I know I say it often but truly this time it’s been a while! As you may or may not know, I’ve spent the last 6 weeks gallivanting around Europe. No doubt the guys here did a great job in holding the fort but it’s certainly great to be back. Overall, it was a pretty amazing trip. I managed to check out a number of excellent breweries, bars & restaurants. Without gloating too much, I’ll highlight a handful of standouts below, as well as catch-up on all the arrivals from the last month or so.
EUROPEAN EPICUREAN ODYSSEY
The Southampton Arms, London UK – Excellent selection of locally produced craft beers. A lot of modern styles but most staying true to the UK brewing ethos, sitting at around 4% abv, many of which were on cask.
Cask Pub & Kitchen, London UK – Amazing tap & bottle list, chock full of US & Scandi offerings. Also managed to catch up with Crafty Pint & one of our great customers, which was an added bonus. Cantillon Iris on tap, yes please!
Brewdog Camden, London UK – More or less as expected given my familiarity with the brewery. Plenty of big, bold & hoppy styles on offer & were showcasing Firestone Walker from US at the time. Missed Mikkel (Mikkeller) by a matter of hours – bummer.
La Chope de Lug, Lyon FRA – A really pleasant surprise stumbling across this in the Old Town. Tiny store dedicated to craft beers from the region. Plenty of Belgian inspired styles but also some more experimental stuff.
BQ – Birra Artigianale di Qualita, Milan ITA – A little bit of a hike to get to & feels like a run of the mill café but with 20 tap beers, most of which are local, there is plenty to like. Bottle range was excellent with plenty of rare US & European gear.
Open Baladin, Rome ITA – Possibly what I was looking forward to most, given the lack of presence Baladin have in Oz. 20 odd taps, a third of which were Baladin, the rest being mainly Italian. Much like the brewery itself, plenty of belgian inspired ales with interesting spins, one of which was a saison aged in vermouth barrels. Also had the uber rare Tilquin Gueuze on tap. Missed Sam from Dogfish Head by a matter of hours – bummer.
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa, Rome ITA – Had heard great things about this & the sister café Bir&Fud nearby. Pretty tiny place with a dingy sort of feel but easily the best taplist & service I’d encountered in Italy. Vast majority were Italian, with a few Scandi & US. Bottled range was equally excellent with plenty of rare stuff. Revelation Cat beers on tap were the standouts.
The Bull & Last, London UK – Just a stones throw from The Southampton Arms (see above) but had a solid range of local craft on tap as well. More or less a gastropub, nothing fancy on the surface but the food was truly amazing, particularly the charcuterie, so good!
La Mere Brazier, Lyon FRA – Pretty swanky restaurant that has a killer lunch menu at a fraction of the normal price. Very much modern French cuisine with amazing presentation & attention to detail. Highlight of the meal was the smoked, salted butter, seriously!
Osteria Francescana, Modena ITA – Ludicrously expensive but funnily enough worth every cent! Extremely modern in technique & very forward thinking but most importantly delicious, certainly the best meal i’ve ever had. Chef Massimo Bottura is regarded as one of the world’s best chefs & its easy to see why.
NEW RELEASES & FRESH STOCKS
Burleigh Figjam IPA 650ml $13.50
English inspired IPA, caramel & toffee malt with fruity hop aroma & bitterness
Grand Ridge Hoppy Frog 330ml $6.00
IPA brewed with French hop varieties.
Grand Ridge Sarsbeerilla Stout 330ml $6.00
Another GABS 2012, stout brewed with sarsaparilla for sweet, earthy & spice notes.
Holgate Empress 500ml $21.00
Back for another year. A suped up, tweaked version of the ever popular temptress. This is a mocha porter with chocolate & coffee.
Holgate Nut Brown Ale 500ml $12.00
Its been a long time since this was last released in bottles. Malt focused with notes of macadamia nut.
Holgate Brick Kiln 500ml $12.00
German style dunkelweizen. Dark malt with banana & clove yeast notes.
Holgate Road Trip IPA 500ml $10.00
First time this ever popular US inspired IPA has been in bottles.
HopDog All Hallowed Ale 330ml $7.00
Belgian style ale with a wicked twist, brewed with roasted pumkins, spices & trouble in mind.
HopDog HepaRyezen 330ml $5.50
Part hefeweizen part roggenbier with a little bit of hop character.
Mountain Goat Triple Hightail Ale 660ml $12.00
15th Anniversary brew, a tripled version of their flagship hightail ale.
Red Duck Bumble Bee 330ml $6.50
Malty amber ale brewed with Honey. Originally produced for GABS 2012.
Red Duck Kissmeyer Gnaume 330ml $6.50
Another Kissmeyer collab, this is a Belgian golden ale/lambic hybrid.
Red Duck Kissmeyer Rebellion 750ml $19.00
One of a handful of collabs with Kissmeyer, this is a strong pale ale.
Red Hill Pilsner 330ml $5.00
Previously the Bohemian Pils release, this is now part of the regular linup.
Southern Bay Hop Bazooka IPA 500ml $7.50
US inspired IPA, brewed with local & US varieties for vibrant fruit hop aroma & bitterness.
Beer Here Kremlin Krude 500ml $15.00
Big, rich imperial stout.
Moor Hoppiness 660ml $17.00
American inspired IPA with a classical UK touch.
Moor Illusion 660ml $13.50
Dark roasty & equally hoppy American style Black Ale/IPA/IBA…whatever you call it!
Moor Old Freddy Walker 660ml $18.00
Rich & complex old ale, with layers of complex malt character.
Moor Revival 660ml $12.50
Easy drinking pale ale brewed with US hops.
Mont Blanc La Verte au Genepi 330ml $7.00
Brewed with pristine mountain water & locally grown genepi, more commonly known as wormwood, of which absinth is produced.
FROM NEW ZEALAND
8 Wired Superconductor DIPA 500ml $15.50
First time this ripper has been in bottles & long overdue. Very much along the hop zombie line, damn good!
Emersons APA 500ml $13.00
Its been a good few years since this was last released. Brewed with copious amounts of US hops.
Emersons JP Belgian Ale 2012 500ml $14.00
Different Belgian style every year. This time around we have a abbey dubbel.
Emersons Southern Clam Stout 500ml $13.00
Another limited releases that is hard to come by. Brewed with clams for a subtle briny, salty character.
Epic Beer Nation IPA 500ml $12.50
An ode to early kiwi brewing of the 19th Century. Modelled on the IPAs imported from the Motherland by ship.
Epic First Batch 500ml $12.00
With a love of US hops shining through with most Epic beers, this one is quintessentially Kiwi. Brewed with a prototype hop variety, which is now called Waimea.
Epic Hop Zombie 500ml $15.00
Batch #2 for the year of this ever amazing Imperial IPA.
Birra del Borgo Duchessic 750ml $20.00
Collaboration with Cantillon. This blends the brewery’s saison with cantillon gueuze.
Birra del Borgo ReAle Anniversario 7 Oak Aged 750ml $22.00
This is an Oak Aged version of the Anni 7, an american amber ale brewed with ingredients from all corners of the globe.
Birra del Borgo Rubus 750ml $20.00
Another sour style beer, brewed with raspberries & wild yeast. Tart, fruity & refreshing.
Ducato Machette DIPA 330ml $9.00
Dedicated to the Robert Rodriguez movie of the same name. Big, brash & ballsy DIPA.
Ducato New Morning 330ml $9.00
Belgian inspired saison with a twist, brewed with wild flowers, chamomile, coriander, green peppercorns & ginger.
Ducato Sally Brown 330ml $9.00
Robust brown ale with layers of caramel, chocolate & roasted nut flavours.
Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout 330ml $9.00
Rich & robust imperial stout brewed with a hint of chilli.
Opperbacco 10e lode 330ml $9.00
Belgian style abbey dubbel, rich & dark with layers of sweeter malt.
Opperbacco Borgo 6sonIPA 750ml $19.00
Collab with Birra del Borgo, this is a big, hoppy DIPA.
Opperbacco Tripping Flowers 330ml $9.00
Dedicated to a local hippy band of the same name, this is a saison brewed with roses & almond flowers.
Opperbacco Triplipa 330ml $9.00
Hybrid IPA & Belgian Tripel style. Big hops & complex Belgian yeast.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace 750ml $19.00
Back again but doesn’t usually last long. Saison brewed with the every interesting Japanese Sorachi Ace hop variety.