Nick O / 16.10.12
Fancy a pint of something brand new when Sydney Craft Beer Week rolls around? If so, ready your thirst because by our count you should be able to seek out a couple of newbies each day. Many of the new beers have been created within the ‘Beer Mimics Food’ theme which is running through the week, but there are also some re-releases and reinterpretations of existing brews. Either way, those looking for unique hits on their Untappd account should be able to chalk up some solid numbers.
Beginning with the most prolific bringer of new brews, we head to 4 Pines in Manly where they’ve conspired with five collaborators on five crazy concoctions. First up, macaron master Adriano Zumbo set about getting his pastry-based talents into a Belgian-style witbier. What drinkers can expect is a liquid incarnation of his famous ‘Charlotte’ pastry containing coconut and pineapple. 4 Pines Head Brewer Andrew Tweddell says they’ve “nitrogenated the beer and added lactose to highlight the creaminess and make it more like a dessert”.
Next chef up was Darren Robertson of Three Blue Ducks who has lined up a Chocolate Mandarin Seaweed Porter. Andrew says this one’s based on the 4 Pines Porter with added cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and mandarin peel added to the end of the boil – before being conditioned with more mandarin peel. The seaweed element comes from a particular form of French Kelp specifically supplied by the restaurant (which, as a side note, rings in at a not inconsequential $50 a kilo – only the best for these beers!).
The third chef, Rob De Paulo, is one who’s far more familiar with the inner workings of the brewery in his role as 4 Pines’ resident head chef. He’ll be contributing a ‘Sunday Roast’ beer which was mashed in with roasted sweet potato before the addition of fennel seed, rosemary and cumin. Andrew reckons it’s a deceptive brew that has a lager-like appearance but is actually a considerably more complex ale.
Brew four was with Miffy Rigby, editor of the food & drink bible Time Out. It’s a New Orleans Breakfast Beer where cinnamon and an English ale base replicate the classic cinnamon donut. Added to that was chicory, dandelion and cold-infused Colombian coffee from Manly roasters at Belaroma. Far from being bitter, Andrew says it’s developed quite the caramel and toffee nose. The last of the brews was one we featured a couple of weeks ago as the winner of the Beer Mimics Food homebrew competition: the Chili Ruby Adobo Ale (being judged in the photo above). The scaled-up version is as true as possible to the original, though perhaps with a little less ruby colour and a little more smoke from a higher percentage of peated malt. When we spoke to Andrew, it was just out of the fermenter and into the metaphorical fire, conditioning with the steeped jalapenos.
Elsewhere, Dave Padden, from Sydney’s recently opened Riverside Brewing, took a trip south to Nowra to see if he could teach a HopDog new tricks. Dave and Tim Thomas of HopDog BeerWorks will be jointly hosting a dinner at Danks St Depot, so they got an early sample of what chef Jared Ingersoll would be serving up and designed a beer to match. After concluding that without access to a time machine they couldn’t meet the chef’s request for a Lambic, they settled on a Saison.
Tim says: “Both Dave and I wanted to brew something that neither of us was producing at that moment, and something that’s a bit of a challenge too.“ The base is a blend of ale, Munich, wheat and rye malts with the earthy, spiciness of NZ Southern Cross hops, although Tim adds: “we went low on the hopping – which is rare for both of us.
“The real fun came with the Saison spicing: orange peel, coriander and szechuan pepper, all of which added some awesome aromatics to the brew. The yeast used was a nasty Belgian yeast purported to be from the Fantome brewery. It’s meant to throw huge esters and enhance spices, which it pretty much has.”
Besides the “bastard Belgian saison yeast” aiding in a stuck ferment, Tim reckons it “drinks smooth with heaps of funk”. And it has a suitably funky name, stemming from Riverside’s numerically-themed brews and HopDog’s love of the leftfield, in this case a Franco-Latin blend. So, for SCBW they will be presenting the ‘Assaisonner Tri Canus Flumen’, or ‘3 Dog River Saison’.
Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson from Southern Bay will also be making the trip north with a few goodies, starting with a re-brewed version of ‘Pepper Steak Porter’. It will be called… ’Pepper Steak Porter 2’. Hendo says this was a beer originally conceived by Dave and Rian of the From Beer to Eternity blog and for the pilot brew he “thought of several ways to put ‘pepper steak’ into a beer and, in the end, decided to brew a smoked, spiced porter.
“The first batch of PSP used malt that was smoked with Hickory and Mesquite whereas PSP2 uses Cherry Wood smoked malt out of the US,“ he says.
It’s the porter he suggests forms the basis for Southern Bay’s Metal Head Robust Porter which he’ll be pouring the last of alongside PSP2 during his appearance at the Bloodwood brewer’s dinner – as well as the new Hop Bazooka IPA on the same night. And, just for good measure, SCBW will also feature the new, improved and unpasteurised version of Southern Ocean Ale.
With uncharacteristic understatement, Hendo says: “It should be quite a treat!”.
Tomorrow we’ll whip through the rest of the new SCBW beers, featuring Young Henry’s, Doctor’s Orders, Two Birds, Rocks Brewing, Thirsty Crow, Lord Nelson and Murray’s.
Sydney Craft Beer Week runs from October 20 to 28.