Gentlemen’s Pale Ale 4.8% Alcohol – SA

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this beer with it’s very original label. Pouring it into a glass presented a slightly hazy straw coloured brew with a mild aroma that displayed hints of plum and and tropical fruits.
Tasting this beer was definitely no chore it’s a beautifully balanced ale, on the palate the drinker is presented with an interesting initial hit of bitterness on the front of the palate, with hints of fruit and leaning toward apple and citrus.This then transitions at the back of the palate to a warm toffee flavour leaving a pleasant slightly sweet and tangy after-taste. This beer uses 2 varieties of hops (Sterlings and Goldings) that helps give this beer a high level of complexity, and keeps the drinker with the impression they are missing some of the more subtle flavours.

Verdict:This is without a doubt one of the best pale ales i have tried in a while, the after-taste keeps you wondering and drives you back for more.

Rating: 8.0 / 10

Link: Gentlemens Brewing Company Pty Ltd

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Sunday Beer Session

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Sunday’s are  designated as a day of rest and relaxation, and nothing is much more relaxing than trying out a few beers As beers are best enjoyed in the presence of good company i enlisted the help of Alex Went son of Peter Went, winemaker at Pierre’s Wines a boutique winery located at Branxton in the Hunter Valley.

As two people were involved in this tasting session some of the beers tried have been given two ratings whilst a few just have the one such as the Beechworth Australian Ale & Mallee Bull which i had previously tasted.

Miller Chill 4.2% Alcohol (USA)

Lightly carbonated with an over powering lime aroma smelling very artificial on the nose. Very sweet to taste, closer to a premix vodka i would say in taste than a beer.

Verdict: This is easily one of the worst excuses for beer i have ever had the misfortune to taste! Do not bother to waste your time and money with this foul liquid!

Alex: 1/10

Anthony: 1.5/10

Link: Miller Chill

Beechworth Australian Ale 4.4% Victoria

Poured almost flat with a flavour overly dominated by citrus flavors.

Alex’s Verdict: Starting to loose faith two beers two misses.

Alex: 3.5 / 10

Link: Original review & Bridge Road Brewers

Pepper Jack Ale 4.7% Alcohol – South Australia

This is a very unique brew, it is made by Saltram Wines located in the Barrosa Valley, South Australia. This beer pushes the boundaries by incorporating Shiraz wine into the recipe, something i have never heard of being done before.

The brew is a deep cooper in colour, lightly carbonated with an almost non existent head. The aroma comes across mostly fruity on the nose with faint floral hints. On the palate the beer takes drinker by surprise with initial toffee caramel notes accompanied by a sharp bitterness.

Verdict: This could be a great starter beer or great companion to a meal of a tasty meal such as pizza, beef & guiness pie, beef bourguignon or similar.

Alex: 7.5 / 10

Anthony: 6.7 / 10

Tip: I have had this beer twice now and it doesn’t stand up well to being over chilled for best results you will want to serve this at around the 7 degree mark.

Link: Saltram Wines

Mallee Bull 5.6 % Alcohol – Victoria

Poured with a golden straw colour and mild malt aroma. The taste is dominated by toffee notes leaving a rich cooked toffee aftertaste on the back of the palate.

Alex’s Verdict: Not a bad drop but definitely room for improvement.

Alex: 7 / 10

Link: Original tasting & Mildura Brewing

Pike’s Oatbank Beer  4.5% Alcohol – South Australia

Here we have another beer being made by people that are better known for the wines they make, but are proving you can do both with great results.

This beer is a bright clear gold colour with a nice tightly packed head. The aroma is heavily dominated by hop floral notes. Like most good pilsners the drinker is hit with a pleasant sharp bitterness, accompanied by faint citrus notes which subsides to a mildly sweet aftertaste.

Verdict: Very refreshing and highly drinkable after the one bottle i was a bit upset i didn’t have more.

Rating: 7.6 / 10

Link: Pikes Wines

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Red Angus Pilsner, NSW 4.5% Alcohol

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Seems to me alot of microbreweries in Australia are making beer with a bovine theme lately. Mallie Bull and Holgate brewhouse with a bull as their mascot, then i came across this Red Angus Pilsner the other day whilst browsing an isle of my local Dan Murphys. I brought a bottle and put it in the fridge for later. Coming home from work today i was thirsty i wanted beer any beer, this one was cold and ready to go and it didn’t disappoint.

On the appearance side this drop is bright yellow in colour, with a loose sudsy head which quickly dropped down to a thin lace covering although the beer itself has a good level of carbonation. The aroma is dominated by floral notes (very similar in smell to a rose i thought).

On the drinking side i found the bitterness of the hops nicely balanced with the assertive malt flavours. Notes of pepper, lemon and honey where the primary flavors i could pick out. The beer then finishes with a mild dry bitter / tang as an aftertaste.

Verdict: I enjoyed this beer quite a lot,very refreshing! Not a beer i could see myself drinking all the time but it has a fairly complex taste and makes a very pleasant change from the mainstream.

Rating: 7.4 / 10

Link: Angus Beers

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Firefly – Fusion Brewing (NSW) 4.5% Alcohol

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

firefly_lagerFusion Brewing takes a unique approach to creating a brew, first they decide on a style of food to match. Then Matthew Evans (Chef / Food critic), dissects what key flavours are normally present in the chosen style of dish and what qualities a beer should have to further bring out these flavours. From here some guidelines are created and passed along to head brewer Brian Watson to transform  into amber liquid, which should then be the perfect partner for your dinner.

Seeing as so much care had gone into seeing that Firefly brew would be the perfect partner for spicy food, i decided it was only fair to try this number with a meal. In the name of science i cooked a nice hot chilli / ginger stir fry for dinner specially to enjoy this beer with. Upon decanting the bottle into a glass i was greeted by a lightly carbonated brew, bright gold in colour with an aroma full of floral notes.

Tasting the brew, the drinker is hit initially with a sharp pilsner style bitterness which i found to be a great blend with the heat from the stir fry. Upon swallowing pretty much all taste quickly subsides leaving nothing except a subtle sweetness on the palate, not much else to it, this is an exceptionally clean tasting beer.

Verdict: This beer is super clean in taste designed to compliment the flavours of your meal not fight them. That said i could also see myself enjoying a six pack of these beside the pool on a hot summers day. Can’t wait give their other beer “Bluebottle” another try with some seafood as it was intended, the first time i tasted it  i was in a pub and without any food to give the proper taste test.

Rating: 7.3 / 10

Link: Fusion Brewing & Firefly Beer

P.S It has also come to my attention this brew recently took out Silver in the 2009 Australian International Beer Awards. Full results sheet can be found here.

Related Reading: Pairing Beer With Food

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Brew Boys – Seeing Double 8% Alcohol

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Brew Boys

I must admit i was a bit of a skeptic when i came across this Scottish inspired ale from South Australia. The recommended temperature for enjoying this drop is a warm 15 degrees Celsius. Which is enough to make most native Australians cringe and act with suspicion. We were brought up in the heat with lagers, which tend to be chilled on the theory “the colder the better”.

So this beer already had me on the defensive, opening the bottle and seeing the contents in a glass did nothing to boost my lack of confidence either. I was looking at a tawny slightly cloudy coloured beer with a sparse loosely packed head.

Another oddity with this beer is that it was brewed using a touch of Scottish peat, which gave the beer a very distinctive aroma on pouring very similar to scotch whiskey, something which i have never experienced in a beer before.

All these factors had me dubious about the situation, but the saying never judge a book by its cover rang very true upon my first sip. The front of the tongue is hit by a mild pleasant bitterness, which as the liquid passes further over the palate rolls into a very sweet smooth caramel / toffee flavor, not at all unlike butterscotch.
Upon swallowing the majority of the sweetness fades, leaving the palate with a pleasant residual sweetness which is in no way overpowering, making the drinker crave an encore.

Verdict: This is not a beer to drink on a hot summers day. But on a taste level is excellent! A ballsy brew packed full of flavor that leaves the drinker feeling very satisfied. If you find a bottle buy it you won’t be disappointed in the end

Rating: 7.8 / 10

Link: Brew Boys

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Micro Beer Club

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Am very excited today about a fortnight back, i thought i would give joining a beer club a try. The concept is simple you pay $49.95 a month + postage ($15 for Sydney) and they will send you a different mix of 12 Australian beers a month. Sure it would be cheaper just to head to you nearest Dan Murphy’s or similar and pick up a handful of beers, but i decided it was worth the extra cash as even the larger bottle shops don’t tend to stock nearly enough good brews from the smaller Australian breweries for my liking.
Yesterday my first package arrived and i must say i am pretty impressed though a bit upset i haven’t had a chance to try any yet.

Included in the May tasting pack was the following brews:

All appear to be top notch beers, the odd one in the bunch would have to be the Seeing Double. At 8% it not only packs a monster punch, but is made with peated malted and is intended to be drunk at cellar temperature (above 15 degrees) so no fridge action!

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Fight back for real Beer!!!

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Had this blog post from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Jamie Watson yesterday titled “A big beer gutful of hippie brews” emailed to me this morning. The blog post had struck a nerve with most friends of mine, regarding marketers ability to take some thing already perfected and destroy it, through multiple “variations”. They say variety is the spice of life but there seems to be a growing consensus this saying only stretches so far before you end up with something not fit to pass over the lips of a dog.
I remember the days when like beer, buying margarine and milk was a simple choice these days i have trouble finding the original through the swarms of “improved” variations. I think it also highlights the gullibility of the majority of the general public, giving up quality for some imagined benefit, the quote below says it all really:

Skinny beer is similarly pathetic. The truth is that if you want to get
rid of a beer gut it takes hundreds of hours of vigorous exercise. Sitting
on a bar stool drinking some reformulated low-carb concoction isn’t going
to do the trick

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