Monday, February 14, 2011

Beer is in the air....

It is quite unfortunate that I finally get a chance to put up this weeks notes on Valentine's Day, but at least it means I have nothing better to be doing, and what is better than discussing beer anyway...

I am actually writting this from my sister's place in Adelaide, so am spending my Valentine's Day with family, friends and my favourite band Phoenix who are to be playing just down the road from here at the Entertainment Centre.
As per usual I have made a visit to the Wheatie Hotel and sampled Moo Brew Hef and Dark Ale on tap, and I Hardcore You (Mikkeller/Brew Dog) and Brew Dog's Hardcore IPA through an Infuser filled with Cascade Hops (hoppy much!!!!), and will be heading back today to keep sampling more beers and a special beer that I will speak of later.

While talking Brew Dog, I should start with the Brew Dog Beer tasting I had on Thursday at Purvis Beer. I'll just go through the order and put my notes on each.

1) Abstrakt AB:03 (10.5%) - comes out with a light brown/reddish colour and definitely get the smell of strawberries and raspeberries. The main flavour I get is sourness on the sides and back of the tongue and reminds me a bit like a lambic beer with a dry finish.
2) Bashah Reserve - Imperial (8.7%) - has almost a red wine look to it, and while it has some of that fruit sourness of the previous beer (through the raspberries and tayberries) it is not so harsh, with a darker fruit flavour with the oak taste. There is a decent body on this beer to help as well and overall find it a complex beer but well balanced.
3) Abstrak AB:04 (15%) - pours like motor oil with no head but with a surprising chocolate and vanilla smell. This beer has Naga chillies in it, but lucikly I only get a little on the tip of my tongue, and the sweet, rich stout flavours (licorice, dark fruit) take over the taste buds. I also like the full body on this beer so the stout texture is there as well. There is definitely alcohol in it but it doesn't burn, and the flavours in the beer balance out this well.
4) Bashah Reserve - Highland - This beer reminds me of the Mikkeller Black in Islay Whiskey barrels with that smokey, peaty smell. There is a nice malty sweetness upfront and alcohol coming through the back. But has a great taste profile and a good body to it.
Alright, now for the big guns...
5) Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%) - Not a beer I would buy, but definitely interested to try for a while, so happy it came with this tasting. I would not class this and the next tasting as beer, as it is basically distilled with freezing, but just goes to show what you can do. Anyway...Big malt, big alcohol, big smoke/wood flavours are about all I can get. The taste to the midpalate reminds me of the Brew Dog Tokyo, and definitely has that smell as well, but once the beer hits the midpalate the alcohol just errupts from it, and the burn begins.
6) Sink the Bismarck (41%) - Stepping it up ever further, but this time with a quadrupple IPA instead of an imperial stout with the Penguin, this beer is as hoppy as it comes, and could see the American market all over this beer. Hops and alcohol, that is all, and don't both burn! The hops burn my nostrils and the alcohol explodes in the mouth. The sheer heat of the alcohol expands in the mouth and the burn goes from the tip of the tongue all the way through to the stomach. It even looks like Whiskey! This had me coughing slightly from the intensity of the alcohol, and with the only other flavour hops, is definitely not a 'beer' I will be going back to. Still, as a drinkable mouthwash, it would sure kill off any bacteria you have.
Luckily we were not given big tastings of these beers, or I could have ended up like after a big beer tasting at slowbeer, but would have liked more time between beers to get more notes and appreciate each beer a bit more. Thanks to Tim and Stass (eventually) making it down with me for this beer tasting, and everyone involved, especially the Purvis boys for organising such a big beer tasting.
Ok, now at the opposite end of the scale, I was in at the Garden of Unearthly Delights in Adelaide yesterday, went up to the bar and as always, was instantly disappointed by the 'array' of beers they have available at public events. Yes, I understand why, but when I 'choose' to drink a XXXX Summer Bright Ale only because it was the only one I hadn't tried, and would rather try that over anything else they had available, that sort of said it all. Okay, on the plus side the 'XXXX flavour' is a bit diminished to make it a bit easy drinking, but apart from that, was happy to get across the road to The Stag for a Little Creatures Pale just to cleanse the palate, along with a decent chicken parma.

Ohh, speaking of parma and Little Creatures, before I got on my flight to Adelaide on Friday, I quickly hit the Royston for a parma and to try out the lastest Little Creatures Single Batch Golding Hop Ale, which while I found better than some of the hoppy beers I had the night before, the hops were a bit too overpowering for the malt flavours I got from the beer. Still, the beer did really well to cleanse the palate from each bite of the parma, and so allowed me to enjoy every mouthful of parma like it was my first bite. It also gave my Holgate Chocolate Porter (yes, on tap!!!!!) time to warm up and enjoy for dessert after the parma, so was quite content after that.

So, as for this retail day of love, there is a plan formulating in my head of what to do (and drink) with family and friends before we enjoy Phoenix. I found out the Wheatie has my favourite aussie beer (Moo Brew Vintage Stout) and the East End Cellars has my favourite wine (J.J. Prum), so splurging on good tastes, sounds and times on this Valentine's Day. Hope you are all doing something you love for this day, even if it is ruined with commercialism.

Just call me a beer romantic...


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