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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Londons Best – Gage Roads W.A 4.4% Alcohol

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Gage Roads London's BestI have been keen to try something from Gage Roads for quite awhile. I  seem to see signs advertising the brewery itself around quite a bit, but never run across the beer itself. So i was very happy two bottles of the London’s Best English styled bitter arrive in this months micro brew club delivery.

Upon pouring, this brew displayed a brief off white head which quickly disappeared, the beer itself is a deep cooper colour with very little carbonation. The aroma consists mainly of toffee aroma’s with a faint hint of citrus.

Toffee / caramel flavours dominate the taste of this brew with a medium bitterness and buttery character. Aftertaste consists of a slightly sweet flavor accompanied  by a mild caramel flavour.

Verdict: This beer has a nicely balanced malt profile, and definitely seems to grow on you. I tried one bottle was hesitant starting out, but by the end could kill for another. It’s not too heavy so i think this beer wouldn’t wear its welcome out too quick.

Rating: 7.3 / 10

Link: Gage Roads Brewing Company

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Old Admiral Ale 6.1% Alcohol

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed this beer many times on tap at the Lord Nelson hotel in The Rocks area of the CBD. But until yesterday had never seen it for sale in the bottle, all of this changed when i wandered into the Australian Wine Center at Circular Quay for a look and saw it nestled up the top of the beer fridge. Seeing it in bottle form was too much to handle! I decided i had to drop what i was doing and give it a proper tasting as all the times i have tried it previously my judgement has been a little bit skewed by previous beers enjoyed.

Pouring the dark brown coloured beer into a tasting glass showed a lively head which quickly subsided, leaving the liquid with a thin covering of light brown foam. The aroma was rather gentle, consisting of toasted grain containing nutty hints.

Upon tasting the drinker his hit in the front of the tongue with a sharp blast of bitterness that then seems to smooth out mid palate with flavors of coffee and caramel. Which then fades to leave a slight bitter aftertaste accompanied by a gentle sweetness.

Verdict: A very easy drinking beer with plenty of flavour. Maybe not for everyone, but one or two of these adds a welcome interlude to an afternoon session.

Rating: 7.1/10

Link: The Lord Nelson Brewery

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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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