MODUS OPERANDI SESSIONAL IPA

Origin – Australia

ABV- 4.1%

Size- 500mL

Style- Indian Pale Ale

Modus Operandi, or MO as Gibbs would say on NCIS (the real one, forget that LA shit!)… i.e. ‘every killer has their own MO’, is a particular way of doing something, and the crew at MO brewing certainly have a killer of a way of doing things! And this husband and wife team of Grant and Jaz Wearin, from Mona Vale on the Northern Beaches of NSW, state their MO as ‘beer first’. Based on the amount of awards they’ve picked up since sealing the first XXXL tinny in 2014, I’m not sure if it relates to the trophy cabinet or their methods of importing live yeast from USA, the finest speciality hops from the Czech Republic or amazing malts from…well Malta I guess? Either way since stunning a packed house at their first beer awards, taking the gong for Australia’s best IPA, and after only 3 months in business, this MO has been a consistent winner. And the Sessional IPA fits the mould perfectly. After pouring with a clear golden head, and a fine creamy, long lasting lacing, the nose is all citrus and melon. On the palette you get small hop hit from the simcoe, citra and chinook, however the trinity of hops is remarkably well balanced with the presence of ‘Maltese’ malt, giving it a nice level of complexity. For me, I’d love a little oooompha, but then it wouldn’t be a sessional IPA would it? And if the 500mL tinny is not big enough for you, get over the brewery. You can get take homes in a 1L squealer and a 2L growler. If you simply can’t go past a tinny, there’s even a 1L CANimal…which is MO for drinking out of a super big can!

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MOON DOG OLD MATE

Origin – Australia
ABV- 5.0%
Size- 375mL
Style- Pale Ale
Given our slogan, what better way is there to craft a conversation with an old mate, than with an Old Mate! Granted the Bandido wearing lemur in spurs on the neon orange label is a somewhat random, however, the image does pretty much sum up the Moon Dog Brewery….somewhat random…or crazy…or maybe just downright weird. I guess you’ve got to be a little left of field to brew the likes of Pumpkin Porter, Gingerbread Brown and Perverse Sexual Amalgam. Or perhaps it’s just good for PR, after all, Donald Trump seems to be getting plenty of media attention by posting one random tweet after another. Unlike Don however, the two brothers Josh and Jake, and their old mate Karl, have real hair, and brew beers that ensure it will stand up from first sip, to the bottom of the bottle. And although the pale ale is no longer the new black of the craft beer world, there is nothing usual about this one. On the pour, it’s a dark straw colour. While the best way to describe the nose is an American Pale crossed with a tin of 2 fruits! And it’s not only on the nose, but the palette itself that is dominated by peach and orange citrus…I did mention early right that these lads from Abbotsford, just west of inner city Melbourne, were random brewers right? That said, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The Cascade hops and caramel malts go a long way in balancing off the fruity flavours, and you’re left with a crisp and highly drinkable beer. I’ll be honest, it’s not really my style of beer, but it’s distinct enough never to be forgotten, ensuring that one day I’ll look back remember my Old Mate.

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HAWTHORN BREWING COMPANY PILSNER

Origin – Australia
ABV- 4.6%
Size- 330mL
Style- Pilsner
The story of the Hawthorn Brewing Company is similar to that of many, boy meets boy who meets another boy, who tries his hand at home brewing, and before long the first two boys convince the other boy that ‘this shit ain’t too bad’ and they all move to Hawthorn and open up a microbrewery. Well that’s not quite the story of Dazza, Pete and Hamish, the three boys who grew up in Mooroolbark, in Melbourne’s east. Rather the story goes that Hamish, the homebrewer among them spent his ‘informative’ years traveling world, and like all good Aussie larrikins, spend a significant amount of that time with a beer in hand. However unlike many, he managed to get further than Earls Court or Temple Bar, and instead explored beer cultures from the likes of the artisanal ales of Belgium, the classic lagers from Germany, South America and Asia, to the hand pumped ales of England and the micro brewed beers from USA. Preferring to class the adventure, as the journey of a flavour merchant, (hence the beer label) rather than a trip down the silk road, Hamish returned down-under ready to take his home brewing to an entirely new level. The trio produced their first commercial batch of Pale Ale in 2009 and haven’t looked back since. This Euro style Pilsner, the third beer in the stable, hit the shelves in 2010, was awarded the Bronze in the 2011 Beer Challenge London, and has been a hit ever since. On the nose you can’t miss the distinct floral whiff of the Noble hop, while the clear pour, along with the clean and crisp palate, can be attributed to the cool fermentation and lengthy cold storage. She finishes with subtle spicy aroma, delivered by dry hopping late in the brewing process. It’s easy drink, but with still just enough going on to make it memorable …unlike most nights from your trip to Temple Bar.

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PIRATE LIFE PALE ALE

Origin – Australia
ABV- 5.4%
Size- 355mL
Style- Pale ale
September 19 may well be “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, though there’s a fair chance that once you get a taste for the line up from lads at Pirate Life, you’d give up your peg leg any day of the year for the chance to swill another one. I’m told the name of this custom built brewery in Hindmarsh South Australia has nothing to do with blowing people out of the water, however since Captain Jack Cameron and his second mate Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot canned their first beer in 2015, there’s been ‘ship’ loads of it consumed all over Australia. However the quality of this Pirate Life pale ale is far from a story of stumbling over fool’s gold, but rather a tale of a long journey seeking buried treasure. Jack and Jared first learnt the craft from the modern day masters, at Brewdog in Scotland, before then refining there techniques in one of Australia’s best craft beer hothouses, Little Creatures. With experience and knowledge beyond their years now under their belts, they set sail for Adelaide, with a clear direction on where they wanted to take their beers and their brewery. They began brewing with the philosophy that ‘good beer plays a big part in enriching lives’ and that’s pretty much been converted into liquid format in this 355mL can. Best poured into a jam jar (or glass if your shorts are hanging above mid-thigh height) you’ll first notice on the nose that there’s a gentle pine forest floor character followed by a cannon ball of a hit of hoppy bitterness, driven by the Mosaic and Cascade finishing hops. Take a big swig and you’ll soon taste the solid malty backbone and a characterful yeast that’s required to balance that big hop flavour. Yet given all those hops, it finishes light and crisp and much less bitter than you’d first envisage. Given the opportunity, I’d be the first lining up to walk the plank and jump into an icy sea filled with these patch wearing pale ales.

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MATILDA BAY WILD YAK PACIFIC ALE

Origin – Australia
ABV- 4.2%
Size- 330mL
Style- Ale
If you round up the herd of Yaks you’ll notice the new baby in paddock. I assume the breeders over at the Matilda Bay stables got the Fat Yak and Lazy Yak together for a date night and…. or perhaps, more accurately, the marketing team were out for a long lunch, slurping down a few freshly shucked oysters, and knocking the top off some amazing Stone & Wood Pacific Ale’s, and through the lenses of some beer googles thought to themselves ‘we should get on this train’. The result, as it says on the label, is a fresh and fruity pale ale with tropical fruit characters…but only just when compared to what it seems to be mimicking. Very much like the Stone and Wood, or any other beer for that matter, it is both wet and smooth, however unlike the Stone and Wood, it has much less body, making it much easier drinking, which makes it perfect for a sessional on a hot summer’s day. The label however looks a treat…perhaps if the brewer had the same performance bonus as the marketing team who designed the look and feel, it may be a whole different story.

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