Beer Advent Calendar – Day 18

Beer Advent Calendar – Day 18

What did I unwrap today?

Thunder Road Amber

Amber Ale, 4.6%

Today’s beer and brewer was kind of confusing to me. I am not having a crack in any way, but things just didn’t add up for me. I unwrapped the beer and looked at the label, and no disrespect to the designers etc, but for a second I thought that I had a Supermarket Chain owned beer in my hands…I just felt that it had that look about it. Most people probably wouldn’t look at the labels that closely, but its just something I do based on my work history and I had to do a double take on this occasion.

Due to the fact that I was unsure about the origins of these guys, I did a good old Google search to find out a bit more about them. The search didn’t turn up that much really, even my go-to source for all things craft beer related, Crafty Pint, was very light on for information. Jumping on Thunder Road’s own site mentioned brewing without borders, and I thought maybe they were gypsy’s like Mikkeller, but then they have a shiny brewery in Melbourne, but some of their beers are brewed in Europe and they use some brewing techniques from Belgium…confusing!

Having said all of that, these guys recently won 2015 Champion Medium Brewery at the AIBA’s…so they must be doing something right!

My thoughts on the  beer

The beer continued my confusion a little bit…It’s an Amber beer…normally I would say that it’s an amber ale, but their site refers to it as an amber lager?

Quick side note: Keeping it REALLY simple, the difference between an ale and a lager for a drinker is all about your senses – the look, smell, and taste of the brew. Ales tend to be fruity-estery and probably have more smell and taste, while lagers are crisper and cleaner tasting, with less of the aromas (generally). On the brewing side, it comes down to fermentation temperature and the type of yeast used – ales ferment at warmer temps with top fermenting yeats, lagers at lower temps with bottom fermenting yeast.

Normally Amber beers are ales and have malty aromas, caramel sweetness, and varying hop aromas, depending on the brewer and their choice of hop. If this is brew is actually a lager, well I guess some of this would be dialled back a bit? These guys talk about double fermenting their beers, which I think is just another way of saying they bottle condition their beers, or add some extra yeast in the bottle for a secondary fermentation to finish off any residual sugars in the beer. Little Creatures does this, I am sure many others do it as well.

fresh-is-bestTheir site says that this technique will mean the beers taste great now, or in 24 months time…what ever happened to “Fresh Is Best”? I have my doubts about drinking a beer in 24 months time and it still tasting great…the beer will naturally change and things break down. Sometimes this will work for the best, like what I am hoping for my bottles of Return Of The Dread I am saving for next year…kind of like maturing red wine for this dark beer, but for lighter beers I don’t think its a great idea.

Anyway, the beer…it poured pretty light in colour for an amber, but colours can vary within the style, and it presented with a really nice head! I didn’t get a lot of aroma from this beer, nor was there an abundance of taste…I wanted a little more from it, perhaps I should have let it warm up a little more to have those flavours come through? Or maybe I got a 24 month old bottle? Just joking…but have a taste for yourself and see what you think?

What food HOPS would go with this beer

randalljr2_1Something different today to give this beer a little oomph! I think I should get out my Randall Jr and turbo charge this beer with some hop infusing. The Randall Jr is basically a home version of what some breweries might call a hop-back…kids of like running water through a mesh tea bag, but its beer and you can put whatever you want in the tea bag! For this one, I would put in some Cascade Hops for some extra aroma, but you can add whatever you want…what would you add?

See you tomorrow for the next beer in my Advent Calendar. To see my other Advent Calendar beer reviews, click here. Feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment, or you can share my posts and photos on facebook, twitter, or instagram!

Oh, and if you didn’t catch my Video Beer Review Debut, check it out here!

Cheers to Xmas Beers!

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