BrewDog Pump Action Poet Stonefruit IPA

Total Score: 7.55/10 Peach1Orange1Grapefruit1Nonicpint1

Well, well, looks like BrewDog Elvis Juice has a new sibling in Pump Action Poet Stonefruit IPA… it’s no secret that I am a big fan of Elvis Juice, to me it is the best (and most consistent) fruit-infused beer. So expectations are very high indeed. A thing that a seasoned Elvis drinker (like me) notices right away is the higher ABV from 6.5% to 7.5%… Elvis was such a drinkable brew at 6.5%, my only concern is that at 7.5% Pump Action Poet might be a bit too on the nose [or tongue in this specific instance]… not the name though – Pump Action Poet, it’s another great brew name from BrewDog, hopefully they won’t get sued for this one… though that does look like Master Chief on the label… shhh, don’t tell Microsoft!

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Fairly hazed golden amber hue body with a nice white cappuccino foam head on top that compacts down to about half a centimetre. I declare this looks like a tasty fermented beverage! 8/10.

S: Fruity… stone-fruity. Peach and apricot rule this Pump Action Poet aroma! As advertised then. With notes of grapefruit, orange blossom and a thick biscuit malt base. Master Chief: “Reporting for duty!”. Wait, does the Master Chief even speak? I don’t ever remember hearing him speak. Regardless he has the soul of a poet I am now swayed to believe. 8/10.

T: Yep, stone-fruit for days – it’s carnival time in Georgia (the US state – not the Eurasian country). It’s a bit like an American IPA with some Southern Comfort – that extra 1% ABV does give it a slight spirit edge unfortunately. Other than a bold peachy character there’s a light grapefruit/orange citric backbone and a biscuit base underlying everything… however that spirit edge only serves to detract from the flavour overall. Still it’s good. Not great. Good. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation, not as gassy as Elvis, but then he did eat a lot of hamburgers… 8/10.

D: It’s no Elvis, but it delivers what it sets out to do on the can where it says “Stonefruit IPA” – it is definitely one of those. The whole spirity/SoCo vibe detracts from what could have been an easy-drinking fruit beer like Elvis. Elvis is a breeze at 6.5%, this is almost a chore at 7.5%, goes to show just how much of a difference 1% can make. However: there is a good beer in here. Oh yeah, not a fan of peaches, but I didn’t let that affect the score [I’m a mofressional]. 8/10.

Food match: This beer made me think of sashimi for some reason.

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Wild Beer Pogo

Total Score: 7.9/10 Passionfruit1Orange1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

So I was a bit apprehensive about reviewing another Wild Beer after I put Breakfast of Champignons into the “too weird for its own good” box. That was one crazy mother funker of a brew [I said “funker” calm down ppl!]. However I had a test can of this (i.e. drinking without reviewing it) and it was goo-OOO-od. So it’s take 2 for Wild Beer, perhaps I misjudged them? [well Breakfast of Champignons was weird – so no, I didn’t misjudge anything]. Anyhow, Pogo is one of those fruit-infused beers, which IMO is always a gamble that doesn’t necessarily pay off, but if you want a TLDR; This brew has passionfruit, orange & guava and is almost as good as BrewDog Elvis (lawsuit) Juice… just a bit lighter at 4% ABV though.

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed goldy-orangey body with a half centimetre bone-white cappuccino foam head that wafts lazily on top like a passing cloud of goodness. Looks properly like a beer hey? Beers sometimes do look like beers. This pleases me. 8/10.

S: Aroma is more like a literal glass of passionfruit/guava juice than a beer. Like, seriously: juice. I kid you not. It makes me get all philosophical about the nature of beer – when is a beer no longer a beer? Is it the alcohol that maketh the beer? Or is it fermentation? And perhaps the most important question of all in this arena: why am I asking what beer is instead of drinking said beer? Haven’t the foggiest. 7/10.

T: Tasting very juice-like, with: passionfruit/guava/orange, and the added presence of malt, which brings in a caramel angle to this intriguing glass of juice. Balance is well done this time by Wild Beer, there’s a touch of sourness mingling with sweet and a light citric bitterness in the finish. Overall this is an easy brew to drink, almost to its own detriment – would love to see a 5% ABV version of this – that extra 1% would kick the flavour up a notch from mild mannered and unassuming to assertive and confident. 8/10.

M: Mouthfeel is rather well done thanks to the addition of Lactose: mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a soft but dense carbonation. Impressive body. 9/10.

D: Easy-drinking, juicy, tasty, if these are adjectives that you identify with when drinking beer, well, this is your brew! Personally I like this beer, however… [there’s always a caveat!]: it’s borderline too much like an alcoholic glass of juice – I can see that turning off people: Aussie “blokes” might call it “a girls drink” whilst ironically chugging down a flavourless Lager in the same sentence. 8/10.

Food match: Couldn’t get fruit salad out of my head… sorry.

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Doctor’s Orders Electrolyte Serum Rhubarb Wheat Gose

Total Score: 5.9/10 Bananas1Barley1Bubblegum1Tulipglass1

Doctor’s Orders, haven’t tried them before even though it sounds like the brewery was named after me: Doc. It isn’t though, my brewery name (when I open my own brewery) will be DöcBräu™ – and I will only be producing Ales, no Lagers thank you (too much effort IMO). Pipe dream aside Doctor’s Orders claim they brought the Gose style to Australia, and they could be right – Gose’s haven’t been around for long even though they were popularised in the states since before I got into craft beer. This Gose is made with rhubarb and wheat, which I suspect will make it similar to a Berliner Weissbier (with rhubarb instead of raspberry sweetness)… I guess we shall soon find out.

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy pale straw body, nice fluffy snow white head that compacts from a meaty 3 centimetres to a respectable half centimetre. I like the colour: pale straw is an appealing hue for a brew [rhyme intended]. 8/10.

S: Funky freak show! Salt, normally not a feature in any beer but most welcome in a Gose, comes through front and centre. Notes of banana and rhubarb, hint of bubblegum, barnyard yeast funk, this is could be mistaken for a child’s vomit at a petting zoo – but alas, it is a beer [I believe there was a vomit-flavoured jelly bean in Harry Potter – this is clearly the liquid version of that]. Shades of intriguing and bad mingle freely here. TBH it is what it is, which makes it hard to like/love. 5/10.

T: It really tastes a bit like a wheaty/funky Gatorade… what an odd brew. I’ve had Gose’s before (6 according to my BA account), so this isn’t simply a case of being unfamiliar with the style – this brew is a bit of a mess. Other notes of the above: salt, banana, rhubarb, barnyard yeast and an overall grainy character. Admittedly the more I drank the less bad it became… my taste buds probably surrendered to its weirdness. Again: hard to love. 6/10.

M: Body is alright though – mid to light, with a creamy dense carbonation (that’s the wheat for you – always bringing body). 8/10.

D: Not a fan, and I’ve had Gose’s I’ve liked before. This is the unholy marriage of beer and a sports drink – please heed my words. It’s still better than a Victoria Bitter though – so really let’s give Doctor’s Orders some credit. Also Gose’s are a tricky style: it Gose with the territory [been waiting to crack out that pun for a while now, cheers!]. 5/10.

Food match: This feels like something to drink after a workout session.

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4 Pines Keller Door Cherry Coconut Brown Ale

Total Score: 5.65/10 Coconut1Cherry1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

This is why I love reviewing beers: every day is something new and sometimes something crazy – there’s a never ending supply of weird and wonderful brews out there. Case in point: 4 Pines Keller Door Cherry Coconut Brown Ale. Someone at 4 Pines thought about putting macerated cherries and roasted coconut into a Brown Ale, it’s a narrative not uncommon with a certain Mr. Ross Kenrick of Bacchus fame, and a reason why I have consumed/reviewed so many Bacchus beers of late – a tongue as seasoned as mine yearns for the occasional crazed experimental brew. So I guess what we have here is a liquid cherry ripe (chocolate bar). I was always more of a Twix man, when is someone going to turn Twix into a beer… Ross?

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear cola-coloured body with a slightly pink-tinged khaki head that settles to around half a centimetre. Aye there be cherries in this brew me lad. What is with 4 Pines obsession about fining their beers? Let us have a bit of haze FFS. 6/10.

S: Cherries and coconut mingle with a hint of vanilla, exactly as it says on the can – if you like cherries, and you like coconut, you’re in a cherry-coconut fantasy land mon frere. The main question with this and many other fruit addition beers is: does it smell artificial? In this instance I would say (_) – that was me holding my right index finger and thumb about 5 millimetres apart. Real deal with this I reckon. 8/10.

T: Hits with sour cherry from the beginning, though it’s not overly tart, it’s just enough to make you think “hmmm, sour note”. Then in comes a whole load of not much, yeah yeah the cherry and coconut flavours are there, but whatever happened to that whole sweet/bitter dichotomy that beers are universally renowned for? This is dry, cracker dry, middle to finish. Aftertaste hints at cherry. TBH this is much more bland than I was expecting. The major problems are body (mouthfeel) related, which could have been sorted out with oats… needs oats bro. 5/10.

M: Surprisingly (and detrimentally) thin in body with a watery middle and some carbonation thrown in for measure. 5/10.

D: This brew had promise in the aroma but completely fell apart from there onwards – it’s far too thin, muted and missing sweetness/bitterness to live up to its promise, oats would have fixed that… maybe a bit more ABV as well (although 5.5% is nothing to scoff at). Another disappointment from 4 Pines, didn’t expect it from a Keller Door though, bring back the Oaked Baltic Porter already! 5/10.

Food match: Cherry ripe choc bar – need to get that sweetness from somewhere.

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Magic Rock High Wire Grapefruit Pale Ale

Total Score: 6.9/10 Grapefruit1Orange1HopFlower1Nonicpint1

Yet another grapefruit-infused beer to add to the tally of grapefruit-infused beers out there (BrewDog Elvis Juice is still my fav in this category). Magic Rock is a new brewer for me, and I have been impressed with some of the newer craft brewers I’ve tried from the UK, plus the label looks cool, and when has a label ever failed me before? [sarcasm: yes indeed]. I’m actually curious to try their Cannonball IPA now, don’t think I’ve had a true American IPA from England before… I’ve had some BrewDog ones, but they’re from Scotland – the soon to be independent northern British isles country, where the beers are generally better 😛

Poured from a 330ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy tangelo body with a nice fairly-dense white half centimetre head that slowly drops down to a splotchy covering. Plenty of bubbles on the side of the glass which is indicative of something or other… who knows, I’m not a physicist. 7/10.

S: Aroma is a tasty mix of grapefruit and orange starburst – this is borderline IPA territory given the intensity of aroma, however the proof, as they say, is in the drinking of the APA. Other than that overt candy aroma there’s not much else, I suspect this will be more on the hop end of town with a dash of sweetness for good measure [like every other APA you’ve ever drunk Doc *slow clap*]. If I have one criticism – it’s a bit too narrow in dimension here. 7/10.

T: Tart and bitter grapefruit hits right off the bat, orange starburst comes in, followed by a grainy note and tangerine, finishes with a touch of candy and a light herbal bitterness. Apart from that grainy note this is a superlative APA. The balance between bitter/sweet is good. The aftertaste leans more and more towards the bitter side as you go. A bit one note with a citric slant, but I reckon I would go another (if someone offered it to me… not paid of course). 7/10.

M: Mid to light, slight bit watery, but then it is an APA – doesn’t need a great deal of body to be drinkable. Medium carbonation, a few burps here and there. 6/10.

D: The aftertaste is more annoying than anything else with this brew – not sure if it’s grapefruit related, but Elvis Juice (still the best grapefruit-infused beer I’ve encountered) doesn’t have a problem with an overly bitter aftertaste – so I’m guessing it’s hop related. Apart from that, and yeah the lack of diversity in flavour, this is a decent enough APA, however it’s nothing to write home about… even though I wrote an entire review about it… irony: not lost on me. 7/10.

Food match: A Vietnamese Cá Kho Tộ would pair well with this.

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Sierra Nevada Sidecar Orange Pale Ale

Total Score: 7.1/10 Orange1Caramel1Lemon1Nonicpint1

Sierra Nevada, I must have reviewed them all by now, I certainly love their beers (not Otra Vez) it would come as no surprise if I’ve reviewed all of them, let me check it now on BeerAdvocate… HOLY TOLEDO! Sierra Nevada have 210 beers listed and 339 archived, and I’ve only reviewed 20 so far… oh well this makes 21. TBH I wasn’t drawn to Sidecar like a moth to the flame of most SN brews, probably because I’m getting over citrus flavours in beers, who knows, it just didn’t grab me. However for sheer archival reasons I decided to reach out and grab the bottle from the shelf – yes it’s a tick beer, but tick beers make up about a third of my reviews so you should thank me for doing all this dirty work for you [no problem Doc!].

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed ummm… orange body (I’m seeing oranges now) with a 1 centimetre cream-coloured head that soon drops back to thin blanket. The appearance of this brew is a poster child for Pale Ales so there’s not much else to say… better head maybe? Yeah, better head next time SN! 7/10.

S: I’m a bit concerned the orange peel is too much with a heady hit of orange rind on the nose. Hints of melon, lemon and a light biscuit base as well linger in the background, but man alive that orange note is all like “I’m orange, kiss my ass jive turkey!”… it’s intimidating. 7/10.

T: Huh, it’s SN Pale Ale with a bitter orange rind note in the finish. Hardly as exciting as I expected. Flavour of a broad caramel/biscuit base (like SNPA) mingles with orange and lemon hops. If the orange peel added anything to the flavour it’s hard to tell, and why didn’t they reinvent the wheel instead of trying to fit a new tyre to this already tired but well-known sedan? I mean they could have made a different base to accentuate the peel, but it’s just SNPA, I’ve had that a million times already. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a bit of hop oils swimming on the palate and a thin, reasonably dense carbonation, top marks here IMO. 8/10.

D: So it’s SNPA (with orange peel). It feels like they could have done something different, something better. As it is SNPA is one of the classics, but resting on your laurels much Sierra Nevada? As far as I’m concerned I would have liked a bit more of a different direction from them, they’re becoming bromidic IMO and need to find a new objective… I mean Tropical Torpedo was simply Torpedo with tropical hops added (I DID like that one though) come on SN! 7/10.

Food match: Malaysian, why? Because I said so.

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Bacchus Brewing Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!!

Total Score: 7.95/10 Nut1Raspberry1Bread1Tulipglass1

If this beer doesn’t conjure up the crazy image of Brian the dog (of Family Guy) dancing with maracas in a banana outfit I don’t know what will. It’s “Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!!”, and another Bacchus brew for me to review – yes I’ve taken a shine to the mad science of Mr. Ross Kenrick and Co. Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!! (or PBJT!!! for brevity) is an American Amber Ale brewed with: Peanuts, raspberry, oats, lactose, and the usual suspects. I’m envisioning a cross between a PB&J sandwich and a jelly (jam in Oz) donut… oh yeah, and beer of course. Will it be as great as Snickers (and Barosski) my Bacchus favourites? Or will it be one of those Island of Dr. Moreau types that they sometimes release? My money is on the former.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed caramel-tinged amber body with a thin beige head that retains OK. Looks right for an amber ale, the body colour is rather appealing, so without much ado I’m going to tuck in now. 7/10.

S: Raspberry jelly (jam) straight up makes it come across as the stuff you spread on toast if you’re into that sort of thing (aint no toast in my life anymore). Nutty peanut hints remind me of Bacchus’s own Peanut Brittle Gose, it’s got that toffee note as well. Bit of bread in there as well. Aroma sits on the sweeter side of the fence and I wonder how Bacchus is going to balance it all out. 8/10.

T: First let’s get it out of the way: This is a sweet dessert beer. Now that we’ve addressed the sugar-coated elephant candy in the room, this beer is almost exactly as you would expect – it’s got: Peanuts, raspberry jam, baked bread, toffee, and a slight herbal bitterness in the finish to balance it all with that classic sweet/bitter dichotomy. On that point – it really is the bitterness that feels out of place, whilst at the same time being fairly essential to the balance overall. I mean it is a beer after all, we expect bitterness, but there’s something about the way it stands out here… a little too harsh methinks. But what a tasty (sweet!) brew otherwise. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a light but dense carbonation – one of the better mouthfeels in a Bacchus brew here. 8/10.

D: I liked PBJT!!! quite a bit, and if they get the hops sorted out – maybe use a different hop entirely(?) I think Bacchus will be on to a winner [winner, chicken dinner] here. Case in point: I managed to finish this beer (and the review itself) much quicker than normal – the sign of a great beer to me. 8/10.

Food match: Apart from PB&J sandys I would suggest tarts or caked goods.

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