very nice.
Taste is even better though. Clean, bright, fresh and lovely, while maintaining a lightness and a cleanness throughout. More citrus/lemonade characters, slight upturns of herbal greenness with a spritzy finish. Feel is very light throughout, and the aftertaste has a slightly aspirin quality to it, but overall, it's remarkably fresh, fragrant and flavoursome for only being 5% ABV.
Cracking APA, and a good example of a light, hoppy ale that you don't need to call a "Session IPA". Really nice use of hops, but with balance and drinkability. I really liked it a lot.
70 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. For a beer named "Fresh" with the warning "Drink Now + Don't Age" on it, I was a little dubious, given it doesn't have a date on the bottle and it's here in Australia on the other side of the world from where it was born. Still, let's see where we go...
Pours a pale golden colour with a massive crackling head of white that forms swiftly and settles to a foamy mass that stays pretty persistently. Lacing forms in soapy clods. Carbonation is quite aggressive, running through the body very swiftly. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasant, but given the rhetoric on the bottle, I suggest it isn't as fresh as they hoped it to be when drunk. Pleasant citrus hops come forward with a slight tingle of passionfruit or guava, and a cut grass/pepper spiciness. It's certainly pleasant—the main issue is that it's not as powerful and potent as it might have been. Amp that aroma up and I'd be loving it.
Taste is clean and slightly earthy, with a clear but somewhat woody hop bitterness towards the back. It actually works rather well, but it's the sort of bitterness you get in a beer that doesn't smell like this. Pleasant and herbal, but lacking those fruity/citric flavours suggested by the nose. Finish has a pleasant lingering bite and a hint of nuttiness, and the carbonation is remarkably rather tamed.
Feel is good: there's not a whole heap of tingle to it from the carbonation, but is does get a bit gassy after a while.
Overall, very drinkable. I probably didn't get it as fresh as it should be, but it's still remarkably tasty and clean, and there's not any hint of oxidation or other age issues. Some day I'll try it again, close to the source, on the day after it's bottled. It's worth that, certainly.
Pours a pale golden colour, slight cloudy haze. Head is white, decent bubbling. OK i guess. Looks OK.
Smells quite hoppy, American mostly. Touch of golden syrup behind it, with lots of pineapple, passion, and pine resin as well. Bit more hoppy than expected, but pretty decent.
Taste is bit subdued. Hoppy, tropical - notes of orange, some passion and a touch of prune. Bit empty midway to be honest but nice palate nonetheless. Mostly hops, light and a bit empty. Don't get much coconut or many oats. Just fruity, thin; drinkable but not hugely impressive.
500ml brown bottle. A hoppy golden ale, brewed with German and Japanese (read Sorachi Ace) hops, and fermented with Belgian yeast. Hard to know how to classify this. Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne by Sarah.
Pours a slightly deep golden colour, slightly hazed, with a fine white head across the top of the glass. Minimal lacing, and not much carbonation. Body is about what you'd expect for 4.9% ABV.
Nose is definitely heavy on the Sorachi Ace, giving a slightly lemony sweet-savoury character that suggests wood, herbs and a light meatiness. There are some rounded Belgian yeast tones which come through as well, but they're at least supported by the Sorachi. Under it is a pretty mild pale ale. Not much in the way of sweetness. The aromas are pleasant at least, and do something noticeably different to anything else you'd likely find under the moniker "Golden Ale".
Taste is similar. Sorachi is again prominent, giving a strangely sweet, oaky character, while the body stays pretty clear, flat and neutral. It's clean at least, and while the Sorachi Ace provides the bulk of the flavour, it certainly doesn't become overpowering. Buttery notes on the back become cleansed by a fine carbonation. Feel is very light and sparkling with a fine carbonation.
Pretty drinkable. I like the hop they've showcased here, even though it can easily get out of control—here it's pretty well constrained, and even though it does end up being a very Sorachi-heavy brew, it's still maintains a good level of drinkability. And I like the fact that Dainton have here done something to separate themselves from any other "golden ale" available on the Australian market.
330ml brown bottle purchased in Auckland. Poured initially without the yeast sediment.
Pours a rather clear, but pleasantly bright golden hue, with a large-bubbled, filmy head that settles where it may. Body has a little heft to it, surprisingly, and it holds a very fine bead of carbonation. Minimal lacing. Looks decent without being spectacular.
Nose is clean and bright, initially with a slight skunkiness, although this disappears very quickly. Under it is a mild but present Kiwi hop character, giving it a touch of crispness, above a pronounced neutral malt basis—this is slightly bready, and a touch thicker than I would have expected. Again, it's okay without being great.
Taste is similar, although here there's a crispness along the middle and back of the palate which delineates the malt nicely, ensuring it doesn't get too aggressive. Indeed, the hops provide just the right balance, while maintaining a slight build-up on the tongue. It means it tastes better as it goes along.
The feel does have a little more weight than expected to it, but the crispness of the hops, and the right level of carbonation still provide a budding sharpness. It's pleasant.
Overall, by the end of my tasting I was digging it. It's fairly neutral and a little bit by-the-numbers, but it has a refreshing edge to it by the end that means that I'd reach for another one after finishing the first. Solid stuff.
60 / 100
Pours a champagne colour, decent haziness with foamy white head, unfortunately mellowed out to just a ring of lace. Bit meh.
Smells grainy upfront with a big belt of bread yeast as well. Slight tart note hanging around the back with a touch of green apple/pear aroma. Also a bit meh.
Taste has notes of cereal grain on the front as far as malt base goes, light but develops decent yeasty spice characters midway, touch of star anise and just generic Belgian phenols. Bit spicy overall, but still a bit bland.
Decent body, bit of carbonation. Fairly standard.
Not a bad Belgian ale, but pretty uninteresting.
Pours a golden champagne colour, fair haze throughout. Head is white, webbed out and dissipates to leave a thin rim. Looks a bit dull and flat.
Smells lovely, however. Light floating mosaic hops all over that giving apple and pear, lemon and tangy passionfruit. Nice touch of malty sweetness adds a complement although without fully grounding it. Hopefully palate has more grounding but as a smell it's lovely.
Taste has that sweet fruitiness throughout, with a touch of peach and packham pear notes upfront with a touch of caramel malt. Hops turn bitter midway through, giving a big grapefruit character to the finish. Nice grounding with bitterness, possibly a bit much this time - felt like there could have been more of that tangy flavour.
Body is a little thin, flat and lacking in texture. Not bad but not great.
Decently refreshing drop. Bit underwhelming but stylistically good.
60 / 100
Pours a champagney colour, white foamy head, sticks around alright. Looks like a pretty standard Australian pale ale.
Smells... surprising. Malty base with a touch of caramel and loads of lovely hop notes - appear, pear and passionfruit giving a big tropical tang. Nicely grounded with lovely hop notes. You've surprised me, Thunder Road.
Taste is more subdued. Again nice caramel malt base, with lots of tropical fruit notes, plenty of passionfruit and apple characters. Not much on the finish and certainly not a lot of bitterness. Bit tangy and quite pleasant, but ultimately a bit of a non-event.
Decent body, slight carbonation. Not bad.
Definitely the best Thunder Road beer I've had. Such as it is, this is definitely their most interesting and drinkable brew.
61 / 100
Pours a deep amber colour with white bubbly head. Large bubbles, sticks around. Not bad, not great.
Smells quite malty upfront with a touch of pearl barley grain, light toffee. US hops take over midway, grapefruit and lemon with a touch of bitterness. Fairly standard US hop character.
Palate starts with caramel notes and a touch of rye spice. Hops are fruity, with apple, pear and grapefruit providing the biggest bitterness on the back. Touch of spice; the hops are strong but not offensive. Quite nice.
Decent body, slight touch of carbonation.
Not a bad single-hopped APA but it verges on IPA-level bitterness. I also question Centennial as a choice for a single hop but that's just a matter of personal preference (as are so many assessments of single hop beers).
Pours a pale straw colour, bit of haze. Head is off-white, nice tightly-packed bubbles but clearing out pretty quickly. Nice-looking pale ale.
Smells like a pale ale. Caramel malt base with passionfruit, lemon and apple/pear notes vying for attention in the hops stakes. Tangy and refreshing.
Taste is a little bready. Touch of pearl barley on the grain notes develops an odd cinnamon character midway before the fruit hops take over. Again apple/pear with a very subtle hint of lemon, not a lot of bitterness. Still seems bready overall; the hops are nice but not quite strong enough.
Thin body, decent texture. Maybe a slight hint of some kind of alcohol which would be absurd in such a small beer, so I might just be mistaken.
Just a decent pale. Bit more late-hopping could really zing it up.
77 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour, huge cloud to the point of being opaque in the body. White head, quite sparse, but retaining OK. Looks very intriguing.
Some grainy notes upfront, cereal notes with some buttery character, but then piquant fruit on the back, lemon, orange and a touch of white pepper. Tangy and fresh, but maybe a little on the light side.
Bit of rye spice upfront on the palate which I wasn't expecting. Fruit, and hops take over midway. Orange, mandarin and a touch of lemon zest. A little bit bready as well with a yeast character on the back which normally would make me recoil but actually works really interestingly with the fruit character. I like this a lot.
Decent mouthfeel, bit of light carbonation but fine for the style.
Classic pale ale but with a really interesting twist. Very enjoyable.
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy. Head is white, large webbed bubbles, decent thickness. Looks OK.
Smells grainy, buttery with a bit of Pride of Ringwood hop note. Woody, slightly cardboardy but pretty blah. Could definitely use more edge.
Taste is grainy, with cereal notes, touch of bread and a big yeasty note. Grainy, not IPA enough at all. Weird base and just bland, bordering on unpleasant.
Decent mouthfeel, OK body with a touch of carbonation.
Not really IPA at all and just unpleasant flavours. Sorry, this doesn't really do it for me at all.
70 / 100
Pours a pale gold, slightly hazy, with delicious white foamy head. Sinks unevenly, but gorgeous lace left behind. Great.
Smells fruity. Apple & pear with a touch of pineapple and peach. Slight petrochemical tinge and bit of a green edge. Pleasant.
Tastes odd. Well, unexpected. Grainy & slightly toasty. Bit of hop oil that's a bit resinous late and cleans it up as well, but yeah, definitely not as fruity/tangy as expected. Dryer, and more resinous to the point of toasty. Well-constructed palate though.
Decent fullness, bit of hop-pull as it goes down. Not bad.
Interesting drop. Feel like it should be very hoppy and fresh, but isn't quite. It isn't too much poorer for it though.
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst during the first day of Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a bright golden colour with a little hazing in the glass. Body is light with minor streams of carbonation running through it. Head is white and pocked with bubbles but leaves decent rings of lace. Looks decent.
Nose has a slight pineapple hop character coming through, but is mostly malty with some lagery overtones and a slight hint of sulphur. Hops are quite subdued apart from providing a little bit of that fruitiness.
Crisp entry on the palate with some minor sharpness providing a bit of a bite. Some more pineapple comes through on the mid-palate, but it's a little empty. Lingering fruity bitterness on the back leaves a smooth aftertaste. Apparently there's coconut in this beer as well, but I don't see it. Feel is light and balanced.
Overall, it's very drinkable stuff: a little sweet perhaps to be truly refreshing, but overall, it's not bad.
60 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich back in Sydney.
Pours a faintly hazed pale golden colour, with a very full and frothy, almost meringuey head of white that has amazing resilience and retention. Lacing is also extremely good. Body is light, but with a bit of a weight to it when swirled. It looks really very good.
Nose is thin, but fruity with citrus obviously prevalent. Slight mustiness comes through, a bit like dried orange peel, along with a hint of pepper and an old grain-cellar dust character. There's a hint of sweetness to it—perhaps rose—but not much. Overall, it's decent, but not as exciting as it could have been.
Taste follows a similar sort of trajectory: hoppy for the most part, but slightly dull in its execution, with the flavours coming out as faint preserved citrus and marmalade. Some apricot comes through, but nothing sweeter than that. The main issue perhaps is that the body doesn't support the hops, even though the hops are a little pedestrian: it leaves it feeling slightly thin in the mouth.
Overall, it's a decent and drinkable pale ale, but one that perhaps doesn't do the citra brand many favours as a hop variety: it seems a little sharp like it should, but there's not the balance in the beer that it requires. As a result, the beer is more disappointing than it should be.
Pours a golden colour, very light haze. Head is listless, thin rim of bubbly lace. Fairly bland and unimpressive.
Smells quite malty, with caramel. Decent tang on there - citrus, paw-paw and mango. Quite subtle and a bit sweet, but OK.
Taste is fairly tangy - fair amount of citrus zest, some nectar and a touch of honey. Gets a bit yeasty late-mid but not too much. Decent malt presence. Quite nice drinkin'.
Full, little bit slinky and smooth. Very nice.
Inoffensive, but flavoursome pale. Quite a decent brew.
70 / 100
On tap at Johnny Farina in Ottawa.
Pours a burnished amber, slight red tinge. Head is off-white, dense up top but sparse on the sides. Looks pretty good.
Smells peppery. Lots of hops but also plenty of red and black peppercorns. Notes of some lemongrass and citrus as well. Tangy and a bit spicy. Odd but nice.
Taste starts out peppery with more of those peppercorn flavours. Red/black colour, some slight sour green notes. Hints of citrus on there, lemon with some fragrant dish detergent, but finishes hoppy and pleasant. Light and drinkable.
Decent body, bit of texture that isn't just carbonation. Alright.
Pale ale with all the right notes, and a touch of intriguing difference. I like it.
57 / 100
Pours a burnished orange colour, with slow bead. Dense cream head. Looks a treat.
Smells very fruity, yeah like citra hops. Passion and mango abound, light and quite airy. Sweet, pleasant, but ultimately just smells insubstantial and needs something earthier to ground it.
Taste is massively tropical fruit. Loads of mango, passion with a mango pudding softness, then a very citric, acidic bitterness that just emerges as from the swamp. Yeah, not sure I love citra as a pale ale hop. Very fruity front and very citric back.
Yeah, smooth, soft texture. No bubbles. Really quite nice.
Decent enough beer, but as an APA it seems a little off balance.
58 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a faintly hazed, but very light-coloured yellow with a minimal white head that settles down to little more than a fine ring around the edge, with a few islands of larger bubbles. Carbonation is fine, and the body has a little heft to it. Some tight but rather nondescript lace forms later. Looks decent without being exciting.
Nose is pleasant enough: sweet malty grain characters laced with a faintly fruity hop presence, although not strongly enough to feel like the beer would warrant the label "hoppy". Some honey comes through again underlining the fact that it smells rather sweet overall. Some bready characters as it warms up. Decent, not exciting.
Hmm, I see a trend here. Taste is again: decent, but not exciting. Clean neutral malt presence through the centre of the palate, a bit dull, and reminiscent of many other dull pale ales. Some slight hop bite progresses from the back towards the finish, slightly herbal but quite clean. Finish is bright and a little sharp, giving it a crispness to end on.
Feel is pretty decent: quite light and bright through the centre and elevated by a fine carbonation throughout.
Overall: yeah, it's decent stuff. It's got some mild, subdued flavours to it which puts it more in the "generic pale ale" category, but it's quite drinkable, and certainly more interesting than macro swill. But it doesn't get into the category of being truly interesting in its own right, and there are many, many other beers out there that taste like this—I don't think there's enough going for it to make it stand out.
39 / 100
330ml bottle purchased by my good friend Rich from Beer Cartel in Sydney.
Pours a very clear coppery golden colour, with a misty film of dull white head that froths when swirled, but otherwise stays pretty low and flat. Minimal lacing, and a very light body. I can honestly say that it's hasn't wowed me.
Nose is honeyed sweet. Slightly goopy and a little sickly with sweetness and a molten spiciness. There's a faint yeasty tone to the back, suggesting the sweetness comes from esters and Belgian ferment, but it could as easily just be underattenuation, with too many sugars sticking around. Not a fan.
Taste is a little better. At least here there's a lightness on the back, which at least rules out too much residual sugar. Instead it just drops out though, leaving almost nothing. Front is better at least. Slight dry spice characters with a tweak of fruitiness. There's just so little flavour or body at the back. It's disappointing.
Feel is woeful, and actually looking at it, it could be the lack of body and slickness (or even crispness) that's really hurting the palate.
Overall, I'm clearly not a fan. This is mostly bland, but poking enough interesting nerve endings that I feel it should be a lot better. But then, I could be completely wrong about that too...
I've had this beer many, many times (as has any Aussie beer lover worth their salt), and I reviewed it very early on in my beer-drinking career, giving it an artificially inflated score when it was just about the only beer of any substance you could get in Australia. As such, I was keen to try it again at some point without the history and bias that had built up in my mind.
Knowing this, my friend Rich cleverly served it to me blind one Saturday afternoon, asking me to review it and pick what it was. Here's the result:
Pours a dense pale amber hue, deeply cloudy with a huge frothy head of eggshell white. Lacing is sticky and frothy, leaving maniacal streaks down the glass. The body is quite light though, and there's not a lot of visible carbonation. It does look very good overall.
Nose is slightly round with fresh hop characters, but also dusky and dark, with a faint grain husk character that makes it seem earthier than it is. Faint organic tones come through as well as a slight leafy note. Still, it's rather pleasant altogether.
Taste is light and clean. Pleasant straight up-and-down malt basis with a cleansing, but not particularly flavoursome hop balance. Back palate is slightly musky, which drops out quickly, leaving almost nothing in the finish. It's clean, but a little banal.
Feel is a bit light as well—a little more something, body, carbonation, or flavour in general, would really help it out.
Overall, though, it's a very drinkable brew. It's pretty light on flavour for the most part, but it has a vestige of interest running through it—it's enough to make me consider drinking it again.
And, I'll keep my original review below:
A beautiful looking beer. A clear, dark amber colour, with a good solid white head. Lacing sticks to the glass all the way down. 4.5
Wonderful sweet nose, definitely some aniseed spiciness and tropical fruits like mangos bananas and peaches. A heaven-scent (haha) aroma. 4.5
Very fine taste as well, complex and rich, punctuated by yeasty notes and floral hop bitterness. The after taste is very smooth, leaving you feeling refreshed and satisfied. 4.5
Yes, this is a very fine beer. 4.5
(Ed: no, it's not that good).
71 / 100
Sampled at Santora's Pizza in Amherst.
Pours a pale gold, with a foamy, dense white head that is just beautiful. Awesome retention with a thick film of lacing left behind. Pay attention: this is how a pale ale should look.
Tangy fruit on the nose, big citrus characters with passionfruit tang. Somewhat Southern hemisphere notes come through, pine and lychee with some spicy pine needle. Very enticing indeed.
Taste is a little subdued. Plenty of hop with lychee, pineapple and passion flavours. Lime and candied orange as well. Overall though a little lacking in malt. Nice hop notes but there just isn't all that much there.
Foamy feel, almost sudsy. Bit of fizz. OK for style.
Very nice pale, just wanting a little more oomph on the palate.
60 / 100
Sampled at Santora's Pizza in Amherst.
Pours a rich gold, off-white head. Foamy, nice retention. Lace is nice. Pleasant-looking pale.
Smells grassy, citric, tangy and slightly savoury. Bit of bread dough. OK.
Tastes quite doughy upfront. Gets a bit of resinous hop midway with citric notes, pine needle, some paprika and dry wood. A bit on the savoury side, could use more tang.
Fizz on there, but the body is OK for the style.
Not quite as refreshing as I'd like, but some nice notes, and some interesting ones as well.
Had on tap at the brew pub.
Copper tinged gold colour, with off-white head. Bit of lace, reasonably dense. Decent.
Coppery on the nose as well. Mild citric hint with plenty of rich malt , and a touch of vanilla. Sweet, mildly tangy. Pretty nice.
Taste is quite malty. Caramel, toffee and a touch of roast blending well with a resinous hop that has a touch of citric character. Bit spicy in the back. All good, but then on the back, there's an unfortunate bread yeast note that shouldn't be there. Sort of a by-product, doesn't detract from drinking overall but it's a shame it's there.
A bit fizzy midway, not much body.
Not a bad English pale with good help from the US hops.
57 / 100
A hoppy pale ale accented with Japanese Daidai fruit, apparently some sort of extremely bitter citrus used as an expectorant. Mmm. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne in 2013.
Pours a very light honey yellow colour with ridiculously solid hazing. Weight is heavy, especially given what I expected. Head forms a foamy white ring around the glass, which forms lace in mild patches. Looks good.
Nose is slightly dusty and pretty mild. Some citrus rind comes through, but it's dirty and earthy with twinges of flour and yeast to it as well. It doesn't win me over, I'm afraid.
Light and bready entry on the palate as well. Some dry crispness help it a bit as it leads into a sharp citrus character with some bite. Back is dry, clinging and dusty, but lacking any real flavour. Aftertaste is clean and light, but dead.
Very light feel, despite the apparent weight in the body. Some bite from the citrus.
Overall, it's OK, but it has some elements which make it seem a little dull, and some which verge on being unpleasant. I feel it had more potential than this.
355ml bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. Yeast sediment in the bottle, which I left there.
Pleasant deep orange colour, almost copper in hue, with a very fine, pleasant pale orange-tinged beige head. Lacing is patchy, but solid and streaky where it forms. Body is quite light and fluid, but it holds some decent fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it looks pretty good.
Pithy pine and lemon nose, hint of barley sugar, some honey and a slight ginger tone. Pleasantly fragrant when swirled, a bit of resin comes forward along with some peppery spice. It's very pleasant.
Taste is lighter and slightly sweeter than expected, although it starts out quite well. Pleasant clean, crisp entry, some leafy hop characters and a mild neutral malt character open it out. Mid palate is where things go slightly awry, with a touch of coconut and a slight buttery character coming in ever so subtly. Under this is still the main thrust of clean mild hops and base malt, but those other characters (while very faint) do detract significantly from the taste overall.
Feel is good—clean and light and crisp, but with enough body to keep it going and to balance the hops.
Overall, this is a very decent brew. It's clean and crisp for the most part and has pleasantly bright flavours which provide interest and drive. Sure, there are those minor flaws, but while they provide a slight splinter in the works, they don't really affect the overall beer, which is pretty tasty.
A "lawnmower beer" fermented on French oak from Mash. Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a light honey colour, very solidly hazed with a finely laced head of almost pure white. Not much in the way of carbonation visible or lacing as it goes down the glass. It looks decent, but a little dull.
Honey characters on the nose, perhaps a slight oak suggestion and a bit of grain. Wheaty notes. It's fresh and clean enough: it's just extremely dull.
Taste is similar. Light and clean on the entry moving to a slightly yeasty or floury note that leaves the mid palate dry and dead. Finish has a slight twist of zest to it which cleans it up, but it's again rather dull.
Feel is silent and white—that makes no sense, but that's what the empty void of this beer makes me envision.
You know what? It's fine. It probably would make a decent beer after mowing the lawn. But so would so many others with more flavour and taste. This just left me bored.
This is called a "Mild IPA", and perhaps rather misguidedly is modelled after Australia's cheapest, nastiest midstrength beer XXXX Gold. Well, each to his own, I guess—this supposedly at least ups the classic Cluster character and gives it the "craft beer treatment". Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour, rather clear with a very light-weight body: not unexpected. Head if a full frothy ring of pure white fed by streaming light carbonation. It's not exciting, but it looks pretty decent.
Nose achieves what it sets out to do: but that's no good thing. Yeasty and thin, with no body—excessively mild and almost no distinguishable hop presence beyond a certain leafy tone to the grain husk water. Um, no...
Light and empty in the entry, with a faint sweet grain character... And that about all it gets to. It stays weak and bland, with just occasional swellings of yeast or seltzer water. Nothing on the aftertaste: weak, watery and awful.
Feel is extremely light with a yeasty cloy.
Overall, I was shocked at how bad this is when I tried it (and it was only later that I discovered it was somewhat inspired by XXXX), and even looking back on it now there was nothing redeeming about it. It was a very poorly thought out experiment, in my view.
69 / 100
A single-hopped APA brewed by Red Duck with the Victorian Homebrewing champion, using (unsurprisingly) the eponymous Centennial. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a dark golden colour, almost trending towards a pale brown with some hazing. Head is an off-white ring, but relatively solid. Body is light, and the lacing is mild and unremarkable. Looks decent enough.
Bright orange characters on the nose, with a slightly more organic musty, sweaty character following it up. Solid neutral malt forms a basis. There's also a slight hint of white pepper. It's a bit mild all up, but quite pleasant.
Spritzy orange zest on the front, with a sour candy type of aromatic flavour. This all drops out pretty quickly though, leaving the mid-palate feeling a little bit empty and light. Clipped bitterness on the back, while a lingering pale malt character helps extend the hops a little further. Not bad.
Feel is smooth and clean.
Overall, this is very decent stuff. Nice, light and clean and quite refreshing.
69 / 100
Had on-tap at Harts Pub. I'd been meaning to try something from these guys for a while, and I'm pleased I got around to it last weekend.
Pours quite light in the body, clear and golden, with a decent and rather frothy white head that stays pretty solid in the glass, and provides ringed lacing as it goes down. It looks quite well-made with a hint of sophistication. I like it.
Nose is bright with sweet fruit, but a crispness that restrains it someone. I get fresh mango along with sharper pine characters and a clean, faintly grainy hop presence to give it some body. It's light overall, but very pleasant.
Taste is clean, crisp, bright and well-crafted. Clean bitterness on the back, smoothing malt through the centre, with a slightly grassy aftertaste. Again, it's very light (which is slightly more detrimental on the palate), but it's quite clean and refreshing.
Feel is very light and crisp.
Overall, this is a nice package, and I'd happily drink this frequently. It's hard to get an Aussie pale ale to stand out with me, but this does all the right things. It has lots of flavour, but balances this with a crisp, light drinkability. I look forward to trying Dennis's other beers.
Bottle shared with me by @LaitueGonflable. These guys claim to be Australia's first "fire brewed" brewery—which as far as I can tell means that they directly heat their vessels rather than steam-jacketing, an interesting but I think puzzling choice of marketing gimmick (all of the bottles are emblazoned with "FIRE BREWED").
Pours a muddied golden colour with some hazing. No head, just a very thin ring of white bubbles around the edge. Very light in the body overall, and a little unappealing in the glass.
Nose is interesting at least, perhaps not "citric" as they describe themselves though. I get some rosewater, a little pepper and an earthy rather than citric or fruity hop presence: floral but still relatively sharp. It's not bad.
The palate is disappointing. Almost immediately there's a cloying yeast character throughout and a earthy, brittle funk that I always associate with Pride of Ringwood. Light entry, some vegetal characters and a peppery bite on the back that clings a little bit too long. Aftertaste tastes like old, dry, brown lemon skin with more of that lingering pepper.
Feel is slippery but very light.
Overall, I don't love it. In some senses, it's fine, and it's not undrinkable. But in the world of pale ales, there are already so many good examples. We really don't need another sub-par one.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2013 in Melbourne. Burleigh call this a "strong pale ale".
Pours a very golden colour, quite clear in the body with a light, fluid weight behind it. Head is just white, full and solid, leaving pretty decent lacing. Some fine carbonation is noticeable, especially when swirled or tilted. Looks pretty good.
Light, peachy fruit on the nose, with a slight hop character and a bit of dry, pale malt. The aromas dip and dive a little letting different characters come through. At times peppery, other times with herbal tones like fresh basil. It's not bad.
Light clean entry on the palate. Some stonefruit, a little more body mid way through. It's still pretty light, but again there are some subtleties, with a slight herbal bit again making its presence felt. Finish is quite empty and flat, but with a slight cling of hops in the aftertaste.
Feel is light, and a little empty, but matches with the rest of the beer.
Overall, this is pretty drinkable and pretty decent stuff. I guess my only problem with this is it being called a "strong pale ale". It is more flavoursome than their standard pale ale perhaps, but less so than many others which don't claim the "strong" moniker.
Tried this many moons ago at Wig and Pen, but with a fresh cask version on at the Courthouse Hotel during Good Beer Week, I figured it was worth a re-review.
Pours a light golden colour, quite clear with a bit of heft to the body. Head forms a bubbly, casky white that leaves specks of lacing. No carbonation, as is expected from the serving type.
Nose is earthy and slightly peppery with a bit of green vegetative sharpness. Some bready aromas mingle with the fresher herbal tones. Underneath is a slight sweetness light arrowroot biscuits. Quite rounded, and quite pleasant.
Light malty entry on the palate that turns genuinely sweet soon after the entry. Mid palate holds a little more of the bread character, before some fruit characters finally pick up. On the back is some prickly hop characters that die away quickly, leaving a very light aftertaste.
Feel is smooth from the cask, unsurprisingly.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable. Pleasant enough, decent, uncontroversial.
69 / 100
On-tap at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a pleasant light yellow colour, with some hazing that makes it look icy. Light bodied, with a bubble-pocked, and decently solid white head. Lacing forms in solid sheets, and the carbonation is very fine, especially when tilted. It looks very good.
NZ hops on the nose: slight bite of metallic, some passionfruit, underpinned by a white bread character. There's something pleasingly vegetative and green as well. It's a little light overall, but not bad at all.
Light peppery characters on the front of the palate, with green mango and other slightly sharp fruit characters. The fruit drops out on the middle, leaving it quite light—heading towards the back, there's very little body left, leaving it crisp with some lingering bitterness.
Feel is a bit light overall, despite the depth on the front. It's crisp enough, which suits the style, but more body would help the hops.
Overall, it's a pretty decent and pretty drinkable beer. I like the Kiwi hops: without the balance from the body, they're a little bit heavy, but overall it works out rather nicely.
71 / 100
Tried on-tap at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a bronze-hued golden, very clear in the body with a light, but smooth weight behind it. Head it very fine, solid white. Lace forms in patchy, spotty patterns inside the glass, and it's pretty solid. Very fine carbonation. It looks good.
Nose has some sharp citrus characters with a bright, brittle sweetness light glassy toffee. Along with the marmaladey citrus characters, there's also a little sharper green or underripe fruit notes and a slight grassy tone. Not bad.
Taste is light, again some mild, slightly sharp fruit like white peach, before a sparkling effervescence lifts the mid palate, while the body comes in providing a little more sweetness. Finish drops out a fair bit, leaving it light and clean, but a little dull. Feel is very smooth and quite pleasant.
Overall, yeah, it's smooth and nice and drinkable. It's not as exciting as some other beers, but it's still a very decent, very enjoyable drop.
62 / 100
Pale gold with no head, lace is nice though. Looks a bit listless, however.
Smells nice: lots of hops, very fruity with tangerine mostly. Touch of orange sherbet, pretty nice but after a while a bit cloying, could use something a bit more resinous to tamper the sweet fruity aromas.
Taste is fairly hoppy as well, and kind of dry. Notes of fresh cut grass and lemongrass, a bit of bitterness, some mild citrus and pine late. Fairly decent pale ale, but nothing exceptional, could use more oomph in the hop side, particularly early hopping for bitterness.
Slight tingle, fluffy almost on the feel. It's quite nice, I like it.
Decent; could have been better though, and it's quite easy to pinpoint the shortcomings and where improvements could be made.
61 / 100
Pours a burnished amber, light head. Nice lace. More amber than golden but hey, golden's not my thing anyway.
Light aroma but nice temperate hop notes, fruity piney and passion. Touch of lime. Pleasant notes, refreshing but not overpowering.
Taste is light, underwhelming similar to nose, but it's a bit less endearing on the palate. Slight resinous bitterness from mid-palate onwards. Flavour is there, but just nothing bold or particularly interesting. Light, refreshing; in many ways non-descript. I don't mean it to sound like a bad thing but I'm just used to bigger things from Riverside.
Thin body, a bit of pull from hops. Not quite enough body.
After all the fantastic beers from Riverside this is a slight letdown for me. Although I haven't yet officially reviewed the 69 Summer I think it does the perfect job as an entry-level beer that also manages to pack in the flavour; I'm just questioning the necessity of this addition to a stellar line-up. Certainly not a bad brew, just very generic coming from people who push the envelope so convincingly well with their other brews.
59 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very faintly hazed orange-amber colour, with an initially massively frothing head of off-white. This evaporates quite quickly, leaving some patched, spotty lacing and a still relatively full, frothy and aerated head. Body is light and flat: the carbonation seems to have used all its energy in that initial burst.
Nose is clear, clean and hoppy, but somewhat generically so: it's a meandering mish-mash of fruity aromas, some citrus, some sweeter tropical notes. Underneath is a rather dank grainy malt note and an unfortunate cereal aroma like husked corn. It's also perhaps slightly old: it certainly has a slightly muted, weary character to it.
Taste is also a little bit muted. Very light malt character provides a watery, rather insipid basis, limp husky grains that mingle with the carbonation. Hops valiantly try to fill the void, with a pronounced and striking hop bitterness through the centre of the palate. Unfortunately, this adds to the imbalance in the beer: and it tastes thinner and sharper as a result. Finish is slightly metallic, and very hop-focused.
Feel is light and thin, but sparkling with zealous carbonation.
Overall, this doesn't work for me, and is easily the weakest of the series after trying the Williamsburg and the Sønderho (both of which were very good). This tastes like a souped up, but bland APA that ends up just becoming messy. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what it is.
75 / 100
12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a pleasant, mildly hazed golden-orange colour, with a fine, soft head of white that sticks around in a film. Lacing is erratic, but forms pleasantly intricate patterns when it does form. Body is quite hefty, and holds fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it looks good.
Crumbly lemon tart characters on the nose, some sweet-savoury malt characters and a clean but not pungent or sharp citrus hop aroma. It mellows after a while, maintaining a custardy lemon character, but gaining a slightly more yeasty tone. It's still decent.
Taste is light and clean, with a sharpness through the centre that provides a nice counterpoint to the base, which is broad and again sweet-savoury. Some prickly lemon characters and a metallic bite towards the back. Finish is long with hops, but pleasantly clean otherwise. Overall, it's pretty tasty.
Feel is good. Smooth and pleasant to balance the sharper characters.
Overall, this is a very solid and very tasty APA. It's less aggressive than an IPA, but with the genesis in crisp, biting hop flavours. This drives it forward and provides a very neat and very drinkable package.
I've reviewed the Nirvana back in the day, but believe that the Angry Man Pale is more than a rebranding (and indeed, the Nirvana has been through an evolution since my first review), so here we are anyway. I remember when the Angry Man was their Brown Ale alone. Ah, nostalgia. Anyway, this was the standard 330ml orange and blue labelled bottle, which I purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a hazed orange-gold colour, with a slight heft to the body and actually rather minimal carbonation. Head is a fine but minimal white crest, that leaves some streaking but minimal lace. The body indeed is thicker than I expected, and holds the carbonation that is there rather statically when tilted. Overall, it's decent without being particularly exciting.
Nose is faint with generic, slightly grassy hops giving an earthy vegetative character, laced perhaps with a slight citrus overtone. But mostly, it's grassy, with that character playing into the malt to give a grainy, perhaps almost cereal character. Slight pepper and leaf mold notes come through. Again, I'm a little underwhelmed.
Taste is similarly subdued. Mild smooth entry provides some basis, but very little hop flavour, or even true malt sweetness comes forward to provide much interest. Instead, there's a grainy nothingness to the palate, followed by a dirty bitterness on the back that even seems insipid as it passes away. Feel is decent: smooth and quite strong, but with little else to provide interest it feels a little pointless.
Overall: I'm massively underwhelmed. Surely the Nirvana was better than this. I suspect this has undergone a gradual change to such a degree that it now bears little resemblance to its original. Also, given the wide distribution this now has, I suspect it must be brewed under contract somewhere else. The contract shift may have made a slight difference, but my guess is that it was the gradual change that has eventually made this so weak.
73 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased at the brewery in Alfredton. This is a single-hop pale ale, using the eponymous Topaz hop.
Poured without the sediment, it lands sparkling clear in the glass, a bright yellow-golden colour with a fine, if minimal white head. Some specks of lacing. Body looks solid but fluid, and holds a minimal amount of bubbly carbonation when tilted. I like the colour and the clarity. Overall, it looks pretty good.
Nose is clean and fresh, with a lovely sharp citrus character and a suggestion of pine. Although these meld together a little to make an aroma like some sort of cleaning detergent, it's actually rather pleasant. Some prickly malt grain characters provide a bit of basis, but they ultimately just underline the freshness of the hops. It's very pleasant as a result.
Taste is also good, although a little thin on body, and towards the back. Some light fruitiness and a crisp hop note drives the palate from the front, before running out of steam and puttering out to a crushed greenery dryness. Indeed, in a hoppier beer, there would at least be the residual bitterness to keep the flavours going longer, but this is resolutely an APA not an IPA, and the short finish fits more along those lines.
This is really quite a pleasant, easy drinking beer. The hop character is really nicely done, and shows really nicely what a great hop Topaz can be. If it peters our somewhat, well, that's what it should do, even if I personally think it could support more length and complexity. But this is a fine beer nonetheless, and one of Red Duck's more successful, if less experimental outings.
500ml bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill. Shared with Sam. This is a SMASH APA, mirroring the name by having the laziest possible recipe.
Pours a pleasant bright yellow colour, with a fair amount of haze. Head forms a solid crown of white, that settles to a small island of mounded bubbles in the centre of the glass. Lacing is minimal, but tight where it forms. Body is light and pleasant. Looks pretty decent.
Initial aroma is a little cereally, perhaps with a bit of DMS. When swirled the hops come out a little more, but so does that vegetative, sweet DMS character as well. Yep, it's definitely there. Indeed, the hops seem to vainly be masking the corn character, and the cereal grain undertones. What flavours it has are nice: some stone fruit, sweet citrus and a suggestion of passionfruit, but it's got some flaws as well.
Taste is a little better, clearer, cleaner and with a pleasant pronounced bitterness through the centre of the palate. Malt is very light, but doesn't plumb those cereal depths, so it stays pleasant enough. Some of the stone fruit characters come through around the edges, along with a hint of honeydew melon. It's quite pleasant.
Feel is fine: pretty light but clean enough.
Overall, it's not particularly exciting. But it's also drinkable, decent and relatively inoffensive. As part of a special range it's a bit disappointing, but as a beer in its own right, it's pretty good.
48 / 100
Big 500ml bottle, plastic sealed and capped, with a very pleasant tactile label. Purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.
Pours a clear copper colour, with a massive, crackling, perhaps overcarbonated head that eventually settles to a large, frothy mess, leaving loose styrofoam lacing. Body actually looks quite flat, but the clarity is good. Looks decent enough.
Nose is sweet, and faintly fruity, but with a very solid, perhaps overly pressing malt character, and a little huskiness from the grain. There's some mushy overripe fruit from the hops, but weirdly skewed towards strawberries and melon, and a wafting fragrance of plasticine. I can't say I'm a huge fan, to be honest.
Taste is light but bogged down again by the aggressive malt character, which attaches to everything, leaving a sticky lethargy behind. Still more of that faint fruitiness, more melon skewed this time, and an apathetic bitterness on the back. But it really seems to be heavier and less pleasant than it really should be. And than it deserves to be.
Feel is light enough, but the malt gives it the feeling that it's heavier than it should be.
This is disappointing stuff. This is just too cloying and nowhere near drinkable enough. It also doesn't deserve at all to be in such an attractive bottle. And I now feel like a sucker for falling for the cover and not the contents.
76 / 100
Pours a clear gold colour with mild haze. Lovely, sticky dense head, off-white with marvellous cradle of lace. Fantastic looking pale.
Smells hoppy and fresh. Strong honeyed-oat character on the nose upfront and then playful citric notes at the back, with a touch of peach and apricot; tangy and nice. Very light, too, but enjoyable pale smell.
Taste is pleasant and fresh. Pretty caramelly upfront and then plenty of hops make their presence known quickly. Light bitterness, citric and piney and then a little astringency on the back. Woody as well, though and not unpleasant. Still quite bitter for a pale on the aftertaste. It lingers. I can see people really enjoying this but not sure about the 'gateway' factor for this drop.
Decent mouthfeel, good body and fairly dry towards back. Nice.
A nice pale. Drinkable, but also complex and interesting. Well made.
330ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford. Best before date of 30/10/13, so looking pretty good.
Uncaps with a sucking hiss, meaning some large foam forms inside the bottle, which then transfers to the glass. Body is a solid golden hue with some haze. Head is crackling and large-bubbled, but tires itself out quickly, leaving a fuzz around the edges of the glass and some froth in the centre. Body is surprisingly light. Looks pretty decent though overall.
Nose is sweet with mixed tropical fruit characters: guava, pear and a little mango. Mingled with this is a slight dried herb character: I'm thinking tarragon, which gives it a greener, slightly bitier edge. It smells a little bit like it's slightly old: perhaps like the hops were last season's. I don't see why, though, with a best before date well in the future. Hmm.
Taste is a bit more simple, and it benefits from the simplicity somewhat: here the hops do seem more straight-down-the-line. Green bitterness, some herbal tingle and a touch of sharpness on the end, almost a phenolic character with a touch of copper. It's actually a good deal more bitter than I remember it being—if nothing else, the bitterness steam rolls over the rest of the palate, meaning that those slightly unsavoury characters on the nose are unnoticeable here.
Feel is very much overcarbonated. It froths in the mouth too much, and leaves me feeling quite bloated.
Overall, this is not one of Murray's top picks from me. It's a bit all over the place, and it doesn't really do anything that particularly enamours me of it anyway. And yet I'm confused, because I remember this being a pretty nice easy drinking beer at some stage. Perhaps it's inconsistent over time too.
Pours a burnished amber colour, listless white head. Lacing is pretty decent. Not too bad.
Smells very floral, with rose and lavender, white tea leaves, a bit of lemon tang and an unusual meaty character which may just be the clash of hops with the malts which seem somewhat darker than I might expect from the style. Light, fairly pleasant though.
Fairly light on the palate. Quite grainy upfront with honeyed oats and wheat bran. The honey character continues to midway where there's a yeasty touch, plus some light floral hop character with kiwi, grapefruit and lavender. Finish is very light but quite clean. Not bad; pretty drinkable and fairly simple.
Fluid, pretty decent body though; hop oils add some texture.
Yeah, fairly standard APA but decently handled.
70 / 100
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. I was pleased to find it, as it seems to be one of the less well-distributed of Riverside's beers.
Pours a deep golden colour, almost heading towards a burnished hue, with some faint hazing. Body is decent and the head is a firm white leaving some solid streaks. Carbonation is fine and forms pleasantly when tilted. It looks good.
Nose is sharp and pretty similar to the others in the Riverside range. Some orange bite, smoothness, and clean. It's perhaps a little bit one-note, but it's a good note, and it's still nice overall.
Light and clean on the entry. Some mild malt sets things up before a nicely balanced hop addition gives some clean, bright and slightly citric flavours mid palate. The back drops off pretty quickly, leaving a pleasantly empty with some tang of cut grass in the aftertaste. Feel is also light and clean. Pleasantly dull and predictable.
It's not superb, but it's decent enough, and it has some nice characters. I think it's likely to get lost in the rest of Riverside's range, but I'd certainly be happy if this became a more widely distributed brew.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their Scandinavian Tap Makeover.
Pours a very pale, very clear yellow colour almost like a pilsener or pale lager. Body is light, but smooth. Head forms a minor crown of white which dissipates pretty quickly leaving very little. Carbonation is fine and noticeable when tilted.
Nose is round and fruity, with a pleasant definite hoppiness that gives a light but supple sweetness and fragrance. Slight green, vegetative overtones, but it never reaches anything that could be termed "sharp". Not bad, if a little bit light.
Light entry as well, before some mild vegetation characters on the mid palate. These swoop out pretty quickly, leaving reminiscences of stonefruit and light dry bitterness towards the back. Finish is empty and a little dull.
Carbonation, which was firm at the start, burns itself out pretty quickly, leaving the beer feeling pretty flat.
It's nicely drinkable at least, refreshing and easy to go down. There's no doubt that it's pretty dull, but it's pleasant enough.
Pours a clear amber colour with cream head, webbed out but retaining pretty well. Decent; not great though, looks a bit listless.
Smells malty, but quite a richness to it that almost gets roasty towards the back. Plenty of US hops giving tang but also a deep resinous note of high-AA hop oils. Citrus, grapefruit, as well as some coppery malt. Nice.
Taste is also quite malty, and again has that slight roasty edge and touch of copper. Quite dank with actually more of an English hop character coming through, or at least heavy on the bittering and less so on the flavour/aroma hops. Sort of sinks on the back which is a shame because it's really quite sweet and could use more cut through. Bit dank, heavy hops at the back.
Decent body, lighter at times than the flavour is, but it's welcome.
Not quite refreshing enough for an APA. Tasty enough, but lacks zest.
61 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer. It has some pretty cool branding in the label, and nice artwork. Let's see how it stands up taste-wise.
Pours a very murky and rather dark amber colour, with a minimal head of fine white bubbles that sink into a slushy film. Rather light-weight in the body, and the carbonation is loose and fast-moving. Lacing is patchy and inconsistent. I can't say I'm overly impressed.
Nose is green with hops, an oddly earthy or dank interpretation. There are hints of the brightness of the purported Citra, but no rounded fruity flavours—they mention Citra, Cascade and Amarillo on the label. This is backed up by a rather brusque, husky grain character and a hint of clipped grass. It certainly has more hop character than a standard craft knock-off "pale ale" would have, but it misses out in other ways.
Taste is light and clean, with more than a little reliance on the cracked grainy malt character again. Hop bitterness is muted, but again where it appears it feels more like the earthier varieties, despite the fact that (according to the bottle) it's not. Still, it's light and drinkable, and doesn't have anything unpleasant in its makeup.
Feel is light and clean as well: good level of carbonation to keep things sprightly, but not too much as to make it frothy or bloating.
Overall, I'm far from being blown away by this, but it's decent, and drinkable.
But (and here's the big "but") does Australia need another decent, drinkable pale ale? This really doesn't do anything out of the ordinary, and I feel unless these guys put together something else to keep people interested, this is just likely to fall by the wayside.
87 / 100
This was a collaboration between Tuatara and Beer Here, brewed using the new Kiwi Waimea hop. 650ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a rather dark golden-amber hue, perfectly clear, with a very large, bubbly head of off-white that settles down expeditiously. Body is light and fluid, but with some slickness behind it. Fine, but exiguous carbonation. Lace sticks around in cave-like stalactite patterns. Looks decent enough.
Wow. The nose is spectacular. Big, fresh crushed citrus and mild tropical fruit aromas, with an incredible Kiwi hop overtone: fresh, sharp vegetation, passionfruit, hints of lemon myrtle and eucalyptus. This is all cosseted by a pleasant sweetness, wrapping it up like a fresh apple pie. Absolutely gorgeous aroma. It's comforting, but expressive. It's direct, and yet complex. Amazing stuff.
Taste is clear and pleasant, slightly empty, but refreshing. It opens with a clean, fresh, faintly malty sweetness, that drops away almost immediately never to be seen again. From here, the hops provide an overarching structure, with some fragrant vegetative tones and a little more husky grain. There are nuances to the fragrance though: a little nutty tone like chickpeas, some crushed kale, and a sweet fruitiness like peachskin. Overall, this is very tasty stuff.
Feel is good once the head and the carbonation settle down. Indeed, in has a pleasant frothy fineness to it throughout.
Overall, I'm super impressed. Tuatara do do some good beers, but this is clearly the best I've had from them so far. Indeed, the intense fragrance but delicate structure reminds me of Ballast Point's Sculpin. This is just as drinkable, and just as well put together. Really quite amazingly good stuff.
77 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. I'd tried the Williamsburg Hipster Ale, and was keen to continue my experience with the series.
Pours a lazily hazed deep golden colour, with a pocked head of fine off-white. It looks quite refined, languorous and sophisticated in the glass. Fine carbonation, and a relatively silky body. Some speckled lace. Overall, it looks pretty damn good.
Nose is smooth and fine with a solid basis in American-hopped pale ale territory. But here the wine barrels give it a smooth and woody richness: plenty of oak, some sharp, vinous acidity, and even a fleshed-out leafy character. It works very nicely.
Taste is clean and crisp, but always with a solid rounded basis. Big vinous character from the wine barrels, but this mingles nicely with the hop bitterness, to create a sour/bitter amalgam. This is genuinely significantly different from the other in the series I've tried: the wine barrel takes over, meaning it tastes like licking oak, with a hint of beer in the background. Not that that's a bad thing.
Feel is very smooth, but lightened by the mild acidity, and with a evanescent crispness.
Overall, this is a pretty impressive beer. I like how much the oak has taken over, and yet, it remains an easily approachable and reasonably familiar brew. Another great addition to Evil Twin's already impressive range.
82 / 100
Pours an amber colour, with a very slight redwood tinge. Very mild cloud to it. Head is beige in colour, dense and creamy texture. Sits thick on the top and stays looking thick on the top. Just gorgeous.
Malty sweet on the nose, but a wonderful hoppy tang that builds up. Citric, tangy and piney. So inviting, like a scantily-dressed grandmother with a tray of fresh cupcakes. Mmmm.
Again, sweet on the palate. Plenty of caramel malt upfront before it gives way to a spicy and hoppy mid-to-late, with US hop characters. Citrus comes through quite late and plenty of pineapple and wood resin as well. Not that big and complex, but otherwise very pleasant flavours.
Body is thick, foamy, beautiful.
Lovely amber ale. Big, tasty, and lovely.
Pours a golden-amber colour, very slight haze in the glass. Head is webbed out, nice and big. Could stick around more and maybe be a little denser, but still nice-looking.
Slight nutty malt on the nose, but pleasant fruity hops backing up. Mostly US, with piney and citric notes dominating for a pleasant tang. Fresh, and fairly clean.
More of that nutty malt upfront. US-style hops again take the fore midway, but the grainy malt upfront lasts a little too long. Refreshing enough with a decent slug of bitterness late that is almost peppery in character.
Pale ale texture; slight bubbles, fairly decent.
OK pale ale. Certainly the best offering from Brewfist I've had.
61 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Best before date of Jul 13.
Pours a pretty deep dark golden colour, almost tending towards an amber. Head is fine, but lacking a little persistance, leaving a scummy yellowish film across the top of the beer. Body looks slick, but rather light. Very little carbonation. Looks OK, not much better than that though.
Nose is slightly crisp and piney, but oddly flat as well: there's little rounded fruity characters, even the sharper citrus aroma is very muted. Mild dark caramel characters give it its sweetness, and there's an oily organic character: a bit like heavy grainy bread. I'm not overly impressed, to be honest.
Taste is light and clean, and pretty drinkable. Light grain characters come through again, giving a wholesome solid quality to the body. This body is flavoured with some light crisp hops, again sticking to the piney character, but the lightness overall allows it to flow into a mild tangerine sweetness on the back. It's not bad.
Feel is light but slick, but almost flat. Very little carbonation present at all.
Overall, I'd have to call this something of a disappointment from Emerson's. Were the best before date not well into the future, I'd believe this was a very old bottle. As it is, maybe it's just tame and pedestrian. I mean, it's not bad, but this brewery can do much better.
83 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a really very light golden colour, with solid hazing. Carbonation is extremely fine, and forms a head upwards in minute, fine layers of film. Body looks light but very fine. Did I mention, fine? Nice, intricate lacing. It's a very sophisticated looking brew.
Nose is crisp and green, with a herbal hop bit which is just as refreshing as a citrus bomb, but pleasantly different. Smells to me like heavy use of sharp Kiwi hops. Some pine, some pepper, some guava and passionfruit rounds out the other flavours. It's very pleasant stuff.
Taste is very clean and very crisp: you could say mild, but that's probably doing a disservice to a beer designed to be drinkable and refreshing. Indeed, it has a crisp backbone of hops, which leaves a tingle of resin along the centre of the palate, but otherwise, it's all dry and light, leaving it exceptionally quaffable.
Mouthfeel is exceptionally fine (oh, there's that word again), with a tight, mild frothy carbonation which reminds me of the creamy feel achieved by Westvleteren Blonde.
This is a simple, easy-drinking beer, but by god it's a good one. This is fragrant
86 / 100
Preface to this review: I've been very impressed with Riverside so far, and it was with a great deal of shock that I realised I'd not actually reviewed any of their beers. So, swinging by Porters at Northwood, I grabbed a bunch of bottles to review, including this one, which I believe is the only one of their current range that I've not sampled before. So I'm going in with no preconceptions.
Pours a clear, fluid deep golden-amber hue, actually certainly on the dark end for a pale ale. Head is pretty light white, forming a fine film across the top, but not retaining much further than that. Good lacing, and noticeable but fine and capricious carbonation. Looks decent.
Nose is wonderful. Crisp, piquant fresh hoppy goodness, with a clean bright scrubbed lemon character, and a sweetness that gives it a slightly tropical bent. If it didn't say specifically "American cascade" on the bottle, I would have guessed NZ hops, and fresh bountiful ones at that. Lovely nose.
Taste is clean, and light and beautifully drinkable. Fresh melon characters meld with a mellow but stalwart malt basis, and some slightly organic, fresh, tingly sherbet characters which dance around along the top. Hint of candied orange, papaya and quince. Bitterness is beautifully balanced: it sits around to lift the beer, but doesn't become too coating or aggressive on the palate.
Feel is smooth and light, and well-matched with the flavours of the beer.
Overall, this is fantastic stuff. So clean and drinkable, but full of flavour in just the right ways. Even knowing what Riverside was capable of, I didn't expect such a fresh and delicious take on a pale from them. I may have a new favourite Australian APA.
72 / 100
Bottle purchased from @Slowbeer for me by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a pleasantly burnished, slightly hazy golden-copper colour, with a fine, slightly bubbly head of pure white. Lacing forms in solid Urdu typography. Body looks very hefty for its ABV. Looks good.
Nose is clean, fresh and bright. Aromas of peach, sweet orange and lavender caress the senses, while a mild, slightly grainy sweetness gives some body. The lavender comes through more as it warms, banging off the sweetness to give an almost salty, sea-water freshness. It's really pleasant, actually, and a little bit unusual.
Taste is lighter, which is not unexpected, with mild smooth grainy malt forming a basis, before some mild citrus juiciness draws out the back palate. A slight crackle of pepper on the back cleans out the palate, but even then it feels a bit abrupt and abbreviated, without an oomph which allows the beer to finish properly.
Feel is smooth, however, with a lovely clean ride over the palate.
Overall, this is good stuff. It's light on the palate, which makes it easy to drink, but it has plenty of interest when you go looking for it. Another strong beer from Baird.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of the Italian SpecTapular festival.
Pours a slightly hazed golden colour, with a pretty decent weight behind it. Head is a disappointingly pocked white bubbly mess that leaves specks of lacing but no more. Looks pretty average.
Mild citrus on the nose, with some sweetness to back it up and a touch of apricot. But it's so bland overall, and these characters are really muted. I have written on my notes: "V V MILD" in all-caps.
Again, light apricot on the palate, but here it crescendoes into a juicy sweetness midpalate, which is concomitantly matched with a clean bitterness on the back, and perhaps a slight crushed vegetation note. It's really quite pleasant.
Feel is smooth and solid, if not perfectly matched.
This was easily the best BrewFist beer I had at the festivalâthe others being pretty bland and weak (and I discover belatedly that this is actually a collaboration, which may explain much). Still, this is a drinkable and pretty enjoyable drop all up.
70 / 100
On-tap at the Italian Spectapular festival at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a light amber hue with slight hazing and a decent heft to it. Head is a poor, ineffective bubbly ring of white that leaves no lacing, and gives the beer a bleak insipid look overall. It's a shame.
Nose is lightly sweet and lightly citric, with orange skin coming through and a hint of Simcoe, perhaps. Light musty grain mingles as wlel, perhaps giving a touch of stonefruit. Not bad.
Light peach on the front palate, confirming this suggestion of stonefruit on the nose, with a pithy continuation mid-palate melded with some fresh organic grain notes. Finish is clean with a touch of bitterness, but the beer feels quite smooth all over. Feel is mild for the most part, but has a suggestion of fruit-brandy, once the bitterness melds with the fruitier flavours.
I like the peach characters that are so prominent. It gives it an interest and uniqueness that are quite charming. Good stuff.
73 / 100
On-tap at the Italian SpecTapular festival put on by the Local Taphouses.
Solid amber hue with some decent hazing to the body. Weight is solid and full. Head forms a firm, pocked crown of creamy off-white, almost tending towards yellow. Lace is full and big. Looks great.
Mild sweet hops on the nose lend fruitiness laced with toffee from the solid malty body. The two ends blend together well, but they don't create much conflict and complexity. The only other character to jump out is a later effect of brusque grain. Otherwise, it feels a bit one-dimensional.
Light mild fruity hops again at the start of the taste, that develop into a pithy fragrance mid-palate. Malt comes through giving some solid sweetness, developing to a biting grain character on the back which clears out the sweetness. It's nicely balanced and rather pleasant.
Feel is smooth but with weight and solidity behind it.
Yep, this is nice beer. Well-balanced and easy to drink. This was one of the better beers on offer on the day.
Had on-tap at the Baden Powell Hotel in Melbourne.
Pours a relatively clear golden colour, with a bit of patchy haze. Head is white but a little inconsistent forming patchy large bubbles. Lace is fine and spidery. Looks pretty decent overall.
Mild fruity characters on the nose with a touch of caramel or crystal malt sweetness that really gives something of a slight cloy to the aroma. Some stone fruit comes through, but the sweetness doesn't come from the fruit aromas. Not bad, but rather generic.
Light mild fruitiness on the front, almost like the character you get from late hopping with Galaxy. They say this is Sauvin and Cascade tho, so who knows... Back gets a slight husky sweet crystal grain character. Finish is clean.
Overall, it's drinkable enough, and it has some dull interest to it. Enough to make you go, "oh this has some interest to it" before you fall asleep again from the boredom. It just doesn't do enough to stick out.
70 / 100
Had from cask at the brewery in Seattle.
Pours a fresh, clear golden colour, very light weight, with a frothy, cracky and undeniably "casky" head of white. This leaves some patchy suds as it crackles and casks its way out of existence.
Bright mild fruit on the palate, giving perhaps a touch of mango, and stonefruit, with some peppery notes cutting through. Overall, it's pretty mild, but it's not unpleasant.
Light entry before more of that slightly sweet, slightly tropical fruit flavour mid-palate. Some mild, neutral grain comes through as well. On the finish we get a hint of metallic bite to add some sharpness, but everything has been smoothed and blunted.
Feel is great from the cask. Adds another layer of smoothness that it wouldn't have otherwise had.
Overall, a very decent drop. Smooth and light and very easy to drink. I probably like it more than these scores would indicateâit's a super drinkable beer that I'd love to have more regularly.
59 / 100
Had on-tap at the brewery, which was a really cool spot. Unfortunately, this beer wasn't the best introduction.
Pours a bland yellow colour with some hazing. Slight filmy ring of white, some patchy lace. Fine carbonation through the very light body. Pretty standard stuff.
Slightly savoury, slightly meaty characters on the nose, with a slight grassy spiciness from the hops. It's not much though and feels a little insipid. But it's mild and smooth enough overall. It's just not very impressive.
Taste is similar, but it accentuates the good bits better. Spicy hop characters do make a more pronounced appearance, along with a bit of light, crisp lemon. There's a touch of bitterness on the finish. Feel is smooth and rather creamy, but doesn't have the corresponding sweetness required to round things out.
Overall, yeah it's OK. It's nothing particularly special, though.
Bottle of the 2012 edition, purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a very clear, very light golden hue, with a fluid body and a firm, persisten head of white bubbles. Some streaky, sudsy lace and stacks of carbonation round this one out. Looks good.
Nose is deeply hoppy, with a broad green stroke of slightly resinous hop character, mingled with some muted tropical fruits and a suggestion of dust. There's a sweetness to it almost like a big Belgian ale as well: it has a buoyant roundness. Quite pleasant.
Taste is very, very light, almost painfully so. Clear and clean, no doubt, but without much body, heft of robustness of flavour. In its favour, it stays well balanced, with the hops lending everything in ephemeral fragrance, and not sticking around with any sense of resinous bitterness. It makes it very drinkable and light, even when if feels rather empty.
It's a nice, sessionable brew: one which would be welcome at other times of the year besides harvest time. I had (a different version) some years ago on-tap, and even though this uses a different hop variety, it strikes a remarkably similar picture to me.
Had on-tap at the brewery in Seattle. Apparently, this was brewed with an Experimental hop variety that either didn't have a name, or wouldn't be named by the brewery. That was enough to pique my interest.
Pours a really, very murky golden colour, with a surprisingly heavy basis. The haze is so thick it's insane: it has almost the transparency of clay. Head is yellow-white, perhaps with more flecks from the haze, but persisting with solid resilience and leaving bubbly sheets of lace. Looks impressive.
Unfortunately, it's a let-down from here on, especially for a beer supposedly with hops at its core. Aroma is sweaty, with just a touch of lemon and a hint of ass. Pretty weak all up, and pretty disappointing.
Similar characters on the palate. Light lemon characters on the front, with some honeydew melon coming through leaving a smooth but empty flavour. Mild, slightly woody bitterness rounds it out. Aftertaste is clean with a slight sparkle.
This beer is disappointing most of all because I don't feel like I understand the hop after drinking it. Moreover, it's not a particularly interesting beer overall. This leaves it firmly in the bland, forgettable category for me.
74 / 100
Had this beer on-tap at the brewery in Seattle.
Pours a coppery golden colour, with no visible hazing. Body is light, with streaming carbonation forming in patches. Head is white and filmy, with a fine ring leaving inconsistent lace. Not bad, but not that exciting overall.
Nose is pleasant and oddly savoury. Some light crisp lemon is forwards, along with crushed celery and leaves. It's slightly vegetative and bright. Nice stuff.
Clean light entry on the palate with a touch of lemon. Bright but empty palate gives a refreshing aspect, but adds only minimal interest. Finish has a clean bitterness which underlines this. It's soft all over, and in real terms, a little dull. But it really does work.
Overall, yeah, it's not bad. It has a smoothness, a lightness, and it's really very drinkable. I've seen Sorachi Ace put to better use thoughâhere it's extremely subtle.
78 / 100
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.
Pours a hazy amber-golden colour, with a solid, almost gelatinous weight to it. Head is a yellowish-white, that forms a fine film and solid ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is sticky and sheeting, carbonation is powdery. Looks great.
Bright and fresh on the nose, with clean, sharp nuances of white pepper and freshly broken twigs alongside a juice apricot sweetness. Very nicely balanced.
Front palate is light with a hint of pepper, before fruitier notes of citrus rind and peach come through. It's a bit tart and green all around, which develops into a biting wintergreen character on the finish. However, the end is rather clean, and has a rounded smoothness that almost hints at raspberries. Very interesting.
Overall, a very drinkable beer, with lots of interest, and a profile that just makes you want to drink it all day. Nice stuff.
Had on-tap at the pub in Seattle.
Pours a light golden colour, slightly translucent, but without real haze. Head is a filmy, wafty and ultimately empty white. Lace is patchy, but intricate where it forms. Looks pretty generic.
Hops on the nose are vegetative and earthy, with almost a burnt tone to them. They're slightly weedy: in the sense that they give fresh vegetative aromas, but they're slightly unsavoury even so. Some musty grain comes though, which gives it a blast from the macro gun. Eh.
Taste is similar, but slightly better than the aroma, mostly due to the grain character taking on a more truly malty, German-style pils-like flavour. This matches somewhat with the touch of biting, phenolic hop bitterness on the back. Feel is empty, however, as is the beer as a whole, mostly.
Pretty dull beer. Not particularly impressed.
83 / 100
Had on-tap at Alibi Room in Seattle.
Pours a light, pale yellow hue with a good head of creamy white. Solid, slightly sudsy lace. Very light bodied. Not bad.
"Not bad" is as bad as it gets, however. Everything is up from here, and quite dramatically. Nose is burstingly bright with zesty lemon and curacao zing, giving a sharpness but also a sweet, heady fragrance. Slight pepper comes through as well, adding another layer of bite. Delicious.
Taste is very light but very clean. Crisp neutral malt, layered with pleasant hop flavours. Lemon comes through again, along with a bright, clean herbal note. Minimal bitterness, but everything is balanced nicely anyway.
This has to be one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had. Such a good summer beer: I feel as though Australia, with our significant more summery summers, would really benefit from seeing this. It's just so clean, so refreshing and so drinkable. Awesome stuff.
76 / 100
From cask at the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR, at the recommendation of Hugh.
Pours a cloudy pale yellow colour, which is about to be expected. Head is fine, fluffy and persistent: it's the sort of head you feel you should blow off the top of your pint before consuming it. Body is firm and solid. Looks very nice.
Nose is really sweet with tropical fruits. Mango and papaya come through strongly, although there's undertones of citrus: as though the standard American hops want to make their presence felt. But they lose out; it's the fruit punch tropical characters that win, leaving only a slightly limey twang in the residuals. Nice stuff.
Smooth entry from the cask pull, and some clean, crisp fruitiness on the palate. Hops are sharp and clear and from the structure of the palate. Feel is silky and slightly soapy. There's no harshness or bit to it: everything is smooth.
Very drinkable brew: a beer I'd be happy to session. I love the fruitiness of it, and while it's perhaps not exceptionally exciting, it sure is quaffable.
74 / 100
A beefed up version of the Armory XPA, dry hopped with an experimental hop variety. On tap at the pub in Portland, OR.
Pours an amber-ish golden hue, with just a hint of depth. Good firm head of silky white that leaves some good lacing. Decent weight to the body. Looks good.
Nose is sharp and redolent with citrus, almost explosive. Lemony, pithy with twangs of fragrant grapefruit. Not much malt to speak of to give any balance. It's all about the aroma hops, and it sure is citric.
Taste is similar, with a real brightness from those experimental hops. Sharp, crisp flavours arise, while the malt really takes a back seat. Slightly sweet lemon characters fill the void, while a touch of organic funkiness provides some interest. Not bad at all.
Feel is a bit sharp, and slightly gassy; perhaps a touch to much carbonation in this keg.
Not bad at all. In some ways, it's a standard (if big) APA, but the punch of citrus really makes it stand out.
83 / 100
Had on-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA. I'm not a huge fan of Simcoe, so I was interested to see if Russian River could turn my head.
Pours a quite light yellow colour, with some mild hazing to the body. Weight is solid but not overpowering. Head is filmy, patchy, but solid enough, and it leaves great lace. Overall, it's a pretty good-looking beer.
Nose is just lovely. Bright, punchy citrus like lemon and mandarin comes through strongly along with clean, fresh elements like passionfruit and lychee. Wow, this is Simcoe? It is, but not as I know it, obviously. This is powerful, sharp, fragrant and gorgeous.
Light clean entry on the palate, leading to more of those spicy lychee characters with deeper leafier hop characters. There's a slightly savoury note on the back with just enough bite to sharpen it, but no overt bitterness. Very clean and light feel, which is suitable.
OK, OK, Russian River. I give up. How did you perform this magic trick with Simcoe? This is gorgeous stuff, like no Simcoe I've ever had beforeâto me Simcoe was flabbily and lazily hoppy, giving citrus and oily pine with residual sweetness that always detracted from the beer. This is fragrant, juicy, tight and delicious. I'm just going to put it down to your skill.
81 / 100
750ml bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a very hazed, almost opaque orange-gold colour, with a solid and relatively fine just off-white head. Lacing is patchy, but very fine and intricate where it forms. Solid body, in fact surprisingly so when tilted. Looks good.
Nose is big and fruity, although it's hard to tell what comes from hops and what comes from the added fruit. Passionfruit certainly gets lost and confused with a bright, acidic and heady, almost spicily intoxicating hop fragrance, but the mango seeps in as a broad sweetness across the entire nose. Ooh. It's a lovely aroma.
Taste is light and clean, with a noticeable hop presence that never feels unbalanced. Although the malt character is very neutral, it has enough heft to survive and balance the beer. The fruit again gets masked somewhat on the palateâeither it mingles with a deep fine sweetness, or into the sharp, zingy, fruity hops. I feel like it's well-used nonetheless.
Feel is long but smooth. It works really well.
Overall, really great work, Messrs. Mikkeller. Always a pleasure trying something new from these guys, and they've turned what seemed like an interesting experiment on the bottle, into a thoroughly drinkable and approachable beer.
77 / 100
Purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a pleasant golden colour, with a slight hazing in the body. Head is full, foamy and shiny, forming excellent lacing as it subsides. Body is smooth but pleasantly full. Really, overall, it's a great looking pale ale.
Nose is light but sharp, with a really direct, clean citric hoppy character giving a piercing freshness to the aroma. Some smooth, grainy malt sits underneath, but it's light in volume and colour. Very pleasant overall.
Taste is similar, but perhaps veering to the more generic malt-hop APA balance. Some smooth light clean malt sits below a bright, slightly grassy, slightly citric hop bitterness that stays fresh and bright to the end, and cleans the palate out nicely, leaving only a hint of residual hop oil on the finish. Feel is very clean, but very smooth, with minimal aggression from the carbonation.
Overall, a really nicely balanced and extremely solid APA if not a groundbreaking one. Really happy with itâI hope I get to try the others in the series sometime.
So Nøgne Ø makes a plain old pale ale. Who knew? No, you didn't. That's a lie, that was totally a scoop by me.
Pours a vibrant amber, slight russet tinge, with overly generous head that I've forgive for its exuberance because it looks great. Beige, pale, foamy and dense with uneven sinking, slow and clingy all the way down. A cradle of beauty; looks excellent.
Smell is rich and hoppy, almost IPA in stature. Toffee malt front with large resiny hop oil aroma and a hint of lemon zest and pineapple to take the edge off. Slight spicy bitterness at the back. A bit big and hoppy for a pale, but still pleasant.
Taste is far toastier than expected, and I'd certainly sense it's showing its 7 months of age, but the bottle claims quality through 2014 - and who am I to argue with advertising copy? Has a slightly overcooked toffee malt flavour giving way to spicy and resiny hop oils, bitter with a slight bubblegum sweetness on the late-mid. Finishes English, sort of a smooth, flat bitterness without a lot of the piquant arrogance of the American hops I know are in here. Quite palatable in spite of it losing some of its sheen.
Body is OK for a pale, it foams up a bit but leaves a bit empty. I'd like more dryness or more pop in the mouth itself.
Decent pale ale that I do think is definitely past its peak. I dread to think if a newbie genuinely thinks it's worth cellaring this for 3 years. I mean, at 6% it won't be undrinkable but it will have dwindled to bland cardboardy malt by then. If you are storing a bottle, make sure the conditions are ice-cold, dark and preferably air-tight.
75 / 100
Cask from the LC Dining Hall in Fitzroy as one of their "one-off" beers during Good Beer Week.
Bright, very hazy golden orange hue. Solid fine, egg white head that foams from excited turbidity, but settles down as the almost nonexistent carbonation fails to feed it. Lace is great, thick and rich just like cask should be.
Nose is bright clear and pleasantly floaral, with nice sweet hoppy characters giving characters of strong rose perfume and apricot stone fruit. Sharper green notes give a hint of herbsâperhaps rosemaryâbut they're trapped in the pleasantly deep sweetness. It's like an apricot danish with rosemary tinted pastry. Very nice.
Taste is lighter, with a clean fruity hop character through the front, with a touch of earthy bite, and a soft vegetative sweetness. Finish gets a bit of grain husk and some gritty yeast flowing through, along with a phantom bitterness that doesn't seem to hit the tongue as the beer goes down, but which builds up on the back palate after a while.
Feel is smooth and flatâclassic cask character.
Very drinkable, and really quite pleasant indeed. I love how smooth it comes across, and the clean roundness of stone fruit the Stella gives it. Very tasty brew overall, and a great tweak on the beer.
Pours a sweaty yellow golden colour, quite hazed, with a large, loose-bubbled head of white, that settles down to a pond-scummy film. Lacing is minimal. Body has some pleasant heft behind it leaving some fine carbonation when tilted. Looks a bit lacklustre overall, however.
Nose is faint grain, with a whiffy pong of earthy, old hops. Slight saltiness to it, even, giving an hint of the seashore. On top of it all, it's very weak and faint. It's so bland and generic, with just a hint of unpleasantness to it.
Taste is quite awful. Initial empty water sensation is tainted with more of those dry, old, earthy hops over the top, before hints of glucose water and corn-like twangs assault the afterpalate. Hops stay present throughout, morphing into a painful metallic squeal on the back.
Feel is light, but with a hint of slickness. Not bad, but it has trouble doing favours to the flavour anyway.
Pretty awful beer this one. It somehow manages to be really dull and generic, while also grating and unpleasant. New Zealand does so much better than this.
On tap at Harts Pub.
Pours a burnished amber colour, with thin head of off-white lace. Slow bead trickle up the glass. Nice colour; otherwise OK.
Smells tangy and floral with nice citric notes, sherbet and pineapple plus an odd cocoa note behind it. Maybe a bit oaky and resiny at the back, but otherwise pleasant, light and fresh.
Tastes quite tangy. Lots of gooey caramel malt underlying, with slightly resiny and pithy hops coming through, giving grapefruit and gooseberry notes. Rich biscuity malt base is quite earthy and falls short, with tart hop acids lingering on the back. A bit too drying late, needs more malt to pad it all out. Nevertheless, tangy and pleasant for the most part.
Bit of carbonation texture but decent presence. Slightly drying at the back. Alright.
A bit earthy for an everyday drinking beer. Flavour is nice, but more lift would improve the session factor.
60 / 100
Pours a shiny golden amber, clear body with vivacious head bouncing around as it pours, settling out to a thin crown of tight bubbles. Lace is decent, but nothing special. Looks nice though; good PA.
Smell bursts to life with piney and tropical NZ hops - passionfruit, paw-paw, mango and pineapple with a slight citric tang and a piney backing. Bit subdued after a while but retains that fresh fruity appeal. Great NZ PA nose.
Early taste is dominated by those fresh aroma hops, that don't quite pop in the mouth like I expected. More citric and piney, with a pithy edge late-mid. Slightly tart and slightly fresh, and then quite dry leading into the finish. A light woody note on the back with slight nuttiness as well. Decent palate but really lacking in those delicious NZ hops; I just want more, as far as flavour goes.
Light palate but a decent texture, not too carbonated but there's a presence in the mouth.
Nice drinkable beer, but there was far more promise than it delivered.
61 / 100
Pours a pale cloudy amber colour with steady trickle of bead. Head is white and foamy - good resilience, small bubbles and no lace. Looks pretty nice; refreshing if a little overcarbonated.
Smells also refreshing with nice fruity tang to it. Pleasant crisp pineapple notes with a touch of pear, lemon and sauvignon blanc. Bit of earthy phenol grounding it fairly nicely but an unfortunate sweet grain at the back mars it slightly. Otherwise good.
Taste is fizzy and slightly bitter. Not a whole lot of body to it, or much sweetness upfront. Largely hop-driven with fruity and floral hops from midway to the back, lemon and a hint of pineapple, maybe kiwi as well? Piney wood dries it up and adds bitterness, but it can't escape the emptiness, with a slight carbonation flavour reminiscent of a soda stream comes through on the back. That's not such a bad thing as this is clearly a thirst-quenching brew, and is light and crisp and pretty tasty.
Mouthfeel's where it falls down mostly. Sizzly and largely empty. Not great, but not terrible for the style.
Nice crisp pale ale overall, perfect for a hot day like this, though nothing outstanding.
48 / 100
Pale unfiltered look. Head is very generous, made up of small bubbles, not so tightly packed. Decent lace, doesn't retain very well. Looks alright.
Dirty, mouldy POR smell. Bit of musty apple with fresh-cut grass and a hint of vanilla. Mostly unclean, muddy bitterness; meh.
Taste is grainy for the most part. Swell of mild citrus and then some fairly bland bitterness on the back. Clean enough, with earthy spice and native mint. POR notes on the back but not too muddy, retains a certain drinkability but I'd choose something tastier if I got to choose.
Fairly chewy texture, but a bit flat as well. Not too bad.
Pretty bland and simple beer; not offensive but unlikely to make a big impact on the world of beer.
Purchased from the Adelaide Bier Shop. Indeed, they really wanted to thrust more of this on me. Let's see if that's because it's good, or if it's because they wanted to get rid of it.
Pours a hazed pale golden colour with a very minimal large-bubbled head of white that keeps forming and exploding with the overenthusiastic carbonation. Body is actually a touch heavier than I expected. It's not badâI like the touch of haze and the colour. Everything else leaves something to be desired, however.
Nose is lightly sweet, with a faint touch of pineapple or tropical fruit hoppiness. It's very faint however, and is actually overshadowed by slight wet grain character and a touch of earthiness. Pretty faint, but not unpleasant.
Taste is much more generic and a little dull. Front palate gives some husky but light grain, while the back has a clean Pride of Ringwood characterâthe woody, slightly bitter herbal harshnessâthat, while clean, still reeks of PoR. Not great. Feel suffers from the overcarbonation.
Pretty average. I can imagine it could be better super fresh: those tantalising hints of fruit on the nose may well be stronger. But I have a feeling this bottle has been sitting around for a little too long in the Adelaide Bier Shop's storeroom.
And they've been looking for an opportunity to move it on.
38 / 100
Pours a hazed but very pale yellow straw colour, with a frothy, insubstantial and large bubbled head of white. Some patchy lacing, but because of the rather weak head it doesn't form strongly. Lots of fizzy carbonation and an extremely light body. It looks a little bit unappealing, to be honest.
Nose is weak with slightly earthy hops, and a funk of assy yeast. Slight popped corn character giving it its hint of sweetness, but it's undeniably a slightly adjuncty, nothingness. Very bland.
Taste is lighter, and, to be fair, not that bad. It's minimalist in character and flavour, with a slight weak grain sweetness and a fizzy carbonation-like bitterness on the back. It's so dull as to be boring, but it's also dull enough not to be actively offensive.
Drinkable enough, but really, really boring and flat. Not enough hops, not enough interest, not enough anything.
Had on tap at Harts Pub.
Pours a shiny clear gold with light bead. Modest white head, small bubbles, minimal lace. Looks like beer; pretty par.
Smells fairly grainy and malty at first. Touch of earthy, toasty character and gently tangy hops giving a touch of fruit - lemon and apple mostly. More fruity, slightly resinous as it warms up. Refreshing aroma; quite like it now.
Taste is a bit of a letdown. Starts kind of tangy with some acetyldehyde and other ale by-products. Sweetish grain midway with barley and a touch of popcorn, then quite a bready late-mid and finish, some piney hops on the back but not very assertive. Hey, it's drinkable, pretty plain but I shouldn't complain; it is what it is.
Bit sharp on the back, kind of sizzles itself dry. Bit meh.
Plain, drinkable. Good starter beer and could continue drinking it.
83 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a fine, very bright golden colour, almost gaudily yellow in the glass. Head is gauzy with large bubbles, but persists as a film down the glass. Lacing is patchy, and the body is very light. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is fresh and bright with Kiwi hops giving it a bold crispness. Plenty of citrus, with a pithy rindy character, and the spicy character of ginger. It's very fresh and bright, while retaining a clearness that suggests it will be very drinkable.
Taste is excellent, light, slightly doughy malt forms a basis on which the flavours mingle over the top. Slight bitter citrus, some metal with a very restrained hop character on the back, that just lends a touch of menthol. Later characters of floral honey and a twang of mint round it out, while keeping the dance between sweetness and bitterness flowing.
Feel is clear and light, relying on the hop bitterness on the finish to add crispness.
Cracking good beer from Epic, making an interestingly complex but brightly drinkable combination. Great work.
Pours a deep amber colour, quite dark with massively overblown head. Nice and fluffy, webs out on the top kind of flat. Nice lace, but yeah too much head.
Smells fruity actually, very sweet with apricot, orange peel and a hint of almonds on there. Yeah, nutty malt and fruity hops. Not bad.
Taste starts very nutty, gets more so, lots of almond and peanuts as well as a hint of apricot-tinged hops late. Nice sweetness to them but could use a bit more earthy bitterness. Bitterness on the back is mostly woody and not as clean as it could be. Not a bad palate though, nutty and sweet and drinkable.
Full body, hint of fizz but really just a mild tingle.
Nice brew, drinkable and pleasant.
Really tiny operation, running out of the Happy Goblin Brewery. This is my second of their brews, after the Viking IPA. This bottle was purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.
Colour is extremely pleasant, a lovely bright golden colour, lighter in the extremities, but with a lovely sparkling depth to it. Head is fine and living, leaving some speckled laving, but surviving in sudsy regression as a ring around the edge of the glass. Really quite a pleasant look.
Nose is a bit tired, with a leafy green hop character, but little else. Slight sweetness, and a hint of pineapple. This bottle is probably a bit old, but it is most certainly showing its age, no matter how old it is.
Taste is very light, with a thin reedy malt character, laced with overlays of green slightly herbal hoppiness. Finish has an echo of bitterness, helped along by a persistent carbonation. Feel is light, and a little bit limp.
It's not bad, and I've no doubt it would be better fresher, but this particular bottle leaves me a little nonplussed. It's a pretty pedestrian APA, without much inspiration. I'm still happy to keep buying their beers to try, however.
60 / 100
640ml slimline bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a clear deep golden colour, with a very fine head of white. Carbonation is a bit too intense, leaving such frenetic streaming bubbles that it at some point seems more carbonation than beer. Lacing is patchy, and despite the carbonation, it doesn't seem overly lively. Not bad.
Nose is mildly fruity, with some leafy, slightly scungy hops that give a tired vegetative character. Underlying hints of biscuity malts give a basis, but it flashes weirdly with the hops, meaning it doesn't seem particularly refreshing. Something about it just seems a bit tired or amateurish to me.
Taste is pleasantly mild, and a lot more sophisticated than I expected. Some more of the biscuity malt on the fore, with a pleasant nutty, but bright bitterness on the back. Not much in the way of hop flavour, but the bitterness is restrained and pleasant, and helps make it a pretty refreshing palate. Body has some weight behind it, which ensures that the carbonation, which is still pretty heavy, doesn't dominate too much.
Not a bad drop, but probably only a little above the average. It
doesn't do anything particularly exciting, but it provides a solid
experience. Worth picking up.
On-tap at Harts Pub in Sydney during Sydney Craft Beer week.
Pours a clear golden colour, quite a deep hue. Head is hazy and a little inconsistent, but it's fine and white at least. Lacing forms in majestic sheets but disintegrates patchily. Very light body, which is nothing less than what you want for the style. A little simple, perhaps, but perfectly suitable.
Nose is light and crisp, but quite mild. Some faint fruity hops giving a bit of fragrant uplift, and a hint of salty chlorine. Touch of fizz from the carbonation is noticeable. It's not bad.
Taste, again, is very light, but it's pleasantly refreshing. Slight woody hop character on the back, with the palate is rounded out with some slight fragrant citrus flavours and a light greenness. Finish is quite dry and light, and the feel is sparkling but very light bodied.
Very drinkable and refreshing. Does it really do enough to stand out in a crowded marketplace, though?
Pours a very clear golden hue, with a fine ring of white for a head. Some fine bubbled carbonation streams through it for the most part, although this does not exacerbate the rather lacklustre crown. Body is pretty solid, although it has enough fluidity to allow the carbonation to stream. Not bad.
Nose is a bit rank, to be honest. Harsh rubbery band-aid chlorophenol character, mixed with spicy clove characteristics and a woody hop note that reeks of Pride of Ringwood. Sigh, I don't know what they were going for, but I'm almost certain it wasn't this.
Taste is lighter, but also more dull. Again, there's a lingering PoR character around the edges, but the mild palate can't mask the harshness here or on the finish. Very weak and light palateâleaving whatever characters it has exposed in their shame for all to see.
Not impressed. Very little character to it, but with the hints of really quite unpleasant characters. It's one of "excessively bland" or "mildly offensive". Take your pick.
60 / 100
Pours a deep orange colour, almost amber, with a fine but very inconsistent head of white. Large bubbles for on the surface, but don't contribute much to the overarching structure of the head. Body is light in weight. Overall, it looks pretty genericâthere's certainly nothing about it that gets me particularly excited.
Nose is pleasant, if mild, with some fruity hop characters coming through, along with a bright chlorine character. Light and bright, but again, pretty generic and simple, and certainly nothing to make it stand out.
Taste is similar, but it does have a pleasant cleanness on the palate and a bite of bitterness on the back. Light fruit characters with a touch of leafy hop presence in the finish. Just enough malt to give it structure, but not enough that you notice any sweetness. Feel is clean.
It is indeed, very standard and pretty generic. But, of course, they weren't going for anything else. It's not a wowing beer, but it's clean and drinkable.
Even if that does also mean forgettable.
71 / 100
Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a very clear, bright golden colour, with a fine body and a pleasantly thick white head that leaves complex lacing. I love the bright, yet light colour of itâit makes it look vibrant and inviting. Yeah.
Nose follows on with this vibe of brightness, with a really lovely crisp citric hoppy nose, layered with sweet-savoury pastry tones and a touch of apricot. It's fruity, but layered and complex. Ooh, yeah. It doesn't break the boundaries or make you question your assumptions about the style, but it's brimming with character and about as good as you can imagine an APA nose being. Awesome.
Taste is a lot lighter, as probably was to be expected, but it continues that nice apricot flavour while not spiking it with any bitterness. Also carried along is the slight pastry character, which is what gives its lightly sweet basis. The back drops out a lot, not giving the pleasant staccato bitterness which would cut it off and round it off nicelyâinstead, the sweetness sits around and fades away rather limply.
Still, this is a nice APA, and a cracker for such a rather ubiquitous brew, at least around these parts. Very drinkable and enjoyable.
Purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a brassy orange-amber colour, with a fine, but filmy head of off-white, that sits rather limply and stagnant on the top of the glass. Lacing is excellent, however, leaving leopard-spotted patches down the glass. Overall, it looks a bit flat, but not too bad.
Nose is lightly tropical and fruity, like processed breakfast juice. Mostly orange sweetness, with a touch of something else, perhaps some apricot, a little pineapple and banana. It's a little bit flat and a little pedestrian, and I certainly hoped for more from the NS hops. Oh well.
Taste is also very flat, in fact probably worse than on the nose. Here, there's nothing to back it up either: minimal body, and minimal structure to the hop character, leaving that flat tropical character to coast across the palate rather listlessly. There's little else to provide balance, complexity or even a foil to it genericness.
Quite disappointed in this. Of course, the extra Nelson Sauvin addition raised my hopes, but there wasn't a lot to it. Drinkable in its way, but drinkable in the generic way that most beer is.
Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA. Hopefully, the "fresh" still translates.
Pours a extremely clear copper amber colour, with a full and thick head of very, very pale yellowâok, it's almost white, but with a slight tinge to it. Lacing is thick and sheeting, forming in solid, unbroken planes down the inside of the glass. Light and bright otherwise. Looks good.
Nose is smooth and rather sweet, both with a subtle caramel malt character, and the tropical hop aroma, which gives it notes of banana and guava. It's far sweeter and smoother than I expected, with certainly no crisp, sharp hop characters. Not bad though.
Taste is similarly subdued, but well integrated. Smooth round malt characters give a crisp, if somewhat insubstantial base. This is layered with the ever-present, but never-robust hop notes, that suggest freshness while contributing little to the flavour. Feel is very smooth, with a light sparkle of carbonationâagain, this somewhat matches the hop characters.
It's a good beer that ends up being just a little too tame. It's very smooth and drinkable, and has some genuinely pleasant characters to it. But by the end, I feel like "yep... what's next?"
73 / 100
Pours a clear, bright golden colour, with a very full and rather persistent head of eggshell white. Lacing is excellent. Body is very light, but that's suitable for the style. Overall, it's a pretty good-looking beer.
Ooh. Nose is lovely and fresh, with big, crisp citrussy hop aromas like zested lemons, orange peel and crushed leaf. It's sharp and direct, but so fresh, so clean. Minimal sweetness, but enough of a depth to the hop character to make it seem balanced. It's obviously incredibly fresh, which helps it a lot (brewed in Sunnyvale, conceived in Palo Alto, consumed in Santa Clara).
Taste is also very clean and fresh, although admittedly rather light on the front and through the centre. Some initial bitterness lingers throughout, giving a bittersweet dried peel character throughout, although it has very little body to back this up. Fortunately, the hop character itself has an intrinsic sweetness to the flavour, which really carries it. Feel is light, but quaffable.
This is a really decent and really quite enjoyable APA. It's incredibly fragrant and flavoursome, and beautifully fresh, of course. I'd be extremely happy to drink this regularly.
83 / 100
Pours a bright golden orange colour, with a fine but somewhat filmy head of white. Stays patchy with cratered bubbles across the top of the glass. Looks pretty solid.
Nose is bright with fresh, classic west coast hops. Really pleasant characters of citrus, light pine and a peppery spice, giving a hint of leather and resin. Really well put together, and extremely fresh and fragrant.
Taste is really nicely balanced, with a robust and striking bitterness through the centre of the palate. Indeed, it's most of the way towards being an IPA. Under this is some pleasant honeyed malt characters, with a touch of biscuit and nuttiness on the back. The finish really rounds it out nicely, leaving a lovely aftertaste that makes you want to drink it more.
Peppery, spicy, but bright with fruit characters and really nicely balanced. It's a pretty complete beerâit's hard to see how it could be improved. This is the rare sort of beer that I'd be happy to drink by the six-pack.
Pours rather deep in colour, dark golden, almost amber hued, quite clear, and with a decent large-bubbled froth on the top. Head is pure white, but the bubbled that form it eventually blow themselves out, leaving just an oily film. Lacing is good. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is mild, with a little grain and touch of sweet honey-like malt. Some grassy hops come through, but very subdued. The sweetness dominates the balance, and it doesn't really have the refreshing bite it needs.
Taste is thin and light, with a crisp bitterness on the front, and a touch of acidity, which combines with the rather empty feel to give a hint of seltzer water. Some lingering malt characters on the finish, but it's the flavour and not the sweetness, leaving very little else. It feels extraordinarily empty and mild.
It's crisp and drinkable, I guess. You could probably drink more than one. But like any beer that is light on flavour and character, the question always remains: would you want to?
60 / 100
Pours a clear amber colour with steady trickle of bead throughout. Head is off-white, nice tight agglomeration of bubbles for nice, smooth lace.
Smell is pleasant, with a good pale ale balance of sweet and tangy. Rich caramel malt with nice citric hops coming from left and right. Slight sherbet note and hint of chalk. But yeah, nice.
Taste is quite English at times, with earthy malt providing rich English toffee sweetness that takes over the mid-palate and lasts beyond the finish. Slight soil and toasted grain notes. Hops are apparent midway, mostly citric and with a touch of copper on there as well. Bit of cloying yeast late which is a shame, but the bigger shame is simply that the hops don't really assert themselves, and the finish is a bit sticky as a result.
Nice, full body, but I can notice some light sizzle from the carbonation up the top. Not bad.
I'm holding this to fairly high standard but have had more drinkable pale ales, and I think there's a lot of flavour here but the emphasis is misaligned.
80 / 100
Pours an orangey colour with healthy stream of bead. Head is off-white, small bubbles that doesn't retain, just a thin crown with not a lot of lace. Good, although the head could be better.
Smells fruity and floral, nice tangy passionfruit aroma with some orange blossom and lemon zest. Slight hint of bitterness and a hint of caramel sweetness as well. Lovely and fresh and well-balanced nose.
Taste is big and tangy from the get-go. Very enjoyable malty underline with a touch of cake batter. Base gets overlain with hops - citric, floral and piney with lemon, passionfruit and paw-paw characters coming through. Tangy upfront but settles out to a nice citric and almost spicy bitterness late, but it's not at all too strong. Enough hop character for an IPA but toned down for maximum enjoyment. Really lovely.
Bit dry and sharp at the back of the feel. Body is slightly thin, but OK.
Could be slightly bigger for an IPA but it's flavoursome enough and drinkable as anything.
Pours a shiny golden colour. Head is white, fairly thin but desne. Lacing is sticky and thick and glorious. It's the only thing, though, that is glorious. Other than that a bit uninspiring.
Smells like popcorn - grainy but slightly savoury with a touch of citric hop and plenty of saltiness and earth to it. Woody maybe? And hoppy; yeah, fresh and pleasant.
Taste lags a bit. Fairly golden ale style - wheat and barley notes, quite savoury with a touch of salt and metallic hops. Citric on the mid that sort of diminishes by the end of the palate with a kind of drop-off of flavour, slight honey note at the end. A bit confused; nutty, grainy not quite sweet or bitter and not quite a synergy in the middle either.
Drinks alright, bit of a pull on the back from the hops. Yeah, quite dry but otherwise not too bad, fairly smooth.
This beer reminds me of a TV weatherman who's employed because he has meteorological gravitas rather than nice tits. I feel like I should trust him and enjoy him more, but I can't help wishing he just had bigger tits.
Pours a brilliantly clear and very bright golden colour, with a full and frothy head of pure white. This dissipates after a while, leaving a fine film across the top of the glass. Lacing is pretty ragged and anarchic. That's a good thing in my book. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright, but a little coarse. It has some lovely, fresh citric New Zealand hop characters, but also a little woody or earthiness, and a touch of slightly generic Australian lager yeast (although I can't believe they'd deign to use such a thing). Mostly though, it's fresh, bright and crisp. Not bad.
Taste is lighter, but reasonably enjoyable. Flat opening with a crispness midpalate and a bitterness on the back that is not entirely pleasant. It's not a fresh and tight crispness, more of a generic lingering bitterness that suggests some old hops or something a bit tired.
Fresh and very drinkable, but with enough characters to make me wary. It's a real shame, because I'm a huge, huge fan of New Zealand beersâI honestly believe they currently brew the best beers in the world. But evidently, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, and this is a rare miss from the heights I expect from our friends across the ditch.
41 / 100
Had at the Local Taphouse in Sydney for the Mikkeller Tap Takeover. This review somehow got lost by the wayside.
Pours a hazy amber-orange colour, with a filmy head of white. Minimal depth to the body, leaving it very fluid, although the carbonation is very fine and languid. Looks nice enough.
Nose is sharp, but a little sweaty and earthy, almost as though it were months or years old. I was expecting big tropical hoppy characters, but there are non to be had here. Very light, a bit thin and no sweetness.
Taste is very similar. Very light and crisp, but missing depth and flavour. A little hoppiness comes through on the back, but it's very generic and quite uninspired. It's actually extremely dull, and where it's not dull, it actually becomes a tad offensive.
Tropical punch? Wow, this is nothing like what I was expecting. A rare and disappointing miss for Mikkeller. It did nothing to stand out in the lineup at the tap takeover, and must get lost in the regular Mikkeller lineup.
39 / 100
Pours a light burnished bronze colour with lovely fluffy beige head, retains half a finger with beautiful lace. Looks lovely.
Woah, tangy. Feel like I've shoved a whole lime up my nose. So fruity and sour and tangy, just massive, massive acid on it. Too much; I'm overwhelmed.
Taste doesn't take long before completely puckering up. Nothing much, just massive bitterness, so much acid. Puckering lime, unripe grapefruit, just wormwood and some star anise all just side-effects of overdone, mad-scientist hop bittering. Maybe worth a sip, but not pleasant and there's no nuance to it at all.
Feels OK, just so much ashiness from the hops it's hard to enjoy.
More of an experiment than a beer and yet there's not technique involved. It would take a lot of skill to balance such an insane amount of hopping, and there's nothing here to grab hold of.
Pours a burnished russet colour with pleasant off-white head, quite dense at the base but big bubbles on top, smooth cradle of lace. Very nice.
Smell is pleasantly hoppy. Light fruit notes with passion, lime, pine resin and some English toffee malt. Pretty standard pale ale smell, but pleasant.
Taste is less exciting. Decent malt upfront with toffee and pearl barley that gets savoury-umami almost - misway, with a light smattering of hops on the back. Mostly bittering, resinous and dank with a woody edge to it. Not hugely exotic or punchy; again pretty standard character that also commits the sin of unbalance: needs more malt presence as the hops seem to swim a bit at the end.
Thin, bit of texture on the back but needs more body.
A drinkable brew, but it's a crowded list of examples for the style and this one sits quite firmly in the middle.
Pours a slight burnished copper colour, nice dense head of tiny bubbles that pops with fizz and a cradle of smooth lace. Not much bead. Looks alright.
Smell is tangy, fruity with a very slight funk to it. Citric with floral notes, nectar, raisin and candied orange on there. Rich malt underlying; nice.
Taste starts with malty notes, caramel mostly, that continue through to the finish. Gets richer and buttery midway with a smooth clarified butter finish. Balance tries to come from a slight tangy citric hop, more resinous at the back but it's just not very strong, just a lingering bitterness late. Pretty clean, with a peachy touch to it as well. Not bad.
Nice body, smooth but noticeable presence.
Interesting, enjoyable, but not quite all there.
60 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney, as part of the Mikkeller Tap Takeover. Yeah. This was Beer #8 of 20.
Pours a hazed, bronzey orange colour, with a filmy but fine head of white. Some slipped lacing around the top, but otherwise it looks pretty flat. Not bad, but not great, either.
Nose is bright and light, with some slight hop characters and a twinge of graininess. It's pretty mild and a little bit sweaty and funky. Eh.
Taste is light and mild, but pretty well balanced. Very pleasant bitterness on the back that clings to the palate. But it has a decent body to support it, giving a sweetness and some depth. The bitterness on the back has a tendency to get slightly medicinal on the finish, but otherwise, it's nice and well-balanced.
Not a bad drop, but a little bit tame for Mikkeller. It ends up being pretty dull and quite pedestrian.
60 / 100
Cool artwork on the bottle certainly makes this one stand out. Picked up as part of an order from the Adelaide Bier Shop. It was one of the South Australian beers forming the order, and one that I've not seen over east.
Pours with an enormous, frothy and overcarbonated head that crackles itself from a frothy abundance to a collapsed film. Body is a really pleasant slightly burnished orange hue, slightly hazed with sediment. Light, fluid weight to it, and fine carbonation, albeit slightly too much.
Nose is mild with slight stonefruit esters coming off, giving a slight apricot jam and marmalade character. Hint of something slightly tropical and fresh, with a slight hint of cool vegetation. It reminds me of the smell of the Sydney botanic gardens at dusk in summertime. Nice.
Taste is very mild, and lacking very much. Here there's a faint, weak grain sweetness and a light lemony bite on the back, but very little else. Still, the carbonation is not as rampant as I thought it might be, and the body has a pleasant fullness to it that adds a bit of heft to an otherwise lacklustre palate.
Not a bad brew, and to be honest, probably one that I'd be happy to session. While it's somewhat lacking in flavour, it's very easy to drink. There's absolutely nothing to be offended by here.
76 / 100
I only have a single bottle of this, so I can't really test out the bold claims it makes in its name, but we'll see how it goes nonetheless.
Hazed mild golden colour, with a lot of streaming carbonation and a full, but pocked head of off-white. Body looks very light, as is to be expected. Head only leaves vapour trails of lacing. Not bad, but not that exciting.
Nose is wonderfully full and hoppy. Clean green fruit characters with plenty of zesty citrus. Really lovely sharp, fresh lemon and lime notes, very potent and very heady. The sharp nature of the fragrance cuts through whatever malt there may be there, but my guess is that this is not a very full-bodied beer anyway. Lovely fragrance though.
Taste is, yes, lacking in sweetness somewhat, and also hoppiness, but the palate manages to stay pretty much in balance. Light crisp hop characters on the front, with a mild and faint candied orange or light sugar character that feels very thin. Bitterness lingers on the back, but not because the bitterness itself is particularly pronouncedâmore that everything else drops out.
Tasty brew, and one with plenty of character. It does feel a bit weak and empty on the palate, but that's what you get for a 4.2% beer, and given the advantages of the low ABV, this hits what they were going for spot on.
60 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 09/07/11.
Pours a pale amber colour; clear with no bead. Head is off-white, fairly dense but no real retention. Decent lace. Looks OK.
Nose is quite nice, with pleasant citric hop notes dominating, in a weak kind of way. Lemon and kiwi on there and a touch of passionfruit. Light and subtle for the most part but it's enjoyable and fresh like a good pale ale nose should be.
Taste is actually a bit flabby upfront. Sort of one-note malt palate that lazily carries the palate through to the finish. Caramelly malt with no real up and down. Hops come through late-mid and they're welcome but insubstantial, not robust enough to save the day, and the flavour glances slightly off target to form a metallic and mildly dirty bitterness. OK overall, but really could have done more with what they had.
Fair amount of fizz, not overblown though and decent body.
Yeah, I'm a bit disappointed with this overall, but it's pleasant drinking. Just could have been better.
88 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in New York.
Pours a lovely, slightly hazed orange golden colour, with a full, thick and frothy head of off-white. Lacing is riotous and speckled. Body is light and supple. Looks really good.
Nose is bright and fresh, with characters of crushed vegetation and rubbed citrus rind. Zesty and sharp, but very smooth. The sort of beer that's going to be great to drink, you can just tell.
Crisp and zesty on the palate, with pleasant citric bite and a sweetness like musk and grain. It's supremely refreshing, and extremely well balanced. It's the sort of beer that's bursting with flavour, but which you also just want to drink and drink and drink. Feel is light and fresh. Matches beautifully.
Gorgeous beer, eminently drinkable and extremely refreshing. Even for 6.1%, it's an amazingly sessionable beer. So clean, so light and just so damn good. One of the best APAs I've ever had.
57 / 100
Purchased from Beer Cartel in Artarmon, on a visit soon after they opened. Looking forward to visiting again and seeing how their range has expanded.
Pours a bright and clear deep gold, with a frothy and very loose-bubbled head of foam. Seriously, the bubbles are about half a centimetre in diameter. Collapses to a ring of frothy suds. Carbonation is streaming. Head is a disaster, but otherwise looks ok.
Nose is crisp and metallic, with some citric hop character. A little sweetness, caramel, but with a touch of banana to it, which suggests it may be esters from the fermentation. Quite fresh all up though. Not bad.
Taste is clean and crisp, with a decent almost pilsnery grain character through the centre, and a phenolic bitterness on the back. Slight metallic astringency on the finish, but it adds a little crispness. Carbonation is too aggressive, however, leaving it airy and bloating.
Not a bad beer. Not terrible, but not that great. The excessive carbonation is the sticking point for meâwithout it, it would be a decent, if not particularly exciting pale ale. With it, it's a bit too much effort to work through.
73 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse's Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a clear, pale golden colour, with a light by frothy head. good lace is formed as the beer goes down: sudsy, solid and complex. Light body, but it looks pretty decent overall. Very suitable for the style.
Nose is bright but subdued. Some tropical notes giving a fresh resonance, but it's very light overall, with a hint of graininess grounding it. Eh.
Taste is much better, with a clean and crisp nutty bitter character, that reminds me pleasantly of Mikkeller's single hop series. Crisp and bitter, but with good depth and a roundness to complement it. The hops give a nice greenness and a light pungency. Finish is long but clean.
Very easy drinking APA this one. Something I'd be happy to drink frequently. Not a bad drop at all.
47 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of the Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a hazed golden colour, with a very fine head of white. Some sudsy lacing forms, helped by the fineness of the head. Some carbonation sitting still when the glass is tilted. Looks decent enough.
Not a lot on the nose. No indeed. Insipid and watery, with a touch of light grain, and a very fain hint of something green or organic. Maybe just a hint of citrus, but that's stretching it. Unexciting.
Smooth and clean on the palate, with only a nuance of bitterness. A little crispness, but no hop character really. Finish is clean and rather bright. Balanced enough, but no sharpness, no excitement.
IPA? Don't make me laugh. This is drinkable enough, but entirely forgettable, and something that would give IPAs a very dull and unwarranted badge if this were the first example you were to try.
Another brew from the Local Taphouse's Kiwi SpecTapular.
Bright golden copper colour, with a good head of fine off-white. Lace is thick and sheeting. Very light bodyâvery fluid. Looks decent enough. Not exciting, but decent enough.
Nose is soft and mild, with a greenness and a certain clean hop character. But mild: very mild. There's a bit of malt here too, giving a touch of pastry sweetness, but guess what? It's mild too. At least the balance is right.
Taste is soft with a light mild bitterness, and again ... sigh ... mild malt giving a touch of vanilla, meaning it's not unbalancedâeverything just sits smoothly with everything else.
Drinkable and light but very restrained, almost unhappily cautious. Decent enough in it's way, but quite unexciting.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst for the Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a pale golden colour, with a slight tropical haze like a splash of guava juice. Head is fine, but dissipates to a film pretty quickly. Solid body, but almost no noticeable carbonation. Very fine and firm head however. Overall, it looks decent.
Nose is grainy and a bit nutty, giving some husky notes and minimal hop character. A little rustic and dusty, with some earthy characters. Not bad, but could really use a little extra hop character; a little crispness.
Similar on the palate. Husky and grainy, with a little earth and a touch of homely bitterness. It's pretty light on otherwise, and missing a fair whack of everything else. Oddly, there's a touch of carbonic acidity to it, which is odd given the lack of visible carbonation.
Feel is smooth enough, but a little flat. There's the missing carbonation.
Drinkable enough. It's smooth and light. It's just not very interesting.
80 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst for their Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a deep copper-gold colour, with a very clear, almost filtered look. Head is fine and white, which dissipates to a ring of film around the edge. Lacing is patchy but decent. Light in the look, but it's suitable enough.
Nose is sweet and citrussy, giving a good Cascade aroma of crisp orange, although it's missing some of the bite I expected from the NZ cultivar. Indeed, the malts give a pleasant smooth vanilla note, or at least they give just enough sweetness to pretend. It's an interesting balance. Certainly more malt-heavy than I thought it might be.
Clean, bright cascade characters on the palate, with a bit of nutty grain. Some sharpness to brighten it, but not a lot of true bitterness. Very well balanced and exceptionally drinkable. The hops certainly appear more on the front than the back, leaving the back a little flat. But this just means you want to take your next sip.
A very drinkable and very enjoyable pale ale. Lovely.
Pours a pale gold colour, clear body. Light bead, whispy beige-ish head. Decent.
Quite sauvin-y on the nose. Lots of passionfruit, pineapple, a touch of citrus. Nice resinous and woody characters and a slight spicy piquancy. Pleasant NZ hop nose, nice intensity.
Taste is quite malty. Lots of rich caramel toffee from front to mid. Hops come through late-ish, more passionfruit with light pine resin and wood notes. A pleasant, bitter American pale. But nothing very special.
Mouthfeel is good, decent body with a slight fizz - but not too much. Just a smooth drinking ale.
Good drinking beer to start off a session, enough hop to keep me interested.
47 / 100
Pours a clear golden colour. Head is beige, nice and dense with gorgeous clouds of lace. Light bead; looks great.
Where's the nose? No hops here, just light grain. Cereal and barley, touch of vanilla. Slight floral rose character. Bland. Bad, even.
Taste is mildly better, grain with more complexity. Puffed rice and pearl barley, with a touch of English toffee providing an earthy sweetness. Slightly metallic on the finish, but not a lot of character. Bit bland, but not bad.
Quite full, but flat, without a lot of texture.
Definitely needs something here to balance and cleanse the palate. Grains are all well and good but the result here is just a flat, bland beer. I'm certainly not getting those hops they promised.
Pours a metallic-sheened golden colour. Head is lacklustre. Lace unimpressive, but present. Looks OK.
Smacks of grain, really. Lots of barley with a touch of cinnamon, raising toast even, and maybe some light citrus. Not much, a bit meh.
Taste is very grainy, with cereal notes, rice, corn and a touch of vanilla. Some milk notes, caramel. Not much hop, but finishes with a bit of bitterness. No distinct flavour, just slightly bitter. Yeah, nothing wrong here, I'm just not really liking it much.
A bit thin on the palate but a smooth drop, goes down nicely.
Yeah, not much to this beer. It's not at all the best pale I've had. I know it's not trying to be, but whatever it is trying to be, it's just not.
Had on tap at the brewery.
Pours a deep coppery amber colour, very dark for a pale ale. Head is just off-white, leaving a pattern across the top of the glass. Patchy. Lacing is good however. Looks good enough.
Butterscotchy on the nose with a sharp citrus bite to cut through it. Rather sweet overall, with caramel characters coming in as well. Throughout all of this, it's not particularly full or robust either. Doesn't win me over.
Taste is smooth, but again, very light. Some bitterness through the centre, but it's matched and over-matched with caramel sweetness. Feel is nice, but the toffee and caramel characters are too much and the cleansing hop character too little. Unbalanced.
Not the worst beer I've tried, but not particularly exciting either. Like Adelaide: it's alright.
76 / 100
Interesting series, this one. I feel I'm missing out on the more characteristically unique elements by leaving the Brett and the Hefe until last, but it was interesting to see how different the Belgian and the Lager ones were. I'm expecting clean, middle-of-the-road fermentation from the American Ale yeast, but let's see what we get.
Fizzes rather vigorously on opening, however, the pour is viscous, and seemingly not over-carbonated. Body is a gorgeous red-orange hue, with a little bit of suspension causing haze. Head is full and thick, and leaves magnificent lacing. All things considered, it's an absolutely gorgeous looking beer.
Nose is very pleasantly hoppy, with flavoursome hop varieties giving gorgeously sweet tropical fruits. Minimal citrus and pine. Malt is malanced but bright, giving a supple warm sweetness underneath the hops. Gorgeous.
Hops on the palate lend a mild bitterness, with a green crushed vegetation finish. Otherwise, there are rampant grainy malt characters lending depth and body and that characteristic nutty flavour on the back. Very clean finish, with the palate drying out enough to let the hops have the final say.
Very decent beer, and the fact that I focused on the beer itself and not the characteristics of the yeast tells you what a smooth and clean yeast this is. What you end up with is a very fine and very drinkable Pale Ale (or really, verging in to American Strong Ale territory).
I enjoyed the beer for itself. Never mind the series.
80 / 100
AleSmith never disappoints, in my experience, and although up until now I'd stuck to the bigger and more exciting styles in their range, I hold high hopes for what such a good brewery could do with the humble Pale Ale.
Pours an effervescent and lively slightly hazed golden colour with a frothy head of white bubbles. Lacing is patchy, but pleasantly anarchic. Huge amounts of streaming carbonation. Overall, it looks stylistically true, but still exciting.
Nose is fresh with sweet citric hops, giving nuances of tangerine and lemon curd. Slightly crisp green aroma to it as well, giving a sharper fresh vegetative character, melding together to form a rather pleasant floral note. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste is all this, perfectly packaged and balanced. Sharp citrus on the front, with a slightly astringent, slightly medicinal bitterness on the back, which just cuts through the incipient sweetness nicely. Hint of orange peel on the finish, along with that robust bitterness.
Exceptional drinkability, as it has all the pleasant refreshing hoppy characters of a good APA combined with a light body and relatively low ABV. As always, AleSmith have come up with a winner. Cracking beer.
Wyld is a herbal supplement sold as an aphrodisiac in Australia. Apparently, it's also an American Pale Ale from Salt Lake City. Well, let's see if this one gets my motor running.
Pours a pale golden colour, light for a pale ale, although perfectly reasonable all the same. Head is filmy and large-bubbled, only forming and fizzing out in the first couple of seconds after pouring. Overall, it looks rather reminiscent of a slightly deeper coloured pale lager, and I can't say it's overall particularly appealing.
Nose oddly flexes between a type of grainy, lagery skunkiness and a lightly citric hop character. Indeed, it's not entirely unpleasant: the sweaty grain character gives it some depth beyond the hop fragrance, and the hop fragrance masks some of the more unpleasant aromas from the grain. An interesting mix.
Taste has more trouble disguising some of the very lagery grain characters, and the big smack of pungent yeast that wells up on the back. Indeed, this reminds me of some of the worst aspects of the Australian macro lager industry, with the yeastiness providing the malignant aftertaste. There are some hops, and these do lend a pleasant citrus flavour to the front, but there's little bitterness on the back to clear up the rest.
Unfortunately, it's very light overall, in flavour and in texture, meaning that the small unpleasantness gets amplified by having nothing else to hide behind.
A very average beer, and not one I'm particularly enamoured of. Suffice it to say that this is unlikely to get me revved up for a trip to the bedroom.
Pours a very light golden colour, pale even for a pale ale, but wonderfully bright and clear. Head is frothy and full, lacing is strong. Looks the part: a bright and attractive American Pale Ale. Ticks all the boxes.
Nose is mild and pleasant, with a dominant, but not particularly pungent fruity hop aroma. Hints of pineapple and lemon are most noticeable, but without the strength to suggest a particularly hoppy brew. It's just bright, pleasant, clean and approachable.
Taste is similar in profile. Hops form the basis of the flavour, but the volume is way down. There's an earthy bitterness, but it's almost on the level of a selzter-water bite, little more. Minimal sweetness means the beer stays reasonably crisp, but it also means there's very little depth to the palate.
Feel is a bit too spritzy as well, with the carbonation giving a bit too much effervescence, which overpowers the light body.
OK, I get that this is the more soft and approachable end of Bear Republic's range, but I was a little disappointed all the same. It's a solid, but not particularly interesting APA. I was hoping for something more.
77 / 100
Pours a lovely bright, slightly coppery golden colour with a full head of frothy foam that seemed to take some effort to promote; however much of the carbonation seemed caught up in the heavier-than-average body, meaning it just coalesced late into a full crown. Minimal lacing, fine carbonation. Looks very nice.
Nose is very pleasantly fresh and crisp, with some sweeter, rounder tropical fruit aromas to go with the dominant zesty citrus characters. Slight nutty malt behind it which gives it a depth without really clashing with the hops.
Taste is clear and pleasant, with a slight bite of bitterness on the back, very nicely balanced with more of that nutty malt character, which gives a slight grainy, almondy character on the finish. Crisp feel, with some weight to cushion the hops. Very nicely balanced.
Very drinkable and crisp, and very well balanced for sessionability. This is a cracking APA (take the first 'A' to stand for what you will); I'd say a match for Little Creatures or Sierra Nevada.
73 / 100
Previously the 1809 Pale Ale, this has been re-branded with the rest of the range. Introducing The Hangman.
Pours a pale hazed yellow colour, with a fine-bubbled slick of sheeny white. Body looks pleasantly heavy, with low carbonation levels and a slow bead. Lacing forms in sheets. Looks good.
Light fruits on the nose, with a good citric bite. Rather sweet all up, with just a dose of grainy malt. Rather mild on the hops, but it's quite pleasant.
Taste is similar, but the bitterness is slightly more pronounced than expected, giving a pleasant earthiness and a clean crisp finish. Very slight hint of that grain, almost giving it a German pilsener note. Mouthfeel is crisp and pleasant.
Very drinkable and clean. It shows off what Rocks does well: well-made, simple, drinkable beer.
73 / 100
Fair warning: I purchased this bottle from the Adelaide Bier Shop, and it appeared to be one of the last of their stocks from the brewery. Chances are this is relatively old.
Appearance is really quite beautiful. A rich, deep amber colour--really quite dark, with a fine and persistent head of creamy off-white. Lacing is great, and forms in clumpy rings around the glass. Body is light, and the carbonation is steady. Looks very nice.
Nose is a little hops-poor, giving more of a caramel character and a sweaty grain buoyancy, with a rather dark earthy note underneath. It's not bad, but without the resonant hop fragrance, it comes across more like an English example of the style.
Taste is crisp and clean, with good breadth across the palate, and a malty backbone. Mild bitterness and a slight sour milk character come through on the back, but this just leavens the sweet malt character before it gets too heavy. Some organics throughout, even a lilt of pungent blue cheese. It's not bad.
Not a bad drop of beer at all, and one that I think is tasting pretty good at this point whether or not it's old. I'm actually a little conflicted as to whether a stronger hop aroma would help it, but I'd be happy to try it again to find out.
Purchased from Slowbeer as part of a big on-line order. Such a fortunate country are we that we have such a dedicated advocate for craft beer.
Pours a burnished copper colour, slightly hazed, although I avoided adding the sediment which clumped at the bottom of the bottle. Head is firm enough, forming some sudsy lace with a thickness like soft-beaten egg-whites. Collapses, however. Looks very still in the glass, with minimal carbonation. More like an English style pale ale in this regard.
Nose is sweet and a little acidic, giving some light green appleskin characters over a malty grain basis. Some crushed cookie sweetness seems to form the base, with only those mild slightly acidic fruit characters giving much sign of the hops. It's ok, but the style demands more.
Taste is certainly more malty than anything else, giving a certain chewy biscuit character to the front. Slight nuttiness on the back, but almost no hop character. Very mild, again, it strikes me as very unlike the classic American profile. Feel is pleasant and smooth.
It's decent, but for something so clearly American branded, it does very little to replicate the style. Hops! And more of them! Put them in and we might be talking.
Love the labels on these guys. Very crafty. Purchased this bottle from Slowbeer as part of a shipment order.
Pours a clear dark bronze-amber colour, with a speckled and large-bubbled head of white that sinks very rapidly to an unappealing film. Really, it's not a good look at all. Body looks quite heavy. Minimal carbonation noticeable.
Not a lot of hops on the nose for a beer named after a hop acid, but instead, we get a huge aroma of sweet diacetyl butterscotchy blurgh. Perhaps I tell a lie, in amongst this is a slight organic greenness, the hint of banana leaf and something herbal and minty. It's faint, but it's there, the promise of hops.
But like all those times my Dad said he'd come to my baseball games when I was a kid: the promise was a lie*. On the palate we get more diacetyl that is not nearly covered up by the insipid bitterness that makes an appearance on the mid to back palate. Even then, it's more of a carbonic acidity, or a tingle of essence de hop than true alpha acid clout.
Feel is fine, but the diacetyl seems to make it thicker and more cloying than it is.
Of course, promising to be a "Highly Hopped Ale" means you have a lot to live up to, but this doesn't do nearly enough to warrant that tag.
I might try it again if I hear they've beefed it up, or if someone tells me I probably just got a dud bottle, but it seems to me that mediocrity is the general consensus here.
*My Dad's a great guy. That anecdote was merely added for comic effect.
This recently won the Local Taphouse's poll of the best 100 Australian craft beers of 2011. I hadn't tried it for a while, so I thought I'd check it out there recently when they put it on tap.
Pours a cloudy and bright yellow with a full head. Spidery lace down the inside of the glass. Big bubbled and voluminous carbonation. Looks pretty good overall.
Nose is minimal, and not particularly appealing, giving a very faint dusty, earthy hop aroma with a hint of lemon. A little pale sweetness. Average.
Taste is also a little lifeless. Some spritz, a bit of grainy sweetness and a dry and clean finish. Inoffensive enough, but that's about it. Feel is light at the start and almost empty by the end.
Eh. Best beer of the year? Not a chance. Inoffensive, but certainly not a good flagbearer for craft beer in Australia. What's more, I fear it has gotten worse since my first review.
75 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pouts a light golden yellow, with a little haze. Firm and frothy head of white that leaves some intricate lacing. Small carbonation streams. Looks very nice.
Nose is sharp and fresh, with big sweet tropical characters. Galaxy hops seem most prominent, giving of husky characters of passionfruit and banana lollies. Very sweet but fresh and complex as well. Nice.
Taste is lighter, but this adds to its refreshment. Similar in this regard to the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, which in some senses drove this style in easy drinking Australian ales. Clean hops on the front, but with a nice crisp finish. Slight carbonic acidity and sparkling feel. Very dry on the finish.
Supremely drinkable, this is a winning summer ale. There is nothing quite like this style that I've tried elsewhere in the world, and this a beautiful style that I'd love to see us Australians claim as our own.
Had on-tap at Preachers in Hobart.
Pours very cloudy, with a filmy but fine white head. Body is firm, coloured a muddy bright amber hue. Looks decent enough.
Pleasant fruity hoppiness on the nose, giving a real citric zing of the American or possibly New Zealand variety. Some dusty grain in the background, but the sharper zesty characters win. Nice.
Taste is bright and quite fresh, but a little thin. Some pleasant bitterness on the back, giving a slight aspirin bite, but overall, there's not a lot of flavour to it - certainly no huge characters. But it's pleasant enough and quite fresh.
Carbonation makes it slightly bloating, but otherwise pleasant.
A nice beer. Not particularly exciting, but decent.
75 / 100
73 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a cloudy amber-gold, with generous white head. Visible bubbles around the edges and great retention, nice and dense on the top. Doesn't exactly excite me, but then I don't expect a pale to do so, and for the style it looks ideal.
Smells quite hoppy. Antipodean hop character, with passionfruit and tropical resinous notes. Balanced and grounded with slight caramel malt that allows hops to float, but not dominate. Pretty decent.
Taste is quite nice. Subtle fruity esters from the start swimming atop pleasant, slightly buttery malt. Develops resinous and floral hop notes midway with lots of passionfruit, pineapple and slight sap notes and nectar. Yeah, a pleasant beer. I do have a bit of trouble with that slight citric bite, but it's not overpowering, and the balance is pretty pleasant overall.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin at first, and a big sizzle comes through on mid as it goes down. Not that great; carbonation could definitely be toned down.
That being said, this is a pleasant drinking beer, nice balance and good for thirst-quenching.
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold colour, quite hazy with slow bead clearly visible. Head is white with modest bubbles and sunk to a thin crown with nice clouds of lace being left around, looks alright, yeah.
Smells quite passionfruity with nice resinous hop oil aroma giving off lots of crisp tropical fruit. Certainly galaxy here, but a bit meak overall, not lots of aroma. What's there is nice though.
Taste is quite tangy, especially on the front with tropical notes, then good galaxy hop flavour on late-mid: passionfruit and a touch of banana lingering. That evolves into moderately bitter finish, with slight yeasty notes; a bit astringent on the back but not too bad. Overall quite mild; doesn't quite have the crisp cleansing qualities of Stone & Wood pacific ale and falls slightly short in the flavour department.
Thinness on the body allows the fizz to show through too much. Not bad for the style but would like less bubbling.
Drinks well. Clean and easy, mild and modest ale, good Summer drop.
Pours a pale gold colour with modest white head that sinks to a small film, with nice trails of lace left behind. Steady but small carbonation. Looks alright, would like more head.
Smells extremely fruity and tangy. Plenty of citric hop, giving actual zesty notes with lemon sherbet and pineapple; slight licorice note as well. Pretty damned nice, but I feel it might need something to ground it, as it's very light at present.
Taste is a bit weak, unfortunately. Lots of those citrus esters but it's lacking malt, I feel. Has decent hop notes, quite tangy and fairly nicely bitter with lemon zest and some piney notes, plus some flaxy character as well. Quite dry at the back, with a bitter citric note and the finish is nice enough but a bit short. Decent but lacking in a few places, needs more oomph to drive the flavours home.
Full enough mouthfeel, not a lot of texture though and yet leaves quite dry. A bit meh.
Yeah, I could throw a few of these back by a summer pool; I just feel like it could quite easily up the hops and malt and the alcohol, and I'd drink it just as happily.
59 / 100
Cheers to @laituegonflable for the Xmas present.
Pours a deep coppery golden colour, with a loose bubbled head of filmy off-white. Carbonation streams like anything. Head is a bit disappointing, and the clarity in the body makes it more reminiscent of an Aussie macro than I'd like, but it's not a bad look. Just a bit average.
Nose is a melange of butterscotchy caramel malts and a rather sweet fruit hoppiness. It's rather lacklustre all up, although the characters are stylistically acceptable. It's too sweet, to my mind, though. And again, I'd have to call it pretty average.
Taste is a little better, although here the hops take on a slight earthy tannin character that suggests a bit more in the way of English varieties. Still, the palate is crisp and bitter, enough to cleanse and to give some liveliness to the beer. Feel is clear and bright, with crispness on the back.
Decent enough. Not something I'm particularly impressed with, nor something that makes a good case for the Aussie beer scene, but a relatively drinkable pale ale.
57 / 100
Part of my NYE 2010 celebrations.
Pours a really quite dark reddish amber colour, with a full, large-bubbled and rocky head of off-white foam. Very coppery in the hue, it could almost pass as an amber ale or an American red. Lacing is clumpy but reasonably sticky. Decent enough.
Nose is very full of hops, with citric American hops the main event, although there's a woodiness to it as well, which gives it a character that reminds me of EKG. Some grainy malt, but otherwise a little thin. Eh.
Taste is buttery and bitter, mingling in odd ways to neither give a particularly clean beer nor a particularly flavoursome one. Bitterness is restricted to the back, and then it sits like a block on the tongue, giving little fragrance or depth. Earthy characters on the back again suggest an English influence.
Feel is pretty flat, only gaining a spike from the hop oil on the back.
Overall, it's really not as American as the "American" in the name would have you believe - certainly if a Pale Ale in the US came out like this, it would probably be considered an English inspired one. For that, it doesn't live up to its name. But otherwise, it's a reasonably clean, if not particularly interesting beer.
Part of my 2010 NYE celebrations.
Pours a bright and burnished golden colour, with only a filmy fine head of white foam. Only a minimal amount of sudsy lacing is left behind on tilting. Although the carbonation is large bubbled, the body actually supports a little static bubbling when swirled. Eh. I've had better, but it's not a bad looking brew.
Nose is very light on, with some cereal sweetness and a very faint grassy hoppiness, but there's very little else. More grainy than anything else, and the slight yeasty note gives it a bready character. All up, not a great nose for an APA.
Taste is clean enough, with a little toffee malty character and a light nutty bitterness on the back. Very little character comes from the hops, yet again, but at least here it's balanced enough. I was fearing thin malty water. Feel is crisp with carbonation, and actually suits it rather well.
A drinkable beer, but certainly nothing exciting. Would make a reasonable choice in the Australian summer if nothing else is available.
Overall, it's very much like a pale ale with only the very minimal amount of hops possible.
70 / 100
Pours a bright and very light yellow colour, slightly hazed, but mostly translucent. Head is fine and white, and it leaves good lacing. Lots of fine carbonation. Looks pretty good overall.
Nose is initially redolent with West Coast American hops, although it doesn't have an intense pungent sharpness. Some lemon citrus character with a little peach, mixed in with more crushed organic characters: leaf, heather and a little honey. Very interesting.
Taste is surprisingly light, with a bit of nutty malt, minimal bitterness, and a twang of light, sweet honey on the back, that almost lends a flowery organic character to it. Feel is very smooth, although the carbonation, while not so present on the palate itself, does get a little bloating after a while.
Nice enough beer, and very easy drinking. The pleasant nutty bitterness on the palate doesn't make it that interesting, but really makes for pleasant drinking.
86 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour, light haze and an odd uneven bead through the body but head remains steady. White and very generous - like, over the top. Sinks quite quickly but some huge clumps of lace are left behind. Pretty decent beer, if a little unusual, even slapdash, in places.
Very fruity and spicy on the nose. Lots of tart green apple notes, with rich passionfruit, pineapple and hints of lemongrass. Very tropical - hoppy, piney and fresh. A beauty.
Taste is very enjoyable, with plenty of fruity notes from very early on. The nose is potent enough to just blend into the first pangs of flavour. Plenty of green apple with citric notes, pineapple and green peppercorns faint on the back. Hint of lemongrass and slight bready grain notes on the mid. Finish is not strong but fresh and tasty with nice fruity aftertaste. Such a lovely thirst quenching beer, with great flavours blended well to create a nice journey from start to finish.
Mouthfeel is not bad, nothing exciting but nice enough texture to get this very pleasant beer down smoothly.
This is a drinkable as hell beer. There are imperfections here and there but flavour and aroma are lovely and fresh and I could just slam down glass after glass of this stuff.
46 / 100
Pours a clear golden colour, with a very light haze in the body. Head is snowy-white, fluffy and marshmallowy in appearance, fed by a steady stream of bubbles. Lace is not very inviting. Needs some work, but not bad.
Bit disappointed with the nose. The label gives the impression of craft passion and American hops, but I'm just finding that weak citric sourness characteristic of Asian lagers. Some spent grain aroma adding a dourness, but fairly bland and slightly off-vegetative at times as well. A shame.
Taste is nicer, with the hop characters finding more meat than in the aroma. Quite malty throughout with biscuity notes and a slight buttery overtone, with a crisp tang assault giving lemon zest, then descending into a slightly oversweet mid with notes of sweet corn and honeyed seed bread. This is almost counterbalanced by the citric hoppy finish, but it's not quite enough to really cut off the sweetness, which sadly remains behind. Slight phenolic edge on the very back and leaves a gentle but noticeable metallic hang.
Not a bad body to it, but could use more texture to keep one interested, as it's quite flat in the mouth.
Decent effort applied, but it comes up short everywhere.
Pours a cloudy, but very pale light golden colour. Head is quite fine-bubbled but a little filmy, and it doesn't retain very well. Minimal lacing and carbonation. Looks a little flat overall. Not a great look, but decent enough.
Nose is pleasantly hopped, giving off some reasonable tropical fruit characters, and a light citric acidity. Slight hints of passionfruit and lemon zest; quite sharp and really quite pleasant. No sweetness to match with it, but that's no bad thing in a low-gravity pale ale. I have to say it's quite a delicious nose.
Taste is light, but also not bad. Light sharp fruit characters on the front, giving a subtle uplift to the palate, before it unfortunately disappears somewhat to a rather watery and flaccid ending. Minimal bitterness on the back; merely a light carbonic acid/soda stream character. Feel is very light, and does it no favours overall.
I feel this beer gets panned a lot for its rather mismanaged marketing campaign (at least in craft beer circles). For all its mangled claims to be a "vintage" beer, and its laughable assertions that it can be cellared for long periods, it's a very drinkable pale ale.
Just don't lie one down expecting it to be fantastic a year from now.
69 / 100
Uncaps with an extremely effervescent hiss. I was expecting a gush, but almost no bubbling formed in the bottle at all. Pours bubbly, however, with a big sudsy head of off-white foam. Lacing is intricate and interesting. Colour is just about spot on what I expect for an APA, a pale golden colour, with just a slight amber hue to it. Very lovely, all over.
Nose is subdued, but pleasant. Slight lemony citrus character, with a candy sweetness and a deeper grainy cereal note. Missing some potency, but it has some genuinely pleasant characters.
Flavour is again subdued, but very appropriate for the style. Light citrus on the front, before a rather green fresh grain character streaks through the back, leaving the finish pleasant with cereal dryness. Feel is light, but with a very pleasant spritz of carbonation to liven the palate.
Insanely drinkable and extremely sessionable, even for something with 6% ABV. Very smooth and easy to go down, and with lots of pleasant characteristics. This is just what you want from the style.
Ninkasi continue to impress me. I can't believe I hadn't tried any of their beers prior to this trip.
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a golden amber colour with slow bead, clear body. Head is white, sinks to a modest crown with beautiful lacing left behind. Yeah, looks like a great pele ale.
Smell is pretty cascadey. Lots of pine resin with citrus notes - grapefruit and a touch of pineapple. An odd savoury character as well, salty almost. Lacking in fresh hop aroma, or malt sweetness. Either of those would be suitable to make this a great aroma. As it is, it's deficient in both and as a result, deficient overall.
Taste is a bit odd. I mean it's decent amd all, but there's a real sourness pervading the whole palate, in an underlying and subtle way. Starts quite malty, with caramel notes, then gets some flavour hops midway that add citric flavours onto the back with a touch of orange and a slight phenolic character as well. Malt is noticeable on the finish as well, quite sweet and earthy. Could use more bittering hop really, it's quite dry on the back so it feels like the yeast has more influence than hops. Hops seem subdued flavour-wise as well, with some attention called to them but not a lot. Just seems like a tame APA, really just a bit bland. More bittering and flavour hops and more malt is needed.
Yeah, fairly decent body but actually feels a bit heavy, for the amount of flaour there is. Could have extracted more flavour, I think, if there's this much body.
I've definitely had better pale ales, but I've also had worse. I should be grateful there's beer in front of me.
Pours a burnished amber colour with furious carbonation feeding a nice fluffy head that sinks unevenly. Beige colour, nice and dense bubbling. Yeah, looks good.
Smells caramelly, lots of English toffee malt with hints of vanilla pods and some pleasant cakey notes. Not much else, just sweet. Nicely sweet though, with some richness backing up. It could use more bitterness, or some bitterness, but it's pleasant enough for me to forgive.
Taste is sweet on the front, with lots of caramel and more of that vanilla. Some sweet grainy notes then proceed to a bitterness that emerges early but subtly. Not a lot of hop flavour but a lot of its bitterness cleaning up the palate, quite woody and smooth with a bit of honey lying underneath the back-palate. Hops clean up and remain behind after the sweetness has gone, although the sweetness does linger and overstay its welcome a bit, methinks.
A little bit harsh on the mouthfeel. Lots of sizzle without a lot of body to back it up. Yeah a bit rough and untamed.
Pretty nice drinking overall. Nice long finish, tasty overall. Welcome onto the scene, Mountain Ridge.
75 / 100
Pours a moderate gold amber colour, clear with modest white head. Bubbles sink to a thinnish film with decent lace that is not very sticky. Steady carbonation; not bad.
Smells pretty beautiful - passionfruit with pineapple and citrus. Lots of NZ hop notes, quite bitter as well with some lemon rind character on there. Yeah, I heartily approve of the hop level and the nose in general.
Taste is fruity; lots of citrus through palate with a tang on the front, blends well with slight buttery malt. Gets slightly bitter with rindy notes on the mid. All pretty fruity and citric throughout the palate. Nice soft hoppy finish, well blended. Not seamless, though, with a hint of harsh bitterness emerging right at the end. Great palate though, very decent drinking.
Foamy texture, good and full body. A little bit of a sizzle as well, pretty good pale ale texture.
A good after work beer, a nice clean ale with nice flavours.
56 / 100
Pours a hazy, very cloudy/translucent orange-amber with modest head at first that sinks to leave a ring of gold-tinged cream lace, nice stickiness to it. Not sure about that cloud though, it resembles a homebrew haze in a commercial pale. Colour is nice though.
Mmm, smells tasty. Lots and lots of citrus on that nose plus some passionfruit. Wonderfully fruity with a large lemon zest and a touch of pineapple as well. Hint of caramel malt hiding behind, but this nose is all about the hops. Delicious hops. Gimme more of those hops!
Taste is quite a letdown. Starts off kind of floral with hints of lemon zest and a nice grainy flavour, not too sweet. Quickly moves to the mid-palate where this slight wheat flavour comes in in a bready kind of way. It's not revolting but I am disappointed it's so dominant there. Only faint hints of those delicious hops on the back, they peek through without asserting themselves with any sass or confidence. Really needs more early/midway hopping to match those delicious late hop additions. That would really add a great finish to an otherwise fairly lacklustre palate.
A bit of viscosity in the mouth but otherwise not a lot of texture to this. Again, a bit uninspired.
Yeah, certainly a good drinking beer, better than a lot of stuff out there but just needs more flavour to it. I could see this being delicious since they're clearly using the right ingredients- just not enough of them.
59 / 100
Pours a pleasant amber colour, with a filmy white head of tiny bubbles, that dissipate pretty quickly to nothingness. Good body. Looks reasonable, but the lack of head is a bit disappointing.
Nose has some pleasant citrus characters, but it's all a bit muted. a bit of wood bark, and something slightly astringent. It's not terrible, but it's not particularly exciting.
Taste is similar. Pleasant light fruit characters with a soft sweetness that comes over a bit like mildly watered-down caramel. Not a lot of anything on the palate, to be honest. It's smooth enough, but pretty bland. Feel is round and smooth.
It's not a bad beer, and it has its good points, but there seems to be a lot missing on it for an APA.
74 / 100
On tap at Harts Pub in the Rocks.
Slightly hazed, but wonderfully light and clean pale yellow colour, with a solid head of fine bubbled white. Pleasant lacing giving some nice patterns down the glass. Lots of carbonation. Looks very pleasant indeed.
Nose is lovely with passionfruit and honeydew melon. Really genuinely fruity and refreshing and pleasant. It's also not overly sweet, just giving this fresh green tropical character that is clear and clean. Wonderful.
Taste is also clean but slightly weaker. There's fruit on the palate for sure, but there's little body and only minimal hop character. I feel some extra bitterness on the back would extend the palate and increase the flavour overall, but it's still very pleasant. Mouthfeel is delicious - smooth on entry but bubbling with carbonation on the back to spritz things up.
This is an absolutely sublimely refreshing and drinkable beer. It has such a clean and quaffable profile. Also, staying clean increases its sessionability. I can't wait until summer to drink this - I feel that is its peak season.
59 / 100
Pours a clear bronzed amber colour with a filmy but solid head of white foam, that laces the edge of the glass in a tight ring. Nice carbonation keeps the beer looking lively. Pretty good.
Nose is slightly citric with a little leavened hop fragrance, but also a slightly sweet buttery diacetyl character. There's something rougher to it as well, with some earthy tones of tobacco and leaf mold. It's not bad, but it's missing the fresh and lively characters of the best.
Taste is similar - diacetyl comes through here as well, with some fresh green hop characters giving the only lift. Bitterness is extremely restrained, just a light bite on the back of the palate. Lacking some body as well.
It's a poor comparison to some other Australian Pale Ales. Much of the character is tamed, and it tastes overly filtered and dumbed down. Still, it's a drinkable beer, and eminently approachable as an introduction away from the generic macro lager.
I like Bright's branding, their bottles really stick out nicely. Anyway, I digress, and I haven't eve started my review.
The beer is an extremely pale straw yellow colour, with only a very filmy head of white foam across the top. Come lacing on the edges of the glass, which seems to feed into the lace pattern across the top of the beer as the head dissipates. Slightly hazy. Not a bad beer - it has the look I'm starting to associate with Australian and New Zealand craft Pale Ales.
Nose is a pleasant, but muted melange of new world hops. Good whiff of sweet citrus and tropical fruits, quite clean and bright. I really like this style to be bursting with aroma, which this isn't quite, but it's decent enough.
Taste is very clean, with some hop fragrance being felt on the palate too, even if it's not really tasted. Crisp feel, with a cleansing, but clear and light bitterness on the back. Carbonation is spot on, just enough to lighten the palate a little and keep it lively without creating bloat, or overstimulation.
A pretty decent APA (and I guess I'll leave it deliberately ambiguous as to what the first A stands for), very clean drinking and thirst quenching. Would make a great BBQ beer for summer.
Had as a precursor to a tasty spaghetti dish at a restaurant on Lygon St.
Pours a pale golden colour, very clear with modest off-white head, and lots of fizz in the glass. Head sinks to a small cloud and leaves little speckles of lace behind. Looks quite lagery for an ale - basically fizzy and pale, pretty blah.
Smell is a pleasant pale ale smell - pineapple and slight banana esters blend with some subtle floral hop characters, cascade and maybe some nelson sauvin? Slight citrus tinge to it. Quite sweet overall but definitely refreshing. Maybe a bit too subdued, particularly for something that is marketed as being highly hopped.
Pleasant floral and fruity flavours abound on the palate. Some nice hoppy characters start from the beginning. Has aspects of fresh pineapple and pawpaw with a woody hop character coming through on the mid-palate. Slightly tart on there but not bitey and a nice zing with some caramel sweetness as well. Very nicely rounded palate with no great dips and spikes, just a nice balance through the palate with a crisp, hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel is not as thin as I expected but still swims a bit in the mouth, with a bit too much carbonation. Not too bad for its faults though.
Yeah a pretty decent beer, doesn't have the edge of Little Creatures or Murray's Nirvana but is a solid drinking pale.
74 / 100
Pours a clear, deep golden colour with a somewhat filmy, but fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is good and there's a nice amount of large bubbled carbonation keeping it active.
Pleasant fresh hop character on the nose, a little fruity west coast aroma with an underlying hint of grainy malt, almost akin to an amber ale - fused with a sweet depth a little like cookie dough. Nice. Subtle but nice.
Clean and softly sweet base malt character on the front palate, which is sliced and counterbalanced with a fresh hop note through the centre, finishing with a light bitterness, very dry. It doesn't taste as though it's substantially more bitter than the average pale ale, but it has a sharper and slightly rougher hop character that beefs up the hop presence. Overall, very tasty and crisp.
This is a nice APA - clear and fresh and quaffable, but with a robust hop presence to keep it flavoursome and enjoyable. Very nice drop.
On tap at Monk's Kettle, San Francisco.
Pours a surprisingly dark copper, amber colour, with a decently thick head of white foam. Some lacing, but the head collapses to a film.
Nose is disappointingly weak, with some muted resinous hops and a slight caramel malt sweetness. Not a huge amount overall, but what it has is pleasant enough.
Taste is similar - certainly not the hop level I expect from an APA (for example Sierra Nevada Pale), but with a slight bite of bitterness on the back, and a rounded caramel malt flavour. Some light astringency. Mouthfeel is carbonated, but not overtly.
It's a pretty tame beer this one. In comparison to most "American" style pale ales made in Australia, it's certainly lacking in hop character - it's also lacking in character compared to some of the other American examples I've had. Little Creatures tastes more like an IPA in comparison, for example. But it's drinkable enough. Just not particularly exciting.
45 / 100
Pours a clear, syrupy gold colour, clear with minimal bead. Not very red actually. Head is minimal, white, leaves some decent lace but not much. Pretty meh.
Nose is a malt bomb. Huge English toffee, caramel and oatmeal, with brown sugar and a hint of corn as well. Very English, it does seem quite classy. Has an earthen character to it which is infectious, could use more hops though.
Taste is very grainy with a lot of barley malt, oats, wheat grain and then a slight insipid sourness on the back, bit of grassy hops but not enough to leave an impression. Leaves a lingering hoppiness, quite floral but with a slightly resinous or flaxy kind of flavour. Not hugely impressed actually, a mild hoppy cleansing quality but too much sweetness overall. Don't think there's much special about this.
Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, not extremely thick but not thin enough to quaff. A bit meh.
Yeah, feeling quite cold towards this, it's not bad but not great.
48 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, steady bead in the beer. Head is thin, whispy, fairly disappointing. Lace is okay, nice and sticky, but quite thin. Serves to elevate the appearance though, not bad.
Nose is malty and lightly hoppy; very floral with nectar, orange peel and sherbet or musk on the back. Nice caramel malt character as well. Subdued, but nice.
Taste starts off malty and gets hoppy early. Large floral characters with grassy edge, then gets quite phenolic on the back, with an aspiring bitterness and a hint of some citric rind. Maybe a slight bread yeast character as well, but yeah, that phenolic medicinal character is quite rampant, sadly. Not very refreshing, just dankly bitter. Not a huge fan.
Good body though, goes down smoothly. Possibly a bit flat, but enjoyable texture.
Not the best pale ale I've had. I expect more light and refreshing, I find this a bit harsh overall, and can't down this as I could others.
83 / 100
Pours a deep amber colour, some hazy in the body. Head was excellent and dense when poured, sinks to a thin cloud but leaves some excellent trails of white lace around. Looks pretty damn nice.
Nose is very floral and fruity. Lots of lemon, apple, pineapple, pawpaw and apricot with hints of rosewater, sherbet and cakey malt. Light, refreshing, sweet; an excellent pale ale nose.
Taste starts sweet, with a subdued maltiness, gets a bit grainy with hints of bread dough and a slight salty character on the mid. Finishes with hops that come through slowly and late, almost like they swing slowly in to join a fray which is well underway. Too late really, because they are very, very nice. Lots of rose petals, pineapple, crisp green apple and a good dose of citrus zest. It cleans up beautifully, but just could use it a bit earlier. That's the only drawback though, this is one damn tasty pale ale.
Foamy, swilly and smooth on the feel. Almost perfect. It just doesn't have any edges, it's just meant to be drunk. Fuck it, it IS perfect.
Outstanding beer, this. One hell of a quaffer, sessioner or even a cleanser.
Pours a clear, pale golden colour, slow bead and awesome head. Dense, white and thick. Lace is tufty and sticky. The body overall looks OK ( but not bad), and that head is aces.
Nose is a bit dulled. Getting hints of pale malt, and a mild hop character, quite floral. Hints of banana and apple, some cakey malt notes. Yeah, mostly subdued smell though, not unpleasant but I would really like more.
Taste is quite sweet, with more caramel notes, and a fair banana character on the mid, then hops come through floral and slightly herbal and mixed with a slight grain husk bitterness. There's a sweetness to the hops and the finish, almost a vanilla character that peeks through right at the end, after all the bitterness has died down. An interesting enough flavour but it falls at the end. Mostly refreshing though.
Smooth texture with a good body to it, then a bit dry on the finish.
Quite smooth drinking. Could use more robust bitterness but I get the feeling this is the nature of the wet hopped beer.
81 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse's ANZAC Day SpecTapular in Sydney.
A really nice reddish amber colour, with a initially tight head of yellow bubbles. Lacing is really excellent. Overall, really looks a treat. An excellent looking APA.
Fresh tropical notes on the nose, but not the normal burgeoning sweetness. Slightly tarter notes of papaya, green plantain and honey dew. Some fragrant crushed vegetation and a hint of Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry. Very nice and extremely fragrant.
Taste is similar, lots of fresh herbal vegetation with a slightly tart fruit note. Finish is a cleansing bout of sharp hops. Just lovely. Fresh, pleasant, balanced and drinkable. Mouthfeel sparkling and pleasantly frothy, adding lift to the fresh hop notes.
Oh yeah, this is a really excellent hoppy pale ale. Bursting with fresh hop characters and balanced for exceptional drinkability. Probably one of the top American style pales I've had, and certainly one of the best from the land of the long white cloud.
On tap at the Local's ANZAC Day SpecTapular.
Pours a pretty clear amber colour. Rather inisipid coloured with just a filmy ring of foam sound the edges. Can't say I'm overly impressed.
Some light tropical hoppiness on the nose. A very pleasant pear and peach character coming through. A fair bit of caramel butterscotch as well which doesn't do it a lot of favours. Bit weak overall
Smooth palate, very nicely balanced; a good blend of malty roundness and a decent fragrant hop bitterness. Quite smooth and, despite everything, supremely drinkable. I have to say this is particulalr enjoyable on the palate.
Nice drop all up. It's not going to rip apart your expectations for beer, but it's enjoyable, drinkable and pretty smooth.
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse for their ANZAC Day SpecTapular.
Pours a pleasant golden colour, somewhat hazed, with a full, pillowy head of crunchy offwhite bubbles. Decent lacing. Looks pretty good overall, but the colour is somewhere between the canonical hues.
Somewhat muted hop notes on the nose, light tropical notes and a bit of banana, sweetened by a slightly overaggressive malt note. Pleasant enough, but not nearly enough hop character for what it is.
Taste is similar, with a slight bitterness receding from middle to end, and a little too much cloying sweetness otherwise. Pleasant phenols on the front don't stick around, and I'm rather nonplussed overall. Mouthfeel is crisp enough.
Overall, I've had better wet hopped ales. In fact I've had better today. This doesn't stand up to the Bridge Road Harvest and its hard not to make the comparison. This seems timid by comparison and sorely lacking in raw, fresh hop character. Drinkable enough in its way, but not particularly interesting.
71 / 100
On tap at the Local TapHouse's ANZAC Day SpecTapular.
Pours a very pale golden colour, heavily hazed, with a fine frothed eggwhite head. Lacing is excellent. Looks pretty thin, but hops are the main event here, hopefully.
Nose has a lot of sweet fruit, big notes of dried apricots, something jammy, and fresher hints of crushed vegetation. Smells very classically hoppy, almost like cracking the lid on a container of hop pellets. Very nice.
Flavour is a little muted, some resinous hop characters to begin with before a light grain character mashed with a whack of wet yeast. Very little bitterness on the back, but there is a refreshing green character to cleanse it out.
It's a nice drop, no doubt. I find wet hopped beers often sacrifice a little of the raw power you get with other hop-centric ales, but the fresh hop character is unique and something to be cherished. Bridge Road do a good job win this one.
On tap at the Local Taphouse's ANZAC day SpecTapular.
Pours a bright, clear golden colour with a nice fine bubbled head of white foam, leaving some fantastic lacing. Looks really good in fact.
Nose is a bit muted, with some light buttery notes and a slight fruit acidity that doesn't stay particularly strong. Little input from the Kiwi hops, which I feel should be bombastically vocal. Still, some nice sweet caramel notes, just wish the hops were up a notch.
Palate is soft with a more robust bitterness coming trough on the back. Initial light butterscotch and menthol like resin characters mellow nicely to a light clean and crisp mod palate, before the aforementioned bitterness. Pretty nice overall, but it feels a little disjointed. Mouthfeel riddled with fine bubbling. quite nice.
Overall, a reasonable brew, the bitterness asserting itself perhaps a little too much. Without the pleasant fruit notes the back it up, it feels a little one-sided. Not a bad drop though, another interesting beer from Wig & Pen.
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse ANZAC Spectapular.
Pours a cloudy opaque pale gold, lots of haze in the body. Head is not bad, but sinks quite quickly, leaving a very thin crown. Lace is nice and sticky, white web trails snaking down the glass. Very nice-looking beer.
Nose is extremely tasty, a tangy and fruity affair. Lots of fresh apple, passionfruit and orange sherbet notes. A slight spicy note comes through late like some mild pepper, but mostly sweet. Delicious citric characters, smells fresh and tasty, I love it.
Taste is very sweet at first, lots of fresh fruit, with apples, pineapple and orange zest coming through nicely. The bitterness comes through early, slightly cloying, but mostly earthy-resiny with a hint of bread yeast and citrus rind. Finish is a bit disappointing, kind of falls flat with a slight rubbery flavour just lingering on the back. Other than that the palate is a fairly pleasant journey from sweet-tangy to fresh-bitter, just a shame about the very back.
A bit of sizzle on the feel, but mostly quite fluid, not thin but swills nicely, quite good.
Yeah, a refreshing drop and well-handled. This was my first wet-hop beer so not much to compare it to, but I like what I've seen so far.
61 / 100
Pours a deep and surprisingly thick orange amber colour, with a slight haze that just lets in enough light to make it glow. Two-fingers of yellowish-cream head sits slightly filmy on the top, leaving some lacing, but collapsing in short measure. Carbonation is extremely fine and it looks wonderful pushing through the residuals in the body. Overall, a really lovely looking brew.
Subdued nose, with not a huge amount of hop aroma. Some subtle sweet orange characters, spiced raisin bread and some honey-like malt are more dominant. Almost a cleansing ocean-spray type of note to it as well. Nothing that screams Wet Hop Ale to me. Also, I'm unfamiliar with Rogue's unique hop varieties, so I was looking forward to experiencing their flavours.
Taste is also very subdued, almost obnoxiously so. Very little in terms of flavour on the front, not even much malt - surprising given the body and the sweeter notes on the nose. Some savoury orange characters start to linger a little later, and there's a slight rosewater character that releases a little fragrance, but it's all very toned down and muted. There's a somewhat grating bitterness on the very back that lingers more as an aftertaste than anything present on the beer itself. It all comes together to speak of a mediocre beer to me. Mouthfeel is sparkling with tiny bursts of effervescence, but it doesn't have much to work with.
I think it's fair to say I found this a disappointing brew. It's not just that I expected more luscious fresh hop characters given the style, I found the beer itself to be a bit tepid and lacklustre. It's drinkable enough, but I would have had issues with it no matter what it styled itself as. Rogue does much better.
71 / 100
Pours a hazy (aha!) red-orange colour, with a decently full head of yellowish white foam. Lacing is really excellent. The head does dissipate to a film with some pancake bubbles after a while. Minimal carbonation, but the body looks surprisingly thick. Very nice.
Lots of hops on the nose, almost reminiscent of an IPA in potency. Notes of copper, pineapple, leather and resin are dominant, perhaps a hint of aniseed as well. Really quite fragrant, and very pleasant indeed. It lacks some sweetness, which implies it's not going to be very full-bodied to me, but I guess that's expected.
Taste is, as expected, much less bitter than if the early hop additions corresponded with the late hop additions. What we get is a smooth, slightly astringent, but ultimately very restrained palate. It almost smacks of wateriness given my expectations from the aroma - but there is a pleasant bitterness mid palate, and a light honey-grain sweetness to back it up. The body is quite thin, but the feel is smooth, and the carbonation is tamed.
Yeah, this is a pretty decent APA. It's not enough to wow me in particular, but it's solid, pretty flavoursome and very drinkable. I do like getting into a lower gravity hoppy beer every now and then.
76 / 100
Pours an orange colour with gilded edges. Head is small, beige in colour with nice sticky lace clinging to the glass. Light bead and slightly translucent. Nice.
Very caramelly on the nose, almost like steamed pudding. Big whiffs of apricot, marmalade and some really nice tropical fruit aromas. Some pine wood on there as well. Man, it's pleasant. It's a shit-good smelling nose. Just a whisper too sweet.
Taste has a lot of tang to it. Starts quite caramelly, very malty with a whisper of diacetyl. Fruit comes through early with hints of grape, pawpaw and apricot. Very American, almost has an American IPA character due to the strong hoppy/malty give and take. Finishes strongly with very good floral hops and a malt pudding sweetness. Slight bitterness at the very back doesn't clip off the sweetness which lingers just a bit after the fact.
A bit of fizz on the mouthfeel but a good full body, quite a nice texture overall.
A very competently made pale ale, very pleasant and drinkable.
Pours a golden colour with a little bit of straw, dense head, sinks pretty quickly but leaves decent trails of white lace behind. Very light, slow bead. Pretty average.
Nose is very sweet and imparts a fair quantity of fruit. Hints of banana, bubble gum and vanilla pods. Some aroma of crème Anglaise from the malt and a little hint of mint. Not a huge amount of hop sadly, but smells sweet and quite pleasant.
Taste begins with slight citric flavour, then kicked over by more of that banana character, quite prominent on the mid, and blends with some light hoppy phenols that give off a slight mediciney bitterness. Breadiness on the back, with a slightly cloying raw dough flavour, dissipates to a lingering sweetness. Not unpleasant, but it's a little unclear what the intention is here, lacks the fruity complexity and the crisp finish - or bitter finish - that I expect from a Pale Ale.
Feels a little thin at the front of the mouth, mildly sticky towards the back, not a lot going on, but doesn't feel weak or watery.
Fairly pleasant drinking, if a little confused.
71 / 100
Pours a pale yellow colour with light haze in the glass. Body looks nice. Head is decent, thin but good retention. Lacing is alright too, speckled in spots, looks good.
Lots of cascade hops on the nose, nice floral hoppy character, with some pineapple and passionfruit seeds - possibly sauvin as well? Not sure. Definitely a pleasant West Coast character, very fresh and floral.
Nice floral hops and passionfruit on the palate, with a fairly distinct bitterness throughout. Fruit seed character on the mid and an earthy, organic bitterness. Nice hop flavours throughout and a good balance. Mostly bitter but it's a tempered bitterness, doesn't rip the roof of your mouth out like a mega-hop-raped 4IPA might do, it's just a nice clean ale.
Mouthfeel is alright, but pretty thin. Lots of carbonation produces this fizzy feeling, don't really like that, gives it a soft drink kind of texture. But not too horrible.
This is definitely a pleasant drinking beer. Good, disciplined use of hops makes it nice and clean.
Tried on tap at the Paddy's Market Brewery Festival.
Pours a vaguely cloudy deep gold, with a filmy head of white foam, riddled with pancake bubbling. Lots of large-bubbled carbonation, lacing ok. Looks pretty decent.
Faint hoppy aromas on the nose, but disappointingly like Pride of Ringworm harshness. Some grain notes, a little selzer character. Can't say I'm overly enamoured, but it's not too bad.
Light fruit on the front, before a deep gritty bitterness makes its presence felt. Some light banana phenols on the back. All up, it seems pretty confused and chaotic. Mouthfeel ok, but not terribly exciting.
Can't say I'm a huge fan overall. It's not good stylisically, and neither does it present a particularly cohesive package striking out on its own path.
Pours a deep dark golden colour, with a really solid white head that rises in a wonderful dome above the rim of the glass. Carbonation is huge, in fact it seems to make the head bigger as time passes. Very nice indeed, a really great looking beer.
Some bitter hops characters on the nose, some pine resin, some grapefruit and cut grass. Nothing particularly fruity or floral, and not incrdibly robust, but pretty decent.
Taste falls a bit flat, with a decent hop presence, that asserts itself only as a prolonged flat gritty character. There's not a huge range to it, and it's lacking nuance. A very faint diacetyl is detectable as well. Mouthfeel is great though, very clean and vibrant from the head and carbonation.
A pretty clean and very drinkable pale ale. It falls down a little in some critical areas, but otherwise, it's clean, crisp, flavoursome and enjoyable.
60 / 100
Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold with decent but modest white head and slow bead. Leaves decent lacing. Looks a bit still, but good.
Pleasant cascade hop aroma, a bit of caramelly malt. Nice understated tropical fruit characters, citrus and pineapple. A bit of lemon sherbet. Nice.
Taste is okay, fair cascade tang on the front. Citric and tartaric notes. Descends into a quite yeasty, bready mid-palate that is a bit cloying. Finish has a bit of a bitter hang that is OK, slightly dank on the aftertaste. Not too bad overall, at least the breadiness is confined to the mid and doesn't hang over to the finish.
Mouthfeel is slick, fairly thin but smooth. Quite drinkable.
44 / 100
Pours a good golden amber colour, nice pale ale colour. Very slow carbonation, almost like the bubbles are on weed or something. Very thin but fair head. Looks OK.
Nose is nice, slightly bitter with a whisper of hops, and a nice big apricot sweetness, very juicy and succulent aroma.
Taste is far more bitter and hoppy, actually rather unbalanced. There's a hint of fruit that lingers throughout, particularly on the front palate, but there's a surge of a sharp bitterness that almost strangles it, and it's that that lingers on the finish. Mouthfeel is OK, not much happening but body is decently full.
The bitterness isn't too bad a flavour, but it destroys the balance and makes this overall a bit disappointing.
Well, the bottle's telling me it's "best served ice cold", which is a worryingly ignorant statement to begin with. Or at least it spells bad things for the flavour.
Pours a golden colour with a thin off-white head that doesn't stick around for an encore, or even the first performance. Leaves virtually nothing and minimal lace is produced. Thin but steady carbonation, but looks pretty mediocre. Grim start, indeed.
Nose is quite fruity and fairly hoppy, with a pleasant floral aloma announcing itself. Hints of red apple, pineapple and lime with a strong rose aroma, sweet and pleasant. Overall a bit subdued though, definitely need to work to get that aroma off it, and this isn't even ice cold.
Taste is quite fruity and quite sweet with hints of apple juice, citrus and melon vying for supremacy. A hint of honey behind there as well, or at least a generous amber malt. Hops are underutilised; they are definitely present but there's no punctuation to their flavour, they just float to the surface on the back palate to leave a slightly woody, floral bitterness just as a lingering aftertaste.
The beer tastes quite malty but the feel is a bit down, the body of the malt isn't really there to back it up. A bit watery, really.
Look, this isn't a bad drop, but I feel like they're being all Aussie and lax with it, trying to pander to the VB-swilling masses and they shouldn't be afraid to give it some oomph! It just feels like it's not all there, like the flavour's vacationing in Bali.
Cloudy lemon yellow colour, with a fine head of foam. Looks still, but otherwise pretty decent.
Light passionfruit on the nose. Not bad, with hint of pot pourri coming through. Not really pungent but the fragrant notes are very pleasant.
Taste is a little disappointing. Light fragrant fruit characters on the front, but these dissipate to a vague yeast and grain note. Some noticeable residual bitterness, which is nice, but otherwise it's reasonably plain. Clean to drink, at least and the mouthfeel is good.
Nice enough. Not hugely flavourful, but it has characters which make it worthwhile. Drinkable in its way.
Pours a very cloudy straw colour with modest but decent white head. Lacing is nice and thick, but slippery. Not much else going on, but I do like haze in my beer.
Nose is very APA, with a big pineapple cascade hit, citrus hints as well, very floral aroma, even a hint of rosewater for the sweetness. Nice, but nothing too special here.
Taste is similar, a lot of tropical flavours. Hops are quite noticeable and bitter on the back, with a musk kind of flavour balanced with pleasant floral bitterness. Hints of pineapple and banana as well, with a slightly resiny touch to start them off. Mouthfeel is quite full and pretty smooth. Yeah it's decent, not quite as clean or refreshing as other APAs, but still good drinkin'.
69 / 100
Pours a dark orangey gold with a beige head, 1-finger thick. Bubbles are quite dense, and retains well. Lacing is not very present at all, unfortunately. Slow bead. Pretty nice, but not fantastic. I dig the colour.
Nose is very hoppy, lots of floral, fragrant deliciousness coming up out of that. Lots of fruit - pineapple and a hint of banana. Mostly just hops though, very light and airy.
Taste is interesting. Quite nutty actually, and not as hoppy or fruity as I had expected. Rather like Grand Ridge Gippsland Gold which I tried the other night. A fair amount of cascade hop, and a barley sugar flavour. Very little of the fruit that was present on the nose, perhaps a fair amount of late hopping? Not quite as light or airy as I had thought, a bit more dirty and growling. Mouthfeel is very smooth, a fair amount of carbonation tingle - perhaps a bit thin.
Nice drinking, but doesn't really excite me. A bit too soily and would have liked more light, floral hop on the flavour. It's very APA on the nose but not so much on the taste.
80 / 100
Pours an orange-tinged golden colour, sienna even, fair bit of cream-coloured head, fair retention. Very light, slow bead of carbonation. Fantastic, cradling film of lacing. Standard appearance really, apart from that lacing, which makes this look delish.
Very sweet and aromatic nose with multitudes of fresh fruit. Definitely a pungent wash of apricot, with mango and passionfruit lingering on the back. Virtually no hops, in fact one could easily mistake this for a fruit beer but it's not so sickly sweet, it's just Summery and pleasant.
Has all the delicious aspects of the nose - the fruit, the sweetness, but this is balanced quite exquisitely with a subtle but distinct hoppy finish. It's subtle in that the hoppy flavour doesn't last long, but the finish is definitely dry, crean and crisp. This is a fantastic beer, hitting all the right notes on the palate. It's like a lighter, fruitier Little Creatures (forever the benchmark) with a real Summery, tropical character. While Murray's Nirvana Pale and Sierra Nevada Pale are comparable to Little Creatures, this has a uniqueness which in my mind sets it apart. Maybe it's the rain outside talking but I think this is a fantastic beer.
Pours a clear, golden colour with nice dence lacing and a thin beige head. Virtually no bead, slow and just confined to the edges. Nothing really special here.
Intense honey on the nose with little else. Yeah, very sweet and syrupy, maybe with a bit of a salty character. Maybe just enough to remind me I'm drinking beer and not honey.
Interesting. The intense honey on the nose is just a really slight hint here, with a lot of rugged, gritty bitterness on the mid-palate and finish instead. A bit simple, in fact quite simple. Could use more fruit on the palate, instead it's just honey and hops. Mouthfeel is very thin, I think we clearly just need more malt, for a greater body. Not a great pale ale.
70 / 100
Slightly copper-tinged brown colour, very thin bead of carbonation occurring at 90° intervals around the glass. Very thin head when poured, none now. Leaves a thin web of lacing. Not bad but not GREAT.
Smells, yup, like Little Creatures. Dominant hoppiness with a generous sherbety pineapple character to it. Might need warming up but anyhow it's a pleasant, fresh kind of nose.
Isn't that interesting. Good complex flowering palate. Fairly strong hit of hops on the front, settles out into a sweet malty but subtle back palate with blended elements of guava and pineapple, with the slightest caramel hit. There are very nice flavours but it's dominated by the hoppy front palate which is the standout flavour.
I'm told that when Americans taste Little Creatures they say it's like Sierra Nevada but not as good. I have to say that cuts both ways. This is a very pleasant drop, but I do think Little Creatures has a bit more character and more complex flavours. If I were born across the Pacific though I'd be perfectly prepared to say the opposite :)
59 / 100
This beer was quite phenomenal when it came out. As unfair as it is to review the old bottle I've had squirreled away for a couple of years, here goes...
Pours a golden yellow hue with good clarity. Thick and fluffy head of white foam. Lacing is great, but the head does dissipate quite severely after a while. Pretty nice looking though.
Odd light fruit/banana phenols on the nose. A tad buttery as well. I remember this being exceptionally pungent when fresh. It doesn't stand the test of time, but it's still reasonably pleasant.
Pretty flat on the palate too; I remember a sharp, resiny bitterness. Instead, we have a light butterscotch diacetyl character, and just a thin phenolic bitterness. Finish has a pleasant bitter dryness, but otherwise it's pretty thin. Mouthfeel is ok, still gives a bit of a lift.
Overall, it's still pretty drinkable in this condition, but this was far better when fresh. I will fondly remember this as one of MSB's best brews, and only hope that one day they will brew up some fresh bottles again.
Pours a lagery gold with good head, very healthy carbonation and a bit of lace. Alright...
A good belt of hops on the nose, herbal and grassy. Slight bit of fruit, slight vanilla smell. Quite nice, but too subdued.
That's actually not bad on the taste. A bit lagery though, for a pale ale. Fair hit of hops at the back, none of that fruit that was suggested by the nose. A little bit of yeast flavour which gives it that lagery edge, but not too much. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky but it's inoffensive and drinkable enough.
Passable, not orgasmic.
69 / 100
Cloudy, deep yellow, verging on orange. Filmy head of tight white bubbles that stick around as a collar, but done stay very full. Lots of streaming carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Light citrus notes on the nose, with a little nutty, sweaty sweetness in the background. But quite green and sharp. Nice citrus hop notes overall. Pleasant.
Mmm. Nice mellow palate, rounded and quite sweet. A lingering metallic note on the back palate is the only sharpness, and it lends a nice cleanser. Very pleasant and smooth. Mouthfeel is great. Surprising given the sharpness on the nose.
A very, very drinkable beer, this one. To those who bag winemakers taking up the mantle of brewers: I give you this beer. The mild refreshing palate is exceptionally good for drinking on the balcony on a summer day. I could happily sink this all day.
Pours pale yellow, with thin white head being undernourished by a very slow bead. Cloudy, Coopers-esque appearance, but more pale. Almost weizen-coloured, really. Okay for the style but nothing amazing to look at.
Pale ale-y nose with ripe fruit bouncing, or hopping off some nice aromatic hops. A hint of passionfruit, or maybe that artificial passionfruit flavour. Nice, but not strong enough to be downright sexy.
Interesting flavours on the palate. A lot of hop through the palate. A subtle, unusual milky character lingers on the back, but this is helped along the way by a very smooth, very pleasant mouthfeel. Finish is bitter and good, with pleasant hop flavours, very true to the style. Could use a bit more oomph! on the mid-palate but is otherwise pleasant and drinkable.
44 / 100
Crowd of bubbles on the bottom of the glass when poured, ochre orangey hue with light beige head. Thin, not-very-sticky lacing. Didn't get much head, but others did. The head is a bit fibrous. Can't say I'm mammothly impressed.
A lot of hops on the nose. Hint of bitter citrus, like lemon zest or something, but it's mainly quite a simple hop aroma. Again, not religiously overawed.
A lot of hops on the palate as well (five, maybe), but localised almost entirely within the middle of the palate. Front has a slight sweet and zesty zing and the palate tails off quite comprehensively to leave a lingering trace of what might have been a bitter finish. The palate is contructed a bit amateurishly, I would say, or by mad scientists saying "let's brew an ordinary beer an bombard it with hops for no reason!!!" There is a fair amount of flavour but the body is too thin to hold it up. Mouthfeel is a bit sinky and heavy in spite of this. It seems to want me to bow down and worship this, but I'm just not zealous enough. If I say zebra here, that will be four different z-words in this review. Appropriate, because if this beer were a letter, it would probably be a z.
Yes, that didn't make sense.
Pours a dull bronze sort of colour which was amber before I accidentally dumped a truckload of yeast chunks into it. Big yeast chunks. Thin head. Retains well. Excellent thick lacing. Could use smaller yeast chunks is all.
Good scent of grassy hops. Bit of deeper malt with an almost roasted character which I think shouldn't be there in a pale ale. I might be mistaken though and it's just a rich fruity character. Not as aromatic as it could be really, but very nice.
On the taste, there is definitely a roasted character. Deep and full-bodied with a lingering bitterness on the back palate. It's a long unimpeded stretch of a one-line flavour though, and that rich bitter character is all there really is. Maybe a hint of sour fruit on the front but not much. It has pale ale aspects but it's not the fragrant, clean hoppy freshness I would expect. Its divergence makes it unique. But rebelliousness does not a great beer make. In fact, if we were to let beers rebel who knows what calamity would befall mankind...
59 / 100
Amber-orange body with a big rocky head of white porous foam. Slightly cloudy, minimal carbonation. Lacing is good. Looks very fine.
Nice fruity tropical hop characters on the nose. Not very dominant though, and there's a creeping hint of roasted malt sweetness underneath. Nice, though.
Rather thin in the mouth but with a reasonable hoppy bitterness throughout. Not much else to it, not even much malt in the body to back it up, so it feels a bit unbalanced.
It's pretty clean and drinkable, no noticeable flaws really - just ends up being a bit one-dimensional.
44 / 100
Pours quite a light golden amber colour, with plenty of streaming carbonation. Head is a big fluffy pile of white head. Some sticky lacing but not a lot.
Light, sweaty character on the nose - hints of bread yeast, leather and cooked vegetables. Hint of honey comes though a little. But it's very light, and very subdued. Not a lot on the nose.
Very little on the initial palate, a thin, watery insipidness, which wells up into a rather unpleasant bitter yeast character. If I didn't know better I'd say it was brewed with Pride of Ringwood hops, the bane of Australian macro-brewery. Very little to enjoy on the palate. Mouthfeel is light to moderate. Ok, but not great.
Quite disappointed with this brew - a very light-on-flavour beer. Not much to recommend it, I'm afraid, which is a shame, because I love Anchor Steam.
Lightly cloudy brown-amber colour with a lovely head of beige foam pitted with pancake bubbles. Little carbonation. Decent lacing. Looks good.
Roasted, almost chocolate malts on the nose. Earthy, rather sweet and only a hint of fresh fragrance. Almost more reminiscent of an Amber Ale.
Pleasant English Ale bitterness on the palate. Rich, woody characters and a long spicy finish. Very pleasant. There's quite a solid malt character backing it too. Nice, although the mouthfeel is slightly too prickly.
This is a well made Pale Ale, in my opinion more in the English than the American style. Quite drinkable, plenty of character and very pleasant.
69 / 100
Pours a nice deep, dark-red-infused golden colour with a thinly dispersed but pillowy head. Light carbonation forms on the side of the glass and trickles steadily upwards. Sticks quite well to the side of the glass and leaves a thin layer of lacing. Really quite nice looking.
I could smell it as I poured. Now with my nose to the glass there is a delightful aroma of floral hops with a strong infusion of fruity characters. There are a lot of tropical fruit tannins that give it a somewhat acidic yet sweet smell. There's almost, almost a berry character to it, because it's just rich and powerful. Lovely-smelling beer.
This is the last of a six-pack that I'm reviewing, and I've found that when drinking it straight from the bottle there's an unpleasant yeasty texture to the first few sips. When poured, this disappears (there's a lesson for us all). Palate is a little subdued but lingers for a long time on the back of the tongue. It starts off with a good crescendo of bittering hop and then delivers a malty fruit flourish with citrusy esters. The body of the palate falls a little short of its mark but it leaves behind a nice bitter finish which trails off slowly. It's a very pleasant drinking ale, there can be no doubt about it. It falls a little short in two departments though; it's not quite flavoursome enough to leave a lasting impression, and it's not quite clean enough on the finish to be good sobering ale. The mouthfeel is a little wet and flat, but it goes down okay because the flavours are pleasant but not overpowering.
Overall, an extremely drinkable brew with a gorgeous nose, fine flavours, but that underperforms just a little in the taste department.
75 / 100
Thanks very much to my girlfriend who went in search of beer for me on a recent trip to San Francisco.
Pours a burnished golden bronze colour, very clear. Tiny streams of carbonation around the edge of the glass feed a light film of white head. Nice colour, nice looking beer all up.
good tropical fruits on the nose, the sweeter end of the spectrum though - mango and peach, almost. Also a real candy/caramel sweetness to it as well. Nice.
Taste is quite light. Pleasant sweet fragrant fruitiness on the front palate, then a subtle but pleasant dry hoppy bitterness. It's definitely not huge on the palate, but everything is nicely balanced. Quite dry on the finish, and refreshing. Mouthfeel spot on. Crisp and sharp to match the light hop bite.
A very drinkable pale ale. Really nicely balanced and very refreshing. Folks from the states come to Australia and often compare Little Creatures Pale Ale to SNPA, and I'm glad I can now do the same. It would be great to drink SNPA all the time, but I don't think I'm really missing out given I have Critters here in Australia to fill the gap.
Cloudy, unfiltered, yellow-orange coloured body, with a huge yellowish head of coarse-bubbled solid foam. Looks extremely carbonated, with a huge froth of head and lots of streaming carbonation.
Lightly aromatic fruit notes on the nose, hints of guava and starfruit. It's a tangy sweet-and-savoury character. Hints of grain cut through as well, giving a nice bread character to it. It's quite subdued, but quite pleasant.
Taste is pretty subdued as well, with a crisp but short hop bitterness and a grainy, organic character on the back palate. The more I drink it though, the more I feel it's really nicely balanced. Great mix of grainy malt and fragrant hops. Mouthfeel is overcarbonated, though, leaving it too prickly and frothy.
But overall, this is a very nice, if not extreme, pale ale. Refreshing and clean, smooth and tasty. Exceptionally drinkable.
Burnished amber body, with a big head of yellowish-off white foam. Very coarse bubbled. Some lacing, but not a lot. Very small amount of fine-bubbled carbonation. Some yeast sediment in the bottle.
Huge Cascade character on the nose wipes out almost everything. Actually smells just like one of my homebrews which was pumped with Cascade. Quite fruity and citrusy, and a nice hint of pepper and spice. Pretty good.
The fruitiness disappears on the palate, however, with a rather sweet malt becoming more prominent. There's also a clean biting bitterness, rather than a true, fragrant, hop character. Still, this is a pretty good APA, but I felt the palate was just a little flat. Could be stronger, more robust and more exciting.
Still, this is a solid pale ale. Quite drinkable and tasty - I'll try it again.
79 / 100
Nice-looking redwood kind of colour with a brown tinge. Good yellow head of lightly dispersed bubbles with nice thick lacing. Slight evidence of carbonation.
Nose is very good if typically pale ale-y, although I realise I shouldn't say that as a negative thing. A lot of fruit and floral hop aromas abound; really an exemplary pale ale kind of aroma, light but complex and interesting.
Tastes "darker" than I would have expected. A fair amount of fruit and hops remain from the nose but there is a roasty character I didn't anticipate. Hops dominate the front a bit, but it might be the combination with roastedness that makes it taste more bitter. It's very nice drinking though, with a very pleasant character and a nice blend of light fruitiness and grounded bitters. Similar enough to Little Creatures to be considered very good, but also with a few surprises in store. Mouthfeel is malty and pleasant.
Very pleasant, very drinkable.
79 / 100
Pours a brilliant clear golden-orange colour, with a beautiful thick, solid crown of off-white foam. Dancing bubbles of carbonation stream at the perfect tempo from the base of the glass. This is truly a beautiful looking beer. Just absolutely what a pale ale should be.
Very fruity tropical nose, with notes of pineapple, passionfruit, melon and crushed leaves. Luscious and robust, but crisp and clean at the same time. It has plenty of oomph and character, but is also subdued. That's a good thing.
Clean, sharp front palate, accentuated with peppery hops, and a clean, rounded, earthy, vegetative flavour halfway though. Brusqe characters of grain husk and yeast on the back palate, but it's almost like this is the culmination of all the rest of the flavours. Mouthfeel is a tad heavier than I expected, but there's a nice fullness and roundness that comes with the extra body. Very tight, very robust, very drinkable.
Yes, this is a very nice beer all round. A great little Pale Ale which to my mind, may even knock LCPA off its mantle as Australian Pale Ale Supremo.
84 / 100
Pours a very standard amber colour, almost lagery in appearance with a good thick snow-white head. A good amount of steady carbonation and hints of sticky lacing. Pretty average appearance.
Nose is very pleasant with a strong hit of hops dominating with the slightest hint of pineapple or some other tropical fruit lingering in the background. It's subtle; perhaps a bit too subtle but it promises a smooth-drinking beer with pleasant hoppy flavours.
Taste is also very pleasant, with a hoppy front palate giving way to a decent long finish containing sweet fruity characters and a herbal hoppy finish. I wouldn't say overall it's the most complex drop but the palate is long, very pleasant and all the flavours are blended so that they announce themselves all at the right time. Basically this is a truly excellent everyday beer, with really nice flavours and a really smooth clean mouthfeel, and while it's not the most orgasmically brilliant beer I've ever had I think it'd be hard to improve upon it.
There's definitely a reason this is my beer of choice for everyday consumption.
Tried on tap at The Royston.
Slightly cloudy orange gold colour. Looks nice. Head is minimal, but what is there is solid. Good lacing
There's just a slight hint of diacetyl on the nose, but the hops drive through with a sharp fruitiness, leaving it just a bad memory. Still, it's a bit weak, but reasonably pleasant.
Taste is also quite reasonable. Quite sweet, and surprisingly un-hoppy. There's a residual bitterness, and it's pretty clean on the palate. Mouthfeel is excellent, very smooth and with a good amount of body.
Pretty nice overall, very enjoyable.
Sampled this at The Australian Beer Fest in The Rocks 07.
Standard APA looking orange gold colour, with a filmy white head. Lacing is good. Oh, and cheers for filling this one right to the rim of the tasting glass =)
Slightly sweet citrus on the nose, otherwise a bit weak. Bit of pepper character there. It's a nice nose, but not an amazing one.
Nicely balanced hop bitterness on the palate, with a bit of body and malty sweetness to carry it. Quite drying on the aftertaste, but overall it's pretty decent. Good body in the mouth.
This is nice, and would make a great sessioner, if you could track it down. One of Matilda Bay's best, and I'm glad I took dwarbi's advice and tried this one on tap.
61 / 100
Pours a golden colour, excellent head. Very Belgian appearance, excellent. Cloudy but lighter towards the bottom.
Smells wheaty and light, slight fruit characters but largely earthy and interesting.
Tastes really rather light, almost vaccuous. Very dry mouthfeel which I can't say I like. There is slight fruit on the front palatte but yes, it is slight and following that there isn't much of an aftertaste. Although there is a bitterness, it's like the mouthfeel saps a lot of the flavour out of the palatte.
Golden ochre-brown body. Little carbonation. A centimetre-deep off white head.
Smells very similar to their IPA, fragrant fruits, sweet malt and a hint of sharp hops as well. Very sweet, quite pleasant.
It has a great deal of that nasty sour yeast character, which I feel ruins whatever other potential may be in there. It starts well, with a sweet, fruity lightness. But after a while it just sinks to this wek sticky bad yeast flavour.
Eh. It's drinkable, but certainly not special.
So not interesting enough. It's rather bland, and very forgettable.
96 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Gorgeous. Slightly cloudy light orange colour with a fluffy just-off-white head clinging to the top and sides of the glass.
Ohh. The smell is just wonderful. Sweet malt with hoppy tropical fruits, apricots, peach, guava, ripe banana. Honey notes and a slight hint of aniseed. Fragrant, complex and robust. This is a divine smelling beer.
Initial taste of fruitiness, as in the nose. Sweet malt again balanced by a wonderful bitter backnote that clings to your mouth. A rather dry finish, which leaves the mouth feeling refreshed. Mouthfeel is round, full and ultimately refreshing.
This is a damn, damn fine beer. Very hard to fault it. A wonderful job. Let's hope it stays this good.
I hear it's better on tap. If I'm ever in Perth, you can be damn sure I'll drop in for one, but bottle conditioned it's still powerfully good.