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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