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15

May

Little Creatures (Single Batch) Quiet American

Well this beer has quite a frustrating story behind it! As you may be aware, Little Creatures is a West Australian boutique brewer in Fremantle - less than an hour south of Perth (although people from Freo seem to think it’s half an hour…but that’s another story). Every year they brew a small batch of beer for limited release - the Single Batch. In Perth there’s almost a cult following (I say almost because the scale of this following is FAR less than that of say Pliny the Younger) for these Single Batches, and they get snatched up pretty quickly. So the time came when the bottle shops received their once off delivery of the beer (only 2-5 cartons, with 12 568mL bottles per carton), and the masses flocked, pillaged and left many an empty shelf.

Which leads to my pandemic situation. I was away for the week these beers were being delivered, so I missed out on securing myself any of this beer. After going around to bottle shop after bottle shop, only to find out they were all sold out, I happened across 3 cartons at a drive through bottlo down the road! The bliss was short lived, however, because due to popular demand the bottle shop was only selling the beer by the carton - yes you had to buy all 12 at once, meaning this beer was only available to 3 lucky customers, rather than 36 satisfied individuals. Where’s the equity in that huh? The manager was adamant about not splitting up the cartons.

So in my frustration, I left feeling bamboozled and ripped off. Building up some effort, I decided to go back later on, with the thought of sneaking into the coolroom to rip apart a carton and getting 2 bottles anyway. However, the manager had left, so I politely asked the worker behind the counter for 2 bottles, hoping he wouldn’t be aware of the carton-only rule. To my surprise, there in front of me sat 2 bottles! Apparently the manager himself and one of the other staff members wanted the cartons for themselves, and therefore tried to deter others from buying them by applying the carton-only rule.

To cut to the end of the story, I ended up going back and buying the rest of the carton I’d initially split up, so I guess I did abide by the carton-only rule…. But that just goes to show how much I liked the beer! 

So on to the beer I guess..

This year Little Creatures have released The Quiet American: a Belgian inspired ale with strong American roots - thanks to the Cascade and Chinook hops. The beer pours a rich cloudy golden with a small white fluffy head. Tropical pineapple and hints of banana really come through in the aroma, along with spicy notes.

The description given by Little Creatures is spot on! To me, it’s like a toned down Leffe Blonde mixed with the dryer bitter hop edge of an American IPA. The Belgian fullness and smoothness carries through spicy undertones, and it is intertwined with floral hop to give an astounding result, one Little Creatures should be proud of. As it warms up, the smooth banana flavour becomes more prominent, but takes away from the overall experience. This is one to have straight from the fridge.

Moving to a Leffe Blonde afterwards, the similarities are easy to pick up on, yet the Quiet American just has an added dimension - not making it better, only making it different. If you can still get your hands on this, go for it! Hopefully you don’t have to go through the same ordeal, but if so, just go for the carton - you won’t regret it.

RS

16

Apr

Single Hop Tasting

Yesterday, RS and I along with his sister went down to the International Beer Shop for their monthly tasting. I had been looking forward to this tasting for a week since they posted the event on Facebook, and even though I didn’t know which single hop beers we were going to try, it really didn’t matter because I knew there would be a great selection to taste and sample.

We first started with a Bridge Roads Summer IPA (Summer Saaz). This was horrible. I was really disappointed with this because of the high carbonation and the flavours were really non-existent.

Then we moved onto 5 Mikkeller Single Hop IPA’s, four from the bottle and one from the keg. In order of tasting they were:

1. Bravo - a seriously bitter aftertaste with pleasant floral and fruity aromas. Quite nice but a bit bitter for me.

2. Tomahawk - I’ve already tried this one and reviewed it, so I knew I was in for a good hop bashin’. A fantastic single hop IPA.

3. Amarillo - really nice hints of orange and grapefruit, with a slight spicy and better aftertaste.

4. Nelson Sauvin - I don’t know why but I’m really partial to any beer brewed with nelson sauvin hops. Maybe its because the flavours remind me so much of a Sem Sauv Blanc? Mikkeller certainly knows how to extract the most from these hops and if you like your IPAs fruity, this is certainly for you.

5. Centennial - My tie for a second along with Tomahawk. Massive strong citrus aroma with a bitter grapefruit finish. Since we brought our squealers along we decided we needed a fill of this one.

All in all it was great to try the 5 Mikkeller’s in one go, and since they all have the same malt base, it was super easy to distinguish between the hops varieties and their influence on the taste and bitterness of the beer.

JG

14

Apr

Victory Hop Devil Ale
Often the label on a beer is a misinterpretation of the contents inside. We all know the tired tale of not judging a book by a cover, but we do it anyway, otherwise all books would bear nothing but the title on the spine. Thanks to marketing most things are wrapped in eye catching colours and designs with catchy titles.
Beer is by no means absent from this. Frankly I love it. It adds colour and excitement to what would otherwise be a veneer of brown and green bottles. I work in a bottle store and was recently told we will be expecting cleanskin beer, I very much doubt it will get a review because it will almost certainly be rubbish but the idea of a clear bottle on the shelf alongside of other labelled beer was frankly an interesting one. Perhaps inadvertent marketing in itself. And with that serious detour to the start of my review I will segue with this; I feel Victory have not misled with the Hop Devil. In fact I agree with the title. 
The beer poured a toffee gold and immediately gave off floral scents and perhaps a sharp pine. To taste the beer offered a welcome variety of caramel and fruit hops and a solid amount of malt all washed in with a high quality bitterness. It never became overly bitter and i did notice a high amount of fruit flavour which is different to your general passion fruit type flavour you get from most high hop beers. 
Overall this beer provided me with sincere hoppiness (excuse the pun, it’s late and I couldn’t resist.) Another thumb up for Victory.
Place: International Beer Shop    Price:$7.20 Would I buy it again?: Absolutely
YM

Victory Hop Devil Ale

Often the label on a beer is a misinterpretation of the contents inside. We all know the tired tale of not judging a book by a cover, but we do it anyway, otherwise all books would bear nothing but the title on the spine. Thanks to marketing most things are wrapped in eye catching colours and designs with catchy titles.

Beer is by no means absent from this. Frankly I love it. It adds colour and excitement to what would otherwise be a veneer of brown and green bottles. I work in a bottle store and was recently told we will be expecting cleanskin beer, I very much doubt it will get a review because it will almost certainly be rubbish but the idea of a clear bottle on the shelf alongside of other labelled beer was frankly an interesting one. Perhaps inadvertent marketing in itself. And with that serious detour to the start of my review I will segue with this; I feel Victory have not misled with the Hop Devil. In fact I agree with the title. 

The beer poured a toffee gold and immediately gave off floral scents and perhaps a sharp pine. To taste the beer offered a welcome variety of caramel and fruit hops and a solid amount of malt all washed in with a high quality bitterness. It never became overly bitter and i did notice a high amount of fruit flavour which is different to your general passion fruit type flavour you get from most high hop beers. 

Overall this beer provided me with sincere hoppiness (excuse the pun, it’s late and I couldn’t resist.) Another thumb up for Victory.

Place: International Beer Shop    Price:$7.20 Would I buy it again?: Absolutely

YM

13

Apr

Really looking forward to getting my hands on this new Little Creatures Single Batch. Official description states the beer will be a “heavily hopped Belgian hybrid ale”. Sounds fantastic.
JG

Really looking forward to getting my hands on this new Little Creatures Single Batch. Official description states the beer will be a “heavily hopped Belgian hybrid ale”. Sounds fantastic.

JG

31

Mar

Bear Republic Hot Rod Rye Ale
What a time if ever to throw in motorsport references. A moment to speckle this review with pistons and cam shafts and bejewelled chrome rims but alas I was involved in an accident just the other day, and even though no one was harmed I still feel sad at heart to think about it. So don’t expect too many petrol head metaphors but when it comes to this beer you should expect a great beverage indeed.
Note: I had this beer in my fridge for a few weeks and it’s possible some other residents of my house may have moved it around, for as I began pouring there was no sign of head or bubbles. I had to work some magic but in the end I got a few centimetres.  I do however feel this is not the fault of the brewer, nor the shop I bought it from.
The beer was my first rye Ale and I have to say from the get go I really enjoyed it. The label warned me of excessive malt at the bottom of the bottle so I left some of the beer in the bottle as a cautious premeasure. The beer appeared a lot darker than I expected.  I for some reason imagined that it would sit between ale and a wheat beer. There was also less bitterness than I expected. It had quite a layered flavour palate, allowing me to taste certain individual flavours on their own before moving onto the next.  The label didn’t lie. The malt was quite earthy and sharp at times. I got the usual floral and caramel that you would expect to find in an IPA for example. I’m not sure if 18% is high amount of rye for such a beer, it sounds impressive though.
I certainly wouldn’t class it as regular ale but I couldn’t quite put a finger on what I liked about the rye exactly. All I know is I did like it. So much so that once I finished my glass I played a game of staring with the bottle and its remaining thick malt content. I then lifted the glass to my mouth, took a swig and swore at the foulness that I had just swallowed. It was gross! The beer is only 7% but there is a definite presence of ethanol. Not enough however to make me feel as I did half an hour later. Imagine the moment a cold and fever hit you. That’s how I felt. It put an end to my night less than an hour later. I personally blame the malt at the end but perhaps it was the food or the rye. So then not a great experience after drinking the beer, but I liked it enough that I will definitely get it again in the future and hope for the best. But perhaps this time leave the last few drops in the bottle.
Place: International Beer Shop   Price: $7.50   Would I buy it again? Yes
YM

Bear Republic Hot Rod Rye Ale

What a time if ever to throw in motorsport references. A moment to speckle this review with pistons and cam shafts and bejewelled chrome rims but alas I was involved in an accident just the other day, and even though no one was harmed I still feel sad at heart to think about it. So don’t expect too many petrol head metaphors but when it comes to this beer you should expect a great beverage indeed.

Note: I had this beer in my fridge for a few weeks and it’s possible some other residents of my house may have moved it around, for as I began pouring there was no sign of head or bubbles. I had to work some magic but in the end I got a few centimetres.  I do however feel this is not the fault of the brewer, nor the shop I bought it from.

The beer was my first rye Ale and I have to say from the get go I really enjoyed it. The label warned me of excessive malt at the bottom of the bottle so I left some of the beer in the bottle as a cautious premeasure. The beer appeared a lot darker than I expected.  I for some reason imagined that it would sit between ale and a wheat beer. There was also less bitterness than I expected. It had quite a layered flavour palate, allowing me to taste certain individual flavours on their own before moving onto the next.  The label didn’t lie. The malt was quite earthy and sharp at times. I got the usual floral and caramel that you would expect to find in an IPA for example. I’m not sure if 18% is high amount of rye for such a beer, it sounds impressive though.

I certainly wouldn’t class it as regular ale but I couldn’t quite put a finger on what I liked about the rye exactly. All I know is I did like it. So much so that once I finished my glass I played a game of staring with the bottle and its remaining thick malt content. I then lifted the glass to my mouth, took a swig and swore at the foulness that I had just swallowed. It was gross! The beer is only 7% but there is a definite presence of ethanol. Not enough however to make me feel as I did half an hour later. Imagine the moment a cold and fever hit you. That’s how I felt. It put an end to my night less than an hour later. I personally blame the malt at the end but perhaps it was the food or the rye.

So then not a great experience after drinking the beer, but I liked it enough that I will definitely get it again in the future and hope for the best. But perhaps this time leave the last few drops in the bottle.

Place: International Beer Shop   Price: $7.50   Would I buy it again? Yes

YM

27

Mar

Mikkeller Sorachi Ace and Tomahawk Single Hop IPAs

I was lured to the International Beer Shop mid last week after seeing on facebook their members special on Moylans brewery. I knew straight away I had to have the Hopsicle IPA, as well the Ryan O’Sullivan’s Imperial Stout. A trip to the International Beer Shop, however, never goes as planned. I’ve found this out on numerous occasions after walking through the door with definite thoughts of buying just a couple of beers and walking out with nearly half a carton, spending way too much money on beer I really didn’t need. But then I think, at least I am spending good money on proper beer, not this mass produced sh*t they call ‘beer’ and sell for absurb prices at bottleshops all over the world. I admit freely that I am a beer drinker who is prepared to pay a premium for beer that has both flavour and character.

These values landed me directly infront of the Moylan’s fridge, and to my left I was distracted with some brightly labelled bottles, and upon closer inspection, I noticed that they were all IPAs brewed by Mikkeller, and of the single hop varieties. The price was too good to refuse, so I added 4 single hop beers to my box and as per usual left with much more than I initially intended.

The first Mikkeller tasting was of the Sorachi Ace, which poured a cloudy amber colour and gave off sweet hints of lemon, light spice and caramel. Upon taste, I found this beer to be somewhat untamed, and the combination of flavours which included more lemon and grapefruit didn’t gel well together. I felt a bit let down by this beer, but not to worry, the next night I opened the Tomahawk single hop IPA, and boy was that a totally different level of IPA.

The Tomahawk pours a clear amber colour, with a beautiful golden yellowy head. The nose has loads more floral and hop flavours, with the ever present bitterness found in so many IPAs. The mouth feel of the Tomahawk is much more powerful, displaying big citrus fruit notes, with a lovely bitter finish that smacks you round for a good 10 seconds after each sip. The Tomahawk kept me coming back for more, and I was really reluctant to share this one as it tasted so good.

The four pack of Single Hop IPAs set me back $28.99 from the International Beer Shop and I can’t wait to taste the rest of this unique series.

JG