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09

Jul

Pizza Port Spitting Cobra IPA

You may have seen my other post in the last couple of days about the Heady Topper YM and I tried at the Craft Beer Co. This beer blew my mind, it was an all out explosion of hops that was so neatly crafted the flavours complemented each other rather than trying to be a ‘hop bomb’ that so many big ABV IPAs are.

Pizza Port is a brewery I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing much about, until now. It seems like the two owners, brother and sister Vince and Gina take pride in all that they do, as well as being entrepreneurs in both the pizza and craft beer scene. They originally opened their first restaurant in ‘87 and established themselves as one of the best brewpubs in the region, with Vince home brewing from the back of the pizza shop.

Over the years both the restaurants and brewing have flourished, and they now own a collection of pizza-pubs around the US. I was really lucky then to try this at the Craft Beer Co., as these beers are usually not available in the UK and aren’t available in Australia to the best of my knowledge.

The Spitting Cobra IPA pours a cloudy amber colour, with a small off white medium head, giving off tropical fruit aromas, blackberries, grapefruit and even a hint of lemon. On the palate the beer has a lovely malt backbone that leads into a medium bitter aftertaste, with a lingering dryness of tropical fruits.

This is a gorgeous IPA to have on tap, and while it may be no Heady Topper, I still rate this one quite highly in terms of being an all-rounded complete beer.

Bought for £3 (for a half pint) from the Craft Beer Co.

JG

07

Jul

The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA

It was our last day in London and we were meeting a friend (AS) down at Abbey Road to get in a bit of Beatles history before leaving the big smoke and heading down to Brighton for a couple of days.

After cruising down to the studios and seeing all the other tourists trying to take the iconic album cover photo, we decided to have a relaxed afternoon, and I suggested we head down to The Craft Beer Co. which happened to be only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying in Kings Cross.

I can’t say that I’ve been to too many dedicated beer bars (5 and counting), but this is one fine establishment. Ratebeer ranks The Craft Beer Co. as the 4th best beer bar in the world, and I can certainly see why. Upon arriving, we were greeted with an absolutely monstrous selection of cask beers as well as at least 20 taps with guest beers that seemed to be lingering from their weekend celebrations. If I had known that the weekend gone was their one year anniversary we would have made sure to head there, but alas, we didn’t.

After having a friendly chat to the bartender, he mentioned that they had received a small shipment of the Alchemist Heady Topper, and were down to 7 cans. I couldn’t believe my luck; here was a beer that I’d salivated over for many months, watching all our American beer lovers post and repost about the all rounded awesomeness that the Heady Topper is.

When we were told the price of £13, YM and I decided to split the costs and taste what we hoped was going to be one hell of an awesome beer. I must say we were both pleasantly surprised about how well rounded and well crafted the beer was. It had huge orange and tropical fruit aromas, with hints of pineapple and a slight chalkiness.

The flavours that follow are no short of out of this world. While most other IPAs around this ABV are almost messy or too full flavoured, I found the Heady Topper to be perfectly balanced with a lovely lingering bitterness packed with more orange and other tropical fruits on the palate.

I would certainly get this one again, but would rather buy it in the US where it appears to be considerably cheaper.

Also on a side note: if you’re ever in London go to The Craft Beer Co., you won’t be disappointed.

JG

06

Jul

Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA
Firstly I have to say a belated happy 4th of July. This may sound strange as I am touring the UK and am currently in Brighton, which is not usually a place that springs to mind when you think of the United States. However, I celebrated Independence Day in a way which I’ve been led to believe would make most American’s proud, the only thing that’s missing so far is the fireworks…but here’s to hoping.
It just so happened that the bar in Brighton with the highest acclaim also happened to be having a 4th of July celebratory party on the very same day JG and I were by chance staying across the road.  Thus upon venturing in we were greeted by some friendly staff who told us to try some American beer selections and stay for some tasty treats. The menu included BBQ ribs of several varieties, three types of burgers, chips, wedges, chicken fingers, chicken wings, chilli dogs, corn fritters, and while perhaps cliché, American music played in the background as stars and stripes dangled from the ceiling. All in a great compliment to the beers I was drinking and the country in which they were brewed.
As for the beer; the scent was not over bearing, quite fruity but not sweet. To taste I noted pine nuts and again a fruitiness. There was a reasonable hop kick which tasted refreshing but not overbearing with the bitterness. The overall taste was quite smooth and went down very well for an 8.5% beer and the alcohol was hardly noticeable. A fine achievement by Flying Dog and if this were more readily available in Australia it would certainly be one of my regulars, whether it be the colour, the odour, the taste or the price I liked it from every angle. The fantastic bar experience also helped and I can recommend the pub to anyone who heads to Brighton as they have up to 30 constantly changing tap beers and what I thought were excellent prices.
Place: mybrewerytap.com (103 North Road Brighton)
Price:£2.50
Would I get it again: Yes! 
YM

Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA

Firstly I have to say a belated happy 4th of July. This may sound strange as I am touring the UK and am currently in Brighton, which is not usually a place that springs to mind when you think of the United States. However, I celebrated Independence Day in a way which I’ve been led to believe would make most American’s proud, the only thing that’s missing so far is the fireworks…but here’s to hoping.

It just so happened that the bar in Brighton with the highest acclaim also happened to be having a 4th of July celebratory party on the very same day JG and I were by chance staying across the road.  Thus upon venturing in we were greeted by some friendly staff who told us to try some American beer selections and stay for some tasty treats. The menu included BBQ ribs of several varieties, three types of burgers, chips, wedges, chicken fingers, chicken wings, chilli dogs, corn fritters, and while perhaps cliché, American music played in the background as stars and stripes dangled from the ceiling. All in a great compliment to the beers I was drinking and the country in which they were brewed.

As for the beer; the scent was not over bearing, quite fruity but not sweet. To taste I noted pine nuts and again a fruitiness. There was a reasonable hop kick which tasted refreshing but not overbearing with the bitterness. The overall taste was quite smooth and went down very well for an 8.5% beer and the alcohol was hardly noticeable. A fine achievement by Flying Dog and if this were more readily available in Australia it would certainly be one of my regulars, whether it be the colour, the odour, the taste or the price I liked it from every angle. The fantastic bar experience also helped and I can recommend the pub to anyone who heads to Brighton as they have up to 30 constantly changing tap beers and what I thought were excellent prices.

Place: mybrewerytap.com (103 North Road Brighton)

Price:£2.50

Would I get it again: Yes!

YM

24

Jun

Palate Wrecking Tasting at the International Beer Shop

Yesterday, YM, RS and myself headed down to the International Beer Shop to partake in our last IBS tasting before we head of to Europe, and from the facebook invite, we knew we were in for a real treat. At first, when I was invited to the event, I thought the beers would most likely be hop forward, double IPA’s, or something along those lines.

What amazed me was the fact that Luke (the manager) chose significantly different beers, but still managed to relate them to the theme of the tasting. We started off by being presented with tasting notes, which is a great accompaniment to the beers, and allows you to digest the background information as well as the beer at the same time. Don’t you find it’s great to have the tasting notes all written up, so that it’s much easier to reminisce about all the awesome beers and flavours? I throughly enjoy reflecting on a good beer with even more of it.

So onto the beers. In order of tasting they were:

  1. Cantillon Gueuze
  2. Moylan’s Moylander Double IPA
  3. North Coast Old Stock Ale 2012
  4. Mikkeller 1000IBU
  5. Mikkeller Black Hole

After tasting these beers (we’ve tried the Moylander DIPA but are yet to review it), we decided our two three favourite beers of the afternoon were the Black Hole Stout, the Gueuze and the Old Stock Ale. For both YM and myself, that was the first time we’ve tried a gueuze, and found it to be awesome, it was a lovely balance between sour and tart and really easy to drink. We can’t wait to head to Cantillon when we get to Brussels and sample the rest of their amazing beers (yumm!!).

The Old Stock Ale was full of caramel, sweetness (even a bit of hazelnut) and it surprisingly masked its massive ABV really well. I was a bit worried to be honest about the Old Stock Ale, because my last barleywine, the Bigfoot was really quite overwhelming and overpowering, but I found the Old Stock Ale to be really quite mellow and subdued in comparison.

Lastly, the Black Hole Stout. Wow. Just wow. I can’t remember ever trying a beer that is just so well balanced, and keeps you coming back for more after every sip. There was a point I actually had to stop myself from having any more, because of the monstrous ABV of 13.1%. It had amazingly creamy flavours, with loads of coffee, cocoa, and an amazingly sweet almost liqueur like finish. This is a beer to go out of your way for and I urge anyone who is yet to try it to go out and save a bottle for a cold winter’s night. It really is on another level in terms of awesomeness.

Thanks once again to the IBS for putting on a sweet tasting, and if you’re in Perth and are yet to head along, be sure to mark the next one in your diary!

JG