The thing about major beer celebrations, whether it’s a week long event, or a one off like GABS, is that there are far too many beers for one person to try.
In no particular order, here are just a few beers that stood out to me.
The Grifter Serpent’s Kiss Watermelon Pilsner
I had this at the Opening Gala and it was definitely proving popular, with a bit of a queue forming around The Grifter stand.
A watermelon pilsner is an unusual style but I’m glad I tried it. This is almost as refreshing as a beer can get and would be perfectly suited to a hot summer’s day.
The watermelon flavour was all there on top of the crisp, dry finish you want from a pilsner.
From: Inner West, Sydney
Beer style: Fruit Pilsner
Young Henrys Welcome Brew
I thought I’d missed out on this but thankfully I took some time to step away from the madness of the events and just enjoy lunch and a beer at The Welcome Hotel in Rozelle.
There was a fantastic choice of beer as you’d expect but I’m always up for trying something from Young Henrys and this didn’t disappoint.
Welcome Brew is a “copper ale”. It’s a malty, bitter style beer following the English tradition. What stood out was the biscuity malt flavour. I don’t think this style gets enough love in Australia but, as a pommy, I love it and would return to a beer like this again and again if it was on at my local.
Beer style: Copper Ale / Bitter
Merchant Brewing Co. Earl Pear
I love what the Merchant Brewing guys are doing at the moment and I really want to see more of this beer out and about. It’s unreal.
Earl Grey tea and pear. They’re both flavours you could pick out a mile off, yet they’re also quite subtle in their own way. It’s amazing then that they both come through so strong in a 6.4% beer.
A blonde ale is the perfect base to carry these flavours and the malt backbone does its thing to elevate the flavours. There’s some boozy slickness but the carbonation also helps the aromas and flavours to pop.
It’s a super interesting beer that I’d love to drink more of. If it wasn’t over 6%, you could easily smash one after another.
From: Inner West, Sydney
Beer style: Blonde Ale
Batch Sydney Craft Beer Week Double IPA
The Sydney Craft Beer Week Double IPA from Batch Brewing is well worth a mention, not least because of its “official” status.
This was a hop monster, packing 100 IBUs and some deep, penetrating bitterness. There was some strong pine flavours and it pretty much stripped the roof of my mouth off and left me unable to taste anything else for a while.
This isn’t normally the experience I go for in beers but its nice to go for a big, bold double IPA every now and then. You’d have to be a masochist to drink it regularly though.
Beer style: Double IPA
Batch Tiny Coconut Bubbles
This was my first beer of Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015 and it was a hell of a start. The Batch boys released some ace beers for this week but this was probably my favourite. The coconut was mellow and sweet.
Very smooth with a clean finish and a touch of alcohol in there, it was the perfect post-work drink.
It’s almost like a summer version of The Big Kahuna.
Beer style: Fruit Beer
Exit #006 Saison
I’d had a number of chances to try Exit beers but I’d never taken the opportunity. Getting served by the brewers was a better chance than any so I went for their #006 Saison and it was well worth it.
A perfectly executed saison with all the yeast aroma and flavour you want. A touch of banana, some mild pepper. The booziness was evident and provided some silkiness. Another I’d love to revisit.
From: Melbourne, Vic
Beer style: Saison
Spooning Goats Great Scott Anytime IPA
Unfortunately I missed out on the sour but Jason from Spooning Goats had brewed up two beers for Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015.
The Great Scott Anytime IPA was launched on Back to the Future Day, with Jason dressed up in full garb.
The beer was an easy to drink session IPA. Made with Cascade and Mosaic, it packed a fruit salad punch on the nose, some soft bitterness and a clean and crisp mouthfeel. It had a gorgeous gold colour and went down very easily.
It takes a lot of work to launch one beer for a set date but to get two out in a week, along side running a bar full time, was a massive feat and it’s incredible that it came out so well.
Beer style: Session IPA
Big Shed Brewing Raspberry Sour Kolsch
This was going down well during the double barrel shotgun event: the busiest I’ve ever seen Bitter Phew at three in the afternoon. This was an incredibly popular beer with brewers and punters alike.
It tasted like decaying raspberries. Not tart and fresh but rather just as they start to get a bit more moist, a bit softer but not yet shrivelled or gross.
There was some lovely carbonation in this beer, just enough to play around with the tartness and the flavour to make it interesting and cleansing in the mouth.
From: Royal Park, SA
Beer style: Sour Kolsch
Batch Voyage of the Raspberry
This was a straight down the line soured wheat beer, with a touch of raspberry. So, I guess not too straight down the line then.
The raspberry came through subtly in the aroma and flavour, with a tiny bit of tartness and some white wine like character.
There was some decent carbonation which gave it a champagne like mouthfeel. It reminded me of the Blueberry Wit that Blackhorse Brewhouse had on at the restaurant a while ago. It finished beautifully dry.
It’s a beer which has a fantastic combination of flavour, aroma and mouthfeel. It’s thought-provoking but also completely smashable. You could fly through a few glasses of this without thinking.
Beer style: American Wild Ale
Wayward Brewing Sourpuss Raspberry Berliner Weisse
The third of three sour raspberry beers drunk during Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015. It’s almost like there’s a trend or something.
This, from Wayward, was incredible. It had the strongest raspberry flavour of the three I tried but also had a massive sherbet character. There was good carbonation which really brought on the flavours on the palate.
The tartness was there, edging toward sour but would still be a very comfortable drink for a sour-novice.
Beer style: Berliner Weisse
Two Birds Neneh Cherry Saison
Brewed as a fundraising beer for the Pink Boots Society this beer had subtle but definite cherry flavours. There was also a strong bubblegum yeast aroma that came through in the taste as well.
It was crisp in its feel and there was an interesting mix of moderate tartness and some fruity sweetness. I drank it alongside a cherry chocolate brownie and it was a beautiful combination.
Such was the standard of this beer, it took home the Champion French/Belgian style award at the 2015 Craft Beer Awards.
From: Spotswood, Vic
Beer style: Saison
Doctor’s Orders Serum
It was great to be able to try this beer again. I enjoyed it at GABS 2015 but with the tine tasters you never get to fully experience the beer. It was billed as a palate cleanser at GABS and it did that really well.
Drinking a full glass of it though, the full flavour, bitterness and tartness of the rhubarb came through. It was also easier to enjoy the colour of the beer in nice glassware rather than the plastic cups at GABS.
I’d love to try this beer again and again!
Beer style: Fruit Beer
There were obviously many more beers sampled during Sydney Craft Beer Week but it’s hard to cut it down to just a few.
See some photos from Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015.
Leave a comment and let me know your beer highlights from Sydney Craft Beer Week 2015.