Blackman’s Brewery Zinger Slinger New Zealand Lager

Total Score: 8.2/10 Nut1Passionfruit1WhiteWine1Stein1

The third beer in Blackman’s “Lager Collective” series is exciting for me: Zinger Slinger New Zealand Lager – brewed with a decent roster of NZ hops including: Southern Cross, Riwaka, and one of my old favourites; Motueka hops. Should be an interesting mix with this almost India Pale Lager collection of hops with a solid ABV of 5.8% ABV. Their last Lager Collective brew that I tried (Juicy Banger) was an IPL, and although I wasn’t a fan of that due to the crispness being ill-suited to a sharply bitter hop back note, I’m reckoning that this NZ-style Lager will be a bit more even-handed with the balance. The fact that they haven’t called it an IPL is a good start indeed. Let’s crack this baby!

Poured from a 330ml can into a stein.

A: Niiiice pale golden cloudy body with a crazy white sea foam head on top that leaves some weird lace patterns on the side of the glass, nice and dirty – the way I like my martinis and beers in general. 8/10.

S: Herbaceous passionfruit character mingles with Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand style) grape and an earthy note, with background kumquat lingering on (Motueka you tasty hop you). This is a great and funky smelling NZ Lager – I wish most breweries made beers with character like this Blackman’s brew, it’s a curiosity piquing drop right here. 9/10.

T: Flavour takes it sideways with an odd-but-nonetheless-likable dry nutty character. Was not expecting that. Hints of the aforementioned: herbaceous passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc grape, earthy tones, and kumquat round out this “unique as brah” NZ Lager. Finish is dry as a Bedouin’s underpants, with a loooong crisp character and mild bitterness. Borderline too flavoursome, if that’s actually a thing that happens… ever. 8/10.

M: Medium(ish) bodied with a light but frizzante carbonation, cloys a touch due to the amount of body it has, but it’s no biggie. 8/10.

D: This is a much better brew than Juicy Banger IPL – balance is spot on, flavours are plentiful and tasty, and more importantly it manages to find an interesting niche as a Lager – which isn’t an easy thing to do given Lagers as a whole can be quite boring and watery (macro Lagers do still make up a huge chunk of the beers sold world-wide). Is this a brew I would revisit again? Yes, yes it certainly is. This is the Matthew Young’s “Hey” of beers. 8/10.

Food match: Earthy nutty flavours always go well with truffle mushroom pizza.


Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock

Total Score: 8.65/10 Caramel1Earth1Nut1Stein1

Well, well, Weltenburger – been a while since I’ve sampled your fine wares with Baroque looking dudes on the labels, Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock is no different – this guy even looks like he’s drunk a few Doppelbocks too. Ahhh, Doppelbocks, the double goats of the beer world – full of kick and malty character [not sure if that analogy works – are goats malty? They’re pretty salty, so it almost works]. I love a good Doppelbock – my fav is currently Weihenstephan’s Korbinian (Dallas… cheeky Besson reference there!). Korbinian is up there for me – I’ve got it ranked #16 in my personal top beers, that’s some fierce competition for Asam Bock, I don’t think it and the surly gent on the label will be bold enough to take the Doppelbock crown, but then again we never know and that’s why I do what I do.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.

A: Yep, that was a hard pour… sorry, this’ll take a while to go down – fortunately these reviews aren’t live. Colour is a clear deep molasses caramel with a nice classic German cappuccino foam head, tan colour, which stands tall and proud to my bemusement. 8/10.

S: Macerated figs, toffee and caramel provide the highlights of this heady and sweet aroma. Slight metallic note in there provides an unwarranted distraction. Hints of earthy tones and chestnut too. It’s a pretty damn tasty aroma (apart from the metallic note), however it’s more on the sweet side compared to Korbinian (which was more thick and bready in the aroma). 8/10.

T: Less macerated fig, more toffee/caramel/molasses from start to finish. Thankfully not as sweet as expected – the sweet/dry balance works well here. There’s a touch of smoke, and earthy/nutty tones leading towards the finish which has a slight tobacco leaf note. Not getting so much of the metallic character noted in the aroma, however sweet flavours generally drown out metal ones, so I’m guessing that’s what has happened here. On par with Korbinian flavourwise, most impressive. 9/10.

M: Not quite Korbinian here though – body is just a touch thinner – still medium bodied, and it gets denser as the carbonation flattens out, though Korbinian is a bit creamier there. 8/10.

D: Weltenburger Kloster have put up a really top Doppelbock, though they fall short of Korbinian, this is still an enjoyable brew. Very toffee/caramel/molasses-centric, so if you like those flavours here’s your boy 😉 9/10.

Food match: Münchner Weißwurst mit pretzel und senf, ja hündinnen!


Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei Bonifatius Dunkel

Total Score: 6.6/10 Caramel1Butter1Nut1Stein1

From Pils to Dunkel, like cradle to the grave we traipse onto another brew. Another day another brew, inexorably trekking onwards, ever closer to the sweet release of death… just kidding, I love drinking and reviewing beers! [FML…IA! – F**k My Life… IS AWESOME!] Still I’m going to have to take a self-imposed sabbatical soon, yet I’m so close to that constant looming 1,000 beer reviews… what does this have to do with this Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei Bonifatius Dunkel? Nothing really, can’t a man philosophise every once and a while? Seriously though I do enjoy a good Dunkel, I’ve reviewed like 5 of them… I guess out of 944 beers that makes me “not a fan” of the style, which is a shame because I definitely enjoy Dunkels more than mass-produced macro crap and I’ve definitely reviewed more than 5 macro Lagers.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.

A: Deep, clear caramel/rust coloured body with a sizable beige head that takes its sweet time to dissolve [there’s a pun in there somewhere]. She looks better than the Pils by virtue of simply being a darker brew, pretty harsh bias, however the Pils did look too yellow and clear and ironically (for a klosterbrau) mass-produced. 7/10.

S: Rum-raisin character all over this aroma! [I actually hate rum-raisin… yep] Dark fruits aplenty with this Dunkel, more so than the other 5 Dunkels I tried… I think… it’s been a while for me in the saddle. Toffee and bread notes as well in the aroma, though there is no getting past old mate rum-raisin, he’s a pushy one he is. 6/10.

T: Thankfully the flavour isn’t rum-raisin but more Werther’s Original toffee… dipped in butter. The Diacetyl in this brew is pretty off-the-charts, lucky I don’t mind Diacetyl (when it plays well with the other flavours). Rounding out the flavours are a slight nutty character, maybe pecan, with a herbal leafy tobacco note in the finish. Sweet? Dry? Bitter? It’s a bit of all of those. Surprisingly good balance. Uh oh! Metallic twang in the after taste, my filings are excited now. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a fairly dense/creamy carbonation, some balance has been restored after the disappointment of Eucharius Pils. 7/10.

D: Damn metallic taste detracting from the rest of the brew! Otherwise I would be all over this like Sundays (and sundaes, which I am also all over). I get an impression from Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei so far as a rather hodge-podge kind of monastery that is into brewing for the fun of it and cuts corners a little to let the old monks have a go at brewing and isn’t fussed about the end product. 6/10.

Food match: Sundaes, which I am all over: “get your Dunkel sundae here!”.


Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei Eucharius Pils

Total Score: 6.25/10 GreenApple1Bread1RedApple1Stein1

Time for Pils… ner! [let me finish my sentence before you go all “drugs are bad, mmkay” dear reader] Looks like we’re back to Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei after their pretty damn awful Cannabis Club Sud brew. God that beer was awe-inspiring in its aw-fulness. Eucharius Pils promises to be a better affair, for one there’s no weird ingredients like hemp oil in it. But mostly it’s all about a German monastery making a classic German Pilsner – heavy-bodied, softly carbonated, honey/bread driven brews, yum! Sign me up captain. I’m definitely curious about their Monk’s Fest beer with a large-set bald monk with ripe red cheeks on the front label – we know what he’s been up to, he’s been drinking all that delicious beer hasn’t he? Yep. Prost peeps!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.

A: Clear light golden body, some might say piss-yellow, but those people need to drink more water [your piss should be almost clear!] with a fluffy white head that compacts down to about a finger (a rather useless measurement as different individuals have different finger sizes). 7/10.

S: Red cider apples, hint of honey, a touch of crisp green apple, and a reasonably bready centre. Pretty straightforward German Pils, nothing out of the ordinary, just a good standard Pils. 7/10.

T: Crisp green apple upfront, which helps cut through a slight honey and heavy bread centre and lead towards a sweet cider apple note, finishing fairly crisp and floral. Reasonably bitter for a German Pils – which is low in IPA/APA terms, but nonetheless noted if you’re a keen Pilsner drinker and you don’t like any bitterness in your brew. Flavour overall is a bit “meh” TBH, needs a little sumptin’ sumptin’. 6/10.

M: Mid to light, touch watery, thin carbonation – needs more body and denser carbonation. 6/10.

D: Bit plainer than expected, needs better texture, average in all other areas, Weihenstephaner Pils puts this to shame frankly (I def underscored that Pils when I first reviewed it, coming back to that recently I was like “man this is the sheeit!”). Not much else to say about Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei Eucharius Pils – it’s just a middle of the road brew. Entschuldigung nicht leid. 6/10.

Food match: German fare is what will get you there, have some schweinefleisch or pretzels mit senf, that will definitely be the ticket mein freund.


Prancing Pony Indie Kid Pilsener

Total Score: 6.7/10 Lemon1GreenApple1Barley1Stein1

The latest brew from Prancing Pony is a celebration of their continued independence. Which is something quite apt when recently both 4 Pines and Feral were bought out by AB InBev and Coca Cola respectively. These days it seems like it’s only a matter of time before all the independent craft brewers are bought out by macros, which makes me sad (not so much about 4 Pines as they lost their touch a while back, but Feral being bought out is a massive hit to me). So what’s this Indie Kid all about? The label explains: “Daringly brewed with non-traditional hops, a blend of old and new world. Subtle citrus, fruity and herbal aromas. Something new, the Indie Kid we’ve all been rooting for.” Huh, sounds a’iight.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Slight hazed, yellow-gold coloured body with a decent inch high white head that eventually drops back to a thin lace blanket. Certainly looks like a Pilsner (oh yeah I spell it Pilsner, which is the original historical spelling – sorry Prancing Pony). 7/10.

S: Lemony, with a grainy note and some slight crisp green apple overtones. Smells like the classic Aussie take on a Pilsner, which involves being ultra-crisp, wheaty, watery and bland – unlike a proper decent Euro Pilsner (at least the stuff coming from brewers like Weihenstephan and Kozel). 5/10.

T: Thankfully tastes alright though… very lemony, but I guess that was what they were going for. Other noted flavours are: Crisp green apple, grain, dry cracker and a touch of a herbal note towards the finish, which is dry and medium bitter given the style. There is a bit of cloying in the aftertaste too – surprising for an Aussie Pilsner – it’s not nearly as crisp as other Aussie Pilsners, it is quite the mix of old and new world then [shock/horror – a beer that actually does some of what the label describes!]. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, decent amount of body for a 4.8% ABV Aussie Lager (please continue this trend Aussie Lager brewers!) with a medium carbonation… so a little bit gassy, not OTT though. 8/10.

D: Bit of a pleasant surprise here – when I whiffed it I thought “not another crappy Aussie take on a Pilsner” however this one came up trumps in the end. It’s lemony, and the sweet/bitter balance is well handled. It’s not that exciting though, and we all know Prancing Pony have better cards up their sleeves, but it’s also not bad by any stretch of the imagination, maybe a touch prosaic. 7/10.

Food match: Fried haloumi with a lamb souvlaki wrap.


Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei The Cannabis Club Sud

Total Score: 3.9/10 Corn1Tea1Coriander1Stein1

Here’s an odd one: hemp beer. Never had that before. However I’ve often described beers with a “cannabis” hop aroma/flavour before, so I’ll be interested in seeing if that rings true with this brew. The brewery that makes this is Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei, and so far I’ve only reviewed one beer from them: Bonator – which is a Doppelbock I quite enjoyed (rated that one rather highly) so here’s hoping The Cannabis Club Sud is up to snuff as well. True story: I once tried smoking cannabis, but I didn’t inhale as I imagined that might one day wreck my hope of being a US president… turns out only US born citizens can become the president, so yeah if anyone has any pot: I’m game.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Almost clear, with a slight haze, yellow-tinged amber body with a 1 centimetre white cappuccino foam head on top. Not sure what to expect from a 5% hemp water beer but it looks a touch darker than most Adjunct Lagers so yeah… 5/10.

S: Aroma has a distinct hemp note (smells like a bag you might buy in a Bali marketplace) with a mixture of green herbal and dusty/earthy characters. There’s a dry grain character as well from the malt base. But otherwise this aroma is pretty stock standard Lager. I’m curious as to why they went in the Lager direction as a Pale Ale would have suited having hemp added to it more IMO. 6/10.

T: Bizarrely sweet upfront with corny/grain notes, pretty unpleasant, with a green vegetable mid palate, notes of hemp, black tea and earthy characters coming through, finishes with a slight herbal hit. The flavours are rather discordant and don’t add together at all. This isn’t the worst tasting beer I’ve encountered (Victoria Bitter still wins that dubious honour) but it’s not far off. The reason I believe is that the sweetness comes out of nowhere – when drier characters would work better with that green/herbal/tea taste that hemp adds. 3/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, very flat though, this could definitely use more carbonation… (or any carbonation). 5/10.

D: It was the best of beers, it was the worst of beers, it was the age of beerdom, it was the age of beerlishness, it was the epoch of wort, it was the epoch of brewing, it was the season of Ale, it was the season of Lager – in short, this beer is not a good beer in any Dickensian sense of the word, it is also no tragedy, though I won’t ever buy it again. What an odd, sad brew. 3/10.

Food match: Probably best not to entertain the thought of food with this…


Kona Brewing Longboard Island Lager

Total Score: 6.95/10 Malt1Honeycomb1Flowers1Stein1

Last in the Kona beers kindly gifted to me by a rep for the purpose of reviewing is: Kona Brewing Longboard Island Lager. Look, I left the Lager till last because let’s face it – I’m not the biggest fan of Lagers in general… unless they have the word “Bock” in them, and they’re really more like Ales anyway. That said – I do know a good Lager when I taste one, and I can appreciate Lagers from long dry Munich Helles to sharply crisp Japanese Lagers, so I’m going to give Kona as fair a chance as I do any brewer and the things I may praise/slam it for are no different to the things I praise/slam in any brew (and my slamming tends to fall into the category of: flavourless or muted). Anyway, cheers to that Kiwi Kona rep – she’s a lovely lass.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: Crazy carbonation and yeast particles floating around suggesting this may have undergone a few fermentations in the bottle. Apart from that it presents with a pleasing pale straw/golden body and a fluffy white 1 centimetre head that slowly decays to a thin blanket. 6/10.

S: Crisp malts mingle with a honeyed scent and light floral hops, rather dry aroma overall and a touch muted… though as far as American Pale Lagers go this isn’t out of the realm of the ordinary. 6/10.

T: Flavour is light right from the beginning, and it never really leaps out at you, however this isn’t the sort of beer you would expect to leap out at you – it’s a “cold-brew-by-the-beach” type of Lager and when I review these I tend to ask “does it have any offensive or off flavours?”. In the case of this Kona the answer is: No. Profile is: Malty, honey and floral. Finish: Long and dry. Aftertaste: Malty. 7/10.

M: Decent body for a 4.6% ABV brew: Almost medium, with a reasonably creamy carbonation, works well with this style – though it can be a touch cloying for those who like crisper bodies. 7/10.

D: Didn’t mind this one at all from Kona Brewing. They’re no Stone Brewing (so get that notion out of your head), they don’t do big beers, but they do easy brews that go down without being close to mind-blowing, and there’s a niche for that (a pretty damn big niche actually!). I like the fact that they’ve positioned themselves in the Hawaii (i.e. tropical island) beer market as there isn’t a huge deal of brews out there that are both a) great on a hot day, and b) not absolutely bland, so kudos Kona for making something A-OK, mahalo! 8/10.

Food match: I’ve said luau before, so… fish, chips and salad peeps.