Sunday, April 15, 2012

Josie's Journey


I have just come home from doing some brewing with Stass (this Sunday Roast beer will be interesting...) and we hit Josie Bones this evening for a few well earned beverages to celebrate life in general. Well, didn't I just fall off my chair (even before I sat in it), when what should I see but the Lindermans Faro on the taps menu. A beer I have only been able to enjoy via the bottle for so long, was now in my grasp, and I grasped tight. In terms of trying to contrast it to the bottle, the carbonation from the keg really freshens it up a bit and brings up all the complexities of flavour there is in this beer. The sherberty sweetness is brought up maybe a bit more through this, bring just a slight better balance to the beer overall. Still, the two words that always come to me with this beer in delicate complexity. Apple cider, white wine, melon, slight caramelised sherbert sugars offset by the fruit sourness, all characteristics I get from this beer over the 20 seconds I like to let it roll over my tongue for. It probably loses a little delicateness from the keg seeing the flavours seem a bit stronger, but the breadth and balance amazed me with each sip, and even went for another one at the end of the journey, even though my palate was not able to fully comprehend it as well second time round. Over 18 months after having this beer in Belgium, I have finally been able to try it again on tap, and have it in Australia. Mind blowing!

Seeing a few other beers on the taps menu looking interesting, we had tasting glasses off the rest of them brought to us and we settled on an order to drink them in
1) Mornington Saison: Having only been receptive with a couple of the beers from this brewery, I was not surprised when I found I did not enjoy this one. For a beer that is meant to have a bit of a yeasty kick, there was hardly any of this to speak of, and that is just my style based criticism. The aroma and front palate had almost like a creamed corn character that was quite off-putting. There was a very slight fruity hit in the midpalate before the corn comes back at that end with some floury character coating the throat on the way down, just so you can keep tasting it for a while after you swallow.
2) Brewer's Malt: One I have tried a few times in the bottle, and it did not disappoint from the tap either. The pure malt character has a sort of scotch ale flavour, but without the alcohol hit of a wee heavy. Perhaps with more sugars not fermented, the body holds up quite well with this caramel malt taste, with only enough hops at the back just to tale off the malt and stop residual sugars overwhelming in aftertaste. Very simple but well made, and with the big malt base, one Stass and I both liked personally.
3) Red Hill Wiezenbock: Had been interested in trying this for a while, so happy to have it on tap for best appreciation. The wheat reminded Stass of the corn aspect in the Saison, while as for me, the alcohol on the nose gave substance to the 8% alcohol written about this beer. However, the alcohol takes over the wheat just that bit too much to unbalance the beer and make it a little too harsh to drink much of. It just rose to soon on the palate, and too quickly in heat, removing a touch too much of the wheat characters I would have liked to have tasted more in this.
4) Nogne O Nighthawk Breakfast: As an American Brown Ale, it certainly did not have the amount of bitterness I was expecting from the style. Malt character was fairly standard in a brown and wasn't enough the make up from the hole the hops seemed to have left. Even if it had tried to fill the flavour gap, it would have outbalanced the beer.
5) Mikkeller Green Gold: I wouldn't have thought there was a beer that rivals the Moylan's Hopsickle in terms of balance and depth in an IPA, but this one does. The caramel malt, and body to go with it, the slow but steady rise in hop the blends well with the malt, but continues to rise through the 7% alcohol that could potentially push the palate too far, and a final warm bitterness at the back that just hangs on to the back of your throat, this is one well made beer that even a non hop-head like myself can appreciate. This was probably the most tecnically proficient beer we had on the whole journey, and one I would recommend alongside the Hopsickle.
6) Doctors Orders Black Lung: Was a bit of a comedown after the Mikkeller, and Stass really picked up on the black wheat character we think was used to give this pilsner its dark characteristic. Having had this recently, I did not focus on it too much.
7)Aecht Schenkerla Rauchbier Marzen: As the Faro had taken me back to Brussels, this beer took me directly back to Bamberg, a great smoothness in the body to stop the flavours spiking to much across the tongue, and gives some residual sweetness to stop the smoked ham flavour from drying out the back palate. The smoke flavour is also contained well at the front through the fresh maltiness, reminding me of the more approachable smoke beers I had while in Bamberg. This was also then another beer I appreciated more personally for the nostalgia aspect.

As I said, I ended up going back to the Faro to finish the night on. I hope to even head back during the week to try and drink more of this while it is available on tap. This beer is a must try for anyone that drinks white wine, to start getting an appreciation of beer through flavours they are more use to, and knowing someone like this, would like to get them in there to try it out, even if it means engaging my beer nerd a bit too much.

A great journey for Stass and I to enjoy at this time, so thanks to Jess for helping us through it from behind the bar at Josie Bones, and approving of the drinking order we made for it. Good to see Mira working in here too (as he said, he is a beer hussy), and to James for having a chat about the beer scene, and giving us some comments on our Russian Imperial Stout that Stass brought in for him last time he came (yep, 11.2% will give it a fair bit of alcohol heat)

Oh, I just remembered I missed out on seeing this years collaboration brew between Mountain Goat, Moon Dog and Matilda Bay from being brewed, so looking forward to seeing how it comes along from here as we close in on the colder months and it's Good Beer Week launch...Still, with 27 degrees today, was perfect for the Faro (yeah, just had to finish on that aspect)



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