500ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a hazed mango gold colour, with coarse bubbling that forms a rigid, pocked rim of white lace. Carbonation is powerful, rising swiftly through a light body. Looks decent enough, but with a couple of bits that make me wary.
Nose is definitely based around the chai spices. There's plenty of cinnamon and the sweetness of honey, wrapped up in a package which gives off Belgian yeast overtones. These mostly come from the preponderance of the spice, but they certainly skew my perceptions away from "sprightly summer ale" and more towards abbey tripel. It's nice though.
Taste is reasonable, but it doesn't match up to the breadth and strength of the nose. There's a lightness through the centre, which certainly makes sense for a regular blonde ale, but which provides a weak starting point for all the promised spices. Once these come in, there's almost an acidity, providing a seltzer-like thinness. This is further promoted by the aggressive carbonation. The finish turns slightly green and organic—somewhere between clipped grass and the aromatics of a steamed banana leaf.
Feel is light and fairly empty.
Overall, it's not bad, but the aroma is easily the best part of this. The rest can't match up to it, and it perhaps uncovers a lack of skill in its execution—the idea is fine, but it needs to be carried through to all parts of the beer.
74 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of the Beer Crate 2016 Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a very slightly hazed pale yellow, with a fair, frothy head of white that leaves mild patches of lace. Body is very light, but the carbonation looks silky and refined. Decent all up
Nose is a very fragrant, green pithy aroma. Some slight rounded Belgian notes come through but sharper, more fragrant aromas take the spotlight, somewhere between a sharp pilsner-style hoppiness and a Saison funk. It's nice.
Taste is remarkably light: clean and flat on the front, before a peppery spice like sansho comes through in the mid palate. The back has some pleasant leafy notes, and a slight hint of funk. The finish is quite cling, but lengthy, with more peppery and a slight linger of butter. Feel is clean and slightly crisp. It's nice all up.
Overall, I'm genuinely happy with this. I'm surprised it's not specifically listed as Belgian in style—it has some of the characters for sure. Otherwise, it's a clean, easy to drink beer.
70 / 100
Pours a pale shimmering gold colour. Head is white and disappointing. Just a thin rim of bubbles with some spit cloud on the top of the beer. Lacing has a decent grip of the glass but it, too disappears and disappoints. It doesn’t look bad but it could certainly look a lot better.
Smells predominantly barnyardy. Quite fresh, with a freshly-mown grass kind of aroma, blending with some passionfruit and peach fragrance for a nice summery feel. Organic ruber character behind that, with some spice blend and some floral aroma, maybe rosewater, peeking in behind. All up it’s actually a very appealing aroma; subtle and not all up in your grill, but plenty of nuance to it.
Taste is of a similar ilk. Largely organic, with a big rubber kind of note upfront that mellows out into a more earthy organic barnyard kind of flavour midway. Slight floral and peachy notes help to freshen up and then the back is slightly phenolic, with some grassy and herbal notes that give an overall vegetative character and help steer it away from being too medicinal. Ultimately it’s quite pleasantly fresh even though it does contain plenty of bitter earthy character otherwise. Not bad at all.
Mouthfeel is fluid, little thin and the big flavours on the back add a bit of a pointiness to it. Not bad for the style.
Overall, I’m quite enjoying this. It’s got a fair bit of character but it’s ultimately well balanced and quite refreshing.
58 / 100
Beer Advent Calendar number 14. Reviewed blind - hence my guesswork and general "I don't know this is a 3.5% beer" vibes.
Pours a pale golden colour, very cloudy with actual sediment in the body at times. Head is lovely when poured, tight bubbles but symmetrical – not ideal, but still nice looking. Lacing is pretty nice as it sinks. Actually looks pretty good.
Smells hoppy, mostly, but there’s something else there too. Nice tropical fruit aroma with a big metallic whiff behind it. Slightly citric but also resinous, and a very mild touch of corporeality as well. Smells pretty decent but maybe a touch incoherent.
Taste is hmmm, weird. Leans far more heavily on that corporeality. It’s fairly tangy upfront, discernibly hoppy, then midway develops an odd savoury, even slightly salty character that then develops into more of that metallic character towards the back but it fades away as well and dwindles in potency, leaving a slight cloying yeast character that is otherwise fairly clean, just a faint whisper of graininess. IS this a lager? Sure tastes like one, and possibly smells like one as well. If not it’s still fairly clean.
Mouthfeel is a little dry, quite thin-bodied. As such there isn’t much oomph to last through the mouth and it just feels empty and then dry, like it’s actually taking something out of you rather than putting something in. Not great.
Drinks cleanly, and not unpleasantly. I feel like there are nice flavours in here that aren’t emphasised enough, and others that it leans too heavily on, even though it’s all cleaned up quite nicely in the end. Nothing exciting here though.
49 / 100
Bought as part of my 2016 Advent Calendar from Beer Crate. Reviewed blind.
Pours a pale gold colour with a slight chill haze. Head is white, medium-sized bubbles, just hangs around in little swamps on the top. Lacing clings to the side. Looks fairly uninspiring, not very substantial.
Smells odd. Distinct musk stick aroma with a hint of rosewater to it. At the back there’s a hint of grass and maybe some barnyard. But yeah, mostly floral upfront but no real complexity to it, it’s just a light whisper at the front of the nose and nothing really hanging behind it.
Tastes lagery, grainy, and gets unexcitingly bitter late. Grainy upfront, with some adjunct notes. Barley, some muesli notes with oatmeal character, maybe some puffed rice midway. Bready towards the back, big sort of seedy note and then the finish is dry, some hints of bland earthy hops, slight dry spice but not a whole lot of nuance or roundness or character to it. Reasonably crisp but ultimately just unexciting.
Mouthfeel is a little bit fizzy, maybe a little bit of sharpness to it. Definitely could use a touch more body, it just feels a tad unbalanced.
Drinkable enough, but it just feels a little lacking in character. If it’s meant to be like that – like it’s a Czech pilsner, it’s not bad, if a little unbalanced. But if I should expect any more than that then it’s very disappointing.
Blonde Ale brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy with foamy cream-coloured head on top, good lacing. Looks pretty nice.
Smells awesome. Malty sweetness but a big tropical apricot character, with hints of passionfruit, pineapple, lemon and pear. Really fantastic.
Taste is not as impressive. Feel like there's lots of really late-hopping as the aromatics are all there but the palate is insubstantial. Caramel malt notes, some vague hints of passionfruit and apple/pear, and a slight and subtle lemon zest note towards the back. Generally tropical, fruity, and a little bitter, but just simple and plain.
Decent body, goes down fluidly.
The palate kind of dials down the tropical notes and just seems like a simplistic hoppy-bitter palate without the complexity, so I find this a little disappointing. Not bad, but it also just feels a bit blah at a festival like GABS.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a very pale golden colour, relatively clear in the body, but with a suggestion of haze. Head forms well, but quickly becomes rather pocked and coarse-bubbled, leaving very little lace in its wake. Body is very thin. Carbonation is fine ad streaming at least. But in general, this is quite underwhelming.
Nose is very faint. Slight dusty grain notes and a depressing earthy flatness which is perhaps the last vestige of hops in an apocalyptic wasteland. If there's a hint of the purported Galaxy hops, it's only in a slight sweetness, which ends up backfiring—suggesting an uninspired sugary character to what was already an unpleasant aroma.
Taste is dreadful. Watery through and through from start to finish, but it layers on rather unpleasant characters to lace the nothingness. It starts out with a faint leafy, earthy character. Like raking your back patio and then steeping what you collected in a bowl of lukewarm water. this turns slightly metallic through the centre, giving a weird premonition of bitterness, that then u-turns into sweetness as a fake-fruit, fake-hop character lifts at the end in a grotesque masquerade of other beers of this style. Finish is empty, maybe with a slight soggy grain backwash aftertaste. Really quite appalling.
Feel is weak and incredibly insipid. If it were truly crisp, it might provide a little justification for the watery taste, but it almost accentuates that disgusting sweet overtone.
Yuck. There, I used that word in a review. This is really Not Very Good At All. There's so much wrong with this, even as it wraps itself in the trappings of Mountain Goat's Summer Ale or even the much loved S&W Pacific. It's almost astounding how much this doesn't work—despite its promises and even some of the ostracised flavours hanging on in the periphery. This is a travesty.
71 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a very pale yellow-blonde colour, with a very coarse-bubbled, exorbitantly frothy head of white that crackles and pops its way down to a coarse-loose gauze-like film. Minimal lace. Body is very light indeed.
Nose is rather pleasant. There's a rounded, fragrant hop note which melds well with some slightly aromatic, estery yeast notes—they're not intense, but they add a note like a bright witbier. It's very decent.
Flavour is much more subdued, but that's not unexpected. Here, there's a thin, crispness built around very pale, very neutral malt. Hops are present, but only the barest amount to provide balance and accentuate that crispness. Finish is dry and almost a little bit tart. The only problem it has is that the carbonation is extremely high, making it feel gassy and bloating—a more subdued, finer bead would have been excellent, and would have added a refined character.
Overall, it's very drinkable (if not quickly quaffable), and makes a lovely clean fresh brew. I can certainly see why it's part of Feral's core range.
56 / 100
Bottle acquired as part of my Bridge Rd advent calendar. Shared with some folks on NYE.
Pours cloudy golden (it was poorly decanted; my bad) with bubbly white head. Lacing is nothing particularly special. Looks pretty meh to be honest, and not just because of the poor decanting.
Smells a bit fruity, but also kind of earthy and resinous. Green apple, soil, a touch of pepper. Alright, but not amazing.
Taste is also very gritty, earthy. Bit of green, maybe vegetative like brassica. Slightly malty, as well. Earthy hops, a touch dank. Finishes kind of spicy. Alright. But nothing spesh, kind of woody resiny and spicy more than fresh. Nothing amazingly innovative and not especially appealing to me personal.
Slightly frothy, bit bitty. Feels alright. Decent body.
Drinks alright but the flavour's a bit earthy and not very fresh, so I wouldn't drink it all night.
Bottle number 1 in my Bridge Rd #craftbeercountdown advent calendar.
Pours a golden colour, small bubbly head. Decent lace sticking to the glass but it sinks. OK, but nothing spesh.
Smells sweet. Honey-roasted grain kernels, touch of barley sugar. Yeah big honey note, maybe a hint of fruit. Bit sweet; also nothing spesh.
Taste is very sweet, lots of honey and grain; oatmeal. Touch of sweet spice and almond meal. Grainy, sweet. Did I mention sweet? Finishes too sweet, maybe some floral hop but not very clean. Not a big fan, needs either more bite or just for that sweetness to trail off more.
Smooth, decent body. Maybe a touch gluggy. Would like more cut-through.
Not bad but not great. Just too much sweetness without a lot to balance it.
41 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. "The beer for your friends who don't like craft beer" stated the display. As you know, I'm ambivalent at best when it comes to craft beer, so I thought I'd better try this out to see if it could turn my head.
Pours a clear pale golden colour, with a fine ring of white that persists around the edges but doesn't leave much lace. Body is pretty light, but the carbonation is fine and copious when tilted. Looks decent enough.
Nose is dull. Very dull. It's like the opening plenary at the cardigan convention. Some light, grainy malt, that gives it a character like stewed corn kernels, mingled with a faint, waifish suggestion of nothing. As it warms up, the nothing becomes more prominent, leaving it like the brisk, enlivening sensation of a fresh morning cup of cardboard.
Taste is similar. Thin, slightly sweet, with faint grain characters and almost nothing else. Feel is weak, flavour is minimal if inoffensive. Aftertaste has all the character of Mitt Romney's photo collection of his favourite towels.
I get the idea—take would might be a fine beer, take out all of the things that are offensive to people (such as myself) who quail at anything more challenging than a flat, warm glass of Budweiser, and market it as a "gateway beer", designed to get people to switch their brand of choice, while still supping on tasteless swill.
Get a grip, FW, this is beneath you.
On tap at the brewery, 20/09/15.
Pours a pale gold with light bead. Head is decent, leaves some lovely thick trails of lace behind. Not bad, quite pale and fizzy looking.
Smells herbal and somewhat grassy. Some malt characters, honey, touch of apricot. Could use a few more esters but smells kind of nice.
Taste is pilsnery, grainy, notes of cereal and then some yeast character late-mid that develops a touch of phenol. Some grassy notes late. Enjoy a touch of that fruity NZ hop late, but it's not very strong or notable. Still, decent.
Quite full-bodied for the size. Decent texture.
Light and drinkable. Promises some things that it doesn't fully deliver, and that really make this sing. But decent.
Pours a very pale straw colour, clear at the edge. Head is white and foamy but not very thick. OK.
Smells slightly medicinal. Lots of cereal grain, sweetness with a touch of oatmeal. Slight lemon citrus on the back. Bit too sweet for me.
Sweet and grainy for the most part. Tastes heavy and slightly medicinal in the sweetness. Finishes bizarrely clean, though, but could use more overt cleansing - specifically hopping.
Decent body, texture is OK as it goes down.
Yeah, tastes a bit too flavoursome without coming clean. Could use more hops.
69 / 100
Pours a pale pear colour, cloudy, opaque. Head is white, very dense, nice lace trails left behind. Looks interesting.
Smells fruity, tangy hops with pear, citrus and tangerine. Touch of sweetness, but mostly tang. Pleasant.
Taste is sweet, and disappointingly mild. Insipid, even. Lots of vanilla with a touch of tangy citrus. Then kind of bitter on the back, oddly organic and slightly grassy. Overall mild though, not much of an edge on the back. Mouthfeel has a slight bitty texture midway but otherwise sublimely smooth, especially for the colour, style and ABV. It's a winner.
Good starter; clean enough, but some odd characters on there.
Pours a golden colour, might have a tinge to it or maybe I'm just expecting it. Head is cream coloured and textured, little wobbly film of small bubbles. Lace is OK. Looks alright but head is very nice.
Smells wonderful. Huge floral aroma giving yes, elderflower I guess. Not too familiar with that, but puts me in mind of rose, gerbera and frangipani. Reminds me of Spring rather than Summer, but then it is Spring while I'm drinking this. Gorgeous aroma, well controlled.
Taste is a bit of a letdown. Does't have the burgeoning of the aroma, just subtle floral notes upfront and midway that kind of drop off to leave a slight yeasty character just blending with a clean floral finish. Bit of an unwelcome bitter note midway as well, bit too nectary, almost an over-brewed green tea note. Feel it could have worked better on the finish. Just seems to peak too early.
Fluid, no real rough edges, thin as befits the style but goes down a treat.
Decent but feel the flowers may have been added in odd ratios or at odd times, they aren't pulled off in the best ways.
75 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Drinks of the World, Zürich.
Pours a fairly clear straw-golden colour, with a very faint hazing to it. Head is a wonderfully persistent cap of pillowy white that leaves some foamy lacing as it goes down. Body is light, not unexpectedly, and lets many streams of fine carbonation combine into an anarchic mess, which no doubt also helps feed the head. Looks pretty good overall.
Nose is surprisingly good, with a fresh, sweet herbal quality that has aspects of parsley and mallow, but with a fruity overtone a little like soft peaches. Under it is a smoothness a little like the esters you get from a weizen yeast. There's characters which draw it into the noble-hopped German-style world, but it has something else to it which marks it as a step up.
Taste is similar. There is a certain weizen character to the basis of the palate, which gives it some rounded smoothness (there is no wheat in the beer according to the ingredients), but there's a soft hop character which provides a pleasant bite of herbal bitterness and a leavened fruity quality that ends up rather fragrant and sweet. Feel is smooth throughout. Although it seems to have rather rampant carbonation, the body has enough weight, and the flavours have that sweetness to soften it.
Overall, this may actually be my favourite Swiss beer to date. It's oddly traditional, but with a balance and complexity that makes it stand out from the crowd. I'll admit I picked this fairly much at random, but it ended up being a serendipitous pick.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne, brewed with "zesty hints of orange, grapefruit and lemon".
Pours a golden blonde colour with some haze through the thin, light-weight body. Head is almost non-existent, just off-white, although it's hard to see it at all. Minimal lace as well, of course. I'm unenthused.
Mild chewy sweetness on the nose with a little musty malt character coming through. Some peppery spice makes up the remainder, but there's no hint of the zesty flavour explosion they mooted.
Light rosewater character on the front palate with a sweetness more like underripe berries than citrus. Slight roundness comes through on the middle of the palate underlining more (albeit very faint) spice notes. Back is light, but clean—turning weak and empty in the finish. Feel is very light indeed.
Overall, yeah it's okay. It's inoffensive, but it's also numbingly uninteresting, especially when surrounded by some of the other beers at the festival. I was remarkably underwhelmed.
A 3.5% sessionable "reset" beer seems like an odd choice for Hendo, who's usually pushing the boundaries. I guess doing the unexpected is just what I should expect from him. Tried on-tap at the Quarryman's Hotel in Pyrmont.
Pours a very hazy yellow colour, with a fair bit of weight to the body despite the ABV. Carbonation stands when the glass is tilted, and stays rather fine. Head is filmy, forming a faint streak across the top, and down the glass. It looks pretty decent: I particularly like the added weight to the body.
Nose is very strange, and I'm not sure I like it. Serious meaty ragu character with some dried orange peel left in the sun and some slight clove or phenolic characters as well. Hint of plasticky yeast doesn't help either. I feel as though something's wrong here.
Taste is pretty similar. Initial phenolics through the front, savoury orange bite with a metallic, meaty overtone. Vegetative characters come through on the mid, before a pretty yeasty back palate: floury and dank. Aftertaste is slightly coppery. I'm not sure what's happening here, but it's certainly not to my tastes. Feel is relatively full given its weight.
No, not much of a fan of that. Not quite sure what's going on here. It's actually relatively unpleasant, and for a pale, drinking-range beer, it really doesn't make me want to put it in my mouth.
Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse's "Brewers & Chewers" night. The brewer was sitting right next to me while I tried it.
Pours a pale gold, cloudy, shiny. Head is white, decent. Nice lace stuck on there. Looks good.
Smells earthy, yeah quite savoury. Slight bitterness but no real beery characters. Subtle, but decent foody aroma.
Taste is similarly savoury. Note of earth, maybe a touch of saltiness. Bit of spice. Some hops midway and also decent yeasty character that dries up but complements the earthy notes. Maybe a bit too much yeast, but it has nice flavours and does a commendable job of mimicking food.
A bit dry, bit of fizz. Maybe more body would be nice, but OK.
Nice foody beer, not really my thing but pleasant and well crafted.
33cl dark green bottle in a lovely swooping shape, purchased from Slowbeer by Sarah.
Pours an extremely pale white-yellow colour, almost the shade of a witbier. Hazing is also heavy. Body is fine but fluid, and the carbonation is holds is powdery and effusive. Head forms a solid film of white across the top. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is... extremely bland. Faint lightstruck character, over a dusty plain wheat floury character. Some yeast comes through as well creating all the earthy unpleasantness to underline the blandness. It's just really not very good.
Taste follows a similar line. It's so one-dimensional, and that one-dimension is really not very pleasant. Weak, yeasty and flat, with a very faint suggestion of bitterness on the back. But very little else. It's just straight, flat, dull and almost getting to unpleasant.
I just don't want to drink it. It's so bland, and yet it has this tendency to flirt with something truly nasty. I am not a fan.
61 / 100
A collaboration between Bridge Road and The Provanance restaurant, part of a series of "Beer Mimics Food" beers launched at Sydney Craft Beer Week at the Welcome Hotel, which is where I tried it on-tap. This was brewed with a metric lots-tonne of Shiitake mushrooms.
Pours a very pale yellow colour with some hazing in the body. Body is fairly light. Head is firm and frothy and forms a pure-white crest that leaves little streaks down the glass. Fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is mild and slightly earthy. There's certainly a savoury aroma to it: not quite umami, but most definitely an addition from the mushrooms. Hint of orange peel as well. The main issue is that it's all terrible subtle. You could almost write it off as having almost no aroma, but there's things there when you search for them.
Light clean entry on the palate from a very neutral malt basis, followed by a minerally character through the centre leaving a little salt and earthiness. Some phenolic bite appears on the back, giving a spice and slight astringency.
Feel is very light, but appropriate enough in its way.
Overall, this is okay stuff. It's drinkable, and it has novelty value when you know what's in it. It didn't really strike me as a great beer in general, but there were certainly things to like about it.
Pours a pale, clearish golden, light fuzz of translucency. Head is just a rim, large bubbles, no lace. Meh.
Smells a little skunky. Honey, fresh laundry, spent grain. Yeah, not much else; sweet and a bit unnuanced.
Taste is grainy, skunky fruit, yeast, bread, stale crumpets, yeah quite meh. Nothing fresh in here, feels like old socks.
Decent mouthfeel, however. A bit drying, but otherwise smooth and full..
Not really sure of the point of this beer, it's like an uninteresting version of PP's pale ale.
57 / 100
On tap at the brew pub, July 9, 2013.
Gold colour, clear. White head is quite dense, but not thick, just a rim around the edge. Bit meh, listless.
Quite fruity on the nose. Hop character, but light and thin. Candied orange and pineapple. Quite sweet, a little bit weak. Could use a bigger smell for the type of beer it's professing to be.
Taste is tangy; bit of orange and loads of tangerine. Develops bitterness towards the back which is good, as it was sold as 'without the bitter aftertaste', a claim I'm always sceptical of. Not a lot, more a pale ale palate but quite pleasant and I enjoy it well enough.
A bit foamy, a little sharp on the back from carbonation. Not otherwise bad.
Decent effort at an approachable IPA. I'd market it as a Summer pale instead though, but nice.
Bottle shared with me by @LaitueGonflable. "FIRE BREWED". The second of their beers I tasted after their Pale Ale.
Pours a dirty yellow colour with a slight haze to it. Head forms frothily initially, but ends up being just a fuzzy ring of white around the edges. Very light body, but pleasant enough.
Skunky and unpleasant initially whiff on the aroma. Plenty of bread yeast and a funk like day-old Carlton Draught. But of rustic, earthy woodiness. Hops do make their presence felt after a little while, with a slight undertone of mandarin. But for the most part, it's rather unpleasant.
Taste is yeasty and cloying. Big earthy undergrowth organic and off bread. More yeast, Pride of Ringwood and dusty cloy. It's both bloated and fatty and yet surprisingly weak and thin. Nasty stuff.
It really, really doesn't do anything for me, this brew. I was really quite disappointed in it. After the initial shock at least it just turns into bland and quaffable, but it's generic in the extreme and really quite far from being interesting.
75 / 100
12oz bottle purchased from Whole Foods in SoMa, San Francisco.
Pours a pleasant faintly hazed golden orange, with a frothed, but slightly filmy head of white. Colour is gorgeous though, and there's a surprisingly pleasant weight to the body, leaving fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it's a pretty nice-looking beer.
Nose is biting with hops, with a very fresh, green character coming through strongly. There's a slightly rubbery tone to it as well: perhaps more of an intensity that accentuates the hop characters. Under this are characters of orange, peach and pepper, but very little sweetness or malt. I'm interested to see how it tastes.
As it happens, the taste is really quite light, but it's also quite pleasant. The hops are also pared back, leaving some fresh vegetative and fruity tones to the palate, but providing no real bitterness. There's a slight mild acid character that forms towards the back of the palate, while the peach and orange characters evanesce on the front. There's also a faint yeasty tone which is the only drawback, but after the first couple of sips, its influence is negligible. Overall, it's very pleasant.
Feel is light, but clear and clean, with a pleasant smoothness.
Overall, this is a very drinkable beer. I could certainly see myself drinking this as part of a very enjoyable session. Were it available in Australia, it would make a pretty damn impeccable beach BBQ beer. Alas.
76 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery. Pours a pale gold colour, with clear rim of white head. Leaves some nice lacing around the edge; not bad.
Smells honey and sweet. Honeyed cereal grain, with golden syrup and some earthy hoppy notes: hint of citrus, and some herbal notes. Nice.
Tastes similar, with earthy and honey notes. Light English sort of hop characters and Belgian-style finish. Grassy, earthy herbal note of coriander maybe and lemon thyme. Bitterness is good, and slightly phenolic on the finish. Very pleasant indeed. Light bodied, but slightly challenging. Belgian bitterness with an English cleansing note on the back.
Good body, slight sticky malt but fluid and smooth. Great for 3.8%
A surprising midstrength offering, far more character than you would expect and very easy drinking.
Pours an amber hue with very pale edge, almost champagne-looking. It's very, very cloudy and almost opaque with a dense white head on top. Nice-looking beer.
Woah, weird aroma on that indeed. Smells like that fake grape ester that's used in candy. Rich, sherbety and tangy, and nothing much to balance it out. Weird, and unexpected.
More fake grape on the palate, but a lot worse. It's heavier, stodgier, and dominates the front palate while the finish is overtaken by a big sinky yeast finish. Sticky, cloying, with rubbery notes as well. Not at all what I expected, and not in a good way. Unpleasant.
Texture, though, is not bad. A bit of body to it and light carbonation.
Really quite a bizarre beer overall. I don't think I've ever enjoyed any beer with 'honey' as a selling point, but this one is just off the wall.
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a very clear pale golden colour, with a bubbly head of white, that peters out very quickly, leaving the smallest, thinnest sliver around the edge. No lacing as a result, although the carbonation continues to stream pretty rapidly. Looks decent enough for what it's meant to be.
Nose is faint, with some buttery Sorachi Ace characters coming through along with a mildly herbal "generic hop" overtone. A little citrus as well, but it's ephemeral. Pleasant enough, without being very powerful or exciting.
Taste is similar: the Sorachi Ace is noticeable here (at least, I assume it's SA—it sure tastes like it). Clean, buttery, lemony characters with a mild crispness on the end to dry it out. Body is extremely light and the carbonation is high. Minimal malt, which is pretty much what you want.
Overall, very drinkable and refreshing, and it does something a little bit interesting with the light, easy-drinking summer ale. Nice stuff.
61 / 100
Honey-golden ale. Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Italian Beer SpecTapular festival.
Pours a creamy peach colour, with a solid almost opaque haze. White head forms filmy and thing, ringing the top of the glass and leaving patchy lace. Not bad all up.
Nose is very odd. Big aroma of Concord grape and a sugary fizz like carnival sherbet. There's a hint of light grain to it, and some cherry pip acidity. It's weird, and oddly sweet, and despite how interesting it is, I don't find it all that good.
Mild, light entry on the front of the palate, with a rather empty corollary. After this, some slightly funky fruit comes through again devolving into Concord grape sweetness laced with a bite of phenol. Very strange.
Feel is extremely light.
Overall, it's not badâI certainly found it more appealing than some of the others I was with on the day: this was widely considered the worst beer of the day among the group.
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.
Pours a very pale yellow hue: very mild and light. Head is very frothy and egg white; it leaves firm rings of lace down the glass. Carbonation is streaming, but quite mild. Not bad all up.
Nose is very, very light and very, very dull. Some maltiness comes through along with a very faint hint of lemon, but it's not exciting or bold, and doesn't really give me anything insight into the malt itself.
Pale light entry on the palate, with a clean but empty mid-palate. There's a touch of bitterness on the finish, along with some husky grain. It's not unpleasant, it's just, well, not there. Feel is extremely weak. Almost watery.
I don't have a lot to say about this beer, because this beer doesn't have a lot to say about itself. Single malt? Is that interesting? Certainly not this one.
71 / 100
On-tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa.
Pours a clear yellow colour, very light-bodied, with a fine mild head of white. It looks really light overall, leaving no lace, but forming tight and fine carbonation, especially when tilted. Looks good.
Not much on the aroma. There's some mild grain notes and a touch of phenolics, but it's very light overall. Not unpleasant, just... mild.
The palate is better: light entry with decent grain notes, before a smoother sweetness on the mid-palate, balanced with a husky, coarser grain character. Bitterness comes through on the back, but the finish is spectacularly clean, meaning it ends up feeling really light and drinkable.
Light but very clear feel all over.
It's dull, but very solid. I guess Russian River can't be all oak-aged Wilds and hopped-up Insanity.
74 / 100
On-tap at the brewery's outlet in Santa Rosa.
Pours a clear pale golden colour, with a very light body to it. Head is a fine ring of persistant white bubbles. No visible carbonation or lacing. Decent enough, if not exciting.
Nose is bright and clear, with appleskin coming through on first whiff, but revealing other characters of herbs and pepper on the revisit. There's also an underlying note of savoury grain giving some depth and complexity to the aroma. It's light overall, but quite nice stuff.
Taste continues some of these themes: apple comes through with a crisp cleanness on the front, followed by some grain that mingles nicely with some slightly earthy, slightly nutty hop characters. Mild, moderated bitterness comes through on the back, with a touch of fragrant herbs. It's very clean, and really very pleasant. Feel is light but consistent with the structure of the beer.
Super-drinkable brew. It reminds me of the balance and coherence of Blind Pigâagain, not a huge beer, but a very enjoyable one.
41 / 100
Bottle purchased from the Adelaide Bier Shop.
Pours a mostly clear, but slightly hazed pale golden colour, with a filmy head of white that stays persistent as a fine foam atop the glass. Fine body and carbonation. It looks pretty good.
Nose is musty and a little rank, with a slight meatiness sitting atop some very dull hops that have the belligerence of Pride of Ringwood. Slight weedy thinness to it along with a fug of carbonic acidity, and a residual sweetness like corn or rice. Really quite unpleasant.
Taste is lighter, and better in some ways. Crisp opening leads to a muddled, slightly overcarbonated body, but the hop character is muted, only clearing out some of the grainy malt, and leaving a peppery bite on the finish. Feel is crisp enough, while staying slightly too thin.
Very average brew, this one. It doesn't do anything interesting, and sways a little close to the offensive side of the offensive/dull border. Not one that's really worth looking at.
75 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very pale straw colour, you could almost indeed call it blonde. Head is firm and frothy, largely consisting of large bubbles of white. Minimal lacing, but with the very light body (appropriate), that's not unexpected. Looks decent.
Nose is crisp and hoppy, with an emphasis on the crushed green end of the spectrum, much like a pilsener in this regard. Hiding in there are slight fruit characters, but again they're sharpâlemon and a bit of grapefruit, perhaps. This mingles with a very pilsener-y grain character giving a touch of citrus and some savoury basis. Nice.
Taste is smooth and clean, with a very lagery tone to it. Crisp pilsener malt, green hops and a cleansing but mild bitterness to add brightness and crispness to the palate. It's bright, refreshing and exceptionally drinkable.
Extremely refreshing. You know, if someone said that Victory has stuck a different label on their Prima Pils, and called it an Ale I'd believe it. That's no bad thing, given that that's a great beer, but it also does feel a little like this beer is unnecessary as a result.
Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA.
Pours, indeed, a golden colour, but surprisingly hazed, with a filmy white head that forms into a ring. Very light body, and no lacing. Carbonation forms in pleasantly fine bubbles at least. Otherwise, it's a pretty average looking beer.
Nose is wheaty, with a green twinge suggesting grass in the rain. Slight apricot hints to it, but these are mild. Not bad, but all a bit thin and insipid.
Taste is extremely empty. A hint of damp, flat grain around the edges, but otherwise non-existent. It's almost adjuncty in its complete absence of flavour. A very faint, hollow and echoey bitterness at the end, that's almost no different from the bitterness at the back of a sip of soda water. Very poor.
Empty, and bland as hell. An "ale that complements all occasions"? God, you must have a boring life, Moylans.
Picked up from Leura Cellars.
Pours clear from the clear bottle, bright and golden in colour, with a fine and rather resilient head of white. A second pour releases some of the sediment, leaving a slight haze to it. Large bubbled carbonation, and the body looks relatively heavy, despite only being 4.7%. Not bad.
Nose is crisp, but rather earthyâdespite the non-English hops used, it still has a rather English tenor to it. Some sweet light malt gives a touch of caramel, but the hops give some green tea and undergrowth organics. That's about all the freshness they impart.
Taste is clean and crisp, with tea tannins again the only note from the hops. Very sweet on the finish, with some round watered-down molasses and mild, slightly pickled fruit. Feel is lovely and smooth, without feeling flat.
A very decent brew. A non English style, brewed in an English style. This of course means that all the big, bold flavours are muted, but it also means that everything is smooth and well-integrated. Not bad.
62 / 100
Pours a deep amber colour with steady bead feeding a mostly-gone head that retains shadows of something that looked really good; webbed lace with large bubbles, off-white colour. Quite nice.
Smell is quite metallic but malty. Bit of sourness to it with herbs and phenols and a slight vomit smell as well, just that slight organic acid to it. A bit rich and phenolic for my taste, but not off-putting.
Taste is malty and rich for the most part. Thick toffee flavour with a nutty edge towards the mid, with walnuts and marzipan. Bit of a coppery hop edge towards the back that lasts, but isn't quite strong enough to counteract the wet-dough flavour that comes through late. As you drink more and that phenol-metallic hop character continues to coat the palate, it retains a robustness. Yeah, it's OK.
A bit thin upfront, gets more texture towards the back but still feels a little thin, and empty.
Not a bad brew, can see what they're doing and it's been done pretty successfully, if not outstandingly.
Picked up from Whole Foods, SoMa San Francisco on a recent trip, and shared with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours clear and bright, a lovely deep golden colour, with a somewhat filmy and pancake-bubble-ridden head. Lacing is very intricate and pleasant, however, and it has a lovely fine bead. Looks pretty nice overall.
Nose is very subdued, with a mild American hop fragrance giving touches of peaches and melon. Slight yeasty overtones, but these are well balanced by the hop characters. Minimal body, and it's quite light overall, but it's fresh and clean and pleasant, nonetheless.
Taste is clean and crisp, with a pleasant bitterness that interleaves itself nicely with a surprising grain huskiness. It adds to the crispness, but the hop flavourâthose slightly tropical melon notesâtends to get lost somewhat. Gritty finish, but the lightness overall doesn't make this a big issue.
A decent brew, clean, fresh, bright and drinkable without being all that exciting. But I'm very happy to have some unexcitingly quaffable beer on the roster, and Ninkasi again delivers on that.
70 / 100
Pours a very hazy pale yellow colour with minimal white head. Slow carbonation and not a lot of lace. Bit too much haze for my liking but pretty decent.
Smells pretty decent, but very subdued. Subtle hints of banana, pawpaw and maybe some citrus rind. Slight vanilla on the malt; otherwise not much else. Could use more.
Taste is pleasant; very fruity. Lots of pink lady apple aroma with hints of pear and banana as well. Some nice malty notes, quite sweet and pleasant. Hops come through quite early, noticeably bitter with lots of fruity notes, rind and flesh alike. Good and long finish with soft bitterness that lingers nicely in a clean, bitter way. Yeah, very pleasant, smooth palate to this.
A little bit thin on the feel with a noticeable sizzle from the bubbles as a result. Not my favourite kind of texture but not out & out bad.
Very pleasant sesssionable beer. Light and sweet-ish but a good long bitter finish.
Very pale yellow colour with a filmy white head. No lacing. To be honest, it looks incredibly insipid.
Slightly yeasty nose with some grain. No hops present as far as I can tell. In fact, there's very little on it at all.
Taste is clean without being very interesting. Lots of yeastiness. Crisp, lightly phenolic finish. Not a huge fan. Mouthfeel is light and crisp at least.
This is a very plain and very mediocre beer. It is drinkable, however, even though it doesn't have a big flavour profile -- it's just not very interesting at all.
Pours a murky orange brown colour, with a very aerated head of white bubbles, that look very insipid. No lacing either. I have to say, I'm not a fan very much at all. It really doesn't look like something I want to drink.
Fortunately, it's uphill from here. Nose is a wonderfully floral and fruity melange of tropical flavoured New Zealand hops. Passionfruit, stonefruit and ripe pineapple. Very nice, and such a classic contemporary New Zealand craft beer character.
Taste is woefully thin. Not a lot of character, and not much bitterness from the hops - surprising given the big hop presence on the nose. Quite watery, and the mouthfeel is pretty dull.
Yep, this is something of a rollercoaster ride. Lovely nose, but that's by far and away its best character. Thin and watery. Drinkable in a way, but only because it's not particularly dangerous or confronting.
60 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour with a lot of fizz. Head is decent at first, sinks a bit, leaves a crown of white bubbles. Some lace but not much. Looks alright, pretty standard.
Sweet, malty nose, with a lot of caramel, a slight salty edge and a bit of tartness, citric in character. Hint of West Coast hops giving off some tropical esters. The combination of aromas makes it overall kind of urine-esque in character, and I hate to say that because it's not actually bad at all, there is just a slightly odd character to it and that needs to be noted. But its uniqueness is endearing, and for the most part it's actually a delightful smell.
Tastes a bit savoury, lacking in the caramel character of the nose. Has a malty backbone, but doesn't taste like it, just gives an underlying richness. Mid-palate gives off an umami flavour, with a mild, fruit peel bitterness, then finishes with hints of steamed vegetables and green tea. There is a slight honey character that emerges at the end to sweeten the deal, but overall the thing tastes a bit under-cooked. The flavours are slightly weak at times, but they're too strong at the front and back to be judged as intentionally mild and drinkable. Decent, just not very interesting where it counts.
Mouthfeel is largely thick and soupy, with a bit of unwelcome fizz at the back, not a great merger of textures.
I wouldn't call this a brilliant beer but it's drinkable. There's enough to like here but nothing really to love.
43 / 100
Had on tap at the hotel.
Pours a pale golden colour with a huge amount of haze in the brew. Head was great, now sunk to a thin film but leaves nice specks of cream lace. Bead is quite fast. Looks slightly odd for a pale ale. Looks quite hefe-esque. But alright.
Nose is very sweet - lots of fruit, with candied orange peel, mandarin and some orange sherbet. Maybe some lemon myrtle - definitely that tartaric tang smell. Mostly sweet, would definitely like more hop character, or at least something to tone down the sweetness.
Tastes quite tangy, with a lot of citrus and sherbet. Slightly tart, hints of orange, lemon myrtle and yeah, large tartaric flavour. Goes slightly wet-sour, in a weak lemon squash kind of way, on the mid-palate and leave very dry, while mouthfeel overall is quite nicely textured. I just get a lot of weak citrus on that, not much complexity - a bit of a disappointment really. Needs more hop and more flavour in general.
Not bad drinking all up, just don't get a lot of my favourite beer character from it.
57 / 100
Pours a clear golden yellow colour. Only a filmy head, not particularly impressive. Some carbonation though, even after it has been sitting out for some time. lacing is mediocre. Doesn't look too bad for what it is.
Some grassy hops on the nose, a little vegetative, but pretty weak. It's not a huge nose, and it doesn't have a great deal to offer, but it's not that bad.
Taste is clean, but unimpressive. Some light sweetness on the front, more like sugar than malt, unfortunately, but the clean sharp bitterness does some work clearing out the back. It finishes only semi-dry, with the sweetness lingering a little too long, but it's not that bad all up. Mouthfeel is a little flat, despite the carbonation that is apparent.
The sweetness becomes a bit too much, and I ended up feeling a little bloated from it. It's not a bad beer, but it's certainly nothing particularly exciting. Unfortunately similar to the bland Australian "craft" beer I'm used to.
Pours a pale yellow with slow bead and clear body. Head is minimal, as is lacing. Not great, looks alright for style though.
Hints of honey and bready notes on the nose, not overly Carlton Draughty but close, has a lot of that yeasty aroma. Sweet, honey and yeast. Certainly don't love it.
Taste has a bit of tang actually, but still a lot of that honey. Some bread yeast as well, very cloying. Fairly simple and light across the palate, and the notes it produces aren't too pleasant.
Cloying on mouthfeel as well, with some tingle from carbonation. Makes my mouth dry and sticky, no, no good.
For all its faults though I'm not suffering from drinking it. But it's not good.
Pours a pale straw colour with light carbonation, no head, thin rim of lace. Nice champagne colour, shame it doesn't have the sparkle of champagne. Or anything else.
Nose has a hint of fruit, a hint of honey, a hint of herbal hops. A big dollop of nothing, and a slight rice aroma. Very light sourness saves it from being utterly boring.
Taste is simple and dull, very watery with hints of carbonation and a mild piney hop, but very little. Very thin feel, no carbonation or anything. Has maybe a slight grassy astringency but nothing really. Short, dull palate, very little to recommend here. Sharpness at the back is a turnoff, otherwise just boring.
Wouldn't call this premium, and it's far more likely to make me yell "Get out of the way, I have to puke" than "Wahoo!"
Very pale piss yellow, with some champagne bubbles and a filmy head of white foam. Looks pretty insipid.
Smells undeniably like ass, or at least a slightly warm and organic fart. Sulphurous, with a light carbonic acidity. Great, it's like puke and farts. Well done beer. Slight fishy characters as well. At least these characters aren't really strong.
Light sweet and a little sickly with a thin corn or wheat-husk character. Boo. Not very much at all. Mouthfeel very thin.
A thoroughly unpleasant and thoughtlessly offensive beer. It doesn't have quite enough character to be truly undrinkable, but I'll certainly pass if someone offers me another.
Tried on tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.
Pours a very cloudy light gold colour. Almost sewerage in colour. Almost no head. Some filmy lacing carb minimal.
Very sour cidery nose, lots of green apples and a light astringent character. It's not bad but it's not terribly beery.
Also very sour on the palate, almost verging into lambic sourness. Cider characters are dominant. And it has a really astringent sour back palate. Some yeasty notes. Mouthfeel clean but thin. Not a huge fan. If it were marketed differently I might approve (The "Two Metre Tall Partially Lambic Weirdness" springs to mind), but I don't believe it's meant to taste like this - infection all the way.
Overall, not terribly impressive. It's just sour and weak. Not very pleasant. It's a chore to finish even my 60ml sample.
Tried this as a leadup to Rogue XS Imperial Stout at the Local Taphouse.
Poured a nice cloudy straw colour, slight apricot tinge with humble off-white head. Slightly pale, otherwise nice, of course I do like a good hazy beer.
Nose is very resiny with a long drawn-out bitterness and lots of tart citrus, an orange liqueury kind of character, yeah bitterness is OK but I don't like it. Yeah, I'd say this is OK.
Taste is unpleasant, very tart with a strong vinegar astringency and maybe some slight lemon hints, but nothing particularly leaping out at me. It's a mishmash of infected-style flavours, and has no backbone behind the sourness, just tastes like there wasn't enough malt, and the yeast just sours up everything. Pretty thin, watery mouthfeel backs up my idea that there's just no body here. Pretty bad overall, not good to taste, and not good to drink. Might cleanse my palate, only because it kills my tastebuds.
Appearance is very uninspiring; light golden colour with medium to heavy carbonation, builds up a thin layer of head. The lady at the Warren View Hotel was pouring for a while so that may have contributed to the lack of head, but overall nothing to distinguish this from your average plebeian blonde.
Nose is quite awful, nutty and yeasty and dusty. Doesn't yield much in the way of fruit or hops, just a whole overblown lagery aroma.
Taste isn't much better although the palate is suitably long. Sadly the front palate has little to offer, mostly a watery slide down to an acrid dirt flavour on the back palate. Slight hints of a bittering hop on the very back but it may just be that the mouthfeel makes my mouth pucker a bit. It's certainly not an amazing brew, very unimpressive and dull.
60 / 100
Darkish red mediciney colour, fizzes up nicely upon pouring and makes a good light foamy head. Looks quite pleasant but perhaps a bit lifeless after a few seconds.
Fair generous hit of floral hops with a toffee sweetness on the nose, has a celtic quality about it. Slightest hint of chocolate but it's very faint. Could be more aromatic but what's there is very pleasant.
Taste - wow, talk about hops. That totally caught me off guard based on the slightly underplayed nose. A musty and dulled malt hit on the front palate progresses quickly into a fairly short but intensely bitter palate with slight hints of lemongrass and dry wood. Its very pleasant characters could last longer but it's nevertheless very drinkable and refreshing. Slightly dry mouthfeel, could go down smoother.
Somewhat cloudy orange red-brown. Good head. Decent carbonation keeps the creamy head alive. Good lacing.
Honey and toffee on the nose. No fragrance. The sweetness is almost overpowering, and it ends up smelling something akin to a caramel milkshake. Quite unbalanced.
The taste, however, is much better, with initial caramel notes balanced by a good hop bitterness. Long astringent finish leaves the mouth quite dry. Mouthfeel is filling.
This is a reasonably enjoyable beer, with some elements that just don't quite work for me.