Brew Boys – Ace of Spades 5.9% Alcohol

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I have always been a big fan of the consistently high quality beers that Brew Boys produces. Two months ago I walked for an hour in the the winter rain to the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst to grab a pint of the Ace of Spades while they had a Brew Boys showcase on, and given the weather this beer didn’t disappoint one bit. The only problem was after tasting it was how was I going to get my hands on some more of the stuff? Luckily a friend had a few bottles spare so I was able to taste again and give it a proper review.

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RIP Thomas Angrove – Inventor Of The Wine Cask

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The ABC has reported that Thomas Angrove a South Australian winemaker and the inventor of the Wine Cask has unfortunately passed away aged 92.

The wine cask has a rich history being first patented back in 1965 by Thomas Angrove, although the early models required the consumer to cut a corner of the bladder first to access the wine inside. All this ended though in 1967 when Penfolds Wines patented a plastic air tight tap which provided the missing piece of technology to achieve boxed wine perfection.

Ever since the humble wine cask has grown in popularity. Large wineries loved the cask from its inception as it is inexpensive, easier to transport, handle and more environmentally friendly when compared with glass bottles. Whilst consumers loved the convenience, value for money, the awesome effect up to 40 standard drinks can have on a person and the fact the bladder could be blown up and used as a pillow for a little lay down after a long day of merry making.

For years wowsers and do-gooders have decried the ever affordable wine cask as the downfall of society. Legions of young people on the other hand have always appreciated its low low price and its ability to be carried easily to any far away house party.

This notoriety has elevated the wine cask to a special place in the hearts of generations leading to its own nicknames such as goon bag, the Redfern briefcase, chateau cardboard, and the Penrith handbag. The wine cask has even allowed Australians to advance in the arena of backyard sporting with the great time (and people) wasters Goon of Fortune otherwise known as Wheel of Goon and slap the bag.

R.I.P Thomas Angrove people across the world salute your contribution to the alcoholic arts.

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Gulf Brewery – Humpback Pale Ale – 4.2% Alcohol

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

In a glass the Humpback Ale appears an orange / amber colour with an above average level of carbonation, and a head around 1cm in height which didn’t hang around for long before subsiding down to nothingness. On the nose this brew is fairly restrained with some slight citrus, caramel and straw aromas coming through.

On the palate malt driven caramel and toffee notes take the lead with the mild english hops kicking in around the halfway mark adding marmalade, tobacco and some citrus notes. Further toward the back a lot of smoke flavours seem to appear before ending slightly sweet with a heavy citrus twang.

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting the smokiness at all and for the first few sips found it a little too aggressive. Further along though my palate seemed to adjust and it added a nice bit of complexity to the flavour. Overall a great English style Pale Ale, which I look forward to enjoying again!

Score: 8.0 / 10


Where to buy: This beer is available from the Australian Hotel located in the Rocks.

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Lobethal Bierhaus India Pale Ale – 5.2% Alcohol

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The label on this bottle reminds me of one of the imported German lagers you find in the imported section of the bottle shop but the contents couldn’t be farther away from one if it tried. In a glass the IPA poured a bright copper colour covered with a medium sized rocky off white coloured head, which quickly died down to an above average lace covered around 3-4 mm in height. The aroma straight out of the bottle gave away the hop load in this brew with pronounced pine, grass and floral notes predominating but after being allowed to sit a minute or two these blew to reveal the malt driven caramel and bread notes from the base.

On the palate dried fruit, apricot, caramel and biscuit notes led the way with the hops kicking in around midway across the palate. With earthy pine, citrus, floral and citrus flavours taking the spotlight. The beer itself also had a slightly foamy mouth feel which was very pleasant although in my opinion the hops seemed a little restrained for an IPA.

Score: 7.6 / 10

Verdict: The overall balance of this brew seemed a little out of whack to me, although I loved the rich malt base that shines though. Overall I thought it was an enjoyable change of pace.

Link: Lobethal Bierhaus

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Steam Exchange – Steam Ale 4.8% Alcohol

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009


Steam beer as a style is fairly old and harks back to the early days of the Californian Gold Rush. In the 1840’s the popularity of lager beer was growing and after a hard day trying to strike their fortune in the hills a good portion of the miners wanted a nice refreshing crisp lager to unwind with. The problem was lager requires cold temperatures during its fermentation and maturation and California in the days before refrigeration didn’t have have access to the same climate as the caves found in lager’s native Germany. Brewers therefore eventually got desperate and tried using lager yeast in their brews anyway whilst fermenting as normal at the same temperatures Ale is made at, resulting in the creation of Steam Beer! Some people didn’t mind it in the end, and in some areas it even caught on and became sought after.

The Steam Exchange brewery is situated in South Australia at Goolwa and given the name of the brewery it seems only appropriate for them to make a “Steam Beer”. Decanting a bottle into a glass displays a clear bronze coloured liquid, with a fairly high level of carbonation and a nice large creamy head riding atop. The head ended up being 3 – 4cm’s tall and took a good 5 minutes to die right down to a nice lace covering.

This beer is brewed in open fermenters which i think contributes a lot to the complexity of the brew’s aroma. It is sensational with toffee, caramel, mango, melon, nectarine, floral and citrus notes being fairly easy to detect. On the palate this beer is big and malty with a big hop hit that starts at the front of the palate and seems to increase all the way to the back. A lot of the flavours are contributed by the malt with butterscotch, caramel and brown sugar leading the way but herbal and citrus notes also accompany.

Verdict: Great aroma, very easy to drink yet complex enough to keep you interested. I loved this beer very tasty!

Rating: 8.1 / 10


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Knappstein Lager 5.6% Alcohol

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

knappstien_lagerToday is the last day of June and in preparation for “Dry July“, which supports adults living with cancer, i decided to have one last beer while i was still allowed. I had a hard decision to make, after all the beer chosen would have to keep me satisfied for the next 31 days till August 1st!
Finally after 5 minutes of umming and ahhing i settled on a Knappstein reserve lager, it had a nice looking bottle, at 5.6% packed a tad extra alcohol in and being a lager i figured worst case scenario it should still be pretty smooth to drink.

Emptying the bottle into glass only helped reinforce in my head i had made the right choice. The beer was lightly carbonated, crystal clear with a brilliant golden colour. On the nose the aroma was bursting with fresh tropical fruit smells, the most predominate to me being mango.

On the palate the beer was light, full of tropical fruit and lemon flavors accompanied by a slight bitterness from the hops which helped offset the sweetness from the fruity tastes. The aftertaste was very clean bar a slight lingering fruit flavor.

Verdict: This beer was extremely easy to drink, and i definitely wont pass up the opportunity to try it again.

Score: 8.3 / 10


Where to buy: I am not currently aware of any retailers in the Sydney area. Although you can buy it online from the wineries online store. It’s fairly expensive at $58 for half a case but well worth a try at least once.
If you just want to try one, Knappstein Lager can also be found behind the bar at The Australian Hotel located in The Rocks.

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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 areĀ  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 BeerĀ  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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McLaren Vale Ale, 4.5% Alcohol – South Australia

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Ever since i got this beer, i have been busting to taste it, unfortunately though it had to wait a couple of weeks. Still as they say good things come to those who wait and this beer didn’t disappoint.
Once in a glass this brew presented itself as lightly carbonated, bright gold in colour, with a loosely packed head which quickly died down to a scant covering over the liquid.
The aroma exhibits citrus notes and really gives away the presence of cascade hops. The taste of this beer is extra clean, slightly sweet with citrus, floral notes and an almost non-existent aftertaste.

Verdict: This beer was made for a hot summers day, ultra smooth you could drink these all day with out growing tired of the taste.

Rating: 7.2 / 10

Link: Vale Ale

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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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