Revision Gimme Da Loot! Northeast-Style Hazy IPA

Total Score: 9.1/10 PapayaMango1Pineapple1Orange1Nonicpint1

“Strength to Strength”: that would be the title if there was a book about Revision Brewing from Nevada. I don’t know what they’re doing but every beer I’ve tried of theirs has been a “Northeast-Style Hazy IPA” that tastes like a mango smoothie Ganesha might drink – that is to say exceptional. And IDK, maybe it has just been a case of me actually trying fresh American IPAs for the first time, but these brews are tasty AF (or TAF which I will now declare as an acronym henceforth). So with expectation levels at an all time high, and having recently drunk a can of Tahoe Haze, Gimme Da Loot! goes into this review with a massive cross to bear. The listed hop bill doesn’t help either: Amarillo, Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic – this’ll be awesome!

Poured from a 473ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy AF yeah! Body is light and Jonquil coloured with a pleasing white cappuccino foam head that slowly compacts to a thin blanket on top. Splotchy lace patterns inside the glass as it goes down. Rather excellent colour/head. 9/10.

S: Aroma is a tropical fruit salad of pineapple/mango/paw paw/guava/you name it, along with a herbaceous grassy green hop note and nary a hint of malt. Yep, Revision are doing that ole “East-meets-West” IPA thing that they’ve done in the all the brews I’ve tried of theirs (admittedly 3 now) and it works. Of course it works: that’s the genius of combining New England and West-Coast styles – they’re both awesome in their own ways, find a way to mix the best combination of each and *ching-ching-ching* Gimme Da Loot! 9/10.

T: Pineapple upfront, mango/paw paw/guava comes in, hints of tangerine add a citric note, towards the middle comes a very light biscuit malt base, and finishes with a touch of that herbaceous grassy green hop character noted above and a mild bitterness. Overall flavour profile is Sparkle Muffin with more tropical fruit and less pine resin “green” character. I’m more partial to SM… hmm, should probably spell that one out: Sparkle Muffin, for that reason. 9/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied, creamy/dense carbonation = ACES! 10/10.

D: These Revision guys. They’re the best amirite? It’s like when I first had DirtWolf and a few other Victory beers and I was just blown away by the hop character. That’s what Revision are doing now, and for an old (not that old thank-you-very-much) hop-head like me I’m more than happy to sit down and chill with a brew like this. Tahoe Haze just inched this in fresh hop notes though. 9/10.

Food match: Soo much fruit salad in this beer! Give roasted pork belly a go.

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Ballistic Driftwood Oaked Citra XPA

Total Score: 7.8/10 Peach1Vanilla1Grapefruit1Nonicpint1

Huh, would you look at that: I haven’t reviewed a single Ballistic Beer Co brew yet. I could have sworn I did their Australian Psycho IPA, I certainly drank a couple 4-packs of that (nb: it was a tasty West-Coast IPA). Well I guess it’s time to rectify this oversight and review this intriguing Oaked Citra XPA (Xylophone Poodles Arriving???) from Salisbury, Brisbane. Never had an oaked XPA, I’ve had Oaked Stouts and Porters, but lighter (coloured) beers oaked? That’s a new one. I’m not sure if this is barrel fermented or oak chips, but I’m guessing oak chips otherwise they would have raved about their barrel fermentation process on the label – I mean WHO doesn’t get excited about barrel fermentation processes? I know I do.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Fairly clear deep golden body with a thin spotty near-white head that leaves lines of lace as it goes down. Not the best looking beer it has to be said, but it’s only worth 5% of my score weighting so no biggie there Ballistic. 6/10.

S: Nice peachy and grapefruit overtones, vanilla/woody notes from the oak, a touch of lemon (thank you Mr. Citra) with a light biscuit/cracker malt base underneath. This is a solid Pale Ale to be sure, probably one of the best PA aromas I’ve whiffed in a while. With more and more Aussie brewers tending now towards lighter and tropical-accented Pales, “gateway pales” I like to call them, this Oaked Citra XPA is a breath of old, and IMO: better, air. 8/10.

T: What a playful brew! Starts of all citrus-driven and fresh with grapefruit/lemon hop character, then in comes a wafer-thin cracker malt base, followed by a peachy/vanilla/woody character (American Oak at play there), and finishes with a light green herbal hop bitterness. Aftertaste comes in all peachy. If Southern Comfort released a beer it might taste a little like this. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably gassy and dense carbonation… probably could have done without the 12 odd burps this drink gave me. 7/10.

D: Flavour-wise I reckon this one will be a divisive beer for many – it’s going to upset the old-guard craft drinkers with its overly fresh and peachy flavour, and the new-guard (aka the ones who love modern/lighter/gateway Pales) will find it a bit in-yo-face. TBH I think Ballistic have struck a good balance here and it’s definitely a brew I would get a 4-pack of for a change of pace, it’s a “change of pace” beer – that’s what this is. Cheers Ballistic, keep the interesting beers coming! 8/10.

Food match: Lighter salads, deep-fried zucchini flowers, chicken, that stuff.

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Belching Beaver Deftones Phantom Bride IPA

Total Score: 7.1/10 Biscuit1Tea1Orange1Nonicpint1

Belching Beaver Deftones Phantom Bride IPA: an unlikely collaboration between a large, primarily nocturnal, semiaquatic rodent that suffers from a constant release of gas from the digestive tract (mainly via the esophagus and stomach) through the mouth, and an American alternative metal band from Sacramento, California. What really do these two things have in common that have brought them together to brew an IPA? From the second I saw this can of Phantom Bride IPA I’ve been struggling to reconcile these seemingly disparate things. The label is odd too, with a beaver skull and roses on it, yep still no connection can be found between the band and the brewer. Anyhow: “who cares if the beer is good?” – my official catch-cry.

Poured from a 473ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed golden-yellow body with a sudsy off-white head that quickly drops back leaving a light bit of lace and loads of bubbles on the surface. Head’s not great, but I do like a spot o’ haze and even though the lace is minimal it’s OK nonetheless. 7/10.

S: Yeeeeep! Hop fade. Damn hop fade – this might have been a hop monster when it was brewed (I might never truly know) but what’s left in my glass now is a monument to sweet biscuit and dry cracker malt. Further sniff reveals a tea leaf/herbal character, a frail remainder of the glorious hops that were once within. Damn you hop faAADE! Still smells alright though. 7/10.

T: Not half bad at all – there’s still something to be said for some IPAs with hop fade. Light citrus/melon hop notes, tea leaf/herbal as well, mid-palate is a sweet biscuit/almost chocolate malt base (chocolate?! In an IPA?!), candied orange and pear drops dump in a bit more sweetness. Finish is light herbal bitterness and a touch of dry. Not bad at all (apart from the hop fade of course). 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a decent creamy carbonation that one would normally find in a German beer. 8/10.

D: Overall flavour is no doubt a shadow of itself thanks to the time it takes to ship beer to Australia (although the distributor for Revision Brewing seems to get their beers over here pretty fresh, so WTFK?). That said it’s not even the worst beer I’ve had tonight: that honour goes to Hound of Hades, so there’s a small win there. Also if an IPA is this tasty with hop fade then I can only imagine how good it would be fresh, I would get this again for sure if I saw it in the US. 7/10.

Food match: To dine on some Deftones would be nice, perhaps we should have a slice? JK, Mexican tamales oaxaqueños would go well with this.

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Green Beacon The Hound of Hades IPA

Total Score: 6.5/10 HopFlower1Orange1Earth1Nonicpint1

Nice Cerberus shout out Green Beacon. This West-Coast style India Pale Ale: The Hound of Hades is brewed in collaboration of some of my all-time favourite dogs – Brewdog(s). Specifically Brewdog Australia, which is opening up in my current hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Which is f__king awesome for me and the many Brisbane Beer Barons out there in FB-Land. Hopefully, even though I wasn’t a fan of this beer [spoiler alert], there will be many future collaborations between these stalwart brewers at Green Beacon & Brewdog, as they are both favourite brewers of mine. Also the idea of freshly brewed Brewdog beer in Australia is getting me pretty excited.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Clear golden body with a decent off-white cappuccino foam head that subsides leaving fancy lace-work inside the glass. Hmmmm, fancy-schmancy, it’s been a while since I’ve had an IPA that didn’t have the letters “NE” in front of it. 8/10.

S: Aromas got that classic American IPA thang happening: piney/citrus hops, with a bit of paw paw, an earthy tone, and a crisp cracker/biscuit malt base backing it up. Yep, total American IPA aroma profile, move along – nothing to smell here. 7/10.

T: Piney/earthy tones upfront, bit of blood orange rind in the mid-palate, centre caramel/dry cracker/biscuit malt hints, with a medium bitterness in the finish that lingers on in the aftertaste. Touch of noticeable spirit in the background, not good in a 7% ABV beer, this brew is really not showing that typical Green Beacon subtle finesse that I’ve grown accustomed to – it’s a rough beer given its pedigree. 6/10.

M: Body is pretty damn good though: almost medium-bodied with a dense-packed carbonation that has a reasonable (but not OTT) amount of carbon dioxide to it. 8/10.

D: All rather standard and a bit pedestrian for Green Beacon & Brewdog, I’m actually surprised they didn’t try anything radical here, but I guess it’s a case of “what’s old is new” for them in that while every man and his dog that can brew is limited releasing NEIPAs and they’ve decided to collaborate on “a good old IPA, what could possibly go wrong?” Well, when you’ve got a base IPA as good as Windjammer, and you’re brewing this (frankly amateur) IPA with legends like Brewdog, there’s something missing, or a problem somewhere along the line. Either way like I prefaced earlier: I am not a fan. GB’s last brew (Barbary Coast) wasn’t great either. 6/10.

Food match: Sticky BBQ pork ribs with coleslaw and grilled corn cob FTW.

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Mikkeller Riesling People

Total Score: 8.55/10 Lime1WhiteWine1GreenApple1Tulipglass1

Don’t mind a Riesling. If you’re into trying a white wine and you haven’t tried a Riesling it’s an underrated varietal IMO. It’s a grape that produces some beer-like characters: crisp apple, lime, stone-fruit – all flavours one might find in a Lager or an Ale. Of course Mikkeller has brewed a beer with Meierer Riesling juice, Mikkeller has brewed a beer with everything, why are you even surprised? Brilliant idea though, Riesling wine has more crossover potential with beer than almost any other grape I can think of. Yes, there’s been plenty of Shiraz-related dark beers here in Australia, we make a lot of Shiraz here. Riesling though… Mikkeller you magnificent bastard – you read my mind once again. I hate you. I love you. It’s complicated.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip (all my wine glasses are upstairs).

A: One of the lightest straw shades I’ve seen in a while – it’s like the stuff that goes in a lemon curd tart… [lemon curd, that stuff] Opaque lemon curd body with a thin white head that dissipates leaving a lace ring. Interesting stuff right here. 8/10.

S: Oomph! Some real acidic notes from that Riesling juice. Again though, like I said, that Riesling character is going to pair well with the NEIPA flavours, just give it a chance me (and you too). Acidic lemon/lime lead a biting citric attack, hints of floral and light herbal/grassy character (possibly the hops). If this is astringent as the aroma would suggest I’m in for a challenging brew (I’m admittedly not great with sour flavours – my weak spot). 7/10.

T: Annnnd it comes in with a long dry finish. That was unexpected. Riesling People is wholly fruity and well balanced with hints of sour, a bit of sweet, and a slight bitter note. Flavours include: lemon/lime, floral/herbal hops, vinous white notes throughout, touch of green apple, and an earthy peach note towards the back. This is far from a NEIPA, but better for it IMO (I’ve been drinking a few NEIPAs lately and this has a tasty-dry break). If you like white wine: get on this. Now. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a super-dense, light carbonation. I don’t think I’ve seen bubbles this tiny before. Extra point for being unique here. 9/10.

D: Beer and wine together in unholy matrimony, and it works! Yes beer lovers who hate wine and vice-versa will dislike this, but if you’re like me and sitting in the purple middle bit of the Venn diagram between beer/wine you’ll appreciate how this beer nails both aspects so well. It’s the white version of a Flanders Red FFS [I’m of course thinking of Rodenbach Grand Cru thank you]. 9/10.

Food match: White fish or pork are the go-tos of Riesling – same applies here.

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Revision Tahoe Haze Northeast-Style Hazy IPA

Total Score: 9.2/10 PapayaMango1Orange1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

It’s a great time to be a craft beer drinker! I’m hardly keeping up with all the awesome NEIPAs, IPAs, APAs, DIPAs, IIPAs… you get the picture. Point is I’m so grateful to live in a country like Australia that has embraced the craft beer scene that I’ve been a fan of for many a year now. Also great is the quality of the US breweries that are shipping to Oz. At first it was brewers like Sierra Nevada and Ballast Point, who are pretty great in their own way, but Revision, “Ahhh, Revision, she is like the mistress who comes to me in the night and leaves me in a state of rapture in the morning” *sensual Latin-American voice* Overselling much? Maybe, but their beers are boss nonetheless, bring on the Tahoe Haze!

Poured from a 473ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Quite a light pale straw yellow, hazy “yes!”, body with a fluffy cream-coloured head that drops back to a compact half centimetre blanket on top. Bits of lace in the glass round out this rather attractive NEIPA, love that colour and haze. 9/10.

S: Punchy tropical hop notes of papaya, mango, add some tangerine citric character, and a noticeable green cannabis hint as well. Hops, hops, and yep – you guessed it: more hops. Bravo Revision – just what Doktor Hops ordered! As per usual with NEIPAs there isn’t any discernible malt profile in the aroma, no big deal, it’ll be in there somewhere, move on. 9/10.

T: Fresh hops! Spot on flavour profile too. *ding ding ding* We have a winner! Flavour is as above, only the tangerine citrus and tropical papaya/mango is on an equal footing (probably why they went with 66.66% Citra to 33.33% Mosaic – the slightly lighter hop is given a boost to compensate for the stronger one). That raw green cannabis note comes through too with a herbal/grassy character. Malt provides a light biscuit/cracker base that lets the hops shine, and shine they do, with a mild grassy bitterness in the finish. 9/10.

M: Grassy burps, lovely stuff, carbonation is active and dense with a nice medium-bodied mouthfeel, top shelf balance on this one. 9/10.

D: Tahoe Haze is Sparkle Muffin’s little brother/sister, it’s all that with a more laid-back taste/feel. When the hop character is as fresh as this you really get to see the mastery of American brewers at work (we’re catching up in Australia though). This is a class-act NEIPA with a real moreish/easy-drinking feel that is found in only the best examples of this style – superlative work again Revision. 10/10.

Food match: This is the beer you want to be swigging at your mates BBQ.

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Black Hops G.O.A.T. New England IPA

Total Score: 8.15/10 PapayaMango1HopFlower1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

G.O.A.T., to those who are uninitiated with the term means: Greatest Of All Time – like Joe Louis (sorry Muhammad Ali), Led Zeppelin, Don Bradman, and Leonardo Da Vinci: all arguably the greatest of all time in their respective fields. Black Hops has really thrown down a massive lead (or gold depending on how good this beer really is) gauntlet in calling this New England IPA “G.O.A.T.” – there’s so many great NEIPAs out there now, with Revision Sparkle Muffin being at the top of my list (unless you count Deschutes Fresh Squeezed as a NEIPA – it sorta is IMO). In Black Hops defence though this beer did recently take gold at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) according to the can label, so it’s obviously got legs.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Murky amber body with a decent 2 centimetre off-white cappuccino foam head that leaves some trippy Sci-Fi landscape lace inside the glass. Really looks the part – especially that nice sticky lace-work, good show old chap. 9/10.

S: Bold paw-paw, lychee and jack-fruit hops all over the aroma. This thing is absolutely filthy with tropical hop character (and I mean “filthy” in a positive sense). Whilst there’s no holding back on those tropical hops there’s not much else going on, certainly little in the way of malt, but as we know by now: NEIPAs are all about hops, hops, and more hops. I love how punchy these tropical hops are too, I could whiff this beer all day. 10/10.

T: Flavour is good, but it takes a real noticeable step back from that big punchy aroma. Noted flavours as above: paw-paw, lychee and jack-fruit mingle with a dry cracker centre and finishes with a fresh grassy hop character and mild bitterness. It’s all very well balanced, however it really needs more “oomph”, more “pizzazz”, more “cachet”. Also lingers a bit too much on the drier side – though that’s really a personal preference (I like a bit of sweetness in my NEIPAs). 8/10.

M: Almost medium bodied with a dense and a touch gassy carbonation – bit too much carbonation here. 7/10.

D: G.O.A.T? N.O.P.E. That said it’s certainly a drinkable NEIPA, and if it had more sweetness and a touch more hop intensity Black Hops might be on to a real winner. Would it be a G.O.A.T. then though? I don’t think it would get close enough to knock Deschutes or Revision from that perch, there’s a lot more going on with them, plenty more finesse to their approach that this is lacking. 7/10.

Food match: Tropical fruit salad might bring a much needed sweetness here.

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