Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Last Weekend in Beer 21st - 23rd of November

Hey all, I'm back this week with a few reviews, first up we have a pair of pairs of beers, then a couple of exceptional beers I had while trying to free up room in my fridge for my latest box of happiness:

Packing peanuts don't taste very good... Beer does though

Complete list of what I bought this month can be seen here:

New Moon Dog + Garage Project Collab!? OMG!

I'm sure I'll be reviewing a whole lot of these over the coming month.

So without further ado, onto the first pair of reviews!

I decided to try something a little different this week, these caught my eye in the Vintage Cellars catalogue this week because they just sounded... Intriguing. Introducing Brown Brothers Grape Tree, a drink that's somewhere between a white wine and a cider:

And while not strictly a beer, it's basically a cider and I've reviewed a few of them in the past, plus this is my blog and I do what I want!

Starting with the Original:

Pretends to be wine unlike the Red Berry

You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd poured a glass of sparkling white, it looks like a lightly sparkling white wine, and smells like Sauv Blanc. Flavour wise however it's a soft, fruity white wine with a very cideresque level of carbonation. Still has a little bit of tartness to remind you it's made from grapes. Overall quite refreshing and great on a hot day.

Overall: 3.5/5

Moving on to the Red, which immediately out of the bottle smelt more like an RTD than a wine:

This is basically boozy cordial

Smell was very sweet, assorted red fruit aromas but cranberry the strongest. Flavourwise you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd picked up a vodka cranberry, very sweet and fruity with only a hint of the tartness displayed in the original. This one was a little sweet for my tastes, but still interesting.

Overall: 2.5/5

Next up, we're back onto beer with a pair all the way from Scotland, brewed especially for the Holiday Season, Brew Dog's Hoppy Christmas and Santa Paws!

These puns are Terribeer...
The Hoppy Christmas is a big, full bodied Festive Pale Ale at 7.2%, with the hops to back it up:

Christmas is the hoppiest time of the Beer... ahahahahahaah

Pours a clear, golden colour with a small amount of white head. Inviting pine hop aroma, really evokes that Christmas tree pine scent that I'm sure they were aiming for.

Full body with light carbonation, a fairly dry initial malt flavour with citrusy hop notes. Quite bitter to help combat the high alcohol, which definitely works. An aftertaste combination of earthy yeast flavours and hop bitterness that lingers on the palate for a while.

Overall the aroma is definitely evocative of Christmas, even if the flavour isn't so much.

Overall: 4/5

Next up it's brother, Santa Paws is a Christmas Scotch Ale that sits at a much more conservative 4.5%.

I can barley stand all these terrible puns

Pours a deep brown with a fleeting light brown head. Aroma of roasty coffee and a slight honey sweetness, little to no hop aroma.

Medium bodied and silky in mouthfeel, flavours of iced coffee with some chocolate and spice fade into a honey sweetness with a touch of noble hop bitterness that helps round out the overall taste from being too rich. Also a slight smokiness lingers after the rest of the flavour has dissipated.

Overall quite nice, but I would have preferred a more full body and perhaps higher alcohol content to help break up the body. Still highly recommended though, especially at the price they're selling for at Vintage Cellars at the moment!

Overall: 3.5/5

Finally, a couple of awesome beers that had been in my fridge for long enough that I decided they 100% had to be drunk this week. Also I needed some space for my new arrivals... What can I say.

First up we have one of the strangest concept beers I've ever tried, coming from Rogue brewing, the Beard Beer.

This beard was literally brewed using yeast that was trapped in the head brewer's beard, dusted out, cultured and put in the fermenter. Kinda gross when you think about it.

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with thick off-white head. Fruity aroma, distinct note of peach, and also some musky, funky elements blending in.

Initially a dry, bready flavour, some peach hops notes combine with again some musk elements to create an odd dichotomy of sweet musk against the dry body. Very interesting body though.

Overall: 4/5

And finally, another bizarre beer from Rogue; their new dessert beer - Voodoo Donut 3: Chocolate, Raspberry and Pretzel Ale.

I would not wanna mess with that donut man

I decided to have this one alongside some dessert, as it's a dessert beer and the bottle even has a food pairing recommendation of donuts and/or ice-cream. I settled on a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream.

Mmmm Brownie
Pours an opaque black-brown with a tiny bit of dark brown head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma wise, overwhelming chocolate and coffee notes from the abundant chocolate malt that makes up the backbone, with a slight raspberry ester.

On the palate, a rich chocolate malt backbone, with a fruity (artificial) raspberry note cutting through, and a smoky, salty flavour that supposedly comes from the pretzels in the fermenter.

Against the dessert, the chocolate from each was complementary, and the smoky, salty pretzel flavour helped cut through the richness of brownie + icecream.

The raspberry also added an element of tartness to contrast all the sweetness.  Overall, a fantastic, highly recommended combo, though the beer on it's own may leave a little to be desired.

Overall: 3.5/5

Thanks for for reading guys, tune in next time when I'll have reviewed some of the new beers mentioned above!

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Last Month in Beer - 20th October to 22nd November

So it's been a hectic month at the office, haven't had too much time to go and buy and/or taste craft beers... But I've had enough that I can definitely write a blog post!

First up, we have a perfect beer for the 40 degree days we've been having lately, Anchor Steam Summer Beer

Plus the free Pint glass I got with the 6pack!
Not too much to say about this obne, pours a light hay colour with off-white head. Grassy aroma with a bit of citrus behind it. Light and refreshing body with a bit of bitterness, hard to pull too much flavour from other than light biscuity wheat and grassy hop. 

Nothing too exciting, but a beer you could definitely drink a 6pack of out in the sun on a hot day

Overall: 2.5/5

Next up, we have Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre - 3 Monts Biere de Flandre.

Most intense part of this beer was getting it open...
Pours a pale golden colour with thick, foamy white head. Aroma of lemony hops and biscuity malt with a slightly funky element.

Body is medium to light, acidic with some citrus notes. Towards the end, and a definite element of sourness

Interesting but not amazing, but definitely worth the $10 price of entry

Overall: 3.5/5

Next, we go back to America for a beer from Rogue. But this is no ordinary beer... It's possibly one of the biggest beers I've ever had. Rogue's New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta

Kinda goodish sorta tasty like
From the moment I opened the bottle, a strong hop aroma was clear, a mix of more tropical, fruity notes and some more floral ones, as well as an underlying heat from the alcohol.

Pours a hazy orange colour with a little bit of off-white head. On closer examination the aroma has clear notes of peach and pine. One the palate, a syrupy, fruity body leads to a strongly bitter final hit, letting you know all about the beer's 88 IBU.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes Barleywine or big hoppy IPAs

Overall: 4/5

Finally, the latest release Single Batch from the boys over in Manly at 4Pines, an Imperial India Brown Ale

Closest thing I've had to a jaffa in a bottle

Poured a clear, reddy brown with light brown head. Low carbonation, and what little there is is very small bubble. Aroma of chocolatey malt against tropical hops with a nutty element.

Silky on the palate, with a chocolate malt bittersweetness, and a real orangey hop flavour combining to create a "jaffa" flavour of sorts. Tapers off into a more resinous flavour as it fades

Highly recommended as a more accessible dark beer, light and fruity yet dark and stormy.

Overall: 4/5

Thanks for reading guys! I'll try to update more often, but work's heading into peak so we'll see...