With this duo of beers, Castlemaine's Shedshaker Brewing continues its foray into less familiar territory while refining old favourites amongst staunch brewery supporters. In terms of style, they make for an odd pair given ones a rarely seen scotch and the other is a near ubiquitous hazy under the New England IPA banner.
Now in its third iteration, Shedshaker's Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale hasn't deviated from the winning formula. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," would seem to be the mindest regarding this beer, again aging the brewery's regular scotch ale in oak barrels, which this time are from Harcourt Valley Winery. But the result, at least as best this writer can remember a beer from two years ago, is a more refined, nuanced offering where the beer pours a majestic ruby brown with a tan head that beautifully laces the glass. Toffee and caramel flavours coat the palate, with a more noticeable oak flavour and even a hint of vanilla. I likened the 2021 release to Scottish actor Gerard Butler for its bold ruggedness beneath the attractive exterior - but the 2023 release embodies Sean Connery in the 60s; a commanding presence but smooth, suave and sophisticated.
Meanwhile, Shedshaker New England IPA first appeared at Bendigo On The Hop in 2023, when it was referred to as 'Gold NEIPA' due to the festival-appropriate gold leaf in the beer. Now packaged in cans, this NEIPA has lost its gold sparkle but has gained a few extra ABVs to make up for anyone who might feel short-changed by the loss of bling. As before, fruity aromatics hint at the sweet, tropical flavours that follow thanks to a hop bill of Galaxy and Amarillo, with a soft, juicy mouthfeel to finish.
Published December 8, 2023 2023-12-08 00:00:00