Nick O / 06.06.12
If you’re 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 Murray’s and they’ll be taking us deep into the black by releasing three Imperial Stouts. That’s three. Drei. Tres. Trois. It doesn’t matter what language you say it in, it still translates as rather impressive.
And what’s perhaps even more exciting is that they’ll all be available in bottles, meaning drinkers across the country will have a chance to get in on the action. Considering that most breweries don’t make Imperial Stout, much less bottle them, this is a huge bonus for fans of the dark arts.
So, why three?
“Basically, because last year we did two!” says brewer Shawn Sherlock. “We 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.”
This year’s triple trouble will come in the form of some new releases of past favourites, ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’, plus their new bigger brother: ‘Seasons In The Abyss’. The description for this one reads as being ‘dry, dark and roasty with a wicked earthy yeast character’. But you’ll 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 Murray’s 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 Murray’s 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 can’t make the opening night event, there will be Dark Beer Masterclasses held at both the Manly venue and the brewery at Bob’s 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: ““For the last few months leading up to these releases, the brewery has been a pretty dark and dirty place. But we’re really happy with all the beers. Even though they’re all Imperial Stouts, all three beers are noticeably different and in both draught and in the bottle they’re all developing really well.”
And if you can’t make it to any of those events, the beers will be available in draught from July 6 at both Murray’s 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 Murray’s range, there’s 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 Watson’s turn. The origin of ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ is more or less explained here. Be warned: it might get loud…