8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Berliner Weisse

Total Score: 8.4/10 Cucumber1Coriander1WhiteWine1Tulipglass1

I have a confession to make: I love cucumber. Point in case, my favourite sanger (Aussie slang for “sandwich”): Cucumber. Second favourite sanger? Egg and lettuce (but throw in some bacon bits, what are we? Savages?). So when I come across a beer with cucumber you better believe I’m getting my mitts on that! This Berliner Weisse is special – not only is it brewed with cucumber, but it’s also brewed by Doc’s favourite New Zeelund (that’s the Kiwi pronunciation there) brewer: 8 Wired. See it’s all… well two, of Doc’s things coming together – jackpot bro! (or “brah” if you’re from NZ). Now I’m not a huge fan, nor am I highly acquainted with the Berliner Weissbier style – however it’s a sour themed night, so “BRING ON THE SOUR BEERS!” *said in my best Futurama hedonism bot voice*

Poured from a 440ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Very very pale, hazed, straw body with a pumping white sea foam head that wants to party – causing a ruckus in my glass, go at it lad! As the foam dies it leaves some nice patches of lace on the side of the glass – impressive all round at 4% ABV! 9/10.

S: Cucumber sandy (also Aussie slang for “sandwich”, look we’ve got a serious slang addiction over here) in a glass! Even has a bit of dill character too. Dill and cucumber rocks, ergo this aroma also rocks. Hints of peppery spice, citric notes from the hops, and a floral/herbal touch round out this refreshing sandy-like aroma. Bravo 8 Wired, this is an easy 8/10.

T: Flavour is exactly as noted above: dill, cucumber, light peppery note, clean lemon citric character, floral/herbal touch, and what is no doubt an addition from Nelson Sauvin hops – a dry white wine finish. Overall flavour is quite white wine vinous, nice and dry, and clean in the extreme – this is a great palate cleansing beer, slightly tart in the finish as well. Yep, nailed it 8 Wired. 9/10.

M: Mid to light, crisp bodied with a medium full-bubble carbonation. Plenty of burps on offer with this beer… to the detriment of my stomach in fact. 7/10.

D: Hands down the best palate cleansing beer I’ve had in years: it’s light with great cucumber and dill character coming through and being offset by what I’m swearing are Nelson Sauvin hops – I’ll eat the slightly out of date chicken sausages in my fridge if it isn’t… well I’ll eat them anyway, but I’m convinced there’s Nelson Sauvin in this beer nonetheless. A cracker of a light(ish) beer! 8/10.

Food match: This is the beer you have between the entrée and the main 😉

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Edge Brewing Project Thirst Quencher Pomegranate Sour

Total Score: 4.35/10 RedApple1Earth1Cherry1Tulipglass1

Good old Edge Brewing Project, the only brewery I know of that was started by U2 guitarist The Edge*. I’m not a huge fan of sour beers, sometimes I find them a bit too tart and not actually all that interesting. However I do like pomegranates… least I did until I cracked a denture with a pomegranate aril seed – those things are hard! Anyhow I don’t have to take that risk with this Thirst Quencher Pomegranate Sour – being an entirely liquid form means it’s unlikely to crack any fillings, unless a seed somehow made it in, not that I’m expecting that, just the nice flavours of pomegranate – viva pomegranates!

Poured from a 330ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed blood orange coloured body with a pink head that fizzles out quicker than you can say “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” (an actual word, Google it). The colour is nice and unusual, a change of pace indeed. 7/10.

S: Aroma is… a bit wrong… quite tart, musty and dusty like an old book at the national library – the ones that come in a hermetically sealed case with a guy in a white suit and latex gloves who turns the pages with tweezers, that kind of smell. Not a great start from Mr. The Edge, I’m going to tell Bono that your brewery is releasing sub-standard sour beers now. 5/10.

T: Oh God, my insides! This kettle-soured beer has gone a bit too far – guess it needed consuming at an earlier date, this is a disaster of a beer. Flavours are a mix of the above: very tart, acidic character, malic acid, dusty/musty character, a total yeast bomb, only with Lactobacillus bacteria slant. Pomegranate flavour? None really, if it tasted like any fruit it would be apple cider vinegar. Not good. Not good at all. 4/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, inactive carbonation, this one has definitely turned inside the can, too bad. 4/10.

D: Wow, was not expecting it to be this bad. The Edge should be ashamed, I mean he’s a great guitarist and all, but this is shit. In the end I drain-poured it – been a long time since I drain-poured a beer. Hopefully it’ll be longer still before I drain-pour another. That said I’m pretty convinced this beer wasn’t intended to be this bad, it just got a bit out of hand with the yeast is what happened. 4/10.

Food match: Not relevant with a drain-pour beer.

*Not an actual fact.

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Mornington Peninsula #tinnage008 Brain Squeeze Hoppy Sour

Total Score: 6.3/10 PapayaMango1Lemon1Barley1Tulipglass1

Well it’s been a while since the Mornington Peninsula brewery pooped out a little can of #tinnage joy – last one was #tinnage007 Mosaic IPA which I reviewed in October last year (wasn’t a huge fan of that one actually… Mornington’s IPAs really are hit and miss – they need to stick with dark/brown beers and leave the IPAs to Pirate Life). Now they’ve moved on to a Hoppy Sour, which I’m attributing as a Berliner Weissbier as there is no such thing as a “hoppy sour”, least not in the BJCP style guide (ahhh, the trusty BJCP style guide). Can Mornington possibly recover after their near disastrous #tinnage007, which being James Bond’s codename really should have been a Vodka Martini-flavoured beer? Mere minutes will tell.

Poured from a 330ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Totally hazed Jonquil-coloured body with a very happy to see you 3 centimetre white head that almost completely dissolves… sounds pretty familiar given the proceeding review of Doctor’s Orders Electrolyte Serum, so I guess I got the Berliner Weissbier style assessment right. 8/10.

S: The biggest difference from Electrolyte Serum is how this one doesn’t smell like kid sick – a minor bit of hairsplitting yes I know, but an important one IMO. In fact Brain Squeeze has a fairly pleasing aroma: tropical papaya and lemon hops lead the olfactory senses on a (albeit small) journey towards Lactobacillus funk-town [population: you]. Thin otherwise, regardless job done Mornington. 7/10.

T: Papaya and lemon hops hit upfront with less a crash and more a gentle waft. Following this is a grainy note (urrgh!) and finish has a light Lactobacillus tartness. It’s alright… bit boring, but I guess that’s the risk you run when you dabble in the Berliner Weissbier trade. Aftertaste is a bit stomach acid-like… not great. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, touch of wateriness, light but dense carbonation, needs something… more carbonation? Maybe. 6/10.

D: Aside from burps being a mix of hops and your own sick… and, oh yeah: all of the above criticisms, this is another slightly lacklustre #tinnage from Mornington, whatever happened to those delicious nitro beers that were going to revolutionise the way Aussie craft drinkers thought about beer? Mornington? You guys were on to something there, then you seemed to totally change course and try to out brew IPA brewers like Pirate Life/Green Beacon/Blackmans/Feral/etc… look it didn’t work just stick with delicious dark beers please! 6/10.

Food match: One of Mornington’s delicious dark beers… or green papaya salad.

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Cavalier Cherry Sour

Total Score: 6.85/10 Cherry1 Coriander1 Wood1 Tulipglass1

So Cavalier have jumped on the small batch bandwagon as well, and “why not?” I say – if you’re going to jump on any bandwagon, unless it’s a 70’s era word-for-word Led Zeppelin bandwagon then limited release beers is a pretty endorsable thing… [is that a word or did I just make that up?] Anyway this Cherry Sour is done in a style I’ve rarely come across but enjoy nonetheless – Berliner Weisse – with fresh cherries and lactobacillus added it is sure to be a winner. A good (or bad depending on how your day is going) hallmark of this style is a mid-strength ABV and at 3.5% Cherry Sour is a good palate cleanser before my next reviews, onward dear reader, MUSH!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents like any good Kriek with a bold clear ruby body and an unmistakeable pink head which soon drops back to a lace ring. I’m impressed easily by Kriek beers so bravo to Cavalier. 9/10.

S: You really can tell they’ve used fresh cherries as soon as you take in a breath, with that straight up tartness of the lactobacillus giving it a yoghurty aroma. Aside from these prominent notes there is a hint of hard candy (cherry flavoured of course) and a light herbal bitterness lingering in the background. 8/10.

T: Thennnnn, replace all of the above with sour. The tartness of this brew isn’t mouth-puckering however it does completely overwhelm the other (above noted) flavours to the point where you would be hard pressed to pick out this was a cherry beer to begin with. Finish is vaguely herbal with sour cherry hints. Palate cleansing? Indeed, too much I think. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a medium carbonation – the body here is hefty for a 3.5%, something I am generally impressed with by other Berliner Weisses I’ve tried. 9/10.

D: Compared with the other Berliner Weisse I’ve reviewed (a brew I am sure Cavalier got their hands on before brewing their own version) Feral’s Watermelon Warhead is a much better example of what you would look for in the style – traditionally Berliner Weisse is served with a flavoured syrup to cut through the sourness, however we don’t have that luxury when drinking at home… in Australia… so ultimately we need to have the sourness balanced a bit better by the brewer and you could tell that Feral got this whereas Cavalier missed this salient point somewhat. In other words – Watermelon Warhead FTW. 6/10.

Food match: Cheese platter and this seems a decent enough match.

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Feral Watermelon Warhead

Total Score: 7.9/10 GreenApple1 Watermelon1 WhiteWine1 Tulipglass1

This is one brew I’ve been looking out for as it was (for a while) the highest rated Aussie beer on BeerAdvocate, and a Berliner Weissbier – a style I had yet to try. Let’s talk about Berliner Weissbier: They are quite an oddity in the beer world as they’re top fermented (i.e. Ales) that have that cold refreshing sensibility of a Lager, with a mouth puckering tart/sour slant (like a Gueuze which is a Lambic beer), and around 3% ABV (that’s mid-strength territory there). Another thing to note is that they’re traditionally served with a syrup to cut through the sourness: “Himbeere” (or raspberry) and “Waldmeister” (or woodruff).

Poured from tap into a Schooner (425ml glass).

A: Cloudy pale straw, almost white body, with a thin white lace on top. Bang on for the style. 8/10.

S: The nose is interesting with what I perceived to be white pepper with notes of Watermelon and sour acidic candy. I say “perceived” as none of the other reviews I’ve read on this picked up on the white pepper, maybe my nose is off? 7/10.

T: Remarkable mix of sour candy acidity (which is quite tart but not overbearing like the Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René), white pepper, and a hint of Watermelon at the back. Finish is a touch spicy and reasonably sour. There is a vinous white wine note in there as well. I’m not blown away with watermelon, it hints but it never really gets to be more of a hint, oh well. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a medium carbonation. A lot more body than I was expecting given the ABV, top marks to Feral. 9/10.

D: Both oddly refreshing and not at the same time. I’m not however sold on how high it is rated on BeerAdvocate though. Hop Hog definitely still the best offering from Feral, this is just a nice eccentric Ale, like a gentleman wearing golf trousers at a yachting luncheon. If Feral did decide to make this beer readily available I would definitely recommend it for a typical hot Australian summer day (35 Celsius aka 95 Fahrenheit). 8/10.

Food match: Seafood or pasta with creamy sauces would make an intriguing pairing with this brew, the sour and vinous notes will cut through almost any cuisine on offer though.

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