Part 2 of my “T10SF:2013” is the countdown to my favourite beer this year. As mentioned yesterday it is based on beers I have tried for the first time this year, rather than strictly new releases etc etc.
Part 1 is here .
Any surprises so far? I reckon there might be a couple here. Let’s do it.
This gueuze from Belgium’s youngest Lambic “blendery” arrived on our shores a few months ago. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw it listed behind a bar but it instantly won me over.
A blend of 5 lambics from other Belgian lambic breweries it has flavours of apricot, hay and citrus. Brilliantly sour without being over the top.
I could talk all day about sour beer but I still don’t really feel like I completely understand them, nor can I fully explain why I love them. I do though. Let’s leave it at that.
Boon – Oude Gueuze: Probably the most approachable and readily available of the Belgian gueuzes on our shores, it’s a great intro to the style. Get some soft cheese and give it a whirl.
A huge black IPA that is absolutely an American beer the whole way through. Big rich pine, orange, roast malt and a long resinous finish. Waves of aroma and flavour from each element combine for a long lasting palate coating treat.
The bottle I had was hugely over-carbonated so I just poured it into two glasses and let one settle in the fridge and swapped and topped as I went. People get precious about carbonation but a little bit of patience solves all.
There is an “imperial” version called “Hoppy Feet 1.5”, which has a higher rating on Ratebeer but I thought that was off balance and slightly alcoholic. I far prefer the original.
Kooinda – Black IPA: Easily my favourite Australian Black IPA and the one that made me fall in love with the style. It’s been a while but you can read my review of it from 2011 here: http://aleofatime.com/2011/08/02/ipa-week-2011-kooinda-black-ipa/
I don’t know why I’d never tried this beer until this year. Mornington Peninsula are a brewery that I’ve always enjoyed but never taken a heap of notice from. I can’t explain why but it happens I guess.
My first checkin on Untappd said “seems slightly under-attenuated which is a shame because there seems to be a good beer hiding under there”. Subsequent checkins resulted in a raise in the rating and now there is usually a bottle or 6 in our fridge.
galaxy-hop Amarillo and Citra loaded beer, it is all passionfruit. Similar to Stone and Wood Pacific Ale, but cleaner and crisper. For my money; this is the best Pale in the country right now. Fortunately it’s also on tap at my local.
Australia Brewery – The Pale Ale: Also taking its cues from the Stone and Wood Pacific Ale; this one stands out because it is in a can. The benefits of canned beer are numerous and expect to see more on our shelves within the next year. Pick some up next time you are going camping.
Another one brewed for GABS 2013, this one is an IPA brewed with chili, vietnamese mint and lime juice.
What should be both a mess and a novelty it is somehow a perfect combination of flavours. The hops stand out but don’t rule and the juicy lime and slow burn from the chili are just amazing.
This one off flew off shelves around Melbourne. Bottleshop “Slowbeer” described it on their tap list as “The best beer ever”. It really made everyone stand up and take notice of this brewery’s arrival on Australian shores. It is not their first beer we’ve seen over here but it is definitely the one that made them famous across the ditch.
I have a bottle in the fridge and I don’t want it to go.
Liberty – Yakima Monster: This APA doesn’t have any lime or chili or anything, but it another example a fantastic kiwi beer hitting Australian shores in the last few months. If you haven’t tried anything from either brewery then you are missing out.
I grabbed this at random while picking up a few American IPAs at a local store. I didn’t know who Oakham Ales were, or what this beer was. However, this one from the UK blew everything else completely out of the water.
A single hop (Citra) harvest IPA? I don’t like single hop beers and think harvest beers are usually hit or miss (for those unaware, harvest beers use fresh hops as they are picked, rather than dried. Typically a lot more hops are needed for good results and personally I find the flavours aren’t always as rounded).
So how is this my favourite beer of the year?
I can tell you how… it is fantastic. So fragrant with rich tropical aromas bursting out of the glass, you can smell it from across the room and it has layers of mango, orange, citrus and… I don’t know – just pick a tropical fruit and you’ll be able to taste it in there somewhere.
With a sharp bitterness that is dry and refreshing but lingering, it is everything that I love about IPAs and more.
Unlike the Garage Project beer above, I couldn’t help myself. I went back and bought the last two bottles and drank them both right away.
I don’t think it can be topped.
Bridge Road Brewers – Harvest 2013: Not as tropical, nor as big as the Green Devil, this is definitely one for a hot day (which is a shame because it’ll be all gone by summer). Definitely my favourite Australian harvest beer from any year.
So there you go. My top 10 for the year so far. Any objections? Am I wrong? Probably.
Tell me why. Tell me yours.