Omnipollo Original Ice Cream Pale Ale

Total Score: 9/10 Vanilla1Lemon1Flowers1Tulipglass1

It’s telling of this Omnipollo/Buxton ice cream beer collaboration that I ran out to my local and immediately bought the other two ice cream beers they had in stock – Texas pecan was an absolute ripper, and Omnipollo just have a way with dessert beers that puts them in my top 5 of dessert beer brewers (see if you can guess the other 4). Out of the 3 ice cream beers I have this is a bit more entry-level in style and ABV at 5.6%, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of a full-on, in-your-face brew this will be… though I’m guessing with the skills of both Omnipollo and Buxton combined I’m sure they’ve nailed the brief – both brewers are world class in their respective countries (Sweden and the UK).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy AF – bit like a NEIPA at first glance – with a golden sunrise coloured body and a nice dense white head that sticks around well, excellent head retention, top marks! 9/10.

S: Floral and citric lemon hops mingle with a nice bold and sweet vanilla fragrance – this beer could in fact pass as perfume – great aroma. Though I do wonder how well citric and vanilla flavours go together as they aren’t often bedfellows. Also it’s not a greatly complex aroma, however for a Pale Ale it is ballsy, and I like balls. Big balls *ahem* yeah it’s good. 8/10.

T: Floral and lemony with a big vanilla hit – this is great! Though they should have called the beer “Original Ice Cream & Lemon Tart” because that lemon is unmistakable and detracts from it being a plain vanilla ice cream experience. The lemon also has a slight artificial character to it, though my palate does seem to be sensitive to lemon flavours (check out my Rogue Lemon Crueller review) so maybe I’m detecting an artificialness that others wouldn’t even notice. The sweetness in this is balanced perfectly (i.e. slightly sweet as I like it) with a wisp of citric bitterness. Wow, this beer goes down too easy! 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a creamy dense carbonation – very smooth, Hall & Oates smooth “Oh-oh, here she comes, watch out boys she’ll chew you up…” ironically I suspect oats were used in this brew. 9/10.

D: Once again Omnipollo smash out another dessert beer hit, and frankly this one is dangerously more drinkable than Texas pecan, DA-AMN! The only downside is this doesn’t come in a 500ml can. Smashable stuff. 10/10.

Food match: Gourmet pizza – something with truffles and mushrooms.

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Green Beacon Sad Rude Future Brew

Total Score: 8.05/10 HopFlower1Peach1GreenMelon1Nonicpint1

Green Beacon Sad Rude Future Brew is a limited release brew made in collaboration with possibly my favourite band of 2014 (the competition was pretty strong that year): Ball Park Music. Green Beacon haven’t really done a straight American Pale Ale yet – they’ve dabbled with 3 Bolt Pale Ale, however even they were unsure if it was actually a Pale Ale when they originally had “Session Ale” on the can. I would argue, due to its focus on stone-fruit and light biscuit malts, that 3 Bolt is more of a Summer Ale… but yes, that term is as nebulous as Session Ale. In any case I’m rather looking forward to this – their first real APA: Sad Rude Future Brew. From the brewers of the fantastic Windjammer IPA my expectations are high.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy bright straw body – they do make really light coloured brews Green Beacon – with a white sea foam 1 centimetre head that gradually shrinks to a thin covering. I’m curious as to what malts GB are using in their brews – this is seriously light stuff here. Still looks good though, I like the haze. 7/10.

S: Green/herbal/floral fresh hop character throughout the aroma, with peachy/melon notes as well – this is one tasty and refreshing aroma, I don’t suspect this glass will last long – I have a tendency to breath APAs this juicy. Enough words! I’m diving right on in. 9/10.

T: I believe the correct adjective that comes to mind immediately… and I really hate to say it because it sounds so “dudebro” but the adjective that I am about to utter, the one that I hate for being so “dudebro” is *drum roll*: Smashable. There. I said it. I’m not proud, but this beer is indeed eminently smashable. Flavours are: Green/herbal/floral/peachy and melon hops with a dry cracker malt base that leads in to a crisp/low IBU finish. If this was on tap, and I was in a bar right now, I would be working my way through pints of this – it’s just smashable *shudder*. Any negatives? Well, being such a hop-heavy brew means I wouldn’t bother drinking this 2-3 months later – it needs to be smashed now. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light(ish) carbonation which works well. 7/10.

D: Sorry, just had to scrub my hands after typing “smashable” in a review – they felt so dirty. Yeah this is a top-level Aussie APA, up there with the best, especially for how drinkable it is – I just downed an entire 4-pack (not already but it’s going to happen) just get this while you can peeps – it’s going to go fast. 8/10.

Food match: Grilled chicken dishes, with chilli and lime… Nandos basically.

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Modus Operandi Pale Ale

Total Score: 7.4/10 HopFlower1Earth1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

Modus Operandi Pale Ale? I can’t Adam and beli(Eve)* I’ve not reviewed this yet! I really must say this has probably been my most overlooked beer these past few years due to my love of The Former Tenant. But you know what? I just plain never got around to it, and after reviewing 73 American Pale Ales, I think it’s about time to correct the error of the past and give this one a crack. This is a Pale with pedigree too: taking out the 2015 Champion Australian Pale Ale at the Craft Beer Awards – that’s a pretty decent feather to have in your hat. My prediction: This will be grand.

Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy amber/apricot-tinged body with a cream-coloured sea foam head that slowly disintegrates leaving spots of lace inside the glass. I’ve seen better, but I do also admire a good bottle-conditioned brew so points added there. 8/10.

S: Fruity, earthy and piney hops mix with a touch of the tropical (paw paw) and a solid caramel base – classic APA territory that I’ve traversed many times in my Pale Ale explorations. The main thing here is how solid the aroma is for a 5.2% ABV brew – this is more heady than other APAs, top stuff Modus! 8/10.

T: Hops are a bit restrained, and can confirms what I feared most – a brew date of: 16/12/16… that’s a good 8 months old, less than ideal for a hop-driven beer. Hop flavours as above: fruity, earthy and piney with a hint of paw paw. Malt is caramel based. Touch of dry cracker in the finish, and a herbal bitterness as well… this would have been a real tasty beer fresh – what a shame. 6/10.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty decent though – Medium bodied with a thin but dense carbonation – they really nailed it here! 9/10.

D: This is definitely one I’ll have to try again in future fresh – there’s a great deal going on that the middling 5.2% ABV belies, I reckon that 6/10 for flavour would be more of an 8 or 9 fresh, however there is a bitterness lingering in the aftertaste (I think that’s a hop fade characteristic in my experience). Overall my take home message, my TL DR; if you will, is give this beer a shot – it is decent APA despite my negative score which was due to the age on my can. It would be interesting to do a blind taste test of this, Pirate Life, and Kaiju Krush to see which one will win over my heart for best Aussie Pale… Little Creatures? Oh yeah, them too. 9/10.

Food match: Malaysian cuisine if a fresh one tastes as good as I reckon it might.

*Cheeky IT Crowd reference for you there – but which episode does Moss say it in?

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Newstead Brewing Out & a Bout Pale Ale

Total Score: 6/10 Flowers1Orange1Peach1Nonicpint1

I’ve sort of avoided this American Pale Ale from Newstead Brewing previously because, well, it just ain’t all that. But now it’s in a can, a free can gifted to me by Newstead reps. Plus they say the recipe has changed – it’s been beefed up to 5.2% ABV, and the can is as fresh as… about 2 weeks ago – not bad at all. Hopefully the recipe change has done wonders because I remember trying this on tap at Newstead ages ago and it was nothing worth remembering then (well it was OK, but OK doesn’t cut mustard in the sea of Pale Ales out there). I must say the new can marketing reminds me somewhat of a certain other brewer in Teneriffe that does cans *cough*GreenBeacon*cough*, I guess “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” was the design committee motto that day [my snark levels are off the chart today!].

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Slight hazed golden body with a rather excitable sea foam white head that compacts slowly leaving a touch of lace on the side of the glass. If there was an award for looking like a standard (i.e. a 7/10) APA – this would win it. 7/10.

S: A nice light confected stone fruit character mingles with a touch of floral hops, a muted biscuit malt base, and a hint of orange blossom. Overall aroma could do with a dial up, but otherwise this is an OK aroma. Still a bit bland though. 7/10.

T: Flavours a bit average… again wasn’t expecting much, but it’s better than how I remember it (before I wouldn’t have bought another schooner of this, but now I might be persuaded if there isn’t anything better on tap). Less stone fruit – more citrus and floral hops than in the aroma. Malt base needs to be amped a little as the hops get ever so slightly sharp towards the finish/aftertaste. Still it’s never OTT in any regard, which is in fact part of the problem. 5/10.

M: Mid to light, slightly thin bodied, with a light/crisp carbonation. Texture is left wanting of more body – but I can level this argument at many APAs. 6/10.

D: Well it’s better than I remember it – which is good because I really wasn’t a fan of the original Out & a Bout. Has it improved enough to bring it up to the level of Modus/Pirate Life? No. It’s not even as tasty as Slipstream’s Magic Mile Pale Ale – and they’re a small-time brewer. Towards the end of this can my mouth ended up with a real potpourri flavour lingering on – which I actually don’t mind, so that’s a positive note to end this review on. I’ve still got a free can of the IPA to go – fingers crossed with that one. 7/10.

Food match: Chicken dishes, salads, zesty stuff… seafood? Maybe yes.

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Blackman’s Brewery Mervyn Pale Ale

Total Score: 7.2/10 PapayaMango1Caramel1Barley1Nonicpint1

Mervyn……. Merv… Mervyn…..? I like it, oddly enough, it’s got a ring to it that name. Ahem. Yes. Mervyn is the latest semi-probably-limited-but-they’ll-no-doubt-add-it-to-their-core-range-because-hell-who-doesn’t-have-a-pale-ale-in-their-core-range-these-days-plus-it-plugs-a-gap for Blackman’s Brewery, who really have nailed it with Reginald IPA and Angry Reg DIPA – West Coast styled brews as good as almost anything I’ve tried from the States. Can Blackman’s continue this A-game chicanery with this modest 4.6% ABV American Pale Ale? I certainly hope so, if only because I like the sound of Mervyn, and perhaps the cut of his jib too – which is a nautical term FYI: it refers to a triangular sail set between the foretopmast head and the jib boom. There: you learnt something new today. Thank me later.

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Crisp golden body with possible flecks of hop… hop stuff… floating around. It’s not yeast is what I’m saying. 1 centimetre off-white sea foam head that leaves lace that presents itself as a world map (Mercator projection, of course). 7/10.

S: Pineapple, mango and jackfruit – the major players in the tropical fruit flavours realm – come together for a corroboree within in Mervyn, lovely chap that he is. Not much in the way of malt… or anything else, this is a tropical Pale Ale FTW here. 8/10.

T: T’salright this one – slanted towards those tropical fruits in the aroma (just to recap: pineapple, mango and jackfruit) but the flavour gives a bit of slack to a buttery/toffee malt character and a touch of grain, finishes with a very restrained bitterness. This to me is more sessionable than a “Session ___” like Stone’s Go To IPA – and it has an even lower ABV! The only thing is that I feel this could use a bit more of my favourite adjective: OMPFH. Yeah, bit of that. Solid otherwise. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation – works for the style, perhaps a bit more body and a touch more carbonation would lift it to the next level. 7/10.

D: Nice tropical burps from this one too – glad the gf isn’t here to hear them though 😉 Overall Mervyn is one laid-back SOB, he doesn’t demand anything, but you don’t want to mess with him – he’ll muddle you up if he has to. Yet again Blackman’s has bought out a solid brew, though by default of being on the lower end of the ABV spectrum this brew does “wow” me less than all the others – I guess the older I get in this beer review game the more I need flavour: bags of it. Sad but true – a sign that my tastebuds are on the way out perhaps? 7/10.

Food match: Green papaya salad or anything else that has a tropical fruit slant.

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Slipstream Magic Mile Ale

Total Score: 7.2/10 Peach1HopFlower1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

Slipstream Brewing: yet another craft brewery that has opened its doors in Brisbane, which is still seeing growth in the craft beer sector (despite it peaking a couple years ago IMO). This brew Magic Mile Ale I believe takes its name from the stretch of Ipswich Road in Moorooka that has all the car dealerships on it and is called “Magic Mile”… I know: It’s a leap of imagination there on my part. Yeerongpilly, and I don’t apologise for all the indigenously long suburb names (get used to it if you ever visit Brisbane!), is located not far from the Magic Mile, so again – short leap there. As to why they named their beer after a notoriously nefarious mile in Moorooka is anyone’s guess… perhaps they liked a car they bought there?

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed golden amber body with a white cappuccino foam 1 centimetre head that ever slowly drops down to a thin lace blanket. Big tick for the haziness in the glass (personal preference there), small X for the boring head and lack of lacing on the side of the glass. 7/10.

S: Peachy/stone fruit upfront, hints of floral/lychee hops, and biscuit malts. Overall aroma is one of a laidback American Pale Ale with the spirit of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale in there as well, i.e. it’s not a S&W PA knock-off (great!) but it’s not hell for leather American Pale either, in other words it’s wishy without the washy. 7/10.

T: Hop character comes out more on the palate with a touch of green herbal hops mingling in with that peachy/stone fruit character, floral and lychee notes. Not bad at all… not blowing me out of the water either – simply going down quite well. Biscuit malt base is a little thin, and TBH more malt wouldn’t have gone astray – I’ve always felt that IPAs can get away with little to no malt flavour but APAs need that malt/hop balance even more. Again this is probably a personal preference on my part. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably dense and light carbonation that is style appropriate. A touch more body at this ABV (5.5%) would be nice. 7/10.

D: Better than I was expecting from an inner suburbs Brisbane brewery – this craft beer biz is hard graft right? [rhetorical question: it bloody well is and you know it] So I’m always impressed when a little brewer pops up and has a stab at a style that has been done to death and in this case the beer vaguely tastes like Pirate Life – which is an achievement in of itself, cheers Slipstream! 8/10.

Food match: Wood fired pizza, I would go a nice mushroom/truffle pizza with this.

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Wild Beer Pogo

Total Score: 7.9/10 Passionfruit1Orange1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

So I was a bit apprehensive about reviewing another Wild Beer after I put Breakfast of Champignons into the “too weird for its own good” box. That was one crazy mother funker of a brew [I said “funker” calm down ppl!]. However I had a test can of this (i.e. drinking without reviewing it) and it was goo-OOO-od. So it’s take 2 for Wild Beer, perhaps I misjudged them? [well Breakfast of Champignons was weird – so no, I didn’t misjudge anything]. Anyhow, Pogo is one of those fruit-infused beers, which IMO is always a gamble that doesn’t necessarily pay off, but if you want a TLDR; This brew has passionfruit, orange & guava and is almost as good as BrewDog Elvis (lawsuit) Juice… just a bit lighter at 4% ABV though.

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed goldy-orangey body with a half centimetre bone-white cappuccino foam head that wafts lazily on top like a passing cloud of goodness. Looks properly like a beer hey? Beers sometimes do look like beers. This pleases me. 8/10.

S: Aroma is more like a literal glass of passionfruit/guava juice than a beer. Like, seriously: juice. I kid you not. It makes me get all philosophical about the nature of beer – when is a beer no longer a beer? Is it the alcohol that maketh the beer? Or is it fermentation? And perhaps the most important question of all in this arena: why am I asking what beer is instead of drinking said beer? Haven’t the foggiest. 7/10.

T: Tasting very juice-like, with: passionfruit/guava/orange, and the added presence of malt, which brings in a caramel angle to this intriguing glass of juice. Balance is well done this time by Wild Beer, there’s a touch of sourness mingling with sweet and a light citric bitterness in the finish. Overall this is an easy brew to drink, almost to its own detriment – would love to see a 5% ABV version of this – that extra 1% would kick the flavour up a notch from mild mannered and unassuming to assertive and confident. 8/10.

M: Mouthfeel is rather well done thanks to the addition of Lactose: mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a soft but dense carbonation. Impressive body. 9/10.

D: Easy-drinking, juicy, tasty, if these are adjectives that you identify with when drinking beer, well, this is your brew! Personally I like this beer, however… [there’s always a caveat!]: it’s borderline too much like an alcoholic glass of juice – I can see that turning off people: Aussie “blokes” might call it “a girls drink” whilst ironically chugging down a flavourless Lager in the same sentence. 8/10.

Food match: Couldn’t get fruit salad out of my head… sorry.

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