Dark solace for winter solstice
June 21 marked a black day for the Wig and Pen, Canberra’s oldest brewpub. “We’re launching a huge dark fest, featuring 10 dark beers”, says brewer Frazer Brown.
The exotic line up of malty winter warmers comprises four existing Wig and Pen favourites and six new brews, including a Pact and Pen collaborative porter.
Black beers signify sweet, malty richness, strong roasted-grain flavours – reminiscent of coffee, caramel and chocolate – and often accompanied by an elevated, warming alcohol content.
The line up includes traditional porter and stout styles, ranging from a thunder-in-the-brain Russian Imperial Stout (8.9 per cent alcohol) to a gentle, milk-coffee and chocolate-like London Porter (5.9 per cent). More exotic creations are Elephunk, a fusion between brown ale and IPA, and Bricks and Porter, a smoky Belgian porter style.
The Wig will offer all 10 beers for the first few days of Dark Fest, then a rotating set of five in the following weeks.
Brewcult Gingerbread Maniac 330ml (Derrimut, Victoria) $8
Keeping with today’s dark and warming theme, Brewcult offers something sweet, spicy and alcoholic (eight per cent). Cinnamon and vanilla join ginger in the brew, but ginger dominates the aroma and sweet, tangy palate. It finishes fresh and clean, with an aftertaste of dark chocolate and ginger.
Pact Beer Co Brickworks Brown Ale (Canberra) 330ml 6-pack $25
Pact’s new release could easily pass as a porter or stout with its deep brown-black colour and rich, warming aroma. The palate combines the chocolate- and coffee-bean-like flavours of roasted grain, cut with pleasantly tart and tangy hops, which give a fresh, clean dryness to the finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 22 June 2016 in the Canberra Times