Bluetongue Warnervale First Taste

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Last Thursday saw the Hunter Valley local celebrities Jennifer Hawkins & John Singleton toasting the first batch of Bluetongue premium lager to come off the production line at the new $120 million dollar Warnervale brewery on the New South Wales, Central Coast.

The brewery owned by Pacific Beverages which in the four years since its inception has already managed to corner a 10% share of the Australian premium beer market. The new brewery at Warnervale currently boasts an annual production capacity of 50 million litres (6.5 million cases of beer). But a big focus of its design has been modularity meaning it can grow with time to produce around 150 million litres over time.

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Bluetoungue Brewery Starts Production In Warnervale

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

7am this morning marked a momentous occasion for the beer industry in Australia, with brewing commencing at the brand new 120 million dollar Bluetongue Brewery at Warnervale. The brewery has taken 18 months to reach operational status and boasts world class technology enabling the Bluetongue brewery to brew a wide variety of beer styles.

Bluetongue’s Brewmaster, Dermot O’Donnell says, “Starting up the brewery was such an exciting moment for the brewing team today. The 2 years of intense planning, hard work and around the clock commitment from the team seem to have paid dividends and we have had a successful start to the brewing process.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the new Bluetongue Brewery team, which has enormous potential to brew the highest quality beer brands. Pacific Beverages has created a very flexible brewery, which can brew a variety of beers ranging from traditional European lagers to modern American and Australian beer styles. The Brewery has significant brewing expertise with brewers from the original Bluetongue Brewery combining with the international expertise that the SABMiller team bring.”

O’Donnell explains, “The Bluetongue Brewery is unique in its design because it has twin-stream brew houses – a large and a small one under one roof, which allow for brewing flexibility to suit consumer and customer demand.

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Murrays Dark Knight – 4.5% Alcohol

Friday, March 19th, 2010

This brew poured into a glass dark almost black in colour with an off white coloured head around 1cm in height on top, which settled down to a generous lacing over the space of 1-2 minutes. On the nose coffee, roasted nuts, chocolate predominate with the odd mild hint of aniseed.

On the palate the Dark Knight has a very creamy mouth feel, and a low level of carbonation. Cherry, chocolate and burnt caramel flavours are plentiful ending slightly sweet with a a hint of dark chocolate.

Verdict: This is the third time I have had the Murrays Dark Knight Porter and it doesn’t seem to get old! Its balance is perfect and is and all round ultra smooth drop.

Rating: 8.3 / 10

Link: Murrays Brewing Co

Related Beers:

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Hunter Beer Co – Hunter Bock 5.5% Alcohol

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One of my favourite places to stop by while in the Hunter Valley is the Hunter Beer Company located at The Potters Hotel & Brewery in Nulkaba. The service there is impeccable combine with beers brewed on-site that are cold and tasty the only downside to a visit is the argument that pops up without fail around the 1 1/2 beer mark, about who is going to be the responsible one that switches to soft drink to drive everyone else home.

Last time I stopped by I decided to pick up a bottle of their Bock for future enjoyment without worrying about staying under the limit and I must say it did not disappoint later when it was taken out of the fridge. Into a glass the Bock poured a very dark brown colour with a small creamy tightly packed white head that didn’t hang around long before subsiding to a thin lace covering.

On the nose slightly sweet malt notes accompanied by aniseed, coffee and cocoa aromas. Taste wise this brew has a very nice flavour profile consisting of cocoa, coffee, bread, toasted grain notes, the mouth feel is somewhat creamy and the ending smooth with the gentle flavour of lightly burnt toast.

Verdict: Very nice come spring or autumn I would love to sit outside and enjoy one of these only downside is the drive to go get them.

Score: 7.8

Link: http://www.hunterbeer.com.au/

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Barons Lager 4.9% Alcohol

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I have been a big fan of the Baron’s beers since they first came out, although the Black Wattle Ale and Lemon Myrtle Witbier seem to be the only ones I see on a regular basis. So it came as a pleasant surprise to track down a bottle of their Lager in Vintage Cellars, I had an earlier look in Dan Murphy’s but was unable to locate it.

The Barons lager poured clear with a bright golden colour, minimal level of carbonation and a smallish white head around 1cm. On the nose, grassy and floral notes predominate straight after pouring with honey and clove notes coming through later after being allowed to stand awhile.

On the palate a light mouth feel is accompanied by grassy herbal notes, clove, pepper the beer then goes on to finish crisp with minimal after-taste. A few times I swore I tasted some slight “musty” flavors toward the back of the palate that one would expect from a Belgian but it didn’t seem constant so was very hard to pin down.

Verdict: It did strike me as a tad watery in places although this may have just been too excessive chilling, as it did grow on me the further down i got. All in all a very smooth session lager for lazy summer days.

Score: 7.2 / 10

Link: Barons Brewing

Related Beers: Barons Black Wattle Ale

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Murrays Pilsner 4.8% Alcohol

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

murrays_pilsner

New South Wales may lag behind Victoria in the number of craft breweries we have, in my opinion though it doesn’t matter as we are lucky enough to have my favourite brewery in Australia, Murrays Craft Brewing Co. Located at Port Stephens north of Newcastle, Murray’s head brewer Shawn Sherlock is constantly pushing the boundaries with beers that taste great but never seem to fit exactly within a style.

That said when I saw a bottle of Murrays Pilsner sitting unloved in the fridge at Vintage Cellars I had to buy it! Pouring the bottle into a glass gave a cloudy straw coloured brew with a medium sized head around 2- 3 cm high which slowly subsided over the space of 10 minutes. The aroma was very full on, packed with pine, clove, herbal and floral notes straight after pouring. With bread notes coming through later after the majority of volatiles wafted away.

On the palate this beer has a somewhat oily mouth feel and leads with a big hops hit that just seems to keep building right to the back of the palate, with a slight malt sweetness that shines though around mid way. The flavours that come across are very similar to the aroma with big grapefruit, passion fruit and pine flavours, whilst finishing dry and crisp.

Verdict: This beer is very heavy hitting on the flavour front, after the first sip i thought this beer was not for me due to the intensity. But it did seem to mellow as it warmed and had one me over only a few sips later.

Score: 7.8 /10

Link: Murrays Brewing Company

Where to buy: I have seen this Pilsner for sale at Dan Murphys and Vintage Cellars on occasion, both seem to stock bits and pieces of the Murrays range but it seems to be luck of the draw as to what is on sale during any given day.

Related Beers:

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Kosciuszko Pale Ale 4.5% Alcohol

Friday, November 13th, 2009

kosciuszko_pale_ale

Dr Chuck Hahn has recently left his post at the Malt Shovel Brewing Company and headed up to the Snowy Mountains to setup the Kosciuszko Brewing Company which falls under the Lion Nathan umbrella. Based at the Banjo Paterson Inn, and the Brewery can boast being the highest brewery in Australia!

Cracking a bottle and pouring it into a glass i was greeted by light amber coloured liquid with a nice tightly packed creamy white head around 1.5 – 2 cm in height which died away fairly quickly. The aroma of this brew is fairly inviting with brown sugar, toffeee and apple notes. On the palate the beer had a medium mouth feel, taste-wise it leads with toffee, caramel notes. Herbal and floral notes come through about mid palate as the hops assert their presence in the piece and toward the back honey accompanied with apple, melon and the odd hint of banana can be noticed. The beer finishes fairly dry with a slightly sweet tangy after-taste that is not at all unpleasant.

Verdict: Not bad but nothing fantastic either its a pale ale thats drinkable enough but nothing you would head too far out of your way to get.

Score: 7.2 / 10

Link: The Banjo Paterson Inn

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Red Oak Blackberry Wheat Beer – 5% Alcohol

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Red_Oak_Blackberry_Wheat_beer

This number comes in a smaller than average 250mL bottle, but they seem to have packed just as much flavour into this brew as a normal size bottle . Pours into a glass a cloudy purplish tan colour with a medium level of carbonation and a large fluffy loosely packed head. The aroma is great, straight after pouring a smell very reminiscent of apple cider is hard to miss although this seemed to dissipate quickly, leaving a bouquet filled with notes of rock melon and roses.

On the palate this brew hits hard and sharp bursting with fresh blackberry flavour, notes of tropical fruit mainly melons and citrus are also fairly assertive. A tang hits near the back of the palate, although this seems to calm down a bit as the brew gets warmer. Other than the tang the beer ends very clean leaving a lingering sourness that’s not unpleasant.

Verdict: Refreshing packed full of fruit flavour great for something different. One small bottle and i was feeling very satisfied though, great beer but after one my palate was feeling worn out.

Score: 7.6 / 10

Where to buy: The Red Oak Cafe is located at 201 Clarence St in the city CBD and is well worth paying a visit.

Link: Red Oak Beer Cafe

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Barons Black Wattle Ale – 5.8% Alcohol

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

barons_black_wattle

Pours copper in colour with a short lived head around 2 -3 centimetres in height and average amount of carbonation. Although the level of carbonation didn’t seem to last very long and it had all but vanished by the time i had finished the beer, although the lack of bubbles near the end seemed to have minimal effect on the taste.

The aroma was pretty restrained consisting mostly of toasted grain notes although a slight nuttiness and a touch of chocolate was also detected.
On the palate this beer exhibits a mildly creamy mouth feel accompanied by sweet toasted malt oriented flavours, butterscotch, caramel, brown sugar a touch of coffee, hazelnut and pepper. The after taste was slightly sweet with a mild butterscotch sweet tang.

Verdict: When this brew first came out i was intrigued about what flavours wattle seed could lend to a beer, brought a bottle and can’t remember being overly impressed. Seems my memory didn’t do it justice though and i found this bottle easy drinking with plenty more flavour than i remembered.

Score: 7.8 / 10

Where to buy: Pretty much any bottle shop around Sydney that has room to more than the default New, VB combo.

Link: Barons Brewing

Related Beers: Barons Lager

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Lord Nelson 3 Sheets – 4.9% Alcohol

Monday, October 12th, 2009

3_sheets_lord_nelson

Its been awhile since i have had this brew on tap and it was the first time i have tried it in a bottle. It poured clear, golden in colour, with a medium level of carbonation and a head around 2 fingers in size which slowly receded to a thin lace cover.

The aroma was mostly malt driven, with sweet caramel notes and the odd hint of basil and lemon. On the palate sweet malty flavours lead the way with caramel, toffee and butter scotch although it’s not too much work to notice hints of citrus and vanilla lurking in the background. The beer finishes crisp with a slightly sweet after taste.

Verdict: Easy drinking English style Ale, if your in Sydney there is no excuse to miss tasting it at its birthplace up in The Rocks at the Lord Nelson.

Score: 8.0 / 10

Where to buy: This beer is pretty easy to find around Sydney, you can get it from the Lord Nelson Hotel itself, The Australian Hotel or the Australian Wine Centre in Circular Quay.

Link: Lord Nelson Brewery

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