Category Archive: General

What‘s going to be Hot and What’s Not in 2017.

With the voting well underway to determine the Hottest 100 Australian Craft beers for 2016, it is a good time to reflect on some of the trends of the past year.

The 2015 list  contained a large percentage of Pale Ales and IPA’s including 9 out of the top 10, the other one being a Kolsch. Of the 9, only 2 of those were darker, 1 being Modus Operandi’s Former Red Tennant IPA, and the other being Feral’s Karma Citra Black IPA.

With the exception of a couple of Stouts, the top 40 beers of 2015 were nearly all Pales or IPA’s and you had to get down to position 42 to find something a bit different with a Sirène Brewing – Praline Belgian Specialty Ale.

So what is going to change with the top 100 for 2016? Well probably not a lot actually. We will no doubt see more of the same with some of the popular IPA’s from Pirate Life and Feral continuing to take out top spots, followed by a barrage of contenders from brewers like  PACT, Green Beacon, Bentspoke, Balter, Black Dog, Newstead, Akasha and Modus Operandi.

So that is what HAS been hot in 2016, but what about 2017? Well this is what I am hoping for.

Hopefully we have seen the peak of IPA’s in Australia and we will start to see some more variety from brewers in 2017. Why I hear you ask? Well basically because I am over them. I think we have all had a love affair with a good IPA over the past few years, but every time we found ourselves enjoying one, there was another one on the shelf, waiting to be drunk. After a while, the singles weren’t enough so we started moving to the Double IPA’s and that is where the real fun began. BIG citrusy flavours, smoky texture and hops coming out of our ears. You started with 40 IBU’s, and quickly skipped to 60 or 70, and before you know it, you are looking for 100+ which is basically like sucking on a bud of resin from the hop plant. But once you get to that level, what now? You can’t go back, because the nice sweet IPA with 40 IBU’s just don’t cut it any more. That’s because with these beers, bigger and bolder is the way to go and because HOPS is the only flavour in the beer. They don’t have any other layers, it’s just HOP THE HELL out of it and see how far you can take it.

So what would I like to see on the Hot List for 2017? Well that’s easy. Let’s start with the styles.  Red Ales, Brown Ales, Pilsners, Lagers, Saisons, Sours and Speciality Beers. Why these styles? Well with most of them (except lagers) they have a number of layers going on. They are complex, with multiple flavours attacking your senses. They are often more malt driven, than hop driven and each flavour has something to offer, rather than one BIG hop bill, taking centre stage. Here are just a few beers that fit this bill and I would like to see more of in 2017.

5 Barrels Imperial Stout – Aged in Shiraz Barrels for 4 months, this Stout takes on the flavour of the Shiraz so much, you sometimes forget you are drinking beer and the after taste has you believing you just finished of a glass of red. It’s simply amazing.

Dainton Red Eye Rye – Like a sweet temptress this red head seduces you with her velvet tongue. As she passes your lips she slips down your throat and warms your heart, leaving you entwined in her love, wanting more. Much more.

Hop Dog Beer Works –  A feast of Stevens White Stout. Well it’s not really white, it’s Amber, but it certainly is a feast. A feast on the senses with your mouth and nose convinced your drinking a stout and your eyes telling you that you’re drinking an Amber. It’s not just a novelty beer though, it’s a damn tasty one,

Mornington Brown – This English style Brown Ale has more layers than an eighties punk rock hair do. It’s got toffee, raisins, chocolate and nuts and they all seem to unfold one at a time. The mouthfeel is sublime and you feel like you are eating your way through a meal, rather than drinking it.

Lobethal Crème Brulee – This relatively unknown brewer, punches out some great beers, but this one takes the cake, or the dessert (beer) to be more precise. If you have ever had a Crème Brulee you will remember how you can savour the Vanilla bean flavours for ages after you have finished your sweet, and this beer leaves you feeling the same way. Dessert beers have their place, so they are not a lawnmower beer, but after a nice dinner, they go down a treat.

Tumut River Brewing Co –  Blowering Blonde.  Normally I wouldn’t give much attention to a Blonde (beer that is) but this one is special. It’s an absolutely smashable beer, but one that’s full of flavour and so refreshing, it would be hard to stop at 1 or 7. This Blonde certainly has more fun !

Bacchus Brewing – Anyone that knows Bacchus knows that it would be impossible to single out just one of Ross’s beers, so I won’t even try. All I can say is that we just want to see more of his incredulous creations, pushing the boundaries in every direction. More Bacchus in 2017 !

Two Birds – Taco and Sunset Ale – Both these beers are unique and needed to be included in the same way that Jane and Danielle need to be included. Not because they are women, but because they brew great beer. The Taco delivers exactly on it’s promise and has to be one of the best wheat beers ever produced in this country and the Sunset Ale is another multi layered malt beer, that goes down like a sunset, anytime.

Shenangians Malt Assault – As the description says, Sick of being blown away by hop bombs? Fight back with a Malt Assault.” This is the malt equivalent of a Double IPA and is like dunking Malt biscuits on your beer.

Other brewers to watch out for in 2017,

Cupitt’s in Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast. Known mainly for their wines, Cupitt’s have started brewing some beers and they are surprisingly good. Their Pale Ale (yes I know another Pale) is very tasty and the Belgian is very worthy of it’s heritage.

Bentspoke are expanding their operations and have opened a cannery to support their brewpub in Canberra. Richard has been pushing the boundaries in a number of areas including the Cluster 18 IPA with 18% ABV. Talk about chewing on resin.

PACT – Another Canberra brewer making a name for himself is Kevin Hingston. Now I know I have talked down the IPA’s and Pale Ales but if you are going to make a Pale Ale, make it like the Mount Tennant Pale Ale, one of the most refreshing Pales you could ever set your hands on. His Brown is pretty damn good too.

To be honest, I am only scratching the surface here because there are so many good breweries opening up. I just hope that 2017 brings some more variety and we start to see some of these other styles get the same sort of recognition, that the Pales and IPA’s do. There will always be a place for them, but there should also be some room for the malt driven beers, because they add so much

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Win a Beer Crate for 4 mates

Beer CrateBeer Crate and We Love Craft Beer are teaming up to give away a great prize for 4 mates. The prize consists of 12 hand picked craft beers from Beer Crate, a craft beer tasting paddle and some WLCB merchandise with a total value of over $100. What better way to share some great craft beers with your mates.

Entry to the competition is easy too and will only take a minute. Here is what you need to do.

  1. Head over to the We Love Craft Beer Facebook group and add yourself and 3 mates
    (If you are already a member, just add 3 mates)
  2. Add a comment to the competition post in the group saying you have done it and tag your mates.

That’s it ! The winners will be picked at random on 30 June and announced on Facebook. So what are you waiting for ?

 

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Time to prepare your beer fridge for Winter

If you are anything like us your craft beer fridge tends to get pretty full during the summer months. The “singles” shelves tend to grow quickly as you find new variations to sample including Pilsners, Summer Ales, Saisons, Golden Ales and Pale Ales. These are great beers for the warmer months and make a good Beer O Clock beers. The slightly stronger IPA’s and even the Double IPA’s are also suitable for summer with their citrusy hops and biterness, as are the American Pale Ales if you like a more balanced beer. Of course, it wouldn’t be a summer of beer without the aptly named Lawn Mower Beers which are based on the Solo slogan where you can “Slam it down fast”. Then their is the Australian institution, the Sessional beer which you can take a 6 pack of to your mates BBQ or party.

But of course, all good things must come to an end and with summer behind us now, and as we move towards the colder months, Autumn is the perfect time to start preparing your beer fridge for winter. Here are out top 10 tips for getting your fridge into shape.

  1. Prune back your Pilsners.
  2. Lop off your Lagers
  3. Saw off any extra Saisons and Summer Ales
  4. Starting building your collection of Brown Ales
  5. Experience a couple of ESB’s
  6. Get Ready for some Red Ales
  7. Bulk up your Belgians (although they may not require refrigeration)
  8. Prepare for some Porters
  9. Stock up on Stouts
  10. When things get really cold, curl up with a Russian Imperial Stout

Of course there is the fridge itself to consider too. Once you have done all your pruning you should be able to swap over from your summer fridge to your winter bar fridge (see pictures below) and most importantly remember to adjust the temperature. Whilst your summer fridge needs to be running at around around 3-4 degrees (depending on how often you open it), the temperature of your winter fridge is probably better to be sitting around 6-8 degrees (depending on it’s content) to ensure  you get the most flavour out of your winter brews.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there now and start preparing your beer fridge for winter.

Beer Fridge

Before

 bar_fridge

After

 

 

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Why one beer is never enough

craft_beer_haul

You can always pick a craft beer enthusiast by the haul of beer they are carrying. There are 16 different bottles in one box, because they only ever buy 1 of each beer to ensure they can stretch their dollar and their palettes as far as possible. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of it and there is nothing wrong with trying LOTS of different beers, but is one beer really enough to get a good handle on how good a beer is?

Well if you are like me, you often keep an eye out for what all the “cool kids” are drinking on the web and reading all the reviews. You hone in on a Funky Little Saison and make a few mental notes and next time you hit the bottle shop you trawl through all the shelves of IPA’s, Stouts and find the elusive bottle. You pop that in your box and continue hand selecting the best beers on offer and make your way home. Proud of your haul, you snap a picture of them all spread out over the table and post it to Instagram or your favourite Facebook Group. Your craft beer friends make comments like “great haul” and “where did you pick those up” and you feel very chuffed with yourself.

Some time shortly after, you crack the lid on this Farmhouse Ale and pour it into your craftd glass ready for a tasting and snap a quick pic so you are ready to post your beer review. The first taste, well it doesn’t impress you, in fact it doesn’t taste anything like what you expected. You quickly scroll through your phone and find the review that your mate did last week where he talked about Grapefruits and wonder what happened to the mouth puckering tartness that was promised on the label. WTF is going on? I didn’t pay $15 for a 500ml bottle of Solo. You take a few more mouth fulls just to be sure and now that you are, you are wondering what the hell is going on. You look for the Best By Date which can never be read, and wonder if it is off. The bottlo is you local and you know he moves stock quickly though, so it should be fine. Why can’t I taste what every one else can then? Did the Pilsner I had before it effect my taste buds, or is my palette just so used to tartness that I can’t taste it anymore?

Damn it, I was really looking forward to that. I wonder if I just had one more bottle and I could have tried it with a Stir Fry instead of before dinner, would it have tasted any different?

Well if we assume it wasn’t off, or past it’s used by date, I think the answer could be YES, it could taste quiet different on another day. You see I think our taste buds change, and I am not talking over years, I am talking from day to day and week to week. I reckon you can have the same beer on 3 different occasions and it tastes different each time you try it.

Recently I have tested this theory by going back and buying beers that I had some time ago, and trying them again. I have even looked up my past reviews and read them and compared them to what I am tasting now and whilst the guts of it doesn’t change, certainly some aspects of it do. One flavour might be more or less pronounced, or you might pick up something different on the nose.

I challenge you to take this test and revisit a beer you haven’t had for a while and compare it to your past review and see if it differs. You might be surprised what you find.

Of course one way to avoid this happening is to buy at least 2 of each beer that you try and have one now and one later. That has to be a good thing anyway, doesn’t it?

 

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Gettin’ Crafty With It !

Whether you a Virgin Crafty, a Closet Crafty beer lover, or a genuine Craft Beer Snob you are now amongst friends. Hop on board with us, strap yourself in and get ready for the beerducation of your life.

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Get it right, or don’t brew it !

Beer Style NaziWhy the right beer style is important

I’m a Style Nazi and beer styles are important. I read the Beer Association or  BJCP  guidelines and if a brewer doesn’t brew a beer to  fit in the style guidelines, I’m grumpy as all hell. Why ?  I’ll tell you why.

I have worked in retail and marketing most of my life and both of these industries go under the microscope when it comes to delivering on your promise. For example, if you advertise or sell a watch and you say it is “water resistant” it must be able to be immersed in water without water entering the watch.

The sale of any product or service in Australia is regulated under Australian Consumer Law which protects the consumer and outlines the requirements of the manufacturer or supplier.  It covers a whole range of areas but in summary it says that goods must be:

  1. Of acceptable quality
  2. Fit for any specified purpose (like the watch)
  3. Match the description – It specifically says “Suppliers and manufacturers guarantee that their description of goods is accurate.

Whilst you could argue that some beers are not “of acceptable quality” (although unless it was off, it would be subjective), I believe you could argue that if a manufacturer called a beer a “Pilsner” and it didn’t match the official style guidelines, then their description of goods  is NOT accurate.

Now I am not going to suggest that if a beer which is called a Pilsner doesn’t match the style guidelines that you set about taking legal action against the brewer. After all this is Australia, not America. What I am saying though is that this is deceiving because the consumer is buying the beer based on the description that is given to it, and if the description is not correct then you have a right to be disappointed.

NOW, BEFORE YOU ALL GO OFF YOUR BRAINS ……… and say “If every brewer brewed to the guidelines we would get the same beer all the time” just take a chill pill and finish reading the post.

Two things. Firstly, there is plenty of scope within the style guidelines to brew different types of beer    AND MORE IMPORTANTLY .. I want brewers to push the boundaries with beer !

Yes that is right, go ahead and brew anything you want, use goat cheese or goat urine, whatever you want, just don’t call it something it is not.

Wine manufacturers do this all the time, they mix varieties and styles. If you want to brew a beer that sits somewhere between a Pale Ale and a Pilsner, call it a Pilsner Pale Ale, or a PPA, or just call it Nancy, I don’t care. Just don’t call it a Pilsner if it isn’t one !

End of Rant, but watch out for more rants from the Style Nazi

 

 

 

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