June 6 2012 by Crafty Pint
If youâre the type who only drinks light, crisp, refreshing lagers, you might be advised to stop reading at this point because things are about to get very dark indeed… July is Dark Beer Month at Murrayâs and theyâll be taking us deep into the black by releasing three Imperial Stouts. Thatâs three. Drei. Tres. Trois. It doesnât matter what language you say it in, it still translates as rather impressive.
And whatâs perhaps even more exciting is that theyâll all be available in bottles, meaning drinkers across the country will have a chance to get in on the action. Considering that most breweries donât make Imperial Stout, much less bottle them, this is a huge bonus for fans of the dark arts.
So, why three?
âBasically, because last year we did two!â says brewer Shawn Sherlock. âWe held a dark beer event last year when the Manly venue first opened and released two Imperial Stouts. It was well received so those beers became the prototypes and we always planned to add more.â
This yearâs triple trouble will come in the form of some new releases of past favourites, âWild Thingâ and âHeart of Darknessâ, plus their new bigger brother: âSeasons In The Abyssâ. The description for this one reads as being âdry, dark and roasty with a wicked earthy yeast characterâ. But youâll need to be careful because, at 11.3%, you may wake up the next morning with the stark realisation that an abyss is meant for venturing into, but not spending the night in.
The official beginning of Dark Beer Month will coincide with a dinner at Murrayâs at Manly on July 5. Brewers Sherlock and Ian Watson, along with owner Murray Howe, will guide guests through seven shades of dark beer and some top-notch food to match. The three Imperials will be on the menu with this being the first public opportunity to try Seasons In The Abyss.
In what is an additional drawcard, particularly for fans of Murrayâs annual Anniversary Ale, there will also be two versions of Anniversary Ale 6 pouring on draught. Both have been aged in oak – one in French and the other in American – and this will be the one and only opportunity to try them side by side.
If you canât make the opening night event, there will be Dark Beer Masterclasses held at both the Manly venue and the brewery at Bobâs Farm (details in the Events diary). These will be run by the brewers and you could scarcely have better people to guide you into how dark beers are made.
As Shawn says: ââFor the last few months leading up to these releases, the brewery has been a pretty dark and dirty place. But weâre really happy with all the beers. Even though theyâre all Imperial Stouts, all three beers are noticeably different and in both draught and in the bottle theyâre all developing really well.â
And if you canât make it to any of those events, the beers will be available in draught from July 6 at both Murrayâs venues, likely to be followed by good craft beer bars near you. For those further afield, bottles will be available from July to help provide you with comfort through the coldest winter months.
As is the case with most of the Murrayâs range, thereâs usually a good story behind the naming of their beer. Shawn had naming rights to ‘Heart of Darkness’ so this time it was fellow brewer Ian Watsonâs turn. The origin of âSeasons In The Abyssâ is more or less explained here. Be warned: it might get loud…