Stockade Duel Hoppy Lager

Total Score: 6.15/10 RockMelon1Grapefruit1Biscuit1Stein1

I’m back, and ooo, a free beer for me to review, goody! This time it’s Stockade Duel Hoppy Lager – I think I got this in a mixed Lager dozen Christmas gift pack (yeah I got a Lager gift pack as a present: Friends/family don’t read my blog at all do they?). Says it was dry-hopped with Enigma, and I do like Enigma hops so hopefully this Lager is hoppy as, you know, it says it is on the label. Not a fan of ANY of Stockades marketing though – every bottle label has a completely different theme, and each label looks like it was done by TAFE (trade school) Graphic Design students… third year students, but students nonetheless. Regardless it’s just as well for Stockade I don’t rate labels, just the amber liquid contained within.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Cloudy (good!) pale straw body with a chalk white 1 centimetre head that ever so slowly compresses down to about 75mm. Decent head retention it must be said. So far so good Hoppy Lager… 7/10.

S: Grapefruit mixed with sauvignon blanc white wine notes. Has some hop character, as expected from the label. Granular biscuit and dry cracker malt base gives it a bit Lager character, yes, yes, also in the name. It’s not a “PHWOAR!” beer, but it’s OK with a subdued aroma. 6/10.

T: Rock melon (cantaloupe to American readers) upfront, mid, back, all over… hints of grapefruit and sauv blanc (ever so slight) and a dry cracker base round out the flavour. It’s hoppy for sure – though the Enigma hops are a bit one-note, and it’s lacking from (and could use more) additional hop characters, unless of course you love rock melon alone. Dry/crisp finish with a hint of bitterness and rock melon in the aftertaste. 6/10.

M: Mid to light, touch watery with all that melon going on, with a thin carbonation. 5/10.

D: Better than expected, however when a beer has “HND KRFTD IN OZ” written on it I’m not expecting much… in fact if it manages to taste better than Vomit Brew with marketing that terrible I’m generally surprised. So yeah, surprised at this rather OK Hoppy Lager. It needs more hops, more malt, more body, more aroma, more ABV, pretty much more everything – but there is the base of a decent beer in there. FFS though Stockade get your marketing shit together – I don’t normally say this about a brewer but the crap marketing has got to be hurting them. 7/10.

Food match: Seafood or chicken in a light sauce, with salad.


Young Henrys Natural Lager

Total Score: 5.6/10 Honeycomb1Lemon1Barley1Stein1

Young Henrys Natural Lager made me think “I bet there’s a way I could make a joke about this beer being a natural blonde/brunette/redhead” but then that would be lame and here at we don’t do lame jokes… So without further ado *drumroll* Young Henrys Natural Lager where the carpet matches the drapes! [Wait, what?! That doesn’t even make sense lame joke or not]. Anyhow this is the last of the full-time Young Henrys I’ve yet to review and I feel like I’ve gone a bit Pokemon on this brewery and “collected them all” so there’s a box ticked there at least… now I can have that coronary I’ve been putting off for years, thank you Young Henrys!

Poured from a 375ml can into a stein.

A:  Hazed golden/straw coloured body with a white sea foam 1 centimetre head that drops back to a microscopic layer of foam (even dragged my microscope out for this one). Not bad, not great, not purple, not harmonica, not Sunday-fete, Lager? Yes, that. A natural blonde too. Head could have been a bit more adventurous. 7/10.

S: If I didn’t know any better I could have sworn someone dropped a honey/lemon cough drop into my beer… but no, it’s just Natural Lagers natural aroma. It’s not ba… I’m going to shut up now. 7/10.

T: *superhero voice* Lemon and honey combine to bring you the beer equivalent of a soothing cough drop! Apart from those overriding (though muted) characteristics it has a slight grainy note and finishes with a crisp/dry note… if I could evoke a visual descriptor for this beer imagine this: You’re sitting on a rocking chair, on a porch in the middle of the day in town where nothing happens called “Dead Gulch, Arizona”. A tumbleweed rolls past. End scene. 5/10.

M: At least the body is ok – mid to light, a little flat but gassy at the same time. 6/10.

D: I’m really spoiled for Lagers since I discovered flavoursome ones such as Sierra Nevada’s Nooner Pilsner or [ANY] Bock – this Young Henrys is a bit like their entire line-up: Wishy-washy (aside from Hop Ale which is OK). If you want an uninspiring craft Lager then look no further – you’ve found it. Now shoot yourself – you suck at liking beers! If Young Henrys were selling fairy-floss they would sell flavours like: Water cracker, vermicelli, plain yoghurt and chestnut. Little boys/girls would be left in tears, and with the beers they brew at the moment I’m frankly surprised if there aren’t any craft beer men crying into their long beards. 5/10.

Food match: The common cold.


Anchor California Lager

Total Score: 7.55/10 Barley1Bread1CutGrass1Stein1

Continuing on the vein of Californian Lagers (see my last review was on Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner, n00b!) I came across Anchor’s own take on Lager, and given that they were plum out of plums (and more importantly Nooner Pilsner) at my local Plum and Beer Emporium, I decided to give Anchor a shot at impressing me. The bottle label claims this is based on California’s first Lager brewed in 1876 in an ice pond, how poetic, and beery… I’m sold.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: A not so lively pour somehow produced a 3.5 cm white head that Odin would be proud of… I’m entranced whilst waiting for it to drop down. The body a hazed amber-tinged golden colour, also quite entrancing. Odin is pleased Anchor. 10/10.

S: A bit on the doughy side with half-baked bread notes, a subtle grainy character – bit like a wet bag of barley (nothing wrong with that), a dab of honey, and a light grassy hop note… aroma is very much slanted towards yeast/malt, but hey it’s a Lager, what did you expect? 8/10.

T: Flavour is a touch muted, but we were expecting a bit from the aroma so it’s no biggie, with all of the above: half-baked bread, grains, honey, grassy hops. The yeast and malts do dominate the hops, but there is a touch of bitterness towards the mostly crisp/dry finish. Aftertaste is a bit of that old Lager chestnut: vegetal matter and detracts slightly from the overall experience. Anchor needs to sort that shit out. 7/10.

M: Borderline medium bodied with a light carbonation… Lagers don’t seem to be as fizzy as I remember them, maybe it’s just me, oh well I prefer less gas anyway. 7/10.

D: Pretty decent as far as Lagers go, and we all know I’m not the biggest fan of Lagers anyhow (although in summer they sure can hit that spot) but I think Anchor have done well here without making this a “Wow!” beer like Sierra Nevada’s Nooner [two separate styles I know, but Lagers and Pilsners are so close that if they were humans they wouldn’t be able to legally marry]. In any case this is a beer that I would probably get again, though the aftertaste needs work… could use a touch more oomph in the hops department like Nooner… so that’s a semi-hesitant recommendation from me, with provisos. 8/10.

Food match: I’m going to err on the side of pizza with this brew.