Zombie Frangelics

My brother is really quite a nice fella and I was reminded of this over the last week or so when I had a couple of brews that he played a hand in procuring for me.

The first was a beer which has a stupid amount of hype around it and I think it might be that hype which made me a little non plussed. It might have also been that I drank it at half time of the North vs West Coast final and was thus not in a happy mood.

Now I’m not saying that Epic’s Hop Zombie is not a great beer, because it bloody well is I’m just not sure it was the life changing, most amazing beer you’ll ever taste experience that everyone seemed to be telling me it was. Also if you haven’t already got a bottle in the cupboard, don’t bother trying to find one, they were all sold out in about three days. That’s what hype and limited supply does for you.

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Feral Moondogs.

Another brilliant label from Moondog

We have discussed Moondog before, they are those crazy guys from Abbotsford who produce weird beers with strange names but awesome labels. The latest beer of theirs is no different. It is a raspberry coffee beer (because that’s a thing apparently) and it’s called Symbiotic Solipsism, which if Wikipedia definitions are correct means a mutualistic relationship that may not exist outside of one’s own mind. Doesn’t make any sense? Don’t worry neither does the beer.
And that’s the basic problem, when you are pushing the boundaries of what has been done in beer-making (certainly in this country) you are going to alienate people and you are going to produce brews that some people are going to hate. This beer for me was one of those. It could probably be best described as tasting like you took the wet coffee grains at the bottom of a bodum pot, left them sitting on the bench for 4 days so they got a little mouldy and then mixed them with some very weak raspberry cordial.  Pot.
I’m all for experimenting and I’m all for breweries producing something different and a bit wacky, and as a card-carrying beer wanker it’s my duty to be amazed by everything Moondog do. But I’d like to see them produce a good quality standard IPA or Pale Ale, or dare I say it lager to prove that they can actually make good beer before they go out making dung infused, dry roasted, barrel aged, sour ales laced with star anise and the honeycomb sourced from East African hives populated entirely by cross dressing bi-sexual  bees named Terry. 
One brewery that has proven time and time again that they produce great quality beers is Feral and I assure you that the Karma Citra is no different. It’s a black IPA, although it pours brown rather than black. There are sweet citrus fruits on the nose that remind me of marmalade and even a fleeting hint of smoke.
And the taste is all there as well. It’s complex and exciting, hoppy without being aggressive. It’s got this great silky smooth body as well, with quite a bit of malt character, almost chocolately and just a hint of nuts. Even though it’s a big IPA and has plenty of hops you get the feeling that even a novice to the craft beer scene would love this one, very sessionable. If you had to be stranded on a desert island and you could only take one beer to drink for the rest of time, I think I might choose this on. Although maybe I could do a two for one deal and take some Hop Hog with me as well  – Jug.

Coffee and Beer

I was listening to Brews News Radio last week and the professor likened the craft beer industry to coffee. I have no direct quote because I can’t be bothered listening to the whole hour again to find it but the concept was this….

15 years ago everyone was happy with a can of International Roast coffee, but nowadays if your workplace doesn’t have an espresso machine you are likely to riot.  Back in the 80’s if you told people that in the near future they would happily pay $4 for a coffee everyday they would call you crazy.

And there is something for everyone. Nescafe may still be in the cupboards and there are coffee snobs doing cupping sessions (which sounds pseudo sexual if you ask me), but there is also everything in between. Cafes are just as prevalent in suburban shopping malls as they are in city laneways filled with ironic milk crates.

Imagine if you will the beer scene in 15 years, there will still be the Carlton Draught at one end and the Brewdog Toyko 18.2 at the other, but in between is where the excitement is. Imagine being able to walk into any pub in any suburb and find good quality craft beer available, the same way you can get a decent cup of coffee almost anywhere now.

Why all this talk of java though? Well today we are tasting two coffee-infused beers. The first is Mountain Goat’s collaboration with coffee roasters Seven Seeds, the Seedy Goat IPA, which is part of the ‘Rare Breed’ range of limited edition brews. Now first thing you need to understand is it’s not meant to taste like coffee.

And it doesn’t, rather it tastes like a slightly strange IPA. The coffee is meant to be imparting bitterness but not really taste, meaning that it’s doing the job of some of the hops. It’s an interesting beer, amber with a wispy head, scents of tropical fruits and a definite and familiar hop aftertaste, but just before those hops is an unfamiliar, un-beer like tang.

It’s a good beer and an interesting study in what can be done, but Mountain Goat make better IPA’s, both their regular one and the Double IPA, and there are better Coffee IPA’s out there, namely Mikkeller’s Koppi IPA .  Still worth a Pint though.

The second beer is one that is 100% meant to taste like coffee; it’s Burleigh Brewing’s collaboration with coffee roasters Zarraffa’s Coffee, the Black Giraffe, part of their ‘Bit on the Side’ range of limited edition brews. It is a black lager, or Schwarzbier for you German speakers out there.

This poured black with a creamy crema coloured head. It smelled of coffee, not burnt coffee like you get with many stouts, but rather sweet latte coffee.  It’s also an unusual taste; coffee, then fruits, then coffee again and then it melts away to a lingering aftertaste more like a coffee liquer or possibly an iced coffee Big M.

This is a seriously good beer, all the complexity you would expect from a stout but as easy to drink and refreshing as a lager. A new favourite – Jug.  

Long Bow Youtube clip: It might be possible to get decent cup of coffee in Melbourne, but it’s a bit tougher in the Mallee.  ‘A Decent Cup of Coffee’ by Wedding Parties Anything (with one of the later line-ups).