To Øl Campale

Total Score: 8.2/10 Grapefruit1CutGrass1Clove1Nonicpint1

More tasty To Øl, this time it’s: Campale, an American Blonde Ale with almost no bittering hops – instead grapefruit peel is used for bitterness. Sounds intriguing, another grapefruit-infused brew to face up against my grapefruit-infused favourite: BrewDog’s El… well I’m not sure if they’ve changed the name but it used to be (or still is) Elvis Juice. To Øl are an interesting brewer though – they’re sorta like fellow Danish gypsy brewer Mikkeller, without being quite so crazy (in a good way!). That said I don’t think I’ve had any crazy BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto] beers from To Øl, all that seems to get over to Aus are the reasonably accessible ones. Which is perhaps why I have this image of To Øl being a less crazy Mikkeller. Anyhow I digest, on to the brew-view!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed golden body with a generous cream-coloured head that sits proudly on top… plenty of wheat in this baby! Rather a lot of carbonation going on inside the glass as well, hope it’s not over-carbed. 8/10.

S: Aroma is fantastic! A melange of grassy/herbal hop notes, all-spice yeast character and a custard Danish pastry sweetness, this is top shelf stuff from those cool cats at To Øl. It’s a pleasingly mild aroma that doesn’t assault the senses, yet with seemingly discordant flavours that come together surprisingly well. 9/10.

T: Excellent balance all round in the flavour as a mealy grapefruit character comes in with citrus and light bitterness and sticks around to the (upcoming pun intended): bitter end. Sweet pastry, green/grassy hop notes and all-spice yeast round out the flavours. Tis an interesting brew – it’s got a bit of Blonde, a bit of Saison and a bit of IPA all combined in juicy glory. One minor critique – the grapefruit bitterness lingers on a touch too long in the aftertaste. 8/10.

M: Decent mouthfeel, medium bodied with a reasonably creamy carbonation (thanks wheat!) which real adds to the flavour profile. 8/10.

D: It’s a simple brew, but that simplicity belies greatness – this is another home-run for To Øl. At once so straightforward on the palate, mild yet complex in aroma, this is a class act of a brew from those Danish guys. The only thing that really detracts is that grapefruit peel that begins well in the flavour, yet continues throughout the palate and TBH doesn’t leave even after several sips – that grapefruit peel is powerful stuff! Still tres tasty here. 8/10.

Food match: Belgian brasserie food: Carbonade flamande.


Gage Roads Single Fin Summer Ale

Total Score: 6.4/10 Caramel1Peach1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

This and a bottle of Little Dove were kindly donated to me by the Gage Roads rep for the purpose of reviewing it – thanks! I’ll give it a good home (in my belly). So I did caution the Gage Roads rep: I’m not a fan of Summer Ales, Session Ales, or in general anything south of 5% ABV, that said I don’t mind the occasional Gose or Gueuze and they’re generally south of 5% – those are the exceptions that prove my rule though. He said to give it a shot anyway, OK free beer – I’ll bite [even though I got stung before when a Matilda Bay rep gave me a free sample of Minimum Chips which tasted so much like soda water that it felt almost healthy drinking it – yuck!]. Well here goes Single Fin – if you taste even remotely healthy I will be disappointed.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: First test passed: It looks like beer and not soda water. Hazed tan-tinged amber body with a splotchy blanket of white on top… head could be a little bit better at 4.5% ABV, but oh well, looks OK otherwise. 6/10.

S: A balanced malt/hop affair with caramel notes, slight stone fruit character and… oh I get it – this is another Stone & Wood Pacific Ale knock off (others include: Fortitude Drifter, GB 3 Bolt, Balter XPA, Burleigh Twisted Palm… this list goes on…). Well the question will invariably be: How does it compare to S&W PA? This reiteration is a little bit more malty than the original product. 7/10.

T: Flavour was a bit subdued, but it is officially winter in Brisbane and I actually had to wait for it to warm up a little (I know – crazy!). It leans more towards the caramel malt than anything, some stone fruit/tropical hop notes linger in the background struggling to match the malt base. Finish has a touch of bitterness with a surprising dry character (this isn’t a Lager so dryness is a surprise here). It’s meh here… not terrible, but meh. 6/10.

M: Best part of this brew is the mouthfeel – it’s fairly creamy, mid to light bodied, has a bit of heft for a 4.5% ABV beer, it’s alright. 8/10.

D: As expected a bit too flavourless for my liking… and it’s another S&W PA knock off – look I get that S&W PA is killing it in the market, but if you’re going to go up against them you at least need a product as good as them. My respect for S&W Pacific Ale grows more and more every time another brewer tries to emulate their tasty brew and fail. Overall I wouldn’t knock this back on a hot day, but that’s not enough of a reason to give Summer Fin a free pass. 6/10.

Food match: Pizza I guess… or a hamburger… something.