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Stone Smoked Porter

If Dogfish Head is a brewery for off centreStone Smoked Porterd people then Stone Brewery is a brewery for people who like something a little bit more extreme. I have written about the extreme marketing techniques used by Stone before especially regarding the Arrogant Bastard Ale but regardless of what you think about that, the beer itself is superb.

Today I address the last beer I need to tick off from Stone for the 1,001 beers, the Stone Smoked Porter.

The Stone Smoke is a 5.9% porter which has a component of peated malt that gave it a great smokey flavour which is perfect for a wintery Sunday night.  A smoked beer is not one where you usually get any hop flavours by Stone still manage it which I really liked rather then just a smokey malty sweet taste. Having said that you won’t confuse this with an ordinary porter. It makes me think of a good quality 65% dark chocolate. This is the sort of beer that I would like to enjoy with a (small) slice of rich cheesecake.

As aside note, my brother picked this up from the states last week. I think it is important to note that considering Stone’s co-founder, Greg Koch’s  strong opinions on grey imports, one I intend to agree with. 

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Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

I am pretty excited!

I really like beer, anyone who has read this or known me would know this but Dogfish Head is a brewery that has been hyped up. The founder, Sam Calagione, is one of the new beer celebrities and I am very curious to see how this brewery stacks up. Overhyped or just pure quality? We will see.

Before we get started on the beer I think we need to understand the cult that follows Dogfish Head. For starters when you are launching a new face for craft brewing it really helps if you can find a craft brewer who looks like this.

Sam-Calagione

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As opposed to how beer is often presebeer_fairies Canadian Club adnted which is like this

 

 

 

 

 

Not only am I told Sam is ridiculously attractive he was personable enough to manage to have his own TV show on the Discovery Chanel.

It is actually pretty good for the one season that it ran, I have a DVD copy, you can still get it on Amazon if you are interested.

So there you have it personable, attractive and a good taste in beer has lead to someone from Delaware to set up a brewery of Off Centred Ales for Off Centred People. 

Regardless of whether you drool over Sam or you think he is drool there is no doubt that people love Dogfish Head and I am very much looking forward to trying the 90 Minute Imperial IPA.photo 4 (9)

The 90 minute is called such because it is boiled and hopped for 90 minutes, apparently they now have a cannon which shoots hops into the wort (unfermented beer) at regular intervals that is pretty cool. This gives the beer a high level of bitterness (90 IBUs). The beer balances this high level of hoppy bitterness by raising the alcohol level to 9% by volume which is going to go to your head. Don’t drive after this!

Having said that it pours a clear golden colour that reminds me of how beer looks in ads and is enormously enticing. When sniffing the beer I get a strong malt sweetness but there was a little bit of citrus.

 

90 Minute IPAWhen you taste this beer there is none chance you won’t know that you are having a full flavoured beer. It is not only strong and bitter but beautifully balanced. if you told me that this beer had 90 IBU’s I wouldn’t believe it but hey in Sam we trust. Esquire Magazine apparently calls it “perhaps the best IPA in America.” I don’t think that they are far from the mark, having said that at some point in my future Pliny the Elder is waiting for me. This beer is big, strong, not subtle but perfectly balanced. If you ever get a chance to pick up a bottle I strongly recommend it, better yet if you are ever in Delaware I would make a deter to Dogfish Head.

Next up Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch.

 

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A new all South Australian affair

I know I don’t write as much about South Australian beer as much as I should, mostly because I am pretty focused on the 1001 beer challenge. Watch for a unboxing video later this week but something came through my email this week which was pretty exciting.

Coopers, Lobethal Bierhaus and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with the Adelaide University have got together to create a purely South Australian beer, The Botanic Ale.

lobethal-6The Botanic Beer is made from Navigator Barley, a breed of barley bred from a University of Adelaide cultivated strand in the Botanic Gardens. The barley was then malted by local company, Joe White Maltings. Coopers brewery has supported the growing of barley in the CBD but when the time came the amount of malted barley was not large enough to fit into the Coopers brewing system. This is where Alistair Turnbull and the Lobethal Bierhaus comes in. Coopers got in touch with Alistair and offered to collaborate with him on this new all South Australian beer.

Today was the day for the boil to begin and the hops to be added at the Bierhaus. Tim Cooper went to Lobethal and when I spoke to Alistair today he said that he wanted to make sure that the brewery was looking it’s best. I can’t say I blame him, it is not often that the head of the biggest Australian owned brewery comes to visit, especially when he comes to visit the site of the breweries first collaboration in it’s 152 year history. Despite this the whole process was one of fun as Alistair’s other collaborations with the Yeastie Boys from New Zealand and the boys from Belair Fine Wines have been.  

Only 1,200 litres of the beer are being made which is going to make this beer a hot commodity. The beer itself is going to be a fun pale ale tending more towards the American full hoppy sort of flavour profile as opposed to the more malt driven English pales. I don’t know what the malt is going to bring but the hops used for bittering were Pride of Ringwood. The hops chucked in the middle and end included Cascade, Galaxy and a hop that I hadn’t heard of (Not uncommon by the way) called Triskel. Triskel has strong floral characteristics and is often used in Belgian style ales. 

All profits from the beer are going to support the Adelaide Botanical Gardens and you are going to be able to pick up the Botanic Ale from the Bierhaus and Botanic Gardens Restaurant from October 29th in bottles and on tap. If the excitement from Alistair Turnbull was anything to go by I am going to be making sure I am there to get one of the first tastes in late October

Read the press release, BOTANIC ALE 

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Mann’s Brown Ale

In a craft beer world full of competition for who can be the most outrageous, have the highest amount of bitterness or a crazy alcohol percentage it is refreshing to try something that has held on to it’s low alcohol traditions. Today’s beer is Mann’s Brown Ale.photo 1 (10)

 

Mann’s is a traditional British Brown Ale at a very low 2.3% beer it is considered by some as a soft drink that you could throw back as fast as a coke on a hot summers day. Still like it or loathe it, and most people I know these days are on the loathe side of the ledger, mild brown ales are part of the long history of British brewing. These beers were the ones of the working class to enjoy during and after work. 

Unfortunately for Mann’s and the company that owns them, Marston’s, time has moved on and the beers people like are not the ones of moderation and lunch time drinking of old. The beer pours out a ruby brown colour with a soft small head which quickly evaporates. The longer you leave it the more it looks like cola.

The beer itself is one which is certainly sweet on the nose with not even a whiff of a hop involved. The taste and mouth feel very much reflects the smell. It is sweet but that sweetness doesn’t bring about the sort of depth that I am looking for in my beer. This thin, almost stinginess is a common complaint that I have with mid and light strength beers and Mann’s is no exception. Still this is probably one of the better mid’s I have tried but it is certainly no Birbeck’s Two Captains or Little Creatures Rogers which is what I would suggest if you were hitting the road and needed to be more responsible.       

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2 Metre Tall Huon Dark Ale

This is the second of two reviews of the Tasmanian farm brewery, 2 Metre Tall. You can read the previous review here. The Huon dark apple beer is something that is definitely new to me in terms of flavour and style but hey that is part of beer adventuring, the uncovering of new styles or ingredients to make something that the drinking had never tried before like using 100 % peated malt like the Yeastie Boys have done with Rex Attitude.

The saphoto (4)me as with the Forester, Huron is a ‘live’ beer and I learnt my lesson when opening that one to expect some high levels of carbonation when the bottle is opened. I am glad I learnt at least one lesson and was prepared for the foam that did come pouring out of the bottle. The head is large and persistent so make sure you give this one a careful pour. If I was you I would blame the presence of the Champagne yeast if you do make a mess at home. It is there, read the label if you don’t believe me.

The colour is a cloudy almost ruby when held up to the light and expect to get the smell of tart and sour apples and I couldn’t pick up much else when trying this beer. It was still enough to get me very interested in trying it. It should be noted here that while the Forester is at the standard 5.2% alcohol by volume the dark apple is at a rather more potent 6.2% by volume which, in Australia, is the equivalent of 3 standard drinks. The website says that the beer is normally 6.5% but that isn’t important as I am not planning on going anywhere after drinking this anyway.

The first taste definitely screams “I am a sour apple” in your face while proceeding to question why you would have sour warheads while you could have sour beer. This pleasant, if more then expected apple taste comes from the 20% whole apple juice that is used. To a couple novice like me that seems almost too much but when life gives you an orchard and barley what are you to do?

This sour quality for me overshadowed everything else that could have been in the beer. I couldn’t tell you about the malt backbone or the hop profile but I can tell you beer is sour but not overly so rather it is just a constant. It is like the friend who comes to help you set up a party, pretends to be the most important person in the room for the entire time and then is there to usher people out. You would never have guessed that there might be more then one host much the same as you would never guess that there would be more then one flavour profile to this beer. 

Having said that it is a pretty good host especially if you come with friends and share the experience. This probably will never be your favourite beer but it will certainly be a bonding experience you can share with friends and you can say in the future to you mates “Remember the time that sour apple questioned our lifestyle choices?” 

In all seriousness though I recommend that you try the range of beers from 2MT. Do what I did perhaps and order a split carton with a group of friends. You can find it here (The online store, not your group of friends)

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Matso’s Lychee Beer

Broome is considered one of the great getaways for Australians. It also has an interesting history for a place sporting just 14,400 or so residences across the year. This swells to about 45,000 during tourism season. The place was bombed repeadly by the Japanese during W.W.2, was a hive of cultures in the early days as it was used for pearling. There was also racial segreation in Broome until the 1970’s.This interesting history is accurately reflected in an equally as interesting brewery in Matso’s Broome Brewery.

Matso is a reference to a building built in 1910 in Broome, it has been for the most part a bank located in the rather incorrectly named Chinatown part of Broome which was actually in the Japanese red light district. I can understand why it was called Chinatown but I can also see how that could be considered offensive to Japanese people as well. 

Either way in the late 1940’s Sheba Lane which Matso’s was located on was set fire for reasons unknown. It could have been someone disgruntled with the services rendered or it could have something to do with the war in the Pacific, either way Matso’s was one of the few buildings not destroyed but it was sold off to a variety of businesses, changed names several times until the Matso’s name was restored and remains today.

Matso’s like to like to keep a local feel and heritage with their marketing and keep things interesting in a craft beer world obsessed with Imperials and strength either in hops or alcohol volume. For this brewery however it is all about the interesting additives. Their beer range has one pale and a dark lager but with these comlycheees mango, ginger, chilli and lychee beers.

The Lychee Beer is 4.5% comes in a brown 330 mL glass and equates to 1.2 standard drinks. It is definitely a light summer beer and considering today is a wonderfully bright winters day it is almost close enough.

There is a wonderfully enticing fluffy white head on the beer which makes every beer look great if you can produce it. There is not an overpowering smell in general but when you do smell it you can definitely get that sweet sort of fruit lychee smell with a hint of the beer in the back.
Now I know that this is supposed to be a beer for the summer mouths  months so I wasn’t expecting a flavour explosion rather a rather soft easy to knock back sort of beer and that is exactly what I got. It was sweet but not, for me at least, overpowering it was definitely a beer that was relying on the power of a lychee to drive it.

If you haven’t already I would pick up this beer and as any other’s from the Matso’s range because even if you don’t like it what other brewery in Australia is making a Mango or Lychee beer, none as far I know but I could be wrong.

 

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Two Metre Tall Forester Farm Ale

Tasmania has a rich brewing history but you couldn’t say it is leading the charge for craft brewing in Australia. The Two Metre Tall Company is one that is trying to catch up in the race.

A genuine Farmhouse Brewery where Ashley and Jane Huntington grow the wheat and hops used in their beers. Ashley has an extensive background in wine but in 2012 was awarded the Churchill Fellowship to visit the USA, Belgium and the UK where he looked at wild and fruit based brewing. You can read his report here

The things that he learnt have clearly been reflected in the next couple of beers that I will be discussing. The first one is the Forester Bitter Amber Ale. 

042a8632-forester-500-pro-6This beer comes in a 750 mL bottle and is 5.4% which converts to 3.2 standard drinks.

Now the Forester is unfiltered with an injection of live yeast. It is a wonderfully package and marketed product that almost had me convinced I was going to enjoy it before I tasted it. 

The beer pours a dark amber and as it is still live you need to watch for a bit of foaming so don’t open it over your carpet.

The smell is a bit of sour sort of a tangy that I found to be enticing. It has a nice persistent white head that makes any beer look great. Now on to taste, the beer at the very first microsecond feels a little flat on the tongue but the sourness of the beer flies in really quick which then gives way to some nice comforting bitterness which doesn’t confront your taste and makes it quite an enjoyable beer.

If you are in Tassie you can visit the farm for BBQ where you can buy and cook the Two Metre Tall Beef while enjoying a hand pulled farmhouse beer. 

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