Beer reviews: Aguide to beerphotos

Written by admin on 27/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

A Newcastle Herald guide to beer | photos Stout, Hargreaves Hill, Hargreaves Hill, Yarra Valley, 6.2%, $6.803.5 STARS

广州桑拿

Ola Dubh 18, Harviestoun, Scotland, 8%, $14.80, 330ml4.5 STARS

Cleansing Ale, Two Metre Tall Brewery, Derwent Valley, Tasmania, 5.0%, $8.90

Scotch Ale, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, VIC, 5.8%, $6.90 (330ml)3 STARS

Pale Ale, Mudgee Brewing Co., Mudgee, NSW, 4.4%, $6.40 (330ml)2.5 STARS

James Squire, Sydney, 5.0%$3.99 per 345ml bottle3 STARS

Vonu, Fiji, 4.6%$4.50 per bottle3 STARS

Black IPA, 4 Pines Brewing Co, Manly NSW, 4.3%$9.503 STARS

Beyond the Black Stump Wattle Seed Ale, Australian Beer Co., Yenda, NSW. 6.0%$93 STARS

Struman’s Organic Beer, Port Melbourne, 4.3%$19.99 six-pack2 STARS

2015 Château Aro, Garagiste Cru, Garage Project, Wellington, New Zealand, 11%$19.80 (650ml)4 STARS

Foggy Brew, Foghorn Brew House, Newcastle, NSW 5.0%$7 per schooner3.5 STARS

Batch Brewing Company, Marrickville, NSW, 8.2%, $18.99 (500ml)3 STARS

Hop Dog Beer Works, Nowra, 7.6%, $7.50 (bottle)2.5 STARS

Nomad, Brookvale, NSW, 9.5%, $10.99 (bottle)3 stars

XPA, Balter, Currumbin, QLD 5.0% $6 4 stars

Black Bones Dark Ale, Dusty Miner, Aberglasslyn, 5.0%, $5.503 stars

Ram Stein, Six String Brewing Co. Erina, 5.4%, $6.503.5 stars

3 Quarter Time Session Ale, Newstead Brewing Co., Newstead, QLD, 3.4%, $4.52.5 stars

Cannis Major IIPA Special Batch, Barossa Valley Brewing, Tanunda, South Australia, 8%, $7 3 stars

Magic Rock, Salty Kiss, Gooseberry Gose, Elsecar (UK), 4.1%, $7.993.5 stars

Farmhouse, New England Brewing Co, Uralla NSW, 5.5%, $10 3 stars

War Hog, Feral Brewing Co, Swan Valley WA, 7.5%, $73.5 stars

Christmas Saison, 4 Pines Kellar Door, Manly, NSW, 5.2%, $113.5 stars

La Sirène, TOØL, Two Metre Tall, Hunter Beer Co, Two Birds Brewing, Balter. 2016Rating 4 stars.

Pulped Fiction, Blood Orange IPA, Mountain Goat, 7.8%, $123 stars

Whisky Sour (Berliner Weisse), Sailors Grave Brewing, Orbost, VIC, 4.3%, $7.504 stars

Norman Australian Ale, Yullis, Surry Hills, 5.1%, $4.503 stars

Doss Blockos F#&K. the. rent, East 9th Brewing Co, St Kilda, 4.6%, $3.30 3.5 stars

JSP, Wolf of the Willows, Cheltenham Vic, 5.2% $53 stars

Tonic, Doctor’s Orders Brewing, Sydney, 4.5%, $4.50 2.5 stars

Chainbreaker White IPA,Deschutes, Oregon USA, 5.6%, $53.5 stars

PALE, Two Birds, Spotswood, VIC, 5%, $4.503.5 stars

Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, Oskar Blues, Colorado US, 10.5%, $7.504 stars

Drifter, Fortitude Brewing Company, Mt Tamborine, QLD, 4.4%, $53 stars

Pagan’s Empire IPA, Prancing Pony Brewery, Adelaide Hills, SA, 6.6%, $52.5 stars

Rare Ink Session Stout, Stockade Brew Co, Smearton Grange NSW, 4.4%, $4.703 stars

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facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappThe drinks we likeEVER wanted a bit of impartial advice at the bottle shop?

Let Weekender’s Daniel Honan be your guide.

Explore his beer reviews since July 2016 below, or get the quick version in the gallery above.

Happy tasting!

Stout, Hargreaves Hill, Hargreaves Hill, Yarra Valley, 6.2%, $6.803.5 STARS

Stout,Hargreaves HillThe Yarra Valley don’t only make wine, you know… Sure, it’s one of Australia’s best-known cool climate regions, capable of producing elegant chardonnay, stylish shiraz, and impressive pinot noir… but, wait! This is a beer column! This is not the space to marvel at the majesty of how such a simple thing as a grape can transform into a wonderfully complex liquid that cancause people to spend the rest of their lives hopelessly devoted to trying to understand this astonishing alchemy of nature… Apologies. Now, this beer, this Hargreaves Hill ‘Stout’ is bloody lovely. It pours out the colour of Milo and smells like baked plums, freshly roasted coffee, and salted dark chocolate. It has a soft, milky mouthfeel and deftly balances earthycinnamon and nutmegflavours with a bitter malt aftertaste. This is a delicious beer for winter.

Ola Dubh 18, Harviestoun, Scotland, 8%, $14.80, 330ml4.5 STARS

Ola Dubh 18, Harviestoun, ScotlandI ask you… who, in their right mind, spends $14.80 on a 330ml bottle of beer? What could be so special about a drink that, let’s face it, will be expelled within a matter of hours, that would cause someone to part with a lobster and only get a galah, plus a bit of shrapnel, in return? Well… me, and I hope a few others. Ola Dubh, pronounced ‘ola-doo’, is Gaelic for ‘black oil’. It’s 6-month-old black ale aged in casks that previously held 18-year-old single malt whisky. It’s beautifully black with a white coffee head. Its smells like rain soaked and steaming black tar, toffee, coffee, and Scotch. It feels like sump oil draining into a lightly carbonated vanilla milkshake and tastes of freshly roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, like an incredibly fancy Scotch and Coke. It reminds me of wintery afternoons hiding out in the Gold on Portobello Road.

Cleansing Ale, Two Metre Tall Brewery, Derwent Valley, Tasmania, 5.0%, $8.90

Cleansing Ale, Two Metre Tall BreweryFarmer/brewer, Ashley Huntington, has a mission to brew beers and ciders that taste, wholly and solely, from the place they are from. Every ingredient in this beer is grown in Tasmania, including the barley, the hops, the water, and, especially, the yeast strains, which spawn and spore on his 600ha farm by the Derwent River and provide his brews with a unique taste. This Cleansing Ale will challenge and fascinate the brave beer drinkers among you. It pours out a distinctively hazy amber with a frothy head that recalls one of Richie Benaud’s cream,off-white, or beige jackets. Effervescent bubbles belch strange odours of butterscotch, orange citrus, and stinky cheese. Definitively sharp, tart and sour; earthy, white peach and orange washed-rind cheese flavours embrace a gentle fizz with a lingering sweet n’ sour finish.

Scotch Ale, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, VIC, 5.8%, $6.90 (330ml)3 STARS

Scotch Ale, Red HillRed Hill is a beautiful part of Australia. A short ferry ride from Queenscliff to Sorrento and you’re in the coastal confines of Mornington Peninsula. Then, a shortdrive up Arthurs Seat Rd you arrive in the steep and rolling hinterland of Red Hill where you’ll find the origin of this delicious Scotch Ale beer from the aptly named Red Hill Brewery. A simple labelsuch as thismight go unnoticed in the fridge next to some of the louder labels from the craft beer universe, but I like the simplicity, and it’s the beer inside that counts, right? It pours out like waxed copper with a thin tan head and persistent lace. It smells reminiscent of caramel, wet dirt, almond husks and prunes. An unctuous and creamy mouth-feel delivers smoky, bitter chocolate flavours that meld with sweet toffee, cola and a subtle touch of black coffee.

Pale Ale, Mudgee Brewing Co., Mudgee, NSW, 4.4%, $6.40 (330ml)2.5 STARS

Pale Ale,Mudgee Brewing Co.The phrase ‘Mudgee Mud’ is sometimes (unkindly) associated withwines that come from Mudgee. But, in fact, ‘Mudgee Mud’ was the nickname of the beer brewed by the Federal Brewery. They started brewing back in 1891 and would use water from a nearby well that would leave a cloudy sediment in the beer, hence the nickname. Thankfully, now, Mudgee’s town water supply is truly connected and, judging by the bright gold colour in the glass, Mudgee Brewing Co. use it to full effect in thispale ale. It pours out in a white foam fury that takes time to settle down, leaving a series of holes in the head, like a wedge of Swiss cheese. It smells like sawdust covered hops and nectarines and has a turbulent taste of lemons, salt, sweat, and bitter hops. Regrettably, it’s refreshment that lacks refinement.

James Squire, Sydney, 5.0%$3.99 per 345ml bottle3 STARS

Hop Thief, James SquireWHATsome craft brewers in Australia would do to have the marketing budgetthat James Squire and his Malt Shovel Brewery have attheir disposal. The goodie bag that got handed out alongside samples of Squire’slatest, the Hop Thief 8, featured a large branded hessian sack with asmaller hessian sack inside, filled with dried pellets of Crystal and Cascade hops. This beer is copper orange in colour with an off-white, thick andpersistent head. It smells like chipboard crushed white florals, spicy mandarinand melon. Good carbonation with a satisfying mouth-feel. Not as hoppy asexpected, yetit still has that sticky, resinous taste laid underneath tropical fruitnotes, typical of most American Pale Ales. Knock this 8 over for infiniterefreshment.

Vonu, Fiji, 4.6%$4.50 per bottle3 STARS

Vonu, FijiAh, Saturday… Sunday’s Friday. For some of us, it’s the day of the week when time shifts, slows down, and we can relax, knowing that the working week is behind us and the weekend is right in front of us. Unless, you happen to be a farmer, or work in hospitality, orwork shiftwork, or own your own smallbusiness, or housework to do, or grocery shopping… Once you do find the time to unwind, you’re gonna need a beer like this. One that’s been brewed in Fiji, using tropical Fijian water, on Fiji time. It pours out a clear amber colour with a slightly off-white head. It smells clean and subtle, like a bowl of dried fruits and rice bubbles. It tastes like a tropical sea breeze, crisp with a trace of honey and hibiscus. Highly sessionable and made for slowing down.

Black IPA, 4 Pines Brewing Co, Manly NSW, 4.3%$9.503 STARS

Black IPA, 4 Pines Brewing CoNOWthat we’re on our way back towards the sun, the time for popping off the top of a comforting dark beer is fast running out. Bysummerwe’ll all be wanting to get our hands on a golden coloured, crisp, light and refreshing summer ale or lager, like a Fosters Light Ice, for example … What if you could still enjoy the refreshing benefits of a lighter style beer while indulging your passion for beer’s dark side? This ‘Black IPA’ sully’s the glass with the colour of old motor oil and froths with a thick and foamy, dirty white head. A sting of pine needles, stone fruits and burnt caramel pry’s the sinuses wide open, followed by a slug of charred hops and citrus soaked in tea and coffee with a dark chocolate dissolve carried on a smooth, crisp mouthfeel. Light Ice for the damned.

Beyond the Black Stump Wattle Seed Ale, Australian Beer Co., Yenda, NSW. 6.0%$93 STARS

Beyond the Black Stump Wattle Seed Ale, Australian Beer Co.DIDyou know that the Australian Beer Co. is owned by Coca Cola Amatil? I needed to make that clear before you start assuming it’s a true-blue-dinky-di-Aussie-battler of a brew company. (To be fair, the people working at the company’s HQ, in Yenda, probably are.) Despite that, I bloody love this beer. It pours out the colour of golden syrup with a thin white head that dissolves fast. It smells like bush honey and vanilla bean, hazelnuts, cut grass and, you guessed it… wattle. Immediately pleasing on the palate; honey biscuits and fleshy yellow nectarines dispatched by a creamy carbonated mouthfeel make this one of the more morish beers I’ve tasted recently. Go forth, beyond the black stump…

Struman’s Organic Beer, Port Melbourne, 4.3%$19.99 six-pack2 STARS

Struman’s Organic Beer, Port MelbourneI’Ma fan of eating and drinkingthings that aregrown and produced without the use of synthetic petro-chemicals. I’m also a big fan of people who go to the trouble of producing something that is inherently better for the environment.Struman’s ‘Dry’ beer is made from certified organic ingredients, and is low-carb, and therefore, “better for you”. It pours out a light, airy gold colour with decent carbonation and a cloud-white head that disappears fast. White crackers, mild malt and table grape aromas lead to a taste of tonic water, dried lemons and mixed nut flavours carried on a tinny mouthfeel. Full marks for the environmental benefits, but low-carb, organic, or not, taste trumps everything and this lacks too much flavour to be a certified thirst-quencher.

2015 Château Aro, Garagiste Cru, Garage Project, Wellington, New Zealand, 11%$19.80 (650ml)4 STARS

2015 Château Aro, Garagiste Cru, Garage ProjectASthe saying goes, “beer then wine and you’ll be fine”, but what if you want both at the same time? I would recommend this brew by our bru’s from across the dutch. It’s an aged-release beer brewed with pinot noir juice, grown by Escarpment winegrowersin Martinborough. It pours out the colour of rich mahogany with a dusty beige head that fades fast. A whack of red-fruited vinous aroma underpins an earthy chocolate and dark cherry sweetness on the nose followed by a taste which is like a light red wine, but is more like strange savoury variants of malted choc-caramel and a dim dash of banana and vanilla with a creamy, almost juicy texture. Château Aro is an uncanny and utterly delicious union between grape and grain.

Foggy Brew, Foghorn Brew House, Newcastle, NSW 5.0%$7 per schooner3.5 STARS

Foggy Brew, Foghorn Brew HouseA FEW Sundays ago Istopped in at Foghorn Brew House, Newcastle to engage in a little R&D. I discovered that a tasting paddle is a good way to share a few brews with mates, otherwise, it’s a great way to let half your beers get up to room temp if you’re flying solo. There’s four beers in the Calm before the Stormpaddle -a hopped up wheat beer, a deliciously bitter ale, a smashable summer ale, and a lightly hopped dry pale ale. My number one draft pick went to the Foggy Brew: Solid gold with a white lace head and a heady springtime perfume; tropical fresh fruits, white florals and bright hops that’s mirrored in the mouth. The soft and light mouthfeel makes for a smooth and refreshing beer that’s best drunk slowly.​

Batch Brewing Company, Marrickville, NSW, 8.2%, $18.99 (500ml)3 STARS

Batch Brewing Company, MarrickvilleAre farmhouse ales and saisons the same thing? The 2015 Beer Judge Style Guidelines don’tmention farmhouse ales, except in the saison category. A farmhouse ale was an umbrella term for a lower alcohol beerfor the field workers to drink at lunchtime, typicallyfrom whatever ingredients happened to be in season (saison).So, often farmhouse ales were saisons. Batch categorise their La Moustache as being a farmhouse ale, but at 8.2% ABV I’m tempted to think it’s more like a saison. Confused? Me too.It pours out the colour of red amber with a brown sea-foamhead. Sweet mandarin and salt smells, also tea, malt and timber. More citrus tang in the mouth with a nutty undercurrent carried on a light and creamy mouth feel that leaves behind a bitter maple syrup finish. It’s betterwith food.

Hop Dog Beer Works, Nowra, 7.6%, $7.50 (bottle)2.5 STARS

Hop Dog Beer Works, NowraIs it a cider, is it a beer? Is it both? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. In the endless pursuit of flavour, I found this strange looking bottle with a slightly menacing image of a wide-eyed grey skull with its top lopped off, replaced by a star-cut Pink Lady apple that the label promised to be ‘an unimaginable literary melding of a kettle soured ale and a cider’. Sold. The label also said ‘best consumed within 3 months of bottling’, which was back in May. Oh. It pours out a shade of honey-coloured pee with almost no head and, from a distance, it strongly smells like a trough lolly. Eeep! Up close, it smells like tropical florals, hibiscus, and soured honey. Interesting. Put past the lips and it tastes like sour, slightly salty, carbonated apple juice… Perhaps, I should have found this back in June.

Nomad, Brookvale, NSW, 9.5%, $10.99 (bottle)3 stars

Nomad, Brookvale‘What’s it going to be then, eh?’ Baddiwad, or dobby? Perhaps, even real horrowshow? Well… I appy polly loggy that ‘gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh’, it’s not quite. Beethoven’s 9th, on the other hand, is. And, might I suggest that upon cracking open this here bottle of foamy black vellocet of boozy firegold that you turn up the banda on the old pop-disc that plays such “silverflamed”music of the “rarest spun heavenmetal”… it’ll make this form of Moloko plus taste even better on the old yahzick. Pitch black in the glass with an everlong coffee-coloured thick foam head, it smells of coffee grounds and tobacco, dark chocolate and an expectant whiff of resinous orange citrus lurking in the background. The taste of charred chocolate covered cinders in the rot, hot and ultraviolent. (With apologies to Anthony Burgess)

XPA, Balter, Currumbin, QLD 5.0% $6 4 stars

XPA, BalterBalter (bôl’ter) (v.): to dance gracelessly, without particular art or skill, but perhaps with some enjoyment. For example; “if your old man drinks enough beer, he’s likely to begin to balter at your sister’s wedding, later on”. Or, “I’ve just punched a shark in the face. I need a beer to calm the nerves. Chuck us a can of Balter!” Pro surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge had a hand in brewing this beer, called ‘XPA’, along with brewer, Scott Hargrave. It’s a pale ale where the ‘X’ stands for eXtra. It froths white foam from the moment the can is cracked and swells with sweet tropical fruit and floral scents on a fresh coastal breeze. Golden and cloudy in the glass, it tastes of sliced melon on white crackers, hibiscus, and the white flesh of a crunchy green apple. It’s one satisfying sherbet.

Black Bones Dark Ale, Dusty Miner, Aberglasslyn, 5.0%, $5.503 stars

Black Bones Dark Ale, Dusty MinerStuart Duff is a top bloke. I’ve not met him, but if his beers are anything to go by, he seems like he would be a top bloke. For 20 years he’s been refining his home brewing skills. In 2014 heset out to build his own nano-brewery in Aberglasslyn. If you follow the Dusty Miner Facebook page, you’re likely to feel exhausted, what with the amount of beer, wine and food festivals he attends. And if that’s the case, you’re likely to want to drink a beer. His Black Bones Dark Ale is quite refreshing. It pours out like liquid coal with a foamy, caramel coloured head. It smells like leatherwood honey and burnt caramel. It tastes like singed tea leaves, dark chocolate covered coffee beans with a lick of clove. Nicely balanced, it’s a top beer from an opening batsman.

Ram Stein, Six String Brewing Co. Erina, 5.4%, $6.503.5 stars

Ram Stein, Six String Brewing CoThe continuing popularity of craft beers has meant that a few inexperienced brewers have begun to disappear up their own backsides with adventurous ingredient combinations, strange microbial fermentations, and worst of all, the excessive addition of hops, which can sometimes make a beer smell like you’ve tried to clean up a-late-night-drive-thru-spew with Pine O’ Cleen. Not Six String Brewing Co, and not their Munich malted Ram Stein. This Märzen style lager is amber gold with a foamy white head. It smells like honey drizzled malt biscuits, with a quiet spritz of citrus from backdrop hops, and tastes pretty much the same, save for a dry finish and a touch of mild bitterness that feels smooth, thanks to its compact carbonation.

Bitter and Twisted 2016Last weekend, the Bitter and Twisted Boutique Beer Festival celebrated 10 years and showcased some of Australia’s best craft brewers and their beers. What impressed me most was the number of local brewers at the festival, and, more importantly the quality of their beers. I must have tasted at least a thousand beers last Sunday (maybe, not really) but the ones that stood out to me most, aside from NOMAD’s Freshie Salt ‘n Pepper Gose, were the locals. In particular, Foghorn’s Brown Porter (bitter caramels), Dusty Miner’s 3 Daughter’s Red Ale (toasted, earthy red fruits) and Morpeth Beer Co’s Hefeweizen (sweet, cloudy refreshment). Also, Murray’s perpetually delicious Belgian Tripel bomb, Grand Cru (bubblegum, spice and glossy malts).

3 Quarter Time Session Ale, Newstead Brewing Co., Newstead, QLD, 3.4%, $4.52.5 stars

3 Quarter Time Session Ale, Newstead Brewing Co.There’s still a lot of debate around craft beers penchant for being too expensive, too weird, or too lofty in their ABVs. I certainly don’t like to shell out large amounts of lolly on beer, yet, I do admire adventurous flavours and realise crafting them can be expensive. I also prefer to have a few brews before bailing on beer, and moving on, without feeling too delirious. It’s why I have a soft spot for ‘session’ ales, provided they never, ever forsake flavour. This ‘3 Quarter Time Session Ale’, by north of the wall brewers, Newstead Brewing Co. is golden in colour topped out by a foamy white head. Bright tropical fruits, a spritz of citrus and a gentle waft of summertime grace the nostrils right before the mouth is left high and dry. It’s refreshing, sure, but a little watery and fairly dull, flavour wise.

Cannis Major IIPA Special Batch, Barossa Valley Brewing, Tanunda, South Australia, 8%, $7 3 stars

Cannis Major IIPA Special Batch, Barossa Valley BrewingToday I learned that the Barossa Valley is capable of making more than just big, gutsy reds. It’s also capable of making big, gutsy ales too. A Double IPA, ‘inspired by the great-dog-star-system’ to be precise. Boasting over 100 International Bittering Units with a malting regime to match and reaching a delirious 8 per cent ABV, this is not a beer for fans of XXX Castlemaine. It pours out a murky copper colour with a foamy tan head and smells of cut grass and cindered pine needles ashed over green apples and lemons. It tastes all herbal and grassy with some sweet grapey flavours and burnt caramel malts for balance then finishes dry, like a mouth full of clove. Despite the high ABV, it’s actually pretty refreshing, especially after it washes down a greasy cheeseburger.

Magic Rock, Salty Kiss, Gooseberry Gose, Elsecar (UK), 4.1%, $7.993.5 stars

Magic Rock, Salty Kiss, Gooseberry GoseIf it’s hot and humid, chances are you are going to look for a beer. You’re going to want a stylethat offers maximum refreshment. Get a gose (‘gos-ah’). Named after the river Gose, in Germany, this slightly salty style of beertypicallyturns the refreshment factor to five. UK brewers Magic Rock made their first foray into the realms of gose with this Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose. It’s a golden citric tincture bursting with effervescent smells of honey drizzled over oranges and feijoas that tastes like sour orange sherbet and lightly salted pineapple, white nectarine, and possibly a gooseberry (who even knows what one tastes like?). It’s a true summertime thirst-crusher that leaves your mouth feeling dry, but supremely quenched, when the humidity is high.

Farmhouse, New England Brewing Co, Uralla NSW, 5.5%, $10 3 stars

Farmhouse, New England Brewing CoWhile sitting for lunch at the recent Bitter & Twisted beer festival I found myself chatting with a lovely couple, who said they very much enjoyed reading this very beer column, and recommended a brewer: New England Brewing Co. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon their beer on a recent trip to Scone, where I tasted their Amber Lager. An excellent beer, perfectly balanced and flavoursome, but alas, not available in bottle yet. Their Farmhouse is though, and it’s just as good. Pouring out a murky, opaque orange with a frothy white head, it smells like sour citrus fruits, whisky, and Fun Dip sherbet and tastes of cumquats and bush honey, slightly funky, with a smooth, creamy texture and dry finish. A terrific summertime tipple thanks to a first-class tip off.

War Hog, Feral Brewing Co, Swan Valley WA, 7.5%, $73.5 stars

War Hog, Feral Brewing CoWhen the four horsemen of the Trumpocalypse finally comecalling at my door, I’ll be prepared. I have plenty of beer in the fridge, a small cellar stocked with wine, and enough gin, vermouth, and Cinzano to make many a half-decent Negroni for weeks. If it comes in the summer, beers will become the most important of all my adult beverages, and among those will be this aptly named War Hog by Feral Brewing Co. Light gold, it packs a punch with super tropical, floral aromas; like pineapple, passionfruit, hibiscus and elderflower. Its tasteis reminiscent of jacked-up Passiona, has tons of grapefruit flavours, and only a hint of pine-needle hop-iness. Very flavoursome and finely balanced for such a high ABV. So it’s dangerous. Really, the perfect drink for impending doom.

Christmas Saison, 4 Pines Kellar Door, Manly, NSW, 5.2%, $113.5 stars

Christmas Saison, 4 Pines Cellar DoorIt’s the day before Christmas (unless you’re reading this on an impromptu fish and chip wrapper, or a belated social post), so, you’d better have your festive beers sorted. If you’re running around like a good consumer, buying last minute things to fill up stockings and a seasonally amplified sense of emptiness brought about by the capitalist system, then, stop now, breathe and have a beer. For an assiduously secured thirst you’ll need a sizeably frosty beer, and the most seasonal beer is this, Christmas Saison by 4 Pines. Copper orange with a frothy head that’s as white as Santa’s beard, it smells of funky orange peel, nectarine and coriander and tastes like dried apricots and orange citrus candy covered in sweet and sour sauce.Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!

La Sirène, TOØL, Two Metre Tall, Hunter Beer Co, Two Birds Brewing, Balter. 2016Rating 4 stars.

The best mixed six of 20162016 will go down in infamy as the year we lost a fewheroes and gained somedisreputable villains. Thank the gods for beer. The yearbrimmed with an abundance of fantastic foam and froth such asLa Sirène’s Wild Saison, a heady mix of soft orange fruits and creamy textures. It wasnowhere near as reckless as TOØL’s Dangerously Close To Stupid, adeceptively smooth 9.3% ABV bomb. Two Metre Tall overlooked the haters to release aspectacular aged ale, A Farmer’s Resilience, all citrus zest and wet earth. Hunter Beer Co unleashed a salty chocolate explosion of seasonal flavour with theoutstanding Oyster Stout. Turning the refreshment factor all the way up, Two Bird’s Taco-inspired brew and Balter’s XPA both over-delivered on zesty

Pulped Fiction, Blood Orange IPA, Mountain Goat, 7.8%, $123 stars

Pulped Fiction, Blood Orange IPAThe path of the creative craft brewer is beset on all sides by the mass-produced model of production of evil men (accountants). Blessed is she who, in the name of taste and imagination, shepherds the flavour through the aisles of swill and dullness, for she is truly her brother’s keeper, and the finder of lost brewers. Mountain Goat’s single keg series beers are usually reserved for in-situ tastings only, andits availability is limited. An amber red body capped with a thin, off-white head reeks of citric hops and the sweet, mushy decay of overripe cumquats and mandarins. More soft orange citrus flavours in the mouth balanced by aggressive hop bitterness, followed by a flash of blood orange sweetness to finish. More sweetness, to curb the bitterness, would be nice.

Whisky Sour (Berliner Weisse), Sailors Grave Brewing, Orbost, VIC, 4.3%, $7.504 stars

Whisky Sour (Berliner Weisse), Sailors Grave BrewingThe palate gets bored too easily. It’s the brain’s fault. Apparently, our brains have evolved to be attracted to novelty. Dopamine, otherwise known as the ‘reward chemical’, is released by the brain in increased levels whenever novelty abounds. The search for the new, especially, new smells, tastes and textures, is part of the reason why I picked up this can of Whisky Sourby Sailors Grave Brewing (the other reason was the can’s magnificent shininess and artwork). Hazy pale gold in the glass with a frothy, bright white head, it smells of creamed honey spread on white bread, lemon butter and faint vanilla. Then, novel flavours of sour orange candy, crunchy nectarines and briny cherries tickle the glossal.

Norman Australian Ale, Yullis, Surry Hills, 5.1%, $4.503 stars

Norman Australian Ale, YullisWithout any prior knowledge of what a Yullis is, or might be (it’s a vegetarian restaurant in Sydney, btw), you could be forgiven for thinking the liquid that lies behind the kitsch Aussie label on this Norman Australian Ale willeither taste as boring as sipping Crownies at your uncle’s second wedding, or, be as ironically cool, but, still, nonetheless as gross as admitting you really do like the taste of VB. Not so, this is an approachable and tasty beverage. It pours the colour sun-bleached straw with a foamy white head and smells like green melons and yellow citrus with a touch of sweet grassy hops. It’s nicely balanced and will extinguish your thirst with bitter citrus and lychee flavours that’s well supported by a baseline of toasted maltiness. Two thumbs up.

Doss Blockos F#&K. the. rent, East 9th Brewing Co, St Kilda, 4.6%, $3.30 3.5 stars

F#&K. the. rent,East 9th Brewing CoDid you know that a particular word on the label of this beer, brewed by East 9th Brewing Co, is included in the top 10 most used swear words around the world? Such words, like the one on the label of this beer, account, for 0.7 per cent of the average English speaker’s vocabulary. So, what about the beer? Well, if you look past the stylistically inflammatory label and taste the liquid inside, you’ll find a brightly coloured, finely beading amber ale covered with a frothy white head that smells of fresh cut flowers and orange citrus lifted above honey and caramel malts. Creamy textures and sweet toasted orange flavours offset a light bitterness that makes this one easy drinking adult beverage.

Rare Ink Session Stout, Stockade Brew Co, Smearton Grange NSW, 4.4%, $4.703 stars

Rare Ink Session Stout, Stockade Brew CoThere’s nothing quite like a refreshing adult beverage after a hot day in the sun. Something to quench the thirst, assuage the core body temp, and revitalise the mind and mouth with composite flavours of charred toffee, chocolate and caramel. If you’re a fan of dark beer, as I am, it can be difficult to find one that’s fit for purpose in the warmer months. Monteith’s, schwarzbier style, Black Beer does the trick. As does this Rare Ink Session Stout from Stockade Brew Co. Rather than a dark lager, Rare Ink is a black pilsner, so it’s crisp and refreshing, but black and tan in colour, and stout-like in flavour: Smoky, caramel toffee on the nose, with a little bitter chocolate, it tastes like Americano coffee and burnt toast for breakfast, but feels light enough to slam it down fast. Great for slaking a summer thirst.

Pagan’s Empire IPA, Prancing Pony Brewery, Adelaide Hills, SA, 6.6%, $52.5 stars

Pagan’s Empire IPA, Prancing Pony BreweryPrancing Pony are the Supreme Champions of beer, having won the trophy for world’s best sherbet at last year’s International Beer Challenge. This, of course, means they can now compete against the other Supreme Champions from the seven other planets in our solar system, and potentiallywin and be crowned Super Supreme Champions of beer (and pizza). Then, they would be eligible to enter the highly coveted interstellar Galaxias Beer Competition. Perhaps they should enter this single IPA, called Pagan’s Empire. Clear amber in colour with an excitable tannish head, aromas of citrus blossom, cumquat, and caramel soaked resin, followed by smoky burnt orange flavours of smouldering pine and charred hops, with a fierce texture, in the mouth. Good luck!

Drifter, Fortitude Brewing Company, Mt Tamborine, QLD, 4.4%, $53 stars

Drifter, Fortitude Brewing CompanyAs, I think, the old saying goes, “you can get it liftin’, you can get it Driftin’, you can get it any old how,” as a matter of fact, I got it just the other day when I completed my first DeBeyers Drift of 2017. In case you haven’t heard of the obscure sport known as bike sailing, or drifting, let me explain. The aim of ‘the drift’ is to cycle down a steep hill, stop pedalling at a particular spot, then roll or ‘drift’ as far as you can to the end. Its curator assures me that it’s bound go mainstream any day now. There’s even an official beer: The Drifter, by Fortitude Brewing Co. It’s a no-brainer summer ale, with a golden body and thin white head, smelling of honey on toast and a bit of fresh orange citrus. Super refreshing. Drift on.

Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, Oskar Blues, Colorado US, 10.5%, $7.504 stars

Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, Oskar BluesWhere do you sit on the tinnies versus bottles debate? Me? Well, unless I’m drinking outdoors, I don’t mind, one way or the other. So long as the product inside is cold, wet and drinkable, with at least a bit of intrigue, flavour-wise, I’ll drink it from whatever vessel a brewer puts it in. Pouring it into a cold glass, the tin hasn’t diminished this Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Imperial Stout from Colorado. It pours like sump oil from an F-150 with a beautifully foamy charred brown head. A nose of cacao and cherry, spent coffee grounds and burnt caramel echoes in the mouth with bitter malts and some smoky spiced flavours delivered by a creamy soft and lightly carbonated texture, with an aftertaste akin to glowing embers. Bring me a tin of this and some smoked ribs, stat!

Chainbreaker White IPA,Deschutes, Oregon USA, 5.6%, $53.5 stars

Chainbreaker White IPA, DeschutesThis tasty beer is from Bend, Oregon. The name of the brewery, Deschutes Brewery, shares its name with the Deschutes River, where the brewery is located. From what I can gather, The Chainbreaker has nothing to do with Daenerys Targaryen, but something to do with mountain bike riding. It’s a white IPA brewed with wheat and pilsner malt, a mix of bravo, centennial, cascade, and amarillo hops and a dash of sweet orange and coriander. It pours a cloudy white with pale yellow hues and a fluffy white head. Aroma is orange zest and citrus spice floating over grassy, wheaty, yeasty notes. Taste is tangy lemons and sweet biscuits with a little grapefruit held by softly carbonated and creamy textures. It’s a Belgian style IPA hybrid, well balanced with a delicious depth of flavour.

PALE, Two Birds, Spotswood, VIC, 5%, $4.503.5 stars

PALE, Two Birds, SpotswoodAccording to the market research, Australian-style pale ales are on the … zzz. Oh, sorry. Are you still here? At the time of writing I was immersed in fascinating tidbits from press releases proclaiming insightful analysis into the latest beer-drinking habits of Aussie … oops, there I go again. Basically, pale ales are popular. Every beer in the top10 2016 Gabs Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers were variations on pale ale. Even in the craft beer world, the hop doesn’t fall too far from the bine. The timing for this new brew by Two Birds Brewing couldn’t be better. Nicely packaged, refreshing, flavoursome and balanced. It pours bright gold with a thin white head. Loud tropical fruit fanfares on the nose with white bread, followed by more tropical sweetness offset by moderate hop bitterness and a soft, foamy texture that finishes crisp and dry.

(Green) T, Mayday Hills (Bridge Road Brewers)Collaborations among the beer community are nothing new. Magical things can happen when two breweries with different styles join forces to create an adult beverage that’s unique and delicious. But what if, say, a brewer formed an alliance with a green tea farmer? Well, you’d get this here (Green) T by Mayday Hills (a farmhouse beer project by Bridge Road Brewers) and Alpine Tea Co. A gentle spritz sounds as the crown seal is broken … it pours out shades of browned orange with a big foamy head. My expectation of a hoppy Sencha aroma and taste are immediately quashed by the distinct smell of fresh feijoa fruit, lime candy, some vanilla and grapefruit, then, crunchy Granny Smith apples, a squeeze of lime, some hop bitterness and a dash of sweetened Matcha.

Tonic, Doctor’s Orders Brewing, Sydney, 4.5%, $4.50 2.5 stars

Tonic, Doctor’s Orders BrewingApparently ambidextrous, Tonic by Doctor’s Orders Brewing, is a Witbier-styled amalgamation of orange peel, juniper berries, coriander, lemon myrtle and cinchona bark, plus, hops, yeast, water, and wheat, obviously, which, the brewers say, you can drink on its own, or, as a tonic mixer with gin. Why not both? Solo, it pours like polished gold with a frothy white head and spritely effervescence; smelling of sweet citrus, a little wattle and other yellow wild flowers, it tastes of cumquat, spice and yellow Skittles, finishing bright and crisp. Mixed with gin (Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin) and a squeeze of lime, the beer takes on a tart shandy character that seems to negate the more refreshing aspects of the solo beer. Not as versatile as an adroit switch-hitter, but, a bi-curios concoction nonetheless.

JSP, Wolf of the Willows, Cheltenham Vic, 5.2% $53 stars

JSP, Wolf of the Willows

It’s April already and, Trump hasn’t blown up the world, yet. In light of this, I’d say things are going pretty good. April also signifies the middle of autumn, which means, in the immortal words of Ned Stark, ‘winter is on its way’ (the more accurate, ‘winter is coming’™ had to be omitted due to copyright concerns). This means it’s time for Aussie beer fans to turn towards the dark side. This Johnny Smoke Porter by Wolf of the Willowsis a good start. Cola black with a thin brown head, it smells of campfire smoke and BBQ slow-cooked beef brisket, soy sauce and a dab of honey. Dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee beans taste strong between the teeth, offset by a touch of tobacco wafting over backdrop hops and a smooth, silky mouth feel. Pessimism sure is tasty.

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