Category Archive: Brewery Reviews

Black Duck Brewery

On Friday the 22nd of September I visited the Black Duck Brewery and Bar in Port Macquarie. This brewery has been in operation for five years and is using English brewing equipment that was originally used in Ballarat at the Sovereign Brewery in the early 1980’s. The equipment was purchased and then stored for 20 years when Sovereign Brewery closed down before Al, the owner of Black Duck, came across it. He negotiated a fair deal and then started his own operation.   The brewery has 4 fermenting tanks and 5 conditioning tanks that all have an outer skin made of wood for insulation and look great, they make a nice change from the usual stainless steel appearance of most breweries. The brewery also has its own bottling line.

In making the beers they use mainly Australian ingredients and have a bar in the town centre, ‘The Duck’, as well as the brewery in the industrial area for the sale of the beers. Both venues serve food and regularly have live music.

The brewery also sponsors Australian motorcycle racer Damien Cudlin. He comes from Taree which is not too far from here.   When he is not competing overseas he runs local track days to help develop the next generation of Australian racers.

Security at the brewery is taken care of by ‘Murphy ‘ a LARGE, black Great Dane.

The beers that I sampled were:

Summer Swallow, 3.5% abv, this is a golden coloured mid-strength Ale with a subtle fruit aroma. It has a fruity taste and a gentle bitterness on the finish.

Sylva Bullet, 4.5% abv, this is a golden straw coloured Pilsner with a subtle apple and yeast aroma. It has a nice clean, crisp taste and then a dry finish.

East Coast Pale Ale, 4.8% abv, this Ale has a golden colour and a citrus fruit aroma. It has a good citrus fruit flavour and a mild bitter finish.

Golden Goose American Pale Ale, 4.0% abv, this Ale has a golden straw colour and a sweet fruity hop aroma. It has a sweet tropical fruit taste and then a good hop bitter finish.

Heron’s Craic Irish Red Ale, 4.0% abv, this has an amber colour and a caramel malt aroma. It has a full malt flavour with hints of caramel and toffee.

Indian Runner, 6.0% abv, this is an India Pale Ale with a golden colour and a strong tropical fruit aroma. It has a lovely sweet malt and tropical fruit flavour before a generous hop bitter finish.

Dark Ale, 4.0% abv, this traditional dark ale has an amber colour and subtle malt aroma. It has a wonderful caramel malt flavour.

Phoenix Export Stout, 7.5% abv, this is a black coloured stout with a roasted malt aroma. It has a great full malt flavour. Excellent.

Platypus, 4.0% abv, this is an Australian Pale Ale with a dark golden colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a well balanced flavour that starts with sweet malt and then transitions into a gentle bitterness on the finish.

Mother Duck, 5.5% abv, this is an American Pale Ale with a hazy golden colour and a sweet tropical fruit aroma. It has a great fruity flavour and then a generous hop bitter finish.

The Black Duck Brewery is producing some excellent beers and has a wonderful selection to choose from. I would like to thank Al for his hospitality at the brewery and also the staff of The Duck on Clarence street for their attention when I visited them.

Paul Cooke

Moorebeer Brewing Co

On Friday the 22nd of September I visited the Moorebeer Brewing Co. in the industrial area of Port Macquarie. This is a very new brewery and taproom that has only been open now for eight weeks. They have a great venue and have live music every Friday as well as food trucks to supply a good meal. The brewery is also available for functions, catering both onsite and wherever they are required. They will travel with the requested beers and can also do food in the way of smoked and barbecued meats.

The beers that I sampled were:

Larrikin Aussie Lager, 4.4% abv, this is a golden straw coloured Lager with a clean, crisp taste and a dry refreshing finish.

Copycat Pale Ale, 4.4% abv, this Ale has a straw colour and an aroma of floral cut grass. It has a nice tropical fruit flavour and then a mild hop bitterness on the finish.

Farmhand Saison, 4.8% abv, this is a golden straw colour with a citrus aroma. It has a spicy fruit and herb flavour with a mild bitter, dry finish.

Gold Digger XPA, 4.7% abv , this has a golden straw colour and a citrus aroma. It has a strong sweet fruity flavour and then a good hop bitter finish.

Pirate Black IPA, 5.4% abv, this is a black coloured ale with a chocolate malt aroma. It has a full malt flavour of roasted coffee with hints of dark chocolate and then a smooth transition into a mild dry bitter finish.

Grease Monkey Chocolate Vanilla Porter, 4.7% abv, this beer was served on Nitro, it has a black colour and a roasted coffee and chocolate aroma. It has a great smooth mouth feel and a malt flavour of dark chocolate and sweet vanilla.

I was very impressed with the beers produced by Moorebeer Brewing Co. for such a young brewery. They have a great selection and a wonderful venue. This will definitely be a brewery to watch out for in the future. I would like to thank Brad for his hospitality and for taking the time to lead me through their range.

Paul Cooke

New England Brewing Co

On Thursday the 21st of September, I visited the New England Brewing Co. in the small town of Uralla in New South Wales. This is a small town found in the New England Region inland from Coffs Harbour and only 90km from Tamworth.

The brown brick façade that faces the main street, hides the large shed structure of the brewery, but once you enter the premises there is no doubt you have entered the beer-making hub. The hustle and bustle of the brewery serves as the backdrop to the bar, with plenty of wrap around seating to take in the activity of brewers in action as you enjoy a tasting paddle or a pint or two.

       

 

      

 

The brewery began in 2013, with the brewers recognising a need for a beer from the region, rather than one from the city. They now specialise in brewing a lot of their beers in an open fermenter. This process removes a great deal of the beer’s aroma.

The beers that I sampled were:

Brown Ale, 4.5% abv, this beer has a dark amber colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a nice malty taste with hints of caramel.

Coffee Stout, 5.6% abv, this is a black coloured stout with a roasted coffee aroma. It has a strong espresso flavour.

Pale Ale, 4.8% abv, this ale has a hazy straw colour and a very subtle floral aroma.   It has sweet fruity initial taste and then a mild bitter finish.

India Black, 6.4% abv, this is a dark brown India Ale with a fruity aroma. It has a sweet initial taste and then a huge fruity hop bitter finish.

Vanilla Wheat, 4.3% abv, this wheat beer has a cloudy straw colour and a subtle vanilla aroma. It has a nice sweet flavour of vanilla and bananas.

India Pale Ale, 6.3% abv, this is a golden coloured ale with a subtle fruity aroma. It has a strong fruity taste and then a generous hop bitter finish.

They also have a Flying Ram Lager at 4.7% abv.

The New England Brewing Co. is producing a great range of beers and has a good following from the locals. I would like to thank Ben for his hospitality when I visited.

The brewery is open Thursday to Saturday 11m – 6pm with the pizza kitchen open on Saturdays.

Paul Cooke

The Bellingen Brewery and Co

On Saturday the 16th of September I visited The Bellingen Brewery and Co. in the town of Bellingen, New South Wales. This brewery celebrated its second anniversary in July this year. The brewery has a philosophy of sustainability and was constructed mainly from local timbers and salvaged material.

                

It shares the space with Big Fig Arts, which means that the brewery has an interesting collection of different artworks on display. They have a wonderful venue and regularly host live music. The brewery also has food available with great wood fired pizzas being prominent on the menu and the ones that I tasted were delicious.

        

The beers that I sampled were:

Ginger Beer, 3.5% abv, this is a cloudy, straw colour with a strong ginger aroma. It has a nice full flavour of sweet ginger with a gentle spicy finish.

Bello Pale Ale, 4.5% abv, this is a golden colour with a subtle citrus aroma. It has a wonderful, sweet malt driven flavour then a mild bitter finish. Nice!

Prize Pig Porter, 4.5% abv, this is a black coloured Porter with a creamy head and an aroma of roasted coffee malt. It has lovely smooth mouth feel and a solid malt flavour with strong coffee hints on a mild bitterness. Lovely and quite sessionable.

The brewery also had some of the New England Brewing Co. beers on tap so I gave them a try. The beers that I sampled were:

Flying Ram Lager, 4.7% abv, this is an amber coloured Lager with a smooth malty flavour on a crisp finish. Very good.

Brown Ale, 4.5% abv, this Ale has a dark amber colour and a sweet malty caramel aroma. It has a wonderful malt taste with strong hints of caramel. Excellent!

Hop Cannon, 6.4% abv, this is a black IPA with a sweet floral aroma. It has a sweet malt initial flavour and then a strong, fruity, hop bitter finish.

I enjoyed my visit to The Bellingen Brewery and Co. and would like to thank Rain and Corey for their hospitality. They have a great venue and are producing some fantastic beers. Well worth the visit.

The brewery is open Wednesday to Friday 5pm – 11pm and on Saturday and Sunday Midday to 11pm.

Paul Cooke

Fixation Brewing Co

On the 7th September I revisited Stone & Wood Brewing in Byron Bay, New South Wales to try the Fixation Brewing Co IPA beers and a couple of other special beers. The beers that I sampled were:
1. Fixation IPA, 6.4% abv, this is a hazy golden coloured IPA with a strong citrus hop aroma. It has a lovely sweet citrus flavour that transitions smoothly into a great bitterness on the finish.
2. Saison Du Pops, 7.0% abv, this is a very limited beer that was made as a tribute to Neil Whithorn for his 70th birthday. He is a very special brewer who has mentored many brewers through Stone and Wood and is the Guru of brewing in this part of the world. It is a hazy straw coloured farmhouse style beer with a lovely yeasty and banana aroma. It has a great, smooth banana flavour that is very true to the style. A perfect Saison!
3. Fixation, The Fix, 8.2% abv, this is a double IPA that is golden in colour with a very strong, sweet citrus aroma. It has a wonderful strong fruit flavour and a huge, lingering bitterness. Fantastic!
4. Christmas Barley Wine, 11.5% abv, this is a special drop that was made for the Stone and Wood Christmas party. It has a hazy amber colour and a super strong Christmas cake aroma. It has been aged in Lark whiskey barrels for 5 months and is smooth, rich and yummy with flavours of raisins like only a great barley wine can be. Truly wonderful!!
5. Stone and Wood, Stone Beer, 6.7% abv, this one was tasted at The Railway Hotel in Byron Bay and is a limited release beer that is made annually in the traditional method of putting hot stones into the brew to boil the wort. It is a dark amber brown colour with a roasted malt aroma. It has a great complex malt flavour with hints of smoke and caramel. Very, very nice indeed.

I would like to thank Cale, once again, for his wonderful hospitality. He really is a great host and does a fantastic job of promoting Stone and Wood Brewery and to top it off a great West Aussie.

Paul Cooke

Byron Bay Brewery

On 6 September I visited the Byron Bay Brewery in Byron Bay, New South Wales. This is a great venue for a drink, a meal or to catch a band, they have the area for it all. On top of this they have some wonderful beers. The beers that I sampled were:

  1. Rosy One, 3.5% abv, this is a red mid-strength lager with an amber colour and a subtle malt aroma. It has a nice initial malt taste of caramel and then a clean, crisp finish. It won a silver medal at the AIBA this year. Very sessionable
  2. Hazy One, 4.4% abv, this is a lager with a cloudy golden straw colour and a subtle fruit aroma from the Melba hops used. It has a nice, gentle fruit flavour on a mild bitterness with a crisp dry finish.
  3. Pale One, 4.5% abv, this is an Australian style Pale Ale that is golden coloured with a lovely passionfruit and tropical fruit aroma from the Galaxy and Cascade hops used. It has a wonderful fruity flavour with good passionfruit hints and a mild hop bitter finish. Very easy drinking.
  4. Bold One, 5.7% abv, this is an India Pale Lager with a golden straw colour and a creamy head that has a subtle, sweet citrus and grapefruit aroma. It has a nice malty backbone and then a good strong, lingering fruity, hop bitterness on a crisp finish. It has an IBU of 60. This one also won a silver medal at the AIBA.
  5. Lively One, 6.6% abv, this is an American style IPA that has a golden colour and a great aroma of citrus fruit from the Citra hops used. It has a sweet initial taste and then a huge fruit bitterness that lingers. True to the style. It has an IBU of 80. Nice!
  6. Mocha Rocka, 5.1% abv, this is a coffee Porter that is a seasonal brew. It has a dark amber colour and a strong espresso aroma. The mouth feel is creamy and the flavour is one of malt and coffee with a mild bitter finish. Very nice!
  7. The Dark One, 5.2% abv, this is a dark Lager that has a dark brown colour and a mild roasted malt aroma. It has a lovely malt flavour with great hints of coffee, dark chocolate and caramel. It has a really solid malt backbone and is very enjoyable beer.

I really enjoyed all the beers that I sampled at the Byron Bay Brewery. They also have a great food menu to complement their beers. I would like to thank both Will and Louie for their hospitality, passion for great beer and taking the time to explain their beers and show me through the brewery. Well worth the visit!!

 

Paul Cooke

Stone and Wood Brewing

On 6 September  I visited Stone & Wood Brewing in Byron Bay, New South Wales. It is a great brewery and bar in the industrial area outside of town.

The beers that I sampled were:

  1. Green Coast, 4.7% abv, this is a straw coloured Helles style lager with a subtle malt aroma. It has a lovely sweet malt taste and then a clean, crisp finish. Very good.
  2. Cloud Catcher, 5.5% abv, this is an Australian style Pale Ale with a golden colour and a nice tropical fruit aroma. It has lovely tropical fruit flavours of passionfruit and melon before transitioning smoothly into a gentle hop bitter finish.
  3. Jasper Ale, 5.4% abv, this is an amber coloured ale with a sweet malt and tropical fruit aroma. It is well balanced with a sweet malt initial flavour and then a good citrus fruitiness on a mild bitterness. Very nice!
  4. Forefathers, 5.6% abv, this is an English style Pale Ale that is golden in colour with a subtle sweet malt aroma. It has a lovely, complex malt initial taste and then transitions smoothly into a gentle hop bitter finish. Enjoyable!
  5. Sambo’s Dubbel Down, 7.3% abv, this is a Belgian style Ale that has a hazy amber colour and a strong malt aroma. It has a wonderful, smooth, buttery mouth feel and a complex sweet malt flavour. This is very true to the style and a really wonderful beer!!
  6. Garden Ale, 3.5% abv, this is a golden coloured ale with a subtle floral aroma. It has a nice balanced flavour of malt and fruit on a mild bitterness. Very sessionable and easy drinking.
  7. Pacific Ale, 4.4% abv, this is the mainstay beer of the brewery, it is a hazy straw colour and a subtle tropical fruit aroma. It has a wonderful flavour of tropical fruit that flows easily into a mild bitterness on the finish. A great beer!
  8. East Coast Citrus IPA, 6.2% abv, this is a collaborative brew with other AIBA winners. It has a cloudy straw colour and a sweet passionfruit and tropical fruit aroma. The taste is one of strong stone fruit and then a generous, lingering hop bitter finish. Quite wonderful!

The Stone and Wood Brewery are doing wonderful things and producing some fantastic beers. I would really like to thank Cale for his hospitality and enthusiasm, he made a good afternoon great. This is a brewery that is well worth visiting!

 

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Brewhouse Brisbane

On the 31 August I visited Brewhouse Brisbane to try the Brisbane brewing co. They are found in Woolloongabba near Southbank, Queensland.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. B.P.A., 4.2% abv, this is an Australian style Pale Ale with a golden straw colour and a subtle tropical fruit aroma. It has a mild malt taste and then a good tropical fruitiness on a solid hop bitter finish.
2. Brissy Pils, 4.9% abv, this Pilsner has a pale straw colour and a mild yeast and apple-like aroma. It has a nice sweet malt initial taste and then a gentle bitterness on a crisp dry finish.
3. Brisbane Walker Texas Ranger IPA, 6.0% abv, this American style IPA has a golden colour and strong, sweet citrus hop aroma. It has a gentle sweet malt initial flavour that is overwhelmed by a huge resinous mouth feel and a strong, lingering hop bitter finish.
4. Toasty Oat, 5.6% abv, this is a dark brown coloured oatmeal stout with a roasted malt and coffee aroma. It has a smooth mouth feel and a nice roasted malt flavour with dark chocolate and espresso hints on a mild bitterness.
5. Mild Horses, 3.3% abv, this is an English style dark mild Ale with a dark amber colour and subtle caramel malt aroma. It has a lovely malt flavour with hints of toffee and caramel on a dry finish. Very nice and sessionable.
They were all the Brisbane Brewing Co. beers that I sampled, however, they also make a Brisbane Sunset which is a golden Ale at 3.0% abv and a Brisbane The Dog’s Bollocks which is an ESB at 6.1% abv.

Paul Cooke

Ballistic Beer

On Thursday 31st August, I visited Ballistic Beer in Salisbury, Queensland. They started brewing in 2016 and have already established themselves as great craft brewery, picking up three gold medals at the 2017 AIBA.
The beers that I sampled were:
1. Pilot Light, 3.5% abv, this is a traditional table beer with a golden colour and a sweet fruit aroma. It has a mild malt flavour and a dry finish. Sessionable.
2. Dirty Word, 5.0% abv, this is a craft lager that is straw coloured and has a subtle sweet citrus aroma. It has a nice mild malt palate and then has a gentle bitterness on a crisp dry finish. A very good lager.
3. Fortnight, 6.1% abv, this is a single hop IPA that has a golden straw colour and a sweet floral and citrus hop aroma. It has a great sweet fruity initial taste and then transitions into a strong, resinous, lingering hop bitter finish.
4. Australian Psycho, 6.5% abv, this is an IPA with a golden colour and a strong fruit aroma. It has an immediate fruity flavour with hints of mango and apricot on a mild background of malt before a solid hop bitterness that lingers. Very nice.
5. Dragon Lady, 5.0% abv, this is an apple cider with a golden straw colour and subtle apple aroma. It has a strong, semi- sweet apple taste. Great!
6. B.F.S. (Big Friendly Stout), 5.0% abv, this is a black oatmeal stout with an aroma of roasted coffee. It has a nice mouth feel and a wonderful malt flavour with hints of chocolate, smoke and a coffee bitter finish. Very good!
7. Black IPA, 6.8% abv, this is a black ale with a strong sweet tropical fruit aroma. It has a lovely sweet initial flavour and then a great taste of tropical fruit on a good bitterness before a dry finish. Quite delicious!
8. The Grandfather, 7.0% abv, this is an Oaked Ale with an amber colour and a subtle sweet, buttery malt aroma. It has smooth flavour of malt with great hints of caramel, toffee and coconut. Wow! A great beer!

I really enjoyed all the beers that I tried at Ballistic Beer Co. and would like to thank Evan Lloyd for his hospitality. This is a brewery that is definitely worth visiting.

Paul Cooke

Brewery Reviews

Paul Cooke

Our resident Brewery Reviewer Paul Cooke is traveling around Australia visiting breweries and tasting beer. It is hard job, but of course someone has to do it. Paul provides some general information about the brewery and also reviews a range of their beers, whilst his wife Laura captures the location in images.

If like most people, you can’t make it to all these breweries, at least you can live vicariously through them and enjoy reading all about the amazing array of breweries that we have in Australia.

To date they has visited over 100 breweries and you can see a map of all the breweries they have visited here. You can of course can read all their reviews here and make sure you follow on Facebook to see all the latest reviews,

 

 

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