Out of all Otherside releases, Headliner lives up to its eponymous billing. Sure, Sabbath and Redliner have garnered cult followings in their own way, but this evolving double IPA release took centrestage on debut and never looks like relinquishing its title when it makes its annual appearance.
Personality aside, its iterative nature offers a peak behind the scenes at Otherside, providing insight into what ingredients are in favour and, more broadly, where the Myaree brewers see the market heading. As such, some releases have been bolder, others more bitter, and here Headliner '23 version harks back to the early West Coast Juicy editions.
Head brewer Rhys Lopez describes the result as “my favourite version we’ve done”, with “lower bitterness than a West Coast but more than a hazy” before noting that: “Sometimes hybrids can feel like the valley between two mountains, but this feels like it takes the best of both and creates something uniquely sessionable.”
There’s no disagreement here, as this collaboration with NZ Hops pulses with Superdelic, Nelson, Nectaron and Mosaic. Expect dried paw paw, hints of berry, peach candy, nectarine peel, plump South East Asian fruit and melon-esque notes. Resin touches and persistent bitterness wrap the tongue with silky lupulin aggression: never dominating, just holding court with astute balance as lasting dryness rings like the last chord of the encore.
By contrast, the final Shift Brewers release for 2023 takes a very proper turn. The arrival of new English brewer Rob, presumably in a London black cab, has provided the inspiration for a classic English brown ale. That said, this being Otherside, there’s a twist. Chocolate malts are amplified by cacao, an effect redolent of Cottees ice cream syrup, while mocha notes hint at the contribution of near neighbour Jessie’s Café & Roasting. It seems a pot of English breakfast tea may well have suited the theme but not the mood.
Published October 26, 2023 2023-10-26 00:00:00