Sunday, 28 December 2014

Last Fortnight in Beer - 8th to 19th of December

Hey all, I'm back with a new blog, won't be quite as long as last week's giant essay, it's been mental at work and at home the last couple of weeks so I haven't had TOO many fun beers...

First, a shoutout to my Reddit Secret Santa, I recieved a big box of craft beer from them! Lots of great new beers to try!!

I figure how better to start this week's post than by sampling one of the beers I just recieved, so we'll begin with the Elysian "Superfuzz" Blood Orange Pale Ale:

If nothing else, a cool label

Pours a hazy, light orange colour. Aroma is of Apricot and citrus with a hint of pine, very standard American hops. On the palate, it's dominated by the apricot flavour from the hops, as opposed to the promised blood orange flavour, which is very slight. A lingering citrusy bitterness after the main flavour is long gone, which could well be from the Blood Orange. A very enjoyable pale ale, just not quite what I expected

Overall: 3.5/5

Next up, a newish beer from the team over at Stone and Wood. I've always been a big fan of the Stone Beer, and their Garden ale was great this year, so when I saw another limited release I was super keen, and while it didn't disappoint, I wasn't super impressed either

Metric pint bottle, imperial pint glass... D'oh!

Pours a clear, deep amber colour. Tropical fruity aroma that leads you to believe it'll be hoppy, but on the palate it's a bit lacking flavourwise. It's not bad by any means, but it's kinda... Bland and inoffensive with minimal hop bitterness. I guess it'd be a good entry level craft beer for someone used to macrobrew. Decent but nothing special

Overall: 3/5

Finally, I promised last week I'd review a couple of La Sirene's beers, so to start off we have La Sirene's Super Saison

One of the prettiest labels I've ever seen
Pours a clear golden colour with ample white head. Aroma is interesting, notes of citrus and saison yeast, along with some earthy hop spicyness. On the palate, a mix of sweet orange peel and spicy pepper/clove notes that fade into a rounded, earthy finish. As the beer reached room temperature, a little more of a wheaty character came through as well, giving it a seriously smooth finish. Highly recommended, great example of a saison!

Overall: 4.5/5

And to wrap up this week's reviews, we have an absolute cracker of a beer, this year's winner of Best Festival Beer at GABS, La Sirene's Praline

Like the aforementioned pretty label but holographic!

Right off the bat when you pop the cap, there's a mellow, chocolatey aroma. It only intensifies when poured into a glass, with some nutty notes coming through alongside the cocoa. Pours a dark, opaque brown, almost black, with ample, frothy, light brown head.

On first sip, it's almost immediately cloyingly sweet, like drinking melted chocolate icecream, but as it sits in your mouth some dry, roasty notes come through alongside an earthy hop bitterness to help balance out the flavour.

Overall the closest flavour I can compare to is that it's like drinking a choc-hazelnut mousse, it's absolutely delicious and perfect alongside a bowl of vanilla icecream.

Overall: 5/5

That's all for this week folks, next blog likely coming just before the new year, detailing many more of the beers that I've been drinking, as well as a bit on my trip to the Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong. 

Until next time!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Last 2 Weeks in Beer - 24th of November to 8th December

Hey All, long time no Blog. We're firmly in our peak period at work now and it's super hectic. But that doesn't mean I haven't had time to try plenty of awesome beers!

First up, I have to talk about the Warner's by the Bay Beer festival. I had the privilege of being asked to work at the James Squire stall for the festival, letting people try our small-batch summer ale, the Close Shave

Not pictured: The Blutack holding our jockeybox together

A single-hop summer ale using El Dorado hops, it's pretty damn tasty, but super exclusive, only being on tap at the brewery itself and our Newcastle bar, the Squire's Maiden.

Overall the festival was great, I made it my goal to try a beer from the majority of the stalls, and also really enjoyed working alongside members of our Craft Beer teams, including the National Craft Beer Ambassador and a couple of the Brewers from Malt Shovel. 

Early in the day, before the chaos really began

Festival aside, over the last few weeks I've bought an absolute stockpile of craft beer. I got a crate in from Beer Cartel, I bought another box of beers at Warner's Bottleshop, then I received my quarterly "Posse" case from Bridge Road, all in the space of about 2 weeks. 

Hence I had to try and drink my way through as much of my current stockpile as possible... if only to make room for new beers to fit into my fridge!

First off, we have one of the latest efforts out of Garage Project, a special project they've been working on called Hop Trial No 1 - IPA

World's most unassuming can

The boys over at Garage project collaborated with the New Zealand Plant and Food Research institute to cultivate a new hop, then brewed up a batch of IPA with it and sent it out across NZ and Australia for tasting.

Personally, I found the body of the beer to be a pretty standard IPA base, and clearly designed to let the hops shine. Aroma wise, I got a mixture of Citrusy and Tropical fruit. Flavour wise, it tasted somewhat tropical, and somewhat 'winey', in a similar way to Nelson Sauvign hops.

The results for this trial were released after I tried it, and looks like I stuck with the pack mainly:

Overall I really enjoyed the beer, and look forward to trying future hop experiments as well as (hopefully) more beer with this mystery hop!

Overall: 4.5/5

Next up, we have Bridge Road's latest offering, their Posse Summer Ale. This year they've gone for a Belgian "Grisette" Style, and it definitely proved a great summer beer!

Kitchen was too busy for a proper photo

I sat down in the sun with my father and a family friend Sunday afternoon and we shared a couple of rounds of these. The consensus was that it was the perfect beer for a hot, muggy day like Sunday was (Prior to the hailstorm at least).

Wow such hail, much ice
So back to the beer. Aroma wise, a mix of Belgian yeast and orange peel, almost saison-esque. On the palate it's similar, though the spicy noble hops come through, and there's a slight hint of bubblegum. Refreshing and accessible, yet interesting for a summer ale.

Overall: 3.5

Next up, one of the more unique beers I've ever had, if only for the oddest adjunct I've seen in a beer, Mikkeller and Napabier's "We Brew Gold" IPA

Ooh Shiny
Immediately out of the bottle, aroma of apricot with a bit of malt sweetness. On the palate it's got a nice sweet malt backbone, with a lingering fruity bitterness, and slight flavors of alcohol. A great IPA, but I expect nothing less from Mikkeller these days...

Plus it's literally loaded with enough gold flakes to almost make you question whether it's a hazard to your digestive tract!

I'm not sure I wanted all that in my body...
Overall: 4/5

Next, sticking with beers from Denmark we have the Garden of Eden Fruit IPA from To Ol. This is one of their typical West Coast IPAs, with an extremely fruity twist.

One of the prettiest beer labels I've ever seen
The best way to describe the aroma of this beer is 'mango smoothie'. Honestly, it smells like you just opened up a nudie juice. The flavour follows suit, with some fantastic fruit flavours that really dominate. You could be forgiven for thinking someone had handed you a glass of juice on your first sip! However after a few sips you start to get a building hop bitterness that helps to balance it out, and prevent the sweetness from becoming cloying

Overall, pretty damn tasty, and would be a great way to introduce someone who's hesitant to try big hoppy beers to IPAs, disguising the hops with some intense fruit flavours!

Overall: 4/5

And sticking with fruit beers from To Ol (Talk about specific!) we have their Fruited Barleywine "I've seen bigger than yours"

Unabashed sexual innuendo aside, the beer itself is actually one of the more interesting Barleywines I've ever had. I find a lot of barelywines kinda samey, the raisin flavours, the alcohol heat, the hints of fruit hops etc.

To Ol have decided to move away from that by fruiting up this Barleywine, adding Orange Peel and Raspberry Juice to the ferment to create something that's really quite unique.

Pours a hazy reddy-brown with light amber head. Aroma is your traditional sweet malt and booze, laced with raspberry and orange fruit aromas that help contrast the normal sweetness. To be honest, it almost smells like a Framboise!

On the palate, a real raspberry fruitiness is the first flavour you taste, which slowly melts away into a more traditional barleywine flavour, though the orange flavour lingers throughout, crating an overall more rounded flavour than I'm used to in the style. It's slightly syrupy, but the carbonation is just heavy enough to keep it from being sticky.

Overall, highly recommended for anyone who's a fan of Barleywines or Fruity beers, it's well worth tracking down a bottle!

Overall: 4.5/5

Stay Tuned for next time, I've got reviews of 2 La Sirene beers coming up including the winner of this year's GABS best in show!

Thanks for reading!

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...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Two New Moon Dogs

So last year, Melo and I were at Moon Dog shortly before they released the 2013 Jumping the Shark, and saw it ageing away in Barrels. I was so impressed with it I bought half a case, and I still have a couple sitting in the cellar waiting to be drunk. 

In the mean time, I've picked up a few bottles of each of Moon Dog's newest beers, Jumping the Shark 2014, and their 2014 Abbotsford Collaboration beer, the Abbey Collaby. Decided they both need reviewing, so I cracked open a bottle of each... for Science.

Starting with the 2014 Jumping the Shark:

Such yellow, very Saffron, wow

Pouring a deep red colour, the first thing that strikes you is the vibrant yellow colour of the head. The aroma is a blend of alcohol heat, some yeasty banana esters, then some truly sweet honeyish notes to top it off.

On the palate, strong syrupy toffee with some herbaceous notes that move through to some dark fruit and somewhat almond-like flavours. Towards the end, the alcohol kicks in for a slightly bitter, drying sensation. It's hard to describe the sweet sensation of the body of this beer, unlike just about anything else I've tried.

Overall a delicious, complex brew that I have no doubt will improve with age. I've put half a case of this bad boy in my cellar, and will continue to sample it as it mellows over the next couple of years.

Next up, we have this year's Abbey Collaby: Barley Wine which clocks in at a very respectable 10.6%, and is a collaboration brew by the Moon Dog, Mountain Goat and Matilda Bay Breweries.

The Photoshop job on the label is Ace

The nose was pretty sparse to begin with, though some toasty notes come through alongside vanilla and slight citrusy hops. Intensified as it warmed with the addition of some alcohol heat. 

Body is classic barleywine, some stone fruit and brown sugar flavours give a sweet initial flavour, backed by some grassy hop notes,  that moves through to a subdued alcohol heat.

Overall a great barleywine, but nothing amazing, and not quite as interesting as the JTS2014.

Thanks for reading guys!

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Last Fortnight in Beer - October 6th-18th

So I've been lazy and haven't done a write-up in 2 weeks, so here we have an extra long post detailing not one, not 2, but 4 commercial craft beers, I've had over the last 2 weeks, as well as a sneaky homebrew made by Melo and Myself.

We're starting this roundup off with a trip to the USA, with a taste of a Black IPA from one of America's most prolific craft breweries, Rogue.

Plenty of standards in one neat bottle

Dad's Little Helper clocks in at 6%, not particularly high for an IPA. The aroma is of rich dark malt with a hint of piney, leafy hops. On the tongue the first thing you notice is a hop spice, mellowing out to the chocolatey, toasty body. Body wise it's fairly thin for a dark beer, and very carbonated, stopping it from becoming overly rich. Enjoyable, but nothing amazing.

Next up we have Nogne O's 3rd edition Red Horizon, which this year sits at a very respectable 12.5%, though a little lower than least year's 13.5% outing.

Not pictured: The awesome tin it came in

The first thing you notice as you pour it is that it's basically flat, with only a smidgeon of head that doesn't linger. Aroma that's got a very sweet biscuity malt component, yet some fruity notes alongside an alcohol heat. On the palate you first notice the alcohol, which is then overrun by a mix of dark fruit flavours, and some ricewine-esque savoury notes. Overall highly recommended if you can find a bottle.

Next up, something a little different, we take a trip into the realm of Homebrews, and try out Melo and my very own Cherry Dubbel. Brewed a tad over a year ago, then left to sit on a big pile of Morello sour cherries for a couple of months, it's now headed for a year in the bottle, so I figured it'd be a great time to try some.

Not pictured: A label because we were too lazy to make one
Hard to describe initially. Pours a cloudy dark amber, in the aroma you get some sweet malt and belgian yeast character, with a distinct hint of sour cherry. On the palate it's initially sweet, with flavours of raisin and plum, leading into some spicier flavours that likely stem from the yeast. A tad of sourness too, remnants of the cherries it once sat on. Melo, if you're reading this, you need to crack out a bottle and tell me what you think of it!

Next, a beer a little more normal, Sierra Nevada's Flipside Red IPA.

The label isn't straight =(

Immediately out of the bottle you smell hoppy notes, a mixture of citrus and grassy notes. It pours a light reddy amber with a thick off-white head. Initial flavours in the mouth are caramel and toffee, a little bit of pine but nothing too hoppy. Personally, I found the hop notes to be overpowered by the malt backbone, though it's possible this isn't a particularly fresh batch.

Finally, I'll knock off with the heaviest beer I've had in a long time: Brew Dog's Cocoa Psycho:

A Russian Imperial Stout clocking in at a smidge over 10%, it pours an inky black colour with some of the darkest brown head you'll ever see. Straight away you can smell coffee and cocoa emanating from the glass, which only intensify as it warms up. Roasty malt flavours are the order of the day, as your palate is overrun by the oily texture, not unlike a strong espresso coffee. Ends with a well balanced bitterness, herbaceous but not in any way overpowering. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good dark beer.

That's the end of this review, tune in next time when I either keep writing about GABS, or do a roundup of the latest couple of beers to come out of Moon Dog... Haven't decided which to do next. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Very Belated GABS Recap - Day 1

It's a quiet Monday afternoon, so decided I should write a recap of what is probably the coolest beer related event I've ever been to, GABS 2014. 

Back in May, Tony and I jumped on a plane on a Thursday night and flew our way down to Melbourne to attend the Great Australian Beer show. I can safely say I drank more beer over a 3 day period that weekend than any other time in my life, and I'm sure Tony can say the same. The festival started off for us on Friday morning, and ended in a very hazy plane flight back to Sydney on Sunday night. 

Free Beer Stein!
As we walked in the door, we were handed our complementary beer steins and the guidebook, which listed all 111 festival beers, beers specially brewed for GABS by brewers across Australia and the world! GABS 2014 had showings from Europe, America, Canada and nearly every part of Australia, ranging from creme brulee porters to the strangest of barrel aged sours. 

We entered with one quest: To taste all 111 of these beers. And like all great quests, it had to start somewhere;

Paddle 1: Where it all began

Straight off the bat there was a scratched beer at number 5. This would prove to be a trend, with a number of beers having been scratched due to issues, whether with supply, flavour or even just logistics. In the end there were still over 100 beers, but not quite the expected 111. That didn't stop us wanting to taste each one though!

We quickly discovered however that this wasn't going to be easy. Every beer cost one ticket, and we each recieved 10 tickets on our way on. 20 tickets vs 111 beers just wasn't going to cut it. Enter buying whole sheets of tickets at once...

Literally a $100 note

Throughout the show we managed to go through 3 full sheets of tickets in addition to the ones issued to us on the way in... Yikes. Part of the reason we used so many tickets was that in addition to the festival beers, plenty of breweries had stalls where they were showing swathes of other beers not on the main list. One of my favourite NZ breweries, Garage Project, had a particularly cool one:

Definitely the coolest looking stall
Awesome selection

They had put heaps of effort into creating a real spectacle for GABS, which included the giant stall, a full fledged comic about their 2 beers and the monsters inspired by them, and a pair of awesome masks. They also had special editions of some of their beers, such as the Triple Day of the Dead which was simply amazing. 

Pictured: Actual monster fight

Throughout Day 1, we tried about 60 beers, ~45 of them being from the main range of festival beers. This put us well on the way to hitting our goal across 3 days. But we knew pace was key.

Standouts from Day 1 were:

Beer 1 - 2 Brothers Creme Caramel
A desert 'Ice Ale' that really had the cloying sweetness of a creme caramel, while still being recognisable as a beer. A great way to start off the show with something completely different from the norm, although it set the tone for some of the best beers in show

Beer 10 - Bacchus Brewing Rocky Road
Another sweet beer, this one with definite flavours of peanut and somehow, marshmallow. No clue how they did this, but I do know I'd love to try it again some time.

Beers 17+18 - Bootleg + Thirsty Crow PB + J
These were 2 separate beers designed to be had side by side or blended. The PB was very peanutty and almost salty, and the J just tasted like a slightly sour glass of strawberry jam, but together... Together these were almost the beer of the show for me. Absolutely divine, like taking a bite of a real PB+J sandwich.

This board basically defined Day 1

Stay Tuned for day 2 and more beer related shenanigans as Tony and I pursue the ultimate goal; to drink every single festival beer!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Last Week and a half in Beer - September 22nd - October 1st

So after an extended hiatus, I'm back once again on my beer blog, decided that I should actually do some better commentary than my 50 words or less Untappd reviews. Also, my beer fridge is overflowing right now, and hopefully if I start blogging again I'll have an excuse to drink more of it

Literally overflowing with craft beer
So without further ado, let's start with a great beer from my Favorite Kiwi brewery, Garage Project. Their Pan Pacific Amber Ale sat in my fridge for a few weeks after I bought it. I was in the mood for hoppier IPAs, a few of which I'll review further down, and kept bypassing it because I assumed it'd just be a mostly malty affair with no real interesting hops. But a couple of nights ago I gave it a chance, and boy was I wrong.

Even the label is amber

Straight out of the bottle it smells super malty, real toffee aromas coming through, along with some solid coconut, but some tropical fruit is hiding in there as well. Pours a rich amber colour with a slightly browned head, as you can see above.

The initial flavour is of biscuit malt and oats, but then the hop bitterness cuts through to stop the malt becoming overwhelming. The blend of Galaxy and Motoueka creates a great tropical fruit flavour, and blends nicely with the hint of coconut that comes through at the end.

Overall a fantastic, interesting beer that I'm kicking myself for letting sit in my fridge for so long.

Next up, we stick with the tropical fruit theme, but double it, with the Liberty Brewing C!tra Double IPA

May have overfilled the glass a tad

Out of the bottle looks like your standard American IPA, a golden orange colour with frothy white head, but the hop aroma is overwhelming! Passionfruit, Citrus, and Grapefruit all come through leaving no room for any discernible malt character

The flavour follows suit, almost like drinking a tropical fruit juice rather than a beer at first, while the bitterness slowly catches up. Very slick on the palate, you do get a bit of malt character to help sweeten up the flavour, but the hops really do dominate.

A great showcase of what you can do with Citra hops!

Next, we take a sojourn away from the hoppy, and into the land of yeast driven beers with the Ommegang Hennepin - Farmhouse Saison

It had a cork!

In the glass it's a hazy straw colour with plenty of thick, off white head that smells somewhat of apricot, a little earthy and has a distinct hint of farmhouse funk.

The first thing I noticed on tasting was the mouthfeel, more like a champagne than a beer with plenty of tiny bubbles throughout. The flavour is citrusy and a tad grassy, with a definite note of funk, but it's not overpowering like in a lot of other saisons. Also definitely doesn't taste like it's nearly 8% ABV, it's hidden by the freshness of the flavours.

Overall an extremely refreshing Saison.

Finally, we head back into the world of hops with the Emelisse TIPA

Not pictured: 10% ABV warning

The phrase "Triple IPA" is always mildly intimidating, as you expect a beast in both ABV and bitterness, and the Emelisse doesn't disappoint. Clocking in at 10% ABV and a smidgeon over 100 IBU, she's an IPA to wrestle with.

Pours a deep reddy amber with sparse head, the aroma is a mix of grapefruit from the hops, a little caramel malt and a good measure of alcohol heat. On the palate it's similar, with the caramel of the malt dominating over the alcohol, allowing the hops to shine through with a bit of fruit to start, and a solid whack of bitterness on the followthrough.

Overall, a great TIPA that's not overpowered by alcohol heat, but rather a balanced mixture of malty body and strong hop bitterness.

That's all I've got time to write this week, but I'll try to make sure I write a new post at least once a fortnight, and hopefully I can write about some of our upcoming beers from work!