Crafting beer o’clock
I don’t often get to attend craft beer-tasting sessions, but when I do, it’s always a joyous occasion. There’s such a spectrum of flavours which we often forget as we are so accustomed to the same few brands. One of my favourites was a good robust wheat beer which I tried in Germany so many moons ago. I look forward to the day when I can have some again.
While chugging down Running With Thieves, Beer Farm and Akasha, we were serenaded by truffle fries, pizza, fried cheese and chicken wings at Mizu Bistro. Truly a winning combination in my books, thanks to Midin Asia.
Canada Bay XPA
Australian Cascade and Galaxy hops animate the waters of Canada Bay with light spirited citrus and stonefruit flavours, restrained malt profile and bitter finish.
ABV: 4.2%, Hop bitterness: 2/5
Flavours: citrus, passionfruit
My take: Fragrant bouquet, goes down easy like a soda drink if not for the bitter finish which hits quite clearly at the second half.
Freshwater Pale Ale
Resplendent with American Cascade hops, this has strong fruity, floral flavours in harmony with a sweetish, malty backbone, resulting in a brilliantly refreshing, thirst-quenching Pale Ale.
ABV: 5%, Hop bitterness: 3/5
Flavours: citrus, biscuity malt
My take: This was brilliant, super smooth and easy, and despite the higher hop bitterness rating, tasted sweeter, probably coz of the malty coating.
Full and juicy flavours, balanced with sharp malt backbone, finishing with a creamy mouthfeel from premium Australian malts. This crisp Mediterranean influenced pilsner pours golden with stunning clarity and refined earthy, woody and grassy flavours supported by restrained juice citrus and spice.
ABV: 5%, Hop bitterness: 28 IBU
Hops: German hops, Hallertau, Saaz, Malts: Carapis, Pilsner
My take: This tasted like flavoured water. The provided description was by far the most vivid and flowery, however, for me, and pretty much most of the other tasters, lacking in depth and character.
West Coast IPA
Dark oceans full of orange and pine resin, a tropical, citrusy West Coast IPA.
ABV: 6.2%, Hop bitterness: 60 IBU
Hops: Pride of Ringwood, Comet, Citra, Chrystal, Malts: Pale Malt, wheat, Vienna
My take: Maybe because this came after the Pils, this seemed full bodied. I tasted tropical pineapple and the whole tropical fruit basket. Loved this.
A shinning melon and stonefruit core of flavour elevates this to the sublime, with a lean malt profile bringing the virtues of the hops to the fore. Ending on a moderately bitter finish, its an India Pale Ale most worthy of tribute
ABV: 6.8%, Hope bitterness: 4/5
Flavours: Citrus, tropical stonefruit
My take: The slightest hints of spicy, while the moderate bitterness gave a good balance to a most pleasant brew.
The holy trinity of Amarillo, Simcoe and Centennial hops form the heart of this one, a West Coast style India Pale Ale that delivers from boring to party with its citrusy, pine and fruity notes, backed by an earthy, bitter finish.
ABV: 6.8%, Hop bitterness: 4/5
Flavours: citrus, grapefruit, pine
The bolshier take on the original India Pale Ale. With the dial turned right up, this lager sings tangerine, passionfruit and subtle coconut balanced with super clean and crisp body. Rounded off by a gratifying assertive bitterness, it’s bold and not for the faint-hearted.
ABV: 7.8%, Hop bitterness: moderate/high (50 IBU)
My take: The jury was out whether this was better or the former Mosaic as they had very similar qualities. While the flavours didn’t come off as strongly, the Hopsmith seemed to pair better with food.
Hops: Magnum, Mosaic, Saaz, Sabro, Malt: Premium Pilsner, Rye Rolled Rice, Rolled Barley
My take: this is a balsy mug of goodness that goes down oh-so smoothly. Gratifying is the word.
Big Hazy Double IPA
Brewed with the finest ingredients from Yakima Chief Hops and Cryer Malt, this packs a punch. Generously hopped throughout fermentation with a healthy whirlpool addition, the Cryo Pop blend gives us juicy mango, bright passionfruit, sweet pineapple and papaya flavours with a hint of coconut. Using the house hazy yeast strain and a whack of Canadian Malted Oats, this beer has a silky smooth body with a malt backbone.
ABV: 7.7%, Hop bitterness: moderate (40 IBU)
Hops: Cryo Pop Original Blend, Citra, Idaho 7
My take: Sweetish, this probably had the top votes among us. Nice, rounded-body, great fruity character yet on point with the malty notes, I liked this best.
Packed with dark rich velvet chocolate with roasted coffee notes.
ABV: 6.3%, Hop bitterness: 38 IBU
Hops: Magnum, Malts: Pale Malt, Vienna, Chrystals, Chocolate, Oats.
My take: Certainly more oomph and character compared to more common stout brands, the coffee notes stood out more for me, though others tasted more chocolate.
A little sweetness balances the sharp bite of ginger to create a crisp, refreshing drink, be it straight or with a bit of rum.
My take: Some really liked this, maintaining that it’s one of the more likable ginger beers around. It reminds me of home-brewed ginger beer, and while it’s pleasant enough, the sweetness was a little too much for me.