Friday, August 3, 2012

One Beer To Rule Them All (The Session no.66)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s archive page.

This month's Session is hosted Craig Gravina from the blog Drink Drank. His chosen topic: The One Beer to Rule Them All.

"What if you were to design the perfect brew—a Tolkien-esque One Beer to Rule Them All. The perfect beer for you, personally. Would it be hoppy and dark or strong and light? Is it augmented with exotic ingredients or traditionally crafted? Would your One Beer be a historic recreation or something never before dreamt of? The sky is the limit on this one."

Earlier this year The Crafty Pint, Australia’s best (and really only) website for all things Aussie craft beer, ran a competition called “The People’s Pint”. The aim was to submit a concept for your perfect beer, with the best entries put to a public vote and the winner would have their beer professionally brewed. All that was required was a name for the beer and some form of description in under 50 words. The winning beer was brewed by Temple Brewery & Brasseries and launched to the people during Good Beer Week in May.  The winner, selected by public vote, was called Double Hoptendre. Styled as a “Double Hopped Rye Red Ale”, the beer was described simply by the tagline "A woman walked into a bar and ordered a Double Hoptendre. So the bartender gave her one…"

The competition and beer were a success, but probably more a battle of wit rather than the people's collective desire for their favourite beer.

The intention of The People’s Pint was basically the same for this month’s Session – design your perfect beer. Hence, I am returning to the beer idea I submitted for The People’s Pint (it didn’t make the finals) because I’m too indecisive about all things beer to start from scratch again.

As someone who just loves craft beer in all forms and advocates for beer diversity, with the belief that almost any beer can suit a certain time and place, I’ll never be able to truly decide on one beer to rule them all.

I have enjoyed some fantastically WOW beers that rule in name and drinkability… to mention a few: Beelzebub's Jewels and The Empress from Holgate Brewhouse, xeRRex from and the His/Her Majesty series Yeastie Boys, the Black Hole series from Mikkeller, God Jul Islay Edition by Nøgne Ø …I could go much goodness flowing from these champion beers.

However, as of mid-2012, much like in early-2012 when I entered The People's Pint, there is a mishmash of beer styles that I currently love...all the way to a desert island. They are smokey beers, sessionable beers, red ales and big (imperial) beers.

My entry for The People’s Pint combined these personally favoured beer styles to create something along the lines of a smokey imperial red ale. At this time, in this ultimate beer of beers would be red, bitter, smokey and boozy but light enough in body to drink several in one session.

And the name of my one beer to rule them all: Bluey's Bushy Bitter Boozy BBQ beer.

(You see, “Bluey” is Australian slang for a red headed guy. Basically, blue = red. Yes, irony. Who knows how this slang came to be. Just Aussie larrikinism, I suspect. Right now, there are not enough excellent red ales being produced by Australian craft brewers. It is a very underrepresented style around here!)

As something of a continuation of by Beer Bar Band - letter B - theme (I love some excessive alliteration), the name describes the elements and purpose of my perfect beer.

The aroma conjures thoughts and desires of a campfire in the Australian bush; it’s an imperial ale (around 7%) for good boozy times yet it is also sessionable (through a lighter, less dense body), easy enough drinking to enjoy with mates around the barbecue.

My 5B beer would incorporate crystal and smokey peat malts, the aroma hops would provide a grassy, piny aroma of the bush and the bittering would support a long yet cleansing finish.

It would be filtered to provide a clear, brilliant red appearance and to lighten the body for drinkability. 

Beautiful to look at, to smell, to drink and to remember...again and again. That's what I want from my perfect beer.

Possible? I have no damn idea! I am not a brewer yet, so for now I will just fantasize about the concept…and maybe email the idea to Moon Dog Brewing, who seem to be able to make anything work…!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beer - #IPADay review - Mornington IPA

This quick post, in honour of International IPA Day 2012, (drunkenly) looks at the IPA from Mornington Peninsula Brewery.

I chose this beer because it is my most checked-in IPA on Untappd. The reason for that is because the Morningtoin IPA spent several recents months on tap at the bar of one of it's biggest fans, Brad Merritt...the owner of my local, Oscar's Alehouse. Hence, many friendly pints of this been have been consumed, in a row, a short stroll from home.

One of the youngest small breweries in Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Brewery had quiet beginings in 2010, but is now starting to make some serious noise. Lead by head brewer, Andrew "AG" Gow, Morington is now producing hit after hit of quality, good-drinkin' brews. Without straying too far outside of style and classic modern brewing, the brewery is growing quickly as it finds favour with Victorians with their fresh, richly flavoursome and balanced beers.

From the bottle the Mornington IPA pours a deep cloudy amber, a lovely hue, clearly full of yeastie floaties. This beer ain't filtered! The beer's head is gives good...size and whiteness. The head retains reasonably well but is a bit loose. The important part, when it comes to head, is that he legacy left behind...the beautiful. The Mornington IPA gives good lacing.

The aroma is full and lush, robustly hoppy without punching up your nose. As described by the brewer, stone and tropical fruits like apricot and peach lead you into this beer. Late hop additions of Citra, Amarillo and Centennial give this IPA plenty of front hoppiness

This beer is spot on for body and carbonation. Actually, the look and feel of this beer is more along the lines of an English IPA, but the aroma and taste is all American hops. In the mouth the lushness continues with a solid malt backbone and long hoppiness that doesn't overstay it's welcome. There is sweetness a-plenty to keep you coming back, yet the hops are still king.

Yes, the Mornington IPA is a good honest local IPA. It's a beer to enjoy with friends at a bar or at home with a spicy curry dinner. Drinkable by the pint yet satisfying by the pot. A classic, tasty brew...and an excellent choice for IPA day.

We're heading back to Morington Peninsula Brewery for a quick visit (pizza lunch and beers) on Sunday, which is exciting because I love their space and setup, plus...they have just released a new Imperial Stout (...which I won't be able to drink because I'm driving)! Local beer joy. That's what it's about!

And then there was IPA Day hops p0rn...

Beer - #IPADay ...hop to it!

Today is IPA Day, a social media celebration of craft beer through a global collective toast to the India Pale Ale.

To learn all about IPA Day, read my article on Australian Brews News - "IPA Day the Second" - which was published this morning in honour of the day.

How can you hop on IPA Day? Easy... simply share your IPA (or hoppy craft beer) photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and other social media platforms using the #IPADay hashtag. If you're not into such social media things, then just drink an India Pale Ale beer today!

Tonight I will post a review of a local crafty IPA. Mmm...thirsty.

Until then, to help stimulate the tongue, here is a visual post of some hoppy-style beer "art" via the social media app pixlr-o-matic, which have been consumed in Beer Bar Band land during 2012....

image of Red Hill Brewery Queen's Diamond Jubilee British IPA
Image of AIBA Gold Medal winner Mountain Goat Rye IPA

This photo-set has shown me that I tend to drink IPAs from a tulip glass. FAIL, it seems! According to much of the beer literature I have read over the last few days, the appropriate glass for an India Pale Ale is actually a pint or tumbler! So yes, enjoy your IPA today by the pint (or tumbler)!

Image of the Clock Tower IPA from True South
The Clock Tower IPA from True South.

Mmm delicious hybrids. Black IPA or White IPA? BLACK IPA (...sorry..."American Black Ale") WINS! I am yet to enjoy a White IPA, but I love any attempt by a brewer to bring new life and character to beer styles.
image of blogger with the doctors Orders Plasma White IPA and Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration, Gypsy and the Goat Pepperberry Black IPA in each hand
Dark and light IPA side by side, the Doctors Orders Plasma White IPA and the Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration...Gypsy & the Goat Pepperberry Black IPA

And then there are the magnificent Red IPAs...

IPA, such a wonderfully versatile style of beer...just like good beer as a whole, deliciously diverse!