Mosco Blond Ale

mosco_blondeBrewer: Mosco Brewing, Beit Shemesh, Israel
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description:  Located on an agricultural cooperative called Moshav Zanoah in the town of Beit Shemesh, not far from Jerusalem, the Mosco brewery was started in 2012 by two Israeli citizens who named their enterprise after one of the co-founders (Yaron Moscovich) nicknames. The blonde ale is one of their signature products, using local ingredients and know-how to fashion this Belgian-style pale ale.

Tasting Notes: Here we have another late addition from the Advent Beer Calendar, and the first beer I’ve had from Israel. Overall, it was an interesting take on the traditional blonde ale. As expected, it had the good malt base, a hint of sweetness, and the yeasty backbone. What was unusual, at least to me, was the hint of blood orange flavor, the sort of oaky, lemony flavor that I’ve come to associate with Sorachi Ace hops, and the sour notes I’ve come to associate with brettanomyces. An interesting and ecclectic mix. And holy shit, the yeast is so prevalent, it came out in a few grey lumps! I wasn’t turned off by this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.

Appearance: Deep orange, cloudy, high sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, sugars, yeasts, floral hops, slight pine and citrus
Taste: Smooth malt, blood orange, hint of yeasty sourness, mild oaky flavor, lemon zest
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and hop bitterness, heavy yeast
Overall: 8.2/10

Croucher Nuclear Free Anzus IPA

Croucher_IPABrewer: Croucher Brewery, Rotorua, New Zealand  
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
IBU: Unspecified (high)

Description: Brewed in New Zealand, Nuclear Free Anzus is a tribute to New Zealand rocking the boat when it asked that the ANZUS treaty (a Cold War alliance with Australia and the US) not involve nuclear warships and was dumped. Using pale malts and hops from Australia, NZ and the USA, this IPA strikes an interesting balance. It is also the recipient of the Bronze medal at both the 2014 BrewNZ Awards and the 2014 Australian International Beer Awards.


Tasting Notes: This brew is another installment from the Advent Beer Calender, and was quite a lovely take on the IPA. It packs quite the gullet-punch when it comes to the citrus hop flavor. However, the passion fruit flavor was a bit overpowering, to the point that it almost seemed like they had thrown in some actual fruit and artificial flavor into the mix. Still, it was a pleasant brew and a good installment in the pack.

Appearance: Deep orange, clear, mild foam retention and medium carbonation
Nose: strong, floral hop nose, tropical fruit and citrus
Taste: Crisp malt, strong hops, grape, lots of passion fruit, citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering passion fruit flavor, citrus rind
Overall: 8/10

Jeune Gueule Weïti

jeunegueule_weityBrewer: Jeune Gueule, Matoury, French Guyana
Style: Fruit-infused White Ale
ABV: 5%
IBU: Unlisted

Description:  As part of this French Guyanese brewery’s regular lineup of beers, this white ale is brewed using malted barley and wheat, and then infused with Guyanese oranges and orange peel to give it a fruity aroma and smell. The final product is also unfiltered and unpasteurized, resulting in a cloudy, golden-white ale.

Tasting Notes: Again, a bottle that came to me thanks to an unsold advent pack. And like its predecessors, it did not disappoint. The wheat and barley malt provide a smooth, easy-drinking base that is then augmented with a strong infusion of sweet, citrusy orange, creating a very refreshing brew.

Appearance: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, orange zest, yeasts, floral bouquet
Taste: Smooth malt, burst of orange citrus, yeasts, mild bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast and zesty orange flavor
Overall: 8/10

Porcupine Quills Karoo Red

Quills_karooredBrewer: Porcupine Quills Brewing, Bothas Hill, South Africa
Style: Red Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 49.4

Description: This dark “real ale” is the brewery’s second creation, and combines deep red malt with a generous hopping using Willamette whole flower hops. At 5.5% alc/vol, just under 50 IBUs of hops, and yeast cultures still in the bottle, it strikes a nice balance of rich malt, floral hops, and yeasty effervescence.

Tasting Notes: This is my sampling of the Quills Brewery, courtesy of my local beer store selling off all the beers that were part of advent calenders that didn’t get sold. In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Orval, mainly by the rich, yeasty malt base and the trace of oak flavor. At the same time, it had some strong caramel flavor (similar to Tripel Karmeliet), and an interesting hint of floral hops. Definitely wish I could find more Quills around here!

Appearance: Deep amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong notes of caramel, bread pudding, yeast, oak
Taste: Sharp start, yeasty, notes of caramel, hints of oak and flowery hops
Aftertaste: Lingering caramel, yeast and malt flavor, mild bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Moa Noir Dark Lager

Moa_NoirBrewer: Moa Brewing, Marlborough, NZ
Style: Dark Lager
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: A traditional European-style Munchner Dunkel, the Noir is a bottle fermented, bottle conditioned, and malt-forward take on a dark lager. It is one of several European-style beers produced by this renowned and award-winning New Zealand brewery.

Tasting Notes: This beer was rather unique and interesting as far as dark lagers go. It was reminiscent of a stout in many ways, packing some serious chocolate and coffee notes, but still having the lighter, crisper taste of a lager. But what really surprised me were the smokey notes, which reminded me of my cigar-smoking days. I swear, the taste of tobacco was in the nose and the malt profile, and that threw me just a little. A very interesting beer and one which entices me to sample more from the brewery, but not my favorite Dunkel import.

Appearance: Deep brown/black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malts, coffee, dark chocolate, smoke and tabacco
Taste: Dark roasted malts, bitter coffee and chocolate, smokey flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, coffee and smoke
Overall: 7.75/10

Tuatara Double Trouble Extra-Dimensional APA

tuatara_logoQuite the mouthfull, isn’t it? Well, believe me when I say that nothing about this beer seems tame or conventional. In addition to a label that is designed to look like something that requires 3D glasses, this New Zealand brew and its patrons were clearly going for something overwhelming, yet nuanced, powerful, yet balanced.

Tuatara_DoubleTroubleAnd the style, IAPA, I can only assume means Imperial Australian Pale Ale, or possible Imperial American Pale Ale. Hard to say. All I know is, given its strength, maltiness, and extreme hoppy profile, this beer is essentially an Imperial IPA with a big twist!

But I digress… This beer came highly recommended from one of my buds at the beer store. Weighing in at a heft 9% alc/vol, and loaded with hops to the point that it ranks at a stunning 167 IBUs (most IPAs rank between 40 and 80). The varieties include Pacific Jade, Nelson Sauvin, and Simcoe hops to bitter the beer, then Zythos late in the boil for flavour and aroma, and then more Nelson Sauvin for the first dry-hop, followed by more Simcoe and Zythos a second dry-hop. And the result, as I said, is something truly multi-faceted and powerful, though not overwhelming.

Appearance: Deep orange/amber, cloudy, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Very malty, syrupy nose, massive bouquet of citrus, pine, floral, tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet, slightly coarse malts, citrus fruit and rind, notes of pineapple and apricot
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and heavy malt flavor
Overall: 9/10


Apparently, this brew also won a the silver medal for the 2012 Brewers Guild of New Zealand (BGNZ) Awards. This is just one of several medals collected by the brewery in 2012, but don’t expect them to brag about that much. For as they say on their website, no doubt with much irony: “Awards are just irrelevant wank for beer snobs. But dammit, somebody’s got to win them!”

My God… can you really say “wank” on a website? Apparently, they can! A good first sampling from this Kiwi brewery, and I will be looking for more. In addition to much foul language, their website would seem to indicate they have a rather full lineup. I will have to go searching for some very soon…