Squealer Sunday!! presents MP/ Stillwater collab: Pepperberry Saison

mp:stillwater

Another Sunday, another delicious Squealer….

As soon as I saw this on the taplist at Tru Bru, I had to get hold of it. Both breweries have excellent track records for brewing craft beer and as soon as I heard about the collab in good beer week this year, I have kept an eye out ever since…. And here it is!

Style: Pepperberry Saison

ABV: 5.7%

IBU: N/A

Pours:

Pours a golden orange with strong white head.

On The Nose:

Some amazing florals: lots of sweet berries, tropical fruits and bubblegum with a peppery background.

Palate:

Super, super fresh. Great tropical fruit notes, a crisp and refreshing bitterness with notes of drying bergamot tea and bubblegum. The pepperberry gives a subtle hum in the background, adding to the bitterness. As it comes to room temperature, the yeasty/ Saison notes starts to come out, adding another layer of depth to the palate.

Final Thoughts:

This beer gives you a lot to think about, A LOT to think about. This thing is layered up the ying- yang….. layered with tropical fruit, bubblegum and bergamot all tied together with the hum and sweetness of the pepperberry. I am super impressed with this beer, it is completely unique and it has been an honor and a privilege to just get hold of it. Just sensational.

Liberty Brewing Co. – Darkest Days Oatmeal Stout (NZ)

darkestdays

I picked this one as it seemed a fitting title for the past couple of days i’ve had, having no power…. Darkest Days. It’s also rolling into stout weather so it seemed the perfect beer to stage my comeback after my brief absence.

Style: Oatmeal Stout

ABV: 6.0%

IBU: N/A

Pours:

Dark, dark, dark….. With a tanned coffee brown head.

On The Nose:

A surprising dried fruit/ bitter orange character coming though thanks to the hops addition. Sweet chocolate, espresso and fudge you wanna sink your teeth in to…

Palate:

Rich, velvety texture with lots of roasted malt, dark cocoa and a bitter espresso finish. A bit of the bitter/ candied orange comes through too.

Final Thoughts:

A really well balanced beer, the sweetness and bitterness interplay beautifully. Some surprising hop character up front on the nose, lots of candied orange and raisins. Rich, full body with velvet chocolate, espresso and roasted malt. Extremely well made, the 6.0% is not evident here at all. It’s a rich, smooth temptress…

Boat Rocker- Misfit

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Was pretty psyched to come by this little gem. Ever since they got onto the prestigious Experienceit beer list I’ve been keeping an eye out for just about any of their stuff. Packed with Belgian malt, old school hops and an imported yeast strain from the Ardennes, this hoppy ale was an awesome idea on this rainy, dreary day…

Style: Hoppy Belgian Ale

ABV: 6.2%

IBU: N/A

Pour:

Pours a hazy golden with a fluffy white head.

On The Nose:

The yeast really jumps out on the nose along with honey, poached apple, banana and farmyard notes with sweet spices. Also has an unmistakable vinous quality.

Palate:

The hop notes start playing out here. Stone fruits, melon, mango and light citrus. After initial fruit the classic Belgian yeasty, lees-y character comes back. Farmyard floor, banana, poached fruit and vegetal notes. Quite fresh for a Belgian ale, I gotta say…

Final Thoughts:

This beer comes out the wrong way on the nose and palate, and that seriously excites me to no end… The nose is Belgian packed, then the palate gives some fresh, fruity hop character and finishes how you would expect with a Belgian ale: farmyard and lees. I expected it to be the other way around: hop nose and Belgian palate.  As it says on the label, this beer really does not belong to any style and is an experiment of the most awesome capacity. It is literally the best of both worlds.

Squealer Sunday!! presents: Founders Porter

foundersporter

I’m pretty excited about this weeks squealer. Voted 4th best beer in the world at ratebeer.com: Founders Porter. I’ve had quite a bit of Founders stuff, but the opportunity to have it fresh off tap was just way too enticing to pass up.

Style: Porter

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: 45

Pours:

Pours a beautiful, silky, sexy black with fluffy tan brown head.

On The Nose:

Rich chocolate, coffee, vanilla and burnt toffee and a rich, roasted malt profile.

Palate:

Super smooth, rich and velvety. The malt profile is just incredible: fantastic roasty characters with coffee, bakers cocoa and chewy caramel. Really lovely bitterness in the finish, like a perfectly extracted espresso.

Final Thoughts:

This beer certainly deserves the number four spot. This is a luscious, rich and robust porter packed with rich espresso, chocolate and a malt profile out of this world. As it comes to room temperature the profile sweetens up, adding in more rich caramel and chocolate. Outstanding.

Coedo ‘Beniaka’- Imperial Sweet Potato Amber

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Japanese craft beer is something of a new phenomenon to me. I’ve had plenty of craft, except from Japan. From what i understand of Japanese brewing they aren’t huge on hops, where their real strength lies is malt. This is very evident in my little experience of Japanese brewers: This year at GABS when i tried Coedo and Coronado’s collab, which was sensational. My other comes from Baird and their Rising Sun Pale Ale which is, in my opinion, a fantastic pale. And that’s where it stop… Until now.

Style: Sweet Potato Amber

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: N/A

Pours:

Deep, dark amber red with fine white head.

On The Nose:

Fresh roast malt, with caramel and sweet spices. Got a bit of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. The sugars from the sweet potato come out too, giving a candied sweet potato nose.

Palate:

Layered with lots of malt character: toast, biscuit and caramel. The sweet potato balances really well with all the malt, the sweet potato (obviously) gives a great candied sweetness to the whole profile. Literally tastes like roasted sweet potato.

Final Thoughts:

A was very pleasantly surprised. An odd sounding, very well crafted and balanced beer. The malt and sweet potato inter- weave beautifully, making it a fascinating and delicious drink. Love the sweet potato, it is the stand out note here and sends itself spectacularly to the amber style.

SHHAG At White Rabbit Brewery!!

savehealesvillehosp

Big fundraiser happening this Wednesday 25th of June at 6.00  to help save Healesville Hospital from closure. All proceeds from the night will go to funding a business case for Healesville Hospital.

SHHAG is committed to ensuring that the local community of Healesville and the surrounding towns receive quality health services that we deserve. Healesville Hospital provides vital services for Healesville and surrounding communities and Eastern Health has already cut Maternity services with no consultation, reduced theatre services and now has a plan to cut all surgical services. We need your help to fight this plan and maintain our current services, revive the services lost and expand services including dialysis. Door tickets $20, lucky door prize, Amazing raffle- tickets only $2, Live Music, Live Auction and all pizza sales being donated to the Business case fundraiser.

The top 5 prizes alone are:

1st Global Ballooning Hot Air Ride for two (valued @ $600)
2nd One Night Accommodation @ Balgownie in spa room ($450)
3rd Travel Voucher c/o Yarra Valley Travel $200
4th Mixed Dozen Yarra Valley Wines
5th Innocent Bystander Voucher $100

Some seriously awesome prizes for and awesome cause. For more info or tickets call Angela on 0421 740 815 or e- mail savehealesvillehospital@gmail.com

Please get involved!!

Getting Into The Nitty- Gristy With………. Ben Waymouth

Getting into the Nitty- Gristy is a (hopefully) fortnightly segment that I will start doing, promoting all the awesome craft beer crusaders out here in the eastern suburbs. Whether it’s brewers, retailers, people that run/ work in your favourite craft beer bars, home brewers… Anybody doing good work in the name of craft beer, I plan to shine the spotlight on them and their contribution to the cause.

FYI- for those wondering if I can’t spell: grist is a brewing term for crushed malt….. play on words! See what i did there??? Anyway…

First up is Ben Waymouth.

Image

Ben is the newly appointed head brewer at Napoleone Brewery out here in the Yarra Valley, serious beer nerd and all around good guy (sorry for the horrendous photo, mate….). Had a fantastic chat with him and his approach to craft beer and what direction he wants to go in with Napoleone and I gotta say, I’m pretty excited…

Where did your Brew Saga begin?

Not with beer, with mead actually. I studied a medieval studies class at university, as part of my philosophy degree. I started playing around with ferments then, and i realised ‘okay, beer seems like the logical path to go from mead’. Started playing around with beer at 18, starting with kits and thought it didn’t taste as good as I wanted, started mini- mashing at home then all- grain and kept acquiring the gear and moved from bottles to kegs, pretty much a gradual progression of obsession…

What inspired you to come out to the eastern suburbs?

Pretty much the chance to set up and run a place, you don’t get that opportunity at all unless you start your own place. To have someone say ‘ come in and stamp your own uniqueness to a brand and we’ll work with you to try and build something’, it’s pretty unique really. It was a massive draw card.

Have you seen a growing craft beer trend out here?

I think the amount of breweries that are starting up out here is going to warrant beer tours soon. Cellar doors and pizza ovens are popping up everywhere, you can go to multiple places, have some lunch and have a whole range of beer. Us alone (Napoleone) will have 10 taps alone in our venue and growler fills. I’m also pushing for staying open late so people can come in, have a beer and stock up for their weekend.

What do you love about the job and industry?

What’s great for me personally is that it fuels my OCD *laughs*. I like to be clean, I like to operate in certain ways and have set standards and thats what the job and industry allows me to do. I love the combination of chemistry and cooking, you’ve got fantastic chemical reactions going on between yeasts and hops that changes compound aromas, heaps of stuff like that. Everyone is just really open about what they do. I just get to drink beer and do what I love doing.

Have you ever changed someone’s mind it terms of craft beer?

Yeah, a house mate. He was anti, then he became pro and then got him on to whiskey now he’s obsessed with whiskey and beer. Not sure if that’s good for his over all health though…

What was the beer that turned it all around for you?

It’s actually nothing particularly grand: Sam Adams Boston Lager. It was the first time i was like ‘wow, a beer can taste like this??’ Then i really got into sours and saisons.

What beers in your fridge right now?

 I’ve got my own keg fridge with a saison on at the moment. Couple of nights ago i had Sierra Nevada’s Big Foot Barley Wine. The greatest inducer of sleep known to man, 25 minutes later you will be out…

What’s your favourite beer/ food matching?

Anything with bacon…. salty chips with aoli, sliders, slow cooked pork with salt crackling, basically anything that will shorten your life by 10 years…

What do you think is the next hot style?

Saison, 100%. It’s very approachable, very floral and they can range anywhere from 4.5% to 8% or 10%. They are very variable and variable in their flavour profile.

What’s your favourite place to get a beer?

Joe Taylor in North Melbourne. Little bar, decent craft list and i can get a good whiskey after I have a beer. Very important.

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and be part of/ brew?

I think I’d like to be part of the Porter brewing business in England, before gin took over. So when that was happening and then when they changed their base malt and discovered the hydrometer. So when Porter was big, before gin destroyed it…

What’s your favourite style?

 Depends on my mood. i like drinking Porters, barley wines, big bocks, crisp german lagers, sours, gueuze. Tend to stay away from massive IPA’s, with big bitterness. I love floral though. Beer that drinks well!

Any advice for home brewers?

Read John Palmers book, get to a home brew club. Two things that i stress the most: make sure you get your yeast right and temperature control. I would recommend Jamil Zainasheff’s website, Mr. Malty. Download beer smith, it’s at $25 app that does all your brewing calculations for you. Finally, listen to the brewing network. Also, don’t be afraid to spend more on gear if your serious about it.

If someone asked you to put a 6- pack together for them, what would you put in it?

That’s tough, like putting together a mix tape! Weihenstephan’s Vitus for sure, i love that beer. A Braggot from Red Duck, I’d also throw in Cantillon Gueuze. A Saison Dupont, I’d add Heretic ‘Shallow Grave’ Porter as well, Jamil is amazing. Finally a really good pilsner maybe Moo Brew or Weihenstephan’s.

 

Napoleone Brewery and Cellar Door/ Restaurant will be opening very soon, stay tuned for details!

 

Heretic: ‘Shallow Grave’ Porter (California, USA)

hereticporter

Jamil Zainasheff, the rock star of the home brewing world and author/ co- author of several home brewing books, has been commercially brewing for about four years now and has been going from strength to strength. Where his great strength and passion lies is his brewing to style and educating the home brewer in style. This is evident in all of his brews, including this: a perfect specimen of a Porter.

Style: Porter

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: 33

Pour:

Pours a deep, dark brown with light hazelnut head.

On The Nose:

Rich vanilla, like from a whiskey barrel. Lots of chocolate fudge, toffee and coffee.

Palate:

Lovely, rich, creamy mouthfeel. The rich vanilla- whiskey barrel note really comes through on the palate too. Gooey chocolate and burnt caramel along with a rich shot of espresso to finish it off.

Final Thoughts:

A delicious, smooth, rich Porter. Absolutely perfect for a winter evening, very warming alcohol that really takes the chill out. This baby will appeal to just about everybody. It’s extremely well balanced, so you aren’t being overwhelmed with any other note, it just melds together perfectly. I’ll be picking this one up again as the temperature continues to drop.

Stillwater Sensory Series v.1- Lower Dens (Maryland, USA)

stillwatersensory1

I had never heard of this series before, but I know Stillwater Artisanal, and that was enough. Read up on the background of this and I gotta say, it’s some serious wank……

Basically, Stillwater has teamed up with music artists to produce a beer that reflects the artist, in this case: Lower Dens and their track “In the end is the Beginning”. Their goal is to create a full sensory experience- sound, sight, smell, touch and taste. So, lets go into this with an open mind. If craft beer has taught me anything: keep an open mind. Even if it does sound like wank….

Style: Spiced/ herb Ale

ABV: 6%

IBU: N/A

Pour:

Pours a hazy- lemon, wheaty colour with generous white head.

On The Nose:

Lots of notes of white wine grapes, hibiscus, stone fruits, juicy citrus and a berry spritz with interesting, funky yeast notes. Heaps going on olfactory- wise…

Palate:

White wine comes through on the palate too. Lemon, orange, with a green apple acidity and great notes of cracked wheat. Lots of funky yeast notes and hibiscus coming through in the finish. Very refreshing, clean palate.

Final Thoughts:

Still waters do indeed run deep. On the surface of this beer (the pour), it does not look that interesting. But as soon as you stick your nose in the glass and taste it, the story changes. Majorly. An interesting, refreshing ale with a bit of a wanky back story. Don’t let that stand in the way though, very rewarding.

Deschutes Brewery: Mirror Pond Pale Ale (Oregon, USA)

deschutespale

I have not really had a chance to delve into Deschutes range (not wanting to support grey market products and all) but since the craft beer power house that is Experienceit have started cold shipping it from the US, and after having an awesome chat with Kris Scholl at GABS this year, i could not resist.

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

IBU: N/A

Pours:

Pours a lovely orange- amber and a generous, fluffy white head.

On The Nose:

Great maltiness on the nose; lots of honey, biscuit and toast with sweet floral notes, passionfruit and light citrus.

Palate:

Deftly balanced. Great malt: lots of toffee, honey and biscuit balanced with floral/ citrus notes and a refreshing sourness that really cleanses the palate.

Final Thoughts:

This is the perfect, sessionable Pale Ale. Extremely refreshing, quaffable and very more- ish. I couldn’t take my nose out of the glass, it is just so aromatically complex, it just keeps on giving and giving.