SIERRA NEVADA TORPEDO EXTRA IPA

Origin – United States of America
ABV- 7.2%
Size- 473mL
Style- Indian Pale Ale

Is it the torpedo sized can?  Could it be the torpedo sized alcohol %?  Possibly the torpedo sized price? Perhaps the torpedo sized flavour? None of the above. The name is in fact derived from the revolutionary ‘Hop Torpedo’ process. Dry hopping, the addition of hops to cold beer that allows the aromatic oils and resins to infuse the beer with flavor and aroma without adding any additional bitterness, still wasn’t delivering the hop hit that the lads at Sierra Nevada were after, thus one crazy night the ‘Torpedo’ was born – a stainless steel device packed with hops that the fermenting beer is circulated though and then back into the tank. The result is an incredibly balanced beer. The flavour of the hops on the front end transitions perfectly to the sweet caramel malt in the middle and the bitterness of the Magnum, Crystal and Citr hops to finish is distinct but not overpowering. With 2.7 standard drinks in every can XL can, I’d suggest keeping a handle on the launch codes. There’s certainly nothing tiny about this month’s mystery tinny!

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WHITE RABBIT WHITE ALE

Origin – Australia
ABV- 4.4%
Size- 330mL
Style- Wheat beer

With the inevitable changes to come after a microbrewery is sold to a 40 foot giant (this time Carlton & United) a few of the lads working for Malitda Bay Brewing jumped ship, refusing to sell out on the ideals of true craft brewing to men in suits. They formed Little Creatures, which then branched out to launch the White Rabbit brewery…which they then SOLD OUT to the 400 foot Japanese-controlled giant Lion! Now let’s not be too critical lads, surely you’d do the same if someone handed you a brief case filled with close to 400 million big ones. The one thing that was in that deal for us non-corporate, free as the wind, owned by no man, ‘true’ craft beer lovers, is that the new owners retained both the key members of the brewing team and the open barrel fermenters that give White Rabbit it’s famous complex characters and aromas. And this Belgian style witbier, or white ale, is certainly true to its roots, with plenty substance and character behind it. It’s hazy in the glass as you’d expect from any wheat beer, but what’s not expected is the spiced aroma. There’s coriander, juniper berry and even a little orange peel thrown in for good measure. The taste doesn’t disappoint either, with a light to medium body that is remarkably refreshing. I’m sure the former owners find it perfect for washing down a few thousand bucks worth of Beluga caviar as an entrée.

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SUNDAY ROAD ENIGMA

Origin – Australia
ABV- 4.4%
Size- 330mL
Style- Pale Ale

It seems ‘The Shire’ (as the locals down south of Sydney know it) is the new San Francisco of Australia’s east coast, with craft breweries such as Shark Island Brewing and the Hairy Man Brewery now lining the shores of the Port Hacking. Thought it’s this small batch brewed sessional pale ale by local shire boy Brad Walker from Sunday Road that’s getting a name for itself from Northies to the Royal National Park and back. It’s a pale ale that leans towards a summer ale more than most classic PA’s: rather than all hop, it’s medium bodied, and at only 4.4% it’s perfect for knocking over under scorching hot Aussie summer sun. Give the Enigma a pour and you’ll see an ale that is golden in colour with a medium head. In the mouth there’s a real depth to it and a fine balance between hop and malt. Brad tells me the trick has been the increased post boil and the extra addition of dry hopping. For a real buzz, let it linger on the tongue and you’ll notice a nice little zing that reminds me of the bags of Fizz Whiz that you used to pick up from the local milk bars by the beach for 25c. ‘The Shire’ might not have Lombard Street, Alcatraz or the Golden Gate, but I’ll settle for Kiora road, Tom Ugly’s Bridge, Miranda Police Station and a Sunday Road any day.

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BREWDOG ACE OF CHINOOK

Origin – Scotland
ABV- 4.5%
Size- 330mL
Style- Indian Pale Ale

Although on take-off there’s a kick in the tail, this sessional IPA is not named after the twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter, but perhaps it should be. This Chinook, from the Scotland based boys at Brewdog who started out selling craft beer from the back of their van at the local farmers market, is low in strength but has an ace in the hole – a devastating hoppy aroma and flavour that has more kick than Eric Cantona. Truth be told it’s actually named after the single hop used in the brew. Don’t however let that confuse you, there was more than a single grain of the Chinook hop added to give that deliciously bitter flavour. I’d suggest that there was 243 of them per stubby, one for each of the hearts on the label!  But it’s not all bitterness. On the palate there’s a sweet grapefruit citrus hit, a little cut grass, a touch of pine and mango, all balance well on the complex toasty malt base. This fine Indian pale ale is right at home with an Indian somosa, whether that be cooked in streets of Mumbai or pick up takeaway from your local curry house. As Arnie would say, ‘to the chopper’…

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LOBETHAL BIERHAUS BOHEMIAN PHILSNER

Origin – Australia
ABV- 4.8%
Size- 330mL
Style- Pilsner

Built on the site of the original brewery in Lobethal, which only survived between 1851 and 1874, Al and Rosie opened the doors to this state of the art craft brewing Bierhaus in late 2007, but like most things from South Australia, it’s taken a while for the rest of Australia to discover it…but discover it we have. Although there’s now numerous award winning beers in the range, it all started with a tribute to all the blokes called Phil, with the Bohemian ‘Philsner’. I’m told this throwback to the original Czech pilsner comes with a bohemian twist courteously of Al’s time working as a banker in the big apple, presumably drinking beer after a hard day of short selling given he now owns a brewery outright! On the pour its light straw colour is brilliant and the clean aroma of spicy hops and fruity appley esters on the nose is somewhat fancy. However it is the perfect balance of lightness, crispness and freshness on the palate that has me hooked. So in the words of that famous Victorian Bitter advertisement, if your name’s Phil, then this one’s made for you!

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