Young Henrys Summer Hop Ale

Total Score: 6.8/10 Orange1Grapefruit1GreenMelon1Nonicpint1

Hullo, what’s this? *said in my best Ringo Starr voice* Young Henrys Summer Hop Ale? *still in Ringo Starr voice mode* Well, I’d better give it a try then [still in Ringo Starr mode – in fact I’ll just save you some time and say: read this entire review with Ringo Starr’s voice in your head]. Look, I have a soft spot for Young Henrys Hop Ale – I drank a lot of it when it was being sold off on a crazy super-special price at my local Cellarbrations years ago. Then it came off the special price and my interest in Young Henrys waned somewhat from there. Buuuuut, I still think Young Henrys Hop Ale is a decent brew, it’s very much a woody/earthy take on the American IPA style. So here we are with their Summer (no doubt a typical West Coast IPA) take on their unique Hop Ale. “Here’s hoping they didn’t balls it up” said the fat controller.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Wow, my beers tonight are going ka-razy with their heads… they’re probs both well out of date (again I popped into a Cellarbrations for this – they don’t seem to care much about canning dates there). Hazed pale amber body with a massive white sea foam head that collapses quicker than a house of cards leaving scrawling lace inside the glass. +1 for that lace-work. 7/10.

S: Bitter orange, piney hops, earthy notes, and the decay of some tropical hops in the background, definite hop fade and no canning date on the can but BB is 260918 which suggests this beer is nearly 4 months old now. Barely a hint of a malt base, though given the style, this is neither here nor there [but it is over there, in the corner right now, SEE?!]. 6/10.

T: Interestingly less bitter than my last review (All Inn Legbreaker IPA) with notes of: Orange, grapefruit and melon. Mid palate is like a western desert town for malt – bone dry with a tumbleweed passing through. Finish is mildly bitter with again that melon character coming through. Flavour-wise it’s a completely different kettle of fish… what is a kettle of fish anyway? Who puts fish in their kettle? [apart from fishermen wanting a cup of fish to go with their tuna sandwiches]. 7/10.

M: Almost medium bodied with a light carbonation – drinks similar to original Hop Ale. 7/10.

D: Not as good as regular Hop Ale, though I believe I’m drinking a 4 month old American IPA here – so really hop fade is an issue. That said: original Hop Ale had something going for it – it’s different. Whereas this is “meh”. 7/10.

Food match: Potato salad, BBQ meats, I just make this stuff up anyway.

 

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All Inn Brewing Co Legbreaker American IPA

Total Score: 6.5/10 Grapefruit1Peach1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

All Inn Brewing Co is yet another Brisbane brewery, and this one is in Banyo too (that’s only a couple suburbs from me). This Legbreaker American IPA is my first of their brews and I’m getting a poker theme from the brewery name and the playing card image on the can, and let’s talk about the graphics – wow, this has the nicest eye-catching graphics I’ve seen in a while. Definitely drew me in straight away. Of course the look of the can is hardly an indicator of how good the amber fluid inside is, but it doesn’t hurt to sell a 4-pack if the can looks great. HOWEVER [that’s one big “however” there] the ABV on this American IPA is suspiciously low @ 5.6%… too low IMO [well technically an American IPA can start at 5.5%, but I’ve never come across a decent one that low on the scale]. Bit of a worry…

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Bubbles, vast quantities of bubbles, nice hazed amber hue in the body with a crazy excited white sea foam head that breaks apart like a wet sponge cake. Head retention was OK, bit too many bubbles for my liking though. 6/10.

S: Aroma is piney and grapefruit with a touch of stonefruit (peach mainly) and a dry/biscuity malt base that is present throughout. Not bad, a bit on the lighter side for an American IPA, probably closer to what I would deem a Session IPA (if people hadn’t perverted that concept to be a mid-strength beer). Nice citrus accents. 7/10.

T: Time to get my copy/paste function out: piney and grapefruit with a touch of stonefruit (peach mainly) and a dry/biscuity malt base [yep All Inn just made this review 6.7% easier for me right there]. Finish brings in a slightly herbal and surprisingly sharp bitterness for the 5.6% ABV – it’s not overkill or anything but it’s noticeable enough to mention. Needs more flavour intensity though – too dry and a little bland in the centre for my liking, what happened to that sweet foil? Just dry and bitter make an appearance here. 6/10.

M: Not as crazy with the carbonation as expected – mid to light bodied, medium carbonation, touch on the lighter side, again: 5.6% does that in an IPA. 7/10.

D: It’s always tough reviewing local brewers beers: I don’t want to be seen as having a bias for, but then I start to wonder if that brings in bias-against, then I question my scores, then I have a nap, I wake up and have a shave and shower, then I check the cricket, do my laundry, wash the dishes, play some PC games, paint on a canvas, get my goat, etc… overall this beer needs more flavour IMO. 7/10.

Food match: More Indian than Thai curry with this brew, say chicken Jalfrezi.

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Exit Brewing IPA

Total Score: 7.65/10 HopFlower1Orange1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

Yep, I said I would get my hands on the next Exit can – a variation of their #010 West Coast IPA – simply called Exit IPA now. Well it was a quirky little run with the #000 numbering system (they got to #016 by my count) but it’s about time Exit canned their goodness, it’s been too long [not actually, but I’m a big proponent of cans now – they’re like mini kegs, without the extra CO2 to give them awesome mouthfeel… so really they’re kegs in some sort of vague marketing approximation]. Oh yeah, I just read where Exit get their name from – the founders used to work in IT and left their day jobs to start a brewery and now they’re ex-IT, Exit, brilliant! Nothing goes over better with a craft beer audience than puns – we’re all basically dads or dads-in-waiting, bring on the dad jokes I say!

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Golden/straw hazed body with a white head that is all basically my fault, you see I poured this beer way too hard, dribbled some of this out in some weird display (to myself no less!) of my mad pouring skillz. Turns out that the head faded, leaving a nice lace scrawl, in the time it took to write that (96 wpm btw). 7/10.

S: Grassy/green/cannabis and rubbery hop notes upfront, this is a very fresh brew then, with a light biscuit and cracker malt base, and hints of piney character as well. Classic West Coast style IPA – in mint condition too. With an aroma this green it should be a tasty brew. 7/10.

T: Assertive piney resins upfront attack the tongue with a nice even kiss of bitterness, grassy and citrus mid-palate notes come in, biscuit and cracker malt base = “yeah, I’m here, what?!”, finishes with a nice grassy/herbal medium bitterness. Bitterness throughout is assertive yet it manages to balance with some malt sweetness as well, though bitterness is definitely the chefs special on todays menu. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a dense but flat carbonation, bit of hop resins in there too, right in that “good not great” meaty part of the curve. 7/10.

D: Did I say Classic West Coast style IPA [why yes, you even copy/pasted it from above]? This Classic West Coast style IPA is so classic that it feels like a relic from a different time now. Nonetheless those Ex-IT guys have provided me a good spot of the old nostalgia, or “nostalg” as I like to call it, what a Classic West Coast style IPA Exit have made us [that’s the last copy/paste I promise]. 8/10.

Food match: Spicy Cajun ribs with grilled potato and sour cream, guac, you name it.

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Last Rites Georgie Ella Springtime Ale

Total Score: 7.15/10 Biscuit1GreenMelon1Grapefruit1Nonicpint1

Last Rites is a new one for me – another Tasmanian brewer, no doubt with big things to prove and a quirky stylistic choice with yeast in their brews – yes, I’ve been here before with Tassie brewers such as Two Metre Tall, Van Dieman and Bruny Island, they like their Saison yeasts down in the apple isle. The thing that drew me most to Georgie Ella Springtime Ale, is firstly the non-existent style name, and secondly the use of Aussie hop Ella, which has so far (for me at least) resulted in some real tasty Australian IPAs. This particular can is a limited release with only 4,000 cans released – another Tassie quirk, they like to talk about how many cans/bottles they’ve made, it’s as if to say “this stuff is rare as hens teeth, better get it while you can!” – yeah I’m on to you Tassie brewers…

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed golden body with a slightly off-white 1 inch head that slowly drops back leaving an impressive amount of lace on the glass sides – this is 7% ABV after all, heads become a luxury as the ABV goes north. Good head proteins here. 8/10.

S: Sweet caramel/biscuit malts upfront, followed by floral, tropical (papaya) and honeydew melon characters. Some extra sweetness in there from honeysuckle flowers. This is a really sweet aroma, I wonder if that malt will find a bitter foil? In the least I’m very intrigued – it’s not often a brew surprises my with an aroma. Also a first for a Tassie craft brew for me – no detected yeast character, woo! 8/10.

T: Fairly malt-driven brew, big caramel and biscuit notes, hops mingle around like extras in front of theatre backdrop: honeysuckle flowers, papaya, honeydew melon, and towards the finish with a medium grapefruit bitterness. Overall flavour is skewed towards malt, but that irrepressible Ella hop still manages to peek through the curtain. Alcohol is slightly present, not overbearing but it’s there. 7/10.

M: Bit of a middling mouthfeel with this one too (after the Capital Brewing Evil Eye Red IPA) – mid to light bodied with again a prickly, lively carbonation. 6/10.

D: Not bad, a touch confused as well though (not unlike Evil Eye) this brew sits some nebulous beer zone – it’s a bit muddled and not sure what it wants to be: IPA? Red IPA? Amber Ale? Who knows apart from Last Rites. It’s not a bad beer by any measure, it’s just a bit all over the shop, and after 2 beers like this I feel like something simpler, something more self-assured. *cracks open a can of Melvin Hubert* ahh, that’s what I’m talking about. 7/10.

Food match: Chicken salad with watercress and rocket.

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Green Beacon Scrimshaw IPA

Total Score: 7.9/10 PapayaMango1HopFlower1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

Now in cans!!! This is another GB beer that was only ever previously kegged, now that they’ve seen fit to can their liquid gold I see no reason to even have friends when I can sit in the privacy of my own home in boxers drinking their finest! Bit of a stretch, but yes it does make it easier for me to do this review bizzo from home, especially when I can really concentrate instead of freaking people out with my reviewing habits – and having to make conversation at the same time can be vexing. Well I’m not the best company when I’m eying off the level of the head in my beer now am I? Wow, that got a bit more ranty than I intended it to be. The TL;DR is that I rarely take beer notes when I’m meeting friends at craft bars anymore – I don’t multi-task well. I prefer doing this at home, thanks Green Beacon for canning this.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Pale straw hazed body with a nice chunky white cappuccino foam head that slowly drops back leaving latticework lace on the side of the glass – she looks a beauty alright, love the pale colour – seems to be a bit of a GB trademark, wonder what malts they use in their beers? [Pale Malt is my guess] 8/10.

S: Funky and tropical paw-paw and jackfruit with a touch of lychee and guava. There’s no shaking the tropical flavoured hops in this brew – out n’ out Aussie Pacific Ale right here, I would be surprised if there was a single non-Oceania hop in Scrimshaw. Malt? In there somewhere, who cares, move on. 8/10.

T: Tropical flavours noted above (paw-paw, jackfruit, lychee and guava) with noticeable hop fade (this was canned about 2 months ago – been struggling to get on top of my beer shelf). Malt character gives a mix of dry cracker and biscuit notes. Finish is dry with a hint of grassy green hops add some mild bitterness. Overall this is one of those beers you need to drink fresh [I know, I know!]. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, reasonably smooth, touches of hop resin – Green Beacon are not known for skimping on the hops – a touch on the carbonated side at medium carbonation, definitely had more burps in it than required. 7/10.

D: This was great when it was fresh, not quite GB Uppercut IIPA delicious, well let’s face it – Green Beacon Uppercut IIPA WAS my IIPA of the year – that thing was pure bitchen in every sense of the word bitchen. Scrimshaw is the lighter and slightly dorkier version of Uppercut – trying to impress but let’s face it: Uppercut is in a whole other league. Still Scrimshaw is tasty, don’t begrudge it. 8/10.

Food match: SE Asia is the flavour profile to go with here.

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Stone Tangerine Express IPA

Total Score: 7.1/10 Orange1Biscuit1Pineapple1Nonicpint1

Yes, yes, “drink your IPAs fresh Doc, otherwise ‘HOP FADE’!” – I get it, I’ve been there before and experienced it firsthand. This Stone Tangerine Express IPA is definitely not fresh – it’s been in my beer stash for months, and was sold cheap prior to that as it was obviously old stock (though I can’t see the brewed date anywhere on the bottle). In any case this is going to be a sub-optimum Stone IPA… however I have noticed fruit-infused beers (this one is infused with tangerine and pineapple) tend to hold onto the fruit flavours and as far as I am aware there’s no such thing as ‘fruit fade’, though I’m sure some hip neckbeard will figure out a scenario where that works. Here’s hoping I’m not proven wrong [yet again!], cheers!

Poured from a 650ml US bomber-sized bottle into a nonic pint.

A: WE GOT A GUSHER! I’ve never in all my years reviewing ever seen a head this massive: basically the entire length of the pint glass! Well. Sir. It didn’t take long to settle however with a cloudy pineapple juice mixed with OJ body and a cream-coloured head that won’t, err… is slowly quitting. Cloud-shaped blobs of lace as the head drops back. Looks alright (aside from the initial gushing). 7/10.

S: Astringent fresh tangerine and sweet pineapple, hints of piney/Starburst orange hops in the background, hint of a biscuit malt base as well. Classic West Coast IPA meets East Coast pineapple and that interesting acidity that tangerine brings to the table. Mmmm, citrusy. 8/10.

T: Shot to hell, with the hops/fruit flavours, not getting much at all, which is a shame and the reason why I’ve stopped buying IPAs from the US. Surprised the fruit character dropped off so much actually – haven’t noticed that before. Flavours are bitter orange rind, hints of pineapple juice, dry cracker middle, slight herbal character, finishes desert dry with a sharp bitter orange rind note at the end. Not what you expect from a Stone beer – but it is waaay outside the brew date so there you go. Hard to mark it down due to my faffing, I’ve been generous here: 7/10.

M: It’s fizzy to be sure, too much time in the bottle and it’s over-carbed, again my bad, though the body is quite light given the 6.7% ABV with a mid to light body. Irrespective of my dithering this isn’t Stone’s finest hour. 6/10.

D: Stone’s done better, and that’s evidenced by the shedloads of OOD stock making it over to Australia – if it was Stone’s best we would be troubled to find it here… least that’s my logic. Still, wish I had tried this earlier. 7/10.

Food match: BBQ Cajun chicken wings with collard greens and rice, soul food yo.

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Six String Aloha NEIPA with POG Juice

Total Score: 5.45/10 Passionfruit1Orange1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

“Aloha!” which is the Hawaiian word for both “hello” and “goodbye”… seems like a recipe for disaster to me “what do you mean ‘goodbye’? You just arrived!” *gets divorce* So I’ve got my hands on the latest New England style India Pale Ale (NEIPA for short) by Six String, and I’ve been crossing my fingers for years for Aussie brewers to make NEIPAs, and now we’re being flooded with them (be careful what you wish for!). This brew also contains POG, no I’m not talking about some 90’s fad, this is the POG that is Passionfruit Orange Guava juice, although (as it turns out) the 90’s POG fad was started by the makers of POG juice, thanks again Wikipedia! Back to the beer: we’re really starting to take the piss now with all these fruit-added NEIPAs, when will brewers discover the next hype train to board? [Grodziskie FTW!]

Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Tis a swamp in my glass! Murky AF pale orange coloured body with a rather happy to see me 1 inch white head that slowly disintegrates leaving lace splotches on the side of the glass. Rather OK looking NEIPA. 7/10.

S: Passionfruit and grassy are dumped all over this brew in dump truck proportions. Lingering in the background are orange and guava and little else. May the POG be with this brew, always. Overall aroma is a bit of a split between juicy POG and grassy green hops, my concern is the flavour balance isn’t there, but I’ll find out soon enough. 8/10.

T: Funky mother of Jesus Gonzalez this beer is all over the shop! Flavour is a mess, bit of the above (passionfruit, orange, guava) and dry middle, touch of alcohol spirit, some wateriness (but we’ll cover that off next), grassy green bitterness – in the finish – and an aftertaste like a wet newspaper. I can see what they were going with here, but no, just no Six String. 4/10.

M: Watery given the 7.5% ABV, with a mid to light body and a crazy gassy carbonation. Doesn’t work, but at least it’s less of an issue than the taste. 5/10.

D: I was still burping long after I finished – a testament to the wrongness of this brew. I think might have problems with how they incorporated the POG juice, plus it’s been fermenting too long and the balance is trash as a result. Here’s an example of an Aussie NEIPA done right (which I had cans of last night): Hop Nation Jedi Juice. TBH I think I underscored Jedi Juice, that is a cracking NEIPA. Regardless Six String Aloha NEIPA with POG Juice isn’t a cracking NEIPA, it’s BALLS. 6/10.

Food match: Nah, follow this with a Jedi Juice and tell me it isn’t balls, I dare ya.

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