Tag Archives: mandarin

Rogue Brutal IPA

Rogue Ales need no introduction. They haunt the United States like a spectre, appearing here, there and everywhere, dominating conversations, elbowing out Barbarians, Bards and Wizards with beard yeast, peanut butter beers and Brutal IPAs.

This 6.3% beer, which must be Rogue’s 250th variety of IPA, is a lusciously luminescent mandarin colour with moderate head and carbonation. It reeks of citrus, orange muscling in over pineapple and sweet sugar syrup. It’s smooth, thick and tannic, with a big bitter bite backing up a deliciously warm, gluggy brioche malt cocktail. Hop flavour peeks out here and there but the blanket of malt wins out. Nice.

I bought a pint of this beer at Rossi’s Bar, Chicago, IL. This tiny place had possibly the blandest bartender I’ve ever encountered, tinged with an edge of seething hostility. Quite something. Definitely affected how the beer tasted and the atmosphere as a whole, which I didn’t mind really as I was only stopping in. So much for the friendly Midwest!

Samuel Adams Grapefruit IPA

I won’t go into Sam Adams here as most readers will be aware of their stature. I have been witnessing with curiosity the fruit IPA wave from the antipodes, and while I would have preferred to try one from a different brewery, this grapefruit IPA was the first beer to cross my path on this trip to Chicago.

It’s a very one-note beer, which surprised me given it’s ostensibly a fruit beer, thus should at least have TWO notes. It looks a sparkling mandarin EBC, vaguely radioactive/fluorescent, with definite chill haze and no sign of any head – a first. The aroma is grapefruit. That’s it. Grapefruit. Is it coming from hops or fruit? Very hard to tell, too hard for my old olfactory senses.

This beer was poured quite warm for me and I think it would have benefited from a cooler temperature. But it still felt fairly smooth and light in the mouth, myriad bubbles dancing around the gums. A strong, appropriate bitterness strikes the tongue at first, followed by a kind of hollow sweet baked muffin flavour; a malt hit similar to Woolworths or Coles muffins, a sort of half-frozen, industrialised baked good.

There’s maybe the smallest touch of grapefruit in the flavour, but not enough to really contribute much. So there you have it: grapefruit IPA. Smells like grapefruit. Tastes like IPA.

I drank this draught beer at Humble Bar, a nice, quiet, cheap and straight-forward watering hole on North Ave, just opposite the park in Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois.

Townshend’s Sutton Hoo American Amber Ale

Townshend are located in Nelson, that hippy enclave in the north of the south of New Zealand. They have only average penetration in Australia considering their range of brewed beers. The Sutton Hoo has been done previously as a collaboration brew with Murrays as well.

A clear burgundy colour strikes the eye on dispensing the Sutton Hoo American Amber from its busy bottle, plum with awards and patchwork graphic design. The head is slight with large bubbles, dispersing moderately on the surface. A hoppy aroma dominates with mango and dank wet-stone armies battling it out under a sky of spicy pepper. It’s a unique cocktail and I struggled to find the malt behind it.

Down the hatch and a tough bitterness coats the back of the tongue, giving a wave of toffee malt perfect shot at the stomach. Hop flavour again steals the prize, with grassy mandarin, dried apricot and resin this time providing the colour. The bitterness lingers and mouthfeel is about medium – slightly slick but not cloying. No doubt many New Zealand hops were murdered in the making of this beer.

This is an Amber for the hop heads. It won’t blow them away but satisfies for an ABV of 4.7%.

I bought this bottled beer at The Wine Republic, Northcote and drank it at home.

Brasserie d’Achouffe La Chouffe

The Achouffe Brewery – now owned by Duvel – is headquartered in the southeast of Belgium and has been pumping out yeasty ales for over thirty years. Their La Chouffe Blond Bier is 8% ABV and features a beguiling, gnomic label in sunny hues. I’d never tried one of their beers before this, but researching online it looks like they have put out some interesting brews: the N’Ice Chouffe looks particularly good.

This ale poured a murky mandarin colour with huge, swirling clumps of red yeast dominating the eye. My glass literally looked like a live, flocculating fermentation! It had a fairly typical Belgian yeast aroma with a breadlike aftertaste that I found pleasing, cutting off some of the less pleasant phenols present. This rounded smoothness at sip’s end is enviable and quite unlike my own attempts to imitate Belgian beers.

La Chouffe displayed truly gargantuan head retention – possibly pointing to a high wheat grist. Slight alcohol flavour, but not too remarkable considering the 8% ABV. This isn’t a cheap beer in Australia – but it was worth the money, I guess, though nothing to seriously write home about. A solid blonde double: sweet, hopless, chunky, cloudy and chewy. Supposedly this beer has coriander in it – I got nothing.

I bought this beer at McCoppins, Abbotsford and drank it at home.