4 Pines- Keller Door: Wintertide Series- Amber Mosaic

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Type: Mosaic hop amber ale

IBU: 37

ABV: 5.1%

Pour:

Pours a toffee- amber with an off white foam.

On The Nose:

toffee and biscuity notes leading into tropical fruit and hints of resin.

Palate:

Toffee, biscuit and hazelnuts with a medium body, balanced and earthy finish. As it comes to room temperature a bit more, the hop starts to come out with pineapple, grapefruit and orange zest. The IBU is a bit misleading, really great bitterness.

Final Thoughts/ Notes:

As it’s starting to cool down i thought amber ale was the right way to go. Luckily, 4 Pines small batch release caters very well to the oncoming ‘Wintertide’…. I found that the Mosaic hop really lends itself to this style. Great bitterness, decent body, interesting hop characters, this beer just about ticks all the boxes. Very easy on cool autumn evening…

GABS Saga 2014

Well, GABS 2014 (as well as Good Beer Week, obviously…) has been and gone and tell you what, it was a doozy….

I had the opportunity to get along to the friday session at the Exhibition Building in Carlton and revel in the celebration of all things that is going on in the world of craft beer. Being a GABS virgin, i had high hopes and i was not disappointed.

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The first thing that really blew me away was actually walking into the exhibition building… The interior is astonishing and walking amongst the walls, you could really feel the history and i was in awe….. Until i saw Shane Warne. I was gobsmacked, who in their right mind thought that Warnie was in any way a good advocate for craft beer? I learnt later that he had brewed a beer with MOA from New Zealand, needless to say, i steered clear of his stand. I have nothing personal against MOA, i just think they could of found a better representative, not a guy who is basically famous for womanizing, eating baked beans and drinking VB. From the reaction of my fellow craft beer nerds, it was fairly obvious many shared my sentiment. I was quite amused but the fact that no one whatsoever was paying attention to Warne but milling about the stands, reading their programs and labeling up their tasting paddles, getting ready for the bell to ring. Not even the MC sounded all that enthused about the spin king….

With the bell rung, it was time to dive into some serious beer.

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It wasn’t long before i got chatting with some seasoned GABS’ers and the general consensus was that this year was a very well rounded year. You could really tell that this was a year of experimenting for brewers big and small, trying to find the next big trend. From what i saw, a lot of brewers were playing around with Farm house styles, barrel aging and saisons. Lots of interesting yeast strains getting around…. But wait, there’s still more!

I tried my best to work through the beers numerically but soon learned that was futile as there were over 100 beers so i resorted to choosing my battles. Some serious stands out for me were:

– 2 Brothers Brewery: Creme Caramel. (VIC/ 13% ABV)

This dessert style ice beer was the first thing i had and probably one of my favourites of the day. The nose smelt like a blow torch had just been over sugar on a creme brulee, caramel, toffee and absolute deliciousness…. The palate was custard, toffee and caramel with an amazing warmness from the alcohol and smooth all the way down. A delicious dessert in beer form.

– 4 Pines: ‘Gin and Juice’ Snoop Dog Tribute ale (NSW/ 5.5% ABV)

Although this isn’t really my style of beer, i really appreciated the craft that went into it and really got every note from this flavour- infused Golden Ale . Not to mention it was VERY sessionable…. Infused with juniper berries, orange zest, orange juice, bitters and cucumber this ale is extremely refreshing. The orange and bitters really came out in the aromatics and the cucumber provided a light, super fresh body.

– Coedo: Coedonado (JAPAN/ 9.5% ABV)

This barrel aged strong ale was an absolute knock out. A collab with Coronado (USA), this bad boy is aged in whiskey barrels from Saitama’s whiskey distillery. Drinking this was like smoking a very fine cigar and neat whiskey, it was super smooth. Vanilla, tobacco and peaty notes with a depth of flavour that could only be provided by oak.

– Doctor’s Orders Brewing: Electrolyte Forte (NSW/ 7.5%)

Before GABS, i had no experience with Doctor’s Orders or Imperial Gose but ill tell you now, ill be keeping an eye out for both now. This beer is packed with blueberries, strawberries and extremely well balanced with a sour, puckering finish. I was not getting any of the alcohol in this one, just super fresh and easy. Just really well made.

– Brewcult: Pepper Steak Porter (VIC/ 6%)

If your idea of an awesome meal is a juicy, rare steak and craft beer this is the beer for you. Brewed with cherry wood smoked malt and black peppercorns, this meal in itself is all about peppercorns on the nose and palate with a delicious umami flavour and a long smokey cacao finish. I was imagining eating a steak as i was drinking it, this beer cries out for red meat…

– Wayward Brewing Co: Chockywocky Dopplebocky (NSW/ 8.5%)

Very easily my favourite of the day, this sour cherry smoked cacao Dopplebock was as playful and interesting as the name suggests. Rich, dark malt carried with incredibly balanced sour and tart cherries all through out the nose and palate. Aged in bourbon barrels, it finishes off with vanilla, cacao and a long smokey finish.

With the amount to do, i am not surprised that it runs for the whole weekend. Next year i will definitely  be trying to go to at least 2 sessions, having got through about 30 different beers but still missing a bunch i wanted to try, i don’t want to miss out again.

The next year in craft beer will prove to be very interesting indeed if GABS is any indication of what’s to come.

Birra Del Borgo- Old Antonia

 

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Type: Imperial Calvados Barrel Aged Ale

Alcohol: 11.2%

IBU: 42.2

The Look:

Pours a cloudy- ish amber orange with big head

On The Nose:

Amazing sweet apple cider note with peach and sherbet, cinnamon and burnt toffee apple all carried with a funky farmyard nose.

Palate:

Very much the same as the nose. Toffee apple, cinnamon, dried fruits and a funky sour yeast note along with an apple/ malic acid bitterness.

Final Thoughts/ Other notes:

This beer is seriously funky. I was intrigued by the idea of Calvados aged ale and Birra Del Borgo did not disappoint, but I am a guy that digs anything a bit different. This is the closest thing to a ‘cider beer’ going around. Really well made and balanced, the notes from the Calvados oak barrels do not over power the beer and the yeast used tastes like it comes from a French farmhouse cider. Who would have thought?

For those who aren’t really sure, Calvados is apple brandy this was originally produced in Normandy, France. It is distilled from cider made with specialty apples. Fruit is harvested and pressed into juice and fermented into dry cider, distilled, then aged for two years minimum in oak.  

 

TWO BIRDS- TACO (BOTTLE CONDITIONED)

 

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Type: Wheat Ale

Alcohol: 5.2%

IBU: N/A

Two Birds are unreservedly the Queens of delicious, ACCESSIBLE, craft beer. Brewing only two other beers: Golden Ale and Sunset Ale for commercial sale, they both hit the mark as sessionable craft beers. It’s very easy these days for brewers to forget the sessionable part when it comes to brewing, that’s where Two Birds fill the gap…

Pouring a clear, pale amber colour with a large white head you will find on the nose: lime zest, stone fruit, pineapple and coriander. As the name suggests, Mexican food all the way for this bad boy….. Anything with a bit of heat in it. Super clean, crisp and refreshing on the palate with the coriander and corn/ cereal malt notes really coming out as the beer starts to come to room temperature along with light tropical fruit notes.

 

Could not put this beer down and just wanted to go get some tacos or some thai food with a good whack of chili as i was drinking. A great starter for people who are wanting to get into craft beer. The lime, corn and coriander is incredibly well balanced and is very easy to drink, very sessionable.