Tag Archives: Hoppy

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 6

Beer 6

In 6 days of the beer advent calendar we have gone through Scandinavia, hopped over to the UK, flown across to the USA, back over to Italy and now today we have arrived in Australia.  This has been quite the tour of world beers and has been incredibly enjoyable so far.

Today’s beer comes to us from Bridge RoadBrewery in Victoria, Australia.  Victoria (the city not the territory) is located about halfway between Canberra and Melbourne in the Australian Capital Territory.  Conceived in 2004/5 by Ben Kraus in his dad’s back shed, Bridge Road Brewery now produces 25Hl (2500 liters) of beer in over 20 different styles of beer.

This brewery likes to push the limits on beer recipes trying to appease their “what will happen if we do this” type mentality. They use locally sourced hops and malts and have a really unique way of profiling their beer based on the Malt level (out of 10) and the Hop level (out of 10) to allow beer drinkers to choose the style that most suits their taste preference.

The beer that has been selected for the advent calendar is called “Fat man, red suit, big sack” and is an India Red Ale.  Like the Hop Blanc, this is a red ale that has been hopped like an IPA.  It was developed specifically to be exported to Canada and showcases some of the Aussie hops: Galaxy, Enigma and Topaz.

Now, red ale is primarily used as a catch all for any beer less than a Dark ale. Some argue red ale is not really a “style” of beer but rather a pale ale that is malted differently and thus has different hues. Amber ales, red ales, and Irish Red Ales have become quite popular with breweries and are being produced worldwide.  Given that, I would say that whether it is an actual style or not, it has been widely accepted as one.

Red Ales range from amber to dark red in hue and are primarily used to focus on malts but can be hopped, like in this case.  Most have light fruitiness and as Aussie hops tend to bring tropical and citrus notes, I expect this one will be the same.  Now, onto today’s beer!

Rating: 83/100

Appearance: Amber red and cloudy.  Head was intense, not sure what happened but ended up with ¾ glass of head before dissipating.  Left foamy on top that would not dissipate.
Smell: Citrus, passion fruit and pineapple all come through quite noticeably.  There is also the sweet malty smell, almost like caramel.
Taste: The citrus, pineapple and passion fruit notes come through in a lively burst of tart bitterness that is really quite nice. It melds perfectly with the sweetness of the malt and is incredibly well balanced.  Great bitterness that isn’t too much but exactly what you’d expect in a hopped beer.
Mouth feel: Light carbonation with medium body.  Smooth in the mouth.
Overall: Really showcases the hops which was the point of this particular beer.  I haven’t had many India Red Ales in the past but for an IPA style beer this one is really well balanced and showcases the flavors really well. An excellent example of taking two styles of beer and melding them seamlessly.
Do I like it: Yes! I love IPAs though and this is a really good example of that style of beer, even if it’s called an India Red Ale.  For me, the red just refers to the color as this is basically an IPA through and through.  Very well done Bridge Road.  I would certainly buy this beer.

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 4

Beer 4

Today is the fourth day of the beer advent calendar.  We have gone from Norway to Finland, over to the UK and now ALL the way over to Portland, Maine. Opening these beers every day is almost like putting together a puzzle.  Where will they be from? How will they be organized? How many from each area will there be?  All these questions are not answerable until all 24 beers have been revealed.

Today’s beer comes to us from Peak Brewing Company in Portland, Maine.  When I first opened the bottle I had thought it was from Portland, Oregon, widely known as Brewvana, for the sheer number of craft and microbreweries.  I am not disappointed, actually the opposite, I’ve never heard of this brewing company and I’m rather intrigued by their mission.

Peak Brewing Company is all about sustainability.  Combining unique flavours, local produced ingredients, and sustainable brewing methods to create their beers.  Sometimes when I read a beer stating it is “organic” I often think of it being used as a buzzword.  It is nice to find this brewing company actually works quite hard to locally source their ingredients and to make certain they are grown organically.

The head brewer, Jon Cadoux, started off home brewing beer in the 1990s.  He decided to combine his passion for beer with his passion for sustainability and the result is Peak Brewing Company.  They brew 17 beers either produced on site or in collaboration with others.  The beers are all rather unique including a Maple Beer, Espresso, Pomegranate, and even a Mocha Ale.  The beer that I have the pleasure of trying today is their “Hop Blanc” white IPA.

White IPAs are in fact Belgian wheat beers that have been hopped like an IPA.  This means they have similar color, body and esters of a wheat beer with a noticeable hop aroma, flavour and bitterness. Not all White IPAs – nor even IPAs – are going to be the same.  There are a number of different varieties of hops that give different flavors.  With the number of possible combinations it leaves limitless opportunity for flavor palates.  White IPAs being wheat beers as well typically have more citrus notes and tend to be “fruitier.”  Really though, it depends on the brew master and their vision of the beer.  So it will be interesting to see what this one, hopped with Centennial, simcoe and citra hops, will taste.  I’m expecting, based on those hops, a tropical and citrus front.  On to the beer!

Rating: 87/100

Appearance: Golden brown and cloudy with a good amount of head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Hops, Citrus and passion fruit.

Taste: The hops, citrus and passion fruit flavours really come through in this beer.  There is only a little bitterness from the hops which works well with the overall flavours.  It is really well balanced.  There are hints of cinnamon at the very end left on the tongue which is interesting. Great balance of flavours.

Mouth feel: Smooth and medium bodied.  Not too heavy which is nice.

Overall: The hops used in this provide just enough citrus and passion fruit to add the complexity to the beer while balancing out the bitterness.  This is an excellent example of a white IPA.

Do I like it: I typically am not a fan of White IPAs but I really love this one.  It is a fantastically balanced White IPA that does not focus too much on the wheat ale nor the bitterness.  This is my favourite so far (not saying much considering it’s day 4).