Van Dieman Loquacious Barrel Aged Loquat Wild Ale

Total Score: 8.45/10 Flowers1WhiteWine1Orange1Tulipglass1

As we’re getting towards the pointy end of my beer reviews (I’m totally taking a long break at #1,000… maybe I’ll do 1,001 just to tick over) the beers are more and more becoming experimental numbers. I mean look at this Van Dieman Loquacious Barrel Aged Loquat Wild Ale, before today I had no idea what a Loquat was, I had to look it up on Wikipedia (for those too lazy it’s an Asian fruit with flavours that are a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango). Sounds pretty delish, the barrel aged Wild Ale bit is an added bonus then. I reviewed another brew of Van Dieman’s a couple years back, it was their Giblin Imperial Stout (which as I recall was wrapped in tissue paper), and it was one tasty Imp Stout to be sure! I reckon Loquacious will also be par excellence in a bottle.

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy yellow with a hint of amber body… hey it’s practically the same colour as a ripe loquat – I love it when beverages are the same colour as the thing they’re made from (such a rare delight!). Head is wisps of white and a big lace ring. 9/10.

S: Wow :O this thing is amazing! Aroma is very floral with a huge tart slap, yeast funk, slight tropical jackfruit hints, mandarin, tangerine and white grape must. You would be right in thinking from this scent that this is a dry/sour beer, but the way it’s been balanced – I just want to inhale this brew all day. I want a little pine tree with scent of this for my car (too bad I only own a motorcycle)… maybe we can get a cologne of this, you with me on this Calvin K? 10/10.

T: Expectations almost blown out of the water right here: yes it’s got yeast funk and slightly tart notes, however as it turns out, loquat is evidently a very sweet fruit – that sugar hit comes out of nowhere, and when it leaves there is a lingering flavour of vanilla sugar all over the palate. Other flavours noted are: floral potpourri, tangerine, gooseberry and white wine (Sauvignon Blanc to be precise). This has got to be the most intriguing beer I’ve had in the last 12 months, the flavours are so out there, it’s not of this world AFAIC. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied, good fairly creamy carbonation with the occasional big bubble providing a burp or two. 8/10.

D: Did not see this coming! What an odd, yet surprisingly satisfying beer. There’s a case to be made for these loquats in other brews – they definitely bring sugar to the table, but also there’s that flavour and a jammy quality too. 8/10.

Food match: If I would match this to any cuisine it would be Vietnamese – perfect.

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Temple Brewing Okinawa Sour

Total Score: 6.2/10 Lemon1Lime1Orange1Tulipglass1

Ere’s a new one for me: Temple Brewing. Never tried any of their beers yet. Normally I would go with my “Biggest Beer Litmus Test” (BBLiT) to determine if I like Temple Brewing or not, but this 4% ABV Okinawa Sour beer with Shikuwasa fruit from Okinawa is hardly going to be the biggest beer on offer at Temple. Rather this time I’ve undoubtedly been suckered in by a Fruit Beer brewed with an exotic fruit I’ve never heard of, which I’m guessing was Temple’s idea from the start [clever bastards!]. So what are we to expect from this Shikuwasa fruit I’ve never heard of before? “citrus rind and grippy fruit tartness” the label replies. My interest has in fact been piqued.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Intriguing colour, sort of a cloudy OJ mixed with pineapple juice, let’s say a yellowy-orange body with a slightly off-white head that slowly fizzles back to a thin blanket on top. This already has my imagination blazed. 6/10.

S: It gets even more interesting in the aroma department with a pervading lemon sherbet character throughout. Hints of a barnyard/peppery Brett yeast, and some lime soda notes as well. This is about as crisp and citrusy as a beer can get IMO, looking forward to the big “T”. 8/10.

T: Quite dry… think I might need a glass of water. Overall not what you would expect a beer to taste like: lemon sherbet, lime soda and a touch of orange soft drink cut through the palate, making this brew taste more like a soft drink than a beer. Finishes crisp and dry. I did mention the word “dry”? Oh yes, it’s dry. Not really that tart either, more like a hint of lemon juice tartness, hardly qualifies as a “sour beer”. Hmmm, the more I taste it the more I dislike it – it’s really thin overall, it could have used more sweet/sour (and bitter even) to give it a bit more life. 6/10.

M: Lightish bodied, watery, with a light carbonation. All of which furthers the illusion that this is a soft drink not a beer (apart from the carbonation). 6/10.

D: Swing n’ miss for Temple! That said I applaud their use of a fruit I’ve never heard of before – I like it when brewers add interesting new adjuncts. In this case though the execution was lacking, it was missing some key beer elements like: sweet/sour balance, flavour complexity, mouthfeel, and some sort of indicator that it did in fact contain alcohol – I’m not a big stickler for this last one but God we’re making beers too easy to drink now, it’s all getting to be like lolly water. 5/10.

Food match: Made for a sashimi platter with ponzu sauce.

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Green Beacon 7 Bells Passionfruit Gose

Total Score: 6.2/10 Passionfruit1Passionfruit1Passionfruit1Tulipglass1

Oooo, this sounds like it might be an interesting segue of a brew from Green Beacon – 7 Bells Passionfruit Gose. First up – my experience with Gose’s are limited but ever expanding. I’ve found they generally taste a bit like Eno – that delightful salty/lemon antacid drink. Yep, Gose’s and Eno are strange bedfellows, but Eno is refreshing ergo Gose’s are too. This one has passionfruit too, so it should be a nice salty tropical summery brew then. Plus at 4.2% ABV it means you can drink even more at the BBQ your GF dragged you along to and still drive… eventually… yay! This can suggests 7 Bells is a part of Green Beacons ever-expanding core range (it’s not a printed label and is brightly coloured like their core range cans) however I reckon it’s a seasonal 😉

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: CLAAAASIC Gose look: cloudy pale straw body with an excitable white sea foam head that thins down to a snowy blanket on top. Well, well, Green Beacon have nailed that Gose look… then the head completely died. Still looks good. 8/10.

S: Passionfruit upfront, but it’s got a weird tropical Berocca (fizzy good, make feel nice tablets) character. Then it’s got yeast, not quite as bad as Edge Pomegranate Sour, but it’s a noticeable dusty tome (LOL!). Hints of sea salt, but interestingly no lemon – nearly every Gose I’ve tried has had lemon in the flavour profile. Hmmm, a bit too musty but not bad GB. 6/10.

T: Huh, passionfruit Eno… interesting… not as refreshing IMO as the original lemon Eno (sorry GB). Yeast is a bit on the prominent side, dusting its way throughout the flavour profile, salt also comes in a bit sharp, finishes slightly tart and mildly bitter. Other than that it’s a bit on the plain side. Ticks the Gose boxes though. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light but spritzy carbonation and a lively tongue-feel (yeah that’s right – I said “tongue-feel”, I’m mixing that shit up yo). 7/10.

D: It’s definitely not the train-wreck that Pomegranate Sour was, but it’s probably the least refreshing beer I’ve had from Green Beacon, though pretty much all their beers hit “the spot” so it’s not a Greek tragedy that 7 Bells is a bit “meh”. TBH I’m not sure Green Beacon even needed to invent this new beer – not when they’ve got solid corkers like Uppercut IIPA, Whaler Blood Orange IPA, and Scrimshaw IPA sitting in the wings as limited release beers – FFS Green Beacon, pick any of those 3 beers to brew year-round and I will be able to die a happy man!!! Not that we’re not already spoiled for choice these days [shud-up me!]. 6/10.

Food match: Seafood for sure: Oysters with lemon juice, and Kilpatrick (no really).

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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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Sierra Nevada/Mikkeller Thai-Style Iced Tea

Total Score: 7.1/10 Clove1Orange1Tea1Tulipglass1

Look I’m a sucker for anything Mikkeller makes, and Sierra Nevada too for that matter – these are two brewing Gods in my pantheon and there’s nothing better than a crazy collaboration (if it works!). This beer from the “around the world” 12-pack immediately caught my eye and wouldn’t let go: 2 of my favourite brewers – check! Crazy set of ingredients including tamarind and star anise – check! 7.2% ABV – check! Brewed with black tea and lactose – check! What could even remotely go wrong with this one? Well, yeah, you’re right: everything… but hell you’ve got to give it to that ballsy Mikkeller bastard for going for the maddest ideas he can come up with (which are pretty mad TBH) and Sierra Nevada for providing the gypsy brewer with Beer Camp equipment. Salute!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed with floaty bits and an amber-coloured body with a rather large hard-poured 1 inch off-white cappuccino foam head that slowly drops back leaving latticework lace in the glass. I wonder what the floaty bits are, I’m hoping it’s spices and such, I do enjoy spice: it’s the spice of life. 7/10.

S: Star anise and sour tamarind upfront and bashing the nose repeatedly. Well it is what I asked for, so thanks Mikkeller & SN. Hints of tannic black tea and a touch of orange peel rounds out what must be said is one of the most odd beer aromas I’ve ever encountered. Not sure if I 100% like it but it’s certainly interesting. 7/10.

T: Spicy, funky and malty – in that order. Flavour is dominated somewhat by star anise, with funky tamarind and orange playing minor roles, and black tea rounding it all out. Finish lays down more tamarind funk (if you’ve never tried tamarind before you can get it in paste form at the supermarket – I use it in my yummy Pad Thai, but it’s a secret… oh wait, it was a secret, shhh!). Overall flavour profile is a bit confused, and IMO doesn’t come across with enough tea flavour to pull off the “iced tea” moniker. Still it is tasty… tasty and funky in equal measure. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied and fairly smooth – a decent mouthfeel here. 8/10.

D: Definitely one of the oddest beers I’ve encountered (and I’ve encountered a fair few beers now!). The flavour is all over the shop, like other Mikkeller swing-n-miss brews. He doesn’t always get it right and this brew is one of them. More tea and perhaps lemongrass would have pushed this in the direction it needed to go. As it is I didn’t actually mind it, but I wouldn’t bother getting it again. 7/10.

Food match: Busy thinking about my Pad Thai now, mmmmm.

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Omnipollo Bianca Mango Lassi Gose

Total Score: 7.2/10 PapayaMango1Lime1Lemon1Tulipglass1

Another day another Omnipollo, this time it’s their Bianca Mango Lassi Gose, which sounds brill (I love mango, it’s like my 2nd favourite fruit after watermelon). The combination sounds great too – tropical sweet mango mixing with the salty and tart flavours of the Gose style – what can go wrong? Not much when Omnipollo brew anything really. Last time out with Omnipollo was their Original Rocky Road Ice Cream, which is a dessert Stout, and before that was the first light beer I’ve tried from them which was the Original Ice Cream Pale – that was one of the better beers of 2017, so here’s hoping Bianca Mango Lassi Gose can deliver the goods like that Pale did.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice murky mango-coloured body with a thin white cappuccino foam head that hangs around as a patchy lace blanket. Love my beers cloudy so this of course gets the “Doc Hops Brand Seal of Approval” – you can only find it on products which meet the high personal standards of me, Doctor Hops. 8/10.

S: Wow, if you put a blindfold on me and asked me what was in this glass I would say mango lassi – it smells exactly like a traditional Indian mango lassi! For those unfamiliar with the aroma of mango lassi it is: sweet mango pulp, yoghurt, and a hint of salt. You pretty much nailed it again Omnipollo. 10/10.

T: Ok, was not expecting that – this beer is insanely tart, like a Warhead lolly (extremely sour candy from Australia), to the detriment of all the other flavours. My best guess is poor shipping practice and overfermentation in the bottle has caused this (though I did also activate the yeast when I was pouring it). Either way the true flavours are lost in a maelstrom of sour candy character. Background hints of mango, lime and salt in there as well. Damn what a disappointment. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation, a bit burpy this brew. 7/10.

D: Bit of a shame this brew was a massive sour bomb – I really wanted to enjoy some mango lassi flavours, which I’m a fan of, yet the sourness of this beer ruined those flavours. That said the aroma of this brew was right on the money – rarely do beers that are named after other drinks/food hit the mark as accurately as Bianca Mango Lassi Gose, however the real enjoyment of a beer for me is in the flavour – but if I could sit and sniff a beer all day this would be the beer. 7/10.

Food match: Antacid might be a valuable thing to have on hand here…

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Stone Tangerine Express IPA

Total Score: 7.1/10 Orange1Biscuit1Pineapple1Nonicpint1

Yes, yes, “drink your IPAs fresh Doc, otherwise ‘HOP FADE’!” – I get it, I’ve been there before and experienced it firsthand. This Stone Tangerine Express IPA is definitely not fresh – it’s been in my beer stash for months, and was sold cheap prior to that as it was obviously old stock (though I can’t see the brewed date anywhere on the bottle). In any case this is going to be a sub-optimum Stone IPA… however I have noticed fruit-infused beers (this one is infused with tangerine and pineapple) tend to hold onto the fruit flavours and as far as I am aware there’s no such thing as ‘fruit fade’, though I’m sure some hip neckbeard will figure out a scenario where that works. Here’s hoping I’m not proven wrong [yet again!], cheers!

Poured from a 650ml US bomber-sized bottle into a nonic pint.

A: WE GOT A GUSHER! I’ve never in all my years reviewing ever seen a head this massive: basically the entire length of the pint glass! Well. Sir. It didn’t take long to settle however with a cloudy pineapple juice mixed with OJ body and a cream-coloured head that won’t, err… is slowly quitting. Cloud-shaped blobs of lace as the head drops back. Looks alright (aside from the initial gushing). 7/10.

S: Astringent fresh tangerine and sweet pineapple, hints of piney/Starburst orange hops in the background, hint of a biscuit malt base as well. Classic West Coast IPA meets East Coast pineapple and that interesting acidity that tangerine brings to the table. Mmmm, citrusy. 8/10.

T: Shot to hell, with the hops/fruit flavours, not getting much at all, which is a shame and the reason why I’ve stopped buying IPAs from the US. Surprised the fruit character dropped off so much actually – haven’t noticed that before. Flavours are bitter orange rind, hints of pineapple juice, dry cracker middle, slight herbal character, finishes desert dry with a sharp bitter orange rind note at the end. Not what you expect from a Stone beer – but it is waaay outside the brew date so there you go. Hard to mark it down due to my faffing, I’ve been generous here: 7/10.

M: It’s fizzy to be sure, too much time in the bottle and it’s over-carbed, again my bad, though the body is quite light given the 6.7% ABV with a mid to light body. Irrespective of my dithering this isn’t Stone’s finest hour. 6/10.

D: Stone’s done better, and that’s evidenced by the shedloads of OOD stock making it over to Australia – if it was Stone’s best we would be troubled to find it here… least that’s my logic. Still, wish I had tried this earlier. 7/10.

Food match: BBQ Cajun chicken wings with collard greens and rice, soul food yo.

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