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!

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