Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas 2014 Beer Report

As is becoming a tradition part of my present-set this year was a visit to plonk to acquire some interesting beers.  It was enhanced by Frances joining me and - after I had made some selections - drawing my attention to a pre-packed 'hamper'.  She then suggested that I get this as well.  What a clever girl!

So here come some tasting notes (I think there will be about a dozen of them - I'm not sure how many duplicates I have).  I have decided to start after five samples, so watch this space....
  • Ogham Oak: this is from Caerphilly, in Wales.  I am basically approving of the Welsh (apart from a bastard who played breakaway for Thanet RFC and punched me in the nose in 1969) and indeed this sample adds to my positive view.  Added orange peel and cinnamon gets a nice seasonal tang, while 8.5% alcohol gives some glow.  This turned out to be the only one I doubled up on:  The second sample was as tasty as the first!  Excellent!
  • Ringwood Old Thumper: tastefully decorated with a picture of a well-tusked porker.  This emanates from Hampshire and is basically a good example of a full-bodied ale, weighing in at 5.1%
  • Black Sheep Brewery Imperial Russian: what stout should taste like.  A touch bitter but also creamy and very complex.  At 8.5% not to be trifled with but I'd go to Masham Yorkshire, let alone Fyshwick, for more of this.
  • 2 brothers Brewery Taxi Pilsner.  A bit lighter than the preceding samples at 4.7%.  A very refreshing citrus taste.  Could be supped in large quantities if not watched carefully.  They brew in Moorabbin, and kick more goals than the AFL team that used to play there!
  • Back to the UK for Wychwood (from Oxfordshire).  Dr Thirsty's No 4 Blonde is a very tasty beer with what an onanist might refer to as "citrus notes".  At 4.1% it isn't too dangerous but is still well above love-in-a-canoe.
  • Wales again, for 'The Rev. James" brewed in Cardiff.  Unfortunately this doesn't have the full appeal of the most famous aspect of the area around Tiger Bay.  OK but I wouldn't drive to Fyshwick just for this - a tad bland.
  • Och aye the noo!  Off to Scotland for the Brew Dogs of Ellon in Aberdeenshire.  They offered Santa Paws Christmas Scotch Ale.  This was a surprisingly dark beer and very full bodied.  Almost like a porter, and very surprising to find it was only 4.5% ABV.  Recommended.
  • Feral Brewery from the Swan River in WA.  Described as having a citrusy flavour.  That was certainly what was delivered.  Approach with caution at 5.8%, but definitely a refreshing drop.
  • Ridgeway of Oxfordshire perpetrated  'Querkus".  They describe this as a smoked oaked porter, and appear to involve old French Oak in the brewing process.  Something has certainly provided a very smoky flavour and at 4.5% not too dangerous.  .Recommended.
  • Brains SA Gold.  I had assumed from the reference to 'SA' this came from somewhere close to Adelaide: not so, it is made by S A Brian and Co of Cardiff.  A golden ale with a very refreshing citrusy tang, derived from the hops I presume.  Very pleasant and 4.7%
  • Burleigh Heads Brewing HEF: This is nothing to do with the Playboy Club - which would probably be banned in sunny Queensland -  but a lot to do with Hefweizen which is, subject to my crappy spelling, a lot to do with German Wheat Beer.  I was surprised to find that we have got this far down the list before the Plonk hamper delivered a wheat beer.  A very nice one it was too: I'd certainly allow my choice of beers to be price driven when choosing between this and imports..
  • Hop Dog Beer Works of South Nowra offer All Hallowed Ale at 7.3%.  I thought it had a bit of power behind it and then read the label.  Rather hoppy ale indeed and almost certainly the best thing to come out of South Nowra (except the Princes Highway)!  Recommended.
  • Cavalier Brewing Company of Brunswick West (which has been accused of being somewhere in Melbourne I believe), Brown Ale.  A very tasty drop somewhere between a Red Ale and a porter.  Certainly the chocolate promised on the label was evident.  Good.5%.
  • Kooinda Black IPA, brewed by the Happy Place Brewing Co of West Heidelberg (Victoria, not the haunt of the Student Prince).  By chance I may have saved the best 'til last.  A very good IPA style with great complexity.  At 7% a bit dangerous, but regard it as the equivalent of a good glass of red rather than equivalent to a slab of VB, and it is manageable.  Excellent stuff.
That is, as Peter Cundall used to say, yer bloomin' lot.  At least until next October!


Ian Fraser said...

It's excellent to have a hobby Martin, especially one that is so socially beneficial. Happy 2015!

Flabmeister said...

.. and also so transportable! Theer are few counties in which a beer can't be found!


Ian Fraser said...

Inspired by your excellent reviews we popped into Plonk on Saturday and got a couple each of the Feral Brewery Hop Hog and of course the South Nowra All Hallowed Ale. I have to say that they were the two best beers I've tried in some time - thank you! What you didn't mention was the AHA contains roasted pumpkin (not that I could have picked it), apparently in deference to Halloween, as alluded to in the title (all that had to be explained to me). Anyway, many thanks for the heads up!!