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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Aether Brewing Black As Your Heart

Total Score: 6.7/10 Earth1Caramel1Lemon1Tulipglass1

Back when American Black IPAs (or Cascadian Dark Ales) came out in Australia I was a big fan. Then they exploded a few years ago with every man, woman and dog brewing them, and I grew tired of them. Now, 2018, I’m back into Black IPAs [insert “Back in Black” opening guitar riff here], they’re so dark, earthy and moody where everything else is so cheery atm (except Stouts and sour beers), bring on the Black IPAs I say! This Aether Brewing Black As Your Heart is the first cab off the rank for me with their brews. It’s the “Biggest Beer Litmus Test” (BBLiT) that I go through time and time again: 1) Find new brewer, 2) Pick their heaviest ABV brew, 3) Review it, 4) Find out if they are worthy or not based on your subjective experience with that one brew. Easy as bro!

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents a hazy ™cola-coloured body with a nice meaty 2 centimetre beige head that leaves scrawl work lace on the glass side as it descends, noice Garry! Just like drinking a glass of ™cola with a beer head, like a spider-float you could say. 7/10.

S: Earthy and caramel notes from the get-go. Floral hints, along with a slight citrus note rounds out this predominantly earthy aroma. Well that’s all well and good but at 6.7% ABV I’m expecting a bit more of a punchy aroma – something that wafts up into the nostril from the glass sitting on the desk, with this brew I fully had to stick my nose in the glass and inhale deeply. 6/10.

T: Caramel, biscuity and full earthy flavours all over the palate. Citrus and floral hops come in towards the finish and add a light bitter foil to the proceeding characters. Aftertaste is really dirty and earthy, very much an Aussie Black IPA flavour profile here – we always seem to conjure up earthy flavours in our brews, even more so in Black IPAs. Flavour overall is an improvement from the aroma. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation, it’s not creamy smooth but it is alright, a bit more body would improve it though (I look for “medium bodied” with this style). 6/10.

D: So how did Aether’s BBLiT go? Better than the average bear I would say. However they don’t stack up against the upper crust of Aussie craft, brewers like: Pirate Life, Green Beacon, Modus Operandi and Blackman’s. Aether feel more upper-mainstream craft, brewers like: Nomad, Slipstream, Balter, et al. Beers you can relate to but ultimately you want something a little more. 7/10.

Food match: I would err towards roasted meats with this earthy brew.

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Slipstream Laguna Tropical Pale Ale

Total Score: 6.2/10 Passionfruit1CutGrass1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

Slipstream are on a bit of a roll lately with their tasty Southern Hemisphere limited release and now this Laguna Tropical Pale Ale – which is made with a selection of southern hemisphere hops… one might even assume they had an over-supply of hops from the last limited release, or that they just have a thing for southern hemisphere hops, either way: bottoms up! This American Pale Ale clocks in at a whopping 4.1% ABV and the name of this brew implies tropical fruit is the focus. Hopefully the low(ish) ABV doesn’t mean the flavour will be lacking, but hey it’s not easy to get a flavoursome beer that low, I still haven’t touched their Billy Cart Pale due to it being mid-strength (I’ve got way too many full-strength brews to review in the meantime).

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed pale yellow body with a white head that is way too happy to see me [down boy!] at 1.5 inches, it drops back reasonably quick though leaving a wispy sea foam layer on top. Lot’s of carbonation action inside the glass with big bubbles, a bit too much action IMO. 6/10.

S: Grassy passionfruit hops to the fore, Galaxy my old friend, hints of peach and mango as well. Nothing noted malt-wise, which is fine for a hop-driven APA. Aroma is nice and lively, like the carbonation. 7/10.

T: Disappointingly on the lighter side flavour-wise. Hops to the fore with passionfruit, grassy, mango and rubbery notes. Malt is a thin dry biscuit layer that doesn’t really do much at all, just sits there in a wingback chair reading the newspaper like an old man “thanks for nothing malt!”. That said there’s really nothing wrong with the flavours or balance, it’s simply a boring APA sorry to say, which is exactly what I feared during in the preamble. 6/10.

M: Lightish, a bit watery and over-carbed – no match for other more sophisticated APAs out there in the beerosphere (aka Earth). 6/10.

D: As expected this was a “meh!” beer from Slipstream. It’s way too light in flavour and body, and one wonders why this was even brewed – who is the target audience? By now you would expect there is a niche for everyone that drinks beer from the tradie macro Lager drinkers, to the entry-level craft metros, all the way up to the fanatical hipster craft lovers. Slipstream have already won me (somewhat) over with their last limited release, why did they drop the ball here? 6/10.

Food match: Fish n’ chips with a garden salad.

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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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Capital Brewing Co. Evil Eye Red IPA

Total Score: 6.9/10 Earth1Biscuit1Lemon1Nonicpint1

Canned Canberran beer in Brisbane!? What the what?! We never see Canberran craft up here, there’s something reassuring about seeing hometown beers in another part of the country that is now where you call home. It’s a comforting reminder of another place you once lived. Plus Canberra has a killer craft scene: Wig & Pen, Bentspoke, Transit Bar, and of course my old haunt (also a place I once worked) The Durham. One of the things I’ve noticed with Canberran brewed beers is a predilection towards heavier, malty/earthy Ales – I’m thinking mainly Wig & Pen brews like their fantastic Sequoia American Amber Ale, and similar Bentspoke brews. In any case I’m expecting Capital Brewing Co. Evil Eye Red IPA to carry on that “Canberra beer taste” tradition.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy mahogany brown body with a tan cappuccino foam head that compacts quickly leaving some decent lace scrawl inside the glass. Pretty brown bodied for a Red IPA, less brown more red would put it in the same league as Modus Former Tenant, however this is OK. 7/10.

S: Interesting malt selection gives the aroma a dusty/earthy character along with milk chocolate hints, and slight citric lemon notes. Very much on the malty side for a Red IPA – again in contrast to Former Tenant (my benchmark Red IPA). That said I’ve definitely had more malt-driven than hop-driven Red IPAs, especially from the States. 7/10.

T: Interestingly sharp citrus tang upfront, following this is a mid-palate earthy/biscuity/chocolatey/caramelly broad malt base, finish is again with a citrus tang (less sharp but ever-present). Aftertaste is a bit moreish – I definitely wanted to keep drinking Evil Eye [perhaps I’ve been hexed?]. 7/10.

M: Mouthfeel is probably the only thing close to disappointing (i.e. there’s nothing inherently wrong with this beer but the texture is the weakest link) – mid to light bodied with a rather prickly carbonation. 6/10.

D: Evil Eye Red IPA reminds me of a beer with a bit of an identity crisis: “should I be bitter? No, I’ll be sweet… wait, no I’ll be bitter then, ahhh f**k it!”, pick a direction and go that way or blend this sweet/bitter dichotomy better Capital Brewing. Other than that the flavour grew on me – it’s essentially an overtly earthy easy-drinking IPA, which I can dig, nothing wrong with that. 7/10.

Food match: Forest and earthy flavours – think mushrooms, truffles, etc…

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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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Exit Brewing #014 Pale Ale

Total Score: 7.1/10 Orange1Peach1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

AKA “Exit Pale” is now in a technologically advanced can – least that’s what the can label says. I’ve been a long time fan of Exit Brewing ever since I tried their #008 Double Session XXXPA waaay back in 2015 (feels like an age ago – my beard has white hair in it now). Strange that I never got wind of this #014 Pale Ale when it was in bottles, however I’m pretty keen on #003 Milk Stout, so I know Exit can brew a damn good beer, this APA should be a walk in the park for them. Also love how they went all-out Tron on the beer can design – just saw their IPA in green cans today, will have to get my hands on that one. Something that does concern me is the middling 4.6% ABV, a touch on the low side for me, hopefully it’s got enough going on.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy golden/amber body with a fluffy white sea foam head that leaves a decent amount of lace on the side of the glass. Looks aiight. Pretty much a classic APA look with this #014 Pale Ale. 7/10.

S: Light with citrus and stonefruit overtones (mandarin and peachy vibes cruisin’ through this town). Hints of biscuit and caramel malts as well. The overall feel of this brew is a light easy-drinking hop-driven APA for a nice hot summer day. A bit Stone & Wood Pacific Ale so far (hopefully the flavour is a bit more West Coast USA though). 7/10.

T: Easy drinking written all over this – mandarin and peachy hops mingle with a light biscuit and caramel malt base, hint of a grainy note as well, crisp dry finish with a mild touch of citrus hop bitterness bookending this easy drinking brew. Did I mention this is easy drinking? No? Well it is: EASY DRINKING. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a decent slightly dense carbonation, mouthfeel is pretty spot on for an APA. I’m not surprised how well they nailed it – these guys brew the best Aussie Milk Stout I’ve come across yet. 8/10.

D: A touch on the boring side for me but I can see the appeal on a hot summers day – sorry to the Mexicans (i.e. any Aussies living south of Queensland) for the heatwave they’re going through right now – crack one of these babies open, you’ll be right mate. As for me, even though I found the flavours a bit too S&W Pacific Ale(ish), I still drained my glass quicker than Trump tweets his bile before breakfast. Good drop this, will definitely get my hands on their green-coloured can of IPA now. 7/10.

Food match: Some fancy chicken burger I had for dinner would have gone well here.

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