Cavalier Brewing – Imperial Stout (2015)

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There are few things more warming in the beer world than imperial stouts. Sure, a freshly kegged IPA makes beer geeks weak at the knees, and a lager can refresh like nothing else on a stinking hot day. Imperial stouts on a cold day do the same thing. They make the drinker feel immediate warmth, and provide a blanket of comfort against the chill from the outside world.

So if there was a script that Cavalier Brewing’s Imperial Stout needed to work to, then that is it. It’s a really attractive drink when it’s poured into the glass, basically demanding to be drunk, with a jet black body and a creamy tanned head. It’s got burnt coffee, chocolate and dark fruit aromas on the nose, before a sweet vanilla, raisin, and burnt chocolate flavour, which caps off dry with a late bitterness. A very good beer to get you thinking and that’s just when it’s out of the fridge. Patience is the key with this stout, as drinking it slowly it only seems to get better, with the vanilla in particular getting much stronger.

I only purchased a single of this, but I know I’ll be back at that bottleshop soon and will have to pick some more up based on what I’ve drunk. This is a smashing drink, that stays balanced all the way through. It’s no blow your socks off imperial stout, but it’s certainly one of the best flavoured and balanced 8% ABV beers I’ve had, and it only gets better as it warms.

Drunk: from the bottle

Edit: picked up an additional two bottles

Cavalier Brewing – Imperial Stout (2015)

Mountain Goat Beer – Surefoot Stout

When they were acquired by Asahi last year, many people
were concerned Mountain Goat Brewing might go down imagethe path of Matilda Bay. But it doesn’t seem to have happened – their core range is still their core range, and they still produce limited releases (a sure sign the parent company isn’t meddling in their little brother’s wares).

I can’t comment on any impacts on quality, but I can talk about Surefoot Stout of their core range, which I picked up a four pack of recently. It’s vessel is a slick looking can with some smart design sprawled across it. Surefoot Stout pours deep brown with a tanned head, and has oily and roasted aromas. It’s milky sweet in taste with some roasted coffee flavours also, not too massive in flavour overall (though not dull by the same token) and retaining a decent balance throughout. It’s mouthfeel is perhaps it’s greatest quality oily, smooth and a slight thickness giving off that warm fuzzy feeling.

Yeah, this is no big, Russian imperial stout, infused with coffee beans from a hipster, inner city coffee roaster. But like a 200 game NRL back rower who’s never played representative football, it’s honest and knows it’s place. It has a solid balance all the way through and is an easy drinking stout. What makes it great is also the cost, at about $13 for a four pack, it’s represents great value for money.

Drunk: from the can

Mountain Goat Beer – Surefoot Stout

Stockade Brew Co

I received a message a short time back from Stockade Brew Co (via my Instagram account) for my contact details so they could send me a sample of their beers for me to try. Free beers?! I’m never one to turn these down, so I was happy to oblige!

Information is few and far between, but from their Facebook page their based in Narellan in Sydney’s west and was established in 2013. Good to see craft beer venturing to new parts of Sydney’s geography, though I’m sure part of this can be attributed to the steep prices which appear to be crippling the city’s real estate. Their beers have only just started popping up in bottle shops, so good to see their distribution is starting to gather some pace (or I haven’t seen them previously).

A couple of weeks after the original message a four dsc_0110.jpgpack arrived on my back doorstep, all wrapped up in bubble wrap with some precision. Three of their core range, and one special release. All are good beers with some very nice flavours, but I wouldn’t place any at the top of their styles.

Chop Shop (Pale ale)
Vibrant amber in colour, with aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. Flavours of thick sticky pine and tropical fruit hops, with a caramel malt backbone. Good balance to these flavours, and with some more bitterness, it could be an IPA. This was my pick of the bunch.

dsc_0102.jpgThe Sesh (Golden session ale)
Expecting a light, golden, bubbly pour from a golden ale, this was everything but – it was deep amber in colour. Pine and grapefruit aromas greet the nose, pine, grapefruit, burnt toffee and resin flavours greet the tastebuds. A bit thin in the mouth and refeshing, but wouldn’t call it sessionable. Two at most would suit me well. I think this beer is more amber ale in style, not a golden session ale.

dsc_0107.jpgDuel (Hoppy lager)
With a dull orange aroma and pouring golden in colour, Duel had toasted malts and fruity, hoppy flavours. A great example of the style, crisp and refreshing, one that I good would happily kick back and have a six pack of.

Peachy Keen (Gose)
The only beer not a part of their core range, it pours a lovely cloudy golden orange colour. Not much on the nose. Tart and salty, hint of peach, apricot and a small bitter kick. Not my favourite style, but nails the brief well

Stockade Brew Co can be found here and here

Stockade Brew Co

Modus Operandi Brewing Co / Bridge Road Brewers – Ryeale Rumble

Since Sydney Craft Beer Week I’ve steered clear of Modus Operandi. At their event I tried nearly all of their beers over the course of a quick stop at the brewery and 9 holes of golf (plus nine beers) across the road. Not so much that I didn’t like them, but more about sharing the love. The advice of the bottleshop attendant at the Prince of Wales in Newcastle broke that run, recommending I fill my growler up with Ryeale Rumble, a collaboration with Bridge Road Brewers.

He’s a smart man. Minimal head and a deep red liquid when held to the light, there’s aromas of pine, orange, and grapefruit. The taste is all about the hops, with pine, bitter and resin flavours sticking to the mouth. However, roasted malts also come through, which give the beer some added balance. It’s thick and oily in the mouth, a by-product of all the hops thrown in the mix during its production.

This is a classy drop. There’s just this great balance to the drink, which is surprising, given how hop forward and thick it unabashedly is. It’s unfortunate (from what I read) that this is no longer in production, but given I had a whole growler of the stuff, I can’t be too disappointed!

Drunk: from the growler
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Modus Operandi Brewing Co / Bridge Road Brewers – Ryeale Rumble

My votes are in

hottest100

Come the end of the year, there is a plethora of lists popping up – greatest sporting moments of the year, Triple J’s hottest 100, and biggest dickheads of the year (keep fighting the good fight, Biebs).

Australian beer is no different with Crafty Pint and The Local Taphouse getting together once again for the Hottest 100. The premise is simple – each member of the beer drinking public get to vote for their five favourite beers of the year, and it’s counted down, 100 to 1, on Australia Day.

This year, I decided to put in place some criteria which will guide my voting:

  1. I have to have given the beer a rating of at least four and a quarter stars on UnTapped
  2. I’m only including beers which I’ve consumed in the 2015 calendar year, so that awesome beer I had in 2014 doesn’t qualify
  3. No festival beers (unless consumed at another point in time)

Using these as a guide, gives me a shortlist of 18 beers, which is obviously too long, so after many hours of tossing and turning (read: 10 minutes having a think about it), my five votes, in no specific order, are:

  • Feral Brewing Company – Hop Hog: great balance and a big fruity aroma make this my favourite beer
  • Feral Brewing Company – Karma Citra: All my Christmas’s came at once when Feral announced it would be released in bottle form this year. Big flavours and aromas, top stuff
  • Exit Brewing – #007: I was uber impressed with this beer. A great smokiness and mouthfeel made this an awesome winter beer
  • Shenanigans Brewing Company – Red Sky: I love everything these guys have produced, but this is my pick. An easy-drinking, lightly spiced beer
  • Nail Brewing – Flaming Lamington: Insanely creative, there’s coconut sweetness and chilli in this drop. Wouldn’t be something I could drink all the time, but gets a guernsey on it creativity and execution

And some fearless predictions for what I think will pop up in the countdown:

  • Pirate Life Brewing will get at least two beers in. No mean feat when they only have three beers in their catalogue
  • Exit Brewing will get at least three beers in
  • Mountain Goat will wrongly suffer as a result of selling their business to Asahi earlier this year
  • Milk and Two Sugars, winner of the people’s choice award at GABS, will get a start
My votes are in

Mornington Peninsula – Brown Ale

 

There’s not been much movement on the blog front recently, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not been movement on the beer front from this correspondent, as being the recipient of a beer advent calendar has ensured a steady supply of liquid gold. The warmer (and in Sydney’s case, incredibly humid) temperatures has also helped ensure all beer has been consumed with some vigor.

Day number 10 has mornington brownarrived and it’s and curve ball
from the makers of my advent calendar, Boozebud. A doozy if you will. Mornington Peninsula Brewery’s Brown Ale, a beer more at home in cooler months, but a welcome change in the context of a month’s worth of beers.

Pouring dark brown with a tanned head, some slight scents of toasted malts and wood waft up from the liquid. In the mouth, this is a tremendous beer. It’s oily, nutty, and toasted flavours get washed down by the sweet flavour, with a small bitterness lingering somewhere in the back too. It’s silky smooth in the mouth too, making it go down very easily – an easy drinking winter beer if ever I’ve stumbled across one!

This is a really good drop, from a brewery I have a lot of time for, but don’t tend to purchase too often. It’s just a greatly balanced, well-flavoured brown ale – nothing more nothing less. I’d be more than happy to go back to this again at some point in the future, but maybe next time with the onset of winter and a beef goulash in front of me…now there would be an awesome combination!

Drunk: from the bottle

Mornington Peninsula – Brown Ale

Beer the beautiful truth

Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed a couple of beer ads popping up around town, firstly at my local train station in the traditional poster format, then at a bus stop in Sydney’s CBD (below). This one in particular is unique – they’re real beer bottles placed in that bus stop container, and some poor bastard has had to spend a long time first installing the shelving, then making sure the bottles are placed equal distances apart, with the labels all facing the same way. Not a job I would be signing up for.

But it’s not this construction I wish to talk about, though I admit it is neat to look at. It’s the messaging, and the source of the advertising itself, which has got me thinking.

The producer of these ads is Lion Nathan, a behemoth of the brewing industry in Australia. They’ve recently announced they’ll be placing nutritional information on their packaging, to keep the public more informed about their choices. It’s a noble decision, though not one which made me bat an eye-lid when I first heard the news. However, on the back of these ads and wpid-wp-1447926697994.jpgtheir decision to put nutritional information on their packaging, two things jump out at me.

Firstly, if I’m a top dog in a large brewing business, summer is my money spinner. The weather is hot, and people are more inclined to go out or head to a BBQ for a couple of beers. I want to use this real estate to tell people how f***ing good an ice cold beer is at the end of a hot day, and get them to pick up a slab on the way home. But instead, I think the current advertising, while well intentioned, is poorly timed and misses this opportunity.

My second point is as the saying goes – “imitation is the greatest source of flattery”. Craft beer producers frequently list the contents of their beers. Not to the extent of nutritional information, but often the types of malts, hops and yeasts which are used to produce the beer, in order to keep the consumer informed. This has helped craft breweries to become trusted in the quality of their product, which has helped to develop a loyal group of followers. Lion have in a similar way replicated this, trying to become more transparent with the content of the product in order to woo new customers. But I can’t help but think Lion have looked at what the craft breweries have done and the trust they’ve built and thought “yeah, we’ll have a piece of that”.

For me, Lion have missed a trick here, and tipped their cap to craft beer in the process.

Beer the beautiful truth