Posts Tagged ‘summer’

ANZUS_IPA_BOTTLEANZUS IPA

Company info:
Fortitude Brewing Company
Mount Tamborine, QLD

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 6%
Standard drinks: 1.6

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Codenamed #14901 in early trials in 2010, our flagship IPA honours the ANZUS treaty between the great (hop growing) nations of Australia, New Zealand and USA. The first and only time the ANZUS treaty was invoked was on 14 September, 2001, after the 9/11 attacks on the USA.
An IPA made for the Australian climate, it eschews the cloying effects of big crystal additions in favour of a very clean, almost light malt backbone, allowing the hops to take the centre stage. Galaxy from Australia, Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand and Simcoe from USA. give the beer a huge hop aroma and flavour, running the full gamut of earthy, resiny, piney and fruity notes.’

Label thoughts: I’m always up for a strong collaborative effort and this sounds like the finest example.  

The Hell-Cat review starts hereANZUS IPA - GLASS

Label: The label is all yellow/gold with black text. Look carefully and there are waves of gold very faintly in the background. The main piece to stand out is a minor bird, casually lying back, viewed in profile – one leg holds a megaphone to its beak, the other grasps pathetically at thin air. From the megaphone shoots the text ‘ANZUS IPA’. Up at the top of the label is the same bird, only smaller and with different text reading ‘Noisy Minor Brewing Co’ – there is nothing to explain this alternate brewing company and I’m still intrigued by this. The label is simple in design and colour construct. I’ve never really been a fan of too much yellow or gold on a label but because there isn’t too much going on, it works. I like the two-tone arrangement.  

I give it a label rating of 6.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Wow! Prominent Galaxy hops give a delicious earthy aroma, slightly herbal, grass-like.

Taste: GLASS – A deliciously clean, smooth mouthfeel makes way for an earthy, dry, bitter after-taste. This is outstandingly good. I can’t seem to comprehend the beauty of the mouthfeel’s crispness it’s simply breath-taking.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE  From the bottle ANZUS IPA becomes very bitter on the mouthfeel and one-dimensional as a result. Hints of the flavours are there, but they’re held back and can’t blossom. Stick to the glass for this.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Roast chicken is my pick. Or roast minor bird. Whatevs.

Best season to appreciate: A Summer brew if ever I knew.

All-nighter beer? Probably not an all-nighter for me. The dryness is really starting to take hold by the end of one bottle and I’m seeking more refreshment.

NEXT WEEK: Stone and Wood Jasper Ale

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Love Tap - BOTTLELove Tap Double Lager

Company info:
Moon Dog Brewing
Abbotsford, VIC

[www.moondogbrewing.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5.9%
Standard drinks: 1.6

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.95 AU

Label info: “Love Tap, Baby, Love Tap Babeeee! ….something and a something…as big as a whale…huggin’ and a dancin’ and a lovin’ and wearin’ next to nothing…and it’s about to set sail to the love tap”.
‘Pretty sure (almost certain) they weren’t the exact words but we reckon if they were they’d be a bang on way to describe this new world craft lager. It’s got a big schmack of citrusy, tropical hops and a clean, crisp finish. Enjoy!
AND
‘Really ridiculously fun beer’
AND
‘Vitals:
Malt: Pilsner, carared, carapils, Munich; Hops: Galaxy, Motueka, Tettenang; Yeast: Lager’

What the label really means: What I love about this label is the sense of humour. These guys clearly aren’t stuck up snooty craft brewers, they’re regular folks having a bit of fun with a very fun label description. They make fun of the classically horrid B52 track ‘Love Shack’ with their own spin. But then this is all juxtaposed with some very serious ‘Vitals’ for all the interested beery nerds. Love it. Love Tap - GLASS

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Just like the label text, here is a label that is clearly not taking itself too seriously, is having a bit of a laugh and succeeds in being very cool. The label is a funny greeny yellow colour with a black and white photo of a pig to the side. The pig wears a top hat and a bow tie – again showing that these guys don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t have a bit of fun. ‘Love Tap’ is scrawled in thick texta-type while ‘Double Lager’ comes in its own little speech bubble straight from the pig’s mouth. All of the above mentioned text appears hand written on the bottle. The whole thing reminds me a bit of what Brew Dogs do – sticking it to the establishment, rebellious, tough, and fun. 

I give it a label rating of 6.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Sadly the aroma is a bit lacking….there’s nothing outstanding and it smells like a regular run of the mill citrus lager.

Taste: GLASS – What I love most about this full-bodied, smack in the chops lager is the pervasive bitterness. They have taken a typical inoffensive citrus lager and turned it on its head. They have redefined the power of the lager and presented a very inspiring beauty. Very dry, very enjoyable.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE  The bitterness here, that I found such a highlight from the glass, surprises me once more by now becoming a little more refined. It’s a lot smoother now and I think I enjoy it a tad more from the bottle.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Some kind of tomato-based food would sit well beside this. I feel the acidity would cut through the dryness and soften it even more.

Best season to appreciate: A warmer weather brew.

All-nighter beer? For my money this is more of a pre-dinner beer to open the salivary glands. For me it’s a little too dry to drink all night.

NEXT WEEK: Stone and Wood Jasper Ale

Fred IPA - BOTTLEFred IPA

Company info: Murray’s Craft Brewing Co
Bobs Farm, N.S.W
[www.murraysbrewingco.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml
Alcohol: 5.6%
Standard drinks: 1.5
Cap type: Non-twist
Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘At first glance you might think only his mum could him, but once you taste our new Fred IPA, we reckon you’ll fall under his spell. Sweet but bitter, Fred is aggressively late hopped with a house blend from the US Pacific Northwest. A beautiful hopped up brew to be enjoyed with smoky and spicy southern US style Mexican food’

What the label really means: Oh hell yes. This sounds like my kind of brew. Just be wary of using the term ‘new’ though label writers of the world – it’s only ‘new’ for so long. There’s a local business near me called ‘The New Cafe’ – it’s been around for fours years, surely people will tweak that it’s no longer new. I’ve already heard rumours that it’s referred to as ‘The Slightly Old and Not Really New Anymore Cafe’ by the social snobs.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: How much longer can I bang on about the sheer perfection of Murray’s labels? What can I say, they are sheer bloody geniuses at this. This once again is an example of their brilliance splashed across a bottle. It’s a red label with a caricature of a dude with tightly cropped hair and a three day growth. He has soulless eyes that stare out to beyond, his teeth gritted in concentration or frustration. A stripe of orange splashed paint is sprayed across his eyes, face, and out on to the label, dripping down the sides. On the left of his head is FRED while on the right is IPA. Just like last week’s review, it’s a fine mix of stencil art and graffiti and it’s brilliant. This is far and away Murray’s best label to date.Fred IPA - GLASS

I give it a label rating of 10 out of 10.

AROMA:  This truly is hopperific. Delicious passionfruit and melon aromas pounce like a mermaid beckoning weary travellers to their untimely ruin. 

Taste: GLASS – This is one hell of a fine IPA. It’s very, very dry, full flavoured and meaty with an intensely citric bitterness on the finish. Swirl it round in the mouth and you’ll detect those fine passionfruit offerings that are just hanging back in the chorus line, refusing to take the solo. This is so much gutsier that I expected and is prompting me to use the expression ‘hat lifter’. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE  This is damned fine from the bottle. The dryness is now reduced, which was totally unexpected and a pleasant touch as it helps present those other flavours more wholesomely. A little of the fruitiness takes a touch of centre stage and it is certainly welcomed. What a drop.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: My local pub serves a fine burger called ‘The Austen Midnight’ – smoked brisket, onion rings, bacon, cheese, and a jalapeno infused mayo. I’ll take one of them and a Fred thanks bar tender.

Best season to appreciate: A good Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? I’ve never been much of an all night drinker of IPAs or dryer brews so for me, no, this is not a session brew.

NEXT WEEK: Love Tap Double Lager

Pistonhead Kustom Lager - CANPistonhead Kustom Lager
Sweden Flag

Brewery info:
Brutal Brewing AB,
Varby, SWEDEN

[www.brutalbrewing.com]

Can size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.6%
Standard drinks: 1.2

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.75 AU

Label info: ‘Custom brewed with a double-clutch of Munchener-malt and pilsner malt injected with spalter select, magnum and perle hops’ 

What the label really means: The description is definitely revving my taste buds into action.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: This is the label I have been looking for all these years. Sheer design perfection. The can is a matte black finish with a white sugar-skull inspired design. There are splashes of blood red across the skull’s forehead with a spade motif smack bang between the eyes. The skulls itself is surrounded by a simple silver flame that shoots off behind it. There’s a banner beneath the skull that proudly announces ‘Pistonhead’ in big bold lettering while ‘Kustom Lager’ is in a cursive script beneath. It has a style of tattoo meshed firmly with street art graffiti and works brilliantly. This truly is label perfection. I cannot find a single fault with this and I am proud to hold this in my blood-stained hands.

I give it a label rating of 10 out of 10.Pistonhead - GLASS

AROMA:  Citrussy, musky, good. 

Taste: GLASS – It’s most certainly a very familiar lager encased within this canned beauty. But what is it that distinguishes this from the myriad of lagers in its class? Well…nothing really. It’s a very, very enjoyable drop that is incredibly smooth and has a slight hint of malty goodness, but it’s a bit run of the mill. I guess I expected, and hoped, for more. Still…it’s a great beer that deserves a tasting.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the can Pistonhead loses a good dose of that malty undercurrent and as such becomes a little one-dimensial. It’s still good, it’s just not as strong.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Chilli prawns or chilli beef would suit this well.

Best season to appreciate: A real summer thirst quencher. 

All-nighter beer? Absolutely! Pistonhead slides back very easily. I am most certainly up for the all night challenge.

NEXT WEEK: Fred IPA

Inedit - BOTTLEInedit Damm
Spanish flag - SMALL

Company info:
Brassee Par: C.C Damm
Barcelona, SPAIN

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $TBC AU

Label info: ‘Wheat and barley beer with spices’

What the label really means: Straight to the point.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Just like the previously reviewed Estrella Damm I love this label. A single gold star shines out from a matte black label. It’s simple and sophisticated, classy and elegant. As you would know, dear readers, I am generally against gold on beer labels but in this case, it’s just the right amount. It’s beautiful. Once again it ‘reeks of revolution. It reeks of liberation. It reeks of freedom. It also reeks of tradition, quality, and a beer not to be messed with. The label is tough, staunch, unblinking in the face of a pudgy, angry dictator with a penchant for tight trousers. It stares down authority and gives the finger to establishment.’ Who wouldn’t want to be seen holding this?

I give it a label rating of 8.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Deliciously hoppy, floral aromas.

Taste: GLASS – Oh wow. This is one superbly crafted brew. All the elements are there for a smooth wheat beer with an undercurrent of citrus, but somehow it rises above this to pure brilliance in every drop. It’s clean, crisp and delicious. I am very impressed with this beer and finding it hard to stop drinking.Inedit - GLASS

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – From the bottle, Inedit loses a good deal of that clean, refreshing mouth feel and becomes a little watery. Flavours are definitely diminished here, and while it still gives a fine glimpse into this heavenly brew it most certainly is better from the glass.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Drunken garlic prawns.

Best season to appreciate: Definitely a summer brew.

All-nighter beer? For sure! This is very easy to drink and it’s refreshing nature keeps you wanting more.

Other: This is my first review in a while and the reason for that is revealed over at my official Facebook page – come join me why don’t you? In the mean time I’ll get back to bringing weekly reviews your way.

NEXT WEEK: Pistonhead

Granite Pils - BOTTLEGranite Pils

Company info:
Granite Belt Brewery

Stanthorpe, QLD

[www.granitebeltbrewery.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 330ml

Alcohol: 5.2%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.99 AU

Label info: ‘With a sharp, bitter taste, this pilsner is not for the faint hearted. In the Granite Belt we recommend you harden up with Granite Pils’

What the label really means: Oh they breed em tough in the Granite Belt don’t they?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: The label features a big beefy bloke with an uncanny resemblance to Aussie icon Mark Jacko Jackson. He takes centre stage holding two ‘1.5L’ steins of beer aloft. He’s a muscly beefcake bloke with muscles rippling across his badly airbrushed chest, his white hair sticks up in salute to the sulphur crested cockatoo, and underneath the words ‘Granite Pils’ are presented in a strong font. It’s a mixture of silver and greys, and it reflects the colour of granite quite well. Unfortunately for me I don’t think the design works too well. I think Jacko’s t-shirt gets lost in a sea of grey and it turns out to be a little plain. This would be improved hugely if the bloke was replaced by an all stone humanoid holding the beers aloft, on a sea of say crimson red. 

I give it a label rating of 5 out of 10.Granite Pils - GLASS

AROMA:  Very mild soft citrus wheat aromas. Not as strong as I had hoped.

Taste: GLASS – Rising above the ranks of many pilsners who have gone before, Granite Pils delivers all of the wheaty citrus goodness you could ask for, but with a sprinkling of bitterness. The bitterness gives a certain depth and character to the beer and it is very enjoyable. Over all mouth feel is impressive, with a good cleansing after taste.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Unfortunately from the bottle Granite Pils becomes a lot more watery and far less enjoyable. Plus this bottle has a slight metallic taste from where the cap once sat. I suggest you stick to the glass.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Chargrilled seafood – prawns, squid, baby octopus…you get the picture.

Best season to appreciate: A fine Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? For sure! This is very drinkable, very sessionable.

NEXT WEEK: TBC

Artisan Reserve - BOTTLEArtisan Reserve

Company info:
Coopers Brewery Limited

 Regency Park, S.A

[www.coopers.com.au]

Bottle size sampled: 355ml

Alcohol: 5.5%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.75 AU

Label info: ‘Thomas Cooper brewed his first batch of beer on the 13th May of 1862. Subsequent generations of Coopers have applied themselves to the pursuit of brewing excellence or the endorsement of our great beers to an appreciative public. This ale has been crafted to celebrate this passion for beer & brewing
AND
‘In the finest Bavarian tradition, Artisan Reserve has been crafted from an all malt brew with Hallertau Tradition hops. With low temperature fermentation and an extended maturation, this unpasteurised pilsner reflects the joy of tasting beer fresh from the brewery’

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Here’s what I’ve said previously:
‘This label is very similar to the previously reviewed Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale so I’ll repost a couple of previously made comments such as ‘I challenge anyone not to find a beer label displaying a man with an over-sized beard inviting’ – Thomas Cooper would surely be proud of his fine mug plastered on this brew. I also previously commented that ‘The only visual aspect I don’t like about this label is that there is too much descriptive text…it begins to detract from the beardo’ – I don’t feel this is really the case here, it actually works, as does the…’ blue in this label which is again, very surprising for me.  

Artisan Reserve - GLASS

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.

AROMA:  Wheaty, straw-like aroma with citrus backing.

Taste: GLASS – A fun wheat beer that is smooth, refreshing, citrus-infused and ever so softly carbonated. There’s next to no bitterness, is super easy to drink, and stacks up well as a fine pilsner interpretation. My only issue, as it is for most pilsners, is that it’s perhaps a little too ‘soft’….a little too generic. Not Cooper’s fault, it’s the style that lends itself to mild flavours.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – A little bland, a little watery. All of the flavour dimensions have now all but dispersed, and while it’s still noticeably wheaty and citrussy, it seems a little flat.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Accompanying food: Pork. I’m thinking dark marinated pork spare-ribs or a pork schnitty. 

Best season to appreciate: A great Summer brew.

All-nighter beer? Definitely. This is so very easy to drink. 

NEXT WEEK: Mad Abbott Tripel