Slow Beer

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Another cracker this week with a brilliant selection of new releases from some of our favorite cult brewers. A couple of crazy brews from our Danish friends at Mikkeller, a number of new & highly acclaimed Southern Tier arrivals, plus fresh stocks & new beers from Flying Dog. While new arrivals pretty much always mean good news, word has it that this may well be the last shipment of Flying Dog in the foreseeable future. So if you are a fan or just keen to give them a go, I suggest you hop to it before they are all gone!

Mokah 650ml $17.00 – Imperial stout brewed with Jamaican coffee beans & bitter Belgian chocolate
Oat 650ml $17.00 – Imperial stout brewed with copious amounts of oats
Hoppe 650ml $15.50 – Imperial extra pale ale
Unearthly 650ml 17.00 – Imperial IPA
Cuvee #2 650ml $19.50 – Strong ale aged in American Oak
IPA 355ml $7.00 – India Pale Ale

Flying Dog (US)
Raging Bich Belgian IPA 355ml $11.50
Double Dog Double Pale Ale 355ml $11.50
Horn Dog Barley Wine 355ml $10.00
Gonzo Imperial Porter 355ml $10.00
Snake Dog IPA 355ml $7.00

Mikkeller (DEN)
Big Worst 375ml $25.00 – A huge 17.5%abv Barley wine
Nelson Sauvignon 750ml $46.00 – Sour ale fermented with brett & enzymes, brewed with nelson sauvin hops & aged in austrian white wine barrels.

Cantillon (BEL)
Vigneronne 750ml $24.00 – Lambic with the addition of muscat grapes
St Lamvinus 750ml $28.00 – Lambic with the addition of merlot & cab franc grapes
Iris 750ml $19.50 – Lambic brewed using 50% old & 50% fresh hops & also dry hopped

Flying Horse (VIC)
Dirty Angel 330ml $3.90 – Voted best porter at 2009 Australian International Beer Awards
Billy Goat 330ml $3.90 – German style bokbier. Essentialy a rich, malty & higher abv lager
Whale Ale 330ml $3.50 – English style pale ale with an edge. Hopped with US cascade, gives this a nice citrus aroma & bitterness
Woolaston Wheaty 330ml $3.50 – German style hefeweizen

Slowbeer friends & all round great guys, Todd, Damien & Mark from BeermentTV will be hosting a breakfast with a difference. Join the lads on Saturday 22 May at Beerdeluxe for a beer breakfast! With this trio running the show, the event will no doubt be a heap of fun, with plenty of great food & breakfast appropriate beer to be enjoyed.

In getting behind the guys & this great event, we will be offering a beerific door prize for one lucky attendee. Rest assured it will feature some truly brilliant rewards, fitting for a beer geek’s breakfast!

For info & registration visi:

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, its that time of year. The much awaited, limited-release hop harvest ales have just hit the shelves! The reason for the excitement is that the use of fresh hops enables the brewer to get the optimum amount of aromatics & flavour from them & packed into their delicious brew! Additionally & certainly not to be outdone is the much anticipated arrival of one of Canada’s most outstanding breweries, Dieu Du Ciel!

RED HILL (VIC) Hop Harvest Ale 330ml $5.50
This brew really does encapsulate everything that Red Hill is all about! Styled as an english special bitter (ESB), this beer is packed with flavour, however like every red hill brew has a great degree of finesse as well. The use of their very own, estate grown willamette & goldings hops gives this ESB those trademark earthy, resiny/peppery hop notes, while rich toffee & marmalade notes are attributed by the malt. A classic style & probably the best locally produced example of it!

BRIDGE RD BREWERS (VIC) The Harvest Ale 330ml $4.70
Ben up at Beechworth has been rather tight-lipped as to what hop varieties have actually gone into this brew. What is known is that they are an experimental variety from the local Rostrevor research hop garden. Ben has used his Aussie ale as a base for this brew, enabling the unique hop character to be the star of the show. As mentioned, the hop variety is unknown & whilst not speculating to me it seemed to have galaxy-esque traits: citrus, tropical fruit notes & some grassy bitterness on the finish. Great beer & perfect for this abnormally warm April!

Since news got out some time ago of Unibroue’s plans to cease exports, a number of people were down in the dumps & rightly so as their beers are brilliant. However with the arrival of Dieu du Ciel comes a renewed excitement for Canadian beer & in my opinion these are a more than worthy replacement!

Peche Mortel 341ml $8.50
Péché Mortel (French for "Mortal Sin") is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavours. Fair trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste. Péché mortel is brewed to be savored; we invite you to drink it in moderation. 9.5% abv

Aphrodisiaque 341ml $8.00
Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans. 6.5% abv

Corne du Diable 341ml $7.50
Corne du diable (French for "Horn of the devil") is a contemporary interpretation of the classic English India Pale Ale. This new style, born on the west coast of North America, is characterized by stronger and hoppier beers. The result is a red ale expressing caramel flavours coming from the malt, sharp bitterness and powerful hop aromas, thanks to dry hopping. 6.5% abv

Dernier Volonte 341ml $7.50
Dernière volonté (French for "Last Will") is a mix of Belgian and English brewing traditions. Complex flavours of hop flowers and spicy, fruity esters from our belgian yeast are perfectly balanced with the robust flavours and aromas of malt. The finish is commandeered by an assertive aroma from dry-hopping. 6.5% abv

Route des Espices 341ml $6.50
Routes des épices (French for "Spice Route") is a rye beer brewed with both black and green peppercorns. Initially, the beer reveals flavours of fresh grain and malt, which give it notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit. The pepper flavour and aroma is fully revealed in the finish, which leaves a pleasant, spicy, tingling sensation on the tongue. 5% abv

Rosee d’hibiscus 341ml $7.00
Rosée d’Hibiscus is a soft spoken wheat beer. The rose colour comes from the hibiscus flowers added during the brewing process. The aromas and flavour of this tropical flower are very prominent in the beer, giving it a slight acidity and a very agreeable fragrance. It is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day. 5% abv

The guys at Temple have been busy beavers as of late & as a result their beer has been pretty hard to get hold of. Reason being is that they are gearing up to open a brewery/bar in East Brunswick! Not having an actual brewery to brew in obviously makes things pretty difficult but Ron & Renata have persevered, having been able to nick up to Jamieson every now & then to brew a batch to try to keep up with demand. With a new brewery comes new beers, so keep an eye out for plenty of Temple related news over the next few months!

Saison 330ml $3.90
I personally think that this is the best, locally-produced saison around. Plenty of earthy, spicy hops & that trademark yeast character that attributes a very subtle & thirst quenching dry, tartness on the finish. The use of orange peel, coriander & pepper gives this beer added complexity & appeal (not that it needed it!).

Pale Ale 330ml $3.90
To my mind has some subtle English traits but ultimately a US style pale ale. The use of Magnum, Crystal, Amarillo & Cascade hop varieties means this has plenty of citrussy, floral appeal. The use of the unique hop back system also means this has some spicy notes as well.

Special Bitter 330ml $3.90
Another cracker from these guys! They truly don’t make a bad beer. This employs the use of crystal malt to add palate weight & richness as well as a host of traditional English hop varieties attributing spicy, fruity notes to support the strong malt backbone.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this week is another HUGE one for new arrivals. We truly couldn't be more excited with the sheer range of exciting beers that continue to walk through our door & hit the shelves on a weekly basis. It really speaks volumes of how rapidly craft beer is being accepted into Australian epicurean culture & certainly validates what us as a retailer are all about! The highlights this week are some very extreme, never before seen beers from those cheeky lads at Brewdog & as usual, plenty more.

Certainly with the abundance of craft beer around its hard to know how to distinguish what's great & what's not so great. Sure, we'd love to say that all craft beer is great beer, though unfortunately this isn't always the case. So with this in mind we will look at a few standouts & medal winners from the recent Beer World Cup.

Brewdog Hardcore IPA 330ml $7.00
To take out a medal in one of the most coveted categories is certainly no mean feat. Battling it out against the huge variety of US IPAs & the Brewdog boys came out on top! This imperial IPA is brewed with the high alpha US centennial & columbus hop varieties. It is also dry hopped to the hilt, resulting in a hop lovers delight that is big on bitterness. WON GOLD IN IMPERIAL IPA CATEGORY

New Norcia Abbey Ale 330ml $5.50
One of the few local medal winners & certainly a fine effort from the Malt Shovel Brewery. An abbey ale it what sense I’m not too sure. From memory this beer is brewed by malt shovel & cellared within the walls on the Benedictine New Norcia Abbey. True abbey ale? You make the call. Though it is undeniable that this is a nice beer. It has all the hallmarks of the style, rich honey-like malt with some citrus fruit & spicy esters on the finish. WON GOLD IN OTHER BELGIAN STYLE ALE CATEGORY

Those in the know would be well aware of the press (both positive & negative) received by Scotland's Brewdog brewery. Over the past few years they have gotten themselves into hot water on a number of issues, from innapropriate labeling/naming to promoting alcoholism. To be fair, the lads definately dont shy away from the spotlight & in some cases are willing to fuel the fire. While some see their approach as arrogant & roguish, i personally believe they are very astute marketers & have found an extremely effective point of difference, enabling them to set themselves apart from the very traditional UK brewing industry.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin 330ml $150.00
There are two things that need to be said straight off the bat. Firstly, this beer is NOT cheap. Secondly, this beer is NOT a traditional beer. Upon its release late last year, TNP was the worlds strongest beer. Weighing in at a whopping 32%abv, the result of this experiment is certainly more akin to a scotch whisky than a beer. Additionally, there has been much debate as to whether it is even a beer at all (due to its production method).

TNP starts life as a 10% abv imperial stout, it is then aged in both Isle of Arran whisky casks & Islay whisky casks for 8 months. This is somewhat of an achievement in itself, being Brewdogs first ever double cask aged beer. Now if your a beer purist, here is where things get a little hazy. TNP then undergoes an extended maturation period in sub zero temperatures. Given alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, this process results in the vast majority of water freezing (this process is known as freeze distillation). This leaves us with a more alcoholic, more concentrated beer. The process was repeated a number of times until the final result was TNP, a 32% abv, double cask aged, freeze distilled uber-imperial stout.

As mentioned, this is no ordinary beer. Given its extremely high abv it must be treated with reverence. We advise this be consumed in spirit like measures & ideally be shared with a number of people. I suppose the great thing about this not being a beer per-se, is that given its very low, near non-existent carbonation you could very easily re-seal the bottle with a cork & enjoy it over an extended period. Without having to worry too much about degradation of flavour or oxidation.


Tokyo* 330ml $15.00
Is there a theme here? Clearly the lads are partial to an imperial stout or two! This is the second annual release of the Tokyo & in typical brewdog fashion they have upped the stakes on their previous effort. This years Tokyo* is an 18% french oak aged imperial stout, brewed with vanilla, cranberry & jasmine. Obviously this is a pretty robust stout, however the use of extra elements in the brewing process make this a really well rounded brew.

Paradox Springbank 330ml $11.50
The latest release in the paradox range & perhaps the most outstanding thus far. This is an imperial stout that is aged in Springbank whisky casks for 6 months. Reason I think this is the best of the lot is that it has great complexity & balance. There have been a number of paradox releases that are either too over the top (smokehead/islay) & some that have been a little dull. This one just works on every level, huge roast from the malt brining coffee/choc but also some berry/raisin tang, wood/vanilla notes & also a touch of smoke/peat. Just great!

5AM Saint 330ml $4.00
Its pretty easy to get caught up in all the hoopla surrounding Brewdog & their crazy, experimental beers but at the end of the day you still need to be able to produce a nice, easy drinking beer. This is it. Stylistically, this is a malty amber ale but with a heap of hop impact for good measure. The use of simcoe, chinook, nelson sauvin & centennial ensures this beer has a tonne of appeal.

I was pretty excited when I got word that we would be able to stock another Italian craft brewery to sit alongside the great Baladin range. Much like Baladin, collesi have opted for quite unique (for beer at least) looking bottles. One would easily be mistaken for thinking this was an Italian wine. Given the sheer obscurity of this brewery, they are a relative unknown among online beer geeks. Luckily, my years of studying italian have finally come in handy & has enabled me to translate tasting notes etc from the website!

Alter Bionda 750ml $19.00
Belgian style blonde ale. Distinguished by its use of munich malt & floral hops, providing notes of vanilla, bread crust & honey.

Ego Bionda 750ml $19.00
Another Belgian style blonde ale, however the use of pilsner malt sets this apart from the previous offering. Quite a rich, malty palate is balanced by interesting tropical fruit notes on the finish.

Fiat Lux Ambrata 750ml $21.00
Complex Belgian style amber ale. Radiant in colour & intensely perfumed. Has significant hop notes that are mellowed by cereal-like wheat & oatmeal characters. Finishes with some rich autumnal fruit notes.

Ubi Rossa 750ml $22.00
A nice degree of sweetness & intensely aromatic with rich malt notes of caramel & hazelnuts. An excellent dessert accompaniment.

Maior Nera 750ml $22.00
Black beer with a velvety cappuccino coloured head. Rich in colour & taste with roasted barley, coffee, licorice & rhubarb notes most dominant.

In addition to our regular Friday night free tastings, we are looking at running themed tastings. They will run every second month & focus on a style or theme. We will be looking at rare & limited release beers (expensive too!), thus attendance will require a small fee ($10-20) to try the full range on offer (about 10 beers). Given we will be trying & discussing quite a few beers (with high abv!), samples will be 100ml, which we feel is enough to enjoy the beer but not too much to get you drunk & forget the beer altogether!

To give you an idea of what to expect, we are thinking of locking in the following for our first themed tasting night:
  • Galaxy (AUS)
  • Nelson Sauvin (NZ)
  • East Kent Goldings (ENG)
  • Cascade (US)
  • Amarillo (US)
  • Simcoe (US)
  • Chinook (US)
When: Either Wednesday evening or Sunday evening from 7PM
Cost: $15.00 to try ALL beers
+ Attendees receive 10% DISCOUNT on any purchase of beers on tasting that night

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Friday, April 09, 2010


We hope everyone enjoyed their extra long easter weekend & opened something worthy of the occasion. Getting stuck into the chocolate beers certainly got us in the mood for some other great autumn appropriate beers. With this in mind we will be focusing on the most popular craft beer style of the moment & perfect autumn season style, the IPA!

I’ve mentioned before how fond I am of Danish brewer Mikkeller & this concept makes them even more admirable. Essentially what they have done is brew exactly the same beer but changed the hop used with each new release. Now, while this may sound really boring & unoriginal, it actually serves as an excellent teaching tool for home brewers & beer enthusiasts alike as it enables you to pick up the exact characteristics that the specific hop attributes to the beer. Of course they taste great as well!

East Kent Goldings Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Probably one of the most iconic English hops around. Known for its delicate nature & attributing spicy, earthy hop characters.
Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Possibly the most unique hop variety of the lot. Hailing from NZ, this hop is akin to the now world famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc, exhibiting tropical fruit notes of passion fruit, kiwi & gooseberry while the finish is quite grassy & herbaceous.
Cascade Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Nowadays this hop tends to get overshadowed by the vast array of more robust US varieties. However its pedigree is undeniable & some hold it responsible for the explosion in popularity of craft beer some 25 years ago. Known for its floral & citrus notes.
Amarillo Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Another much loved US variety & seen as the bigger brother of cascade. The two exhibit similar characters, however amarillo is a little more robust in terms of bitterness & has some stone fruit notes.
Simcoe Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Quite prolific among US brewers, given its ability to offer robust piney bitterness as well as some grapefruit & passion fruit notes. Often used in conjunction with Amarillo & Cascade.
Chinook Single Hop IPA 330ml $10.00
Definitely one of the big boys, known for its huge peppery, almost herbal character with piney & sometimes woody bitterness on the finish. Also has some grapefruit notes, but this is all about the bitterness!

One assumes this Yarra Valley based producer would be doing a roaring trade at the cellar/brewery door, given its location & hardly surprising is their choice to unveil 3 new limited release beers in 750ml format.

Summer Ale 750ml $25.00
A light, refreshing pale golden ale “Kolsh Style”, brewed for the summer months from pale malt & a small amount of flaked rice. A late-hop addition that includes a quantity of Tasmanian-grown elderflowers provides the beer with a delicate floral nose & a hint of earthy, floral sweetness on the palate.
Dark Lager 750ml $25.00
Personally, I feel this is a style that is much maligned & thus often overlooked. Obviously being a lager, the general profile is quite clean however the use of darker malts gives quite a rich mouth feel without getting too heavy or too far into roasty stout/porter territory. An autumnal delight!
Porter 750ml $25.00
I often refer to these as stout jr, while they aren't all that similar I find it is a good way to get people into them when traditionally they “don’t like stouts or dark beers”. They serve as a good gateway style & this example is no different, possessing significant dark malt presence that brings chocolate & coffee notes.

After a bit of a shipping delay we will finally be receiving delivery of a number of unbelievable new Brewdog beers next week, including Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Tokyo*, Hardcore IPA & 5AM Saint

Additionally, the following week the much anticipated Dieu Du Ciel beers will be hitting the shelves. Exciting times ahead!

In addition to our regular Friday night free tastings, we are looking at running themed tastings. They will run every second month & focus on a style or theme. We will be looking at rare & limited release beers (expensive too!), thus attendance will require a small fee ($10-20) to try the full range on offer (about 10 beers). Given we will be trying & discussing quite a few beers (with high abv!), samples will be 100ml, which we feel is enough to enjoy the beer but not too much to get you drunk & forget the beer altogether!

To give you an idea of what to expect, we are thinking of locking in the following for our first themed tasting night:
  • Galaxy (AUS)
  • Nelson Sauvin (NZ)
  • East Kent Goldings (ENG)
  • Cascade (US)
  • Amarillo (US)
  • Simcoe (US)
  • Chinook (US)
When: Either Wednesday evening or Sunday evening from 7PM
Cost: $15.00 to try ALL beers
+ Attendees receive 10% DISCOUNT on any purchase of beers on tasting that night

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Thursday, April 01, 2010


Once again its a big week for exciting new arrivals, however given the Easter weekend we will only be open Thursday & Saturday. So be sure to get your liquid indulgences sorted out before Sunday or you’ll be sorry!

Holgate (VIC) Beelzebub’s Jewels 750ml $53.00
Surely this is quite possibly one of the most audacious releases from a local brewery ever! Firstly, the presentation is very impressive. 750ml champagne style bottle with dark red wax seal, it certainly looks the part. Additionally the label is hardly recognizable as a Holgate beer, opting for a completely different approach. In terms of the actual beer, the guys have used their Double Trouble as a base & added extra fermentable sugars (as is common practice by belgian abbey/trappist breweries) & a champagne yeast to get the abv up to a giddying 12.5%. Further to this they have sourced excellent French oak barrels from the Curley Flat Winery in Macedon VIC, which formerly housed their brilliant pinot noir.
So what does it actually taste like? This beer is unbelievably rich as a good Belgian Quad should be. It has masses of caramel & hints of chocolate, backed up by dark prune & raisin notes. Given the quite high abv, there is significant spice on the finish, a touch of tannin from the pinot barrels as well as some toasty oak & vanilla. Wow!

Schneider & Brooklyner (GER & USA) Hopfenweisse 500ml $9.00
Somewhat of a surprising collaboration here, though anything short of spectacular would be quite a disappointment from two of the worlds most iconic breweries. They certainly have failed to disappoint here, creating almost an entirely new beer style. More or less a hybrid of an American Pale ale & German Hefeweizen.
Pours a very radiant golden orange with a huge fluffy white head, looks unbelievable in the glass! The aroma is just intoxicatingly perfumed but in the best possible way, brimming with vibrant orange & grapefruit from the hops & oddly complimented by clove-like yeast notes. A truly unbelievable beer that will keep the hopheads happy, while offering something completely new & left of centre. In all honesty, this would probably be one of my all time favorite beers!

Emersons (NZ) Taieri George 500ml $11.50
Released once a year in memory or Richard Emerson’s late father, who contributed much to the NZ craft brewing scene. The beer is a Belgian strong dark ale with cinnamon, nutmeg & a number of other secret spices.

For obvious reasons, we make mention of a few delightful, chocolaty indulgences. Why should kids have all the fun?
Meantime Chocolate Porter 330ml $8.00
Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter 330ml $4.50
Lobethal Choc Oatmeal Stout 330ml $4.50
Hunter Chocolate Porter 750ml $16.50
+ an honorable mention to
Nogne O God Pasker 500ml $14.50 (it means happy Easter in Norwegian!)

Gage Roads (WA)
Ok, so your probably about as surprised as I am that we are reviewing Gage Road beers! Recently Woolworths (who own gage roads) have been seen by some as the antichrist of craft brewing in Australia, as they recently closed the country’s original craft brewery the Sail & Anchor. Now, while the regular Gage Roads beers aren’t really anything to get excited about, you have to give credit where credit is due. Having brewed & released a limited run of two classic Belgian style beers in 800ml wax sealed bottles. Further to what I said last week re: Little Creatures, it is always promising to see the bigger boys experimenting with more obscure, interesting styles for limited releases.
Gage Roads Saison 800ml $16.00
Gage Roads Tripel 800ml $16.00

Mikkeller (DEN)

Barrel Aged Weinbrand Red Ale 375ml $25.00 – Imperial Red Ale aged in German Brandy barrels – 10% abv
Frelser 750ml 42.00 – German style Doppelbock – 11% abv
Santa’s Little Helper 750ml $30.00 – Belgian Style strong dark ale spiced with orange & coriander
Stateside IPA 330ml $13.00
Flying Dog (US)
Gonzo Imperial Porter 200ml $4.00
Kerberous Tripel 200ml $4.00
Horn Dog Barley Wine 200ml $4.00
Double Dog Double Pale Ale 200ml $4.00
Meantime (ENG)
Old Smoked Bock 500ml $9.50 – German Style Rauchbier
Epic (NZ) Mayhem 500ml $12.50

In addition to our regular Friday night free tastings, we are looking at running themed tastings. They will run every few months & focus on a style or theme. We will be looking at rare & limited release beers (expensive too!), thus attendance will require a small fee ($10-20) to try the full range on offer (about 10 beers). Given we will be trying & discussing quite a few beers (with high abv!), samples will be 100ml, which we feel is enough to enjoy the beer but not too much to get you drunk & forget the beer altogether!

To give you an idea of what to expect, we are thinking of locking in the following themes for our first few tasting nights:
  • Single Hop IPAs – Looking at hop varieties from Australia, New Zealand, USA & UK
  • Barrel Aged & Fortified beers – Whisky cask, Oak, Port, Bourbon & Brandy
  • Coffee & Chocolate – porters & stouts with additions
While we acknowledge that a paid tasting isn't always desirable we see it as a chance to try some unbelievable beers that are often hard to justify purchasing on your own given their hefty price tags!
If you are interested in attending, please let us know as we need to confirm numbers, dates & price.

I suppose it is a given that many of our customers are budding homebrewers & while we are more than happy to have a yarn about all things beer it is sometimes hard to balance that with serving customers. Therefore we are thinking of starting up a Wednesday night brewshare club. The basic premise behind the idea is that homebrewers bring in their creations & share recipes, processes & constructive feedback with each other. We would aim to do it every 3 or so months, enabling brewers time to create something great! We will also have a style or theme in mind, so that we are comparing apples with apples.
If you would be interested please let us know.

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