Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Last couple of weeks in Beer - January 12th - 21st

Hey all, welcome back to our regular programming, had a short break over Xmas but now it's business as usual. To start off, I bought a few new beers!

Moon Dog & Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Doctor's Orders and Mikkeller. Heaven

Pretty excited for all of the above, the Narwhal and Hand & Seal have gone into my cellar to age a bit, while the other 4 are now waiting in my fridge for someone to crack them open... Can't wait.

I also got a couple of other beers last week, including 2 huge double IPAs, one from the boys at Moon Dog, and one Air-freighted directly from the US to Aus so it'd still be fresh. Reviews of both forthcoming below, as well as a couple of nice dark beers I've had to try and get through this freezing, rainy summer.

To start off, we'll go with the Jammy, fruity IPA from Moon Dog, Marmajuke Double IPA:
I feel like "Marmaduke" normally has a D... But that's none of my business
Aroma is sweet and kinda jammy, real orange aroma comes through. On the palate it's similar, with a sweet orange layer over the top of a base that tastes very similar to Jukebox Hero, Moon Dog's regular IPA. In this case, the orange really adds to the beer, contrasting the piney and herbaceous hop notes and creating a really tasty double IPA! The sweetness also helps to hide the alcohol, there's no way you'd pick this as 8.4%

Overall: 4.5/5

Next up, we have one of the most absurdly pricy beers I've ever bought, although I think it almost might have been worth it... Introducing Stone's Enjoy By 02.14.15 (14th of Feb for people who use proper date formats) IPA.

I have until the 2nd of Smarch to drink it, awesome!
As soon as the bottle is open, and even more son once it's in the glass, this beer smells hugely of pine resin with a hint of grapefruit. 
Flavour wise it's a big, bold Double IPA, the pine and grapefruit notes come through as strongly as in the aroma, with a big dry hop bitterness coming through at the end to balance it all.
A really fantastic example of a double IPA, possible the best I've ever had. If we're going to be getting more beers like this express airfreight from the US l'll be a very happy man!

Overall: 5/5

Now onto the dark beers, we'll start off with an old favourite of mine that I've finally decided to review, then onto a beer that's spent the better part of the last 12 months in my cellar, waiting, always waiting.

So first up, we have Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout - Double Chocolate, Coffee and Oatmeal Stout:

Apparently this label has been banned in parts of America for having a child on it... 
Pours from the bottle a opaque, pitch black. Aroma is super roasty with notes of black malt, coffee and chocolate all melding together. Body is extremely thick, almost chewable. Flavour is a real bittersweet blend of the roasty, tannic coffee and malt notes contrasting the sweetness from the chocolate and oats. 
Fantastic stout with some great sweet notes, worth picking up for any lover of dark beers!

Overall: 4.5/5

Finally, we have a bottle of moderately aged Brooklyn Black Ops. Hidden in the depths of my cellar for a year, I had to pull it out to make space for some new arrivals and decided a freezing cold summer weekend was as good a time as any.

This beer doesn't actually exist. You never saw it.

In the glass, a black-brown colour with ample brown head. Aroma is far more savoury that the above breakfast stout, roasty dark malt mixed with an oaky vanilla and maybe even slight leather.
Body is silky smooth, more savoury than sweet, a little more leather mixed with bourbony vanilla and oak all on top of a bittersweet black malt backbone make for a tantalizingly complex stout!

Overall: 5/5

Thanks for reading everyone! Ill be back again soon, having tried a few more bottles from the wonderful collection of beer that is my fridge.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Xmas 2014 in Beer - The quest to find a Furphy

Hey all, so rather than writing my usual set of beer tasting notes, I've decided today to do a recount of my epic quest to track down the elusive 'Furphy' beer that I'd been selling for months but had never seen nor tasted, and I wasn't OK with that at all! 

The quest started on December 28th, the day after Boxing day. After having our big Cowell family Xmas lunch the day before, the ladies of the family had run off to go shopping, leaving the blokes to sit around and watch day 2 of the Boxing Day test:

Pictured: Us clinching the series with a decisive... draw
When we hit lunch, I decided it was time for us to leave Queenscliff, and make the journey over to Geelong to track down the Little Creatures brewery, and the treasure, Furphy. 30 minutes later, we were there

Yes I was too lazy to get out of the car, thanks for asking
From a distance, the brewery is pretty unassuming, having been built in the old Wool factory, but the main chimney stands up high and is visible from miles away!

We headed along the walkway from our car to the brewery, stopping along the way to check out some of the cool decoration, until we found ourselves in a lovely leafy courtyard

I checked inside for Furphy but found only rust. Sadness
I think the pot to the left is watching me...
The rest of the family grabbed a table, but I headed inside to check out the bar. The setup they have is quite cool, a joint dining hall and bar that even has a 50L brewing system installed in one of the walls!

A pretty nice bar setup if I do say so myself
I would kill for a system this good
I finally got to the front of the queue at the bar, when I saw it; Furphy on tap! I grabbed a round and headed outside to sample Furphy for the first time!

Couldn't help having a sip before the photo... oops
In the glass, Furphy is a pale golden orange colour with ample white head and solid lacing. Aroma is a mix of floral and fruity notes with a little bit of sweetness. 
Bodywise, it's very light and only lightly carbonated.
On the palate, it's initially light, floral and a tad grassy before the hops come through, showing some stone-fruit flavours and adding a solid amount of bitterness. 
Overall, a fantastic Kolsch-style beer that's flavoursome but still light and super sessionable.

Overall: 4/5

I soon realised I wouldn't be happy just having one of these awesome beers, so I headed inside to search for pack beer. At first it seemed hopeless, there was literally every other Creatures beer available except for Furphy...

All the beer in the world but no Furphy...
Until I realised I'm completely blind and it was sitting in the entranceway to the bar the whole time.

Victory is mine!

I grabbed a case and headed back to Queenscliff victorious. However it turns out that no matter how hard you try, you can't fit an entire case of beer in a piece of carry-on luggage. 2 6-packs made the trip back to Sydney with me, while the other 2 went to family members who I know were eager to enjoy a fairly unique beer!

I'm hoping I can bring a 6-pack into work and run a small tasting for anyone who's keen in the near future, Lion People, keep an eye on this space!

Thanks for reading guys, I'll try to get back to my normal bi-weekly blogs starting now, so keep an eye out for my next post!