Mikkeller Riesling People

Total Score: 8.55/10 Lime1WhiteWine1GreenApple1Tulipglass1

Don’t mind a Riesling. If you’re into trying a white wine and you haven’t tried a Riesling it’s an underrated varietal IMO. It’s a grape that produces some beer-like characters: crisp apple, lime, stone-fruit – all flavours one might find in a Lager or an Ale. Of course Mikkeller has brewed a beer with Meierer Riesling juice, Mikkeller has brewed a beer with everything, why are you even surprised? Brilliant idea though, Riesling wine has more crossover potential with beer than almost any other grape I can think of. Yes, there’s been plenty of Shiraz-related dark beers here in Australia, we make a lot of Shiraz here. Riesling though… Mikkeller you magnificent bastard – you read my mind once again. I hate you. I love you. It’s complicated.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip (all my wine glasses are upstairs).

A: One of the lightest straw shades I’ve seen in a while – it’s like the stuff that goes in a lemon curd tart… [lemon curd, that stuff] Opaque lemon curd body with a thin white head that dissipates leaving a lace ring. Interesting stuff right here. 8/10.

S: Oomph! Some real acidic notes from that Riesling juice. Again though, like I said, that Riesling character is going to pair well with the NEIPA flavours, just give it a chance me (and you too). Acidic lemon/lime lead a biting citric attack, hints of floral and light herbal/grassy character (possibly the hops). If this is astringent as the aroma would suggest I’m in for a challenging brew (I’m admittedly not great with sour flavours – my weak spot). 7/10.

T: Annnnd it comes in with a long dry finish. That was unexpected. Riesling People is wholly fruity and well balanced with hints of sour, a bit of sweet, and a slight bitter note. Flavours include: lemon/lime, floral/herbal hops, vinous white notes throughout, touch of green apple, and an earthy peach note towards the back. This is far from a NEIPA, but better for it IMO (I’ve been drinking a few NEIPAs lately and this has a tasty-dry break). If you like white wine: get on this. Now. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a super-dense, light carbonation. I don’t think I’ve seen bubbles this tiny before. Extra point for being unique here. 9/10.

D: Beer and wine together in unholy matrimony, and it works! Yes beer lovers who hate wine and vice-versa will dislike this, but if you’re like me and sitting in the purple middle bit of the Venn diagram between beer/wine you’ll appreciate how this beer nails both aspects so well. It’s the white version of a Flanders Red FFS [I’m of course thinking of Rodenbach Grand Cru thank you]. 9/10.

Food match: White fish or pork are the go-tos of Riesling – same applies here.

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Collective Arts BOYOBOY Boysenberry Breakfast Sour

Total Score: 7.95/10 Raspberry1Cherry1Raspberry1Tulipglass1

Collective Arts BOYOBOY Boysenberry Breakfast Sour: I was recommended this one by a craft drinking buddy, yes I’m not a fan of sours, but my mate told me this is a light sour with a decent amount of sweetness. Plus I’ve heard the colour of this brew is bitchen, also I look for any opportunity I can to use the word “bitchen” so it’s a win-win. I should mention that this brew is a collaboration between Collective Arts and Stillwater Artisanal. It contains flaked oats as well as lactose (the breakfast in the name)… oh yeah, and boysenberry puree. The label art is pretty interesting as well, it’s like a pink/purple liquid oozing out of itself, weird. Label art is something that Collective Arts are known for AFAIK.

Poured from a 473ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Huh, looks almost exactly the same as my last beer review: To Øl Mr. Pink 2018 Edition – deep opaque purple body with a creamy pink head, maybe slightly darker than Mr. Pink in the body. How bizarre is that? Two beers in a row with this unique a colour, well played sirs! 9/10.

S: Very boysenberry-driven aroma, tart and slightly sweet, with very little else standing out – this is a boysenberry fiesta. Hints of cherry and forest berries present in further whiffs. If you like anything mixed berry then this is a beery good berry to drink… err, something along those lines. The only complaint I can level with BOYOBOY is a lack of aroma diversity: it’s all about the berries here. 8/10.

T: Yep, boysenberries all over this – if you’re a fan of boysenberries you’ll be in boysenberrydise with BOYOBOY. Hints of morello cherry, raspberry and forest berries round out a berry berry experience. Mid-palate has sweetness that’s followed by a nice level of tartness in the finish. The balance is well done and this beer overall reminds me of a bowl of Greek yoghurt with boysenberries – a healthy breakfast. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a dense/sorta-flat carbonation. The body is good, carbonation: could do with a touch more though. 7/10.

D: This is a solid sweet and sour breakfast beer. It’s not exciting, however it was enjoyable, and for me: not too sour at all. I can imagine fans of really sour beers might find this a bit middling and sweet – you know who you are really sour fans, this might not be the beer for you. A decent first beer from Collective Arts (and Stillwater Artisanal), cheers CA/SA! 8/10.

Food match: This would make a great palate-cleansing dessert beer: cheesecake it!

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To Øl Mr. White 2018 Edition

Total Score: 8.25/10 Clove1Grapefruit1Coriander1Tulipglass1

Grisettes – never tried them before, but they’re basically a Saison by any other name right? “Sorta” is the answer my quick Google research uncovered: aside from being brewed with malted wheat, hopped more, and brewed at a lower ABV than Saisons, they are indeed a similar beast to Saisons which survived into the modern era. In the case of the Grisette it appears to have been not as popular a style, and as a result died off. All this said To Øl are clearly blurring the lines with Mr. White 2018 Edition by calling it a “New England style grisette ale brewed with white grapefruit” where they find their line to draw a distinction between Saison/Grisette is anyone’s best guess, needless to say I do enjoy ticking another beer style off my bucket list.

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip (my go-to Saison glass).

A: Hazy golden/pale-yellow body with a rather excitable 3 centimetre foamy white head that dies down slowly. Carbonation action inside the glass looks busy – this could be a 5-burp brew. Lace-work inside the glass is formidable too. 8/10.

S: Spicy clove/cardamom punch upfront, big grapefruit centre, musty yeast tones and dry cracker malt. This should be an absolute cracker, aroma is like the “Best Saison hits 2018”. Hint of herbal character in the finish as well, really looking forward to this now. 8/10.

T: Strangely flat carbonation, but we’ll get to that next. Flavour profile is all of the above: spicy clove/cardamom, grapefruit, musty yeast, dry cracker, with a long dry finish that’s punctuated at the end by a mild bitter herbal note. It’s light but well balanced, the bitter/sour twang from the grapefruit really works with this style, making for a moreish, thirst-quenching drop (which FYI is exactly what Grisettes were intended to be for the Belgian miners). 9/10.

M: Surprisingly the body is bigger: medium-bodied, and the carbonation is flatter than expected, to the point that there is barely any carbonation registering with me (and I’m sensitive to carbonated beverages). I quite enjoy it, but I know it’s got to be off style so I’m only marking it down for that. 6/10.

D: I might be a bit biased because I love Saisons and New England IPAs, but this is one beer I would buy a steady supply of if it were a core range beer. To Øl really have hit the nail on the head once again with a beer very reminiscent of their previous brews Campale and Snowball Saison, only this packs a flavour punch for 5% ABV. Top bloody work again To Øl! 8/10.

Food match: I could chow down on a steak frites any day with this brew.

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Buxton/Omnipollo Original Popsicle Ice Cream Pils

Total Score: 8.4/10 PapayaMango1Vanilla1Flowers1Tulipglass1

Brewed in collaboration with Buxton Brewery in England, I have in front of me yet another ice cream beer. I’m hooked on these ice cream beers – just seeing them triggers a Pavlovian response, I must try them all! This time Buxton/Omnipollo state: “An icecreamification of a pilsner and attempt to bend your mind. Brewed with mango, milk sugar and our favourite hops.” I’m really not sure what mad-science goes on in those breweries to produce such insane beers, but whatever they’re doing it’s working – I’m hooked and want more (even ended up buying a couple more bottles of the Original Ice Cream Pale after reviewing it)… I’ve got goose bumps pouring this Popsicle Pils into my Duvel tulip, yes, I need to get a life.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice Jonquil-coloured cloudy body with a thin white head that quickly drops back to lace splotches on top. That colour is great – that light cloudy yellow is so appealing for some reason. 8/10.

S: Freaking nailed it! What a smashing aroma: sweet/creamy vanilla with hints of mango, jack-fruit and floral notes. Is this a Pilsner in any sense of the word? Not really no. Do I care in the slightest? Hell no! This is the Buxton/Omnipollo Ice Cream beer collaboration at it’s greatest: a total disregard of beer styles for the sake of an awesome dessert brew, and I love it. 10/10.

T: Intriguingly not as crazy as I was expecting (or as Original Ice Cream Pale was) with a prominent mango note upfront, less sweet/creamy vanilla than expected, potpourri character, a slight grainy wisp, a touch of herbal character, and a long dry finish with hints of bitterness. Much less sweet than the aroma (and my prior experience of Omnipollo as a brewer) would leave me to believe. Still it’s an interesting brew, and it gets better as it warms, I was just expecting a bit more of that ice cream sweetness – more dessert, less refreshing crispness. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a fairly creamy carbonation and a bit of fizz. 8/10.

D: Not the best in this series, but nonetheless a decent brew. I thought Original Ice Cream Pale was a bit one of a kind and this proves it to some extent. Makes me wonder if the difference between Ales and Lagers is at play here – Ales are generally more sweet and full flavoured, was the yeast the reason for Popsicle not popping with me? Only Buxton and Omnipollo know… 8/10.

Food match: Chicken dishes with thyme and lemon spring to mind.

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To Øl Mr. Blonde 2018 Edition

Total Score: 8.1/10 Peach1Lemon1Raspberry1Tulipglass1

Boy-howdy* this is going to be fun! I’ve got a panel of great beers tonight from 3 of my favourite brewers: To Øl, Omnipollo, and one of the greatest of all: Mikkeller! So yeah I’m real excited to be bringing these reviews, starting with one of To Øl’s Reservoir Dogs series: Mr. Blonde (2018 Edition). I haven’t tried the original Mr. Blonde, however based on current reviews this Mr. Blonde is looking a bit more extreme (i.e. better!), a Gose-style with vanilla, peach and raspberry – yum!

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Wow, wasn’t expecting this – Mr. Blonde pours a cloudy amniotic-fluid pink-coloured body, with a wispy pink-hued white head that slowly settles to a nice tight 1 cm head leaving behind honeycomb lace-work. Looks great, and bizarre. 8/10.

S: Peach and raspberries for days, hint of vanilla too, along with a classic Gose tartness and a touch of salt. Pretty interesting interpretation of the style: there’s the classic lemony touch as well but the peach and raspberry really shine through… less so the vanilla but all in all this is a stellar Gose aroma. 9/10.

T: Sour lemon straight up and all over the palate – this is a reasonably sour beer, it’s not fantastically sour, however it’s definitely right there in sour territory. Which is generally not great for me (I’m not a fan of sour beers, however I can appreciate them regardless). The peach and raspberry that was quite prominent in the aroma has taken a bit of a back seat with the flavour, never mind that happens, however there are some great background notes of the above: peach, raspberry, vanilla, salt, along with pink grapefruit, Brett funk, and slight barnyard characters. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation, it is a 4.5% ABV Gose after all – so it was always bound to be a fizzer – it’s certainly to style. 7/10.

D: This is a real palate-cleansing ale that is well-balanced (though a bit too sour for my liking), refreshing, and typical of To Øl: a different take on a (now) well-worn style (i.e. Gose, which has really taken off as a style in the last 5 years). If I can say one thing about sour beers such as this one that has helped me over the years: as they warm the sourness abates slightly. For Mr. Blonde 2018 this has magnified just how complex the flavours underneath are – this is up there with the best Gose’s I’ve tried. 8/10.

Food match: Sharp cheese platter and an antacid or Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong.

*Wow, I promise never to say “boy-howdy” again – this isn’t the 1950’s.

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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge

Total Score: 8.9/10 Cherry1RedWine1Raspberry1Tulipglass1

#1,000 for reals this time. I’ve been squirrelling so much anticipation, ewe wouldn’t even believe, but bear with me – this is a massive milestone, let me crow about it [animal puns: success!]. 7 years ago I posted my first review on beeradvocate.com, and in that time I’ve had many many great beers, and in the last few years less and less crap beers. TBH I realised life is short there are too many beers out there for one man to drink (and review) so I’ve been sticking with the “good stuff”. Rodenbach Caractère Rouge: good stuff I’ve heard, plus I already love Rodenbach Grand Cru, seems like a no brainer. No, it isn’t my usual “what’s the BIGGEST (ABV) beer I can get my hands on”, but let’s give something different a go (yo!).

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy red fruit coloured body with a nice tight-packed salmon-tinged head that slowly dies back to a thin lace ring. A stunning seductress: “the coyote of the desert likes to eat the heart of the young and the blood drips down to his children for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and only the ribs will be broken…” mmm. 9/10.

S: Red currents, cherry, grape-aid, hints of vanilla, the aroma is quite sweet, very fruity, but this no doubt belies a tart flavour hiding within the flavour profile. Without question this is the most berry fruit I’ve ever encountered in a beer – it’s a pervading musk, like a female version of Sex Panther: “60% of the time, it works every time” [yes, it’s a Ron Burgundy night for me]. 9/10.

T: God damn this is a taste sensation. It’s upfront sugar: red current, cherry, raspberry, cranberry, grape-aid, hints of vanilla, then in comes that classic Flanders Red Ale sharp acidic tart overtone to cut through all sweetness and finish crisp and moreish. It comes with an acid reflux trigger warning: you will get reflux from this if you’re susceptible. Further sips make me question the amount of tartness in this brew – such a complex and beautiful homage to berry fruits, yet it’s a touch too sour IMO. Otherwise it’s a grand flavour profile. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied, hints of wateriness, with a heavy/dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Sourness holds Caractère Rouge from being up there with Grand Cru, however we’re comparing a world class Fruit Beer with a world class Flanders Red Ale… made by the same brewer! Rodenbach are legends, for good reason, they make unique beers, and what might be too sour and acidic for me might be perfect for you, horses: courses. It’s all glorious, viva beer! 9/10.

Food match: Game meats with wild forest mushrooms and truffle (oh & an antacid).

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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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