World Beer Journey 2015

Beers from Down Under to USA to Spain!

A few months ago (before winter came) I spent a few of days in the garden sipping through a host of beers for your viewing pleasure.

This time on the world tour of beers I sipped beer from Australia, USA, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany. My favourite…with the right food and on a hot day I don’t think you can go past Moritz Lager from Spain, especially in a Moritz branded glass! My other favourite is Brooklyn Lager – better on colder days, but does bring back memories from my visit to the Barclays Centre last year.

Enough from me, over to the beers. Cheers!

Carlton Dry at the Front Bar
Carlton Dry at the Front Bar

Carlton Dry (Australia, 5%)

A really bland beer that lacked taste. Carlton Dry is marketed in Australia as a ‘low carb’ beer for those of us that are made for us that might be slightly spreading in our old age. I had this beer in the front bar of my local pub and frankly this beer does have a place with the other bland beers on tap. Importantly it was really cold and crisp, like a front bar lager should be.

Asahi in the backyard!
Asahi in the backyard!

Asahi Dry (Japan, 5%)

When I drank this one it was 35 degrees C in the shade – nearly 100 degrees in the old money. And was it refreshing! The drink starts off in the glass looking like it was thick, swampy style. A smell before drinking gave off strong flavours and you really could almost eat the hops it was that soupy. But dry is an understatement, the bitterness really sticks into the back of your throat giving you an exhilaration of freshness. Premium quality beer for extraordinary hot days.

Stella in a fancy bottle
Stella in a fancy bottle

Stella Artois Xmas 750ml Bottle (Belgium, 5%)

While the bottle is a bit more fancy and it has a cork bottle stop, it’s still good old Stella, the VB of Belgium! I find Stella is one of those beers that you can drink all day, really nutty in flavour and long on the palette. I really like to Xmas release of the long neck bottles, made Xmas Day look a bit more fancy in my household, so it’s a nice decorative touch, even though it’s about double the price of two stubbies!

Looking pretty Brooklyn
Looking pretty Brooklyn

Brooklyn Lager (Brooklyn, USA, 5.2%)

I discovered this beer a couple of years ago at my local Indian Restaurant (Shankers in Prospect, SA in case you are interested) and feel in love with it. Then, just over a year ago, I visited Brooklyn and the Barclays Centre to see the Nets play and indulged once again. So this past Xmas I hunted down a retailer and bought a couple of cartons to imbibe over the Xmas break. Brooklyn Lager is marketed as a ‘Prohibition Style Lager’ which means (I guess) that it is dark in colour, which is different that the lagers in Australia that have a nutty complexion. With this ‘home brew’ look it has a really nutty flavour along with hints of citrus, followed by a refreshing hit to the palette. The bitterness lingers after a mouthful and remains until the next sip. This is a really quality boutique beer that is full flavoured and has a heavy body, best consumed in colder climes or months. A great all round beer that will get your mates debating whether or not Americans can make good beers – this proves that they can!

Went down lovely with a pulled pork bun
Went down lovely with a pulled pork bun

Vale Ale Pale Ale (SA, Australia, 4.5%)

This tipple has gain popularity in SA as a premium alternative to the famous Coopers Pale Ale. It is brewed about 30 kms south of Adelaide in the wine growing district of McLaren Vale. The overall taste is that of other boutique beers with a strong pale ale flavour that reminds you of flowers and citrus. I had my sample around lunchtime and is paired very well with a pulled pork roll that complemented the dish with the fruity flavours and long bitter aftertaste. I’m not sure if the food affected the taste, but I did find after a while that the sugar could be detected. As with all great pale ales there is a great cloudy colour that wants you to come back for more.

Very, very fruity
Very, very fruity

Golden Nail Happy Summer Ale (WA, Australia, 5%)

Ever had tropical fruit punch!? Well, this is how this gem tastes like – a real sense of being in the tropics. There are strong hints of pineapple, mango and other tropical and exotic fruits. The other claim to fame is that this brew has no additives – it’s all natural. I sampled this one on an extremely hot day – 44 degrees C (111F) and it tasted great and refreshing on such a hot hot hot day.

Big USA Pale Ale
Big USA Pale Ale

Ballast Point Big Eye India Pale Ale (San Diego, USA, 7.0%)

This beer is a bruiser. Heaps of alcohol with a really strong taste full of flavour and absolutely delicious! It’s great to see some world class boutique beers coming out of the States and this one is no exception. This beer is really nutty, strong, with lot’s of hops, strike that – extra hops again! I wouldn’t recommend this beer for a session, but it is ideal as the last beer before bedtime (you’re sure to sleep well) or as a dessert beer. I think it will couple well with dessert because the aftertaste has a linger like a strong Scottish caramel, absolutely delicious. Beats a Bud or Miller any day.

Interesting beer from WA
Interesting beer from WA

Feral Hop Dog pale Ale (WA, Australia, 5.8%)

Wow, this one hits you with a burst of fruit on the first gulp. This would have to be one of the most fruity beers I have ever consumed. On top of the citrus flavours you can taste the malt with a strong hint of alcohol. A very interesting beer.

Great for Xmas
Great for Xmas

James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale (NSW, Australia, 5%)

The James Squire label is owned by one of the Australian majors (Lion Nathan) and this is their version of a boutique beer and they do OK. Every beer I have had on this label has been good and the Amber Ale is no exception. This beer is rich, velvety and has chocolate & nut flavours – an absolute delight for Xmas. When pouring the beer it held its head and kept its volume right through to the end. Place one of this on the list for Xmas!

Mid strength alcohol
Mid strength alcohol

Peroni Leggera (Italy, 3.5%)

Another low card, low alcohol beer…but one that tastes great. The Leggera is Peroni’s lighter lager beer option and the good news is that it tastes just as good at the normal beer, but with less alcohol. This means that you can have a session on it and not suffer the usual consequences the next day. This beer is a crisp lager in the Italian tradition – very dry, lots of malt, nut and fruit flavour. This one is quickly becoming my go to beer during summer weekends.

From the crystal waters of Tassie via a Tapking!
From the crystal waters of Tassie via a Tapking!

James Boag Premium Lager (Tasmania, Australia, 5%)

This beer was drawn from a Tap King keg rather than from a bottle. The pure, fresh waters of Tasmania are used to create this wonderful premium lager. You can really taste the pure water in this beer, unlike just about anything else in Australia. This beer is sweet and lacks the bitterness of other varieties, however it is very refreshing and crisp that holds its head right through. One of the better commercial beers in Australia.

Was hot today
Was hot today

Uberbrau Lager (Germany, 4%)

I found this one at my local bottle shop and I think it may be their ‘imported’ private label. These beers come in small 330ml bottles in mid strength alcohol, which means they are cheap. It is a very basic beer with some elements of other more well-known German beers, but it lacks any real punch. Like all German beers it’s bitter, hoppy and clear. But the price is right for the quality and (lack of) taste.

Well done San Diego!
Well done San Diego!

Karl Strauss Pintail Pale Ale (San Diego, USA, 5.3%)

Real Pale Ale seems to be a trend coming out of San Diego and this one does not disappoint. This dark beer has a big hops flavour that smells sweet and fruity. USA beers have come a long way and this trend to boutique beers and what appears to regional varieties makes one want to jump on a plane explore every small bar in different cities! I like this one and it’s another that you could tuck into all day. Very drinkable!

Top drop Mortiz!
Top drop Mortiz!

Mortiz Lager (Barcelona, Spain, 5.4%)

I found this beer in Melbourne last year at a Tapas bar. What appeal to me outside the taste were the small 200ml branded glasses that we poured the amber liquid into – made me feel like I was in Spain. This great beer has a strong, almost oily colour that combined with a hoppy fragrant is especially good on a hot summers day. It complements best with Spanish food and while it’s not a beer that you would like a session on, it’s great with spicy food. Importantly this one keeps its head all the way done. Fantastic trendy European beer – hard to find, but great to drink.

That's all folks

Well, that’s all folks, hope you enjoyed another beer journey. I’m off to the UK for Xmas this coming year, so I’m sure to post up some new discoveries from the Shropshire and Northumberland regions. Until next time….Cheers!

Michael

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