April 10, 2014 by 250 Beers
Well, that’ll teach me for having a ridiculously busy March. I totally forgot to post my February wrap-up of new and unique beers! Thanks to our World’s Greatest Shave charity event, Riverlife’s Five Flavours, a weekend in Byron Bay with the Stone & Wood crew (more on that soon), a first year anniversary Noisy Minor Shout plus a small thing called Brewsvegas, February’s review took a back seat.
A month late, here goes…
February enabled me to take on board 56 beers that were new to me.
I’ll kick-off with the best gluten-free beer that I’ve had to date. I’ve tried a few now and they’ve either been average or just plain shit. Koala Beer’s Wilde Pale Ale (4.5%) is far from the latter. It’s a very tasty pale indeed. From the response that I received on social media after drinking it, I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.
Being February there was a hint of Valentine in the air. There was an anti-Valentine’s Day Sniff & Sip session at the Brewhouse whereby six new beers made my list. Five were part of the sesh and one, a porter called Smoking Gun (5.0%), was a cheeky beer before the event started. Another Valentine’s event was a Bacchus tap-takeover at Brewski. In true Brisbane blogger-love fashion, I was joined by Jason from Brews and Bacon. Four themed beers included a sour beer called Atomic Cherry (3.0%), Black Heart Chocolate Porter (5.7%), a saison named French Tickler (6.3%) and White Chocolate Passion Pilsner which tasted like, yep, passionfruit and white chocolate. My pick was the porter. It was divine!
The very first Craft Beer Rising occurred in February. Judging duties at Archive’s Australia vs The World event took precedence but visits to Newstead Brewing Co. and Tippler’s Tap afterwards saw me notch up 12 new beers during a long day. Here goes… Brasserie Cantillon’s Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (5.0%), Brasserie Dupont’s Saison Dupont (6.5%), Jack The RIIPA (7.5%) by local brewers, Brewtal, Pay The Ferryman Porter (5.0%) by Mexican craft brewery, Cerveceria Mexicana, Fortitude Brewing Co.’s Stout (4.0%), an Irish Red Ale (5.2%) by Granite Belt Brewery – a highlight from the day it has to be said, Oude Geuze (6.0%) by Oud Beersel, Stone’s Smoked Porter (5.9%), Death Between The Tanks DIPA (7.8%) by The Little Brewing Company, Timmermans Oude Gueuze (5.5%) – the fourth Belgian of the day. Lastly, Peppa’d Pig (5.6%) and Hop Control Centre IIPA both from Toybox Brewery.
Other Australian-brewed beers new to me in February included Murray’s Moon Boy (4.2%), Newstead Brewing Co.’s Knights Black IPA (6.4%), Red Duck’s Saison (6.2%), Rocks Brewing’s Session IPA (4.7%), Temple Brewing’s Anytime IPA (4.7%), Brewcult’s Reset Robot (3.5%), the Artisan Reserve (5.5%) by Coopers, a PR sample of Mad Brewers’ Garden De Paradisi (6.2%), Moon Dog’s Bjorn To Boogie Watermelon Weizen (5.3%) and Mustafa’s Dancing Helmet Apricot IPA (9.2%) both of which were interesting. I struggled with the weizen. It just didn’t work as well as the apricot IPA which was superb. I came close to pouring the weizen down the sink yet couldn’t put the complex IPA down. Pesky fruits. Lastly, three beers from the now name-changed International Hotel Brewery. These were Geronimo – a 7.0% dark lager, an appropriately named beer call Irish Red (5.0%) and Noble Pilsner (4.6%). The brewery relaunched, renamed and rebadged itself as The Hipwood Brewery during Brewsvegas in March. I’d tried these three beers years ago when I first arrived in Australia but I wasn’t keeping tabs on my intake at that point hence them only making my list now…they were still as mediocre as I remember them being.
There were seven beers from Europe; Italy’s Birra Del Borgo with Cotigiana (4.6%) and Duchessa (5.8%) as well as Extraomnes’ Straff (9.5%). Gentleman’s Wit (4.3%) by Camden Town Brewery featured as did St Austell’s Proper Job IPA (5.5%) and Maelstrom IIPA (9.0%) by Summer Wine Brewery – all three from England of course. There was also an appearance from Sweden in the form of a 330ml can of lager from Pistonhead called Kustom Lager (4.6%). It really should have been called PissedOnHead because, once I’d finished it, that’s what it tasted like somebody had done to me.
Two beers from Japan made February’s list. A rather dire Pale Ale (5.0%) from Ise Kadoya and, at the other end of the scale, Baird’s delicious Angry Boy Brown Ale (6.5%).
There was also a double from New Zealand; an extremely sessionable IPA by Liberty Brewing called Citra Junior (4.5%) and Our Turn, Your Turn – a Yeastie Boys/Pretty Things collaborative IPA.
Maui Brewing Co. represented a solitary beer from Hawaii in February. Their Big Swell IPA (6.8%) was tasty although a little flat. Fruity and punchy just lacking a full body.
To finish are seven brews from the USA. Top of the class was Deviant Dale’s IPA (8.0%) by Oskar Blues – an absolute cracker of an IPA. This was followed closely by Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale (5.6%) and Jubelale – a 6.7% winter ale by Deschutes. Another Deschutes beer first tried in February was Red Chair NWPA (6.2%). There were two Rogue’s that found their way down my throat; Hazlenut Brown Nectar (6.2%) and Juniper Pale Ale (5.2%). The last two sit firmly at the back of the class. Blue Star Wheat Beer (4.5%) by North Coast Brewing was watery, flat and just plain useless. The first beer in the marketplace from Coca-Cola Amatil had to be given a try – Coors Lager (4.2%) hit my palate and I immediately regretted it. Been there done that now although it was a unique Untappd check-in I suppose.
So, that was February’s new beers albeit somewhat late in being wrapped-up. Keep an eye out soon for a ridiculously large March overview. I haven’t yet done the maths but what I do know is that I consumed more than 50 new beers during the one week of Brewsvegas. Yikes.