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Entries in 7/10 (257)



Mountain Goat Lime Crisis Double IPA> For non-gamers like myself, the name of this beer is a pop reference to ‘Time Crisis’ a first person shoot and kill everything kind of arcade game released in 1995. Due to its popularity it was later ported to PlayStation consoles in 1997 and is somewhat of a classic.

Lime Crisis is a new world double IPA that uses US hops Citra and Centennial combined with NZ hops Wakatu and Taiheke to create a citrus forward flavour. Then in a move that would horrify any purist brewer they added crushed Persian black limes and Himalayan rock salt to create a rounded and mineral finish. It’s 8.2% ABV and 60 IBU.

Golden yellow/orange slightly opaque with a thin white head packed with hop oils. Lime, grapefruit, malt and strange earthy salt aroma. Medium body and relatively low carbonation. Starts with a clean lime flavour that is not overly punchy/zesty, a soft malt balances it nicely with a slightly spicy and salt flavour creeping in. It’s moderately dry with a minerally finish like a NZ Sav Blanc. The booze is well hidden. It’s definitely different but I’m not sure it’s worth the hype. Some people believe it’s a masterpiece while others are underwhelmed. It’s perhaps more like a salty lime cocktail rather than a beer.





In somewhat of a tradition Melbourne brewery Cavalier have teamed up again with Fitzroy venue The Catfish to brew a beer. For The Catfish's third birthday Cavalier decided to release a double IPA as part of their Limited Release Series.

It’s hopped with Mosaic, Chinook, Ella and Amarillo and is 8% ABV.

Light amber colour, thin off-white head with a medium body and moderate to low carbonation. Toffee malt, sweet booze, moderately dank and tropical fruit aroma. Starts with a chewy toffee and bready malt.  A citrus and stonefruit cuts through the malt with a mild tropical fruit flavour, finishes with a sweet booze and astringent finish like a Cab Sav.

I find the malt and booze smother the hop flavours too much and it could do with a few more IBU’s to balance the booze sweetness.

Probably still prefer to drink this than eat a Catfish.





Costa Nikias from Melbourne's La Sirène brewery is on a crusade to expand the horizons of the average beer drinker. In particular, he is passionate about introducing people to ‘farmhouse-style’ brews.

This is a style of beer which originated in rural areas of France and Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were typically brewed on farms using untreated water and grain and hops grown on site.

What makes this style special is the way in which they were fermented. The wort was deliberately left exposed to the air allowing wild yeast and bacteria to be introduced into the wort resulting in spontaneous fermentation.

The resulting beer would take on characteristics of the yeast and bacteria found in the local area. Interestingly, this can result in great variation in flavour from breweries in different regions or even breweries within the same region.

Whilst ‘farmhouse’ brews are poorly defined they can be generally described as a slightly funky and yeast-forward beer. Examples of well-known farmhouse style brews include Saison, Grisette and Bière de Garde.

Costa decided to ease drinkers introduce to ‘farmhouse-style’ by making a kind of pale ale/farmhouse hybrid which he describes a ‘hop-driven juicy Farmhouse Pale Ale’. I couldn’t find much about this brew other than it uses their in-house yeast strain and is 5.2% ABV.

Pale, cloudy yellow with a fine white head. Light to medium body, clean mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Banana, clove and spicy aroma. Starts with a mild bready malt and a sharp citrus flavour cutting through it. A clove, peppery and moderately funky flavour creeps in with an acidic and moderately dry and bitter finish. It’s kind of tastes like a cross between a Hefeweizen and a Saison that would go down very nicely on a hot day.

An interesting hybrid of styles and another solid brew from La Sirène.





Wolf of the Willows IPA. A couple from Melbourne, Australia took the plunge and started their own brewery, Wolf of the Willows, in 2014.

The name of the brewery alludes to a story of a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveller, officer and writer known as Pliny the Elder, who first identified the hop vine.

At this time. hops grew wild in the forest. They were described as wild, choking the willows, taking them down like a wolf to a flock of sheep.

Pliny and his naturalist buddies created the botanical name for hops - ‘lupus Salictarius’.  These Latin words can be roughly translated to ‘wolf among the willows’. The botanical name for hops were subsequently changed to ‘humulus Lupulus’. Poor old Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Wolf of the Willows are taking a modern approach to brewing, starting with style guidelines and straying a little to make it their own. They call their debut release an ‘XPA’.

Strangely, in 2014, several breweries released XPAs each with their own definition of the style. Wolf of the Willows describe their XPA as an ‘Extra Pale Ale’. A west coast American style ale, extra pale in colour with extra hop aroma and flavour.  It’s 4.7% ABV and in terms of style it seems to be something like a cross between an American Pale Ale and a session IPA.

Pale yellow with a fine white head. Citrus, passionfruit and tropical fruit aroma. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Clean citrus, passionfruit and tropical fruit hop flavour with a mildly bitter and crisp dry finish. There’s a mild biscuity malt flavour which adds a bit of complexity to the malt backbone without being overpowering. In terms of style is reminds me a bit of Feral’s Sly Fox and Ekim’s After Battle Pale Ale.

An easy drinking and flavoursome thirst quencher.





Mornington Peninsula Brewery White IPA. A White IPA mixes the hop flavours and bitterness of an IPA with the spicy and tart characters of a Belgian witbier.

US breweries Deschutes and Boulevard are often credited for creating the style when they developed a collaborative white IPA in 2010. The only other white IPA I can recall having is the Doctor’s Orders Brewing Plasma.

Hazy golden yellow with a fine white head. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Funky Belgian witbier aroma. Flavourwise it seems similar to a witbeer with a corriander and spice flavour dominating. A citrus hop flavour creeps in to remind you it’s an IPA. It has a slightly resinous mouthfeel, crisp and dry finish with a decent kick of bitterness.

An interesting hybrid style brew.





Southwark Old Stout. Originally created by the South Australia Brewing Co, this beer appears to be brewed by Lion (the Evil Empire formally known as Lion Nathan).

It’s brewed in the style of the ‘London Imperial Russian Stout’ and with its rich dark malt flavours and relatively high 7.4% ABV, it’s clearly a winter beer. Just as well winter is approaching, then.

Very dark brown colour with a fine tan head. Nice dark chocolate and coffee aroma. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

The first thing I notice is the body and mouthfeel is quite thin for a stout. However, it packs a decent dark chocolate and roasted coffee malt flavour. It reminds me of Coopers Extra Stout except for the thinner body.

The alcohol is well hidden, with no boozy or sweet flavours with a decent dose of bitterness to balance the malt. It’s like a mix between Coopers Extra Stout and Tooheys Old.

At around $AU53 per case of 24x375ml stubbies, it’s pretty good value.





Prickly Moses Black Lace. This beer was especially brewed for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) 2014.

It’s a black elderberry bock (which is a black lager with some elderberries thrown in) and it’s 5.8% ABV.

Whenever I hear "elderberries" all I can think of is a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where a French soldier yells “I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”.

I’m not usually a fan of beer with fruit in it but I’d thought I’d give it a go.

Very dark brown with a creamy, light brown head. Sweet chocolate malt and berry jam aroma. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Chocolate and little bit of roasted malt nicely balanced with a slightly tart blackberry, cherry and plum flavour. The flavour reminds me of the plum, cherry and chocolate flavours you find in some Shiraz.

A black forest cake in a beer. Something completely different.





Brewdog Tokyo. This a beer you often hear beer nerds talking about. Have you tried Brewdog’s Tokyo? It’s insane!

When Brewdog relaunched their range with new labels in 2014 the name of this beer seemed to also change. It used to be known as Tokyo with ‘Intergalactic Fantastic Oak Aged Stout’ on the label. It now seems to be called Tokyo Intergalactic Stout.

Whatever you want to call it, this is not a brew for the faint hearted. It looks innocent enough but underneath is a lurking monster. On the malt bill are marris otter, dark crystal, caramalt, chocolate malt and roast barley. It was hopped with Galena which is primarily used for bittering. For the beer nerds, Galena’s typical alpha acid content is 11.5 to 13.5%. Not surprisingly the result is a relatively high level of bitterness, 90 IBU. Then like a ninja’s flying side kick in comes the ABV – 18.2%! Then if you weren’t dazzled enough, jasmine and cranberries were added followed by aging on French toasted oak chips.

I tried this on tap at The Royal Albert in Sydney when they held a Brewdog tap takeover. I had to try to properly so I went for the largest size on offer, a middy.

Jet black with a thin, creamy light brown head. Sweet boozy port-like aroma. Full body, luscious with a smooth mouthfeel. Initially, there is a very sweet port and mild milk chocolate flavour which is quickly overpowered by a strong port-like flavour. It tastes like a fine port and nothing like a beer. Probably the first time I’ve drunk a midi of port in one sitting. The high ABV gives it a very sweet and boozy flavour, you’d never know it was 90 IBU. If you’re expecting a rich, bitter stout you will be sorely disappointed.

Port fans will love it and everyone else will be left scratching their head.





Red Duck Bobcat I was very keen to try this American IPA by Red Duck because I find their American style brews are their standouts.

It’s a single-hopped Simcoe IPA which is a respectable 7.5% ABV. It’s the first of Red Duck’s seasonal range to be released in a manly 500ml bottle. Originally only 800 bottles were released in 2013. However, due to popular demand a second batch was brewed and released in May 2014.

Golden yellow, slightly opaque with large hop oil bubbles. As described in the tasting notes there’s a mild peach and passionfruit aroma. Tropical fruit flavour with an underlying earthy flavour.

It reminds me a little of the Lord Nelson’s Double Nelson IPA. Bitter finish with the hops lingering a bit. The alcohol is well hidden.

A good beer but not as great as I thought it would be.





Moondog Jukebox Hero IPA. Moondog is a craft brewery in Abbotsford, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. It's not to be confused with Brewdog, HopDog or Black Dog breweries. One can only guess the name of this beer alludes to the song ‘Juke Box Hero’ from Foreigner’s 1981 album ‘4’.

This is an American IPA brewed with pilsner and crystal malts and dextrose. Yes that’s right they openly admit they threw in some sugar. Dextrose is more fermentable than malt sugars. In fact it’s considered to be 100% fermentable. As a result during fermentation it’s converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide with no residual sugars left over.

This means less residual sugars in the final beer and thus a thinner and drier body.  When dextrose is used in the place of malts it can raise the ABV without increasing the body of the beer. It’s not usually used in IPAs as it’s often desirable to have a decent malt backbone to balance the style’s relatively strong level of hop bitterness. On the hop front they used Warrior, Cascade, Amarillo and Centennial. It’s 7% ABV and 65 IBU.

Typical IPA appearance, a slightly opaque dark yellow colour with medium body and moderate carbonation. Fine white head with hop oils. Floral and sweet booze aroma. Caramel malt flavour followed by a citrus and dominating floral / perfumy quality with a mild stonefruit flavour.

It has a dry finish possibly enhanced by the use of dextrose. It has a reasonable level of bitterness however, not enough to balance the bittersweet flavours from the 7% ABV. If it was 5.5-6.5% ABV the hop flavour would probably be more prominent and enjoyable.