Newstead Brewing A Long Story Wheat Strong Ale

Total Score: 8.55/10 Bubblegum1Vanilla1Wood1Tulipglass1

Well the signs are good – I’ve heard rave reviews about Newstead Brewing A Long Story Wheat Strong Ale, and it sounds pretty special, might this be the best beer to come out of Newstead? It’s not got a great deal of competition with a previous limited release brew: The Outpost American Stout being the best, in my (humble) opinion, with a score of 8/10. It’s not a crazy score to beat, my reviews have a bit of an interesting bell-curve due to me (mostly) reviewing beers I know that I’ll like, with the occasional crappy macro Lager for comparision… and sometimes even those Lagers surprise me by turning out A-OK. Point is I’m genuinely excited by this prospect of a barrel-aged gem in a can.

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice colour, a deep slightly hazy plum/mahogany body with a rather active beige head that has a few big soap-bubbles and slowly settles to a thin blanket. If it tastes as good as it looks we’ll be in for a treat. 8/10.

S: Nose is quite reminiscent of Founders Old Cumudgeon with a big molasses hit, some light bourbon sugar and vanilla notes, a nice big slice of wheat character with bubble-gum notes, it’s a big sweet beer no doubt about it. It’s amazing considering this beer is 100% wheat malt that the wheat character doesn’t dominate the aroma completely. Overall though it’s got a decent, sweet chunky aroma. 9/10.

T: Not quite the “Pow! Right in the kisser!” beer, but nonetheless there’s plenty going on in this beer: Bubble-gum upfront mixes with vanilla, dark fruits, hints of molasses, a slight woody tone rounds it out. It’s sweet but not OTT, the sugar content is balanced out by a woody finish and a touch of medicinal herbs, TBH if you handed me this beer and told me it was a Belgian Trappist Quadrupel, I wouldn’t ask any questions. 9/10.

M: Mouth-feel is intriguing – it’s got a lighter than expected body, mid to light, with an ultra creamy carbonation – this is quite the dichotomous brew here. 7/10.

D: This is definitely Newstead’s best beer by a stretch – they broke the lauter tun due to the 100% wheat malt bill, I say it was worth it – this is a total cracker of a brew (slightly odd mouth-feel aside), kudos to the Newstead guys (and girls) for breaking their lauter tun! Here’s hoping they re-release this tasty drop again, and again, and again, and again, but not again – that would be one time too many. Cheers Newstead! You made it: a great beer! 8/10.

Food match: After dinners cigars… does anyone even do that in 2018?


Garage Project Orange Sunshine

Total Score: 6.6/10 Orange1Lemon1Clove1Nonicpint1

The latest Garage Project hit the stores at a not-too-unreasonable of $24 a 4-pack… not a great price either, but GP are well-known to be premium (over)priced here in Aus. Orange Sunshine is an American Wheat Beer with added orange and lemon zest. Now I know there’s been some weird theme of reviewing fruit-infused beers with my last 2 reviews, this is purely coincidental – I am not purposely seeking out fruit-infused beers – just finding them popping up at my local Black Sheep Bottle Shop… come to think of it I’ve got yet another grapefruit-infused beer sitting in my fridge, ay caramba! Time to see if this fruit beer will sink with the last 2 or swim like Elvis Juice [not a euphemism!].

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy sunburst orange (orange sunshine: accurate) body with an off-white sea foam head that begins with an ample 3 centimetres and drops back to a measly-thin covering. Looks as advertised at least (some brews don’t even manage that). 7/10.

S: Orange and lemon peel: yes, rosehip and cardamom as well. Only detracting note is a metallic twinge – which realistically is pretty rare in the days of proper plastic-lined canning, but occasionally it pops up… surprising for GP given their usual rigorous QC. 6/10.

T: Cardamom and rosehip unexpectedly to the fore, followed by that anticipated orange and lemon peel character. It’s got a nice mellow American Wheat flavour, not unlike Green Beacon’s Wayfarer, which makes it a real hot weather lawn mower beer. Getting towards the end of summer here, with our nights now at a reasonably mild 21 degrees, it’s difficult to enjoy a light-flavoured Wheat when all I want is MOAR! However Orange Sunshine manages to fulfil the flavour brief without getting exciting at any point whatsoever… reminds me of their Hāpi Daze in that respect. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a slightly gassy carbonation. 7/10.

D: Mmmmmmmmmmeh. That is what I think of Orange Sunshine. Granted if it’s a scorcher of a day where the beads of sweat on my body have even smaller beads of sweat leaking out of them – like some sort of sweat inception, or “sweatception” – granted in that instance I might be pretty keen for a can of Orange Sunshine. However every other day my mind is of the opinion “why bother, have a Russian Imperial something instead”. So yeah, nice effort otherwise GP. 6/10.

Food match: Grilled chicken salad (with chups because it’s an NZ beer bro).


Stone & Wood The Gatherer

Total Score: 6/10 mint1Watermelon1Cucumber1Nonicpint1

Yes, yes, for those of you who recall my The Forager review – I remarked that the next in this series of limited release “foraged ingredient” beers by Stone & Wood would have to be pretty damn interesting for me to review… i.e. The Forager was a bit of a disappointment. However this The Gatherer has watermelon, my favouritested of all fruits! And cucumber/mint – also pretty good. So here goes, can Stone & Wood make a comeback with this thus far lame duck of a brew series? Or will they cock (as in rooster) it up? Continue reading this review for the possibility of more animal puns… [corgi I’m looking forward to it!]

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Whale what have we got here: cloudy pale straw yellow body with a nice white 1 centimetre cappuccino foam head that slowly dissolves into a thin foamy blanket. Looks decent, good colour, nice cloudy yeastiness going on. Doc approves. 8/10.

S: Mint straight up – like some sort of beer Mojito, a beermito if you will. Background hints of cucumber, watermelon and a green/floral/herbal hop touch. It’s all very muted and chillaxed brah, as much to be expected from S&W. I would be lion if I didn’t want a bit more of an aroma hit, oh well. 5/10.

T: Odd melange this watermelon/mint/cucumber combo – it comes through as per the label yet it doesn’t feel right for some reason… bear with me on this – the mint is probably the most out of place ingredient, it’s a bit on the sharp side, and it’s got a mouthwashy overtone (not good in a beer unless you’re the “beer for breaky” kinda person). Watermelon is good, though a tad subtle, and the cucumber works well with the style (we know this because Mikkeller made a Cucumber Witbier and it was rad!). The rest of it is thin, and maybe it’s because of the mint but it has an artificial sweetener taste about it. 6/10.

M: The mouthfeel is mid to light and seems to have more of a porpoise with a thin but lively carbonation. 7/10.

D: Swing and a miss, strike two for S&W’s “foraged ingredient” beer series, too bad for S&W – like some sort of beer-review-bear I will go into hibernation on the S&W brews until they’ve made next year’s Stone Beer… at least Stone Beer has always been good. This brew was a panda-monium of ingredients that didn’t really work together – they just crashed! And mint? I’m yet to have a beer with mint in it that hasn’t been ruined by having mint in it. 6/10.

Food match: Lamb souvlaki with a feta salad, natch.


Green Beacon Wayfarer USA

Total Score: 7.55/10 Peach1Pineapple1Coriander1Weizenglass1

Green Beacon are IMO the best Weizen brewers in Australia. This, their Wayfarer USA, an American Wheat Beer being one example (though I do recall they made a traditional Hefeweizen – I couldn’t find that one in cans and I’m not sure if they even still brew it). Anyway, I still have a bright green Green Beacon shirt from when they first opened, I love the burgeoning craft beer scene in Brisbane – I’m never short of a place to drag friends so I can converse with them while getting inebriated at my own amusement.

Poured from a 375ml can into a Weizen glass.

A: Cloudy pale straw yellow body with a big 3 cm soap suds white foam head that quickly dissipates to a wispy thin lace on top. Not impressive in the head department but nonetheless cloudy as I likes me beers. 7/10.

S: Quite fruity on the nose with: Nectarines, lychee and a hint of pineapple – a very tropical (American) take on the style, and quite moreish… not to be mistaken with the Moors [Moops!]. If it is lacking in anything I would say possibly a fraction more boldness, but the fruit aromas are interesting and spot on American Wheat. 7/10.

T: Notes of above: Nectarines, lychee, pineapple hit the senses straight off the bat, then a touch of sourness steps in to give it a bit of variety, and it finishes off with a light coriander/orange one two. Palate is clean and crisp with a minimal hop bitterness in the flavour. Thirst is suitably quenched. All systems are go for an American Wheat lift-off. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation which is lacking in that classic Hefeweizen creaminess – not that there’s anything wrong with that [err, yes there is – point deducted]. 6/10.

D: Surprisingly not as good as I recall the original Hefe Wayfarer being, though it is still a cracking Wheat Beer with a refreshing/cleansing palate that I could down again and again on a hot summers day (and boy do we get them in Brisbane!). The only thing that separates this from a heavy-hitter like Weihenstephaner is the lack of body and it could do with a bit more flavour. However sometimes when you might feel like a good light American Wheat Beer then this baby’s got you covered. 8/10.

Food match: Light summer salad with grilled chicken and asparagus – or really any easy going BBQ fare.


Sixpoint Meatball Wheat Ale

Total Score: 7.25/10 Coriander1 Bread1 Earth1 Weizenglass1

Well I made the trek to Sydney for my first ever beer show, felt like I was on a pilgrimage and that craft beer is really becoming a bit of a religion for me (yikes). My first stop once inside the venue was the Sixpoint booth (it was actually the Cigar City booth as well). After a quick chat with @sixpoint I gave this American Wheat Ale a try.

Poured from tap into 100ml sample cup at the Sip & Savour event in Sydney.

A: Presents a cloudy pale straw body with a white half centimetre head. Very much in the realm of a typical Wheat Ale then. 8/10.

S: Hints of coriander spice up front with a pleasing bread yeast middle and an earthy hop back end. Not much else noted apart from this but IMO this is a good enough aroma for the style. 7/10.

T: Hmm, a good mix of coriander, bread yeast, some dusty malt grains and earthy/citric hops. Quite refreshing with a decent balance between dry and bitter in the finish. It’s got that “I need another sip” character, and before you know it the glass is empty (or in this case the tiny 100ml sample). 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a creamy Weizen carbonation. 9/10.

D: Well this was certainly a low-key surprise from Sixpoint, a brewer that generally likes slapping you in the face with a big wet hop cone (see my review of their Resin). Moreish and refreshing, it went down a treat with the muggy weather in Sydney. Shame I’ll never see it again as it had a good all round package for an American Wheat Ale. 7/10.

Food match: Some people were eating pulled pork sandwiches which my jealous eyes gazed upon at the event. A pulled pork sandwich would really match this beer well… or a meatball sandwich.


Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Total Score: 5.85/10 Bread1 Malt1 Lemon1 Weizenglass1

Bought for a steal (considering how stupidly expensive American beers are over here in Australia) from the local Murphy’s Dan – I decided to for once to go against that old husbands tale that drinking American beer was like having sex in a canoe, and grabbed a six pack of these fine looking fellows [granted this was a review from 3 years ago before I had any concept of American craft beer].

Poured from a 355ml bottle and poured into my 500ml Stein, sighing to myself that no one really made 500ml bottles to compliment my 500ml Stein.

A: Mr. Adams Summer Ale has quite a nice coloured body (not a euphemism). It’s cloudy (the way I likes my beers), and golden/honey bodied with a cappuccino froth white head. Mmmm, methinks sir. 9/10.

S: There’s something not right when your beer emits an odour of rotten garbage, needless to say it’s a beer and I will (as such) drink it, this was indeed a mark against it. It’s not all bad though; I did detect a hint of honey (though hints of honey on a garbage pile is never going to make a top selling cologne). 4/10.

T: Tastes better than it smells, but still an odd mash of ideas in this… yeasty, bready, malty, lemony, caramely… I can see the caramel and malt flavours going together, and adding the yeast and the bread isn’t bad, but whose idea was it to throw in the lemon? Not saying it’s a terrible mix but my taste buds don’t know what to do. Plus an Ale… for summer? I don’t know about the rest of the population but when it comes to summer in Brisbane I ain’t thinking of Ales to quench my mighty summer thirst. 6/10.

M: Gets it right in this department; mild, low carbonation with a mid to heavy body – that’s Ale country there! 9/10.

D: Here’s the verdict: Ales are Ales for a damn good reason- they keep us fat and bloated in winter. Lagers are Lagers for a damn good reason- they keep our parched mouths liquefied in the unbearable heat of summer. Mixing the body of an Ale with the flavours of a Lager, whilst interesting in theory, merely works to confuse and ultimately disappoint my taste buds. I want an Ale yet you’ve thrown in some Lager characteristics… not for me unfortunately. 5/10.

Food match: Chinese food mixed with Mexican cuisine might just work with this.