A thoroughbred, not a camel
Ask a committee for a horse and you get a camel. But what happens when you ask a committee of brewers for a special beer?
The delicious answer is Saison a Trois, a one-off variant on the French farmhouse ale style. Released for the Australian International Beer Awards in May, it was brewed collaboratively by the winners of the small, medium and large brewery categories of last year’s competition.
Chris Willcock (4 Pines Brewing Co), Matt Houghton (Boatrocker Brewing Co) and Marcus Cox (Thunder Road Brewing Company) set to work on 29 February to create the dark, malty, 6.5-per-cent-alcohol ale.
Despite the dark colour and high alcohol content, it remains light and refreshing, with a very clean, fresh aftertaste. Though it was consumed at the AIBA dinner and following GABS festival, organisers might consider offering next year’s collaborative brew to a wider audience.
Orkney Brewery Skull Splitter (Scotland) 330ml $7.50
Orkney’s “wee heavy” delivers the dessert-like richness of traditional, strong Scottish ale. Forget about hops and bitterness. This is all about rich, sweet malt flavours – including caramel- and –molasses-like characters – combined with a heady 8.5 per cent alcohol. It’s a delicious, harmonious, winter warmer – in fact, far from skull splitting.
Stone and Wood Stone Beer 2016 500ml $10
Each year Byron Bay’s Stone and Wood makes a stone beer by adding hot stones to the kettle. This intensifies malt flavours, partly through caramelisation caused by the heat. This year’s brew pours black as stout, with warming coffee- and chocolate-like aromas, sweet, malty palate and dry finish, with a pleasing espresso-like bitterness.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 8 June 2016 in the Canberra Times