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Archive for August, 2009

Tasted 19 August 2009. 500ml bottle, 4.5%Alc/Vol

Wales

Brains - The Rev JamesIf you are after a beer that you don’t need to think about while you are drinking, this is one of them. The beer is quite straightforward, inoffensive and very easy drinking…..yet strangely pleasing.

Not much on the nose….a slight nutty, raisiny aroma and subtle grassy hops. While reasonably deep ruby red in colour the palate wasn’t as full as I would have expected. Mild and smooth maltiness, subtle toasty biscuit character with an earthy grassy hoppiness. It is short on the finish and fairly unexciting, but it is nice and does go down easily.

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Tasted 19 August 2009. 330ml bottle 6.6% Alc/Vol

Scotland

Innis & Gunn - Oak Aged BeerTHE biggest selling specialist beer at Purvis Cellars…bar none. Malty nutty and toffee aromas with hints of vanilla and whisky. Divinely smooth on the palate which is at once light and refreshing and rich and malty. Definite nutty, vanilla oak and honey combined with citrus and toffee. Mild hops provide a delightful finish that goes on forever.

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Tasted Tuesday 18 August 2009. 500ml bottle, 4.8% Alc/Vol

England

This is a smooth, mild and highly satisfying English ale. Named after the adjustable wrench, I fail to see how this relates to the beer. Well that’s English beer names for you.

Deep amber/ruby red in colour. The aromas are mild with malty toffee, exotic spice and floral notes. The palate was smooth and malty sweet with flavours of roasted nuts, caramel, biscuit, subtle burnt/charry malt and mild bitterness rounding off at the end. This is an extremely enjoyable full flavoured beer and not at all challenging. I’d be happy to sit on a few of these in good company.

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Tasted Friday 14 August 2009. 330ml bottle, 7.8% Alc/Vol

Australia

Red Duck has been out in the wilderness of late. In my personal opinion, since they have been brewed at Mildura Brewery, the core range of beers are not anywhere near as good as they once were.

Red Duck - Golden Dragon Strong Celtic AleI tried this one because back when it was very first released I thought it was their best beer. A lot has happened since then.

It poured an attractive dark brown colour with a nice sized off white head that faded fairly quickly. There is plenty going on with the aromas. Caramel, boiled fruit cake burnt citrus rind, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is rich and full bodied on the palate. First up is sweet malt and fruitcake backed by cinnamon and nutmeg, then giving way to a drier biscuity finish. On the way it is smooth and luscious with alcohol warmth, a burnt roasted nutty and citrus character and a mild bitterness nicely threaded throughout. This beer is balanced and highly enjoyable. Still, I think, this is the best Red Duck beer.

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Tasted Tuesday 11 August 2009. 330ml bottle, 9% Alc/Vol

Belgium

Delirium - TremensA truly superb Belgium Strong Ale. Triple fermented, strong flavours and exquisitly balanced.

Very light and yellow in colour with some sediment visible in the glass. A nice light looking fluffy head foamed up.The nose exhibited spicy coriander, floral, candied citrus fruits and banana lollys and yeastiness.Rich, full and sweetly malted on the palate. There was almost no hint of the alcohol (just a nice warming oily hint at the end), sweet fruitiness, spice, banana and herbaceous hints. Smooth throughout and some nice crisp carbonation.

Definiately a sipping beer.

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Tasted Tuesday 11 August 2009. 500ml bottle, 4.8% Alc/Vol

England

Directors - CourageThis is one of those beers that many people told they have enjoyed but I’ve never got around to drinking myself.

So! The four of us gathered around and cracked one.

Straight away the colour was attractive, a clear deep amber with a nice fluffy white head that lasted.Fruity, floral and malty aromas greeted the nose without being overly strong.

The palate was very smooth and malty – not heavy – with some pleasent citrus fruity notes. It had good depth of flavour and interest being (again) smooth, malty and mild. This is a fantastic session ale. Highly Recommended.

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People always ask us “what is your favourite beer?” This is truly a hard question to answer. Being surrounded by so much beer we don’t really have one beer that we favour above the rest. Instead we have many favourites. What we drink can depend upon mood, time of year, price and strength (alcohol and taste). So we decided to each choose what we thought was our personal top 6 session craft beers.
What is a session beer? We would define this as a beer that is easy to drink but offers more interest than the mass produced commercial crap – you know the ones…….
The beers would be fairly straight forward and uncomplicated. Not extreme in any way. They are a beer that you can sit down to a “few” of and not feel overcome by a particular flavour or feel challenged. These beers would be able to be consumed without needing to think about it too much but be completely enjoyable.
After much debate, raised voices, occasional tantrum and one of us storming out of the shop we finally came to a consensus.

These are what we believe to be our top 6 Australian session craft beers, in no particular order:

McLaren Vale Ale. A lightly malted clean and fresh tasting beer. Popular amongst the South Australian winemakers after a hard day in the vineyard or winery.

Bridge Rd Brewers Beechworth Australian Ale. A pale ale that is a perfect starting point if you are just starting to expand your horizons. Malty with delicate spicy and fruity aromas and a hint of pepper. Beautifully malty, soft and smooth in the mouth malty with subtle hop bitterness and balanced carbonation.

Little Creatures Pale Ale. An Australian classic. Fruity orange and passionfruit aromas with obvious floral hops. Again quite malty on the palate with citrus and spicy fresh hops that dominate towards the finish.

Arctic Fox Lager. A serious lager.A pleasing nose of orange peel, malt and herbal hops (albeit quite subtle). The flavour has a definite refreshing character and fullish and round through the middle palate. Again orange peel comes to mind with a touch of spice, a soft malty mouth feel and good carbonation.

Mountain Goat Steam Beer. New from the Goats. Aromas of subtle malt and fresh grassy hop character. The palate is soft, mildly malty on the front and mid palate, slightly grassy with crisp carbonation and a nice drawn out hop bitterness lingering at the end.

Red Angus Pilsner. A cracking malty, mildly hoppy and completely refreshing pilsner. Has enough interest to be a cut above commercial brands.

Let us know your top 6 Australian “session” craft beers here.

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