Some girls get flowers, I get beer

I like beer more than I like flowers so it’s a good thing I have such a wonderful partner who often brings me gifts of the beery variety

Flowers are nice. They are pretty, they smell good but let’s face it, you can’t drink them. You can’t savour a well poured flower in your glass. You can’t share a flower with your friend and say “Try this! It goes really well with the Gorgonzola”. This is why I like beer more than I like flowers. Lucky for me I have a wonderful boyfriend who often chooses to surprise me with presents of beer rather than bunches of flowers.

Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine 10.5% ABV
Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine
American style Barleywine | 10.5% ABV

My partner got me this after I had my first taste of beers by Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado (US) and raved on and on about them. I grabbed them on one of my trips to Cellarbrations Carlisle, getting their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Deviant Dale’s IPA and G’Knight Imperial Red Ale. You can check out my blog post on those here. Since I enjoyed them so much he figured I’d like their collaboration with Brew Dog.

He was right.

Barleywines: Big ass beers, originally British, lovingly adopted by the US, both American and English Barleywines are acknowledged as a style with the major difference largely coming down to the almighty hop.

What was the beer like? Well, imagine you got a fruitcake, turned up the spices and plums and in your enthusiasm you were overly generous with the rum. Then you got a little distracted and burnt the bottom of your cake so the base caramelised a little. Then you liquified it.

Chimay Gold 4.8% ABV
Chimay Gold
4.8% ABV

When my partner was beer shopping at Cellarbrations Carlisle the topic of trappist beers came up resulting in this Belgian baby landing in my hot little hands.

Trappist: “where brewing is performed by, or under the supervision of, Trappist monks” [Oxford Companion to Beer] of which there are only seven breweries in existence – 6 in Belgium and 1 in the Netherlands. Not strictly a style as such as it’s their authenticity rather than similar flavours/ingredients that categorise them. In short – monk make awesome brewers.

It’s been a while between Chimay’s for me so it was nice to come back to one of the first breweries I got to know when I got hooked on beer many years ago.

Aromas reminded me of the base of a lemon cheesecake but there’s much more happening, I got hints of melon, lemon and banana. Soft yet with a full mouth feel with big spices coming through as the beer warmed up a little, loved the clove and lemony flavours.

8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA Double IPA | 8.8% ABV
8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA
Double IPA | 8.8% ABV

We love our hops in this house so when my partner gave me this present it was only a matter of hours before it was opened.

8 Wired: from New Zealand, brewer Søren Eriksen, well known for their HopWired IPA

His timing was great, my two most recent visits to The Pourhouse in Dunsborough have involved drinking the little brother of this beer, suitably named Semiconductor – a session IPA at a very reasonable 4.4% abv (you can read more here if you’re so inclined). Now it was time to see how it’s big brother stacked up.

It was really freakin’ good.

The aromas on the Superconductor are big and punchy, so much so that I found the flavours weren’t as strong as I was expecting. But don’t get the wrong impression, this is a very flavoursome beer. Toffee, citrus and tropical fruits with the emphasis on pineapple. The mouth feel verges on oily with a long dry and citrusy finish.

 

Once, Twice, Three Cans a Lady

The beginning of a journey into beer cans …

Craft beer nerds are getting excited about cans.

Wait, let me rephrase that so it doesn’t sound so sleazy.

Craft beer nerds are getting excited about good tasting cans.

I give up.

It sounds wrong but it’s true. Craft beer in the form of cans rather than bottles seems to be the “next big thing”, for lack of a better and less abused term. Us beer nerds are excited at the prospect of cans, there’s no light or oxygen getting through to ruin our beloved beverage and let’s face it, crushing a can is a pretty satisfying, if a little childish, way to spend three seconds.

All three are from Oskar Blues Brewery (USA) and were purchased recently from Cellarbrations Carlisle.

Of course, with anything beer related, the most important thing is “does it taste good?” and so I opened three cans to start my canned-education …

Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red IPA
8.7% ABV

Beautiful copper colour with a good thick head. The first whiff reminded me of fresh Anzac biscuits and it was followed by mango, pineapple and something delicately spicy. Flavour-wise it’s super well balanced between the toffee, toasty malts and floral, tropical fruit hops. I got a little caramel too and a spicy floral finish.

The 8.7% ABV creeps up on you with a cheeky grin on it’s face

A link to follow – check out what Oskar Blues says about their beer and find out who it’s named after

Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA
8% ABV

Oskar Blues call the colour of this beer a “copper ball of fire” but to me it’s almost the definition of sunshine in a can – orange, bright and vibrant. The bready, biscuity malt and orange, grapefruit hop aromas are lovely. Like it’s G’Knight cousin, it’s another gulp-worthy and very well balanced beer. The hops give off pineapple, grapefruit and stone fruit flavours and the malts provide biscuits and caramel.

A link to follow – read Oskar Blue’s devilish tale behind their beer

Oskar Bluse Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
10.5% ABV

It’s thick and viscous so it doesn’t so much as pour from the can as it oozes into the glass. The aromas weren’t as big as I expected but I got a touch of melon/berry fruitiness at the front with some roast and cacao in there too. I loved the smooth vanilla, chocolate flavours and dry, grapefruit-like finish.

Holy shitballs Batman, this is a freaking great beer!

 

 

A link to follow – when these guys say it’s a “smooth blanket of malt” they’re not kidding!

How sexy is this photo!?

And in something a little closer to home one of my favourite Australian breweries Mountain Goat have had their cans out for a while now. It’s a welcome addition to summer 2014 – it’s uber refreshing, lemon zesty with peach, pear and lime and a light spiciness and oh, did I mention it’s really refreshing?! 

Mountain Goat Summer Ale
4.7% ABV
Some canned-reading  if you’re keen …

Craft Beers Say Hello Cans – Forbes

A podcast from The Craft Beer Academy

Canned versus Bottled Beer – Esquire

It’s in the Can – Crafty Pint