Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Deschutes: Chasin Freshies 2014 (Mosaic wet-hopped IPA)

Two Row Bar, Fitzroy (Melbourne)

Deschutes is among one of the Pacific North West's best and most respected brewers.  In Chasin' Freshies we have a delightful brew that was generously wet-hopped with the relatively obscure, very citrus-forward Mosaic variety.  The end result is an inglorious, bright and sumptuous IPA - one that is among the year's very best.

Chasin' Freshies pours a delightfully alluring, slightly turbid light orange with a thin head that does its level best to linger.  The nose is immediately struck by shimmering, bright fruit forward aromatics.  There is dried apricot, peach; pineapple and a slight malt-driven sweetness thus providing leverage.

Seriously, this is a veritable fruit salad of a beer but instead of a cream topping (gross), we have a pungent, piny and resinous hop kick that provides well weighted balance.  Said resinous hit is the second chair here rather than the limelight-hogging star of the show.  It makes its presence known during the encore rather than the full performance piece.

Between entry and finish a cascading wash of tropical fruit flavour delights the senses: dried apricot, peach, mango, tangerine, ever so slightly sweet pineapple and passionfruit shine through.  As the beer warms, peppery spice lingers thereby adding yet more complexity.

Somehow paradoxically Chasin' Freshies boasts a full-bodied but somehow refreshing mouthfeel, which may be attributed to the brew's medium carbonation.  Moreover, the lingering hit of resin coats the teeth leaving them feel rather dried and chalky.  It is much like drinking Coca Cola but with a helluva lot less guilt.

Those who enjoyed Sierra Nevada's Northern and Southern Hemisphere wet-hopped brews need to get on this post haste.  This is the sort of beer that commands both attention and many a return visit.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Garage Project: Hop Trial #2 (Single-Hopped Double IPA)

Bought from the Freo Doctor, Fremantle (Perth).

The premise behind Garage Project's Hop Trial series is simple: collaborate with New Zealand's foremost food and plant researcher; create a brand new hop variety (through unspecified methods), brew a beer showcasing it and have the public assess the end result.   En masse appraisal might see the hop become the next big thing in beer.  I would hazard a guess that this as yet unnamed hop variety will go a very long way indeed if the second incarnation in the series is anything to go by.

Being a single-hop IPA one simply cannot expect complexity but in saying that Hop Trial #2 is not altogether devoid of subtle nuances.  Aromas of cracked black pepper, pine and grapefruit juice hyperextend to the nose and in so doing tell of what is yet to follow.  The pepperiness of the aroma follows through onto the palate with the note taking on a broader dynamic.   Hop Trial #2 is supported by a bready backbone that balances while it contrasts.  Grapefruit and dried apricot notes poke their head through the mouse hole but retreat as they are overcome by the intensely dry spice and bitter finishing characters.

Hop Trial #2 is set to the backdrop of a beautiful and alluring ochre colour and a mouthfeel that is smooth with low to medium carbonation.

The overall impression that I have of this hop variety is that it is reminiscent of a New Zealand cousin: Kohatu, but with peppery nobs on.  I am also of the thinking it would do well in accentuating and lifting the flavours of more tropical fruit-forward hop varieties, such as Citra or Mosaic; thought it might be too dense to complement Centennial or other overly resinous hops.  Upon it being unleashed onto the beer drinking world, may I suggest that it be dubbed Kakara - the Maori word for spice.

To rate this beer after enjoying it, visit

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Feral Brewing: Kelis (Saison ale)

Draught only release, The Belgian Beer Cafe (Perth)

Bringing boys to the (farm)yard.

The premise and artwork behind Feral Brewing's Kelis saison says more of a history lesson in the style than it does of brainwashing, over formulated and all round terrible pop music. As it happened, the better a farmhouse's saison, the greater its chances of luring cheap labour. As one of the unemployed ~75% of legally blind folk out there, I for one would probably come running. Loose girls singing about milkshakes are indeed surplus to requirement.

First off, I am only now becoming accustomed to old and new world saisons, hence my appreciation (and understanding) thereof is in its infancy. To my knowledge the appearance of Kelis does not look like a typical modern saison; its carbonation does not erupt in leaps and bounds like so many others do, however it bears all the other hallmarks of the style. The mouthfeel also tells of something that is fuller bodied than is typical while Kelis' colour is of a lovely straw, golden hue.

Unlike its namesake, Kelis' aromatics sing in perfect harmony with ginger, coriander, subtle spice and a suggestion of oceanic brininess. In no way do these notes belie what follows, for this solid Feral brew bounds forth with plenty of ginger, coriander, za'atar (suggestive), lemon peel and brine. All of this rides a tropically warm malt wave. The aftertaste is big on lemon zest and peel while remaining somehow dry. Believe me when I say that this is a rather difficult beer to pin down.

On the whole Kelis is a delightfully refreshing beer; perfect for summer imbibing. Moreover, I could imagine fewer better beers to accompany fried; salty, battered and vinegary goodies (best enjoyed by the seaside).