Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Stone Brewing Company - Double IPA 7.7% ABV. 

Holy hell, I’m in heaven. 
Juxtaposition. Heaven and hell. Yeah, I went there. 
This is the hopheads dream. So good. Sentence length reducingly good. 
Straight to the beer!
Spoiler alert: Hops feature heavily in this beer. 
Your nose gets seduced by this heavily dry hopped ale and makes you want to drink it all. You almost know exactly what this beer will taste like purely from the aroma, but this only heightens the desire to take a sip. 
There it is. A fairly heavy malt bill, considering it’s up around the 7-8% ABV mark, but it’s still prepared to play support for the hops as they completely steal the show. The light pale mate/caramalt body give just enough sweetness while letting the hops run wild. It screams of Centennial hops, but I might be wrong. 
I can hardly imagine a better beer to go to when it’s a good fix of hops that you require. 
Obtaining this beer down in little Australia might be tough, but it’s oh so worth it. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Red Rackham

Yeastie Boys - Belgian Red Ale 6.8% ABV

I know I haven’t shut up about the Red Rackham since I tried it, but I’ll get this out of the way and then be done with it.

Here we have one of the new offerings from our buddies from across the Tasman, and it’s a very interesting installation to the growing range of Yeastie Boys beers. 
Sharing it’s name with a treasure from everyones favourite ginger haired adventurer (I’m referring to Tin Tin, not... umm... well okay there aren’t many ginger adventurers) the Red Rackham is something that I’d be glad to dig up in a sunken pirates chest. 
So, why did pirates bury their treasure? I know they created maps with the intention of returning at some stage to collect it, but I would have just taken it with me when I disembarked. Who knows what state the loot would be in by the time they return? And what if the map fell into the hands of some young upstart adventurer?
And... never mind.
Beer review, yes, that’s what I was doing. Let’s get on to the beer itself, shall we?
Another style-bending seasonal release from these Kiwi lads and this one would probably be best described as a Belgian Red Ale, I guess? Correct me if I’m wrong.
Slightly more red then golden, this one really looks a picture and just begs to be sipped. But what does it smell like?
The nose gives you a little indication of the Belgian yeast and spiciness and demands that you take a sip. Not one to argue, I complied. 
The tongue is greeted with the loveliness of a beautifully balanced red ale, but with a little boozy kick. At 6.8% this could prove a tactically efficient Winter warmer (assuming there is any left by the time the cold weather arrives). A good hop profile, but armed with a slight banana funk from the Belgian yeast.
This is not like many amber ales/red ales that you would have had recently. 
I’ve enjoyed the Red Rackham immensely, and so much so that it received a one way ticket to Dave and Rian’s New Years Eve Extravaganza, or DARNYEE as I might call it. 
No we’ve already established it as FBTENYE, let’s stick with that.
Keep an eye on your Twitter feed on the big night to witness the harrassing we give to Untappd. 
It’ll be fun.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - American IPA 7.2% ABV

Oh my.

Let’s start with the name. You know I dig names that are apt for the beer. This is no exception. A torpedo is long and sleek,
spectacular and can cause great damage. A balanced 7.2% ABV Extra IPA with explosive hop character as a sessionable beer makes this extremely dangerous. Like a torpedo, if you didn’t already pick up on that...

Torpedos can sink ships as well, but I can’t draw any analogies to this beer for that point.

Firstly this pours quite thick for a pale beer and looks like a clear, ruby trophy that signifies an emphatic win in the choices of life leading up to this moment.

Then you smell it. Promises of big hop character greet you lovingly. So inviting. Just so... oh sorry I lost my train of thought whilst smelling it again. You’ll have to excuse me, I just have to have a sip.
How is a beer like this so balanced?
The sweet, caramel malt comes in simultaneously with this huge hop character that makes my heart warm with joy. Ahh, a hopheads delight. The taste develops into the gorgeous, high bitterness hop flavour that actually finishes on the highest bitterness which just invites you into another sip.
It’s a perpetually enjoyable IPA. I’m nearing the end of my glass and I’m already hatching various schemes to obtain some more. One method includes going and buying some more.
A fantastic IPA that really needs to be enjoyed by everyone. Or just me. I don’t care. Find your own beer actually, this beer won’t be readily available near me. I’ll need to stock up.
Bravo, Sierra Nevada. Bravo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beelzebub's Jewels

Holgate Brewhouse - Belgian Quadrupel 12% ABV

Where do you begin with a beer like this? Oh, I know. I'll be begin by promising that I will not make any jokes or any testicular reference to Lucifer.

This seasonal release is possibly the most anticipated of the year from Australian microbreweries, and was one of the only carrots that could have been dangled to get me to drive down Glenferrie Road at 6.30pm just to get to Slowbeer in time to snap up one of these beauties. (And maybe a growler fill. And maybe pick up a couple of extra treats...)

But how to enjoy such a beer? Candle lit dinner (which would probably mean sharing with someone who is entirely undeserving)? On it's own? Compared to some other Belgian Style Dubbels and Tripels? So many tough questions (though really just one question...).

In the end the decision was made that it would be the centerpiece of an evening of beer appreciation with the ever reliable beer appreciator, Rian.

What's that? But don't you guys always have beer appreciation nights? Well nobody asked you, so you should really watch your manners, son (or daughter).

Moving on!

The beer itself pours like a sticky dream (not that kind) and really pours lighter than you might expect, but then before your very eyes it seems to darken in the glass and settle in to a deep ruby red with very little opacity. It has the appearance of a semi precious stone. This may be a redundant comment as I already mentioned it was "ruby red". Forget it.

The Beelzebub's Jewels has been aged in pinot noir barrels and this is evident on the aroma. Straight away the pinot nose comes through as well as a little bit of smokiness.

The initial flavour also highlights the barrel aging with a strong strike of the pinot without ever leaving behind the lovely, sweet malt flavour. With such strong players in this game it's quite a feat to maintain such good balance.

The beastly 12% ABV gives this a hugely warming quality to it that I think everyone knew that it would. The kind of warming that a bearded mountaineer would hope to cling to on that last, hopeless night beside the burnt out camp fire.

I will have to get myself another and put it away for a very special occasion. Maybe a Tuesday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bridge Road Harvest

2011 Harvest Pale Ale - 4.6% ABV

I'm a big fan of Bridge Rd, their Beechworth Pale Ale is one of the most dangerously sessionable beers I've ever encountered, while the Bling IPA is a bruiser of a hop heavyweight, a curry just doesn't taste the same without being accompanied by one. So I expected great things when I ordered the 2011 Harvest. It did not disappoint...

Firstly, it has a lovely golden body, topped by a big creamy head, on looks alone this is a supermodel of a pale ale. The big aroma is all citrus hops, seriously it's like a well stocked fruit bowl; grapefruit, peach, apricot and passionfruit. A similar theme carries across onto the taste, citrus and stone fruit with a solid, rising bitterness which leaves a dry and clean mineral aftertaste.

This pale ale has a very fresh quality to it, fitting considering it is a harvest beer, made of fresh hops of an, as yet, unnamed experimental strain. Hopefully the brewers continue to experiment with it because the robust, fresh flavors of this beer leaves me wanting more.

Such is beer indeed...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

8 Wired Hop Wired

India Pale Ale - 7.3% ABV
Hopheads of the craft beer world, take note. 
This beer is the hopheads dream. The dream, I tell you!
Okay, I know. The Brew Views has been pretty 8 Wired heavy lately, but can you really blame me? Blame 8 Wired if anyone! Stop making such lovely, hoppy beers! And blame Slowbeer for making them so accessible and affordable!
Forget it. 
The Hop Wired smells hoppy. Really hoppy. It’s not dissimilar to smelling bittering hop pellets like Chinooks before it even goes in to making a beer. Such a wonderful aroma!
The taste of the beer starts with big citrusy hop flavours that make you smile and appreciate why bittering hops are used in beer in the first place. Don’t discount the malt though, it definitely plays the supporting cast role, but in such an unassuming way that you might not even consider it for an Oscar nomination. It’s surprisingly balanced for such a strong, hoppy IPA.
This is one beer I will happily return to time and time again, as it’s just what an unashamed hophead such as myself is looking for. 
8 Wired have done it again. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Epic/Thornbridge Stout

After sitting down with Master Dave and Master Rorz at Beer Deluxe on Showcase Wednesday, knocking back Thornbridge Brewery's latest international collaboration and being generally smitten by the black beauty contained before us, it was only a matter of time before I used all my Bear Grylls-style cunning and poise to hunt down their previous effort with New Zealand's Epic Brewery. Thankfully, before any of my own urine was consumed, I'd found exactly what I had been trying to track down, albeit at the first place I looked. (Slow Beer, if you must ask)

Spending $16 on a single bottle of beer does two things to me, it angers the tight-wallet student in me, the weedy geek who used to be able to justify drinking Hahn Ice because it was on special at $20 a cube (30 awful, awful cans). It also installs a need of occasion. To sit drink a beer of this cost by one's self, there needs to be an atmosphere, perhaps sitting on a leather couch in an evening robe, watching a roaring fire, some Bob Dylan on scratchy vinyl, singing about a man named Hurricane, perhaps even some star-gazing... Something to live up to the quality of the beer.

On this occasion, I chose the "lay on the unmade bed in my work clothes watching cat video's on youtube" option, mainly because I was too lazy to light a fire and wind up the gramophone. The beer though, as would have been expected, deserved much better. I love a beer that pours like velvet, filling the glass like melted chocolate from a fondue fountain. The aroma on the pour was quite a bitter burnt smell, but once it had settled, rich coffee and caramel remained as a teaser to the flavour. The first few sips were like that initial smell, almost a burnt toast taste (albeit, burnt toast made from the finest quality home-cooked bread) but as the beer warmed a little, I was met with a rich complexity of malty flavours, and a very subtle oak after-taste, like a good wine. Each successive sip opened up new doors of flavour until about halfway down the glass, then it seemed to just settle on bitter chocolate and coffee. It is definitely a beer for a better occasion than the one I had given it. Is it better than the Thorny Goat? tough to say, it certainly doesn't have the novelty, genius and flair of the Goat, but it feels like a much more solid and consistent competitor. Like a Luke Hodge to Thorny Goat's Buddy Franklin.